Barbara's Staff Recommendations

Welcome to Barbara's recommendations! Barbara is a true treasure here at Boswell with over 30 years of experience in children's bookselling. Her vast knowledge and expertise will guarantee a great read!

Check out what Barbara has been reading below! 

Staff Pick Logo
Tumble & Blue Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525428442
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Books - August 29th, 2017

Can an ancient golden alligator named Munch help twelve-year-old Blue Montgomery escape his fate of losing at everything he does? Set in Murky Branch, Georgia, Blue resents being left for the summer at his grandmother's home. His new neighbor, Tumble, wants to be a hero, and her mission becomes helping Blue overcome his "fate". Filled with quirky characters, and descriptive language, Tumble & Blue is a unique mix of real life and supernatural happenings. Is there such a thing as having a fate, or can one's actions lead to a different destiny?


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Bronze and Sunflower Cover Image
By Cao Wenxuan, Helen Wang (Translator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780763688165
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - March 14th, 2017

Written by a prize winning Chinese author and translated from Mandarin, Bronze and Sunflower is set in the 1960's during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Seven-year-old Sunflower lives with her artist father who is being re-educated in the countryside. After he dies in a tragic way, she is taken in by the poorest family in a nearby village. There she lives with her best friend, Bronze, and his loving family of Mama, Baba (father), Nainai (grandma), and their water buffalo. Even though Bronze can't speak, he and Sunflower communicate and are loyal to each other. Beautiful lyrical writing creates a powerful, heartwarming book about surviving difficult times with hard work, dignity and hope.


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Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780763680947
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - March 14th, 2017

This is a poetry book unlike all others. Original poems are written by award winning poet, Kwame Alexander and two other respected poets. The authors celebrate twenty famous poets from around the world who lived from the 1200's to the present. In one section, the poems copy the style of poets such as Nikki Giovanni and Robert Frost, while another section highlights feelings and themes of authors such as Pablo Neruda and Emily Dickinson. The last section thanks many poets for their talents. Breathtaking multi-media collages enhance each poem with vibrant colors and dramatic compositions. More information about each poet is at the end of the book. Children and adults will be motivated to read each poet's work and even write their own poems. This is a stunning book to treasure!

 


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Life on Mars Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780399538520
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Books - February 28th, 2017

Readers will laugh out loud as they follow a young boy astronaut's adventures on Mars. While he is looking for life on Mars, readers will see what he doesn't - a huge creature is following him! Visual jokes are on each page, as the creature's expressions are the same as the astronaut's. Gentle sly humor throughout the book extends to the last page, when the astronaut, and readers, get a big surprise! This captivating book is sure to become a favorite!


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Flying Lessons & Other Stories Cover Image
By Ellen Oh (Editor)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781101934593
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown Books for Young Readers - January 3rd, 2017

Soar into the imaginations of ten of the best writers for children and young adults in these ten short stories. From Matt de la Peña's heartwarming story of a teenage boy who learns more from just watching basketball than playing, to Grace Lin's inspiring story of how a life of hardship can lead to surprising good fortune, each story is thought provoking and memorable. Written by a diverse cast of authors who feature characters from many ethnic backgrounds, the stories would be great for discussions. This stellar collection is for readers from ten to one hundred!


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The Secrets of Solace Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780385376518
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Yearling Books - June 13th, 2017

"Lina Winterbock is hiding an unimaginable secret deep in a mountain tunnel underneath her mountain home of Ortana. Set in the same magical world of Solace as the author's first book, The Mark of the Dragonfly, The Secrets of Solace has different characters and can be read independently. Although Lina thinks she is removed from the Iron War that is raging, when she meets a mysterious boy named Ozben, everything changes. This exciting book is filled with wonderful characters who show great courage in trying to bring their secret back to its rightful home. Amazing adventures plus caring characters make this a book readers will always remember." --Barbara


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Gertie's Leap to Greatness Cover Image
By Kate Beasley, Jillian Tamaki (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780374302610
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr) - October 4th, 2016

Gertie Reece Foy is a force to be reckoned with. She is determined to become the best Fifth Grader ever, so her mother will stay in town and appreciate her. Tension builds when a new student, Mary Sue Spivey joins Gertie's class and wants to be superior to Gertie. Filled with humor, expressive language and perfect illustrations, characters leap off the pages into readers' hearts. With a never to be forgotten heroine, Gertie's Leap to Greatness has elements of a modern classic.


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Circus Mirandus Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780147515544
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Puffin Books - August 16th, 2016

"Filled with imaginative characters such as the Lightbender, and Chintzy, the often crabby messenger parrot, Circus Mirandus is a magical place. Can anyone in the circus provide the miracle to cure ten year old Micah's beloved Grandpa Ephraim, who is very ill? This is a unique story of love (between Micah and Grandpa), friendship (between Micah and his friend, Jenny), villains (Micah's Great Aunt Gertrudis) and believing in possibilities. The story will warm readers' hearts." --Barbara


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Booked Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780544570986
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Houghton Mifflin - April 5th, 2016

"Like a whirling soccer ball, twelve year old Nick's life is spiraling out of control. Tough spins in his life include how his dad wants him to love words and books the way he does, and how his mom and dad don't get along anymore. Nick's bright lights are a girl named April, his best friend Coby, and a book loving rapper school librarian. Told in verses, soccer and books weave through Nick's days. Readers will cheer as Nick gradually starts to go along with the twists in his changing life, and comes to see the value in books and words." --Barbara


The Crossover Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780544107717
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Houghton Mifflin - March 18th, 2014

"With a tap,

               tap,

                   tap,

                       tap, and a

                                      p

                                    m   

                                  u

                                j              

                                     and a

                                              WOOSH!!—

this book scores BIG in a tale of two twin teen brothers LOVING basketball and how their lives face different crossovers." --Barb

 


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When Spring Comes Cover Image
By Kevin Henkes, Laura Dronzek (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062331397
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greenwillow Books - February 9th, 2016

"In this striking and beautiful book, Wisconsin's own Kevin Henkes and his talented wife, Laura Dronzek, celebrate the coming of spring. Breathtaking pastel-colored acrylic illustrations explode with spring color, compared to drab winter pictures. The varied sizes of illustrations, from full page to several small ones on a page, perfectly enhance the text. Interactive questions, like ‘Do you like mud? Do you like puddles?’ and alliterative sentences such as ‘There will be buds and bees and boats and bubbles’ make this a great book to read out loud. Listeners will smile throughout the book, and especially at the surprise ending to this perfect book." --Barbara


Staff Pick Logo
ABC Dream Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780553539295
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - January 19th, 2016

"Striking black and white illustrations highlighted by bold splashes of color on each page create this beautiful alphabet book. Each letter of the alphabet has from one to eight objects readers can look for and identify, like H for hedgehog, hat, hinges and hearts. Readers could easily tell a story for each letter, as for example, M: a mouse looks into a mirror while standing near mountains and is under the moon. Plenty of white spaces on each page highlight the bold graphics. This is a special and unique book!" --Barbara


Staff Pick Logo
Pax Cover Image
By Sara Pennypacker, Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062377012
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen - February 2nd, 2016

"Pax takes a powerful look at the consequences of war on both people and animals. In beautiful prose, the book is told in alternating chapters between Peter, and the fox, Pax, who he raised. Tension builds as Peter goes on a three hundred mile quest to find Pax and bring him home, while Pax strives to find Peter. Heart-stopping adventures await Pax and Peter, as both change and mature when they meet other memorable characters. Pax provides compulsive reading and much to think about." --Barbara


Staff Pick Logo
The Whisper Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780544416864
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Houghton Mifflin - October 6th, 2015

"This is a beautiful book about imagination. When the words disappear from a special book, a little girl has to make up a story for each picture. Clever fox, who caught the words in his net, asks her for a surprising favor after he returns the words. The breathtaking detailed mixed media illustrations are a perfect match for the story. As a bonus, readers can look for a fox, rabbit, bees and a crown on each page! This is a unique and very special book for all ages!" --Barbara


Escape from Baxters' Barn Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781328740939
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Houghton Mifflin - September 12th, 2017

"The stakes are high! The fact is that Baxters' Barn will burn down! When that happens, what can a one-eyed cat, two horses, two goats, a pig, a cow and a sheep do to escape? Eventually, each animal must use his or her own special abilities to help solve their dilemma. Written with much warmth, and illustrated by the author with charming pen and ink illustrations reminiscent of Garth Williams, this is a tale of different animals coming together to become a family. This future modern classic would be great to read out loud!" --Barbara


Staff Pick Logo
Winter Cover Image
$22.99
ISBN: 9780312642983
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Feiwel & Friends - November 10th, 2015

"In this smart and spectacular conclusion to Marissa Meyer's five-book series, all of the many plot lines are woven into a most satisfying conclusion. The saga goes back and forth between the main characters---Cinder and Kai, Thorn and Cress, Wolf and Scarlet, Winter and Jacin and Iko as they try to start a revolution against the evil Lunar Queen Levana. Love, fairy tale motifs and edge of your seat drama prevail as these unique characters fight to survive. This is a memorable book!" --Barbara


Staff Pick Logo
Say What You Will Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780062271112
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Teen - May 5th, 2015

"Can Camy (with cerebral palsy and talking through a voice box) and Matthew (with his own problems) ever become friends? Readers will care for these characters and cheer for their determination to open themselves up to life." --Barb


Staff Pick Logo
Home Cover Image
By Carson Ellis, Carson Ellis (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780763665296
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - February 24th, 2015

"Readers can anticipate a treat coming when they view the striking cover of Home and see its bright red endpapers. The large pages feature many homes, such as the artist's home on the front and pack pages, a bus home, and even a shoe home! Bold illustrations done in gouache and ink feature muted colors accented with bright red and yellow. Small details in each picture create a story for the reader to imagine. Fun touches include a bird appearing throughout the book, and surprises in the artist's studio. This beautiful book invites readers to interact with it, as they think about other homes and also answer ‘Where is your home? Where are you?’" --Barb


The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780385376556
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Yearling Books - July 14th, 2015

"Take four adopted boys, ages 6 (Frog), 10 (Jax), 10 (Eli), and 12 (Sam) of different nationalities and religions, two wonderful fathers (Papa & Dad), add adventures and misadventures taking place in a school year, including Eli going to a new school for "brains", a crabby new neighbor (Mr. Nelson), a Halloween party in the rain: toss together and enjoy a lively and heartwarming story of a special family." --Barb


Staff Pick Logo
Appleblossom the Possum Cover Image
By Holly Goldberg Sloan, Gary Rosen (Illustrator)
$8.99
ISBN: 9780147512802
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Puffin Books - August 2nd, 2016

"What a dilemma! Appleblossom the possum has been well trained by her Mama to stay away from possum enemies, like humans and dogs. Now the unthinkable has happened, and she is in a home with humans and a dog! Two of Appleblossom's brothers are on a quest to save her--or can she save herself? Told in a charming conversational style (great to read out loud), this book celebrates the special bond between siblings. Filled with humor, theatrical happenings and perfect expressive illustrations, this book is super special!" --Barbara


Staff Pick Logo
Clayton Byrd Goes Underground Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062215918
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Amistad Press - May 9th, 2017

This small book grabs readers' emotions as they begin to know Clayton Byrd. Playing the blues harp (harmonica) with his beloved grandfather, Cool Papa Byrd and the Bluesmen band is the highlight of Clayton's life. When Cool Papa Byrd dies suddenly, Clayton is devastated, and has to face his mother, who seems not to understand Clayton or his grandfather. Running away to find the Bluesmen, Clayton goes underground to the New York subway, where he finds TROUBLE! Written with beautiful rhythmic language, the complex dynamics of a family comes to life. Rita Williams-Garcia has crafted a powerful and exceptional book!


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Barkus Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781452111827
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Chronicle Books - June 6th, 2017

Barkus, a very smart, enthusiastic large brown dog stars in this early chapter book. While spending time with seven-year-old Nicky and her family, Barkus has some gentle adventures. For example, Nicky tells how Barkus goes to school, has a very noisy birthday party, and finds a "baby." Readers will laugh at the plentiful humor both in the text and action filled illustrations. A special treat is the retelling of the book in rebus format! Barkus is a memorable character who will warm readers' hearts.


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Restart Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781338053777
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - May 30th, 2017

Why are students backing away from 8th grader Chase Ambrose as he walks down school corridors? Chase has a problem: he doesn't recognize his family or friends since he fell off his roof and developed amnesia. Short chapters alternate between Chase and six classmates' point of view, as readers learn that Chase is a very different person after the fall! He begins to realize the impact he had on classmates' lives before falling, when perhaps he was a bully. Restart is filled with memorable characters, humor, and surprising twists and turns in the story. Can Chase make amends for his previous bad behavior and re-invent himself? Will he make the most of the second chance he has been given?


Staff Pick Logo
Long Way Down Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781481438254
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum Books - October 24th, 2017

Down. . . down. . . down. Fifteen year old Will is descending on the elevator from his eighth floor apartment. His older brother Shawn has been shot and killed. Will has a gun and is going to get revenge, because the rules of the neighborhood are: 1)No crying, 2)No snitching, and 3)Get revenge. On each floor the elevator stops, and one person Will knows steps in. Each is already dead, killed by gun violence. Told in free verse from Will's point of view, each person's story is revealed. What impact will their stories have on Will? Will he get revenge? This excellent book would be great for discussions. It is filled with emotions and packs a powerful wallop.