January 2024 Staff Picks

This is Sarah Read, the new Readers’ Advisory Librarian for the Oshkosh Public Library! My favorite genres are Horror, Historical Fiction, Historical Nonfiction, and Fantasy—but I read and enjoy just about everything. Here are a few of my staff picks for January.

The Reformatory by Tananarive Due
Twelve-year-old Robbie can see ghosts. That’s bad enough. But when he’s sent to a reform school where boys have gone missing, spirits there start telling secrets about the Jim Crow south and the horror of the school itself. The Warden is threatening Robbie with torture, and Robbie’s sister, Gloria, is doing everything she can to get him released before the ghosts, or worse—the humans—harm her brother. Set in Florida in 1950, this book will appeal to readers of horror and historical fiction. Note that this book deals with heavy themes and some disturbing content.

Never Whistle at Night edited by Shane Hawk and C. Van Alst Jr.
A collection of twenty-five horror, science fiction, fantasy, and crime stories told by a star-studded cast of indigenous authors including Tommy orange, Cherie Dimaline, and others, introduced by Stephen Graham Jones. The authors bring together stories centering around the shared belief that whistling at night summons something evil. Mixed in with the tales of ghosts, curses, and hauntings are themes of family, legacy, and a celebration of survival.

So Late in the Day: Stories of Women and Men by Claire Keegan
Claire Keegan’s talent for short, meaningful prose is highlighted in this collection of three short stories. It’s the perfect single-sitting read on a snowy afternoon with a cup of tea. Each story focuses on an interaction between a man and a woman—some tense, some heartbreaking, all of them thought-provoking. Keegan’s quiet Irish settings will draw in readers who love a strong sense of place, from isolated islands to downtown Dublin, her books are like quick getaways to the Emerald Isle.

Recommended by Maggie Mueller, Teen Services Librarian

Starfish by Lisa Fipps

Bullied and shamed her whole life for being fat, 12-year-old Ellie finally gains the confidence to stand up for herself, with the help of some wonderful new allies. An excellent middle-grade novel in verse, with a fantastic audiobook version.

One of Us Is Back by Karen M. McManus
A member of the Bayview Crew disappears and everyone feels like they could be next, but the situation suddenly worsens when someone unexpectedly returns to Bayview. A solid conclusion to the Bayview High trilogy.

My Life With the Walter Boys by Ali Novak
Read on Hoopla
Listen on Hoopla
If you’re hooked on the popular Netflix series, you should read the book that was written by author Ali Novak when she was just 15 years old. Devastated when her parents are killed in a car accident, 16-year-old Jackie moves from New York City to Colorado to live with her mother's best friend, who has twelve children, including two boys who start to show an interest in Jackie that goes beyond brotherly.


Chapter books
Recommended by Marie Boleman, Head of Children's & Families Outreach Services

What-the-Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy by Gregory Maguire
A magic, alternate reality exists in the same neighborhood as a decidedly more boring one. Magical, odd characters and a truly imaginative storyline make this tale a cut above the rest. Yes, it’s the same Gregory Maguire who wrote the Wicked series for adults. He has written several children’s books that are similarly filled with rich, interesting ideas and humor.

The Boy with Wings by Lenny Henry
Who wouldn’t want wings for their twelfth birthday? Of course, it might mean you have to save the world! Tunde and his all-too-human friends drive a humorous, satisfying superhero read.

The Art of Magic: A Novel by Hannah Voskuil
ZuZu and Andrew discover some art supplies at an old, mysterious mansion. Find out what happens when the creatures they paint and draw come to life! Creativity helps to navigate friendships and other real-life situations in this fantasy that gives readers chills without being over-the-top scary.

Picture books
Recommended by Morgan Dunn, Library Assistant

Little Night Cat by Sonja Danowski
A beautiful story about a boy who sells his special stuffed animals to raise money for the animal shelter. Later, he feels lonely that he doesn’t have them anymore. His mother is touched by his kind heart and gives him a gift he never imagined. Full of rich illustration, the story comes to life and touches all cat lovers’ hearts.

A Hat for Minerva Louise by Janet Morgan Stoeke
Minerva Louise is a chicken who loves the snow! The only problem is that she needs something warm to wear outside. Young children will love to follow Minerva Louise as she tries on different things to stay warm. Will a garden hose work as a scarf? It is a sweet and silly story, sure to make everyone smile. 

A Stranger in the Woods by Carl R. Sams II & Jean Stoick
After a winter storm, the animals notice a stranger in the woods. Where did he come from? Is he friendly or dangerous? One animal is the bravest to find out and finds a surprise waiting! This classic story is told using real photography providing a stunning, up close encounter with the forest animals.