Jaycee Chapman is a library technician in the children’s department at the Homewood Public Library. She recently finished her master’s in library science from Indiana University. She loves children’s literature, Mexican food and her cat, Iggy. Here, she offers her five best fantasy or mystery recommendations for kids.
Ember and the Ice Dragons
By Heather Fawcett | Fantasy
This is the story of Ember–the adopted dragon-turned-daughter of a professor–who can’t stop bursting into flames. Ember is shipped to Antarctica to join her aunt’s research team in the land of ice storms, mischievous penguins and 24-hour nighttime, and she is infuriated to discover there that ice dragons are hunted for their jeweled scales. She goes undercover to help the ice dragons, but being an undercover dragon isn’t easy–especially when she finds herself among dragon hunters. If youths are looking for a heartfelt story packed with adventure, magic and friendship, then they need to read this book.
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street
By Karina Yan Glaser | Contemporary fiction
The five Vanderbeeker siblings have always lived in the brownstone on 141st Street. So, when their landlord decides not to renew their lease, they will do whatever it takes to stay in their beloved home. This story’s greatest strength is the wholesome and supportive family, as well as the fun and crazy situations they get into. This is a charming read set around the holidays for anyone looking to get into the holiday spirit.
The Sea in Winter
By Christine Day | Contemporary fiction
Twelve-year-old Maisie can no longer dance ballet because of an injured leg, isolating her from her friends and the artform she loves. She can’t even get excited for her family’s upcoming trip to the coast, near the Makah community where her mother grew up. Her blended family is loving and supportive, but Maisie feels that they just can’t understand how hopeless she feels. Christine Day’s writing is quiet and poignant, and the reader will be rooting for Maisie from the first page through her struggle with personal grief and having to adapt to all the change happening in her life.
Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: Peril at Owl Park
By Marthe Jocelyn | Historical mystery
Aspiring writer Aggie Morton can’t wait to spend Christmas with her sister, Marjorie, the new Lady Greyson at Owl Park, which is an enormous manor house in the country. But, when Aggie and her friends discover a body on Christmas morning instead of presents, things take a deadly, serious turn. This is a not-too-scary holiday mystery inspired by the Queen of Mystery herself, Agatha Christie, is reimagined as 12-year-old Aggie Morton! This is a twisty page turner and is part of a series for the mystery addicts out there.
By Kate Milford | Mystery
It’s wintertime at Greenglass House–the creaky smuggler’s inn where 12-year-old Milo, the innkeepers’ adopted son, lives with his family. Milo is excited to spend the holidays alone with his family, but much to his dismay, guests suddenly arrive one-by-one, ruining his snowy vacation. Suddenly, the inn is bursting with odd, secretive guests, and objects start to go missing. While Milo tries to find the culprit, he’s also on his own quest: to learn more about his Chinese heritage. Settle into Milo’s sweet family and put a detective hat on with this cozy mystery to get into the winter spirit.