Peculiar Picks

Peculiar Picks are a selection of odd, funny, interesting, curious, moving, irreverent, and otherwise wonderfully awesome, but perhaps not well known, reads. Peculiar Picks are books for younger readers and their grown-ups, handpicked by the Library's Youth Services Manager, Joshua Carlson.

Mr. Tiffin’s Classroom is a series of picture books written by Margaret McNamara and illustrated by G. Brian Karas. What I love about this series is that they provide educational lessons and also social emotional lessons for children. Each book follows the kids in Mr. Tiffin’s classroom as they take part in classroom learning, such as the math lessons in the first book of the series, but each book also is centered around a different member of the class. In doing so, readers get to learn alongside the class about the topic, but also get to learn a great deal about what makes individuals unique and different.

Sometimes these differences are physical – Charlie is the smallest kid in class in How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? Other times, the book portrays the emotional and personality differences that people have – Tara, of The Apple Orchard Riddle, is very introspective, quiet and thoughtful. The series deals with very real-life interactions between kids based on their very real-life differences. For example, Robert, the tallest kid in class, and Charlie learn about math, counting and pumpkins, but they also learn another valuable life lesson while examining the difference sized pumpkins.

For this time of year, both with “Back to School” and “Autumn” themes being popular right now, I highly recommend the first two books in the series:

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? (1)

The Apple Orchard Riddle (2).

Other books in the series include:

  • A Poem in Your Pocket (3) – great for lessons about self-confidence, writing, and perfectionism, as well as for National Poetry Month and Poem in Your Pocket Day, both in April
  • The Dinosaur Expert (4) – great for lessons about women in STEM and “girl power” perhaps in conjunction with Women’s History Month in March
  • The Little Library (5) – to be published Spring 2021 – perfect for lessons about libraries and encouraging reading, as well as showing gratitude and appreciation, perhaps alongside National Library Week in April or National Gratitude Month in November

You can find these great books in eBook format on OverDrive or as physical books in our Library Catalog:


Categories: Authors & Books, Featured, Homepage Kids, Kids, and Library News.

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