ScreenDaily has the news that Random House Children’s Screen Entertainment has optioned the worldwide film and TV rights for The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles. Originally self-published online, the book was then issued as an e-book and finally as a print book.
Starglass by Phoebe North
Terra lives with her abusive, drunken father aboard the Asherah, a spaceship the size of a city. Hers is the generation that will finally arrive at their destination planet after traveling for over 500 years in space. Terra’s mother died of cancer, a disease completely unknown on the ship before her death, leaving Terra with her absent older brother and cruel father. Terra is now 16 and assigned to a job, botanist, though she had wanted to be an artisan because she loves to draw. Her father doesn’t approve of her art and Terra does not enjoy her dull work as a botanist. Soon Terra is being courted by her father’s apprentice and is drawn into a mutinous scheme to change the hierarchy aboard the ship. Her work as a botanist is also getting more interesting. What more could a girl want than romance and a good job? Terra definitely wants more, she wants answers.
Out of a standard spaceship story foundation, North has crafted something very special. This small city-sized spaceship is filled with secrets, ones that spell freedom but also ones that can kill. Yet the story is less about the endless travel and the claustrophobia of a closed society and much more about one young woman, her choices and the way in which an individual can impact the community around them. It is a story of opportunities both good and bad, choices that are impossible to make, and a responsibility beyond oneself.
North has woven Jewish traditions into the story and carefully changed them as if the passage of time had both torn at them but also strengthened parts of them. The community on the ship is cohesive but deeply fractured. It is this society that makes the book very compelling. It is also Terra herself too, a young woman deeply grieving the loss of her mother and seemingly without any choices in life. Yet she finds strength to fight back, to choose and to love on her own terms.
Startling, beautiful and richly written, get this one into the hands of science fiction readers. Appropriate for ages 15-17.
Reviewed from digital galley received from Edelweiss and Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
Toys in Space by Mini Grey
A group of toys are left outside overnight for the first time. There is Wonderdoll, a robot, a cowboy and horse, a dinosaur, a sheep, and a rabbit. All of them left in the dark, gazing up into the starry sky. They are all scared, but then Wonderdoll starts to tell a story. It is a story of seven toys left out at night under the stars, but then one star gets bigger and bigger until they can see that it is actually a spaceship! The seven toys are beamed aboard the spacecraft and meet a glove-shaped alien who is missing his own favorite toy. He has gathered toys from all around the world and kept them, but has not found his toy yet. The seven toys help the alien figure out that he has to return the toys to earth and even throw him a party to cheer him up. But will the alien ever find his own Cuddles again?
This picture book has the winning touch of Mini Grey. She is always fearless in her storytelling and deeply understands the connection between child and toy as shown in her Traction Man books as well. It also has the great combination of toys and aliens! The story is wonderfully playful and children will wonder if it really happened right up to the very end.
Grey’s art adds to the playful feel. Each toy has its own personality visually but the seven together make quite the team. She nicely incorporates speech bubbles into the story, giving it a comic feel that works well with the light-hearted art.
Sure to be a hit with its combo of aliens and toys, this book will work well at a story time, or for cuddling after all the favorite toys are tucked in too. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy received from Random House Children’s Books.