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Review of King and the Dragonflies

King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender Intermediate, Middle School    Scholastic    263 pp.    g 2/20    978-1-338-12933-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-12935-9    $10.99 In their second middle-grade novel (Hurricane Child, rev. 5/18), set in contemporary small-town Louisiana, Callender masterfully balances resonant themes of grief, love, family, friendship, racism, sexuality, and coming-of-age. Twelve-year-old...

Review of My Grandma and Me

My Grandma and Me by Mina Javaherbin; illus. by Lindsey Yankey Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.    g 8/19    978-0-7636-9494-4    $16.99  The unnamed narrator recalls her childhood growing up in Iran (where the author also grew up) with her beloved grandmother, who lives with the family. The child accompanies her grandma on...

Board Book Roundup: Board Books Build Brains

They rarely win awards. Few make it to the annual “best of” lists. They get stepped on, chewed, drooled on, and thrown. Their core audiences may not remember a word of them in a few scant years. Their pages are frequently viewed out of order. But board books are some...

Board Books for Holiday Travel

It's that time of year when families with children board planes, trains, and automobiles for holiday travel — and sometimes lugging their favorite full-size picture books can be a strain. That's when board book editions of those picture books come in handy. In Rachel G. Payne’s excellent board book round up in...

Review of Light It Up

Light It Up by Kekla Magoon Middle School, High School    Holt    359 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-250-12889-8    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-250-12890-4    $9.99 In this follow-up to How It Went Down (rev. 11/14), Peach Street is seething. Two years after a young man was gunned down by police on the same street,...

Review of Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse

Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse by Jane Godwin; illus. by Blanca Gómez Preschool    Dial    40 pp.    g 8/19    978-0-525-55381-6    $16.99 “Red house / Blue house / Green house / Tree house! / See the tiny mouse / in her little brown house?” A small mouse packs her...

Review of The Year We Fell from Space

The Year We Fell from Space by Amy Sarig King Intermediate, Middle School    Levine/Scholastic    264 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-338-23636-1    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-23646-0    $10.99 Twelve-year-old “amateur creative astronomer” Liberty Johansen, having memorized all the constellations, makes up her own and meticulously maps them. Her love of the cosmos comes from...

Review of Lalani of the Distant Sea

Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly; illus. by Lian Cho Intermediate    Greenwillow    388 pp. 9/19    978-0-06-274727-3    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-274729-7    $9.99 Kelly turns from the contemporary realistic settings of the Newbery-winning Hello, Universe (rev. 3/17) and of You Go First (rev. 3/18) to a tropical island–set fantasy...

Review of Home in the Woods

Home in the Woods by Eliza Wheeler; illus. by the author Primary    Paulsen/Penguin    40 pp.    g 10/19    978-0-399-16290-9    $17.99 When six-year-old Marvel, her seven siblings, and their newly widowed mother are forced to leave their farm and move into an abandoned tar-paper shack deep in the woods, it “doesn’t seem...
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