Stories to Scare Your Socks Off As Recommended by School Library Journal

For Younger Readers


Dinosaur Thunder by Marion Dane Bauer (for preschool – grade 1)

What If…? by Anthony Browne       (for preschool – grade 2)

When Lions Roar by Robie H. Harris                  (for preschool – grade 2)

Some Things Are Scary by Florence Parry Heide          (for preschool – grade 2)

Black Dog by Levi Pinfold      (for preschool – grade 3)

Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds (for preschool – grade 2)

Bedtime Monsters by Josh Sneider   (for preschool – 1)

The Dark by Lemony Snickett (for preschool – grade 2)


For Middle Grade Readers


The Mostly True Story of Jack by Kathy Barnhill        (for grades 4 – 7)

Doll Bones by Holly Black      (for grades 4 – 8)

Infestation by Timothy Bradley                  (for grades 5 – 8)

Coraline by Neil Gaiman                   (for grades 3 – 6)

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz                   (for grades 4 – 7)

Professor Gargoyle by Charles Gilman      (for grades 4 – 7)

The Orphan of Awkward Falls by Keith Graves (for grades 4 – 7)

Raven’s Gate by Anthony Horowitz           (for grades 5 – 8)

Home Sweet Horror by James Preller                  (for grades 3 – 5)

Literally Disturbed: Tales to Keep You Up at Night by Ben H. Winters

(for grades 3 – 6)

Stubby the War Dog: The True Story of World War I’s Bravest Dog by Ann Bausum

Stubby was a stray Boston bull terrier who became the mascot for the Army’s 102nd Infantry division.  His Master, J Robert Conroy, smuggled him to the front lines of battle in WWI France. This is the story of how Stubby helped the soldiers in the trenches by warning of gas attacks and sniffing out the enemy.  Wounded in battle, he later cheered injured soldiers in the Army hospitals and assisted in finding wounded soldiers on the battlefield. Once, Stubby even captured a German soldier!  A true story of one of America’s bravest dogs, filled with period photographs and artifacts, Stubby the War Dog is sure to delight fans of history and animal-lovers alike.

Reviewed by Kim White, Hoyt Library.

Recommended for grades 5 and up.


“The day I discovered I could fly, I knew that I was special.”  So begins a tale of a young
superheroine and the development of her superhuman strengths.  With each one she
discovers, a variety of exhilarating achievements and troubling setbacks occur. All of it leads
the masked hero to wonder “if my parents could tell – if they knew about my superpowers.”
The answer is revealed one day when her powers short-circuit, and Mom must step in
to save the day.  While the sparse text relates the girl’s impressions, the masterfully simple
illustrations reveal a more ordinary reality.  Pair this title with Ladybug Girl by Jacky Davis
and David Soman for a storytime of every day superheroes.

Reviewed by Jennie Tuttle, Wickes Library.

Recommended for preschool – 3rd grade.

How to Lose a Lemur by Frann Preston Gannon

Everyone knows that once a lemur takes a liking to you, there isn’t much you can do about it.  So when a lemur starts following the young boy in this story, he knows there isn’t much he can do about it, but he tries anyway.

He tries ignoring the lemur, hiding in a tall tree, riding his bike as fast as he can to get away, but that doesn’t work, AND the lemur is joined by his lemur friends—so now the boy has a whole passel of lemurs following him around.  He tries being upfront and honest and telling them to leave, but alas that doesn’t work either.

The boy had no choice but to continue trying to get away—he bought a ticket on a fast train, drifted across a lake in a boat, took to the skies in a hot air balloon, traveled across a scorching desert, climbed the highest mountain in a blizzard—but all that running got the boy was lost.  And alone.  But as he looked around, he started to see some familiar faces who guided him back home, realizing that lemurs aren’t so bad after all, and maybe they could be friends, because as everyone knows. . .

Once a lemur takes a liking to you, there is not much that can be done about it.

Reviewed by Kathy Thornhill, Zauel Memorial Library.

Recommended for preschool-1st grade.

Searching for Sarah Rector: The Richest Black Girl in America by Tonya Bolden

Coretta Scott King award winner Tonya Bolden investigates the story of Sarah Rector, a Cherokee freedman’s daughter, who became the richest girl in America due to the discovery of oil on land she owned as part of the land allotment she received in the breaking up of the Oklahoma Indian Territories.  Sarah’s wealth put her in great danger from those who would profit off her land. Newspapers reported that Miss Rector was missing and may have been done in for her fortune. Those stories set off an alarm leading to the search for Sarah Rector.

Bolden uses primary source materials to investigate what really happened to Sarah Rector and shows that a little bit of investigative research can help you solve history’s mysteries.

Reviewed by Kim White, Hoyt Library.

Recommended for grades 5 – 8.



One day, Mr. and Mrs. Button visit animal shelters to pick out a pet—unfortunately, they visit different shelters.  Mr. Button brings home a friendly-looking dog, while Mrs. Button brings home a smart-looking cat.  Since they live in a rather small house, Dog and Cat must share a room.

Dog and Cat do NOT get along.  They are TOTAL opposites.  Dog is sloppy while Cat is a neat freak.  Dog likes to keep in constant touch with all his friends and Cat likes to play games all night long.  And then, there was the litter box issue, which started a battle of epic proportions—each trying to get the upper hand over the other—that resulted in separation and time out for both, which did give them time to think about how much each missed the other one.   Upon release from their confinement, Dog and Cat find themselves united in trying to deal with the new TERRIFYING creature Mr. and Mrs. Button brought home.

Reviewed by Kathy Thornhill, Zauel Memorial Library.

Recommended for preschool-2nd grade.


On an island far away, imaginary creatures are created and impatiently wait to be dreamed of by a real child.  Once imagined, the friends meet up for a lifetime of fun.  However, after watching all the other creatures be whisked off to their happy-ever-after, one particular imaginary friend gets tired of waiting.  Taking the initiative, he sets out to find his perfect match and special name – Beekle.  This richly illustrated title is sure to start great discussions about best friends, real and imaginary.

Reviewed by Jennie Tuttle, Wickes Library.

Recommended for ages 3 -6.

2014 NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Notable Poetry List

J 979.1004 Fl              Flood, Nancy Bo.  Cowboy Up!: Ride the Navaho Rodeo

J 811.54 Ge                 Gerber, Carole.  Seeds, Bees, Butterflies, and More!: Poems for Two Voices

J 811.54 Hu                 Hughes, Langston.  Lullaby (for a Black Mother)

J 821.008 Po               Kennedy, Caroline, ed.  Poems to Learn by Heart

J 811.54 Le                 Lewis, J. Patrick. Face Bug

J 811.54 Le                 Lewis, J. Patrick.  When Thunder Comes: Poems for Civil Rights Leaders

J 811.54 Le                 Lewis, J. Patrick.  World Rat Day: Poems About Real Holidays You’ve Never Heard Of

J 811.54 Pr                  Prelutsky, Jack.  Stardines Swim High Across the Sky and Other Poems

J 811.54 Si                  Sidman, Joyce.  What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms, and Blessings

J 811.54 Si                  Singer, Marilyn.  Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems

J 811.54 Si                  Singer, Marilyn.  Rutherford B., Who Was He? Poems About Our Presidents

J 808.1 Po                   Vardell, Sylvia & Janet Wong, eds.  The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School: Poems for the School Year with Connections for the Common Core

J 808.81 Wh                Wheeler, Lisa.  The Pet Project: Cute and Cuddly Vicious Verses

J 811.54 Wo                Worth, Valerie.  Pug and Other Animal Poems

J 811.54 Yo                 Yolen, Jane & Rebecca Kai Dotlich. Grumbles from the Forest: Fairy-Tale Voices with a Twist

J 811.54 Yo                 Yolen, Jane.  Wee Rhymes: Baby’s First Poetry Book


One word and some enthusiasm can be a powerful combination.  Little Green’s shout of “Go!” wakes up the construction equipment from their nap and prompts them back to work building a new bridge.  However, his repeated encouragement leads to a bit of chaos.  Thankfully, newcomer Little Red’s “Stop!” provides the break everyone needs to regroup.  Can Little Red and Little Green work together to get the bridge building back on track?  Perfect for sharing one-on-one or with a group, this engaging title begs to be followed by a game of Red Light – Green Light.

Reviewed by Jennie Tuttle, Wickes Library

Recommended for ages 2-5.


With a reputation for being clever, quick and cunning, no one should be surprised to discover that weasels spend their days plotting world domination. However, just as their plans for supremacy are about to come to fruition, the lights black out.  The weasels scramble to locate the source of their troubles.  A tale told as much through the conversation bubbles and illustrations as the text, readers with sharp eyes will detect the problem ahead of its resolution. 

Reviewed by Jennie Tuttle, Wickes Library

Recommended for grades 1 – 4.


Holy bagumba!  This year’s Newbery Medal winner is an action-packed tale featuring a host of quirky characters and filled with graphics and comic-style layouts.  Using knowledge gleamed from a comic book, Flora Belle Buckman, a natural-born cynic, revives a squirrel that had been sucked up by her neighbor’s super-suction, multi-terrain vacuum cleaner only to discover that the incident has provided the squirrel with super powers.  Surprises keep coming as she meets her neighbor’s unique grandnephew, discovers her mother is Ulysses’ archenemy, and realizes hope and love are also formidable super powers.

Reviewed by Jennie Tuttle, Wickes Library

Recommended for grades 3 – 6.

2014 Randolph Caldecott Medal Winner and Honor Books

For the “most distinguished American picture book for children”


 “Locomotive” illustrated and written by Brian Floca



 “Journey” written and illustrated by Aaron Becker


“Flora and the Flamingo” written and illustrated by Molly Idle


“Mr. Wuffles!” written and illustrated by David Wiesner

2014 Coretta Scott King Award Winner and Honor Books

For an African-American author and illustrator



 Author Award:  “P.S. Be Eleven” written by Rita Williams-Garcia


Illustrator Award:  “Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me”  illustrated by Brian Collier

            Written by Daniel Beaty




 Author:  “Words with Wings” written by Nikki Grimes


Illustrator:  “Nelson Mandela” illustrated by Kadir Nelson

            Written by Kadir Nelson

2014 Pura Belpre Award Winner and Honor Books

For a Latino writer and illustrator “whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience”



 “Nino Wrestles the World” illustrated and written by Yuyi Morales



 Author:  “Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale” written by Duncan Tonatiuh

            Illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh


Illustrator:  “Maria Had a Little Llama” illustrated and written by Angela Dominguez


Illustrator: “Tito Puente: Mambo King” illustrated by Rafael Lopez

            Written by Monica Brown


Illustrator:  “Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale” illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh

            Written by Duncan Tonatiuh

2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Winner and Honor Books

For the best beginning reader book


 “The Watermelon Seed” written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli



 “Ball” written and illustrated by Mary Sullivan


“A Big Guy Took My Ball” written and illustrated by Mo Willems


“Penny and Her Marble” written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes

2014 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award Winner and Honor Books

For informational books for children


 “Parrots Over Puerto Rico” written by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore

            Illustrated by Susan L. Roth



 “A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin” written by Jen Bryant

            Illustrated by Melissa Sweet


 “Look Up: Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard” written by Annette LeBlanc Cate

            Illustrated by Annette LeBlanc Cate


“Locomotive” written by Brian Floca

            Illustrated by Brian Floca


“The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius” written by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan

2014 John Newbery Medal and Honor Book Winners

For the “most outstanding contribution to children’s literature”



 “Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures” written by Kate DiCamillo

            Illustrated by K.G. Campbell



 “Doll Bones” written by Holly Black


“The Year of Billy Miller” written by Kevin Henkes


“One Came Home” written by Amy Timberlake


“Paperboy” by Vince Vawter

Best Non-Fiction Books of 2013 by School Library Journal

On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne


Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln and the Dawn of Liberty by Tonya Bolden


Henry and the Cannons: An Extraordinary True Story of the American Revolution by Don Brown


A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant


Locomotive by Brian Floca


Becoming Ben Franklin: How a Candle-Maker’s Son Helped Light the Flame of Liberty by Russell Freedman


The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius by Jan Greenberg & Sandra Jordan


Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd


Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel


Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table by Jacqueline Briggs Martin


Martin & Mahalia: His Words, Her Song by Andrea Davis Pinkney


To Dare Mighty Things: The Life of Theodore Roosevelt by Doreen Rappaport


Parrots Over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth & Cindy Trumbore


Diego Rivera: An Artist for the People by Susan Goldman Rubin


Eruption!: Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives by Elizabeth Rusch


Scaly Spotted Feathered Frilled: How Do We Know What Dinosaurs Really Looked Like? by Catherine Thimmesh


The Dolphins of Shark Bay by Pamela S. Turner

Best Fiction Books of 2013 by School Library Journal

The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt


Doll Bones by Holly Black


Jinx by Sage Blackwood


Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg


Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo


The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes


The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel by Deborah Hopkinson


The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata


The Adventures of a South Pole Pig: A Novel of Snow and Courage by Chris Kurtz


Far, Far Away by Tom McNeal


Bluffton: My Summers with Buster by Matt Phelan


Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell


Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan


Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool


P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia

Best Picture Books of 2013 by School Library Journal


Journey by Aaron Becker


Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown


The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt


The Highway Rat by Julia Donaldson


Henry’s Map by David Elliot


Papa’s Mechanical Fish by Candace Fleming


If You Want to See a Whale by Erin E. Stead


Penny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes


Little Red Writing by Melissa Sweet


Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle


The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig


Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller


The Mighty Lalouche by Matthew Olshan


Xander’s Panda Party by Linda Sue Park


The Tortoise & the Hare by Jerry Pinkney


Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker


Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal


The Dark by Lemony Snicket


Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner

Noteworthy & New

2014 Riverside Saginaw Film Festival

November 6 - 9

The Public Libraries of Saginaw is proud to Sponsor and participate in the 8th annual Riverside Saginaw Film Festival. This year the festival runs from Thursday, November 6th through Sunday, November 9th and features independent, foreign, and short films as well as documentaries and panel discussions. Films will be shown on 6 screens throughout the City, including several free films at the Hoyt Library.

Click here for the schedule and to buy tickets.

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