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Katie's Picks

 Katie Kitchel has rejoined the Norwich Bookstore staff on a very part-time basis as she has her hands full with three boys at home. She is a Dartmouth graduate and lives with her husband Davis here in Norwich. 





ISBN: 9781451692389
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Published: Scribner Book Company - February 4th, 2014

Don’t let the slim size of this novel deceive you. It is full of haunting questions, powerful imagery, and the emotion of a mother who has lost a son. This novel seeks to remind us, that first and foremost, Mary was a mother. Her effort to understand and attach meaning to her son’s existence and to come to grips with the actions she, and others, took around the last days of his life, touched me as a parent in unanticipated ways. You may find it helpful to keep a copy of the Bible near you as a reference tool while you are reading as there are so many thought-provoking images that I know that I needed to double-check. (Note: I listened to this book on Audio CD--available for rent or purchase upstairs. Meryl Streep’s performance of Mary is extraordinary!)

By Aaron Becker, Aaron Becker (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780763660536
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - August 6th, 2013

This gorgeous picture book is the Harold and the Purple Crayon for the next generation. Both titles would hold a cherished place on any young reader’s bookshelf. The subtle use of two bold colors-- red and purple -- tells more than one tale, but that is not revealed until the closing pages. Once you open this book, you won’t be able to stop being “drawn in” for yourself!

By Brian Floca, Brian Floca (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781416994152
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum Books - September 3rd, 2013

This book is a MUST-have for the young train-iac in your life. The illustrations are rich, detailed and compelling, and the text is both informative, lyrical, and imaginative. Although it’s on the longer side for the typical bedtime story, my sons and I have had fun breaking the tale into “chapters” and enjoying the train’s transcontinental journey over several nights.

ISBN: 9781886064423
Availability: Special Order
Published: Huntington Graphics - July 9th, 2012

This book is the perfect companion for the hot, lazy days of summer. Explore both well known swimming holes, as well as the ones off-the-beaten path--you may even discover a hidden gem in your neighborhood! Toss this book into the car with a swim suit, some sunblock, and a picnic and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a true, old-time, Vermont outdoor adventure.

By Steven Glazer (Editor), Laura Dintino (Editor)
ISBN: 9780970846020
Availability: Special Order
Published: Vital Communities - May 1st, 2008

These delightful adventures set in the Upper Valley and beyond are ideal for the explorer in each of us and are accessible to a wide variety of ages and physical abilities. For the goal-oriented adventurers out there, the treasure chests equipped with ink stamps hidden at the end of each hike brings excitement and extra motivation. I like to keep a copy of the book in my car so that my boys and I are ready for an adventure at a moments notice. Happy Questing!

ISBN: 9781596435124
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Published: Roaring Brook Press - April 2nd, 2013

For the budding cyclist in your family...or the budding scientist..or simply for those with a budding (or flowering) imagination. This book captures it all...adding just the right amount of whimsy to this tall tale of “what if”. A great read for those with a great imagination...a description, that I’m sure, fits all of the young readers in your life!

ISBN: 9781452116624
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Published: Chronicle Books (CA) - March 2013

This simply illustrated, boldly colored counting book is the perfect item to toss into a carry-on bag for your youngest traveler. With it you can explore pages full of images of airport and in-flight signs while waiting for your flight to depart; or, embark on a scavenger hunt to find the signs; and, discover the infinite ways your little one can count!

ISBN: 9780763650704
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Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - March 12th, 2013

You feel it, right? That tickle in the top of your mouth. You’re struggling to keep your mouth closed, aren’t you? There’s no use fighting it. Just let it out. YAWN!!!!! You feel better now, don’t you? Now go take nap...ideally in a lovely shaded hammock with your littlest reader snuggled up next to you.

ISBN: 9780765337542
Availability: Special Order
Published: Tor Teen - May 7th, 2013

This book was first recommended to me by a sixteen-year-old bookseller. When she heard that I enjoyed science fiction and had not yet read this title, she put it in my hands and literally walked me to the cash register. The following three weeks found me devouring the entire series into the wee hours of the night! For those of you who resist the sci-fi genre, I recommend giving this book a try. The questions of identity, morality, and freedom of choice posed by the author are universal and great fodder for conversation and debate. This book has been selected as this year’s Hanover High Summer Reading book.

ISBN: 9780062049605
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Published: HarperTorch - March 26th, 2013

I keep thinking Maisie Dobbs might start getting old-hat for me, but with each new installment of this series, I enjoy Maisie even more. Although she becomes a bit more introspective in this novel, I find inspiration in both her strong perspective as a professional woman and her quest to be true to herself. She is a woman who quietly, yet persistently, breaks down the stereotypes and barriers of the times. The groundwork is laid in the book for a whole set of new adventures for Maisie in the future, and I’m eager to learn what happens next!

By Carole Gerber, Leslie Evans (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781580894128
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Published: Charlesbridge Publishing - February 2013

As the days get longer and the sun warms the earth, we all eagerly await the arrival of the first spring blossoms. This book celebrates the arrival of spring not only through its content, but also through its vibrant colors and simple text. Spring Blossoms would make the perfect “first field guide” for the aspiring young naturalist in your family. Pick it up, throw on a pair of mudboots, and head out for the trees!

ISBN: 9780547983998
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Published: Houghton Mifflin - March 5th, 2013

All of my boys have loved Olivier Dunrea’s delightful little goslings. They’ve grown up reading about the boot-wearing antics of Gossie, Gertie, Peedie and BooBoo. Now a new ruddy gosling has joined the pond, and continues to delight us with his simple observations and enjoyment of the little things in life, that are so important to the little people in our lives. Gideon, like my own two-year-old, is much more interested in play time, rather than naptime. Spoiler alert....after an adventurous journey, this book has a restful ending for both parents and goslings alike!

ISBN: 9780761166030
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Published: Workman Publishing - April 3rd, 2012

Although it might not be flashy or high-brow, this has become my go-to cookbook for busy weeknight cooking. The meals are simple, yet tasty and the author includes a “fork in the road” section for many recipes. These are places where you can stop adding ingredients to meet the needs of those with less adventurous palettes...or continue to spice it up for those with more “grown-up” tastes. Ms. Workman also shares many ways to encourage a child’s involvement in meal preparation. A great, everyday cookbook!

ISBN: 9780316204590
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Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - December 4th, 2012

This book is like Where’s Waldo? but for the younger set. The multitude of bright and zany pictures will draw your child in for moments (or even hours!) of gazing enjoyment. I particularly enjoy the die-cut pages that highlight different pictures on each page. It’s fun to ponder how the author put this book together, and how the peak-through pictures change the way you experience the book.

By Jon Klassen, J. Klassen, Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780763655990
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Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - October 9th, 2012

This book makes me laugh because the pictures tell a different story than the words. The little fish “knows” one thing, but the big fish knows something quite different. (And, I must say, that both fish look pretty darn cute in the hat!) Although it would appear that the little fish meets a sticky end at the conclusion of the book...the exact outcome is left open-ended. Open it up, and decide for yourself.

By Jacky Klein (Text by (Art/Photo Books)), Suzy Klein (Text by (Art/Photo Books))
ISBN: 9780870708091
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Museum of Modern Art - October 31st, 2012

After a recent trip to the Tate Modern in London with my sons, we were intrigued and, yes, also sometimes confused, by some of the installations we observed. This guide to exploring contemporary art would have made a nice companion for our trip! Pick it up, and head on over to the Hood Museum, or to the Orozco Room in Baker Library. Or, if you dare, park yourself next to Bourgeois’ Crouching Spider in the new Maffei Arts Plaza and gaze up at the Ellsworth Kelly’s Dartmouth Panels, and talk with your children about what contemporary art means to you!

ISBN: 9780345517562
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Published: Ballantine Books - January 1st, 2013

Historical fiction buffs rejoice, because Ms. Penman has woven her magic again.  This adventure into the Crusades under the leadership of Richard the Lionheart is impeccably researched and grippingly revealed.  As she demonstrated in The sunne in Splendor, Ms. Penman has a true gift for humanizing characters in history that have gotten a bad wrap by challenging basic assumptions and shining a new light on what may have motivated their actions. Historical fiction at its best!

By Kenneth Kraegel, Kenneth Kraegel (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780763653118
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Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - July 24th, 2012

A wonderful read aloud, full of noble challenges in CAPITAL LETTERS which will inspire the dramatic voice in each of us! This book follows the tale of the intrepid six-year-old great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandson of King Arthur as he sets forth on his quest to uphold the honor and bravery of his noble heritage. On his way he attempts battles with many fearsome foes, but instead of trophies, he returns home with many steadfast friends. This would be a perfect gift for the little “knight” in any household.

ISBN: 9781594203336
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Published: Penguin Press - February 7th, 2012

This book isn’t so much a book about “how to parent” as it is an astute study in the difference between French and American cultures. As the mother of three young boys who travels frequently “en famille” to France, I have observed many of the things that Ms. Druckerman notes, especially around mealtimes. As my husband and I pass off our littlest boys from one to another to run around outside during the long french restaurant dinners, I’ve noticed with envy the french families sitting together calmly, chatting and enjoying their meals at a leisurely pace. How is this calm achieved?! Well it turns out that this skill is nurtured practically in utero in French society. (I think I might have missed the bateau!) This book gave me lots to think about, and even a few things to try out in my own household. It would make a great reading club selection with lots of rich topics to delve into!

ISBN: 9780307460981
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Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - March 27th, 2012

I listened to this book, read aloud by the author, while driving my kids around the Upper Valley this past month. I was super-surprised to find myself taking the long route home so that I could hear the end of each chapter. Ms. Maddow’s writing is smart, observant, witty, and even snarky at times...the snarkiness probably gets underlined more in the read-aloud version! It has been equal parts fascinating and horrifying for me to reflect upon about how decisions about warfare have been made during my lifetime. A truly thought-provoking read and a great book to talk about with friends...liberals and conservatives alike!

ISBN: 9780805095494
Availability: Special Order
Published: Metropolitan Books - June 19th, 2012

Although the comedic novel is not my usual genre of choice, this book captured my attention because I am a fan of Frayn as a playwright. He employs many of the clever tricks-of-the-trade that worked so well in Noises Off. Mistaken identities, barely missed encounters, the newly invented Greek word “Phoksoliva”, and two cab-driving brothers who look alike feature in important ways throughout this zany tale. Laugh-out-loud at times and bitingly satiric at others, this book, which has made the Longlist for the 2012 Man Booker Prize, was a fun detour from my usual reading route.

ISBN: 9780307744630
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage Books - July 10th, 2012

Bruno is back--in both paperback and hardcover! (We’ve got this, the 3rd installment, in paperback...and the newest hardcover, The Crowded Grave, also on the shelves. Each would make a fun end of summer read--I’m recommending this one because of the truffles!) So if you’re really in the need for a good French mystery “fix”, we’ve got you covered. The famous french truffles of the Perigord take center stage in this intrigue that merges the past with the present and explores the fallout of cultural conflict. I love how adeptly Mr. Walker captures the small town rhythms of french country life against the larger backdrop of international affairs.

ISBN: 9781451672725
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Published: Simon & Schuster - July 3rd, 2012

Just in time for the Summer Olympics, Chris Cleave has woven his magic again. In this novel we explore the lives of elite track cyclists. We learn that the qualities that make people successful on the track, don’t always make them successful in life. We discover that the most important battles are the ones that are fought closest to home, and that sometimes only by slowing down, can you really live life. A great read for the summer, especially as the Olympic torch is being lit!

ISBN: 9780375870873
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Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - June 12th, 2012

This book is for those of you have fond memories of your security blanket...or to give to someone who cherishes his or her own. I still remember waiting anxiously by the washer/dryer for my “blankie” to finish its cleaning. I loved wrapping it around me when it was just freshly laundered and still warm and fuzzy. But it didn’t take long for me to take it out to play so that I could dirty it up again and make it smell “just right.”

ISBN: 9781596433977
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Published: Roaring Brook Press - March 27th, 2012

This book is deceptively simple at first glance. Immediately you are drawn into the bold paintings highlighting different shades of green. But on second glance, you become entranced by the creativity of the cut out sections...marveling at how a butterfly becomes a flower, or an inchworm transforms into paint chip on a faded fence post. Open up the book for yourself, and you’ll see what I mean...the pages pull you through on a magical journey.

ISBN: 9780375869631
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Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - May 22nd, 2012

Just in time for the Summer Olympics we have another adventurous installment of the sports writing adventures of Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson. This time, though, there is a new twist... Susan Carol is the athlete, and she is off to compete in the 2012 Olympics in London! With appearances by well-known athletes such as Michael Phelps, this is the perfect summer read for your young adult reader. I especially enjoyed the behind-the-scenes look into the life of the athletes and press corps at the Olympic Games.

ISBN: 9781889538785
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Published: Brooklyn Botanic Garden - April 5th, 2011

It's hard to admit in this region of avid gardeners...but, try as I might, I just don't have a green thumb. Plants seem to wither and die when placed in my care. However, this spring I have been determined to plant a garden with my young family...and this book has given me the inspiration and knowledge to do it! There are lots of fascinating projects--each nourishing, beautiful, and educational in their own way--that I have begun to tackle with my boys. This is a perfect spring and summer book for a family with young gardeners.

ISBN: 9780375868429
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Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - March 27th, 2012

As with his previous novels for middle-age readers, Scat and Hoot, Carl Hiaasen demonstrates again his well-honed style of mixing adventurous mysteries with wry humor and just the right amount of environmental education to create a page-turning and laugh-out-loud tale. In this story we meet our protagonist, a young boy named Wahoo Cray who sets off to help his real-life animal wrangler father assist a fake Hollywood survivalist when his reality television show tackles the dangers of the Florida Everglades. This book illustrates that what we see on reality TV, is far from real--and reminds us that the relationships we build in real life are the most important.

ISBN: 9781596436619
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Published: Roaring Brook Press - March 13th, 2012

This is a special book that grabs young readers from the first flip of the page--or should I say, flip of the book? It mixes science with imagination, taking you from the very real to the very unreal, and bringing you back again amazed by the journey. The text and the drawings are both whimsical and detailed. This is the perfect book for a child (or adult) with a keen eye for detail and an appreciation of humor, imagination, and adventure.