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Review of The Penderwicks at Last

The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall Intermediate    Knopf    294 pp. 5/18    978-0-385-75566-5    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-385-75567-2    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-0-385-75568-9    $10.99 The Penderwick series finale (most recently The Penderwicks in Spring, rev. 3/15) is a summertime reverie set at the real-but-still-magical-seeming Arundel estate where it all began fifteen years before. Preparations are underway to […]

Review of Give Me Some Truth

Give Me Some Truth by Eric Gansworth; illus. by the author High School    Levine/Scholastic    432 pp.    g 5/18    978-1-338-14354-6    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-14355-3    $11.99 Seventeen-year-old Carson Mastick has lived his whole life on the reservation, while fifteen-year-old Maggi (short for Magpie) Bokoni had been living in the city since she was eight and has only […]

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, […]

In Memoriam: Remembering Julius Lester

When I contacted Julius Lester (1939–2018) in 2014 to ask if he would join us at my gallery to accept the seventh annual Reader to Reader Norton Juster Award for Devotion to Literacy, he said he was pleased to be celebrated and would get back to me after checking the football schedule. I wasn’t surprised. […]

Review of The Flying Girl: How Aída de Acosta Learned to Soar

The Flying Girl: How Aída de Acosta Learned to Soar by Margarita Engle; 

illus. by Sara Palacios Primary    Atheneum    40 pp. 3/18    978-1-4814-4502-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-4503-0    $10.99 In this slightly fictionalized account (with brief invented dialogue) Engle and Palacios introduce readers to Aída de Acosta (1884–1962), who defied the sexist attitudes of her era […]

Review of I Have Lost My Way

I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman High School    Viking    258 pp.    g 3/18    978-0-425-29077-4    $18.99 A chance meeting leads to intimate connections for three struggling nineteen-year-olds in Forman’s (If I Stay, rev. 7/09; I Was Here, rev. 1/15) latest novel. Freya is an up-and-coming singer who has lost her voice, to her controlling […]

“To Be Great, Heroic or Beautiful”: The Enduring Legacy of The Brownies’ Book

Heretofore the education of the Negro child has been too much in terms of white people. All through school life his text-books contain much about white people and little or nothing about his own race. All the pictures he sees are of white people. Most of the books he reads are by white authors, and […]

Review of Goldfish on Vacation

Goldfish on Vacation by Sally Lloyd-Jones; illus. by Leo Espinosa Primary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    40 pp.    g 4/18    978-0-385-38611-1    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-385-38612-8    $20.99 Three city-dwelling siblings, goldfish owners, feel sad for the derelict, once-magnificent fountain at the end of their street. Then a sign appears on the fountain: “COMING IN TWO WEEKS! CALLING ALL […]

Review of Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten

Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten by Laura Veirs; illus. by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh Primary    Chronicle    48 pp. 1/18    978-1-4521-4857-1    $17.99 In this picture-book biography of folk musician Elizabeth Cotten (1893–1987), a straightforward narrative describes her modest upbringing in rural North Carolina, where “Libba” taught herself to play her brother’s right-handed guitar despite having […]

Review of Secret Sisters of the Salty Sea

Secret Sisters of the Salty Sea by Lynne Rae Perkins; illus. by the author Intermediate   Greenwillow    227 pp.    g 5/18    978-0-06-249966-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-249968-4    $9.99 Midway through this episodic tale of a family beach vacation, main character Alix and her mother visit a craft store. They are both charmed by the model train scenery, […]