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HPL Kids

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.

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

Torpedoed by Heiligman

Amid the constant rain of German bombs and the escalating violence of World War II, British parents by the thousands chose to send their children out of the country: the wealthy, independently; the poor, through a government relocation program called CORB. In September 1940, passenger liner SS City of Benares set sail for Canada with one hundred children on board.  When the war ships escorting the Benares departed, a German submarine torpedoed what became known as the Children's Ship. Out of tragedy, ordinary people became heroes. This is their story.

Heiligman is one of my favorite authors of nonfiction for youth.  She is a dedicated researcher who unfolds events in a truly compelling way.  Horn Book recently referred to her as a nonfiction maestro.  I agree.  And so will you.

Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of "The Children's Ship" by Deborah Heiligman (10/08/19)


Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

World Homeless Day

October 10, 2019 is World Homeless Day.  The purpose is to draw attention to homeless people’s needs locally and provide opportunities for the community to get involved in responding to homelessness worldwide.  There are several new middle grade titles that tackle this very issue.

The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman (02/05/19)
Life is harsh in Chennai's teeming streets, so when runaway sisters Viji and Rukku arrive, their prospects look grim. Very quickly, eleven-year-old Viji discovers how vulnerable they are in this uncaring, dangerous world. Fortunately, the girls find shelter--and friendship--on an abandoned bridge. With two homeless boys, Muthi and Arul, the group forms a family of sorts. And while making a living scavenging the city's trash heaps is the pits, the kids find plenty to laugh about and take pride in too. After all, they are now the bosses of themselves and no longer dependent on untrustworthy adults. But when illness strikes, Viji must decide whether to risk seeking help from strangers or to keep holding on to their fragile, hard-fought freedom.

The Great Jeff by Tony Abbott (03/19/19)
Life hasn't been great for Jeff Hicks. After years at his beloved St. Catherine's, he's forced to spend eighth grade in the public middle school, which he hates. He's no longer speaking to his former best friend, Tom Bender, because of "that burned girl" Jessica Feeney. But worst of all, his family is changing, and it's not for the better.  When his mom comes home announcing that she's lost her job, Jeff begins to worry about things far beyond his years: How will they pay the rent? Will his absentee dad step up and save the day? Is his mom drinking too much? And ultimately, where will they live?

No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen (09/11/18)
Twelve-and-three-quarter-year-old Felix Knutsson has a knack for trivia. His favorite game show is Who What Where When; he even named his gerbil after the host. Felix's mom, Astrid, is loving but can't seem to hold on to a job. So when they get evicted from their latest shabby apartment, they have to move into a van. Astrid swears him to secrecy; he can't tell anyone about their living arrangement, not even Dylan and Winnie, his best friends at his new school. If he does, she warns him, he'll be taken away from her and put in foster care.  As their circumstances go from bad to worse, Felix gets a chance to audition for a junior edition of Who What Where When, and he's determined to earn a spot on the show. Winning the cash prize could make everything okay again. But things don't turn out the way he expects. . . .  Susin Nielsen deftly combines humor, heartbreak, and hope in this moving story about people who slip through the cracks in society, and about the power of friendship and community to make all the difference.

Target Age: 
Katiem's picture

Can You Crack the Code?

Can You Crack the Code?: A Fascinating History of Ciphers and Cryptography by Ella Schwartz (03/26/19)
J  652.8  SCH
This fun and flippable nonfiction features stories of hidden treasures, war-time maneuverings, and contemporary hacking as well as explaining the mechanics behind the codes in accessible and kid friendly forms. Sidebars call out activities that invite the reader to try their own hand at cracking and crafting their own secret messages.

Jim Kay has taken another beloved J. K. Rowling book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and made it even more spectacular.  Seriously, you can practically feel the dragon's breath coming off the page!  The full-color illustrations combined with the 464-page length make this a weighty read, so don't try to read it while lying on your back in bed.  That's a surefire way to get a broken nose.  Instead, spread it before you on the table, the floor, or your lap, and immerse yourself in the magical wonder.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: The Illustrated Edition by J. K. Rowling & Jim Kay (October 8, 2019)
Harry Potter wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup with Hermione, Ron, and the Weasleys. He wants to dream about Cho Chang, his crush (and maybe do more than dream). He wants to find out about the mysterious event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn't happened for a hundred years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. Unfortunately for Harry Potter, he's not normal - even by wizarding standards. And in this case, different can be deadly.

Our spooky October Full Steam Ahead also has an Alabama twist!  Join Miss Anna Beth for Scary Stories to Tell in the Library on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 at 4 p.m.  She'll introduce you to the work of legendary Alabama storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham, give you a sampling of one of her "Jeffrey" ghost stories, and get a few victims (whoops, I meant volunteers!) to act out a portion of a tale.  Using Windham as inspiration, you'll also write a short scary story of your own!  If you want to share your tale with the group, you can.  If you want to keep it to yourself, you can do that, too.  This event is geared for students 8-12 years old.  Sign up online or by phone (444-7830) beginning 10/08.

Want to read more of Kathryn Tucker Windham's tales?  Head to the tallest bookcases in the Kid Zone and look for Dewey Decimal number 133.1.