November 23 Staff Picks

Autumn into winter: the daylight disappearing when you look away too long, the whistle of a frigid wind sending leaves, rich russet and bright gold, rattling down the streets. It’s the best time of year to wrap up in a quilt with a new read! For this month, I’ve chosen books that are heartwarming, evocative and just a little bit strange. - Lila, Library Assistant

The Road to Roswell by Connie Willis
Francie is doing her best to remain calm in transit to a highly tacky, objectively hideous alien-themed wedding held in Roswell. It doesn’t help that there’s been a recent UFO sighting not far from town, which means the true-believer groom is useless when it comes to wedding prep. When the irritable Francie, in her awful fluorescent green bridesmaid dress, is abducted by a large sentient tumbleweed from outer space, her situation goes from annoying to alarming. With a delightful cast of characters including an absurdly calm con man, a conspiracy theorist, a cowboy, the FBI, and a sweet old lady with a massive gambling problem, this book pulls you in and sweeps you along on a fun (and surprisingly touching) tale of new friends in unusual places.

Thistlefoot by GennaRose Nethercott
The Yaga siblings – drifter and human chameleon Isaac and standoffish carpenter Bellatine – receive an unusual inheritance: a house that walks on chicken legs. This house means freedom at last for the secretive Bellatine, and much-needed financial gain for Isaac once he sells her his share. But this living house has an old enemy, something very like a man that has hunted it for decades. Both house and man are remnants of a horrible event, an event so devastating that it spawned its own monsters. The siblings must come to terms with their family history and learn to trust in each other to stay one step ahead. One part fairy tale, one part family healing, and one part human survival, “Thistlefoot” shows us the difference between running from something, and running toward it.

The Mask of Mirrors by M. A. Carrick
When Ren was just a little girl, she was the best liar in a gang of child thieves; now, she’s grown into a competent con artist, and her lies have grown with her. She’s set her sights on a wealthy target: the noble House Traementis. Aware of their insular ways and reputation for vengeance, Ren hides her true identity behind the first of many masks. Welcome to Nadezra, the City of Dreams, a holy city that was conquered long ago by a despicable Tyrant. On the Upper Bank, the noble descendants of the invading northerners live in wealth, comfort, and control. On the Lower Bank, native Vrazenians and mixed-race citizens live the best they can with what’s left over, their culture and religion always under threat. Ren isn’t the only player on the board, and secrets can be their own dangerous currency. Friends, this book very quickly became a top pick for me – I’ve read it half a dozen times already. It’s got everything: sword fights, masked vigilantes, high society cattiness, nightmare monsters, mysterious plots afoot, a “reformed” crime lord with hidden depths, multiple fascinating magic systems, and more. I could go on and on, but I’d rather let you discover the wonders of Nadezra for yourself. Place a hold today!

Happy reading, friends!

Recommended by Maggie Mueller, Teen Services Librarian

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
This is a must-read for fans of YA dystopias, but don’t judge the book by the movie! Todd Hewitt lives in a world where all the women are dead, and the remaining men are infected with the Noise germ, which means they constantly hear the thoughts of other men and even animals. When Todd discovers something unsettling about the Noise, he runs away and finds Viola, the first girl he’s ever seen. The two must team up to outrun the army of men chasing them down. 

The Legend of Crystal Falls by Violet Noel
Middle school readers of fantasies will love this book! It's a fast-paced adventure involving old legends, magic, and prophecies. Most impressively, this was written and published by an Oshkosh teen! Experienced readers will likely notice evidence of this being a self-published title, but this creative and well-written story shows a lot of promise for what's to come from this young author. 


Chapter Books
Recommended by Marie Boleman, Head of Children's & Family Outreach Services, and Children's Librarian Lindsay

Into the Woods by Lyn Gardner
Children will enjoy this novel because of the lovely way it combines familiar childhood fairytales in an original tale all its own. Storm has grown up in a fairytale-like setting with her sisters, but must soon face her own perilous adventure when a mysterious man comes searching for an innocuous pipe her mother left her before she died.

Wink by Rob Harrell
Wink tells the story of a boy named Ross who has a form of eye cancer that causes one eye to be closed in a permanent “wink”. I enjoyed this story because it placed the common struggles of growing up against the backdrop of dealing with a more uncommon struggle, while also managing to be funny.

The Whole Story of Half a Girl by Veera Hiranandani
Listen on Hoopla
When Sonia, who is of half Hindu Indian and half Jewish-American descent, starts at a new public school, she begins to question her place in the world. This is a universal story about not only figuring out who you are, but about what can influence who you are and who you can become.

Alone  by Megan E. Freeman
This riveting tale of a girl who wakes up to find herself completely alone in a her town is a well-told story of survival. It’s not sugar-coated. Readers who like Hatchet or Gordan Korman’s tales of survival, will find this engaging.  

Odder by Katherine Applegate
Author of the well-received, Wishtree, Applegate tells a heart warming story of a rescued otter told in verse and very accessible. Great for younger independent readers. It’s based on a real program that pairs orphaned otter pups with surrogate otter mothers.   

The Aquanaut by Dan Santat 
This graphic novel is incredibly creative and visually stunning. The main character lives at a marine water park created by her dad and grandfather. Things get crazy when an Aquanaut appears and something living inside of it will surprise readers even more.  

Picture Books
Recommended by Kallie Schell, Children's Librarian

Counting Creatures
by Julia Donaldson
I found this to be such a beautiful book to teach kids how to count. Each page matches a different parent to their babies. I love how you can lift-the-flap to learn more about these animals!

Hey, Bruce!: an Interactive Book by Ryan T. Higgins
This is the latest installment in the Bruce series. This time, our mouse friends, Rupert, Thistle and Nibbs, are making a book with Bruce as the star! Bruce does NOT want to be the star though. His insistence mouse friends will not be deterred. This interactive story will have readers wobbling, rocking, dancing, and laughing with Bruce.

Goodnight, Astronaut by Scott Kelly
This is the autobiographical picture book of author, Scott Kelly. The beautifully illustrated book shares with children why sleep is one of the secrets to success! Scott has slept in treehouses, comfy beds, a yurt on Mount Everest, and the cockpit of an F-14. All these adventures have inspired him to dream bigger and better! And that’s what author, Scott Kelly, hopes to inspire in all his readers.