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Review of Doing Her Bit: A Story About the Woman’s Land Army of America

hagar_doing her bit

Doing Her Bit: A Story About the Woman’s Land Army of America by Erin Hagar; illus. by Jen Hill Primary    Charlesbridge    32 pp. 9/16    978-1-58089-646-7    $16.95 e-book ed.  978-1-60734-872-6    $9.99 In 1917, proper New York City college girl Helen Stevens joins the Woman’s Land Army of America to “do her bit” for the war effort. […]

Reviews of the 2017 Newbery Award winners

barnhill_girl who drank the moon

Winner: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill Intermediate, Middle School Algonquin 388 pp. 8/16 978-1-61620-567-6 $16.95 Every year, the people of the Protectorate steel themselves for the Day of Sacrifice, when the elders take the city’s youngest baby and leave it in the woods to appease the witch — a witch no […]

Reviews of the 2017 Caldecott Award winners

Radiant Child

Winner: Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe; illus. by the author Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp. 10/16    978-0-316-21388-2    $17.99 Picture books about artists are tricky. Should the illustrator mimic the subject’s style, or instead attempt to capture his or her essence? Steptoe does a little of both in this […]

Review of Somos como las nubes / 
We Are like the Clouds

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Somos como las nubes / 
We Are like the Clouds by Jorge Argueta; illus. by 
Alfonso Ruano; trans. from the Spanish by Elisa Amado Primary, Intermediate    Groundwood    32 pp. 10/16    978-1-55498-849-5    $18.95 e-book ed.  978-1-55498-850-1    $16.95 Argueta’s bilingual collection of poems gives voice to the many refugee children who emigrate from Central American countries to […]

Review of Almost Autumn

kaurin_almost autumn

Almost Autumn by Marianne Kaurin; trans. from the Norwegian by Rosie Hedger High School    Levine/Scholastic    281 pp. 1/17    978-0-545-88965-0    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-545-88966-7    $10.99 Ilse Stern, a typical rebellious, lovelorn adolescent, lives with her Jewish family in 1942 Nazi-occupied Oslo, where her father, Isak, runs a tailor shop. A present-tense narration creates immediacy, while […]

Review of The Storm Whale in Winter

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The Storm Whale in Winter by Benji Davies; illus. by the author Primary     Holt     32 pp. 1/17     978-1-250-11186-9     $16.99 Noi, who lives with his fisherman father, is reunited with the whale he rescued in The Storm Whale (rev. 1/15). Months have passed since Noi helped the stranded […]

Review of A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and 
the Creation of The Snowy Day

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A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and 
the Creation of The Snowy Day by Andrea Davis Pinkney; illus. by 
Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson Primary, Intermediate    Viking    56 pp. 11/16    978-0-425-28768-2    $18.99 In evocative verse, Pinkney presents a picture book biography of Ezra Jack Keats, creator of the children’s classic The […]

Review of Midnight Without a Moon

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Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson Middle School    Houghton    310 pp. 1/17    978-0-544-78510-6    $16.99    g In the summer of 1955, thirteen-year-old Rose Lee Carter chafes at the daily drudgery of life in rural Mississippi. Rose, who lives with her sharecropper grandparents, suffers from low self-esteem fostered by her despotic grandmother, who incessantly reminds […]

They can do it!

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Primary readers will cheer these determined everygirl heroines as they face — and conquer — relatable challenges, from learning a new language to speaking up to clueless parents. Author Jacqueline Kelly first introduced readers to aspiring naturalist/veterinarian Callie in the middle-grade novels The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate. Now […]

Embracing cultural identity

latham_dreamland-burning

The following YA stories feature teens struggling with family, friendship, and cultural identity in ways that feel organic to their experiences and are relatable to a variety of readers. Alternating between the voices of two seventeen-year-olds — a contemporary biracial (her mother is black, her father is white) young woman named Rowan Chase, and Will […]