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Julie Hakim Azzam

About Julie Hakim Azzam

Julie Hakim Azzam teaches in the English department at the University of Pittsburgh. While her academic specialization is on literature from Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, she has a passion for children’s literature and has been interviewing children’s authors for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for many years.

Review of Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons

Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons by Laura Purdie Salas; illus. by Mercè López Primary    Millbrook    32 pp. 4/19    978-1-5124-9809-7    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5415-4383-6    $19.99 Salas presents a volume of “riddle-ku” poems, a form that is a cross between riddles, haiku, and “mask poems” (poems narrated by “something nonhuman”). The book is divided […]

Review of Poetree

Poetree by Shauna LaVoy Reynolds; illus. by Shahrzad Maydani Primary    Dial    32 pp.    g 3/19    978-0-399-53912-1    $17.99 To celebrate the end of winter, young poetry lover Sylvia writes a poem about spring and ties it to a birch tree in the park. The next day her poem is gone; in its place is another that […]

Review of The Bridge Home

The Bridge Home  by Padma Venkatraman Intermediate, Middle School    Paulsen/Penguin    194 pp.    g 2/19    978-1-5247-3811-2    $16.99  In a drunken rage, the father of eleven-year-old narrator Viji breaks her mother’s arm. Viji decides, “If I wanted a better future, I needed to change the life we had. Now.” The next morning, she and her sister Rukku […]

Review of Refugee audiobook

Refugee by Alan Gratz; read by Michael Goldstrom, Kyla Garcia, and Assaf Cohen Intermediate, Middle School    Scholastic Audio    Rev. 11/17 7 CDs    7.62 hrs.    978-1-338-19107-3    $34.99 The difficult plight of refugees is here represented by the stories of three children from different locations and time periods. Josef, a Jewish boy living in Nazi Germany, departs […]

Review of We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell; illus. by Frané Lessac Primary    Charlesbridge    32 pp. 9/18    978-1-58089-772-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-63289-633-9    $9.99 “Cherokee people say otsaliheliga to express gratitude. It is a reminder to celebrate our blessings and reflect on struggles — daily, throughout the year, and across the seasons.” An extended family engages with […]

Review of Finding Langston

Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome Intermediate, Middle School     Holiday     107 pp. 8/18     978-0-8234-3960-7     $16.99 e-book ed. 978-0-8234-4110-5     $16.99 When Langston’s mother dies, his father relocates the two of them from rural Alabama to the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago, where they live in a cramped apartment, barely communicate with each other, and […]

Review of The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees

The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees by Don Brown; illus. by the author Middle School, High School    Houghton    105 pp. 9/18    978-1-328-81015-1    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-328-56104-6    $13.99 There are over five million Syrian refugees around the world today, and each one has a unique story. Brown returns to the comics format of Drowned City […]

Gendered reading and audiobooks

My daughter became a bookworm this year, reading middle grade novels by Carl Hiaasen, Kate Beasley, Robert Beatty, and Erin Entrada Kelly. She read before bed, and while eating breakfast and brushing her teeth. When she finished a book, she’d pass it along to me, and we’d discuss it. I felt excited about this new […]

Review of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter audiobook

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez; read by Kyla Garcia High School    Listening Library    Rev. 3/18 8 CDs    9.7 hrs.    978-1-5247-8224-5    $60.00 When her older sister, Olga, dies, Julia discovers Olga was not the “perfect Mexican daughter” everybody thought she was. Julia, who longs to be a writer and leave […]

Review of New Shoes

New Shoes by Chris Raschka; illus. by the author Preschool    Greenwillow    32 pp. 5/18    978-0-06-265752-7    $17.99 Children are often reminded to look up, not down at their feet while walking. Not so in this picture book that celebrates preschoolers’ close connection to the ground. Raschka illustrates the book from the perspective of a child narrator, […]