Audrey Heil

Oct 022018

Kids seem to like this series. It is goofy. Lots of pages with few words and containing black and white illustrations. If they like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, consider this series too. There are now seven books in the series. This is an easy way to transition from the Easy Readers to Chapter Books without feelings of intimidation. Reading level of 3.8.


  An interesting take on the survival story. Ros, the robot, is stranded on an island. She is willing and able to learn survival techniques from the animals on the island.  Eventually, she becomes a mother figure to a goose but disaster strikes when other robots come to capture Ros and take her “home”.  This is better for your younger reader as there are a few plot holes with this one. Reading level of 5.1.


Field trips don’t get much worse than this!  On a visit to Carlsbad Caverns, students are separated from the adults when an earthquake sends them plunging into the earth.  Unfortunately, they find themselves in the midst of an underworld war and being attacked by mutant animals.  The students surprise themselves with their ability to work together and find the hidden strengths which will help them survive. This is a well told, fairly short, story that leaves you sitting on the edge of your seat. “A World Below” has a reading level of 4.7.

Tom Gates is a young, artistic boy who spends more time doodling in class and dreaming of his favorite rock band than he does worrying about turning in his homework.  You will laugh even as you shake your head at this well illustrated little book.  Reading level of 4.0.

Fitting in is hard to do. The kids of “Hello, Universe” have a hard time fitting in at school and at home.  “Psychics”, nerds, bullies, and a young girl with a hearing impairment try to find a place for themselves in an indifferent world.  When one of the kids goes missing, they will each need to harness their talents to bring him home. The author portrays the “outsider” well and utilizes myths and folklore in her story.  Winner of the John Newbery Medal. This book had a “fantasy” feeling to it as it portrayed unrealistic situations. Reading level of 4.7.


Sep 272018
Sep 212018

Pick a book you love and share it with a young person in your life!  If you love the book, chances are, they will too!  The books pictured above are a few of my favorites.  We also have books available digitally on the Libby app.  The link provided contains a list of books available on the Libby app and also available in print at the library.  While you are driving or cooking, your child could be listening to their story:!Alz5I6viNgN8i15xxbAbY8Yi9xZV

Sep 062018

A bunch of Middle School and Young Adult have been read and recommended.  Taxes have been paid.  Now to prove that I do actually read Adult books on occasion….

     “There There” , a debut novel by Tommy Orange, is best read in 1-2 sittings.  There are multiple characters and back stories and it takes a bit of work to keep everyone straight but it is completely worth it.   I would have liked more resolution after coming to know the characters so well and there is one relationship in the book that I do not find realistic. The writing is devastation in molten form. It burns but it is so beautiful you keep going, keep getting closer, even as it hurts. I loved this book. I wanted to read it quickly and yet I wanted to slow down and savor it.

     “Among the Mad” is #6 in Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series.  Unfortunately, it is the only one left in the library’s catalog.  Apparently the others met an untimely end.  I hadn’t read any of the series before and decided to try it (yes, even though it was #6). It was wonderful.  Yes, now I am in that unenviable position of deciding whether to go back and start with the first in the series or continue from 6 on to the end. This book is so completely “of the time” of post WWI England that the sorrow and desperation just dripped off of every page. The mystery was intense and well plotted but I almost wished away the resolution. That never happens. Pick up the Maisie Dobbs’ series but for your own sake start at the beginning (like any sane person). 

     “The Hoarder” is an atmospheric, spooky, quirky read. In this case, quirky refers to a cantankerous old hoarder, a caregiver who sees saints everywhere, and a glamorous, neighborly transvestite investigator. Don’t expect all hearts and hugs. This isn’t that book. A mystery involving the death and disappearance of previous occupants of the house leads everyone into conflict. The writing is more literary fiction than mystery genre. The ending felt like a let down. Not because it was inappropriate but because I wasn’t ready for my time with these characters to come to an end.

India, Ethiopia, and America….you get a visceral sense of all of these places and the ways in which they connect and recede. Just as the characters in the book seem to bounce off of each other,changing each other and their fates. “Cutting for Stone” was a very atmospheric book with lots of history and medicine thrown in for good measure.


Sep 052018

Do you love to read stories to little ones? CNCAP and the Loup City Library would like to have volunteer community members read to the morning and afternoon preschool groups twice a month. If you are interested in participating, there will be an informational meeting next Tuesday at 12:00 at the library. Bring your lunch and enthusiasm!

Aug 302018

Do you have a reluctant reader in your life?  Someone who gets intimidated by all of the PRINT in chapter books?  The following are a few books that deal with some heavier topics but do it in a succinct and powerful way that will have readers coming back for more! 


  1. ” Inside Out & Back Again” by Thanhha Lai combines a “coming-of-age” tale with a refugee narrative.  Following the Vietnam War, Ha and her family move to America leaving her father behind somewhere in Vietnam.  This is a story of lost culture, country, and family and starting over in a new place with a different language.  Heavy hitting topics combine with small doses of humor as in the following:                                                                                             “Mother has always wanted an engineer, a real doctor, a poet, and a lawyer.                                                                                                                She turns to me.  You love to argue, right?                                                                                                                                                                     No, I don’t.                                                                                                                                                                                                                        She brightens.                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I vow to become much more agreeable.”                                                                                                                          Any child could relate to unwanted parental expectations!  The Accelerated Reading level is 4.8 but it would be a great read for any student.         –National Book Award Winner and Newbery Honor Book
  2.  Reena’s parents both lose their jobs in the “big city” and on a whim the family decides to move to Maine where they have exotic animals like cows, pigs, and snakes.  Luke and Reena will need every ounce of bravery they possess to figure out this new landscape and the freedoms and responsibilities it entails.  This book deals with plenty of serious topics but without getting bogged down in emotional quagmires.  A light-hearted romp through the countryside written in a sparse and quirky style. Check out “Moo” by Sharon Creech. This was recommended to me by Grace. She will make a fine literary critic some day.  Reading Level=4.4. 
  3. Racism, religion, and family dynamics meld together to form a lyrical coming-of-age story with dual 1960s North and South settings. Jacqueline Woodson’s “Brown Girl Dreaming” has been applauded by many.  Reading Level=5.3. A great way to get the rhythm of the story down is to listen on Overdrive digital audio while you read the print version. (Overdrive/Libby apps are free and allow you to check out ebooks and audio downloads) –National book Award Winner and Newbery Honor Book
  4. His older brother was shot and killed last night.  Now a young boy plans his revenge following a code he learned on the streets.  He doesn’t know as he gets on the elevator how many people are willing to change his mind and show him the way.  “Long Way Down” by Jason Reynolds is intense. Mrs. Francisco and I have a running debate regarding this book. Feel free to toss your hat in the ring (so to speak).    Reynolds also has a series based on individual members of a track team which have received lots of good press from our patrons.  Check out “Ghost”, “Sunny”, and “Patina”.  Reading level=4.3                                                                                                                                                                                      –Newbery Honor Book, Coretta Scott King Honor Book, Printz Honor Book
  5.  A more mature book for the young adult reader, “A Little Piece of Sky” by Nicole Bailey-Williams, is a realistic and gritty portrait of inner city life.  This isn’t a light, happy read by any means as the protagonist deals with abandonment, poverty, and grief.  Trigger warnings for suicide and family violence.  The reading level is rated at 5 but due to the subject matter, I would recommend to 8th and up.