October Book Bunch

Tuesday, October 25, 4:30 p.m.
Grades 4-8
Story Trove in the Trove
Registration required.
Click here to register.

Join Caroline and Donna for a book discussion and trivia game for 4th through 8th graders! We will be reading Fake Blood, by Whitney Gardner. This is a perfect read for a Halloween treat! Fake Blood, by Whitney Gardner, is a coming-of-age story of a young man who wants to win the approval of his crush Nia. When AJ and Nia become partners for a project on Transylvania, AJ finally has a shot at proving he isn’t an ordinary kid.

The Trove will provide a free copy of the book for the first eight individuals to register for the discussion. When the books are available, we will email to arrange pickup; please list an email address when registering. You can place a hold on the print book with your library card using our catalog. If you prefer the eBook, you can find it on Libby here.

Here are some other Halloween book suggestions:

The Witches of Brooklyn by Sophie Escabasse
For grades 4-8
Library Collection: Print
Libby: eBook

“When 11-year-old Effie's mother dies, she is given into the care of her elderly aunt Selimene and partner, Carlota, acupuncturists and herbalists living in Brooklyn. At first angry and hurt, Effie rails against the women but is soon won over by their big personalities and rambling home, visually detailed in satisfying bird's-eye view cross-sections. Lucking into a pair of good friends on her first day of school, Effie is settling into her new life when her favorite pop star secretly comes to the house, looking for help. Through this arrival, Effie discovers that her aunts' healing methods veer into the magical and begins to realize her own magical powers. Escabasse's character design stands out, particularly wonderfully distinct faces and variously shaped bodies that populate a stylish, boldly colored world. Though initial exposition and character relationships feel rushed, each individual displays a unique personality, and the straightforward plot allows for a focus on evolving relationships. A warm story of found family and healing that stands on its own while setting the stage for further adventures.”–Publisher’s Weekly

Coraline by Neil Gaiman
For grades 4-8
Library Collection: Print

“Russell, a 35-year veteran of comics and frequent collaborator with Gaiman, offers an adaptation of Gaiman’s 2002 novel Coraline (illustrated by Dave McKean), a tale of childhood nightmares. As in the original story, Coraline wanders around her new house and discovers a door leading into a mirror place, where she finds her button-eyed mother, who is determined to secure Coraline’s love one way or another. This version is a virtuoso adaptation, streamlining passages that function best in prose and visually highlighting parts that benefit most from the graphic form. A master of fantastical landscapes, Russell sharpens the realism of his imagery, preserving the humanity of the characters and heightening horror, even as Gaiman’s concise storytelling ratchets up the eeriness. The adaptation loses none of Coraline’s original character; she's clever, resourceful, intrepid, and highly determined when it comes to doing what must be done. Comics fans will delight in this version, and readers familiar with the previous book will greatly appreciate the opportunity to explore the story in a successful new way.”–(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2008, American Library Association.)

Witch Boy by Molly Osterstag
For grades 4-8
Library Collection: Print
Libby: eBook

“Aster belongs to a magical family, but he is having problems with one of the most basic rules: shapeshifting is for boys, while witchcraft is for girls. Aster is fascinated by the spells that the girls are learning, so he spies on their lessons whenever he can. When several boys disappear during shapeshifting practice, Aster realizes that he can help save them using witchcraft to battle a strange and powerful enemy–but he'll have to break his family's traditions and risk his life. Both the plot and the overall message are straightforward and familiar but engaging. Beneath the fantastical elements lies a story about upending gender expectations, forging identity, and uncovering heroic potential in oneself. Those who enjoy sci-fi or fantasy stories about protagonists who must prove that their society's rules are flawed will appreciate this offering. Ostertag's bright, gentle, cartoon-like artwork brims with life and adds extra appeal to this fast-moving story. An excellent choice for reluctant readers, fans of fantasy, and those looking for books that explore gender roles.”–School Library Journal

Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner
For grades 4-8
Library Collection: Print
Libby: eBook

It is Halloween when Moth Hush finds out she is descended from a line of witches. Her mother reveals the story of their witch origins going back to 17th-century Europe, which Moth’s maternal grandmother, Sarah, fled along with her order for supposed safety in Founder’s Bluff, Massachusetts, only to find persecution there. Led by Sarah, the witches escaped the wrath of the Puritans through a blood ritual that opened a portal to Hecate, a spiritual realm that provided safety. Moth’s mother rebelled and broke away from the coven to live in the real world, ultimately as a single parent to Moth in the 21st century. After a talking black cat (the spirit of a deceased neighbor) appears and befriends Moth, Moth peeks at her mother’s diary—which opens a portal to Hecate, and Moth secretly begins to practice spells unsupervised and to connect with her family there. Moth and family sort through a complicated lineage whose legacy reveals itself to be very much alive in present-day Founder’s Bluff. In Steinkellner’s graphic panels, Moth and her family have brown skin and puffy dark hair, and the 17th-century coven is shown to be multiracial. The complex history provides a mechanism through which Moth sorts through her own coming-of-age as a modern girl of color, and it’s the loving, oftentimes humorous rapport among the Hush women that grounds this graphic novel.

“This winning paranormal uses witchcraft to explore adolescent rebellion.”–Kirkus Review

Ghosts by Rania Telgemeier
For grades 4-8
Library Collection: Print
Libby: eBook

“Almost-sixth-grader Catrina and her family move north from sunny Southern California to the foggy (fictional) town of Bahia de la Luna — in part to make breathing easier for Cat's little sister Maya, who has cystic fibrosis. The sisters meet their ghost-obsessed neighbor Carlos, who teaches them about the town's traditions (the townspeople are serious about Dia de los Muertos and all things supernatural) and sparks a renewed interest in the kids' Mexican roots, especially their deceased abuela. When the girls meet ghosts face to face, the results are scary both physically and psychologically, with Maya's health declining and Cat's anxieties escalating. At the town's otherworldly (and theologically fuzzy) Day of the Dead celebration, the sisters get a chance to focus on the moment. The plot is paced steadily, building to moments of high emotion, often seen in enlarged panels or full-page illustrations. A muted color palette reflects the foggy, misty setting. Ghosts appear bed sheetlike from afar, but at close range resemble human skeletons with smiling faces, making them more approachable and even comforting than frightening. From sisterly squabbles to tween crushes, the characters' interactions feel genuine, with plenty of relatable dialogue and interests (e.g., gaming, texting, and pumpkin spice cosmetics). Notes on cystic fibrosis and Dia de los Muertos (but nothing about the cultural liberties taken) are appended. elisa gall”–Horn Book Magazine

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