Young Reader's Advisory Board

A panel of youth is chosen to assist the children’s book buyer in making selections for the bookstore. Each member reviews advanced reading copies of selected titles and writes critical reviews. Monthly meetings are spent having fun while sharing literary thoughts. 

Applications are available from Jen Kraar: jkraar@cityofasylumpittsburgh.org

 

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Secrets We Tell the Sea By Martha Riva Palacio Obon, Lourdes Heuer (Translated by) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781547608164
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Children's Books - October 24th, 2023

REVIEW BY OLIVE Sofía had always wanted to see the sea, but the moment she did, things took a turn for the worse.  In Secrets We Tell the Sea, written by Martha Riva Palacio Obón (translated by Lourdes Heuer), Sofía, a young girl of 10 years old moves to Bahía, where her grandma lives. She finally makes a friend, and they discover a magic shell that is causing hurricanes and tornadoes whenever it gets upset. Sofía then stops talking to the sea, (something that she had always done since a young age) after the sea creates an impact on her life that she will never forgive. And no matter how much the sea talks to her, she does not respond. 

I really liked this book since you are figuring out the mysteries of the ocean alongside Sofía, and you watch the grievances and hopes and dreams of a 10-year-old experiencing so much change in her life. 

 

For ages 11 and up!  

 

 


Rick Riordan Presents: The Spirit Glass By Roshani Chokshi Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781368093392
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Rick Riordan Presents - September 5th, 2023

REVIEW BY ROCCO

The Spirit Glass is filled with adventure, fantasy, and Filipino mythology!

The Spirit Glass is about a girl called Corazon, who is a young babylan (magical witch) who is learning to control her powers. When a powerful magical item is stolen from her, she has to embark on a perilous quest to get it back. The world Corazon lives in is filled with ghosts, spirits, dragons, and monsters.

I particularly enjoyed a character called Saso, who is a talking gecko, and companion of the main character. He adds a huge sense of comedy, sprinkling little jokes and strange remarks throughout the book, especially during dire or mortal situations in the book. 

The clever use of Filipino mythology and huge character arcs had me loving this book from the start. Do you like fantasy books? Dragons? Strong female main characters? Talking animals? Magic? Mythology? Then this is the book for you!

 


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Free Period By Ali Terese Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781338835830
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Scholastic Press - March 5th, 2024

REVIEW BY MIKHAYLA

Reading Free Period by Ali Terese was both fun to read and motivational. This book's main characters Gracie and Helen love playing pranks even though they don't always end up as planned, but they focus on more important things like standing up for period rights. This book was funny, encouraging, and relatable.

 


Lola at Last By J. C. Peterson Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780063060180
Availability: In stock at publisher: Usually Ships to store in 3-5 Business Days.
Published: HarperTeen - February 28th, 2023

REVIEW BY MIKHAYLA

Reading Lola at Last by JC Peterson took a lot of energy. Lola explodes a boat not knowing it is her aunt and uncle's new boat. She won’t get fined she has to do this hiking program that her uncle's sister runs called Hike Like a Girl, or what she calls HAG. The only problem is that she doesn’t know how to hike no when she tries to hike she hikes for less than two miles but it feels more like 20 miles. Reading this book certain things annoyed me, in the beginning, all of the characters were introduced all at once, and then again later in the book more characters were introduced all at the same time. Another thing is that this novel takes place in the modern day but they still say things no one I know says like “rad”. Overall this book was something I wasn’t looking forward to reading when I had to read.

 


Weird Rules to Follow By Kim Spencer Cover Image
$12.95
ISBN: 9781459835580
Availability: Backordered: may take 2-4 weeks.
Published: Orca Book Publishers - October 18th, 2022

REVIEW BY OLIVE

  Understanding the feelings of a young Indigenous girl from a town in British Columbia starts here in Weird Rules to Follow.

              The main character, Mia, is starting to notice that she stands out by her culture and wants to understand why. She doesn’t have a family to depend on, and her teachers treat her differently at school because of her culture so she has to navigate through life without the support of adults, and with different rules to follow. The book covers the important details of her life between grades sixth and eighth. I think that lots of people ages 12+ would love it.

 


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Trouble at the Tangerine By Gillian McDunn Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781547611003
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Bloomsbury Children's Books - April 2nd, 2024

REVIEW BY ELLIE

Simon wants a “forever kind of home.” He wants to stay in one place and have lots of real friends. When a crime occurs it is up to Simon and his friend Amaya to crack the case. Otherwise, Tangerine Pines might not be so forever after all. I would recommend this book for ages 8-12.My favorite part was when Simon meets Amaya because she is funny. Simon and Amaya have hilarious conversations. The book is unusual because Simon wants to move to a new home. But then when his parents plan to move again, Simon doesn’t want to move. He wants to stay at the apartment at Tangerine Pines.

 


Hummingbird Season By Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781547612741
Availability: In stock at publisher: Usually Ships to store in 3-5 Business Days.
Published: Bloomsbury Children's Books - February 13th, 2024

REVIEW BY ELLIE

The Hummingbird Season, the main character wants to be heard, but no one listens to him. Archie finds that he adores hummingbirds and gets multiple bird feeders. He shares it with his online class and they are intrigued and begin listening to him. I would recommend this book for students ages 8-12 years old.

 


The Spells We Cast By Jason June Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781368089234
Availability: In stock at publisher: Usually Ships to store in 3-5 Business Days.
Published: Melissa de la Cruz Studio - October 3rd, 2023

REVIEW BY CHARLIE
The Spells We Cast was one of those books that you can’t put down once you’ve started reading. Jason June managed to put so much incredible world building and emotion into this three hundred page book, as well as many well-written emotional scenes. While this book is intended for a younger audience- middle/high school aged readers- it still addresses very important discussions of corrupted systems of power and the consequences that it has. I definitely look forward to the sequel to this series and any other future work that June releases. 


Tessa Miyata Is No Hero By Julie Abe Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316448529
Availability: In stock at publisher: Usually Ships to store in 3-5 Business Days.
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - August 22nd, 2023

REVIEW BY ROCCO

Every fantasy page-turner I’ve read in my life has been good, but few have wowed me like Tessa Miyata!  The title of the book, and tells us a few things. For one, it might imply that the main character doesn't believe in herself, or else believes herself to be lower than a hero. It also might imply that before the story takes place, Tessa is more or less an ordinary person, or at least not a hero. 

 


Curlfriends: New in Town (A Graphic Novel) By Sharee Miller Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780316591454
Availability: In stock at publisher: Usually Ships to store in 3-5 Business Days.
Published: Little, Brown Ink - October 10th, 2023

REVIEW BY MIKAHYLA

Curlfriends New in Town by Sharee Miller was a book that is a good book for lots of ages because it is a graphic novel, making it a very easy and quick read. This book can also be good for people of any age because the main character, Charlie, is trying to be someone she isn’t so she can make friends. She completely changes her style, from more “childish” clothes to what people wear in magazines. When her friends come over she gets rid of all of her decorations leaving her room very bland. She even pretends to like food that actually makes her throw up. This book was very relatable to read and a very easy one, but in a good way.

 

 

 


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Operation: Happy: A World War II Story of Courage, Resilience, and an Unbreakable Bond By Jenni L. Walsh Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780310159261
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Zonderkidz - April 2nd, 2024

REVIEW BY OLIVE

I can honestly say, hands down, that I loved this book. It was so well worded and incredibly written, I was on the edge of my seat after the end of every chapter. At the beginning, it seems like another unassuming fantasy book, but it turns into something much more. It is a story about the strength and power the love between sisters can hold. It is a tale about how even in a world with dragons and magic, people find petty reasons to hate each other, and it is a story about how even in the darkest of times, people can kindle friendships and romances. This book has everything and more, and I highly recommend it to teenagers and young adults, but younger readers should know that some of the language in the book is mature.

 


The Queer Girl is Going to Be Okay By Dale Walls Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781646142705
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Levine Querido - November 21st, 2023

REVIEW BY CHARLIE

The Queer Girl is Going to be Okay" is one of the best queer stories I've read in a very long time. It stands out from many other popular queer media that tell the same cookie-cutter stories of white cis men falling in love and their trials and tribulations. The author, Dale Walls, did such a wonderful job telling the stories of BIPOC queer women that so often go untold. I saw myself relating to the main characters- Edie's struggle to please her religious parents, Dawn's stress with taking care of an ill parent, Georgia's fear of a future she wasn't prepared for. It was so reassuring to see these things addressed in this book, and Dale Walls wrote these topics beautifully. I truly look forward to reading more of her work in the future. 


Rick Riordan Presents: A Drop of Venom By Sajni Patel Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781368092685
Availability: In stock at publisher: Usually Ships to store in 3-5 Business Days.
Published: Rick Riordan Presents - January 16th, 2024

REVIEW BY ROCCO

Things I liked:

1. The focus on whether or not you should seek vengeance when you are violated, and who you should do it for, yourself, or the person who violated you?

2. The book has lots of monsters and demons in it, but when Manisha (the main character) is given incredible power, what she decides to do with it may make her a monster instead.

3. The fact that it is a love story while showing the healing of the main character after being violated shows how strong Manisha is.