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.

If your child is tired of biographies full of dull facts and figures, they should turn to To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel to showcase the ability to tell personal and powerful stories through art. To Dance follows the dreams of Siena Siegel—from a child starting her first ballet class, through Puerto Rico, Boston and ultimately the New York City Ballet. Chosen as an honor book for the Robert F. Sibert Award, Siegel’s biography shows both the highs and lows of becoming a professional ballerina. Ages 8+

To Dance: A Ballerina's Graphic Novel Cover Image
By Siena Cherson Siegel, Mark Siegel (Illustrator)
$11.99
ISBN: 9781416926870
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - September 1st, 2006

“All I wished to do in the world was to be a vagabond in the air.” Amelia Earhart’s quote frames the back cover of Candace Fleming’s extraordinary biography. Reading as much as a thriller as a history book, Fleming oscillates between Earhart’s life as a girl, a woman, and a flier, with the search for her plane when it went missing in July 1937. Garnering starred reviews from Horn Magazine, Kirkus Review and School Library Journal, Amelia Lost employs riveting text, archival documents, enlightening sidebars, and wonderful maps to provide a complete portrait of Earhart. Ages 8+

Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780375841989
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Schwartz & Wade - February 8th, 2011

Before becoming The Babe, George Ruth was just a regular kid growing up in Baltimore. Tracing Babe Ruth’s formative years and his first exposure to baseball at St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, this picture book brings history to life showing that even when Babe made it big, he never forgot where he came from. “The art captures Ruth’s irrepressible personality and joy in playing baseball. Yes, the eyes definitely twinkle.” —Booklist, starred review. Ages 6+

Becoming Babe Ruth Cover Image
By Matt Tavares, Matt Tavares (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780763656461
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick - February 12th, 2013

If you are not already taken by the strong and beautiful portrait of Nelson Mandela on the front cover, you will be captured by the equally absorbing story of Mandela’s life on the pages inside. Tracing his life from an orphan, to his studies, to his life as an activist, and ultimately as President of South Africa, this picture book brings his courage, strength, and humanity to young readers. Ending on a note of hope, this biography will both educate and inspire the next generation. Ages 6+

Nelson Mandela (Rookie Biographies) Cover Image
$4.95
ISBN: 9780516255378
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Children's Press(CT) - March 1st, 2006

Tracing the origins of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from 1924, Sweet’s biography of Tony Sarg, the puppeteer who made the parade balloons come to life, will inspire children that work can actually be fun. Winner of the Robert F. Sibert Medal for the best non-fiction book of 2012, Sweet shows the vision and science behind the balloons through multi-media graphics and textured illustrations. “Sweet tells this slice of American history well, conveying both Sarg’s enthusiasm and joy in his work as well as the drama and excitement of the parade. . .This one should float off the shelves.” —School Library Journal, starred review. Ages 4+

Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780547199450
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - November 1st, 2011

It’s a rainy day in January and your children are bouncing off the walls. It is towards the end of summer and your kids are starting to lose their energy without the daily structure of school. At these moments, Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun will prove to be the perfect companion to kick start imaginative play. Unbored shows families how to build a backyard fort, create their own blog, make a secret book safe, and dozens of other activities that will entertain and enlighten the whole year through. As Mark Frauenfelder, editor in chief of Make magazine says, “Unbored is the first kids’ book to truly encourage a hands-on approach to creating a personally meaningful life.” Ages 6+
Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun Cover Image
By Joshua Glenn, Elizabeth Foy Larsen, Tony Leone (Illustrator), Mister Reusch (Illustrator), Heather Kasunick (Illustrator), Mark Frauenfelder (Introduction by)
$28.00
ISBN: 9781608196418
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury USA - October 16th, 2012

Wells has written over 120 children’s books and Following Grandfather is among her best. Although this story deals with a young mouse’s loss of a loved one, it remains full of love, family, lessons on self-worth, and even a little humor. The mouse’s parents inherited her grandfather’s restaurant when he retired, and he took over the duties of parenting. Grandfather’s love for Jenny is nearly tangible. When Grandfather passes, Jenny chases his image all over Boston until she discovers her own way to feel close to him again. Though some of the depth that makes this book so beautiful may be lost on some young readers, parents and children alike will enjoy both the text and the beautiful anthropomorphic illustrations. Grades 2–4.
Following Grandfather Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780763650698
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick - September 11th, 2012

Otter has fallen in love with a fish. Falling in love with one’s food source might strike some as strange, which is exactly what the creatures of the river in which Otter lives say. Raschka (two-time Caldecott winner) creates a strange and beautiful world in which there is social disapproval of this unconventional relationship. By showing the power of love, Otter may inspire young people who have experience with unconventional families to think about what is really important. Grades 1–3.
Otter and Odder: A Love Story Cover Image
By James Howe, Chris Raschka (Illustrator)
$14.00
ISBN: 9780763641740
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick - October 9th, 2012

The Mighty Miss Malone is a smart, amusing novel about a loving, bookish family’s struggle to live together when job possibilities are forcing them apart—a struggle as relevant today as it was in the 1930’s setting of Curtis’s story. Warmly memorable and completely buzz-worthy. Ostensibly for grades 5–8. And the rest of us.
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The Mighty Miss Malone Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780385734912
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Wendy Lamb Books - January 10th, 2012

Accomplished fantasy writer Rodda once again proves her ability to build a world as expansive and intricate as our own. Rye’s brothers do not return from their quest to stop an evil wizard from sending monsters to their town to eat their people. Rye sets out to rescue them and is joined by Sonia, who turns out to be nearly as clever and resourceful as Rye. Rye’s determination shows the lengths to which we are willing to go in order to defend our families. Grades 4–6.
The Golden Door Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780545429900
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Scholastic Press - October 1st, 2012

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