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Review of Punching the Air

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi with Yusef Salaam; illus. by Omar T. Pasha High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    400 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-06-299648-0    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-299650-3    $10.99 Sixteen-year-old Amal Dawud Shahid (who is African American) knows he didn’t throw the punch that left Jeremy Mathis (who is white)...

Review of Outside In

Outside In by Deborah Underwood; illus. by Cindy Derby Primary    Houghton    40 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-328-86682-0    $17.99 The intersection of outside and inside is creatively explored in this reflection on nature and its gentle persistence and ever-presence. The story begins in nature, as a young girl explores an impressionistic forest....

Review of Chicken Little: The Real and Totally True Tale

Chicken Little: The Real and Totally True Tale by Sam Wedelich; illus. by the author Primary    Scholastic    40 pp.    g 6/20    978-1-338-35901-5    $17.99 In this clever spin on the classic tale, Chicken Little makes it clear — right from the get-go — that she’s got plenty of pluck. “Who are...

Review of Lifting as We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box

Lifting as We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box by Evette Dionne Middle School, High School    Viking    176 pp.    g 4/20    978-0-45148-154-2    $19.99 In her preface, “Not the History You Learned in School,” Dionne sets the historical scene with the 2016 presidential campaign. Having...

Review of Willa the Wisp

Willa the Wisp [The Fabled Stables] by Jonathan Auxier; illus. by Olga Demidova Primary    Amulet/Abrams    96 pp.    g 10/20    978-1-4197-4269-9    $12.99 “At the top of the world sat an island. And at the heart of that island lived a boy named Auggie.” So begins this early chapter book full of...

Review of You Matter

You Matter by Christian Robinson; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Atheneum    40 pp.    g 6/20    978-1-5344-2169-1    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-2170-7    $10.99 No saccharine self-esteem book, this is a powerful affirmation of each reader’s worth. Robinson’s text is loaded with child appeal (“When everyone thinks you’re a pest. / When...

Review of The Complete and Original Norwegian Folktales of Asbjørnsen and Moe

The Complete and Original Norwegian Folktales of Asbjørnsen and Moe by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe; trans. from Norwegian by Tiina Nunnally Intermediate    University of Minnesota    320 pp.    g 9/19    978-1-5179-0568-2    $34.95 Asbjørnsen and Moe first published their Norske folkeeventyr (“Norwegian folktales”) as a pamphlet in 1841; through the...

Review of Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks

Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Slade; illus. by Cozbi A. Cabrera Primary, Intermediate    Abrams    48 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-4197-3411-3    $17.99 Gwendolyn Brooks (1917–2000) grew up on the South Side of Chicago “with little money to spare,” but her childhood home was rich in volumes of...

Review of Baloney and Friends

Baloney and Friends by Greg Pizzoli; illus. by the author Primary    Disney-Hyperion    87 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-368-05454-6    $12.99 In this energetic and amusing comics-styled easy reader, Baloney — an amiable orange pig — interacts with his friends Bizz (a bumblebee), Peanut (a blue horse), and Krabbit (an often crabby and...

Review of One Golden Rule at School: A Counting Book

One Golden Rule at School: A Counting Book by Selina Alko; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Ottaviano/Holt    40 pp.    g 6/20    978-1-250-16381-3    $17.99 Within the familiar rhythms and routines of a school day, viewers count from one (“One backpack”) to ten (“Ten chickpeas lined up for lunch”) and back...

Review of Frog and Toad Are Friends

Frog and Toad Are Friends [I Can Read Book] by Arnold Lobel; illus. by the author Primary    Harper/HarperCollins    72 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-06-298343-5    $18.99 Here is a welcome new edition of this iconic, Caldecott Honor–winning easy reader, reissued with a section at the end of seven pages of background material....

Review of How to Solve a Problem: The Rise (and Falls) of a Rock-Climbing Champion

How to Solve a Problem: The Rise (and Falls) of a Rock-Climbing Champion by Ashima Shiraishi; illus. by Yao Xiao Primary    Make Me a World/Random    40 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-5247-7327-4    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-5247-7328-1    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-7329-8    $10.99 With a voice that’s distinctive, lyrical, and inspiring, teenage rock-climber Shiraishi...

Review of Eight Princesses and a Magic Mirror

Eight Princesses and a Magic Mirror by Natasha Farrant; illus. by Lydia Corry Intermediate    Norton    217 pp.    g 5/20    978-1-324-01556-7    $19.95 The framing structure for this collection of princess stories is elaborate. When an enchantress is invited to be the godmother to a princess, she realizes that she doesn’t know...

Review of 13 Stories About Harris

13 Stories About Harris by Amy Schwartz; illus. by the author Preschool    Holiday    40 pp.    g 7/20    978-0-8234-4249-2    $18.99 Thirteen short stories follow city dweller Harris on preschooler-sized adventures. A very few seem geared toward adult sensibilities; most tap directly into authentic early-childhood behaviors and experiences. Harris, completely absorbed in...

Review of One Year at Ellsmere

One Year at Ellsmere by Faith Erin Hicks; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    First Second/Roaring Brook    172 pp.    g 7/20    978-1-250-21909-1    $22.99 Paper ed.  978-1-250-21910-7    $14.99 Originally published as The War at Ellsmere in 2008 (by SLG Publishing) and now back in print with revamped art, this graphic...

Review of A Sporting Chance: How Ludwig Guttmann Created the Paralympic Games

A Sporting Chance: How Ludwig Guttmann Created the Paralympic Games by Lori Alexander; illus. by Allan Drummond Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    128 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-328-58079-5    $17.99 Before Dr. Ludwig Guttmann (1899–1980), there was no treatment for a broken spine; paraplegics were deemed incurable and usually died in a matter...

Review of The One and Only Bob

The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate; illus. by Patricia Castelao Intermediate    Harper/HarperCollins    338 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-06-299131-7    $18.99 Applegate revisits the beloved cast of characters from her Newbery Medal–winning The One and Only Ivan (rev. 1/12), but this time from a different viewpoint. Bob, the tenacious mutt (“some...

Review of Sun and Moon Have a Tea Party

Sun and Moon Have a Tea Party by Yumi Heo; illus. by Naoko Stoop Primary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    40 pp.    g 7/20    978-0-385-39033-0    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-385-39034-7    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-385-39035-4    $10.99 Sun and Moon meet for a late-afternoon tea party and discover the disparities between their worldviews. As they...

Review of Winter in Wartime

Winter in Wartime by Jan Terlouw; trans. from Dutch by Laura Watkinson Intermediate    NYRB    220 pp.    g Paper ed.  978-1-68137-426-0    $12.99 e-book ed.  978-1-68137-427-7    $9.99 In a village in the Netherlands, in the winter of 1944–45, teen Michiel van Beusekom becomes involved in anti-Nazi resistance activities — hiding and feeding...

Review of The Fabled Life of Aesop

The Fabled Life of Aesop by Ian Lendler; illus. by Pamela Zagarenski Primary    Houghton    64 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-328-58552-3    $18.99 Lendler gives depth to a collection of Aesop’s fables by incorporating them into the story of their teller’s life. Working off what few facts scholars have pieced together from historical...

Review of I Am Here Now

I Am Here Now by Barbara Bottner High School    Imprint/Macmillan    347 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-250-20769-2    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-250-20770-8    $9.99 Fourteen-year-old Maisie characterizes her 1960s coming-of-age in the Bronx as “one of those fairy tales / where the witch eats the child.” And for good reason. Her perfume mogul dad...

Review of The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story

The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story by Tina Cho; illus. by Jess X. Snow Primary    Kokila/Penguin    48 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-9848-1486-9    $17.99 Young Korean girl Dayeon admires her diver grandmother (“You are like a treasure-hunting mermaid”) and wants to be like her. Grandma is a haenyeo, one of many...

Review of Race Through the Skies: The Week the World Learned to Fly

Race Through the Skies: The Week the World Learned to Fly by Martin W. Sandler Middle School    Bloomsbury    185 pp.    g 7/20    978-1-5476-0344-2    $24.99 The rate of innovation during the first decade of flight is as astounding now as it must have been at the time. Sandler’s compelling look at...

Review of Clap When You Land

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo High School    Quill Tree/HarperCollins    422 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-06-288276-9    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-288278-3    $11.99 In this sharp and compelling verse novel (a 2020 Boston Globe–Horn Book honoree), sixteen-year-old Camino Rios lives in the Dominican Republic and dreams of medical school. Sixteen-year-old Yahaira Rios...

Review of We Will Rock Our Classmates

We Will Rock Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins; illus. by the author Primary    Disney-Hyperion    48 pp.    g 7/20    978-1-368-05959-6    $17.99 This second installment about T. rex Penelope (We Don’t Eat Our Classmates, rev. 9/18) centers on the school talent show. Penelope loves to rock and roll, and using her...

Review of A Bowl Full of Peace: A True Story

A Bowl Full of Peace: A True Story by Caren Stelson; illus. by Akira Kusaka Intermediate, Middle School    Carolrhoda    40 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-5415-2148-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5415-8219-4    $18.95 Each evening Sachiko’s family gathers around their table in Nagasaki, Japan. Before the Second World War, Grandmother’s bowl is the centerpiece...

Review of War at the Snow White Motel and Other Stories

War at the Snow White Motel and Other Stories by Tim Wynne-Jones Intermediate, Middle School    Groundwood    245 pp.    g 5/20    978-1-77306-047-7    $16.95 e-book ed.  978-1-77306-048-4    $11.99 Most of the protagonists in these nine short stories are twelve years old and bumping into the realities of human nature — their own...

Review of Good Guys, Bad Guys

Good Guys, Bad Guys by Joanne Rocklin; illus. by Nancy Carpenter Preschool, Primary    Abrams    32 pp.    g 5/20    978-1-4197-3417-5    $16.99 Rocklin and Carpenter present a ­rollicking homage to neighborhood kid–­summertime play. The story begins on the title-page spread as two children get ready to greet the morning. On the left-hand...

Review of On the Horizon

On the Horizon by Lois Lowry; illus. by Kenard Pak Middle School, High School    Houghton    80 pp.    g 4/20    978-0-358-12940-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-12938-7    $9.99 In a poetry collection that’s as much structure as style and theme, Lowry considers two events: the bombings of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. In the...

Review of You're Invited to a Moth Ball: A Nighttime Insect Celebration

You’re Invited to a Moth Ball: A Nighttime Insect Celebration by Loree Griffin Burns; photos by Ellen Harasimowicz Primary    Charlesbridge    40 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-58089-686-3    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-63289-834-0    $9.99 With her latest book, Burns (Tracking Trash, rev. 3/07; The Hive Detectives, rev. 5/10) has earned the right to add...

Review of Echo Mountain

Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk Intermediate, Middle School    Dutton    359 pp.    g 4/20    978-0-525-55556-8    $17.99 Since the Great Depression forced twelve-year-old Ellie’s family to move from town up to Echo Mountain, she hasn’t known how to interact with her mother and older sister; they miss their former life and blame...

Review of Bo the Brave

Bo the Brave by Bethan Woollvin; illus. by the author Primary    Peachtree    32 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-68263-182-9    $17.99 When Bo’s two older brothers, Erik and Ivan, set off from the castle on a quest to hunt a monster, they refuse to allow her to join, sneering that she’s too little....

Review of Ms. Gloria Steinem: A Life

Ms. Gloria Steinem: A Life by Winifred Conkling Middle School, High School    Feiwel    305 pp.    g 6/20    978-1-250-24457-4    $19.99 Conkling (Radioactive!, rev. 3/16; Votes for Women!, rev. 3/18) opens this insightful biography of the feminist icon with a close call. In 1956, when she was twenty-two, Steinem called off wedding...

Review of Felix Ever After

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    357 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-06-282025-9    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-282027-3    $10.99 At seventeen, Felix Love feels marginalized as a Black teen, an aspiring artist, and a trans male. His mom left the family when he was ten, and although his...

Review of The Blue House

The Blue House by Phoebe Wahl; illus. by the author Primary    Knopf    40 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-9848-9336-9    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-9848-9337-6    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-9338-3    $10.99 Wahl’s picture book tells an affecting story about loss and starting over. In it, interdependent text and art channel a Molly Bang–like artistic style...

Review of How to Find a Bird

How to Find a Bird by Jennifer Ward; illus. by Diana Sudyka Preschool, Primary    Beach Lane/Simon    48 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-4814-6705-6    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-6706-3    $10.99 “There are a lot of ways to find a bird.” The two children in this enticing and beautiful picture book demonstrate how. After doing...

Review of Daring Darleen, Queen of the Screen

Daring Darleen, Queen of the Screen by Anne Nesbet Intermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    357 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-5362-0619-7    $18.99 “Sometimes the real danger is not what you thought it would be at all.” So begins the story of Darleen, young (fictional) star of silent movie serials. It is 1914, and...

Review of We Are Water Protectors

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom; illus. by Michaela Goade Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-250-20355-7    $17.99 The book opens with a young Indigenous girl collecting water with her grandmother, who tells her that “water is the first medicine.” Vibrant blues, greens, and purples depict the river...

Review of Sharuko: El arqueologo peruano Julio C. Tello / Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello

Sharuko: El arqueólogo Peruano Julio C. Tello / Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello by Monica Brown; illus. by Elisa Chavarri; trans. into Spanish by Adriana Domínguez Primary, Intermediate    Children’s/Lee & Low    40 pp.    g 8/20    978-0-89239-423-4    $19.95 This picture-book biography of Peruvian archaeologist and educator Julio C. Tello (1880–1947) forefronts...

Review of Again Again

Again Again by E. Lockhart High School    Delacorte    293 pp.    g 6/20    978-0-385-74479-9    $18.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-99185-1    $21.99 e-book ed.  978-0-385-39139-9    $10.99 In this novel set in the same world as The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (rev. 5/08), Lockhart explores the intersection between love and the multiverse. The summer...

Review of Whoo-Ku Haiku: A Great Horned Owl Story

Whoo-Ku Haiku: A Great Horned Owl Story by Maria Gianferrari; illus. by Jonathan Voss Primary    Putnam    32 pp.    g 3/20    978-0-399-54842-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-399-54843-7    $9.99 Readers follow a pair of great horned owls and their owlets from winter into the next autumn in this life-cycle narrative told in haiku....

Review of Most Wanted: The Revolutionary Partnership of John Hancock & Samuel Adams

Most Wanted: The Revolutionary Partnership of John Hancock & Samuel Adams by Sarah Jane Marsh; illus. by Edwin Fotheringham Intermediate    Little, Brown    80 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-368-02683-3    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-368-06129-2    $12.99 Here readers meet the original American political odd couple: Samuel Adams, the serious and staunch patriot, and John...

Review of Red Hood

Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    357 pp. 2/20    978-0-06-274253-3    $18.99 After a consensual (and vividly described) sexual encounter with her boyfriend that, to her surprise, ends in her beginning to menstruate for the first time, sixteen-year-old Bisou is attacked by a wolf on her...

Review of Everyone's Awake

Everyone’s Awake by Colin Meloy; illus. by Shawn Harris Primary    Chronicle    48 pp. 3/20    978-1-4521-7805-9    $17.99 Meloy and Harris depict one family’s anarchical bedtime routine within their ramshackle lighthouse-esque domicile. ­Rollicking rhymes, narrated by a young family member, set the scene: “We all got / tucked in early. / A...

Review of In Search of Safety: Voices of Refugees

In Search of Safety: Voices of Refugees by Susan Kuklin; photos by the author Middle School, High School    Candlewick    246 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-7636-7960-6    $24.99 Hewing to a definition of refugees as “people who are forced to leave their country because they are being persecuted,” Kuklin profiles five such young...

Review of The Phantom Twin

The Phantom Twin by Lisa Brown; illus. by the author Middle School, High School    First Second/Roaring Brook    206 pp. 3/20    978-1-62672-925-4    $24.99 Paper ed.  978-1-62672-924-7    $17.99 In this dark graphic novel with an unconventional cast and setting — an ode to outsiders, “freaks,” and misfits everywhere — Jane and Isabel...

Review of Jules vs. the Ocean

Jules vs. the Ocean by Jessie Sima; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Simon    48 pp. 5/20    978-1-5344-4168-2    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-4169-9    $10.99 Intent on impressing her older sister at the beach, Jules plans to build a big sandcastle. When the waves foil her plans, she assumes “the Ocean” is...

Review of Solar Story: How One Community Lives Alongside the World's Biggest Solar Plant

Solar Story: How One Community Lives Alongside the World’s Biggest Solar Plant by Allan Drummond; illus. by the author Primary    Farrar    40 pp. 3/20    978-0-374-30899-5    $18.99 Expanding his series of picture books on environmentally friendly community projects (see Green City, rev. 1/16; and Pedal Power, rev. 1/17), Drummond takes readers...

Review of Mañanaland

Mañanaland by Pam Muñoz Ryan Intermediate, Middle School    Scholastic    254 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-338-15786-4    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-15788-8    $11.99 Growing up in Santa Maria, a (fictional) country “somewhere in the Américas,” Maximiliano Córdoba is familiar with the legends of the Guardians and the Hidden Ones they led to safety —...

Review of A New Green Day

A New Green Day by Antoinette Portis; illus. by the author Preschool    Porter/Holiday    40 pp. 4/20    978-0-8234-4488-5    $18.99 In this exuberant celebration of a summer day, readers engage with compelling page-turns to solve simple nature riddles. “Morning lays me on your pillow,” the book opens, “square and warm. Come out...

Review of Hello, Neighbor!: The Kind and Caring World of Mister Rogers

Hello, Neighbor!: The Kind and Caring World of Mister Rogers by Matthew Cordell; illus. by the author Primary    Porter/Holiday    40 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-8234-4618-6    $18.99 This authorized biography of Fred Rogers opens as did his iconic television program, with a stoplight flashing yellow, signaling that it is time to slow...

Review of What About Worms!?

What About Worms!? [Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!] by Ryan T. Higgins; illus. by the author; with additional illustrations by Mo Willems Primary    Hyperion    64 pp.    g 5/20    978-1-368-04573-5    $9.99 Tiger is BIG. Tiger is BRAVE. Tiger is afraid of nothing...“except worms.” Tiger, a plush Calvin and Hobbes-ian animal with...

Review of The Camping Trip

The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann; illus. by the author Primary    Candlewick    56 pp.    g 5/20    978-1-5362-0736-1    $17.99 City-dweller Ernestine has never been camping, but when Aunt Jackie and cousin Samantha invite her, she gets her dad’s okay and starts preparing: new flashlight and sleeping bag, a homemade batch...

Review of Tiny Bird: A Hummingbird's Amazing Journey

Tiny Bird: A Hummingbird’s Amazing Journey by Robert Burleigh; illus. by Wendell Minor Primary    Ottaviano/Holt    40 pp. 4/20    978-1-62779-369-8    $18.99 In the late days of summer in the northeastern United States, a ruby-throated hummingbird (here called Tiny Bird) “feels a pull and knows it must go” on its migration journey...

Review of We Dream of Space

 We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly Intermediate, Middle School    Greenwillow    392 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-06-274730-3    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-274732-7    $9.99 In the foreground of this novel are three siblings. Twelve-year-old Fitch lives for video games and is angry through and through. His twin sister Bird is an amiable,...

Review of Rita & Ralph's Rotten Day

Rita & Ralph’s Rotten Day by Carmen Agra Deedy; illus. by Pete Oswald Preschool, Primary    Scholastic    48 pp. 3/20    978-1-338-21638-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-59927-5    $10.99 Rita and Ralph are best friends. Each day they meet at the apple tree midway between their houses and play games together. One day the...

Review of Tracking Pythons: The Quest to Catch an Invasive Predator and Save an Ecosystem

Tracking Pythons: The Quest to Catch an Invasive Predator and Save an Ecosystem by Kate Messner Intermediate, Middle School    Millbrook    64 pp. 3/20    978-1-5415-5706-2    $31.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5415-8379-5    $31.99 This thoroughly engrossing field guide takes readers into the “scrublands and swamps” of South Florida, where scientists are battling the explosive...

Review of Stand Up, Yumi Chung!

Stand Up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim Intermediate, Middle School    Kokila/Penguin    314 pp.    g 3/20    978-0-525-55497-4    $16.99 Eleven-year-old Yumi is spending the summer helping her family’s struggling Korean barbecue restaurant in L.A. and studying to earn an academic scholarship to the private school where she has just spent her sixth-grade...

Review of Green on Green

Green on Green by Dianne White; illus. by Felicita Sala Preschool, Primary    Beach Lane/Simon    48 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-4814-6278-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-6279-2    $10.99 Do we need another picture book about the seasons? When it’s this good, the answer is an emphatic yes. White’s text is written in eminently readable...

Review of Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom Graphic Memoir

Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom Graphic Memoir by Tyler Feder; illus. by the author High School    Dial    202 pp.    g 4/20    978-0-525-55302-1    $18.99 This moving and candid graphic memoir offers a refreshingly honest portrayal of grief and growing into adulthood “for anyone struggling with loss who just...

Review of Parachutes

Parachutes by Kelly Yang High School    Tegen/HarperCollins    485 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-06-294108-4    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-294113-8    $10.99 Claire lives in Shanghai with her wealthy, image-obsessed, and unhappy family. When Claire’s parents send her to prep school in America, she boards with a fellow student (who’s on scholarship), Filipina American teen...

Review of In My Anaana's Amautik

In My Anaana’s Amautik by Nadia Sammurtok; illus. by Lenny Lishchenko Preschool    Inhabit Media    24 pp. 4/20    978-1-77227-252-9    $16.95 A baby’s perspective of being held in its anaana’s (mother’s) amautik (“the pouch in the back of a woman’s parka where a baby can be carried”) is explored in lulling, sensory-rich...

Review of On Wings of Words: The Extraordinary Life of Emily Dickinson

On Wings of Words: The Extraordinary Life of Emily Dickinson by Jennifer Berne; illus. by Becca Stadtlander Primary, Intermediate    Chronicle    48 pp. 2/20    978-1-4521-4297-5    $18.99 Berne’s picture-book biography is a lyrical appreciation of Dickinson’s skill with words, painting a vivid picture of the poet’s special abilities (“With the power of...

Review of Stepping Stones

Stepping Stones by Lucy Knisley; illus. by the author; color by Whitney Cogar Intermediate, Middle School    RH Graphic/Random    223 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-593-12524-3    $20.99 Paper ed.  978-1-9848-9684-1    $12.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-9686-5    $9.99 This tender graphic novel by Alex Award winner (for Relish) Knisley illuminates the challenges of finding oneself in...

Review of Lift

Lift by Minh Lê; illus. by Dan Santat Primary    Little, Brown    48 pp.    g 5/20    978-1-368-03692-4    $17.99 Lê and Santat (Drawn Together, rev. 7/18) present another story focused on everyday familial relationships, expressed through concise writing and extraordinary visuals. As young Iris waits for an elevator with her family in...

Review of Dragon Hoops

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang; illus. by the author; color by Lark Pien High School    First Second/Roaring Brook    446 pp. 3/20    978-1-62672-079-4    $24.99 “I’m just not a sports kind of guy,” begins Yang in this comics-format offering that brilliantly combines journalism, memoir, and sports history. Yang, who taught math...

Review of The Enigma Game

The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein Middle School, High School    Little, Brown    426 pp.    g 5/20    978-1-368-01258-4    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-368-01651-3    $9.99 In this companion novel to Code Name Verity (rev. 5/12) and its prequel The Pearl Thief (rev. 5/17), and featuring characters from both, Wein takes her turn at...

Review of One Little Bag: An Amazing Journey

One Little Bag: An Amazing Journey by Henry Cole; illus. by the author Primary    Scholastic    48 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-338-35997-8    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-59929-9    $11.99 This wordless story follows a family and a paper bag through the generations. A tree becomes a log that gets hauled to a paper mill,...

Review of Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera

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Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming; illus. by Eric Rohmann Primary    Porter/Holiday    40 pp. 2/20    978-0-8234-4285-0    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4304-8    $11.99 A worker bee breaks out of her honeycomb cell and begins a task-filled life in her colony. The “teeming, trembling flurry” of bees within the...

Review of The Blossom and the Firefly

The Blossom and the Firefly by Sherri L. Smith Middle School, High School    Putnam    311 pp.    g 2/20    978-1-5247-3790-0    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-3791-7    $10.99 Almost buried alive in a bombing by Allied forces in 1945 Chiran, Japan, fifteen-year-old Hana feels as though she is already dead, just going through the...

Review of The Cool Bean

The Cool Bean by Jory John; illus. by Pete Oswald Primary    Harper/HarperCollins    40 pp. 12/19    978-0-06-295452-7    $18.99 This third collaboration about an endearing food staple features John’s and Oswald’s trademark humor-wrapped-around-a-message that made The Bad Seed and The Good Egg (rev. 3/19) so entertaining. This time it’s a cool-is-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder tale...

Review of Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom

Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford; illus. by Michele Wood Primary, Intermediate    Candlewick    56 pp.    g 4/20    978-0-7636-9156-1    $17.99 “I entered the world a slave…I was a slave because my countrymen had made it lawful, in utter contempt of the declared will of heaven.” Our...

Review of When Stars Are Scattered

When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed; illus. by Victoria Jamieson; color by Iman Geddy Intermediate, Middle School    Dial    264 pp.    g 4/20    978-0-525-55391-5    $20.99 Paper ed.  978-0-525-55390-8    $17.99 This poignant graphic novel about growing up in a Kenyan refugee camp is based on co-author Mohamed’s experiences...

Review of ¡Vamos!: Let's Go Eat

¡Vamos!: Let’s Go Eat by Raúl the Third; illus. by the author; color by Elaine Bay Primary    Versify/Houghton    40 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-328-55704-9    $14.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-33070-7    $9.99 Little Lobo and his canine sidekick Bernabé, whom we met in ¡Vamos!: Let’s Go to the Market (rev. 3/19), are getting ready...

Review of Nesting

Nesting by Henry Cole; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Tegen/HarperCollins    40 pp. 3/20    978-0-06-288592-0    $17.99 Every spring, across North America, robins mate, build nests, lay eggs, and nurture their young. Cole illustrates this sequence of events with a pair of robins, employing gentle black-and-white crosshatching and one dramatic pop...

Review of Leaving Lymon

Leaving Lymon by Lesa Cline-Ransome Intermediate, Middle School    Holiday    199 pp. 1/20    978-0-8234-4442-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4633-9    $10.99 Lymon Caldwell, a secondary character in Finding Langston (rev. 9/18), tells his story in this companion novel that explores the question, “Are bullies born or are they made?” Lymon lives with his...

Review of The Underhills: A Tooth Fairy Story

The Underhills: A Tooth Fairy Story by Bob Graham; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    48 pp. 10/19    978-1-5362-1112-2    $16.99 Tooth fairy sisters April and Esme (April and Esme, Tooth Fairies, rev. 9/10), along with dog Ariel and new baby brother Vincent, are fluttering in for a sleepover with...

Review of In the Woods

In the Woods by David Elliott; illus. by Rob Dunlavey Primary    Candlewick    40 pp.    g 4/20    978-0-7636-9783-9    $17.99 Once again Elliott (On the Farm, rev. 3/08; In the Sea, rev. 1/12; and others) captures the essence of a habitat and its creatures in poetry that manages to be both pithy...

Review of Oil

Oil by Jonah Winter; illus. by Jeanette Winter Primary    Beach Lane/Simon    40 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-5344-3077-8    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-3078-5    $10.99 When the Exxon Valdez runs aground in 1989 and dumps oil along the Alaskan coast, the damage done is brutal, extensive, and long-lasting. With confidence in his young audience’s...

Review of Ways to Make Sunshine

Ways to Make Sunshine by Renée Watson; illus. by Nina Mata Intermediate    Bloomsbury    178 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-5476-0056-4    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5476-0057-1    $11.89 African American fourth grader Ryan Hart approaches challenges in her life with bravery, common sense, and humor. When the house her family rents is sold and her...

Review of Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale with a Tail

Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale with a Tail by Lesléa Newman, illus. by Susan Gal Primary    Charlesbridge    32 pp. 1/20    978-1-58089-882-9    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-63289-742-8    $9.99 On Passover, inside his warm and cozy house, a boy waits expectantly for his family’s Seder. Outdoors, a kitten waits alone for the moon...

Review of Cast Away: Poems for Our Time

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Cast Away: Poems for Our Time by Naomi Shihab Nye Middle School, High School    Greenwillow    159 pp. 2/20    978-0-06-290769-1    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-290771-4    $10.99 Current Young People’s Poet ­Laureate Nye finds inspiration in those things we throw away — as well as in the act of throwing things away and...

Review of The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne

The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne by Lesa Cline-Ransome; illus. by John Parra Primary    Wiseman/Simon    48 pp. 1/20    978-1-4814-6289-1    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-6290-7    $10.99 Ethel L. Payne grew up on the South Side of Chicago surrounded by stories from her parents and from...

Review of Go with the Flow

Go with the Flow by Lily Williams and Karen Schneemann; illus. by Lily Williams Middle School, High School    First Second/Roaring Brook    $14.99 1/20    978-1-250-30572-5    $21.99 Paper ed.  978-1-250-14317-4    $14.99 After noticing bloodstains on new-girl Sasha’s white pants, longtime friends Abby, Christine, and Brit swoop in and save the day. It’s...

Review of The Old Truck

The Old Truck by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey; illus. by the authors Preschool, Primary    Norton    40 pp. 1/20    978-1-324-00519-3    $17.95 e-book ed.  978-1-324-00520-9    $12.15 The author-illustrator brothers tell the story of a family farm and the truck that assists with chores. As the hard-working truck ages, so does the...

Review of Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights

Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights by Karen Blumenthal High School    Roaring Brook    373 pp.    g 2/20    978-1-62672-165-4    $19.99 Multiple legal, social, religious, and medical strands comprise the history of reproductive rights in America. Blumenthal, in her trademark straightforward journalistic style (Tommy: The Gun That Changed...

Review of The List of Things That Will Not Change

 The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead Intermediate    Lamb/Random    218 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-101-93809-6    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-101-93810-2    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-101-93811-9    $9.99 From the outside it appears that Bea lives a charmed life. She has loving (albeit divorced) parents; an involved extended family; a kindly, funny teacher; a loyal...

Review of My Best Friend

My Best Friend by Julie Fogliano; illus. by Jillian Tamaki Preschool    Atheneum    32 pp. 3/20    978-1-5344-2722-8    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-2723-5    $10.99 What begins on the title spread as a small redheaded girl hesitantly approaching another girl on a tire swing becomes an ode to making friends. Our narrator gleefully shares this discovered joy:...

Review of The Only Woman in the Photo: Frances Perkins & Her New Deal for America

The Only Woman in the Photo: Frances Perkins & Her New Deal for America by Kathleen Krull; illus. by Alexandra Bye Primary, Intermediate    Atheneum    48 pp. 2/20    978-1-4814-9151-8    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-9152-5    $10.99 President Roosevelt usually gets credit for the New Deal programs that helped pull America out of the...

Review of Prairie Lotus

Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park Middle School   Clarion    260 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-328-78150-5    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-33083-7    $9.99 In 1880, fourteen-year-old Hanna and her father settle in the (fictional) town of LaForge, in Dakota Territory. Papa is white; Hanna’s late mother immigrated from China and had both Chinese and...

Review of A Girl like Me

A Girl like Me by Angela Johnson; illus. by Nina Crews Preschool, Primary    Millbrook    40 pp.    g 2/20    978-1-5415-5777-2    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5415-7891-3    $18.99 It seems not even the sky’s the limit for the imaginative, adventurous, inventive girls depicted in this inspirational picture book. Johnson’s upbeat text, paired with Crews’s...

Review of Mother Jones and Her Army of Mill Children

Mother Jones and Her Army of Mill Children by Jonah Winter; illus. by Nancy Carpenter Primary, Intermediate    Schwartz & Wade/Random    40 pp. 2/20    978-0-449-81291-4    $17.99   g Library ed.  978-0-449-81292-1    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-449-81293-8    $10.99 Creating a first-person narration (partly adapted from the labor activist’s letters and speeches, as explained in...

Review of Yes No Maybe So

Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    440 pp.    g 2/20    978-0-06-293704-9    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-293705-6    $11.99 In alternating chapters, teens Maya (a Muslim girl) and Jamie (a Jewish boy) narrate a story set amidst a longshot Georgia state senate campaign. Pushed...

Review of Johnny's Pheasant

Johnny’s Pheasant by Cheryl Minnema; illus. by Julie Flett Primary    Minnesota    32 pp.    g 11/19    978-1-5179-0501-9    $16.95 Minnema (a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe) and Flett (of Cree-Métis descent) present an engaging and humorous intergenerational story of patience, hope, and surprise. Johnny spots a motionless pheasant in...

Review of The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read

The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard; illus. by Oge Mora Primary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    40 pp.    g 1/20    978-1-5247-6828-7    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-5247-6829-4    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-6830-0    $10.99 As an enslaved child on an Alabama plantation, Mary Walker would look up at the...

Review of Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: The Body Under the Piano

Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: The Body Under the Piano by Marthe Jocelyn; illus. by Isabelle Follath Intermediate    Tundra    325 pp.    g 2/20    978-0-7352-6546-2    $15.99 e-book ed.  978-0-77352-6547-9    $9.99 In 1902 Torquay, England, twelve-year-old Aggie befriends a Belgian refugee, Hector Perot, and investigates a murder roiling the town. When Mrs. Eversham,...

Review of Pluto Gets the Call

Pluto Gets the Call by Adam Rex; illus. by Laurie Keller Primary    Beach Lane/Simon    48 pp. 11/19    978-1-5344-1453-2    $17.99 e-book ed.   978-1-5344-1454-9    $10.99 Rex and Keller dramatize Pluto’s demotion to dwarf planet status in this smart and playful offering of informational comedy. Rex’s wry and engaging text is told completely...

Review of Just like Me

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Just like Me by Vanessa Brantley-Newton; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Knopf    40 pp.    g 1/20    978-0-525-58209-0    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-525-58210-6    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-525-58211-3    $10.99 Each poem in this collection is narrated by a different young girl about some aspect of her identity that she celebrates (“I am...

Review of Not a Bean

Not a Bean by Claudia Guadalupe Martínez; illus. by Laura González Preschool, Primary    Charlesbridge    32 pp. 9/19    978-1-58089-815-7    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-63289-667-4    $9.99 “Jumping beans” are not in fact beans but moth larvae that have burrowed into the seedpods of the yerba de la flecha shrubs found alongside arroyos in...

Review of There Will Come a Darkness

There Will Come a Darkness [Age of Darkness] by Katy Rose Pool High School    Holt    485 pp. 9/19    978-1-250-21175-0    $19.99 A prophecy foretells that an “age of darkness” will come down upon the land unless a new prophet can prevent it. This time of reckoning throws the story’s diverse cast...
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