Our literary picks for February.

FOR AGES 4 TO 8

LIZARD FROM THE PARK by Mark Pett

Leonard, a young boy from the city, always walks home by himself. One day he decides to take a shortcut, and he stumbles upon something pretty special. An egg! He decides to take it home. Soon, the egg hatches into what appears to be a lizard. Leonard names his new friend Buster and shows him all the neat places in the city. Their friendship grows rapidly, and so does Buster. In next to no time, Buster becomes too big to disguise, too big to hide in the apartment and too big for the city. Leonard knows he has to find his friend a home where he can be happy, and he knows just how to do it. This story will stretch the imagination and warm the heart.


FOR AGES 4 TO 8

I'M TRYING TO LOVE SPIDERS by Bethany Barton

Spiders aren't cute or cuddly. They are creepy, crawly and hard to look at. Yet, the narrator in this story is convinced that they are worth loving. Packed with cool facts, this nonfiction title reads like a picture book and uses humor to inform the reader about the amazing things spiders can do. Who knew that one spider can eat more than 75 pounds of bugs in just one year? This book is interactive and uses knowledge to combat fear about spiders.


FOR AGES 8 TO 12

THE UGLY ONE by Leanne Statland Ellis

Growing up in a small Incan village, where the value of a young girl is based on her beauty, 12-year-old Micay is at a disadvantage. She has an unsightly scar on her face that has made her life one of solitude. Teased by her peers and pitied by adults, Micay is referred to as The Ugly One. Alone, with no one to share her world with, Micay spends most of her time away from the village sitting on her spirit rock. One day, a stranger comes to town. Micay is unable to resist the temptation of seeing someone from outside of her village and decides to go see the visitor. In a turn of events, the stranger entrusts Micay with the task of taking care of a sick baby macaw and her journey of self-discovery begins. This inspiring story about perseverance and making your own path will be relevant for many middle-school students.


FOR TEENS

VENGEANCE ROAD by Erin Bowman

Kate Thomas does not have time for dresses and boys like other 18-year-old girls. She has one thing on her mind: revenge. After finding her father murdered by a gang of men searching for the location of a secret gold mine, Kate decides to take justice into her own hands. Without a mother around to keep her grounded, Kate disguises herself as a man and follows the clues her father left behind, hoping they will lead her to his murderers. Along the way, she partners with two young cattle ranchers and an Apache girl who owes Kate a debt. As they ride across the relentless desert, it becomes clear that the road to vengeance is not one easily traveled. This book is perfect for those who love adventure and a strong female heroine who does not take "no" for an answer.

-Brittany Johnson, Homework Help Center Specialist, Reynoldsburg Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library


FAMILY APP

LITTLE SPELLER 3 LETTER WORDS

In its most basic form, the Little Speller app from Kids Learning is made for children to practice spelling three-letter words. The letters are scattered across the screen, and the user has to connect the correct letter to its match at the bottom of the screen until the word is formed. This app comes equipped with pictures of each word and a digital voice that pronounces the letters when they are touched. Once all the letters are matched to form the word, users receive a "success sound" from the app.

This app also is completely customizable to a child's needs, and parents can even add words with more than three letters. There is a feature that allows parents to take their own pictures of objects and to record their own sounds. This app is perfect for practicing with word families and increasing vocabulary. Recommended for ages 4 and older. There is a free "lite" version or a version available for 99 cents.

-Brittany Johnson