Child in Mask 

Wearing masks can be tough. Especially if you’re a little kid. They make such good slingshots and baskets!

Does wearing a mask have to be so hard, though?

The simple answer is no.

Wearing a mask doesn’t have to be terrible or difficult. Masks can be fun!  Maybe your child could pretend to be a superhero or a ninja. Or maybe they could get one that reflects their interests. And with school around the corner, here are a few characters who may inspire your kids to rock their masks around their friends. 

7.27 Princess in BlackTHE PRINCESS IN BLACK
By Shannon Hale
(2014) 

Magnolia has a double life. In public she is known as Princess Magnolia. She is prim and proper in every way. When trouble strikes in the form of evil monsters, Princess Magnolia transforms into her alter ego The Princess in Black. Her disguise, complete with a mask and cape, helps her to defeat monsters while maintaining her anonymity. 

 

7.27 Billy Stuart and the ZintrepidsBILLY STUART AND THE ZINTREPIDS
By Alain M. Bergeron
(2011) 

Alright, so Billy doesn’t actually wear a mask. But he is a raccoon and raccoons are notorious for their fur markings that look like they are wearing a robber’s mask. So I’m going to count it. This story follows Billy and his scout troop on their nature hike where they get lost and travel through time. 

 

7.27 The Man in the Iron MaskTHE MAN IN THE IRON MASK VOL 1
By Roy Thomas
(2009) 

This graphic novel retells the story of the four musketeers and their plan to dethrone the King of France. They track down a man in an iron mask rumored to be the King’s twin brother. Is the stranger really the heir to the throne? And if so, will he help the musketeers? 

 

7.27 Ninja rellaNINJA-RELLA
By Joey Comeau
(2015) 

If you like the story of Cinderella but wished she was a more active character, then this is the graphic novel for you. In this adaptation, Ninja-rella thwarts the evil plans of her stepmother and saves the prince. She even becomes a ninja bodyguard. What could be a more action driven character than that? 

 

7.27 The Black LotusTHE BLACK LOTUS
By Kieran Fanning
(2016) 

Meet Ghost, Cormac, and Kate. Each kid has special powers that make them ideal recruits for the top secret Ninja school. Can they be trained in the art of stealth and survive the war against the samurai warriors?  

 

Utah History

Here in Utah, Pioneer day is July 24th, so I thought this might be a good time to mention some pioneer stories you could read with your family. Children are naturally curious about pioneers and the lives they lived. They often wonder what children in the past did for fun, what kind of food they ate, what kind of chores they did, and what their families were like.

One of the best ways to answer those questions and more is by reading historical fiction stories together. If your child is especially interested in pioneer girl stories, here are a few of the best.

7.23 Hattie Big SkyHATTIE BIG SKY
By Kirby Larson
(2006) 

It’s 1917 and 16-year-old Hattie Brooks has just inherited her uncle’s homesteading claim in Montana. Hattie, an orphan, decides she must make a home for herself and travels from Iowa to Montana to become Hattie Homesteader. Once there, she finds out that in order to keep the place, she must prove the claim with enough fencing and farming to satisfy government specifications. This is a great story with an amazing and determined character who will steal your heart.

 

7.23 The Evolution of Calpurnia TateTHE EVOLUTION OF CALPURNIA TATE
By Jacqueline Kelly
(2009) 

Callie Vee Tate wants to be a naturalist and study science, but girls in 1899 didn’t become scientists. With the help of her grandfather she figures out why the yellow grasshoppers in her backyard are so much bigger than the green ones and she imagines a future much grander than a life spent in the kitchen making meals for her husband.

 

7.23 The Ballad of Lucy WhippleTHE BALLAD OF LUCY WHIPPLE
By Karen Cushman
(1996) 

California doesn’t suit Lucy Whipple. She enjoys the comforts of her home in Massachusetts but moving out West was her mama’s dream and she finds herself, with her family, in California during the American Gold Rush. Lucy is suddenly thrown into back-breaking work, and worst of all, days with no books. But slowly Lucy begins to understand that home isn’t just where you live, it’s being around the things you love and the people you love.

 

7.23 May BMAY B
By Caroline Starr Rose
(2012) 

Written in verse, this is a beautiful story about a strong new heroine who is determined to find her way home again. May is helping out on a neighbor’s homestead in Kansas until Christmas. But when the couple she is staying with disappears, May finds herself all alone in a blizzard. She must somehow find a way to make the fifteen-mile journey back home.

 

7.23 Our Only May AmeliaOUR ONLY MAY AMELIA
By: Jennifer Holm
(1999) 

Inspired by the diaries of her great-aunt, the real May Amelia, Jennifer Holm gives us a beautifulll crafted tale of one young girl whose unique spirit captures the courage, humor, passion and depth of the American pioneer experience. May Amelia will touch your heart.

 
 

7.23 Caddie WoodlawnCADDIE WOODLAWN
By Carol Ryrie Brink
(1994) 

This is a story about a young girl who has to make her own place in the world. Caddie is living on the open plains of 1860 Wisconsin with her family. She isn’t your ordinary girl who likes to spend time sewing and baking like her sisters. Caddie is a bit of a tomboy and would rather hunt, swim or visit the Native Americans. This is a look into her life as a young pioneer girl.

 

 If I Went to the Moon

If I went to the moon infographic

Harry Potter

Book-lovers everywhere know the satisfaction of finishing a great read, and there’s an extra-special feeling that comes from completing a favorite story for the umpteenth time. In our house, the plot and characters of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series are well-known and cherished, and our copies are dog-eared and well-loved. I hope we never get too old for the magic of Hogwarts.

In my fledgling career as a librarian, several people have asked me to recommend “something like Harry Potter” for them to read after finishing the series. With all the books in our beautiful library, it should be easy to find something that fits the bill, right?

Well, that’s trickier than it seems.

For starters, there’s no doubt that Harry Potter has deeply influenced our culture. Consider the following questions:

  • What house are you in?

  • What’s your Patronus?

  • Would you ever use Imperio or Crucio or Avada Kedavra?

The fact that these questions even make sense is a testament to the impact of Harry Potter has had.But what makes Harry Potter so great? It stands out among fantasy for a number of reasons. The magic of Harry Potter extends beyond the pages into a vast and vibrant community which continues to flourish: think of the theme parks, merchandise, fan-fiction sites, screenplay sequel, and soon-to-be dozen feature films – and this is more than a decade and a half after the publication of the last book in 2007.

Harry Potter is very relatable and accessible to readers of virtually all ages, from grade school to adult. Everyone who has read the series was convinced that they could be a witch or wizard themselves, with magic lying dormant in their veins: I know I was. And we’ve all met real-life versions of: Draco, the arrogant bully Hermione, the book-smart know-it-all Luna, the eccentric weirdo Lupin, the cool teacher and valuable mentor Fred and George, the set of joking pranksters Moaning Myrtle, the specter that haunts the local bathroom (…okay, maybe not that last one.)It's a tall order for any series to reach the same caliber as Harry Potter. But I think it’s healthy to branch out a little bit and take a chance on some rising stars that haven’t hit the same heights as Harry Potter – at least not yet.Below are some suggestions for Harry Potter read-alikes (librarian slang for books with similar elements). I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. 

7.15 The Iron TrialTHE IRON TRIAL 
By Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
1st book of 5 in the Magisterium series
(2014-2018)

12-year-old Callum Hunt's father attempts to keep him from the Magisterium, a school where young mages are trained. Despite his best attempts to fail the entrance exam, Cal's inherent magical ability gets him accepted, and he begins the first of five years of his training.Whereas Harry Potter goes to school in the UK, Cal lives and studies in the US. But both series include a trio of students who learn to develop their magical talents and face dangers from all sides. I found Magisterium to be faster paced and more modern than Harry Potter. It hits the spot for a coming-of-age story with fantasy elements and unexpected twists. 

 

7.15 Sandrys BookSANDRY’S BOOK 
By Tamora Pierce
1st book of 4 in the Circle of Magic series
(1997-1999)

During a medieval and Renaissance era in a fictional land, four young misfits enter a strict temple community and become magicians-in-training, each in a different form of magic. Together, the newfound friends learn to harness their hitherto unexplored inherent magical abilities.Circle of Magic delves deeper into interactions and combinations of different forms of magic than we ever saw in Harry Potter. The books are also considerably shorter than Harry Potter, which makes for easier reading. But if the story ends too quickly for your liking, fret not; Circle of Magic is followed by a sequel quartet, The Circle Opens (with the original cast as fully qualified teen mages) as well as a stand-alone novel The Will of the Empress (which takes place several years after that). 

 

7.15 Midnight for Charlie BoneMIDNIGHT FOR CHARLIE BONE
By Jenny Nimmo
1st book of 8 in the Children of the Red King series
(2003-2010)

Charlie Bone is an ordinary boy who lives with his widowed mother and two grandmothers. But when Charlie realizes he can hear people in photographs talking, he is swept into an ages-old magical battle against the descendants of the ancient and powerful Red King.It’s easy to see why Children of the Red King made it onto this list. It features a school for young magicians in the UK (Bloor’s Academy for Gifted Children), which reminds us a great deal of Hogwarts. And despite significant plot differences, these two fast-paced stories both center on a magical war between good and evil. Especially recommended for younger Potterheads. 

 

7.15 Harry PotterHARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE 
1st book of 7 by J.K. Rowling
(1997-2007)

Oscar Wilde said it best: “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”

 

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