Our literary picks for July.

FOR AGES 4 TO 10

"THE MOUSE AND THE MEADOW" by Chad Wallace

The Mouse and the Meadow is a beautifully illustrated tale about a young mouse venturing out into the meadow and exploring his habitat. The narrative rhymes but doesn't sacrifice an engaging story about the dangers of living in the meadow and finding friendship. This is a great book to read out loud due to the rhythm, rhyme and many opportunities to talk about the story from the detailed realistic illustrations. The author has cleverly added a section in the back of the book for parents to share facts about animals, nature and the meadow, such as, "Animals That Talk," which describes how real animals communicate, unlike the young mouse in the story.


FOR AGES 5 TO 10

"THE SCRAPS BOOK: NOTES FROM A COLORFUL LIFE" by Lois Ehlert

Part biography, part art book, 100 percent inspiration! Beloved author/illustrator Lois Ehlert of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and 34 other picture books shares her path to becoming an artist. Colorful artwork, photographs and sketches from her familiar books demonstrate her process of writing and illustrating and where she finds inspiration. A great nonfiction read that will encourage your budding artist to look creatively at nature and the surrounding environment.

FOR AGES 10 TO 15

"DOLL BONES" by Holly Black

Middle-schoolers Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends forever. Recently their imaginative game with action figures and dolls has taken on a "ghostly" presence. If it is real, then that leaves them with only one choice: Return the "Queen" to her proper gravesite. If you like scary stories, lots of adventure and don't mind a creepy doll that contains the remains of a dead girl tagging along, give this book a try! A 2014 Newbery Honor book that is a real page-turner and set in Ohio.

FOR TEENS

"THE NAZI HUNTERS" by Neal Bascomb

Find out how a team of investigators, a teenage girl, her blind father and a few survivors from the Nazi death camps track, capture and bring to trial one of the most hated Nazis in history, Adolf Eichmann. Eichmann was responsible for carrying out Hitler's orders to exterminate millions of Jews during World War II. Eichmann fled Germany after the war. A suspenseful tale of the mission orchestrated in the 1960s (before modern technology) including photographs, documents and an extensive bibliography. If you are a history buff or love investigative drama, this is a riveting story.

-Linda VanVickle, Information Services Specialist, Hilltop Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library

FAMILY APPS

BOOK RETRIEVER

This iPhone/iPad app from Classroom Library offers a feature to help parents and librarians find the appropriate-level book for young readers. Book Retriever boasts more than 136,000 titles in its database. Simply scan the book's ISBN (International Standard Book Number) and a screen pops up with the book's level. Included is a Leveled Equivalency Chart that users can easily toggle back and forth if your teacher uses a different leveling system than the publisher. Download for 99 cents. A desktop version is currently being developed.

-Linda VanVickle

NPS INDEPENDENCE

If you don't want to be That Tourist while visiting Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, fumbling with a stack of maps and brochures, just download this free app from the U.S. National Park Service. Good for iOS and Android devices, it's loaded with maps, audio tours, a calendar of events and all the info you would need to plan your trip PLUS it enables you to take photos and send them as framed digital postcards from the historic sites. Available in the App Store or on Google Play.

-Jane Hawes