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Youth and Teen                             Adult                                        Movies

 

Youth and Teen

Jessica: I Want My Mummy! (Ms. Frogbottom’s Field Trips #1) by Nancy Krulik

Learning is an adventure in Ms. Frogbottom’s class, because she’s got a magic map—one that takes her students all over the world to battle with mythical monsters no one believes are real. All Ms. Frogbottom has to do is take out the map, tap a country, and— SHAZAAM!—off they go to a place somewhere far, far away.

When Ms. Frogbottom whisks the class away to Egypt, they not only come face to face with a mummy, but have to solve the riddle of his ancient curse!

Bestselling and beloved author Nancy Krulik ingeniously approaches geography in a new way, as the kids learn about the places they visit while fighting, fleeing, or in some cases rescuing monsters.

Why I like It: My son and I read this book together and we laughed so much. It was very funny and easy-to-read; we both enjoyed it and can’t wait to continue the series. 

Jessica: Mysteries On Zoo Lane (Book Series) by Patricia Reilly Giff 

Meet the Crew at the Zoo is book 1 of many. Lions and tigers for neighbors? That doesn’t bother Luke at all. It’s making new friends that scares him. Not only has Luke had to move from Florida to New York because of his dad’s new job as a zoo doctor, but he’s also had to leave behind his best friend–his abuelo.

When Luke discovers that there are other kids also living on Zoo Lane and that one of them might be the owner of a mysterious zebra-printed box left outside his house, he wonders if just maybe he can make friends and solve a mystery in this wild new place.

Why I like It: Fun stories to read with your child!

Jake: Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse – Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena – Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods. 

 

Why I like It: This mixes ancient Greek mythology with modern day America. The adventures of Percy Jackson and his quest to save the world is a wonderful imaginative story to read especially in warmer weather. 

Adult


Jessica G.: The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis

Fortunately, we are still a nation of skeptics. Fortunately, there are those among us who study pandemics and are willing to look unflinchingly at worst-case scenarios. Michael Lewis’s taut and brilliant nonfiction thriller pits a band of medical visionaries against the wall of ignorance that was the official response of the Trump administration to the outbreak of COVID-19.

The characters you will meet in these pages are as fascinating as they are unexpected. A thirteen-year-old girl’s science project on transmission of an airborne pathogen develops into a very grown-up model of disease control. A local public-health officer uses her worm’s-eye view to see what the CDC misses, and reveals great truths about American society. A secret team of dissenting doctors, nicknamed the Wolverines, has everything necessary to fight the pandemic: brilliant backgrounds, world-class labs, prior experience with the pandemic scares of bird flu and swine flu…everything, that is, except official permission to implement their work.

Michael Lewis is not shy about calling these people heroes for their refusal to follow directives that they know to be based on misinformation and bad science. Even the internet, as crucial as it is to their exchange of ideas, poses a risk to them. They never know for sure who else might be listening in. 

Why I like it: It was recounting how the U.S. gathered intelligent people to prepare for an eventual pandemic, and then ignored it’s own plan. It was interesting and horrifying. 


Patty: An Elephant In My Kitchen by Francoise Malby Anthony

A blonde, chic Parisienne, Francoise never expected to find herself living on a South African game reserve. But when she fell in love with renowned conservationist Lawrence Anthony her life took an unexpected turn. Lawrence died in 2012 and Francoise was left to run Thula Thula without him, even though she knew very little about conservation. She was short on money, poachers were capitalizing on the chaos of Lawrence’s death, and one of their elephants was charging Land Rovers on game drives and terrifying guests. How Francoise survived and Thula Thula thrived is beautifully described in this charming, funny and poignant book. If you loved Lawrence’s The Elephant Whisperer, or just want to spend time with some remarkable animals, then you won’t want to miss this sparkling book. 

Why I like it: I enjoyed this book (and the prequel). It is filled with extraordinary animals and the humans who dedicate their lives to saving them.


Joan: Queen Next Door – Aretha Franklin by Photojournalist Linda Solomon

“Aretha was private. I respected this and she trusted me.” Linda Solomon met Aretha Franklin in 1983 when she was just beginning her career as a photojournalist and newspaper columnist. Franklin’s brother and business manager arranged for Solomon to capture the singer’s major career events-just as she was coming back home to Detroit from California-while Franklin requested that Solomon document everything else. Everything. And she did just that. What developed over these years of photographing birthday and Christmas parties in her home, annual celebrity galas, private backstage moments during national awards ceremonies, photo shoots with the iconic pink Cadillac, and more was a friendship between two women who grew to enjoy and respect one another.

 

Why I like it: A wonderful pictorial album of candid shots of Aretha Franklin’s life.


Movies


Jake: Cruella

Estella is a young and clever grifter who’s determined to make a name for herself in the fashion world. She soon meets a pair of thieves who appreciate her appetite for mischief, and together they build a life for themselves on the streets of London. However, when Estella befriends fashion legend Baroness von Hellman, she embraces her wicked side to become the raucous and revenge-bent Cruella.

Why I like It: I love an origin story. This one doesn’t disappoint. Learn how a villain came to be and what made her who she was. 

Michelle: A Quiet Place Part II

Following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family must now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence. Forced to venture into the unknown, they quickly realize that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.

Why I like It: I really liked the way this nail biter keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout.  It’s a suspenseful thriller that makes a real Halloween chiller!