Mystery? Adventure? International art scandal? Yes, please!

If you enjoy classics like E.L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler or Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game, you’ll love Blue Balliett’s Chasing Vermeer, book one in this fast-paced and suspenseful three-part series.

Join eleven-year-olds Petra and Calder as they use their brains to track down who stole a famous Vermeer painting. Puzzles and codes abound in this exciting mystery, and illustrations by Brett Helquist (who illustrated the Lemony Snicket books) liven up the story as well.

Balliett’s publisher Scholastic has a fun, interactive website that includes clues and games related to the books. Check it out here! And don’t forget to pick up your copy (or the whole series!) today at your library!

Book 1: Chasing Vermeer  

Book 2: The Wright 3 

Book 3: The Calder Game 

Ages 9-12; grades 5-8

Shhh…The Name of This Book is Secret

The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch

Do not let the narrator talk you out of reading this book. He’ll try to threaten you by telling you the book’s secret is dangerous. He’ll try to confuse you by telling you he’s coming up with fake names for his characters. He’ll even try to get you to bribe him with special chocolate. Don’t worry, the narrator is a real blabbermouth and he’s got a story that’s so exciting he can’t keep from telling it.

Cass, the heroine, is a worrier and Max-Ernest, her partner in mystery solving, talks non-stop. The narrator says these are not their real names, but you won’t care about their names, you’ll be sucked into their adventures. Almost before they know it Cass and Max-Ernest are involved in a mystery filled with puzzles, palindromes and secret codes as they work to discover a secret left behind by a magician. They have the magician’s box filled with small containers of smelly liquids, they know about his hidden room, and they figured out his coded secret book?all but the missing ending. When they realize an artsy kid from their school has been kidnapped by strange adults who are also seeking the magician’s secret, they know they’ve got to solve the mystery! That kid is only one of many missing children who have synesthesia, an ailment that unites the senses.

Cass and Max-Ernest will have to use all of their senses in this mystery that looks, smells, and feels rotten!

This is number 1 in the Secret series by Pseudonymous Bosch. Books 1-4 may be found at the library! Check one out today!

(Ages 9-12; grades 4-7)

*BookTalk by Susie Wilde

Love history? Read historical fiction!

Historical fiction novels are a fun way to learn a bit about history. The Dear America, My America, and Royal Diaries series are a few of the most popular historical fiction books for kids, but there are many more that are worth checking out!

Here’s a selection of some you can find at the library:

Juvenile Fiction

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War.

Cassandra’s Sister by Veronica Bennett

In nineteenth-century New York City, Edwina, daughter of the famous actor Edwin Booth and niece of John Wilkes Booth, finds it difficult to escape the family tragedy and to meet the needs of a demanding father while maintaining her independence.

Alchemy and Meggy Swann by Karen Cushman

In 1573, the crippled, scorned, and destitute Meggy Swann goes to London, where she meets her father, an impoverished alchemist, and eventually discovers that although her legs are bent and weak, she has many other strengths.

White Crane by Sandy Fussell

Even though he has only one leg, Niya Moto is studying to be a samurai, and his five fellow-students are similarly burdened, but sensei Ki-Yaga, an ancient but legendary warrior, teaches them not only physical skills but mental and spiritual ones as well, so that they are well-equipped to face their most formidable opponents at the annual Samurai Games.

The White Witch by Janet Graber

The Great Plague has come to England, and no one is safe, least of all Gwendoline Riston. With fair skin and hair and a way with plants and animals, the villagers are calling her a witch and blaming her for the disease.

Million Shades of Gray by Cynthia Kadohata

In 1975 after American troops pull out of Vietnam, a thirteen-year-old boy and his beloved elephant escape into the jungle when the Viet Cong attack his village.


The Last Girls of Pompeii by Kathryn Lasky

Twelve-year-old Julia knows that her physical deformity will keep her from a normal life, but counts on the continuing friendship of her life-long slave, Mitka, until they learn that both of their futures in first-century Pompeii are about to change for the worse.

Mary, Queen of Scots, Queen Without a Country (Royal Diaries series) by Kathryn Lasky

Mary, the young Scottish queen, is sent a diary from her mother in which she records her experiences living at the court of France’s King Henry II as she awaits her marriage to Henry’s son, Francis.

The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had by Kristin Levine

In Moundville, Alabama, in 1917, twelve-year-old Dit hopes the new postmaster will have a son his age, but instead he meets Emma, who is black, and their friendship challenges accepted ways of thinking and leads them to save the life of a condemned man.

Take Me With You by Carolyn Marsden

Raised in an Italian orphanage in the years following World War II, a biracial girl named Susanna and her best friend Pina want to be adopted but fear being separated.

A Picture of Freedom: The Diary of Clotee, a Slave Girl (Dear America series) by Patricia C. McKissack

In 1859, twelve-year-old Clotee, a house slave who must conceal the fact that she can read and write, records in her diary her experiences and her struggle to decide whether to escape to freedom.

A Song for Harlem by Patricia C. McKissack

In the summer of 1928, Lilly Belle Turner of Smyrna, Tennessee, participates in a young author’s writing program, taught by Zora Neale Hurston and hosted by A’Lelia Walker in her Harlem teahouse at the height of the Harlem Renaissance.

Shades of Gray by Carolyn Reeder

At the end of the Civil War, twelve-year-old Will, having lost all his immediate family, reluctantly leaves his city home to live in the Virginia countryside with his aunt and the uncle he considers a “traitor” because he refused to take part in the war.

Juliet’s Moon by Ann Rinaldi

In Missouri in 1863, twelve-year-old Juliet Bradshaw learns to rely on herself and her brother, a captain with Quantrill’s Raiders, as she sees her family home burned, is imprisoned by Yankees, and then kidnapped by a blood-crazed Confederate soldier.


A Faraway Island by Annika Thor

In 1939 Sweden, two Jewish sisters wait for their parents to join them in fleeing the Nazis in Austria, but while eight-year-old Nellie settles in quickly, twelve-year-old Stephie feels stranded at the end of the world, with a foster mother who is as cold and unforgiving as the island on which they live.

Lincoln and His Boys by Rosemary Wells

Brothers Willie and Taddie share stories about their father, Abraham Lincoln, from 1859 to 1865.

Countdown by Deborah Wiles

Franny Chapman just wants some peace. But that’s hard to get when her best friend is feuding with her, her sister has disappeared, and her uncle is fighting an old war in his head. Her saintly younger brother is no help, and the cute boy across the street only complicates things. Worst of all, everyone is walking around just waiting for a bomb to fall. It’s 1962, and it seems the whole country is living in fear…

Young Adult Fiction

My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier

Recounts the tragedy that strikes the Meeker family during the Revolution when one son joins the rebel forces while the rest of the family tries to stay neutral in a Tory town.

Hidden Voices by Pat Lowery Collins

Anetta, Rosalba, and Luisa, find their lives taking unexpected paths while growing up in eighteenth century Venice at the orphanage Ospedale della Pieta, where concerts are given to support the orphanage as well as expose the girls to potential suitors.

Finding My Place by Traci L. Jones

After moving to an affluent suburb of Denver in 1975, ninth-grader Tiphanie feels lonely at her nearly all-white high school until she befriends another “outsider” and discovers that prejudice exists in many forms.

A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee

Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan and thief Mary Quinn is offered a place at Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls where she is trained to be part of an all-female investigative unit called The Agency and, at age seventeen, she infiltrates a rich merchant’s home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships.

Prisoners in the Palace: How Victoria became Queen with the help of her maid, a reporter, and a scoundrel : a novel of intrigue and romance by Michaela MacColl

Recently orphaned and destitute, seventeen-year-old Liza Hastings earns a position as a lady’s maid to sixteen-year-old Princess Victoria at Kensington Palace in 1836, the year before Victoria becomes Queen of England.

Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell

In fifth-century Britain, nine years after the destruction of their home on the island of Shalott brings her to live with her father and brothers in the military encampments of Arthur’s army, seventeen-year-old Elaine describes her changing perceptions of war and the people around her as she becomes increasingly involved in the bitter struggle against the invading Saxons.

Booth’s Daughter by Raymond Wemmlinger

In nineteenth-century New York City, Edwina, daughter of the famous actor Edwin Booth and niece of John Wilkes Booth, finds it difficult to escape the family tragedy and to meet the needs of a demanding father while maintaining her independence.

Do you Twitter? Write a haiku and win $50 to use at Amazon!

To celebrate National Library Week (going on this week!), @YourLibrary, the Campaign for America’s Libraries, is holding a Twitter haiku (a “twaiku”, if you will) contest! The winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to to use at

If you don’t already have a Twitter account, it’s free and easy to sign up. Go here to sign up for Twitter, then read this information from @YourLibrary to compete in the contest.

But hurry, the contest ends tomorrow, April 13! And don’t forget to follow your library here on Twitter!



Happy 95th birthday, Beverly Cleary!

Beloved children’s author Beverly Cleary turns 95 today! Celebrate her birthday by reading your favorite Beverly Cleary book – is it Ramona Quimby, Dear Mr. Henshaw or Muggie Maggie? Or maybe you’re a Mouse and the Motorcycle fan. Either way, check out your favorite at the library! Click here to reserve your book from home.

And don’t forget to check out Ms. Cleary’s fun and interactive website (click here).

2011 Kentucky Bluegrass Award Winners!

Each year, Kentucky students vote for their favorite books of the year by grade level. This year’s winners are as follows:


  • K-2: Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas


  • 3-5: Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine, and a Miracle by Major Brian Dennis, Kirby Larson, and Mary Nethery


  • 6-8: Million-Dollar Throw by Mike Lupica


  • 9-12: Maze Runner by James Dashner


You can find each book at the McCracken County Public Library! Click here to reserve your copy from home!

Featured books for juvenile fiction – new for April!

Best of the Best (Baseball Great novel) by Tim Green 

Determined to play in the Little League World Series, twelve-year-old Josh struggles to concentrate on his game and be the team’s leader while also trying to cope with his parents’ impending divorce.


Fantasy Baseball by Alan Gratz   

A twelve-year-old boy wakes up in Ever After, where he is recruited by Dorothy to play first base for the Oz Cyclones in the Ever After.


A Light in the Storm (Dear America) by Karen Hesse   

In 1860 and 1861, while working in her father’s lighthouse on an island off the coast of Delaware, fifteen-year-old Amelia records in her diary how the Civil War is beginning to devastate her divided state.


Stink and the Ultimate Thumb-Wrestling Smackdown

by Megan McDonald   

After second-grader Stink gets an unsatisfactory grade in physical education, his parents tell him he must play a sport and so he masters thumb wrestling, as seen on a sports channel.


Cloudy with a Chance of Boys (Sisters Club) by Megan McDonald   

While older sister Alex is trying to orchestrate a perfect first kiss with her heartthrob and younger sister Joey prefers frogs to boys, Stevie Reel wonders if she is ready for a boyfriend while being pursued by a new boy in her class.


A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull   

Fourteen-year-old Jason Walker is transported to a strange world called Lyrian, where he joins Rachel, who was also drawn there from our world, and a few rebels, to piece together the Word that can destroy the malicious wizard emperor, Surroth.



Shimmer by Alyson Noel   

Riley, dead at age twelve and now a Soul Catcher, works with her teacher Bodhi to help Rebecca, the daughter of a former plantation owner who, furious about being murdered during a 1733 slave revolt, is keeping those who died with her from crossing over.



Reserve a copy from home here!

Featured young adult books – new for April!

Chime by Franny Billingsley

In the early twentieth century in Swampsea, seventeen-year-old Briony, who can see the spirits that haunt the marshes around their town, feels responsible for her twin sister’s horrible injury until a young man enters their lives and exposes secrets that even Briony does not know about.

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

After modern science turns every human into a genetic time bomb with men dying at age twenty-five and women dying at age twenty, girls are kidnapped and married off in order to repopulate the world.

Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard

When shy, awkward fourteen-year-old Grace Carpenter is paired with the beautiful and wild Mandarin on a school project, an unlikely, explosive friendship begins, but all too soon, Grace discovers that Mandarin is a very troubled, even dangerous, girl.

Invincible (Chronicles of Nick) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

“Nick Gautier’s day just keeps getting better and better. Yeah, he survived the zombie attacks, only to wake up and find himself enslaved to a world of shapeshifters and demons out to claim his soul. His new principal thinks he’s even more of a hoodlum than the last one, his coach is trying to recruit him to do things he can’t even mention, and the girl he’s not seeing, but is, has secrets that terrify him. But more than that, he’s being groomed by the darkest of powers and if he doesn’t learn how to raise the dead by the end of the week, he will become one of them.

Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta  

After his favorite uncle’s violent death, Tom Mackee watches his family implode, quits school, and turns his back on music and everyone who matters, and while he is in no shape to mend what is broken, he fear that no one else is, either.

Miles from Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams

As her mother’s mental illness spins terrifyingly out of control, thirteen-year-old Lacey must face the truth of what life with her mother means for both of them.

Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones

Two teenagers who are living on the streets and barely getting by become involved in a complicated criminal plot, and make an unexpected connection with each other.


Reserve a copy from home here!

New York Times Bestsellers – We have ’em!

Bestselling Children’s Chapter Books, Week of April 3, 2011:


1. World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull

2. I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

3. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

4. Justin Bieber, First Step 2 Forever by Justin Bieber

5. The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

6. Tales from a Not-S0-Popular Party Girl by Rachel Renee Russell

7. The Gift by James Patterson and Ned Rust

8. Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell

9. Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool (2011 Newbery Winner!)

10. Matched by Ally Condie


Since these are all so popular, you may have to reserve the next book that’s returned. We’ll be happy to do that for you at the desk, or you can access your account here to do it yourself!