All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson (9780525429982)
The author of the popular Roller Girl returns with a book about Impy, a girl who has been homeschooled until this year. Impy has grown up with her parents working at the Renaissance Faire and this year she is also starting work as a squire at the faire for the first time. Public school though is different than Impy thought and though she quickly makes friends, they may not be the right group for her. As Impy starts to make bad decisions at school and at home, her life starts to fall apart. Still, Impy is a knight in training and has people around her to help put her back on the path to being a hero! Appropriate for ages 9-12. (ARC provided by Dials Books)
Spinning by Tillie Walden (9781626727724)
This memoir graphic novel shares a look at a girl’s life in ice skating, moving to a new city and discovering oneself as an artist. It is also a look at knowing that you are gay and finally coming out to those around you. But most of all, it’s about loneliness and the need to connect and find people around you who love and support you. Throughout the book there is an aching loneliness that pervades the story. The memoir is beautifully unstructured, events passing the way that days in a life do. They are filled with moments, some small and some critical. Walden shares them all, showing an incredible skill for storytelling and art as a young author. Get this into the hands of Lucy Knisley fans. Appropriate for ages 12-15. (Review copy provided by First Second)
Swing It, Sunny by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm (9780545741705)
Sunny is headed for middle school in this graphic novel that shows her returning home after her summer with Gramps in Florida. Her older brother Dale is now at boarding school and Sunny can’t figure out how to connect with him at all even when he comes home to visit. Set in the mid-1970’s, the book is filled with the pop culture of those times like Jiffy Pop popcorn, the Six-Million Dollar Man, Gilligan’s Island and TV dinners. This second book in the Sunny series tells the story of a family struggling with handling drug abuse but also the small moments that make up a life. Appropriate for ages 9-12. (ARC provided by Scholastic.)
Here are some cool links I shared on my Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr accounts in the last couple of weeks:
Hippos, birdies, T. rexes, pigs: How Sandra Boynton built an empire and won your child’s heart
How Beloved Children’s Book ‘The Snowy Day’ Became an Enduring Illustration of Diversity
How to Talk to Kids About Race: Books That Can Help
More books about are being released every day! Here are 12 of our favorites:
Patricia MacLachlan on her memories, “a wonderful world that now serves me” in our chat today: https://t.co/zkt3LAR809
Picture Books That Celebrate Literature, Storytelling, and More
Picture Story Books about Friendship for children.
Sanna wins Klaus Flugge Prize for illustration | The Bookseller
22 YA Books You Need to Read This Fall via
Interview: Axie Oh, author of Rebel Seoul (Out Today!)
Q & A with Daniel José Older
Teens should be able to open a book & recognize a character who loves like they do, says Adam Silvera:
Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney Stevens (9780062398512)
Billie lives in a small town where each year a worthy woman wins the “Corn Dolly.” Billie knows she will never be chosen to compete for it, since she is not the type of girl or woman who gets picked. She is the preacher’s daughter, but she’s also part of the group of teens, the Hexagon, that started her father’s church on fire. Billie loves her friends, taking comfort in their ease with one another. Still, when her best friend Janie Lee confesses that she has a crush on Woods, Billie is devastated. Billie isn’t quite sure what she wants though, could it be that she loves Woods too? Or maybe Janie Lee? As Billie wrestles with her sexuality in a small town, she discovers unexpected allies, new friends, and the power of being yourself.
As someone who grew up outside of a small town, Stevens captures small town life beautifully, from the comfort of knowing everyone to the suffocating nature of everyone knowing you. The micro-world of the small town is so well drawn, demonstrating why one would never leave at the same time showing why some run as soon as they can. This tension plays throughout the book, offering a scaffold for Billie’s questioning of her sexuality that is supportive and evocative.
Billie is exactly the heroine we need right now. She is strong beyond belief, a clear anchor for those in her life. Still, she wrestles with so much, from what it means to be a girl and be feminine to what it means to be in love with a person but not want to “be” with them. There is nothing easy about Billie, she is complex and wondrous. She’s an artist, an inadvertent activist, a hard worker, one-of-the-guys and clearly unaware of her own appeal and beauty. She’s incandescent on the page, a fire to be warmed by.
Complicated and incredibly poignant, this novel for teens rocks. Appropriate for ages 14-18.
Reviewed from e-galley received from Edelweiss and HarperCollins.
The longlist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature has been announced. The list will be narrowed to five finalists on October 4th and the winner will be announced on November 15.
Here is the longlist:
All the Wind in the World by Samantha Mabry
American Street by Ibi Zoboi
Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia
Far from the Tree by Robin Benway
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder
What Girls Are Made Of by Elana K. Arnold
You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins
Creepy Pair of Underwear by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown (9781442402980)
Jasper returns for a second gently-scary story. In this picture book, Jasper needs some new underwear. He decides to get one pair of green creepy underwear, because he is big enough for them. When he wears them to bed, he finds out that they glow with a green light. Jasper quickly changes to plain white underwear, hiding the creepy underwear in the bottom of the hamper. Waking up the next morning, he realizes that he has the creepy underwear on! Jasper tries all sorts of things to get rid of the underwear, from mailing it to China to cutting it into bits, but the underwear keeps on coming back. What is a bunny to do? This picture book is a delightful mix of funny and scary with echoes of classic monster movies. Exactly the right pick for Halloween reading. Appropriate for ages 4-6. (Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.)
The Pomegranate Witch by Denise Doyen, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler (9781452145891)
Deftly written in rhyme, this picture book features a mouthwatering pomegranate tree that is watched over by a witch. Still, the children of the town desperately want a pomegranate from the tree and are willing to go to war with the witch to get one. The children tried again and again, but the witch stopped them with water cannons and rolling walnuts. In the end though, the children got one delectable pomegranate to split among themselves. The next day, the tree was picked bare and the war was over. It was time for Halloween where a Kindly Lady gladly shared out pomegranates from her home. A lady that looks a lot like the glimpses readers get of the witch.
Doyen’s writing is spooky and rich. This is not a picture book for preschoolers, since the writing demands a longer attention span. Elementary classes would enjoy it or it could be added to a read aloud for older children on Halloween. Perhaps with pomegranate seeds to try. Appropriate for ages 5-7. (Review copy provided by Chronicle Books.)
The Scariest Book Ever by Bob Shea (9781484730461)
A spooky ghost lives by a frightening dark forest in this picture book. The ghost is the one who is scared, asking the reader to keep on checking on what is happening in the forest. But the forest isn’t nearly as scary as the ghost expects, which adds a zingy humor to this story. The tone of the book is deftly handled, walking a line between shivery ghost story and Halloween party for friends. It’s a book that will invite children to be just as scared as they might like, but also enjoy doughnuts and some costumes too. The art is lovely and graphic, filled with zaps of bright color emphasized by white and black. A great read aloud for slightly older children. Appropriate for ages 5-8. (Reviewed from library copy.)
Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart (9780385744775)
Written by a master YA novelist, this book is deliciously dark, wonderfully deceptive and completely intoxicating. Imogen is an heiress, adopted as a child from poverty into New York money. She lives a life that is glamorous, easy and often nasty. Jule is Imogen’s friend, who trails along with Imogen as she heads around the world. But the police are onto Jule, who knows she can stay one step ahead of them as she runs from her past. Jule longs to stay in the bubble of wealth that Imogen lives in, but it’s not easy particularly when Imogen disappears. As the story unwinds and unravels, there is blood and murder revealed.
Lockhart writes an almost-classic tale here that will enthrall teen readers. Carefully crafted with a series of reveals that steadily expose the truth, the book is completely captivating. Readers will attempt to unravel what has happened, but Lockhart writes with a control that is exceptional, holding the story and her readers right where she wants them.
While Imogen lives a charmed life, it is the character of Jule who is impressively drawn on the page. She is complicated and calculating and still somehow, even though readers will have mixed feelings about her throughout the book, she is a heroine. She is a girl who flees her past, creates her own present and plans for a new future. She is not waiting to be handed things, but taking them. Fearless, hardened and fantastic.
Get this into the hands of those who loved We Were Liars as Lockhart takes readers on another amazing ride of a read. Appropriate for ages 14-18.
Reviewed from ARC received from Delacorte Press.
Here are some cool links I shared on my Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr accounts in the last couple of weeks:
Ben Hatke on Visual Storytelling, Fairytales, and Genre-Blending | Bookish
Fall 2017’s Best Children’s and Middle Grade Books |
Noteworthy Fall 2017 Picture Books – #2017
Picture Books That Teach Mindfulness via
‘The Snowy Day,’ first picture book with black child as hero, marks 50 years
Why This Book About A Proud Muslim Family Is A Must-Read For The 2017 School Year
When Christian lost his home, he needed a place where he could find order and opportunity during the day.
34 of our most anticipated September YA books.
E. Lockhart on Antiheroes, Action Movies, and ‘Genuine Fraud’ |
How Tanith Lee’s YA fantasy heroine Claidi led Sandra Gisi to Alanna of Trebond and Aerin Dragon-Killer:
Here are my favorite fantasy graphic novels coming out in September. So very different from one another, each one is a separate world between two covers!
Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869 by Alex Alice (9781626724938)
Released September 12, 2017.
Translated from the original French, this graphic novel explores an alternative history where the mysterious element of aether is being quested for in the heights of the atmosphere by going up in balloons. Seraphin’s mother was lost after such a quest. Now Seraphin and his father are invited to build a gigantic balloon vessel to continue her search. Told in beautiful watercolor images with fine details and nods to Japanese manga, this large graphic novel invites readers into a new world. With a dynamic mix of historical detail, science and steampunk, this graphic novel is exceptional.
The Dam Keeper by Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi (9781626724266)
Released September 26, 2017.
Pig lives in the dam that holds back the darkness. It was built and designed by his father who taught Pig to maintain the dam. Then he disappeared, going through the forbidden door and out into the darkness. Now it is up to Pig to continue maintaining the dam even as the rest of Sunrise Valley ignores the threat of the darkness. As the darkness begins to behave differently, Pig and two of his friends are swept into the world outside of the dam and must figure out how to survive before the darkness claims them too. With unique and fabulous artwork, this graphic novel is based on the Oscar-nominated film.
Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke (9781626722668)
Mighty Jack returns in his second book from the author of Zita the Spacegirl. Jack must venture into the world of the monsters who have taken his younger sister. He is joined by Lily, a neighbor girl who has been trained in fighting with swords and has trained Jack as well. The two of them are soon separated from one another and each take a very different path to the final battle. One becomes Goblin King along the way and the other battles rats and is helped by strange creatures living in the plumbing. As always, Hatke surprises and delights this time as he twists the classic Jack and Beanstalk into a tale with dragons and goblins along with the giants!
(Review copies provided by First Second)
A study from the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) looked at the effect of human vs. animal protagonists. In the study, researchers read one of three stories to almost 100 four to six year olds. One book was a control book about seeds, the other two taught that sharing makes you feel good and one had human protagonists and one had animal protagonists.
The children were offered 10 stickers before they were read the story and were told that an anonymous child would not receive any. It was suggested that they could share the stickers by putting them in the envelope after the story. The children who were read the story with the human characters were more generous with their stickers. There was no difference between the effects of the control book and the animal protagonists.
From The Guardian:
Ganea said that while “a growing body of research has shown that young children more readily apply what they’ve learned from stories that are realistic … this is the first time we found something similar for social behaviours”.
“The finding is surprising given that many stories for young children have human-like animals,” said Ganea.
I’m fascinated by this study given that so many picture book for children this age have animal characters. Then you have Charlotte’s Web and other books for older children with animals as the characters too. While this is one study and needs to be duplicated, I do think it’s an interesting piece of information to keep in mind for educators and librarians.