August 2021 Staff Picks

Action & Adventure
Add some action-packed books to your summer with this list of thrillers.

Teens | Picture Books | Chapter Books

"This was perfect timing this month because I’ve been on an action/adventure reading spree! These are my recent favorites."
Readers Advisory Librarian Nancy

Captain Blood
by Rafael Sabatini
This one is actually a re-read for me—I rarely re-read books, but it was just as good as I remember! It's an iconic story of an honorable man becoming a fearsome pirate. We begin in England with Peter Blood unjustly being sentenced to hang for treason. Then the author sweeps the thrilling story along with Blood's enslavement in Barbados and his escape to the pirate sanctuary of Tortuga - where he transforms into Captain Blood. There are naval battles and swashbuckling paced with beautifully written descriptions of the characters and a touch of romance. Truly, a classic pirate tale with a gentleman pirate. Bonus: the movie adaptation was Errol Flynn’s breakout role as the dashing Captain Blood.

by Seanan McGuire
An otherworldly, fast-paced, mind-bending read! McGuire drops us into the fantastical world of Roger and Dodger, two twins formed and separated by their creator. They are consumed with the need to fulfill alchemy’s Doctrine of Ethos on Earth. Doesn’t it already sound like a wild ride? While I would consider it centered on the question of what it means to be human, it is confusing at times with time travel, parallel realities, and chaos theory. This is one of those books that gives you a single thread of information without a frame of reference and builds around it until you’re holding your breath at the end. It’s not a book for the faint of heart and trigger warnings include very descriptive murder, suicide and torture.

A Cook’s Tour: in Search of the Perfect Meal
by Anthony Bourdain
Travelling around the globe trying authentic food with the locals?  This is the kind of adventure I want to go on!  However you feel about Anthony Bourdain, this book is written as a love letter to food in an interesting, funny, and poetic way. Bourdain uses personal anecdotes to illustrate where food comes from and our personal relationship to what we eat. I needed snacks nearby when he wrote about the cuisine from Portugal, Morocco, Cambodia and so many others—yum!

Time travel, war on the high seas and extraordinary action in the most ordinary setting. Teen Services Librarian Maggie has chosen a range of themes for readers to enjoy. 

Don’t Get Caught
by Kurt Dinan
When Max receives a mysterious invite to join the Chaos Club, an exclusive group of students responsible for some of the biggest pranks at his school, he has to ask: Why him? Max soon gets his answer: It’s a setup. He and four other students take the fall for another Chaos Club prank. But Max has a set of rules he lives by, and rule #7 says, “always get payback.” You’ll get a kick out of all the humor and action-packed pranks in this story.

The Girl From Everywhere
by Heidi Heilig
Nix has spent her entire life on her father’s time-traveling ship, going to both real and imaginary places. As long as her father has a map for it, he can get there. But her father has become obsessed with finding one particular map: a map to 1868 Honolulu, where he believes he will find his long-lost love and Nix’s mother. Except getting the map and going there could erase Nix’s existence. For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters. Will she find herself, her family, maybe even love? Or will she disappear? This book is the perfect swashbuckling, time-traveling, romantic adventure.

by Natalie C. Parker
Sisterhood is survival. At least it is aboard Mors Navis, the ship captained by Caledonia Styx. Caledonia took to the seas after her family was killed by Aric Athair and his bloodthirsty army. She now has a crew of girls and women who have also lost their families and homes. Together, they have one mission: Stay alive and take down Aric’s fleet. But when a crew member is saved from an attack by a defecting soldier, Caledonia wonders if she should let the boy join their crew. Is he the key to taking down Aric Athair, or will he destroy everything? 


Picture Books
Thanks to Children's Librarian Matthew for recommending some beautifully illustrated picture books that are sure to capture the imaginations of both kids and their caregivers.

Hooray for Amanda and Her Alligator
by Mo Willems
Amanda never has a dull moment with her stuffed animal/best friend Alligator. Readers young and old will love these six and a half short stories exploring friendship.

Vamos! Let's Go to the Market
by Raul the Third
Little Lobo is excited to go to the market and deliver packages. The bilingual text features Spanish and English. Lively illustrations show the bustle of activity in the market. A helpful glossary ends this fantastic book.

Do Not Lick This Book (It's Full of Germs) by Idan Ben-Barak
Germs are everywhere! Even in this book. Come along on this microscopic adventure and explore their world through a combination of cartoon microbes and close-up photos from an electron microscope. Fascinating!

Chapter Books
(Ages 8 - 12)
Children's Librarian Marie hopes middle grade readers will enjoy the first books in these two series so much that they will soon return for more!

The Last Last-Day-of-Summer: A Legendary Alston Boys Adventure 
by Lamar Giles
Cousins Otto and Sheed want to have a last summer adventure before heading back to school. They get an unexpected one when they meet a man with a camera that freezes time! Readers will be immersed in the action, twists, turns and very likeable characters. 

Chasing the Falconers: Book One of the On the Run Series 
by Gordon Korman
Korman’s penchant for high action thrillers featuring kids as the main characters is a winner! Readers are introduced to Aiden and Meg Falconer. They are the only hope their parents have for getting out of prison for a crime they didn’t commit... or did they? The kids' biggest obstacle is that they have been placed in a youth detention center! This makes it difficult for them to hunt down the evidence they need!  

Beyond the Deep Woods: Book One of The Edge Chronicles 
by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Fantastical and a little bit creepy. In this first installment, young Twig is sent away from home to make his way in the world as best he can. He encounters monsters, beasts and other curious things along the way.