Cherry Blossom and Paper Planes by Jef Aerts & Sanne te Loo (9781782505617)
Adin and Dina lived on the same farm. The two of them spent long days together picking cherries on the farm and climbing high in the cherry trees. They ate the cherries and kept the pits, planting them around town in the hopes that trees would grow. But then one day, Adin’s family decided to move to the city. Adin moved to an apartment building, far from any cherry trees. Dina gave him a bag of cherry pits to take with him. He spent time creating paper airplanes, loading them with pits and launching them off his balcony. Dina did get to visit once during their year apart. The two of them quickly fell back into being close friends. When spring came, the cherry pits were gone but a path of blooming trees led right back to the farm from the city. A path that just had to be followed.
This Dutch import has a lovely quiet to it. From the quiet friendship spent together in trees eating cherries to the quiet of loneliness for a close friend, all are captured on these pages. The emotions of a friend leaving are captured beautifully too as is the lasting connection between people and places. The writing is superb, celebrating cherries and trees and steadily building to that moment in spring when trees burst into bloom.
The art of this picture book celebrates the countryside and nature. The book captures the seasons with different colors and silhouettes of the trees. The rich green of summer turns to the browns of autumn to the whites of winter and then to a vibrant light green of spring that reaches to the city with its illumination on the page.
A lovely look at a cherry of a friendship. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from copy provided by Floris Books.
The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators has announced the recipients of the 2020 Golden Kite and Sid Fleischman Awards. Here are the award winners:
YOUNG READER AND MIDDLE GRADE FICTION WINNER
The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman
YOUNG READER AND MIDDLE GRADE FICTION HONOR BOOK
Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai
YOUNG ADULT FICTION WINNER
Lovely War by Julie Berry
YOUNG ADULT FICTION HONOR BOOK
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
NONFICTION FOR YOUNG READERS WINNER
Mario and the Hole in the Sky: How a Chemist Saved Our Planet by Elizabeth Rusch, illustrated by Teresa Martinez
NONFICTION FOR YOUNG READERS HONOR BOOK
Just Right: Searching for the Goldilocks Planet by Curtis Manley, illustrated by Jessica Lanan
NONFICTION FOR OLDER READERS WINNER
Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of “The Children’s Ship” by Deborah Heiligman
NONFICTION FOR OLDER READERS HONOR BOOK
The First Dinosaur: How Science Solved the Greatest Mystery on Earth by Ian Lendler, illustrated by C.M. Butzer
PICTURE BOOK ILLUSTRATION WINNER
Clever Little Witch illustrated by Hyewon Yum, written by Muon Thi Van
PICTURE BOOK ILLUSTRATION HONOR BOOK
The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop, illustrated by Frank Morrison, written by Carole Boston Weatherford
PICTURE BOOK TEXT WINNER
A Green Place to Be: The Creation of Central Park by Ashley Benham Yazdani
PICTURE BOOK TEXT HONOR BOOK
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
SID FLEISCHMAN HUMOR AWARD WINNER
Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai
The Amelia Bloomer Project will now be known as Rise: A Feminist Book Project for ages 0-18. The project continues to be part of the Feminist Task Force and the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association. Here are the Top Ten books chosen for 2020:
At the Mountain’s Base by Traci Sorell, Illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre
A Boy Like You by Frank Murphy, Illustrated by Kayla Harren
Forward Me Back to You by Mitali Perkins
The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad with S.K. Ali, Illustrated by Hatem Aly
Rise! From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou by Bethany Hegedus, Illustrated by Tonya Engel
Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson
Surviving the City, Vol. 1 by Tasha Spillett and Natasha Donovan
Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby
We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mjia
What Do You Do With a Voice Like That? The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan by Chris Barton, Illustrated by Ekua Holmes
Numenia and the Hurricane by Fiona Halliday (9781624149993)
Numenia was born in the Arctic with her two whimbrel sisters. At the autumn equinox, they faced a long migration from the far north all the way to the Caribbean along with thousands of other birds. On their journey they are hit by a hurricane, with winds and rain. Numenia is knocked off course, away from her sisters and the other birds. She finds herself tumbling into a city and landing on a windowsill. She rests there for awhile, but is drawn to fly south once again, only half the weight that she had started at. She flies alone until she gets farther south where she sees other birds and finds her sisters waiting for her.
Based on the true story of a whimbrel who was wearing a tracking device when she ran directly into a tropical storm. The device allowed scientists to see where she stopped to rest, how fast she went, and the impact of the storm on her long migration. She both battled the storm and then used the wind to her advantage and flew even faster with their help. Told in poetic lines, this picture book really explores the drama of the arduous migration that covers half the globe. From tiny chicks to quickly flying long distances, these birds are clearly heroes on our planet, their worlds larger than ours by far.
Halliday’s illustrations are dreamy, filled with downy chicks and feathery birds. She uses the natural settings to create moments of beauty, including the triumphant arrival in the south. The scenes in the city are hard and angular, adding to the drama of Numenia’s fall into the hardscape of the city away from nature.
A poetic and haunting look at migration. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from ARC provided by Page Street Kids.
Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi (9781250170996)
After returning magic to the world, Zelie and Amari now face the betrayal that happened in the first novel of the series. Amari is determined to take the throne herself now that her entire family lies dead. Zelie discovers that Mama Agba still lives and has created an enclave of powerful magi in the mountains. Zelie joins them as they honor her as the Soldier of Death and quickly rises to become an elder among them. Meanwhile, Inan isn’t dead and neither is the queen. They restore their own grip on the throne and its power. Amari joins Zelie with the magi, determined to try to make peace with her brother though no one agrees with her. The two sides continue to war with one another, battles repeating between the new titans and the magi. As magic in the country continues to evolve and grow, both sides try to harness it for their own victory. But everything is complicated by efforts to forge a new way forward in the midst of the chaos.
Oh my it’s hard to summarize this middle book of a trilogy without tons of spoilers. I’ve tried, offering only spoilers that happen in the first chapters and that I needed to have my summary make any sort of sense. The novel is a strong second book in the series when sophomore books are often the weakest. It does more than serve as a bridge between beginning and ending, moving the entire story of the world forward. It also moves ahead the stories of characters we love, giving them power, loss, grief and love along the way.
The ending of the book is spectacular and worth the bit of meandering pace in the middle. There are moments throughout the book that stand out and offer real insight into the characters and their motivation. The world building is exceptional and becomes even more clear in this second book.
A strong second novel in an outstanding series. Appropriate for ages 14-18.
Reviewed from library copy.
The Children’s Cooperative Book Center (CCBC) at the University of Wisconsin has announced the 2020 Charlotte Zolotow Award winners. The award is given for outstanding writing in a picture book. Here are the winners:
Johnny’s Pheasant by Cheryl Minnema, illustrated by Julie Flett
Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
A Map into the World by by Kao Kalia Yang and illustrated by Seo Kim
Pokko and the Drum by Matthew Forsythe
Saturday by Oge Mora
Truman by Jean Reidy and illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
HIGHLY COMMENDED TITLES
Beware of the Crocodile by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura
Daniel’s Good Day by Micha Archer
Goodbye Friend! Hello, Friend! by Cori Doerrfeld
My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero and illustrated by Zeke Peña
One Fox: A Counting Thriller Book by Kate Read
Small in the City by Sydney Smith
The Thing about Bees by Shabazz Larkin
Three Things I Know Are True by Betty Culley (9780062908025)
This verse novel for teens tells the story of two families shattered by one gun shot. Jonah had always been a daredevil, but that ended one day at his best friend Clay’s house when he was playing around with a gun. Now Jonah is bedridden, unable to do anything for himself. Most people don’t believe that he can understand things, but his sister Liv knows that he’s still in there. She spends most of her nights awake with Jonah and his nurses, since she’s often the only one who can calm Jonah down. Meanwhile, there’s a trial unfolding to see who is at fault for Jonah’s injuries and if his ongoing care will be paid for. Liv tries to protect her mother from the editorials in the newspaper and finds herself also making an unlikely connection with Clay’s mother in the center of the road between their homes. Liv also speaks to Clay, who has left school after the accident and given up his phone. She is drawn to him as they avoid talking about Jonah and find both new and old ways to communicate together. As Jonah’s trial goes on, the town becomes divided over the case, but Liv becomes all the more focused on her brother and Clay.
Culley’s verse is written with the tautness of a violin string. Her words stretch and hum, resonant with meaning. She doesn’t use any extra words, her poetry spare and rich with emotion that goes unstated but fills the pages. Beautifully, she manages to reach beyond the arguments about gun control to tell a deep story about the impact of a single gun on two families. That alone is a feat while still not ignoring the politically charged atmosphere entirely.
Liv is the voice of the book, her feelings and struggles crossing the page with her actions speaking of so much more pain than she can express even to the reader. She is a protagonist caught in a river current of grief and loss that she can’t find a way to process other than to just go through it. Again, Culley gives her the space to just be on the page, speak in her voice, and experience what her family is going through.
Tragic and profoundly moving, this verse novel is something special. Appropriate for ages 14-17.
Reviewed from e-galley provided by HarperCollins.
New Kid by Jerry Craft
The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker, illustrated by Junyi Wu
Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga
Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams