Horn Book Fanfare 2018

The esteemed children’s literature journal Horn Book has released their Fanfare list that features their picks for the best books of the year. Here are the titles:

PICTURE BOOKS

34362953 Blue

A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin

Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Dear Substitute Dreamers

Dear Substitute by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Chris Raschka

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

35297103 Fox & Chick: The Party: and Other Stories

The Field by Baptiste Paul, illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara

Fox + Chick: The Party and Other Stories by Sergio Ruzzier

Hello Lighthouse 35959973

Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

I Really Want to See You, Grandma by Taro Gomi

Julián Is a Mermaid A Parade of Elephants

Julian Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes

The Patchwork Bike Pie is for Sharing

The Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke, illustrated by Van Thanh Rudd

Pie Is for Sharing by Stephanie Parsley Ledyard, illustrated by Jason Chin

They Say Blue

They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki

 

FICTION

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge Be Prepared

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin

Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol

The Book of Boy Finding Langston

The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome

The Journey of Little Charlie Love to Everyone

The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis

Love to Everyone by Hilary McKay

Louisiana's Way Home Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

The Parker Inheritance The Poet X

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Prince and the Dressmaker Rebound

The Price and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

Rebound by Kwame Alexander

The Season of Styx Malone Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster

The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier

 

NONFICTION

Boots on the Ground: America's War in Vietnam Hey, Kiddo

Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam by Elizabeth Partridge

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees

Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide by Isabel Quintero

The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees by Don Brown

Water Land: Land and Water Forms Around the World

Water Land: Land and Water Forms around the World by Christy Hale

Review: Astrid the Unstoppable by Maria Parr

Astrid the Unstoppable by Maria Parr

Astrid the Unstoppable by Maria Parr (9781536200171)

Astrid loves living in her tiny village in the mountains. The only problem is that no other children live nearby. She does have a best friend, Gunnvald, a neighbor in his seventies who loves to play the fiddle and can be rather grumpy. Astrid spends her time playing outside, building prototype sleds with Gunnvald, and bothering the owner of the wellness retreat nearby. When some children do come to the retreat (where children are forbidden) Astrid becomes friends with them despite having a fight first. Astrid’s world is idyllic, but something is about to change. When Gunnvald has an accident and has to have surgery, the secret he has been keeping from Astrid is revealed. Could it be that nothing will ever go back to normal again?

This Norwegian book has been translated into languages and sold around the world. It’s wonderful to see it on American shelves. Parr writes with a delightful sense of merriment throughout her book. She speaks to the importance of children having freedom and an ability to make choices in their life (even if one of those choices can’t be missing school all the time). She also demonstrates what a life lived outdoors looks like and the importance of loving a place and identifying with it.

The book uses the story of Heidi as a central plot point, which is very interesting since I had been thinking of how much this tale was like Heidi from the start. It is partly the setting itself of a mountaintop with an older man who is grumpy yet warm. But another large component is the character at the heart of both stories. Astrid, like Heidi, is fiercely independent and loves with all her being.

Richly told, this book is a delightful wintry read that feels like a long-lost classic. Get it into the hands of fans of Heidi and Pippi Longstocking. Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from ARC provided by Candlewick Press.

2018 Costa Book Award Shortlist

The Costa Book Awards have announced their shortlists. The award is the only major UK book prize limited to only authors residing in the UK and Ireland. Here are the titles shortlisted for the Children’s Book Award:

Bone Talk The Colour of the Sun

Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay

The Colour of the Sun by David Almond

Orphan Monster Spy The Skylarks' War

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen

The Skylark’s War by Hilary McKay (published as Love to Everyone in the US)

 

This Week’s Tweets & Pins

Here are some of the top items I shared on Twitter and Pinterest the last two weeks:

Reading Woman Image

CHILDREN’S LIT

The 10 Best YA and Kids’ Books of 2018

25 Wondrous And Festive Christmas Books for Kids

50 Must-Read Historical Fiction Books for Kids

Alison Lester wins the $60,000 Melbourne Prize for Literature

Bookstore’s Tweet On The Sale Of A Children’s Book After 27 Years Goes Viral

Children’s and teens roundup: the best new picture books and novels

Netflix to adapt Roald Dahl classics to small screen

The Picture Books That Defined 2018 & What They Say About Us

PW’s African-American Interest Young Readers’ Titles, 2018–2019

Rest Easy Knowing ‘Spider-Man: Into the SpiderVerse’ Does Miles Morales Solid Justice – Black Nerd Problems

Romper: The Gender Gap In Children’s Books Is Way Worse Than You Think

SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK Is Coming Back!

Tablet – The Best Jewish Children’s Books of 2018

Wanda Gág awarded Original Art Lifetime Achievement Award | News, Sports, Jobs – The Journal

Washington Post’s best children’s books of 2018

LIBRARIES

Chester’s award-winning library is at the heart of a cultural transformation

The Competitive Book Sorters Who Spread Knowledge Around New York

TEEN LIT

Author of The Poet X, Elizabeth Acevedo accepts the 2018 National Book Award

The B&N Teen bloggers’ 50 favorite YA books of 2018. https://t.co/iMgWuAT5Yu

Booklist: Read-a-Likes for Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy – The Hub

BookRiot – 2019 YA Books Starring Queer Girls

Epic Reads – Best YA Books 2018: The 50 Top New Books to Read in 2018

An Post Irish Book Award Winners

Now in its 13th year, the winners of the An Post Irish Book Awards have been announced. Over 100,000 votes were cast to select the winners! Here are the teen and youth award winners:

TEEN / YOUNG ADULT BOOK OF THE YEAR

The Weight of a Thousand Feathers

The Weight of a Thousand Feathers by Brian Conaghan

 

CHILDREN’S BOOK OF THE YEAR (SENIOR)

Blazing a Trail: Irish Women Who Changed the World

Blazing a Trail: Irish Women Who Changed the World by Sarah Webb and Lauren O’Neill

 

CHILDREN’S BOOK OF THE YEAR (JUNIOR)

The President’s Cat

The President’s Cat by Peter Donnelly

 

School Library Journal Best Books

Another 2018 best books list has been released, this time from SLJ! Here are the titles:

PICTURE BOOKS 

28234753 34362953

Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal

A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin

Black Bird Yellow Sun Blue

Black Bird, Yellow Sun by Steve Light

Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

The Day You Begin Drawn Together

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, illus. by Rafael López

Drawn Together by Minh Lê, illus. by Dan Santat

35297103 Fox & Chick: The Party: and Other Stories

The Field by Baptiste Paul, illus. by Jacqueline Alcántara

Fox + Chick: The Party and Other Stories by Sergio Ruzzier

Julián Is a Mermaid Me And My Fear

Julian Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

Me and My Fear by Francesca Sanna

35297368 A Parade of Elephants

Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, illus. by Ebony Glenn

A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes

The Patchwork Bike Saffron Ice Cream

The Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke, illus. by Van Thanh Rudd

Saffron Ice Cream by Rashin Kheiriyeh

Thank You, Omu! They Say Blue

Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora

They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki

Zola's Elephant

Zola’s Elephant by Randall de Sève, illus. by Pamela Zagarenski

 

CHAPTER BOOKS

Meet Yasmin! Tiger vs. Nightmare

Meet Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi, illus. by Hatem Aly

Tiger vs. Nightmare by Emily Tetri

 

MIDDLE GRADE

Amal Unbound Aru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava Quartet, #1)

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Blended The Cardboard Kingdom

Blended by Sharon M. Draper

The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell

Dactyl Hill Squad A Dash of Trouble (Love Sugar Magic, #1)

Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel José Older

A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano

Finding Langston Front Desk

Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Harbor Me Hurricane Child

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender

Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World The Journey of Little Charlie

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake

The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis

Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya

Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

The Night Diary The Parker Inheritance

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

The Season of Styx Malone The Serpent's Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond, #1)

The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon

The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta

Swallow's Dance They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid's Poems

Swallow’s Dance by Wendy Orr

They Call Me Guero by David Bowles

You Go First

You Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly

 

NONFICTION

Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card Dreamers

Americanized by Sara Saedi

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

Eat This!: How Fast Food Marketing Gets You to Buy Junk (and how to fight back) Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass, a Monumental American Man

Eat This!: How Fast Food Marketing Gets You to Buy Junk (and How You Can Fight Back) by Andrea Curtis, illus. by Peggy Collins

Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass, a Monumental American Man by Tonya Bolden

The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor's Story of Sexual Assault, Justice, and Hope

The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler by John Hendrix

I Have the Right To: A High School Survivor’s Story of Sexual Assault, Justice, and Hope by Chessy Prout with Jenn Abelson

Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968 Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness (Ordinary Terrible Things)

Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968 by Alice Faye Duncan, illus. by R. Gregory Christie

Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness by Anastasia Higginbotham

Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide

Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere by Barb Rosenstock, illus. by Katherine Roy

Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide by Isabel Quintero, illus. by Zeke Peña

Prickly Hedgehogs! Spooked!: How a Radio Broadcast and the War of the Worlds Sparked the 1938 Invasion of America

Prickly Hedgehogs by Jane McGuinness

Spooked!: How a Radio Broadcast and the War of the Worlds Sparked the 1938 Invasion of America by Gail Jarrow

The Triumphant Tale of the House Sparrow We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga

The Triumphant Tale of the House Sparrow by Jan Thornhill

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorrell, illus. by Frané Lessac

 

YA

After The Shot Drops All That I Can Fix

After the Shot Drops by Randy Ribay

All That I Can Fix by Crystal Chan

The Astonishing Color of After Blanca & Roja

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLeMore

Blood Water Paint Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha, #1)

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCollough

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Dread Nation (Dread Nation, #1) Give Me Some Truth

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Give Me Some Truth by Eric Gansworth

Hey, Kiddo Love, Hate & Other Filters

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

Mirage (Mirage, #1) Monday's Not Coming

Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson

On a Sunbeam Picture Us in the Light

On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden

Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert

The Poet X Pride

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

The Prince and the Dressmaker The Promised Neverland vol.1

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

The Promised Neverland, Vol. 1: Grace Field House by Kaiu Shirai

A Room Away From the Wolves Sadie

A Room Away from the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Speak: The Graphic Novel When Light Left Us

Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson, illus. by Emily Carroll

When Light Left Us by Leah Thomas

 

POETRY

Jabberwalking Martin Rising: Requiem For a King

Jabberwalking by Juan Felipe Herrera

Martin Rising: Requiem for a King by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illus. by Brian Pinkney

Seeing into Tomorrow: Haiku by Richard Wright Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy

Seeing into Tomorrow by Richard Wright & Nina Crews

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy by Tony Medina

 

 

Review: Kitten and the Night Watchman by John Sullivan

Kitten and the Night Watchman by John Sullivan

Kitten and the Night Watchman by John Sullivan, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo (9781481461917)

The night watchman heads out to his night of work. He works on a construction site, making sure that the doors are locked and the rooms are empty. He shines his flashlight near the broken trucks and startles a killdeer. He drinks his coffee under the shining stars and moon, thinking of his children at home asleep. Then a small kitten appears and joins the watchman for the rest of his rounds. They spot a jet in the sky, share dinner, and look at bugs. But then the kitten disappears and the watchman is left with only the sounds of the night around him. When the kitten returns, the watchman makes a decision to bring it home with him.

Beautifully told in a gentle and simple way, this picture book takes a poetic look at a job and a setting that is not usually given that treatment. The counterpoint of a construction site and the beauty that night lends it is very effective. As the quiet of the night progresses, it reveals so much that is hidden during the day. Birds, insects, and the kitten itself emerge from the darkness to be noticed and are made remarkable.

The artwork is filled with darkness and blues. Yet it is also lit by stars and the moon, and it is filled with beams from flashlights and lamps. These yellow streams of light lend brightness and illuminate the budding relationship of the watchman and the kitten with warmth.

Uniquely mixing construction, night and beauty, this picture book is something special. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.

 

Kirkus Best Middle-Grade Books of 2018

Kirkus has released their list of the Best Middle-Grade Books of 2018. On their website, they list them in categories, but I will list them alphabetically here. Here are the titles:

The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle Akissi: Tales of Mischief

The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle by Christina Uss, illustrated by Jonathan Bean

Akissi: Tales of Mischief by Marguerite Abouet, illustrated by Mathieu Sapin

All Summer Long Amal Unbound

All Summer Long by Hope Larson

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

Ana María Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle Aru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava Quartet, #1)

Ana Maria Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle by Hilda Eunice Burgos

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge Baby Monkey, Private Eye

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin

Baby Monkey, Private Eye by Brian Selznick and David Serlin

37570583 The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor

Backyard Bears: Conservation, Habitat Changes, and the Rise of Urban Wildlife by Amy Cherrix

The Beloved World of Sonia Sotomayor by Sonia Sotomayor

The Book of Boy Calling All Minds: How to Think and Create Like an Inventor

The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, illustrated by Ian Schoenherr

Calling All Minds: How to Think and Create Like an Inventor by Temple Grandin

Camp Panda: Helping Cubs Return to the Wild Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship

Camp Panda: Helping Cubs Return to the Wild by Catherine Thimmesh

Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship by Irene Latham, Charles Waters, illustrated by Sean Qualls, Selina Alko

Capsized!: The Forgotten Story of the SS Eastland Disaster The Cardboard Kingdom

Capsized!: The Forgotten Story of the SS Eastland Disaster by Patricia Sutton

The Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell

A Dash of Trouble (Love Sugar Magic, #1) The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America

A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano

The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from Latin America by Jaime Hernandez

Dragons in a Bag (Dragons in a Bag #1) Eat This!: How Fast Food Marketing Gets You to Buy Junk (and how to fight back)

Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott, illustrated by Geneva B

Eat This!: How Fast Food Marketing Gets You to Buy Junk (And How to Fight Back) by Andrea Curtis, illustrated by Peggy Collins

Everlasting Nora Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass, a Monumental American Man

Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda Cruz

Facing Frederick: The Life of Frederick Douglass, a Monumental American Man by Tonya Bolden

Fake Blood The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler

Fake Blood by Whitney Gardner

The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler by John Hendrix

Finding Langston First Generation: 36 Trailblazing Immigrants and Refugees Who Make America Great

Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome

First Generation: 36 Trailblazing Immigrants and Refugees Who Make America Great by Sandra Neil Wallace, Rich Wallace, illustrated by Agata Nowicka

Front Desk The Ghost Road

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

The Ghost Road by Charis Cotter

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian's Art Changed Science Gone to Drift

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science by Joyce Sidman

Gone to Drift by Diana McCaulay

The Great Googlini Harbor Me

The Great Googlini by Sara Cassidy, illustrated by Charlene Chua

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

The House That Lou Built The House With Chicken Legs

The House that Lou Built by Mae Respicio

The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

Hurricane Child 35721253

Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender

The Hyena Scientist by Sy Montgomery, photographed by Nic Bishop

Illegal The Island at the End of Everything

Illegal by Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano

The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

It's Up to You, Abe Lincoln Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World

It’s Up to You, Abe Lincoln by Leila Hirschfeld, Tom Hirschfeld, illustrated by Lisa Weber, Neal Swaab

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake

The Journey of Little Charlie Knights vs. Dinosaurs

The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis

Knights vs. Dinosaurs by Matt Phelan

The Language of Spells Look at the Weather

The Language of Spells by Garret Weyr, illustrated by Katie Harnett

Look at the Weather by Britta Teckentrup

Love Like Sky Martin Rising: Requiem For a King

Love Like Sky by Leslie C. Youngblood

Martin Rising: Requiem for a King by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Meet Yasmin! Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Meet Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi, illustrated by Hatem Aly

Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl The Night Diary

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

North to Benjamin Otherwood

North to Benjamin by Alan Cumyn

Otherwood by Pete Hautman

Out of Left Field The Parker Inheritance

Out of Left Field by Ellen Klages

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

Sanity & Tallulah The Science of Breakable Things

Sanity & Tallulah by Molly Brooks

The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller, illustrated by Alexandria Neonakis

The Season of Styx Malone The Sky at Our Feet

The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon

The Sky at Our Feet by Nadia Hashimi

Small Spaces 35804743

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

Snowy Owl Invasion!: Tracking an Unusual Migration by Sandra Markle

So Done Stanley Will Probably Be Fine

So Done by Paula Chase

Stanley Will Probably Be Fine by Sally J. Pla, illustrated by Steve Wolfhard

Struttin' with Some Barbecue: Lil Harden Armstrong Becomes the First Lady of Jazz Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy

Struttin’ with Some Barbecue: Lil Harden Armstrong Becomes the First Lady of Jazz by Patricia Hruby Powell, illustrated by Rachel Himes

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy by Tony Medina

Tortot, The Cold Fish Who Lost His World and Found His Heart The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle

Tortot, the Cold Fish Who Lost His World and Found His Heart by Benny Lindelauf, illustrated by Ludwig Volbeda

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor

The Turnaway Girls We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices

The Turnaway Girls by Hayley Chewins

We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices edited by Wade Hudson

You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P! You Go First

You Don’t Know Everything, Jilly P. by Alex Gino

You Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly

Zenobia

Zenobia by Morten Dürr, illustrated by Lars Horneman

Review: Snow Lane by Josie Angelini

Snow Lane by Josie Angelini

Snow Lane by Josie Angelini (9781250150929)

Annie doesn’t live in the type of family that lets them take tropical vacations during school breaks like some of the kids she goes to school with. She is the youngest of nine children in her family and money is tight. Her father works so much that she barely sees him at all unless it is while she is helping out at their family farm picking berries. Her mother doesn’t pay much attention to any of the children except the two talented ones. As Annie returns to school for a new year, she realizes that she is very different than the other kids and it goes a lot deeper than her having to wear hand-me-downs from her older brother and wait to get new shoes that don’t have a huge hole in them. Annie is consistently resilient and cheerful in the face of everything she has to deal with, something that is all the more impressive as her family secrets are revealed.

Angelini has drawn from her own family history to create one of the most heart-wrenching books of the year. Readers will immediately know that there is something wrong in Annie’s life as they witness her older siblings being cruel to Annie and her closest sister. Annie struggles with dyslexia and one older sister who is physically violent and also emotionally abusive, telling Annie that she is stupid all the time. As the book steadily reveals the truth about the family, things fall into place and leave Annie to find a way forward using her optimism and intelligence.

Angelini writes beautifully here. She allows the story to play out in front of the reader with Annie herself living in denial about what is actually happening in her family. That denial is even explained clearly towards the end of the book, which gives readers hope that Annie will not just survive but start to thrive. Angelini gives Annie two critical friendships at school that allow her to be successful. Both friends clearly have some ideas of what might be happening to Annie, but neither push that too hard, offering instead friendship, food, and safety.

Heartfelt and painfully honest, this book will speak to so many children living in similar circumstances and allow them to know they are not alone. Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from library copy.