Latest Entries »

2014 LA Times Book Prize

The 2014 LA Times Book Prizes have been announced. Reading Rainbow’s LeVar Burton won the Innovator’s Award.
Here is the winner for Young Adult Literature:

family romanov

Candace Fleming for The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia

teens' top ten

The nominees for the 2015 Teens’ Top Ten were announced by YALSA. Teen are encouraged to read the nominees and vote for their favorites starting on August 15th and running through Teen Read Week. The titles with the most votes become the Teens’ Top Ten for the year. Here is the video announcing the nominees:

bone gap

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby (InfoSoup)

Finn and Sean had been abandoned by their mother years ago, leaving Sean taking care of Finn. Finn is called Moonface and Sidetrack by people in Bone Gap because he never makes eye contact and is often day dreaming. But things changed for the brothers when Roza appeared. Beautiful Roza lived with them, cooked them Polish food, and fell in love with one brother. Then Roza disappeared. Finn witnessed her being abducted but could not give a full description of the man who took her. The people of Bone Gap had always assumed that Roza would leave, people leave Bone Gap and never return. Now Finn has fallen for a girl who keeps bees and who is known in town as a homely girl, but Finn just sees beauty when he looks at Petey. Finn will need to figure out things about his family, himself and the unique way he sees the world before he can set out to rescue Roza and everyone he loves.

Ruby has created a unique and amazing read. Her world shifts under your feet, seemingly something solid at first and then changing on you, revealing itself and exposing both wonder and horror in the same breath. It is a challenging read, one that puts you on a journey of discovery about all of the characters and about the town itself too. As the book peels open and you see deeper inside, it will surprise you with what it shows. And you will question whether this book is a new genre, one that is not clearly fantasy or horror or reality fiction, though it may read as more real than most of that. it’s a genre bender, one that needs no classification to be great.

The characters in this book are complex and detailed. Each one, even the secondary and tertiary characters have backgrounds and histories. They have all witnessed things and reacted to their pasts in ways that turned them into who they are today. Ruby reveals many of these details while others are untold but also richly displayed. The main characters of Finn, Roza and Petey all have great details and histories. They are thoughtfully shown, moments captured in crystalline details that shimmer and sparkle.

A stunningly beautiful and amazing teen novel, this unique book will impress and delight readers who make the journey to Bone Gap. Appropriate for ages 14-17.

Reviewed from library copy.

hoot owl master of disguise

Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Jean Jullien

A very hungry owl uses a unique approach to find his dinner in this silly picture book. Hoot Owl is a master of disguise, so he as he hunts in the dark night, he switches into different costumes to trick his prey. First, he sees a rabbit and so he puts on his carrot disguise. It doesn’t work to tempt the rabbit, so he moves on to a lamb. Hoot Owl disguises himself as a mother sheep to lure the lamb closer, but that doesn’t work either. Maybe a pigeon will be fooled by his clever birdbath costume? Nope. Then finally, he finds something to eat that can’t move away – pepperoni pizza! But will his waiter costume work?

The voice of owl as the narrator for the story is so much fun to read aloud. He is brazen, confident and sure that eventually his unique approach to hunting will work out. Never daunted by disappointment, he moves on to the next meal quickly and eagerly. Throughout, Hoot Owl expresses himself in metaphors and playful language. The night is “black as burnt toast” and his eyes “glitter like sardines” when they see the pizza.

Jullien’s illustrations are bold and gorgeous. The colors are bright and fun, the orange of owl popping against that black night sky. Hoot Owl’s personality shines on the page, his head peeking out from various angles as he hunts his prey.

This playful picture book is a great read aloud, bright, funny and impressive. Appropriate for ages 3-5. 

Reviewed from library copy.

Here are the links I shared on my Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr accounts this week that I think are cool:

How fun is this?

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

CBC and WNDB Team Up for Publishing Internships http://buff.ly/1NKnPY1 #kidlit

HarperCollins Children’s Books to Publish the Final Discworld Novel by Sir Terry Pratchett http://buff.ly/1Gxbgec #kidlit

Marissa Moss’s Amelia Graduates Middle School—and Turns 20 http://buff.ly/1aR5abA #kidlit

Rachel Hamilton’s top 10 explosions in children’s books http://buff.ly/1Izvnct #kidlit

LIBRARIES

10 Ways Big and Small You Can Love Your Local Library http://buff.ly/1JMSVsi #libraries

CheckItOut – Taylor Swift Parody Video for National Library Week http://buff.ly/1FOc8py #libraries #humor

New Orleans’s Once-destroyed Public Libraries a Strong and Necessary Component of Civic Infrastructure – http://buff.ly/1CKAOyd #libraries

New York Public Library’s Renovation Plans Advance http://buff.ly/1IefwwO #libraries

TEEN READS

Stacked: 2015 YA Novels in Verse: A Book List http://buff.ly/1FNY7Ir #yalit #poetry

WI Libraries: Celebrate Teen Literature Day! http://buff.ly/1ELEGnB #yalit

Woodley, ‘Fault In Our Stars,’ win big at MTV Movie Awards http://buff.ly/1OBYRXP #yalit

The 2015 Bisexual Book Award finalists have been announced. One category is focused on teen and young adult readers and has two finalists:

Frenemy of the People Otherbound

Frenemy of the People by Nora Olsen

Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis

ala

Every year for National Library Week, ALA releases the list of the top banned books of the previous year. Here is this year’s list that continues to be filled with familiar titles that look at a range of diversity. The Washington Post has a great article about the list.

 

1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

2. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

3. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

4. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

5. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris

6. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

7. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

9. A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Dugard

10. Drama by Raina Telgemeier

The short lists for the 2015 Book of the Year have been announced by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. Winners will be announced in August.

OLDER READERS

Are You Seeing Me? The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl

Are You Seeing Me? by Darren Groth

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil

Intruder The Minnow

Intruder by Christine Bongers

The Minnow by Diana Sweeney

Nona and Me The Protected

Nona & Me by Clare Atkins

The Protected by Claire Zorn

 

YOUNGER READERS

Bleakboy and Hunter Stand Out in the Rain The Cleo Stories: The Necklace and the Present

Bleakboy and Hunter Stand Out in the Rain by Steven Herrick

The Cleo Stories: The Necklace and the Present by Libby Gleeson, illustrated by Freya Blackwood

Figgy in the World The Simple Things

Figgy in the World by Tamsin Janu

The Simple Things by Bill Condon, illustrated by Beth Norling

Two Wolves Withering-By-Sea

Two Wolves by Tristan Bancks

Withering-by-Sea by Judith Rossell

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD

Go to Sleep, Jessie! A House of Her Own

Go to Sleep, Jessie! by Libby Gleeson, illustrated by Freya Blackwood

A House of Her Own by Jenny Hughes, illustrated by Jonathan Bentley

 Pig the Pug

Noni the Pony Goes to the Beach by Alison Lester

Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey

Scary Night 

Scary Night by Lesley Gibbes, illustrated by Stephen Michael King

Snail and Turtle Are Friends by Stephen Michael King

 

PICTURE BOOK OF THE YEAR

The Duck and the Darklings Fire

The Duck and the Darklings illustrated by Stephen Michael King, text by Glenda Millard

Fire illustrated by Bruce Whatley, text by Jackie French

My Two Blankets One Minute's Silence

My Two Blankets illustrated by Freya Blackwood, text by Irena Kobald

One Minute’s Silence illustrated by Michael Camilleri, text by David Metzenthen

21952818 The Stone Lion

Rivertime by Trace Balla

The Stone Lion illustrated by Ritva Voutila, text by Margaret Wild

 

EVE POWNALL AWARD FOR INFORMATION BOOKS

A–Z of Convicts in Van Diemen's Land Audacity: stories of heroic Australians in wartime

A-Z of Convicts in Van Diemen’s Land by Simon Barnard

Audacity: Stories of Heroic Australians in Wartime by Carlie Walker, illustrated by Brett Hatherly

Coming of Age: Growing up Muslim in Australia Emu

Coming of Age: Growing Up Muslim in Australia edited by Demet Divaroren and Amra Pajalic

Emu by Claire Saxby, illustrated by Graham Byrne

Mary's Australia: How Mary Mackillop Changed Australia Tea and Sugar Christmas

Mary’s Australia: How Mary Mackillop Changed Australia by Pamela Freeman

Tea and Sugar Christmas by Jane Jolly, illustrated by Robert Ingpen

ms rapscotts girls

Ms. Rapscott’s Girls by Elise Primavera (InfoSoup)

Ms. Rapscott runs a board school for girls that is all about adventure, courage and birthday cake, with candles. When a new summer term begins, five little girls are mailed to the school in their boxes. Mailed because their parents are some of the busiest people in the world and can’t be bothered to drop their children off at school in person. Four little girls make it safe and sound but the fifth has fallen out of her box because it wasn’t sealed properly. Ms. Rapscott has to teach her remaining students some of the basics of life like bathing, brushing teeth, and the importance of stout boots when going on adventures. But most of her lessons are much more fun and involve things like riding the wind into the sky and skimming the surface of the water on seals. As the girls learn how to take care of themselves and embrace adventure, they are also locating the missing student, by trying not to find her.

Funny and delightfully whimsical, this book is at its heart a book that shows that little girls can be just as daring, naughty and adventurous as boys. These are girls who have flaws, like shouting all the time, being a know-it-all, and just wanting to spend time watching TV or asleep. But in each of them is a little adventurer who if fed enough attention and cake will rise to the opportunities before her.

The art in the book adds a delightful richness to the tale as well as breaking up the text so that the book is more approachable for young readers. Done in full double-page spreads, the illustrations show the different parts of the school as well as important moments in the story. At the beginning and end of the book, they appear in a series of illustrations that welcome the girls to the school and then send them home at the end with a promise of adventures to come.

Enter a world of magical wonder in this book for young readers where adventure awaits everyone. Appropriate for ages 7-9.

Reviewed from copy received from Dial Books.

truth commission

The Truth Commission by Susan Juby (InfoSoup)

There are books you never want to end, and this is one of those. These characters are so fresh and new and real that I wanted to spend even more time with them. This novel is about three teenage friends who attend a private art high school together. There is Dusk, the stunningly beautiful girl who creates tiny tableaus for stuffed shrews. There is Neil, a boy stuck in the 1970s and who paints portraits of beautiful women like Dusk. And then there is the protagonist, Normandy, who does tiny needlepoint work and is best known for being the younger sister of the famous graphic novelist. The three start The Truth Commission, where they decide to start asking everyone the truth about things they may be keeping secret. Nothing is off limits from sexuality to love to angry ostrich-raising school secretaries. But Normandy’s family survives on secrets and the question becomes whether she can face the truth about herself and those she loves.

Juby has created a witty and dazzling read for teens. Done entirely in Normandy’s voice and writing as “narrative nonfiction” the book offers footnotes that are often asides between Normandy and her English teacher. This framework creates a real strength of the story, allowing for not only the story to be told but for Normandy to be writing about the past and offer some perspective on what happened. Filled with plenty of clever humor, this book is an impressive mix of tense mystery and gentle romance.

The characters are the heart of the book. Normandy reveals herself on the page and hides nothing. She shows through her own reactions to her sister’s graphic novels, which depict Normandy as entirely useless and ugly, as the only one who is thoughtful and credible in her family. As she hides from the wrath of her sister, making herself small and quiet, she also becomes her sister’s confidante. Her best friends too are intriguing mixes of truth and denial. Dusk is the artistic daughter in a family of doctors, and yet one can see her own ties to medicine through her art. Neil seems to be the son of a stereotypical middle-aged man who hits on teen girls, but both he and his father are far more lovely than that.

Strongly written with great characters and a dynamic mix of humor, romance and mystery, this teen novel is one of the best of the year so far. Appropriate for ages 14-17.

Reviewed from ARC received from Viking Books for Young Readers.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,388 other followers