The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street (by Karina Van Glaser)

Young Readers / Young Adult

The Vanderbeekers live in an old three storey brownstone in Harlem, NY. Two weeks before Christmas they learn that their curmudgeonly landlord, The Beiderman (Mr Beiderman) won’t be renewing their lease and they will have to leave their beloved home.

Not only will they have to move, they might have to leave New York. The five Vanderbeeker children have just 11 days to convince him to let them stay.

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street is completely charming. It’s obviously written for young readers (10~13 years old) but I loved it and I’m not too far away from 50. Kids will love it, parents will love that their kids love it and it’s a great book for reluctant readers.  There isn’t really anything bad I can say about the book.  I’ll be buying a few copies for stocking stuffers.

5 Stars.

Key the Steampunk Vampire and the Dungeon of Despair (by Becket)

Early Readers / First Chapter Books

On her 9th birthday, just as she was about to cut her cake, Key and her family were visited by an evil vampire and his two zombie henchmen. What should have been the happiest day of her life quickly turned into the saddest night.

She is made into a vampire, her parents have disappeared and might have been done in by the zombies, and to top it all off she is thrown into the Dungeon of Despair and quickly forgotten. As she lives her unlife in despair, the years, decades and centuries pass by. But she still manages to find small things to cheer herself even while she is chained in the dungeon.


Key the Steampunk Vampire Girl and the Dungeon of Despair is a great book for early readers and children who are just venturing into chapter books. It is wonderfully illustrated, the story is fun and even this 45 year old found it quite entertaining.

It would be a great book to give to children who find reading challenging.

(illustrated by Raven Quinn)

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