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The Kidzone has programs galore as well as books, movies, and other cool stuff. Read our blog below for more information and check out our upcoming events to get an idea of what's happening at the Kidzone! Our main phone number is 205.444.7830.

Did you know about our Teletales?
Call 205-444-7838 to hear a new story every week read by a different Hoover Library staff member.

Recent Book Reviews

Horten's Incredible Illusions: Magic, Mystery & Another Very Strange Adventure
Lula Bell on Geekdom, Freakdom & the Challenges of Bad Hair
A Mutiny in Time
Starry River of the Sky
Pickle: The (Formerly) Anonymous Prank Club of Fountain Point Middle School
Iron Hearted Violet
Jake and Lily
Paris Pan Takes the Dare
Me and the Pumpkin Queen
Read All About It!
The Boy on Cinnamon Street
Nerd Camp
The Classroom
Smells Like Dog
Mission Unstoppable
On the Road to Mr. Mineo's
The Mark of Athena
A Whole Lot of Lucky
Alien on a Rampage
One for the Murphys

More of our favorite books on GoodReads »

Kidzone Blog

Matt Tavares Steps Up to the Summer Reading Plate

Matt Tavares is a talented author and illustrator.  He's also the man responsible for this year's summer reading graphics!  Matt grew up surrounded by books and reading.  He rediscovered his love for picture books while a studio art major at Bates College.  For his senior project, Matt wrote and illustrated a story called Sebastian's Ball, about a boy who caught a magic foul ball at a Boston Red Sox game.  Three years later, after much revision, that project became Zachary's Ball, Matt's first published picture book.  Since then, Matt has written and illustrated several award-winning picture books, mostly about sports.  That's why he's such a perfect match for our program this year!  On Your Mark, Get Set, READ some of Matt's books!

Becoming Babe Ruth (2013)
Crossing Niagara: The Death-Defying Tightrope Adventures of the Great Blondin (2016)
Growing Up Pedro (2015)
Henry Aaron's Dream (2010)
Mudball (2005)
Oliver's Game (2004)
Zachary's Ball (2000)

Want to learn more about Matt Tavares?  Check out this amazing interview at or browse Matt's website

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Summer Reading 2016

Everyone's a winner during this year's sports/fitness-themed summer reading program!  On Your Mark, Get Set, READ! is our children's summer reading program for birth through rising sixth grade.  (Make sure you watch the official commercial, starring Mr Justin and Miss Anna Beth and featuring the vocal talents of Mr Steve.)  Get in the Game -- READ! is our teen summer reading program for rising seventh through twelfth grade.

Registration begins Monday, May 23, 2016 and continues through July 18, 2016.  To sign up, simply stop by a Kid Zone or Teen Spot desk.  We ask a couple of questions for our stats (grade, name of school), then we hand you a bag of fun free stuff.  The most important thing you'll find in your bag is your reading log.  Every time you finish a book this summer, add the title to your log.  You'll also want to write down the number of pages in each book.  That's because you earn a ticket for every 100 pages!  These tickets can be exchanged for prizes in our Prize Locker, which opens Wednesday, June 1, 2016.  Prizes cost 2, 5, 10, or 15 tickets.  Teens can also use their tickets to enter into drawings for larger prizes.  Check the summer reading display by the teen desk for specifics.  Children also have a chance to win something big!  Every child who reaches 500 pages will have their name entered into a drawing for a bicycle!  Important thing to remember in all the excitement -- summer reading is not a race to see who reads the most or the fastest.  Read for fun and set a reading goal that's right for YOU!  The final day to redeem your tickets is August 3, 2016.

If you need help finding amazing books this summer, make sure you take a look at our official summer reading lists.  They are filled with our favorite fiction titles about playing sports and having fun.  I'll link to them at the end of this blog, but they are also always available in the Downloads sections of both the Kid Zone and Teen Spot webpages.  If you love nonfiction books, stay tuned to the blog all summer long for our Train Your Brain series.  For a sneak peek at some of the titles on the lists, watch our Summer Reading 2016 books trailer.  

Author Kate DiCamillo thinks you should sign up for Summer Reading, too!  Click here to learn more.

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture


I read around 300 books each year.  That's a lot of titles.  And, since I like to read a wide array of genres, it should be quite a diverse list.  But you know what happened recently?  I read two books about the March 11, 2011 tsunami that devastated Japan.  I didn't plan it.  The reading universe took things into its own hands.  Both books were good and each took a different approach to the topic.  So you may want to read both, too.

  • The Turn of the Tide by Rosanne Parry (2016)
    When the earthquake hits in Japan, Kai knows he’s supposed to follow the rules, but he also knows that his beloved grandparents need his help evacuating—and he runs away from his teacher. Many thousands of miles away, Kai’s American cousin, Jet, knows she must check the tides before sailing—each and every time. But she didn’t this time, and her decision has grave consequences. In the aftermath of the tsunami that devastates Kai’s island, his parents send him to stay with his American cousins in Oregon. Both kids must come to terms with the consequences of their decisions. Kai feels tremendous guilt that he was unable to save his grandparents, compounded by the shame of disobeying an adult. He already feels like he doesn’t fit in because he’s half-Japanese. Jet’s family business, piloting ships through treacherous channels, is decidedly male-dominated. There has only been one female pilot, and Jet wants to be the second. She keeps this secret, though, and works twice as hard at everything to succeed. Their summer isn’t an easy one. Kai’s homesick; worried for his parents, who are nuclear engineers in charge of repairing the power plant; and grieving his grandparents. Jet knows her intense competitiveness is off-putting and mourns the loss of her best friend. Parry has created two uniquely flawed main characters that readers will quickly grow to love. She has also crafted a vivid, close-knit community of seafarers who help one another.
  • Up from the Sea by Leza Lowitz (2016)

    Life changes in an instant for seventeen-year-old Kai, sitting in math class in a coastal region of Japan on Friday afternoon, March 11, 2011. He is thinking about skateboarding with his two best friends when the massive earthquake strikes. Lowitz’s free-verse novel sweeps the reader into Kai’s fragmented, rapidly changing consciousnesss. Blocked by fallen trees from climbing a mountainside, the students race to a high bridge only to be swept away in the tsunami. Kai survives but loses his entire family. He has already lost his American father, who abandoned them six years earlier. Taunted throughout childhood as “Hafu,” or half-Japanese, Kai is chosen to fly to New York to meet young people who lost parents on 9/11. Their warmth allows Kai to open up and move past his anger and his grief. When he returns to Japan, incredibly, his old soccer ball has washed up on a beach in Hawaii and is returned. Kai starts a soccer team with the youngsters who have been begging him to teach them. If the ball made it back, can Dad be far behind? And what will Kai choose when offered homes in two countries? Lowitz based her fiction on various true events. It is a moving story of the rebirth of hope in a teen who has lost almost everything. The book is flavored with Japanese customs and legends unobtrusively explained in quick footnotes. But Kai will resonate with teens on a simple human level, just as 3/11 resonates with 9/11.

Don't forget about this Saturday, May 21, 2016!  It's our Book It! 5K and Summer Reading Kick-off event at Veterans Park!  It's also National Readathon Day.  Celebrate the joy of reading AND running with these books!

Cheetah Can't Lose by Bob Shea
Finklehopper Frog by Irene Livingston
The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller
The Tortoise & the Hare by Jerry Pinkney

Boris for the Win by Andrew Joyner
Izzy Barr, Running Star by Claudia Mills
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
Moon Runner by Carolyn Marsden
Relay Race Breakdown by Jake Maddox

Dozer's Run: A True Story of a Dog and His Race by Debbie Levy
Jesse Owens: Running Into History by Elaine Israel
Take Off Track and Field by Robin Johnson
The Wildest Race Ever: The Story of the 1904 Olympic Marathon by Meghan McCarthy
Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman by Kathleen Krull

Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
Darius & Twig by Walter Dean Myers
On the Run by Michael Coleman
Runner by Carl Deuker
The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen

Everyone's child has done it at one time or another . . . thrown an epic tantrum.  It can happen at home or in a public place.  When it happens, it's stressful and exhausting.  And, sometimes, it's embarrassing.  Would you like to learn how to end tantrums forever?  Of course you would!  Register for Bye, Bye Tantrums, a parenting seminar presented by Rachel Raybin, M.S. Ed. on Thursday, June 2, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.  This FREE program will impart lessons learned from managing almost 20,000 preschoolers in 17 years.  Participants will also have an opportunity to purchase the cards developed by the presenter.  For more information, take a look at Rachel's website.  To register for the event, you can give us a call at 444-7830 or visit the library website.