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Finding home

Four novels for middle-grade readers feature memorable and likable protagonists who face economic hardship, homelessness, and prejudice in addition to the usual challenges of growing up. For an author’s perspective on narratives of children finding — or making — home, read E. Lockhart’s Horn Book Magazine Writer’s Page article “On Home, Empathy, and Voice.” In […]

Five questions for Kate DiCamillo

Fans of Kate DiCamillo’s Raymie Nightingale will remember Louisiana Elefante as the perceptive friend (and orphaned daughter of trapeze artists) who reassures the others: “We’ll rescue each other.” In companion book Louisiana’s Way Home (both Candlewick, 8–11 years), it seems that Louisiana may need rescuing — from the “care” of her grandmother who takes her […]

Review of The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone

The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn Moriarty Intermediate    Levine/Scholastic    380 pp.    g 10/18    978-1-338-25584-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-25585-0    $10.99 In this highly entertaining and brilliantly plotted fantasy, orphaned ten-year-old Bronte must embark alone on a multi-kingdom visit to her many aunts, a trip minutely scripted by the terms of her parents’ will. […]

Review of Between the Lines audiobook

Between the Lines by Nikki Grimes; read by Cherise Boothe, Lori Gardner, Almarie Guerra, Sisi Aisha Johnson, Edward Lopez, Ruffin Prentiss, and James Shippy Middle School, High School    Recorded Books Rev. 3/18    4 CDs    4 hrs.    978-1-5019-6261-5    $13.99 Nine high school students take turns giving readers their impressions of a poetry class they’re all taking, […]

Review of The Season of Styx Malone

The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon Intermediate, Middle School    Lamb/Random    298 pp.    g 10/18    978-1-5247-1595-3    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-5247-1596-0    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-1597-7    $10.99 It’s summertime, and the living is easy. At least it was before narrator Caleb and his older brother Bobby Gene make a bad deal with their nemesis, Cory, leading […]

Review of Tess of the Road audiobook

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman; read by Katharine McEwan High School    Listening Library    Rev. 3/18 13 CDs    16.27 hrs.    978-1-5247-7955-9    $70.00 Narrated by McEwan in a crisply enunciated English accent, this fantasy (a companion to Hartman’s Seraphina, rev. 7/12) follows the anarchic Tess as the seventeen-year-old misfit almost ruins her twin sister’s wedding, […]

Review of Pride

Pride by Ibi Zoboi High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    291 pp.    g 9/18    978-0-06-256404-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-256407-8    $9.99 Zuri Benitez is a proud Haitian-Dominican teen who loves her four sisters and her parents, and despite others’ negative perceptions, she especially loves her Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. When the wealthy African American Darcy brothers, Darius […]

Review of Betty Before X audiobook

Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz with Renée Watson; read by Ilyasah Shabazz Intermediate, Middle School    Macmillan Young Listeners    Rev. 3/18 4 CDs    4.5 hrs.    978-1-4272-9368-8    $29.99 Long before she was the wife of Malcolm X, Betty Shabazz was a girl growing up in 1940s Detroit within a solid churchgoing community engaged in the fight […]

Review of Louisiana’s Way Home

Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo Intermediate    Candlewick    230 pp.    g 10/18    978-0-7636-9463-0    $16.99 Readers first met Louisiana Elefante in Raymie Nightingale (rev. 3/16) as the orphaned daughter of famous trapeze artists and as one of the Three Rancheros, a steadfast trio of young friends who vowed to always have one another’s backs. In this […]

Learning curves

A new school year means emotional challenges in addition to academic ones. The teen protagonists of these nuanced YA dramas navigate the complex intersections of their school, familial, and social identities. See also our recommendations for middle-school and high-school readers in the 2018 Back-to-School Herald. Sophomore Darius Kellner doesn’t fit in at his Oregon high […]