Nora's First Day at School by Tamar Bobokhidze (Picture Book, P-4)

This delightful picture book could ebb the anxiety of a child fretting over a new school.

Nora, a loris, dreads her first day of school. But the kindly teacher, a hippo named Ms. Hilda, and a menagerie of a class soon set Nora’s fears at ease.

Literature plays a huge part in a child’s development. Whether children read themselves or have a book read to them, stories can widen their imagination, expose them to new ideas, and help build their vocabulary. Stories can help children to deal with issues in their own life and to prepare for new experiences. Nora’s First Day at School is an excellent book choice that will help children learn how to socialize before entering school. The book is illustrated with vibrant colors and images and tells the story of a little girl named Nora, who is fretting over entering a new school. With the help of a special hippo teacher, Nora’s fears come to an end and she learns to enjoy school. Nora’s First day at School is book one of a series titled “My Teacher Hilda.” The series helps children to learn and grow and is a valuable educational tool.

Coinman: An Untold Conspiracy by Pawan Mishra (Literary Fiction, Humor, Satire, Office Parody)

Prejudice takes place in a plethora of forms. It sprouts a rare growth when a clerk called Coinman can't stop jingling the coins in his pocket. It's a seemingly harmless addiction, but it's one that comes to rule his life and begins to invite the wrath of virtually everyone around him. His work environment becomes increasingly hostile while his life at home begins to suffer as a result of his wife's obsession with acting. When an attempt to remedy the situation goes horribly wrong, it spurs those involved onto unexpected paths.

In this eccentric tale set in a small town in northern India, Pawan Mishra masterfully weaves ingenuity and sarcasm in a manner that's simultaneously hilarious and tragic. Coinman is a modern-day parable laced with pithy wisdom and psychological insight into human nature--a clever parody of the dynamics of office politics and groupthink. At times, surreal, Mishra's distinctive novel is an overflowing basin of linguistic humor. Eloquently written, this satirical story beautifully depicts how even mature, sensible adults can callously inflict emotional damage upon the most vulnerable.

Surviving Gretchen by Bonnie Daly (Young Adult, Family, Friendship, Relationsips)

Abby and Emma aren’t just best friends. They’re more like two life forces sharing the same soul, certain the ties that bind them can weather any storm. Then Gretchen comes into their lives, blowing across the landscape of their friendship like a hurricane. Will Abby and Emma survive Gretchen?

Surviving Gretchen, the first book in Bonnie Daly’s The Storms of Friendship series, is a captivating tale about what happens when the bond between two thirteen-year-old girls is threatened by the dark, swirling depths of another girl’s jealousy. The story reveals the importance of true friendship, mutual trust, and never taking the people you love for granted.