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Review of Stay Curious!: A Brief History of Stephen Hawking

Stay Curious!: A Brief History of Stephen Hawking by Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer; illus. by Boris Kulikov Primary, Intermediate    Crown    40 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-399-55028-7    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-399-55029-4    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-399-55030-0    $10.99 Physicist Stephen Hawking (1942–2018) was brilliant and iconoclastic from the get-go: as a child, he...

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 Packs

Packs: Strength in Numbers by Hannah Salyer; illus. by the author Primary    Houghton    48 pp. 1/20    978-1-328-57788-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-16695-5    $12.99 For some animal species, there are evolutionary advantages to social groupings. “Packs, herds, huddles, and pods. Together, we are better.” Salyer introduces young readers to many of the...

Review of Overground Railroad

Overground Railroad by Lesa Cline-Ransome; illus. by James Ransome Primary, Intermediate    Holiday    48 pp. 1/20    978-0-8234-3873-0    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4390-1    $11.99 “Some walked. / Some drove. / But we took the train north.” In 1939, as part of the Great Migration, young Ruth Ellen and her parents leave North Carolina,...

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 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 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 We Are Not Free

We Are Not Free by Traci Chee Middle School, High School    Houghton    386 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-358-13143-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-33000-4    $9.99 Chee follows up her successful fantasy trilogy (The Reader and sequels) with this very different work of historical fiction, drawing on her personal family and cultural history for...

Review of A Thousand Glass Flowers: Marietta Barovier and the Invention of the Rosetta Bead

A Thousand Glass Flowers: Marietta Barovier and the Invention of the Rosetta Bead by Evan Turk; illus. by the author Primary    Atheneum    48 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-5344-1034-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-1035-0    $10.99 In fifteenth-century northern Italy, on the island of Murano, where glassmakers thrived, lived young Marietta Barovier. Marietta dreamed...

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 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 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 Finish the Fight!: The Brave and Revolutionary Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote

Finish the Fight!: The Brave and Revolutionary Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote by Veronica Chambers and members of the staff of the New York Times; illus. by various artists Intermediate, Middle School    Versify/Houghton    144 pp.    g 8/20    978-0-358-40830-7    $18.99    e-book ed....

Review of How Women Won the Vote: Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, and Their Big Idea

How Women Won the Vote: Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, and Their Big Idea by Susan Campbell Bartoletti; illus. by Ziyue Chen Primary, Intermediate    Harper/HarperCollins    80 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-06-284130-8    $18.99 This well-sourced account of the fight for American women’s suffrage begins in 1909 at a protest march in London. It...

Review of The Feminist Agenda of Jemima Kincaid

The Feminist Agenda of Jemima Kincaid by Kate Hattemer High School    Knopf    293 pp.    g 2/20    978-1-9848-4912-0    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-9848-4913-7    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-4914-4    $10.99 Jemima serves with the Senior Triumvirate at her tradition-steeped prep school, and though she’s invested in her role, she’s also eager to shake up...

Review of Brown Girl Ghosted

Brown Girl Ghosted by Mintie Das High School    Houghton    289 pp.    g 3/20    978-0-358-12889-2    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-13130-4    $9.99 Sixteen-year-old Violet Choudhury is a cheerleader; the best friend of Meryl, a popular iconoclast; and a daughter who never knew her dead mother and barely sees her largely absent father. She’s...

Review of We Didn't Ask for This

We Didn’t Ask for This by Adi Alsaid High School    Inkyard    352 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-335-14676-2    $18.99 At a worldly and diverse K–12 private school in an unnamed country outside the U.S., the high schoolers look forward to the school’s legendary lock-in, planning all year for sanctioned events such as...

Review of Something to Say

Something to Say by Lisa Moore Ramée; illus. by Bre Indigo Intermediate, Middle School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    373 pp.    g 7/20    978-0-06-283671-7    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-283673-1    $9.99 Janae is a loner and plans to keep it that way in middle school, that is, until she meets outgoing, audacious Aubrey, who...

Review of Things Seen from Above

Things Seen from Above by Shelley Pearsall; illus. by Xingye Jin Intermediate    Knopf    262 pp. 2/20    978-1-5247-1739-1    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-5247-1740-7    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-1741-4    $9.99 April, beginning sixth grade and dealing with her own friendship issues, takes an interest in a younger student with puzzling behaviors and a surprising...

Review of Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe

Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe by Carlos Hernandez Intermediate, Middle School    Riordan/Disney-Hyperion    421 pp.    g 5/20    978-1-368-02283-5    $16.99 Sal and Gabi are back in the sequel to Pura Belpré Award–winning Sal & Gabi Break the Universe, only this time they have to fix the universe — and during tech...

Review of One Time

One Time by Sharon Creech Intermediate   Cotler/HarperCollins    272 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-06-257074-1    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-06-257075-8    $17.89 e-book ed.  978-0-06-257077-2    $9.99 Gina Filomena, eleven, has been told that she has an overactive imagination. Few teachers or classmates have seen this as a gift until the new language arts teacher, Miss...

Review of Love, Love

Love, Love by Victoria Chang Intermediate, Middle School    Sterling    214 pp.    g 6/20    978-1-4549-3832-3    $16.95 This semiautobiographical verse novel begins with eleven-year-old Chinese American girl Frances Chin witnessing an attack on her older sister, Clara, behind their school. (Frances herself has endured taunts centered on race: “you’re SO SO ugly...

Review of Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero

Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero by Kelly J. Baptist Intermediate, Middle School    Crown    195 pp.    g 8/20    978-0-593-12136-8    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-593-12137-5    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-0-593-12138-2    $9.99 Isaiah Dunn is not your typical hero. Heroes usually win, but Isaiah seems to experience a lot of losses: losing his father on...

Review of Nana Akua Goes to School

Nana Akua Goes to School by Tricia Elam Walker; illus. by April Harrison Primary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    40 pp.    g 6/20    978-0-525-58113-0    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-525-58114-7    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-525-58115-4    $10.99 Although her grandmother, Nana Akua, is her “favorite person in the whole universe,” young Zura is not excited about...

Review of Field Trip to the Ocean Deep

Field Trip to the Ocean Deep by John Hare; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Ferguson/Holiday    40 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-8234-4630-8    $17.99 Hare’s follow-up to Field Trip to the Moon (rev. 9/19) again features a compelling setting, a not-too-scary adventure, and immersive illustrations. This wordless story begins on the book’s...

Review of Swing

Swing by Michael Hall; illus. by the author Preschool    Greenwillow    40 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-06-286617-2    $17.99 The title spread introduces a school — a place of learning and growth — where outside the classroom window a swing set stands empty and waiting. A letter L sits alone on one of...

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 Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom

Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom [Wayside School] by Louis Sachar; illus. by Tim Heitz Intermediate    Harper/HarperCollins    182 pp.    g 3/20    978-0-06-296538-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-296542-4    $10.99 Yes, per the introductory author's note to this fourth book about the wacky elementary school, it's been forty years since the first...

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 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...

Reviews of 2020 Mind the Gap Award winners

Not all deserving books bring home ALA awards. Our annual Mind the Gap Awards pay tribute to our favorite books that didn’t win. Here’s how we reviewed our 2020 winners.   A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation by Barry Wittenstein; illus....

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 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 With a Star in My Hand: Rubén Darío, Poetry Hero

With a Star in My Hand: Rubén Darío, Poetry Hero by Margarita Engle Middle School, High School    Atheneum    150 pp.    g 2/20    978-1-5344-2493-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-2495-1    $10.99 Written in first person, this heartfelt verse novel tells the fictionalized story of Rubén Darío (based on his autobiography), who was born...

Review of The Book of Fatal Errors

The Book of Fatal Errors by Dashka Slater Intermediate    Farrar    322 pp.    g 7/20    978-0-374-30119-4    $16.99 Slater (winner of a Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction honor for The 57 Bus, rev. 1/18) here presents an entertaining, fantastical summertime story. Twelve-year-old Rufus’s grandfather lives at Feylawn, an estate overtaken by nature and,...

Review of Worse Than Weird

Worse Than Weird by Jody J. Little Intermediate, Middle School    Harper/HarperCollins    265 pp. 3/20    978-06-285258-8    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-285253-3    $7.99 Expressing disapproval of one’s parents’ values and lifestyles is a rite of passage for many tweens, and Mac (short for MacKenna MacKensie MacLeod) is no exception. Her family lives off...

Review of The Water Bears

The Water Bears by Kim Baker Intermediate    Lamb/Random    264 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-9848-5220-5    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-9848-5221-2    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-5222-9    $9.99 Newt Gomez dreams of leaving Murphy Island, his isolated home in the Pacific Northwest — especially after he was attacked by a bear a year ago, which left...

Review of Cityscape: Where Science and Art Meet

Cityscape: Where Science and Art Meet by April Pulley Sayre Preschool, Primary    Greenwillow    40 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-06-289331-4    $17.99 Sayre (Warbler Wave, rev. 3/18; Being Frog, rev. 1/20) has a knack for pairing minimalist poetry with dramatic photographs. Here she turns her attention to urban settings where “science, math, art...

Review of Whose Footprint Is THAT?

Whose Footprint Is THAT? by Darrin Lunde; illus. by Kelsey Oseid Preschool, Primary    Charlesbridge    32 pp. 10/19    978-1-58089-834-8    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-63289-721-3    $9.99 Following the format of Whose Poop Is THAT? (rev. 3/17), Lunde poses the title question seven times about seven different animals in a series of four-page sequences,...

Review of Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner

Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner by Janice N. Harrington; illus. by Theodore Taylor III Primary    Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills    48 pp. 11/19    978-1-62979-558-4    $18.99 This picture-book biography of renowned African American entomologist Turner (1867–1923) begins with a signature quote: “The study of biology trains the powers...

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 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 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 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 Where's Baby?

Where’s Baby? by Anne Hunter; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Tundra    40 pp. 1/20    978-0-7352-6498-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-7352-6499-1    $10.99 “Have you seen Baby, Mama Fox?” Mama Fox feels certain Baby is “somewhere,” and so Papa Fox begins the search, like a game of hide-and-seek. “Ba-by! Are you indoors?...

Review of A Stopwatch from Grampa

A Stopwatch from Grampa by Loretta Garbutt; illus. by Carmen Mok Primary    Kids Can    40 pp. 4/20    978-1-5253-0144-5    $17.99 “When summer started, I got Grampa’s stopwatch. I don’t want his stopwatch. I want him.” The accompanying illustration shows a child sitting all alone on a porch swing, bereft. We next...

Review of Kaia and the Bees

Kaia and the Bees by Maribeth Boelts; illus. by Angela Dominguez Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    40 pp. 3/20    978-1-5362-0105-5    $16.99 Kaia knows that she should appreciate bees, and she would if she weren’t so scared of them. It doesn’t help that her apiarist father cares for two hives on the roof...

Review of Big Papa and the Time Machine

Big Papa and the Time Machine by Daniel Bernstrom; illus. by Shane W. Evans Primary    Harper/HarperCollins    40 pp. 1/20    978-0-06-246331-9    $17.99 As Big Papa drives his (unnamed) grandson to school, he learns that the child would rather not go because he’s scared. The solution? Big Papa’s “time machine” — visually...

Review of In the Role of Brie Hutchens...

In the Role of Brie Hutchens… by Nicole Melleby Middle School    Algonquin    265 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-61620-907-0    $16.95 When the novel opens, thirteen-year-old Brie’s mother almost stumbles upon Brie looking at a soap opera star’s Playboy photos online. Brie distracts her mom by claiming (falsely) that she’s been chosen to...

Review of Redwood and Ponytail

Redwood and Ponytail by K. A. Holt Middle School    Chronicle    417 pp. 10/19    978-1-4521-7288-0    $18.99 Seventh grader Kate’s (“Ponytail”) life is largely defined by pressure from her mom to become captain of the cheerleading squad and by her friends’ similar expectations; less popular, gangly girl Tam (“Redwood”) has had a...

Review of The Black Flamingo

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    409 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-06-299029-7    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-299031-0    $9.99 Winner of the 2020 Stonewall Book Award, this British verse novel by a poet and drag performer offers a welcome exploration of the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality....

Review of The Midnight Lie

The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski High School    Farrar    358 pp. 3/20    978-0-374-30638-0    $18.99 As a member of the Half Kith (the lowest, most oppressed caste in society), Nirrim is focused on avoiding the notice of the militia, who extract tithes of blood, hair, and teeth from Half Kith they...

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 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 It Began with a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way

It Began with a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way by Kyo Maclear; illus. by Julie Morstad Primary    Harper/HarperCollins    48 pp. 10/19    978-0-06-244762-3    $17.99 "In early 1960s America, a country with laws that separated people by skin color," Japanese American artist Gyo Fujikawa (1908–1998) helped break the color barrier...

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 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 The Crossover

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander; illus. by Dawud Anyabwile Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    218 pp. 9/19    978-1-328-96001-6    $22.99 Paper ed.  978-1-328-57549-4    $12.99 e-book ed.  978-1-358-12816-8    $8.99 Alexander's Newbery Medal–winning verse novel of the same name (rev. 5/14), about African American twins and middle-school b-ballers Josh and JB Bell, is an ideal choice for graphic-novel adaptation, with its on-court action, swaggering narrative voice, and poignant emotional pitches. Anyabwile's (of Alexander's Rebound,...

Review of Clean Getaway

Clean Getaway by Nic Stone; illus. by Dawud Anyabwile Intermediate    Crown    229 pp. 1/20    978-1-9848-9297-3    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-9848-9298-0    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-9299-7    $9.99 When G’ma asks Scoob to go on “a little adventure” during spring break, he doesn’t hesitate to say yes (especially since he’s been grounded for fighting...

Review of Indian No More

Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis with Traci Sorell Intermediate    Tu/Lee & Low    209 pp.    g 9/19    978-1-62014-839-6    $18.95 This novel (based on McManis's childhood) is set against the background of U.S. government actions beginning in the 1940s that terminated the status of many Native Nations and forced relocation of families living on reservations. With a stroke of the pen, in 1954, eight-year-old Regina Petit...

Review of The Dragon Thief

The Dragon Thief by Zetta Elliott; illus. by Geneva B Primary, Intermediate    Random    170 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-5247-7049-5    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-5247-7050-1    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-7051-8    $9.99 According to Aunty, "every problem has a solution." But what if your problem is a dragon that won't stop growing? This sequel to Dragons in a Bag (rev. 9/18) alternates between Jaxon, the previous book's protagonist, and Kavita, sister of Jaxon's best friend Vikram....

Review of Stella Díaz Never Gives Up

Stella Díaz Never Gives Up by Angela Dominguez; illus. by the author Intermediate    Roaring Brook    196 pp. 1/20    978-1-250-22911-3    $16.99 This sequel to Stella Díaz Has Something to Say (rev. 5/18) finds Stella wanting to do something big: save the oceans. After a family vacation to Mexico, Stella (less shy...

Review of Charlie & Mouse Outdoors

Charlie & Mouse Outdoors by Laurel Snyder; illus. by Emily Hughes Primary    Chronicle    48 pp. 3/20    978-1-4521-7066-4    $14.99 Their fourth outing (most recently Charlie & Mouse Even Better, rev. 5/19) takes the siblings into the Great Outdoors for a family camping trip…but first a “Boring” (the title of chapter 1)...

Review of The Quiet Boat Ride and Other Stories

The Quiet Boat Ride and Other Stories [Fox + Chick] by Sergio Ruzzier; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Chronicle    56 pp. 3/19    978-1-4521-5289-9    $14.99 Ruzzier presents three more brief adventures, in hybrid picture-book/early-chapter-book/comic form, about friends Fox and Chick (The Party and Other Stories, rev. 3/18). The first...

Review of Ants Don't Wear Pants!

Ants Don’t Wear Pants! [Giggle and Learn] by Kevin McCloskey; illus. by the author Primary    TOON    40 pp. 9/19    978-1-943145-45-4    $12.95 In this fifth entry in the Giggle and Learn series of nonfiction early-reader comics (most recently, Snails Are Just My Speed, rev. 7/18), two peppy young people investigate ants’...

Review of See Me Play

See Me Play [I Like to Read] by Paul Meisel; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Holiday    32 pp. 6/19    978-0-8234-3832-7    $15.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4314-7    $9.99 The amiable yellow dog from Meisel’s previous entries in the estimable I Like to Read series (including Meisel’s Geisel Honor–winning See Me Run) returns...

Review of Snail & Worm All Day

Snail & Worm All Day by Tina Kügler; illus. by the author Primary    Houghton    32 pp.    g 9/19    978-0-358-06364-3    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-16846-1    $12.99 The two inveterate invertebrate pals (Snail & Worm, rev. 5/16; Snail & Worm Again, rev. 5/17) return in another set of adventures in three easy-reader-style chapters. “Best Day Ever,” as described by...

Review of Hike

Hike by Pete Oswald; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    40 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-5362-0157-4    $17.99 A new day dawns as a father wakes his child so they can head out from their city home into the country to go on a daylong hike. They see all sorts of...

Review of Summer Song

Summer Song by Kevin Henkes; illus. by Laura Dronzek Preschool    Greenwillow    40 pp. 4/20    978-0-06-286613-4    $18.99 Library ed.  978-0-06-286614-1    $19.89 Henkes and Dronzek complete their seasonal quartet (beginning with When Spring Comes, rev. 3/16) with a joyful ode celebrating summer and its myriad natural wonders and seasonal sights and sounds....

Review of This Place: 150 Years Retold

This Place: 150 Years Retold by various authors; illus. by various artists Middle School, High School    HighWater    265 pp. 5/19    Paper ed.  978-1-55379-758-6    $36.00 
e-book ed.  978-1-55379-782-1    $29.00 This comics anthology celebrates Indigenous peoples and stories of Canada past, present, and future. In a foreword, writer Alicia Elliott asserts that Indigenous people have...

Review of SLAY

SLAY by Brittney Morris High School    Simon Pulse    323 pp. 9/19    978-1-5344-4542-0    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-4544-4    $10.99 "By day, I'm an honors student at Jefferson Academy. At night, I turn into the Nubian goddess most people know as Emerald." Seventeen-year-old narrator Kiera is not just a gamer; she is (secretly) the creator of the hugely popular multiplayer gaming community SLAY, which is...

Review of Wicked as You Wish

Wicked as You Wish by Rin Chupeco High School    Sourcebooks Fire    371 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-4926-7266-1    $17.99 Tala and Alexei are refugees from the magical kingdom of Avalon, living in the troublingly conservative Royal States of America. Alexei, the crown prince of Avalon, can use magic, while Tala has the...

Review of Love from A to Z

Love from A to Z by S. K. Ali High School    Salaam/Simon    342 pp. 4/19    978-1-5344-4272-6    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-4274-0    $10.99 Zayneb, a Muslim American high school senior, leaves for spring break in Doha, Qatar, a week early when she is suspended for a note she wrote in class about her Islamophobic history...

Review of The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan

The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan by Sherry Thomas Middle School, High School    Tu/Lee & Low    348 pp.    g 9/19    978-1-62014-804-4    $19.95 Mulan has studied martial arts since childhood to prepare for her generation’s duel against a rival family for possession of two legendary swords. But the duel is postponed...

Maximilian & the Curse of the Fallen Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller

Maximilian & the Curse of the Fallen Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller [Max’s Lucha Libre Adventures] by Xavier Garza; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Cinco Puntos    213 pp.    g 1/20    978-1-947627-30-7    $19.95 Paper ed.  978-1-947627-31-4    $12.95 e-book ed.  978-1-947627-32-1    $12.95 This fourth series entry is another entertainingly...

Comics: Easy as ABC!: The Essential Guide to Comics for Kids

Comics: Easy as ABC!: The Essential Guide to Comics for Kids by Ivan Brunetti; illus. by the author and various artists Intermediate    TOON    56 pp. 4/19    978-1-943145-44-7    $16.95 Paper ed.  978-1-943145-39-3    $9.99 Brunetti, comics educator and cartoonist of TOON titles Wordplay and 3x4, offers a noteworthy and intriguing comics how-to...

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 Home Base: A Mother-Daughter Story

Home Base: A Mother-Daughter Story by Nikki Tate; illus. by Katie Kath Primary    Holiday    32 pp. 3/20    978-0-8234-3663-7    $18.99 Although our two protagonists spend little of the book together, they are connected throughout by their hard work and achievement. This family of two starts the day in a groggy daze...

Review of My Mama

My Mama by Annemarie van Haeringen; illus. by the author; trans. from Dutch by Bill Nagelkerke Preschool    Gecko    32 pp. 3/20    978-1-776572-67-0    $17.99 Told from the baby’s point of view (“I’ve known my mama for a long time”), this playful offering explores, through two elephant characters, the strong emotional bond...

Review of Mama Baby

Mama Baby by Chris Raschka; illus. by the author Preschool    Candlewick    32 pp.    g 3/20    978-0-7636-9060-1    $14.99 In this artfully composed picture book, Raschka gets to the emotional core of the relationship between a young child and a trusted adult. Mama, on the verso, looks adoringly at her child, a...

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 Kent State

Kent State by Deborah Wiles Middle School, High School    Scholastic    132 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-338-35628-1    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-35630-4    $10.99 On May 4, 1970, four students were killed by the National Guard on the campus of Kent State University during a protest against the Vietnam War and the bombing of...

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...

Ramadan 2020

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The Islamic month of Ramadan is a solemn holiday of fasting, charity, and additional prayer, culminating in the joyous feasting of Eid al-Fitr. Ramadan mubarak to those observing, and Happy Eid! We’d like to call your attention to reading suggestions from our friends at KitaabWorld, who review and recommend children’s...

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...

Reading for Holocaust Remembrance Day

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International Holocaust Remembrance Day (established by the United Nations General Assembly) is January 27 and Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel, the United States, and other countries) is in April or May (in 2020 it's April 21). All of the following titles were recommended by The Horn Book Magazine and...

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 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 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 Village of Scoundrels: Based on a True Story of Courage During WWII

Village of Scoundrels: Based on a True Story of Courage During WWII by Margi Preus Middle School, High School    Amulet/Abrams    294 pp.    g 2/20    978-1-4197-0897-8    $16.99 In 1940s Vichy France, a remote mountain-plateau village known for sheltering refugees fleeing Nazi persecution houses a unique and innovative high school that draws...

Review of Fing's War

Fing’s War by Benny Lindelauf; trans. from the Dutch by John Nieuwenhuizen Intermediate, Middle School    Enchanted Lion    411 pp. 6/19    978-1-59270-269-5    $16.95 This sequel to Nine Open Arms (rev. 9/14) falls into two parts. In the early chapters we follow the fortunes and adventures of the Boon family, in 1938...

Review of Catherine's War

Catherine’s War by Julia Billet; illus. by Claire Fauvel; trans. from French by Ivanka Hahnenberger Intermediate, Middle School    HarperAlley/HarperCollins    168 pp. 1/20    978-0-06-291560-3    $21.99 Paper ed.  978-0-06-291559-7    $12.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-291561-0    $10.99 This graphic novel (adapted from a novel by Billet and inspired by her mother’s life) follows teenage Rachel...
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