Growing Up in Santa Cruz

Bookshop Santa Cruz writes a monthly column of book recommendations for young readers in Growing Up in Santa Cruz--a publication for families in Santa Cruz County.

A hopeful environmental wake-up call for teens ready to act. After finding a dead bee on his doorstep, Fleischman (Newbery award-winner and local author) began extensive research into environmental challenges and changes. Eyes Wide Open is a tool kit for decoding the daily barrage of conflicting information about major issues (population, global economics, water, climate change). This book helps young people learn to look behind the headlines to examine how things got to be the way they are and what can be done about it. I recommend it to every teen, teacher, and parent eager to make the world a better place. Grades 6 & up.  --Noreen

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Eyes Wide Open: Going Behind the Environmental Headlines Cover Image
By Paul Fleischman, Various (Illustrator)
$9.99
ISBN: 9780763675455
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - September 23rd, 2014

The essence of all Russian mythology is encapsulated on one gorgeous, astronomically expensive Fabergé egg, intended for the prince of Russia. If only the creatures depicted on the egg existed just in myth, things would be a whole lot easier for Cat and Elena, two girls who happen to look very similar and whose paths coincide one day when a train breaks down on its way to the winter ball in St. Petersburg. Gregory Maguire, the creator of Wicked, gives us not just adventure but a memorable coterie of mythological creatures with a whole lot of sass. Grade 6 & up.  --Tera

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Egg and Spoon Cover Image
$11.99
ISBN: 9780763680169
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - August 4th, 2015

A warm, rollicking, and beautifully written mystery from Newbery Award winner Sheila Turnage. Spunky Mo LoBeau is back as the unforgettable self-appointed detective of all things strange in Tupelo Landing. This time she goes after a ghost in this witty page-turner that has heaps of Southern charm. Grades 4–6.  --Tera

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The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780142425718
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Puffin Books - April 28th, 2015

Organized by the seasons, this collection of 36 impeccably chosen short poems demonstrates that significant emotional power can reside in just a few lines. In obvious contrast with such small bites of poetry, the large-format design explodes with bright and expressive watercolor, gouache, and mixed-media collages. Colors and shapes with willowy details expertly blur or bring bits of the images into focus to create a magical sense of place, time, and beauty.  --School Library Journal

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Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems Cover Image
By Paul B. Janeczko, Melissa Sweet (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780763648428
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - March 11th, 2014

Maggie has been cautioned not to fall for the first horse she sees. Bramble (a horse) is fed up with giving riding lessons and bored with walking very slowly in a circle. She needs a change of pace. Maggie sees the “Horse for Free” sign while out driving with her mom and dad and, even though Bramble “has her little ways,” Maggie does fall in love. Maggie and Bramble take challenges in stride as they grow to understand each other a bit more each day. Lively watercolor illustrations accompany each short chapter in this inviting easy-reader series. Grades K–2.  --Michelle

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Bramble and Maggie: Horse Meets Girl Cover Image
By Jessie Haas, Alison Friend (Illustrator)
$3.99
ISBN: 9780763662516
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - April 9th, 2013

We are big fans of the recent book Safari, in which cheetahs seemingly bound off the page and elephants appear to flap their ears, all thanks to Photicular technology. The visuals get even more amazing in the new Photicular book, Ocean. Take a dive and experience an underwater world where you come face-to-face with swaying sea horses, glow-in-the-dark fish, and even a gulping sand tiger shark—all without getting wet. Truly spectacular and perfect for any age.  --Flannery

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Ocean: A Photicular Book Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780761180517
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Workman Publishing - October 7th, 2014

Maggie Stiefvater is my favorite Young Adult author, and one of my favorite authors, period. The Scorpio Races takes place on a small island (probably near Ireland). Every fall, fierce, demonic horses rise from the sea and the men of the island capture and race them. One year everything changes when a girl named Puck, orphaned by the horses, decides to risk everything to save her family’s home, and enters the race riding her own pony. Under the tutelage of seasoned racer Sean Kendrick, Puck learns about a whole other side of her island, and herself. Stiefavter is a master wordsmith; I read her books repeatedly because the beauty of her sentences has me in awe every time. This book, in particular, is stunning. If you have a teen, this is the perfect fall book for them. I hold a deep, unconditional love for The Scorpio Races. Ages 8+

--Flannery

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The Scorpio Races Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780545224918
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Paperbacks - April 1st, 2013

If you have a child who wants to understand why the leaves change color so gloriously, this is the perfect book. In simple terms, it explains how the process works, and its beautiful illustrations make Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf as pleasant to look at as it is educational. Ages 4+

--Flannery

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Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780152661977
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Houghton Mifflin - September 15th, 1991

Fletcher the fox is worried. Leaves just keep falling off his favorite tree, and he doesn’t know how to help! Luckily for Fletcher, once winter comes, he’s in for an exciting surprise. This is a delightful book, and Fletcher may be the most adorable fox ever. Ages 4+

--Flannery

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Fletcher and the Falling Leaves Cover Image
By Julia Rawlinson, Tiphanie Beeke (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9780061573972
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperTrophy - August 26th, 2008

This book is the amusing tale of a young girl and her squash. Sophie loves her friend the squash, and takes it with her everywhere. Her parents become concerned as the squash begins to do what squashes do if not cooked, but Sophie cannot be convinced that she needs to leave her friend behind. Funny and sweet, Sophie’s Squash builds to a satisfying (and realistic) conclusion. Ages 4+

--Flannery

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Sophie's Squash Cover Image
By Pat Zietlow Miller, Anne Wilsdorf (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780307978967
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Schwartz & Wade Books - August 6th, 2013

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