November 21, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

SLJ Reviews of 2016 Youth Media Award–Winning and Honor Books

SLJRev-CVs_-2016-AwardWinners-Honor

The winners are in, and once again, SLJ predicted many of the top 2016 Youth Media Award winners

and honor books, selecting for our list of Best Books, for instance, Laura Ruby’s Printz winner, Bone Gap, and Duncan Tonatiuh’s Sibert winner, Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras. In addition, 39 of the recognized titles were named selections by SLJ sister company Junior Library Guild. Check out our reviews of all the winning and honor books.

TOP10_Latino_LastStopJohn Newbery Medal

de La Peña, Matt. Last Stop on Market Street. illus. by Christian Robinson. 32p. Putnam. Jan. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780399257742.

K-Gr 2 –After church on Sundays, CJ and his nana wait for the bus. It’s a familiar routine, but this week CJ is feeling dissatisfied. As they travel to their destination, the boy asks a series of questions: “How come we gotta wait for the bus in all this wet?” “Nana, how come we don’t got a car?” “How come we always gotta go here after church?” CJ is envious of kids with cars, iPods, and more freedom than he has. With each question, Nana points out something for CJ to appreciate about his life: “Boy, what do we need a car for? We got a bus that breathes fire.” These gentle admonishments are phrased as questions or observations rather than direct answers so that CJ is able to take ownership of his feelings. After they exit the bus, CJ wonders why this part of town is so run-down, prompting Nana to reply, “Sometimes when you’re surrounded by dirt, CJ, you’re a better witness for what’s beautiful.” The urban setting is truly reflective, showing people with different skin colors, body types, abilities, ages, and classes in a natural and authentic manner. Robinson’s flat, blocky illustrations are simple and well composed, seemingly spare but peppered with tiny, interesting details. Ultimately, their destination is a soup kitchen, and CJ is glad to be there. This is an excellent book that highlights less popular topics such as urban life, volunteerism, and thankfulness, with people of color as the main characters. A lovely title.–Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, MN

John Newbery Honor

Review of the Day: The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker BradleyBradley, Kimberly Brubaker. The War that Saved My Life. 302p. Dial. Jan. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780803740815; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781101637807.

Gr 4-6 –Bradley turns her keen historical eye from Monticello (Jefferson’s Sons, Penguin, 2011) to the British home front during World War II. Ada isn’t exactly sure how old she is; for as long as she can remember, she’s been a virtual prisoner in her mother’s third floor one-room apartment. She was born with a clubfoot and her mother uses her disability as an excuse to abuse her both emotionally and physically. Ada watches the world through the narrow confines of the apartment window, waves to neighbors in the street, and carefully gauges the danger of being beaten during each encounter with her hateful mother. She envies the freedom of her little brother, Jamie, who goes to school and generally roves the neighborhood at will. When her mother prepares to ship Jamie out to the countryside with other children being evacuated from London, Ada sneaks out with him. When the two fail to be chosen by any villagers, the woman in charge forces Susan Smith, a recluse, to take them in. Though Susan is reluctant and insists that she knows nothing about caring for children, she does so diligently and is baffled by the girl’s fearful flinching anytime Ada makes a mistake. Though uneducated, Ada is intensely observant and quick to learn. Readers will ache for her as she misreads cues and pushes Susan away even though she yearns to be enfolded in a hug. There is much to like here—Ada’s engaging voice, the vivid setting, the humor, the heartbreak, but most of all the tenacious will to survive exhibited by Ada and the villagers who grow to love and accept her.–Brenda Kahn, Tenakill Middle School, Closter, NJ

JOHN NEWBERY HONOR

TOP10_Latino_RollerGirlredstaramieson, Victoria. Roller Girl. illus. by Victoria Jamieson. 240p. Dial. Mar. 2015. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780803740167; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780698190610.

Gr 4-8 –Twelve-year-old Astrid realizes that her interests are distinctly different from those of her best friend. Mesmerized while viewing a roller derby, she dreams of becoming a “Roller Girl” but discovers that the sport is considerably more daunting than she imagined and is not without physical, social, and emotional pain. Nevertheless, Astrid is determined to succeed. While this graphic novel provides interesting information about the sport, at its heart it is a story of friendship, exploring the tensions which test the girls’ relationship as they move from childhood to adolescence. Astrid learns to be honest with herself, her mother, and her friends through a series of stressful events. The graphic novelist employs several excellent visual devices: angles to denote action and effective placement and space within panels. Jamieson’s clever use of imagery is noteworthy. For example, desert and prehistoric depictions are used to suggest exaggerated perceptions of elapsed time. Her clothes shopping “hell” sequence is spot-on. Panels with stick figures are employed for comments, notes, and explanations. A prologue effectively frames the story and the realistic style with full-color art is reminiscent of the work of Raina Telgemeier. While at times some panels are a bit text-dense, the story will engage readers who will identify with Astrid as she deals with frustrations and disappointments. It will especially appeal to those whose aspirations fly in the face of convention. Offer this comic to fans of Telgemeier’s Smile (Scholastic, 2010) and Laura Lee Gulledge’s Page by Paige (Abrams, 2011).–Barbara M. Moon, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY

JOHN NEWBERY HONOR

TOP10_Latino_EchoredstarRyan, Pam Muñoz. Echo. 592p. Scholastic. Mar. 2015. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780439874021; ebk. $19.99. ISBN 9780545576505.

Gr 5-8 –“Long before enchantment was eclipsed by doubt,” a young boy named Otto lost in the woods is rescued by three sisters imprisoned there by a witch’s curse. In return, he promises to help break the curse by carrying their spirits out of the forest in a mouth harp and passing the instrument along when the time is right. The narrative shifts to the 20th century, when the same mouth harp (aka harmonica) becomes the tangible thread that connects the stories of three children: Friedrich, a disfigured outcast; Mike, an impoverished orphan; and Ivy, an itinerant farmer’s child. Their personal struggles are set against some of the darkest eras in human history: Friedrich, the rise of Nazi Germany; Mike, the Great Depression; Ivy, World War II. The children are linked by musical talent and the hand of fate that brings Otto’s harmonica into their lives. Each recognizes something unusual about the instrument, not only its sound but its power to fill them with courage and hope. Friedrich, Mike, and Ivy are brought together by music and destiny in an emotionally triumphant conclusion at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Meticulous historical detail and masterful storytelling frame the larger history, while the story of Otto and the cursed sisters honor timeless and traditional folktales. Ryan has created three contemporary characters who, through faith and perseverance, write their own happy endings, inspiring readers to believe they can do the same.–Marybeth Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY

Randolph Caldecott Medal

Review of the Day: Finding Winnie by Lindsay MattickredstarMattick, Lindsay. Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear. illus. by Sophie Blackall. 56p. Little, Brown. Oct. 2015. Tr ISBN 9780316324908. LC 2014041128.

K-Gr 3 –This sweet tale of the black bear that inspired the legendary children’s book character Winnie-the-Pooh will resonate with readers. In the framing story, a mother tells her son, Cole, a bedtime tale about how veterinarian Harry Colebourn, a young Canadian soldier on his way to train and fight in Europe during World War I, stumbled upon a baby black bear that he bought off a trapper at a train depot. Colebourn named the bear Winnie, short for Winnipeg, a gentle reminder of his hometown, and took the bear with him to England. Winnie quickly became the mascot of his unit. But when the time came to ship out to France for combat, Colebourn left his beloved pet in the capable hands of the London Zoo. Later, Milne and his son, Christopher Robin, visited the London Zoo and Christopher Robin took an immediate shine to Winnie, developing an unusually strong bond with the animal and even playing with her in her enclosure. The boy imagined all sorts of adventures for Winnie, which became the basis for the now-famous stories written by Milne. Washes of muted colors convey a cozy cheeriness that imbues the book with warmth and comfort, while occasional interjections from young Cole add to the fun. Blackall’s characters are rosy-cheeked and expressive, while Winnie is curious and whimsical. A perfect melding of beautiful art with soulful, imaginative writing, this lovely story, penned by Colebourn’s great-great granddaughter, is ideal for sharing aloud or poring over individually. VERDICT Children everywhere will enjoy this tale for years. A must-have.–Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA

Randolph Caldecott Honor

Trombone Shorty book coverAndrews, Troy. Trombone Shorty. illus. by Bryan Collier. 40p. photos. Abrams. Apr. 2015. RTE $17.95. ISBN 9781419714658. LC 2014016106.

Gr 1-4 –“Where y’at?” Troy Andrews, aka Trombone Shorty, opens his book with this phrase, letting readers know that it’s New Orleans parlance for hello. In this stunning picture book autobiography, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Andrews shares the story of his early years growing up in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans. Andrews desperately wished to emulate the musicians in his family and those he saw performing all over his city, so he and his friends made their own instruments out of found materials, played in the streets, and marched with bands. When one day he found a battered, discarded trombone bigger than he was, Andrews finally had a real instrument to play, and he practiced day and night, acquiring the nickname Trombone Shorty from his older brother. The moment Bo Diddley pulled Andrews on stage to play with him during the New Orleans jazz festival was a turning point, and he hasn’t stopped performing since. Collier’s beautiful watercolor, pen-and-ink, and collage artwork picks up the rhythm and pace of Andrew’s storytelling, creating an accompaniment full of motion and color. Each spread offers a visual panoply of texture, perspective, and angles, highlighting the people and the instruments. Andrews’s career is still on the rise, his music gaining an ever wider audience, and this title will be an inspiration to many. VERDICT Coupled with a selection of Trombone Shorty’s music, this work will make for fun and thoughtful story sharing. A must-have.–Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA

RANDOLPH CALDECOTT HONOR

PB_Henkes_WaitingredstarHenkes, Kevin. Waiting. illus. by Kevin Henkes. 32p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062368430; lib. ed. $18.89. ISBN 9780062368447. LC 2014030560.

PreS-K –Five toys sit on a windowsill, each waiting for something. There’s an owl with spots waiting for the moon, a pig with the umbrella waiting for the rain, a bear with a kite waiting for the wind, and a puppy on a sled waiting for the snow. And then there’s a “rabbit with stars,” content to simply look out the window. With an economy of words and gently repeating patterns, the text informs readers about the emotional ups and downs of this tiny band of friends: what makes them happy (getting what they’ve waited for), what makes them sad (when one of them goes away), and what surprises them (gifts, visitors, new friends.) Along with happiness and friendship, there are small moments of grief, anxiety, and existential wonder—all thoughtfully and authentically depicted with childlike honesty and optimism. On thick, creamy pages, Henkes uses brown ink with touches of watercolor and colored pencil in muted shades of pink, green, and blue to depict the softly rounded figures, shown small before the expanse of the four-paned window. Henkes varies the compositions with vignettes and a four-page wordless sequence showing the beautiful (a rainbow, fireworks) and sometimes scary (lightning) sights that the toys observe from the vantage point of their windowsill. The careful placement of the text and images establishes a leisurely pace, encouraging readers and listeners to slow down, examine the pictures, and discuss. Are these sentient little beings or are they moved and posed by an unseen child? Henkes leaves it up to readers to determine. VERDICT Waiting further cements Henkes’s place alongside picture book legends like Margaret Wise Brown, Crockett Johnson, and Ruth Krauss, through his lyrical text, uncluttered yet wondrously expressive illustrations, and utmost respect for the emotional life of young children.–Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal

RANDOLPH CALDECOTT HONOR

voiceredstarWeatherford, Carole Boston. Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement. illus. by Ekua Holmes. 56p. chron. notes. Candlewick. Aug. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763665319. LC 2013957319.

Gr 6 Up –This welcome biography brings to light one of the civil rights movement’s most inspiring leaders. The youngest of 20 children, Fannie Lou Hamer grew up in a family of sharecroppers in the Mississippi Delta. Forced to leave school after sixth grade, she joined the rest of her family in the fields picking cotton. Still hungry for knowledge, she found strength in the love of her family and through her Christian faith. Weatherford describes the hardships that Hamer endured. For instance, in 1961, while she was having a small tumor removed, a doctor performed a hysterectomy without her consent; at that time, Mississippi law allowed poor women to be sterilized without their knowledge. Hamer was in her 40s when young activists spoke at her church; until that point, she hadn’t known that she could vote, and she volunteered to register. Though she faced threats and in 1963 was brutally beaten, she spent the rest of her life rallying others. Told in the first person from Hamer’s own perspective, this lyrical text in verse emphasizes the activist’s perseverance and courage, as she let her booming voice be heard. Holmes’s beautiful, vibrant collage illustrations add detail and nuance, often depicting Hamer wearing yellow, which reflects her Sunflower County roots and her signature song, “This Little Light of Mine.” Pair this title with Don Mitchell’s The Freedom Summer Murders (Scholastic, 2014), which features a short chapter on Hamer, for a well-rounded look at this tumultuous, turbulent era. VERDICT Hamer’s heroic life story should be widely known, and this well-crafted work should find a place in most libraries.–Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA

RANDOLPH CALDECOTT HONOR

TOP10_Latino_LastStopde La Peña, Matt. Last Stop on Market Street. illus. by Christian Robinson. 32p. Putnam. Jan. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780399257742.

K-Gr 2 –After church on Sundays, CJ and his nana wait for the bus. It’s a familiar routine, but this week CJ is feeling dissatisfied. As they travel to their destination, the boy asks a series of questions: “How come we gotta wait for the bus in all this wet?” “Nana, how come we don’t got a car?” “How come we always gotta go here after church?” CJ is envious of kids with cars, iPods, and more freedom than he has. With each question, Nana points out something for CJ to appreciate about his life: “Boy, what do we need a car for? We got a bus that breathes fire.” These gentle admonishments are phrased as questions or observations rather than direct answers so that CJ is able to take ownership of his feelings. After they exit the bus, CJ wonders why this part of town is so run-down, prompting Nana to reply, “Sometimes when you’re surrounded by dirt, CJ, you’re a better witness for what’s beautiful.” The urban setting is truly reflective, showing people with different skin colors, body types, abilities, ages, and classes in a natural and authentic manner. Robinson’s flat, blocky illustrations are simple and well composed, seemingly spare but peppered with tiny, interesting details. Ultimately, their destination is a soup kitchen, and CJ is glad to be there. This is an excellent book that highlights less popular topics such as urban life, volunteerism, and thankfulness, with people of color as the main characters. A lovely title.–Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, MN

Michael L. Printz Award

YA_Ruby_Bone-GapRuby, Laura. Bone Gap. 368p. HarperCollins/ Balzer & Bray. Mar. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062317605; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780062317636.

Gr 10 Up –It is a rare book that sits comfortably on the shelf with the works of Twain, McCullers, Conroy, Stephen King, and D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths–rarer still that a novel combines elements of these authors together. Bone Gap does just this, to superb effect. We start with a boy named Finn and his brother, Sean. Sean is the classic hero: strong, silent, great at everything he does. Finn is a pretty boy whose otherworldly goofiness has earned him the nicknames Spaceman, Sidetrack, and Moonface. Along comes Rosza, a beautiful and damaged young woman, fleeing from some unknown evil. When she disappears, only Finn witnesses her abduction and he is unable to describe her captor. He is also unsure whether she left by force or choice. The author defies readers’ expectations at every turn. In this world, the evidence of one’s senses counts for little; appearances, even less. Heroism isn’t born of muscle, competence, and desire, but of the ability to look beyond the surface and embrace otherworldliness and kindred spirits. Sex happens, but almost incidentally. Evil happens, embodied in a timeless, nameless horror that survives on the mere idea of beauty. A powerful novel.–Nina Sachs, Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook, ME

Michael L. Printz Honor Award

YA_Perez_outofdarknessredstarPérez, Ashley Hope. Out of Darkness. 408p. ebook available. Carolrhoda Lab. Sept. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781467742023.

Gr 9 Up–The tale’s layered plot begins with a prologue set hours after an actual deadly U.S. school disaster in New London, TX in March 1937. Readers are plunged into the grief and horror of the moment long enough to meet important protagonists and wonder at the event before being transported back to September 1936. From this point, the book focuses primarily on Naomi, a 15-year-old of Mexican heritage, and her younger biracial twin half-siblings. Recent arrivals from San Antonio, the children are all living with the twins’ white father, and Naomi is forced to navigate the racially divided oil-mining town, learn to run a household, and to face her increasing interest in an African American youth. This third person story, recounted in multiple perspectives, slowly discloses the origins of the teen’s apprehension for the recent transition. The insertion of black-and-white photos and stark black pages interrupt the narrative much like the metaphoric explosions in the lives of the diverse protagonists. Additionally, an increased use of white space leading to the book’s climax seems to slow, and almost stop time. This book presents a range of human nature, from kindness and love to acts of racial and sexual violence. The work resonates with fear, hope, love, and the importance of memory. The author’s note and acknowledgements pages give more background on the disaster. VERDICT Set against the backdrop of an actual historical event, Pérez’s young adult novel gives voice to many long-omitted facets of U.S. history.–Ruth Quiroa, National Louis University, IL

MICHAEL L. PRINTZ HONOR AWARD

redstarSedgwick, Marcus. ghosts of heaven. 256p. Roaring Brook. Jan. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626721258; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9781626721265.
Gr 7 Up –Like his Printz Award-winning Midwinterblood (Roaring Brook, 2013), the prolific Sedgwick’s latest work consists of individual tales spanning centuries of time connected only by a single thread—in this case a shape; the spiral. From a mark scribbled in the dust by a girl of prehistoric times to the strands of the rope used to hang a medieval girl accused of witchcraft; from a poet plagued by madness who finds the spiral with its never-ending pattern horrifying to the one person left awake to watch over a ship full of sleepers in a state of suspended animation as they spiral through the universe looking for a new earth, each story carries a message of loss and discovery. Tying all four stories together is this one mysterious symbol, which can be found throughout nature in the shells of snails, the patterns of birds in flight, the seeds in a sunflower, and the strands of the double helix of DNA and comes to signify in these tales, a dance of death (and life). At once prosaic and wondrously metaphysical, Sedgwick’s novel will draw teens in and invite them to share in the awe-inspiring (and sometimes terrifying) order and mystery that surround us all.–Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award

MG_Garcia_gonecrazyinalabamaredstarWilliams-Garcia, Rita. Gone Crazy in Alabama. 304p. HarperCollins/Amistad. Apr. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062215871; lib. ed. $17.89. ISBN 9780062215888; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780062215901.

Gr 4-6–In this final volume in the trilogy that began with the acclaimed One Crazy Summer (2010), and continued with P.S. Be Eleven (2013, both HarperCollins), sisters Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern Gaither have been sent for the summer from Brooklyn to rural Alabama to reunite with their grandmother, Big Ma; their great-grandmother, Ma Charles; and their Uncle Darnell, a Vietnam vet recovering from drug addiction. Caught in the middle of a family feud between Ma Charles and her half-sister, Miss Trotter, the girls grapple with mixed feelings and new revelations about their family and its history. Narrator Delphine, 12, is charged with keeping her sisters in line and keeping the peace amidst their constant bickering, as well as readjusting to Big Ma’s discipline. When Vonetta disappears during a tornado, Delphine must confront her guilt and resentment as well as face her mother, Cecile, who has traveled from California in concern for her missing daughter. Much of the narrative includes backstory from the previous titles, which is important for context, though new readers will want to read the previous books to fully appreciate this novel. This final installment is rich in atmosphere and clearly conveys the sisters’ distinct personalities, their loyalty to one another, and their special place in their complex family. An author’s note elucidates the connection between Native and African Americans, and a family tree details the Gaither girls’ roots. VERDICT A must-have conclusion to this beloved middle grade series.–Marie Orlando, formerly at Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY

Coretta Scott King (Author) Honor

YA_Reynolds_AllamericanboysredstarReynolds, Jason & Brendan Kiely. All American Boys. 320p. ebook available. S. & S./Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Bks.Sept. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481463331.

Gr 8 Up–Rashad Butler is a quiet, artistic teen who hates ROTC but dutifully attends because father insists “there’s no better opportunity for a black boy in this country than to join the army.” He heads to Jerry’s corner store on a Friday night to buy chips, and ends up the victim of unwarranted arrest and police brutality: an event his white schoolmate Quinn Collins witnesses in terrified disbelief. Quinn is even more shocked because the cop is Paul Galluzzo, older brother of his best friend and Quinn’s mentor since his father died in Afghanistan. As events unfold, both boys are forced to confront the knowledge that racism in America has not disappeared and that change will not come unless they step forward. Reynolds and Kiely’s collaborative effort deftly explores the aftermath of police brutality, addressing the fear, confusion, and anger that affects entire communities. Diverse perspectives are presented in a manner that feels organic to the narrative, further emphasizing the tension created when privilege and racism cannot be ignored. Timely and powerful, this novel promises to have an impact long after the pages stop turning. VERDICT Great for fostering discussions about current events among teenage audiences. A must-have for all collections.–Ashleigh Williams, School Library Journal

CORETTA SCOTT KING (AUTHOR) HONOR

Book Review: The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason ReynoldsReynolds, Jason. The Boy in the Black Suit. 256p. S. & S./Atheneum. Jan. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781442459502; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781442459526. LC 2014001493.

Gr 7 Up –Matt’s mother just died, and his dad isn’t coping well, hanging out with the local drunk and downing whiskey, which results in his getting hit by a car and landing in the hospital. Matt is also grieving his mom’s death and now he’s on his own, until he lands a job at the local funeral home: $15 an hour and Mr. Ray as his boss. Attending other people’s funerals helps the teen come to grips with his own grief. Hearing mourners express their real thoughts of suffering at each funeral allows Matt to figure out his own feelings. Mr. Ray is wise and shows up at all the right times to help out the struggling young man, and when Mr. Ray’s secrets come to light, he appears even cooler in Matt’s eyes. Amid all this, Matt meets Lovey, the girl of his dreams, who is smart, funny, gorgeous, and tough. A mystery intersecting Lovey’s life and that of Matt’s best friend, Chris, deepens the plot. Written in a breezy style with complex characters who have real lives, this is another hit for Reynolds, fresh off the success of his When I Was the Greatest (S. & S., 2014). The author’s seemingly effortless writing shines in this slice-of-life story, which covers a lot of the protagonist’s emotional ground. The realistic setting and character-driven tale keeps readers turning the pages of this winner.–Amy Cheney, Alameda County Library, San Leandro, CA

CORETTA SCOTT KING (AUTHOR) HONOR

X A NovelredstarShabazz, Ilyasah with Kekla Magoon. X: A Novel. 384p. bibliog. chart. chron. ebook available. Candlewick. Jan. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763669676.

Gr 8 Up –Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little. The story opens with his departure from Michigan as a teen, though there are flashbacks to his younger years. It follows Malcolm through his time in Boston and Harlem, culminating with his conversion to Islam and his decision to change his name while in prison in 1948. The story does contain some gritty situations, most notably the use of the “n” word, non-graphic sex, drug and alcohol abuse, and criminal behavior. This was the reality of Malcolm X’s early life, and make the later scenes that more authentic. While the novel stops prior to his rise as a civil rights leader, the excellent back matter provides historical context, bibliography, time line, family tree, and a note from the author (who is also the third of Malcolm X’s five daughters). This is an eye-opening look at an important historical figure. The author’s honesty about his early troubles serves to convey that it is possible to rise through adversity to make a positive difference in this world. A worthwhile addition to any collection.–Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award

Trombone Shorty book coverAndrews, Troy. Trombone Shorty. illus. by Bryan Collier. 40p. photos. Abrams. Apr. 2015. RTE $17.95. ISBN 9781419714658. LC 2014016106.

Gr 1-4 –“Where y’at?” Troy Andrews, aka Trombone Shorty, opens his book with this phrase, letting readers know that it’s New Orleans parlance for hello. In this stunning picture book autobiography, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Andrews shares the story of his early years growing up in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans. Andrews desperately wished to emulate the musicians in his family and those he saw performing all over his city, so he and his friends made their own instruments out of found materials, played in the streets, and marched with bands. When one day he found a battered, discarded trombone bigger than he was, Andrews finally had a real instrument to play, and he practiced day and night, acquiring the nickname Trombone Shorty from his older brother. The moment Bo Diddley pulled Andrews on stage to play with him during the New Orleans jazz festival was a turning point, and he hasn’t stopped performing since. Collier’s beautiful watercolor, pen-and-ink, and collage artwork picks up the rhythm and pace of Andrew’s storytelling, creating an accompaniment full of motion and color. Each spread offers a visual panoply of texture, perspective, and angles, highlighting the people and the instruments. Andrews’s career is still on the rise, his music gaining an ever wider audience, and this title will be an inspiration to many. VERDICT Coupled with a selection of Trombone Shorty’s music, this work will make for fun and thoughtful story sharing. A must-have.–Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Honor Award

Nelson-The Book ItchNelson, Vaunda Micheaux. The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore. illus. by R. Gregory Christie. 32p. bibliog. ebook available. photos. Carolrhoda. Nov. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780761339434.

Gr 1-4 –Taking an imaginative leap into the past, Nelson describes the role of the National Memorial African Bookstore in Harlem, which opened in the 1930s and became a place where all kinds of people came to read, talk, and buy books about African American history. Told from the point of view of Lewis Michaux Jr.—the bookstore owner’s son and the author’s relative—this title clearly explains what made this bookstore unique. Lewis Michaux Sr. had a passion for sharing books with others, which was reflected in his words “Knowledge is power./You need it every hour./READ A BOOK!” He welcomed his customers and allowed them to stay as long as they wanted to and made a platform available outside the store so that people could speak their minds; among the speakers were Malcolm X and Michaux himself. Christie’s bold, colorful paintings help readers envision this landmark bookstore and the surrounding neighborhood. Back matter includes additional information about Lewis Michaux Sr. and an author’s note in which Nelson describes her interest in the subject, the sources she used for her research, and her use of perspective. Nelson and Christie’s Coretta Scott King Honor No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller (Carolrhoda, 2012) is aimed at older readers; this picture book explores Michaux for a slightly younger audience. VERDICT A strong endorsement of the power of books and reading, an excellent choice for history and biography collections, and a strong choice for educators emphasizing the importance of community.–Myra Zarnowski, City University of New York

CORETTA SCOTT KING (ILLUSTRATOR) HONOR AWARD

TOP10_Latino_LastStopde La Peña, Matt. Last Stop on Market Street. illus. by Christian Robinson. 32p. Putnam. Jan. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780399257742.

K-Gr 2 –After church on Sundays, CJ and his nana wait for the bus. It’s a familiar routine, but this week CJ is feeling dissatisfied. As they travel to their destination, the boy asks a series of questions: “How come we gotta wait for the bus in all this wet?” “Nana, how come we don’t got a car?” “How come we always gotta go here after church?” CJ is envious of kids with cars, iPods, and more freedom than he has. With each question, Nana points out something for CJ to appreciate about his life: “Boy, what do we need a car for? We got a bus that breathes fire.” These gentle admonishments are phrased as questions or observations rather than direct answers so that CJ is able to take ownership of his feelings. After they exit the bus, CJ wonders why this part of town is so run-down, prompting Nana to reply, “Sometimes when you’re surrounded by dirt, CJ, you’re a better witness for what’s beautiful.” The urban setting is truly reflective, showing people with different skin colors, body types, abilities, ages, and classes in a natural and authentic manner. Robinson’s flat, blocky illustrations are simple and well composed, seemingly spare but peppered with tiny, interesting details. Ultimately, their destination is a soup kitchen, and CJ is glad to be there. This is an excellent book that highlights less popular topics such as urban life, volunteerism, and thankfulness, with people of color as the main characters. A lovely title.–Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, MN

Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award

Smith-HoodooSMITH, Ronald. Hoodoo. 224p. Clarion. Sep. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544445253; ebk. $17.99. ISBN 9780544445277.

Gr 5-7– “When I got born, Mama Frances took one look at me and said, ‘That child is marked. He got hoodoo in him.’ That’s how I got my name.” But, for all that his dead daddy was known as a powerful mojo man, at age 12, Hoodoo Hatcher is the only one of his family who can’t do any kind of conjuring or even cast a simple spell. Mama Frances assures him that his time will come, but Hoodoo worries that his grandmamma is just trying to make him feel better. Then the Stranger comes to town—dark-cloaked, red-eyed, and cold—and fearful things begin to happen: swarms of flies, screams in the distance, and corpses in the graveyard dug up with all their hands chopped off. “I saw your daddy, boy. He owes me a debt and I come to collect…. Mandagore. The Hand That Did The Deed,” says the Stranger. Hoodoo discovers an old folk magic spell book, and learns what the demonic visitor is seeking—not “Mandagore” after all but “Main de Gloire.” The Stranger wants the secret of the Hand of Glory, left hand of a man hanged for murder, with which an evil magician can call and control the dead. When Mama Frances at last tells Hoodoo the tale of his father’s terrible death, the boy realizes that it is his father’s hand that the Stranger wants. Worse yet, the old curse is reaching out to Hoodoo himself as he notices that his own left hand is growing unaccountably strong. For the first time, he experiences the tempting thrill of occult power—and knows that the Stranger wants his soul as well as his father’s. But can Hoodoo find the strength—and the courage—to defy the Devil himself? The chilling supernatural Southern Gothic plot action is enhanced by atmospheric description of rural life in Depression-era Alabama. There are dark hints of racial tensions and the hardships of poverty, balanced by strong family and faith relationships. Readers will particularly enjoy Hoodoo’s authentic and engaging narrative voice. The author takes some liberties with historical details and with the obscure but very real folk magic texts that Hoodoo uses, although few readers in the intended audience will be aware of it. VERDICT Reminiscent of the adult horror fiction of the late Manly Wade Wellman, this debut novel will appeal to thoughtful middle grade fans of the supernatural.–Elaine E. Knight, formerly at Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL

Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award

voiceredstarWeatherford, Carole Boston. Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement. illus. by Ekua Holmes. 56p. chron. notes. Candlewick. Aug. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763665319. LC 2013957319.

Gr 6 Up –This welcome biography brings to light one of the civil rights movement’s most inspiring leaders. The youngest of 20 children, Fannie Lou Hamer grew up in a family of sharecroppers in the Mississippi Delta. Forced to leave school after sixth grade, she joined the rest of her family in the fields picking cotton. Still hungry for knowledge, she found strength in the love of her family and through her Christian faith. Weatherford describes the hardships that Hamer endured. For instance, in 1961, while she was having a small tumor removed, a doctor performed a hysterectomy without her consent; at that time, Mississippi law allowed poor women to be sterilized without their knowledge. Hamer was in her 40s when young activists spoke at her church; until that point, she hadn’t known that she could vote, and she volunteered to register. Though she faced threats and in 1963 was brutally beaten, she spent the rest of her life rallying others. Told in the first person from Hamer’s own perspective, this lyrical text in verse emphasizes the activist’s perseverance and courage, as she let her booming voice be heard. Holmes’s beautiful, vibrant collage illustrations add detail and nuance, often depicting Hamer wearing yellow, which reflects her Sunflower County roots and her signature song, “This Little Light of Mine.” Pair this title with Don Mitchell’s The Freedom Summer Murders (Scholastic, 2014), which features a short chapter on Hamer, for a well-rounded look at this tumultuous, turbulent era. VERDICT Hamer’s heroic life story should be widely known, and this well-crafted work should find a place in most libraries.–Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA

PinkneyCoretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement

Jerry Pinkney

Schneider Family Book Award ages 0-10

emmanueldreamredstarThompson, Laurie Ann. Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah. illus. by Sean Qualls. 40p. ebook available. Random/Schwartz & Wade Bks. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780449817445. LC 2014005767.

K-Gr 2 –This powerful and winning picture book tells the story of a young man overcoming the odds. Born in Ghana with a deformed left leg, Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah experienced stigma as a result of his disability: his father abandoned the family, and many assumed that the boy would be little more than a burden. However, with the encouragement of his mother, Yeboah refused to give up, hopping to school (instead of walking) and even learning to play soccer and cycle, despite receiving no extra help or accommodations. Thompson’s lucidly written text explains how Yeboah cycled 400 miles in 2001 to raise awareness, forever changing how Ghanaians perceived those with disabilities. The narrative is simply and clearly written, and the illustrations are skillfully rendered in charmingly emotive ink and watercolor collages. A brief author’s note explains how Yeboah inspired legislation upholding equal rights for the disabled and how he continues to make strides, working with organizations that provide wheelchairs to those who need them and setting up a scholarship fund for children with disabilities. VERDICT This uplifting account will resonate with readers and supplement global and cultural studies. A triumph.–Kathryn Diman, Bass Harbor Memorial Library, Bernard, ME

Schneider Family Book Award ages 11-13

MG_Hunt_Fishinatreeredstarhunt, Lynda Mullaly. Fish in a Tree. 288p. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Bks. Feb. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780399162596; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781101601327.

Gr 4-6 –In her second middle grade novel (One for the Murphys, 2012), Mullaly Hunt again paints a nuanced portrayal of a sensitive, smart girl struggling with circumstances beyond her control. Ally is great at math, and her ability to visualize moving pictures makes her an amazing artist, but she has a terrible secret: reading is almost impossible for her. By using her wits and adopting a troublemaking persona, she’s been able to avoid anyone finding out a truth she is deeply ashamed of, but a new teacher at school seems to see right through the defenses she’s built. While Ally struggles to accept the help that Mr. Daniels offers, she also deals with a father deployed in the Middle East, crushing loneliness, and an authentically awful set of mean girls at school. Ally’s raw pain and depression are vividly rendered, while the diverse supporting cast feels fully developed. As the perceptive teacher who finally offers the diagnosis of dyslexia, Mr. Daniels is an inspirational educator whose warmth radiates off the page. Best of all, Mullaly Hunt eschews the unrealistic feel-good ending for one with hard work and small changes. Ally’s journey is heartwarming but refreshingly devoid of schmaltz.–Elisabeth Gattullo Marrocolla, Darien Library, CT

Schneider Family Book Award ages 13-18

Toten-Unlikely Hero of Room 13BredstarToten, Teresa. The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B. 304p. Delacorte. 2015. ebook available. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780553507867; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780553507874.

Gr 8 Up –Hazel and Augustus need to move over because Batman and Robyn are about to take their place in the annals of YA literary romantic couples. The two teens meet in a group setting for those afflicted by obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Adam Ross, aka Batman, has severe OCD that is debilitating at times. He is intimidated when he joins a weekly group because most of the members are a bit older than him; there is also a girl who he finds irresistible. Each group member takes on a superhero persona for sessions at the urging of their psychologist. Adam chooses Batman, and is floored when his crush Robyn chooses Robin in order to be his sidekick. Adam has a knack for helping others who struggle with their own issues, including his half-brother, Sweetie, who has regular meltdowns; his mother, who is a hoarder; and his best friend, Ben, who has a weight problem. Unfortunately, he is so consumed with his own counting, tapping, and difficulties entering thresholds that he does not realize his gifts. Through Adam, Toten examines the trials and tribulations of OCD head on, but Adam also deals with the usual teenage problems of love, friendships, school, and divorced parents. Readers will relate to Adam’s anxieties and root for him as his relationship with Robyn develops. VERDICT This is a definite next-read for teens who loved John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars (Dutton, 2012) and Cammie McGovern’s Say What You Will (HarperCollins, 2014).–Elizabeth Kahn, Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy, Jefferson, LA

Andrew Carnegie Medal

That Is NOT a Good Idea . Dist. by Weston Woods. 2015. $59.95. ISBN 9780545879323.
The review for this title will appear in SLJ‘s February 2016 issue.

PinkneyLaura Ingalls Wilder Award

Jerry Pinkney

 

 

YA A to Z: David LevithanMargaret A. Edwards Award

David Levithan

 

 

Mildred L. Batchelder Award

Alemagna-Wonderful Fluffy Little SquishyAlemagna, Beatrice. The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy. tr. from French by Claudia Zoe Bedrick. illus. by Beatrice Alemagna. 48p. Enchanted Lion. 2015. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781592701803.

PreS-Gr 2–After overhearing her sister say the words birthday, Mommy, fuzzy, little, and squishy, five-year-old Eddie traipses all over town alone, looking for the perfect present for her mother. She visits the baker, the florist, the clothing shop, the antique dealer, and the butcher. Everyone except the butcher gives her something that is neither fluffy/fuzzy nor squishy. The butcher tells her he’s busy and frightens her away while waving a bloody knife. When she finally finds a “FLUFFY LITTLE SQUISHY,” it looks like a cross between a pink poodle and a rodent. Eddie cuddles it as if it is alive and takes it home to Mom, who wears the best present ever…as a hat? The cartoon illustrations are done in colored pencil with watercolor backgrounds, and the style is reminiscent of Ludwig Bemelmans’s art. The colors are muted except for Eddie’s bright pink coat and the bright pink creature. VERDICT This French import is an interesting mix of realism and fantasy about one child finding her special talent. A general purchase for larger libraries.–Kelly Roth, Bartow County Public Library, Cartersville, GA

Mildred L. Batchelder Honor

adamandthomasAppelfeld, Aharon. Adam and Thomas. tr. from French by Jeffrey Green. illus. by Philippe Dumas. 160p.ebook available. Seven Stories. Oct. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781609806347.

Gr 4-6–Originally published in France, this story is about two Jewish boys who have been left in the woods near their home by their mothers who must return to the ghetto. The boys survive by eating berries, foraging for food, and milking cows for fresh milk. Readers get a sense of the larger context of World War II through some minor characters, who make appearances as runaways or fugitives. There are several allusions to spiritual beliefs, but they are not overt. Dialogue is lyrical and a bit dreamlike, and the characters are sympathetic. The sentence structure and vocabulary are simplistic. Dumas’s illustrations add to the dreamlike quality of the text. VERDICT An fine addition to elementary and middle school libraries looking for tender friendship and survival stories set during the second World War.–Melissa Etheridge, Siegel Middle School, TN

MILDRED L. BATCHELDER HONOR

Suzhen-Grandma Lives in a Perfume VillageSuzhen, Fang. Grandma Lives in a Perfume Village. tr. from Chinese by Huang Xiumin. illus. by Sonja Danowski. English ed. 48p. NorthSouth. May 2015. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9780735842168.

K-Gr 2 –In this realistic story, Xiao Le (pronounced Shall La) and his mother travel to visit his sick grandmother. At first, the preschooler is afraid of the woman, but throughout the day they develop a close bond. Later, at home, his mother tells him that Grandma has moved into heaven. Although Xiao Le’s reaction is extremely matter-of-fact and childlike, he has deep empathy for his mother’s grief, reminding her of happy memories and meaningful symbols of Grandma’s life. Eventually, Xiao Le makes the natural connection between his Grandma leaving and the idea that his mother might leave, too. “Then all of a sudden he thought of something very important, ‘Mom, don’t go there to have afternoon tea with Grandma! Just stay here and drink tea with me, okay?’” and his mom reassures him, “‘Heaven is too far to reach by train.’” Connections with the natural world are ingrained in both art and text; the moon reminds Xiao Le of Grandma frying an egg in heaven, and the rain reminds him of her washing clothes. The beautifully rendered watercolor illustrations are warm, realistic, and deeply human, with images of animals and plants prominent in each spread. American parents may be alarmed when Xiao Le helps by feeding his grandmother pills, but this small cultural difference shouldn’t detract from the overall quality of the story. VERDICT This is a refreshing contemporary meditation on death and grief set outside the United States. The gentle story and luminous illustrations make a strong addition to most collections.–Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, MN

MILDRED L. BATCHELDER HONOR

PB_Liniers_WrittenandDrawnredstarLiniers. Escrito y Dibujado por Enriqueta. ISBN 9781935179917.

––––. Written and Drawn by Henrietta.  ISBN 9781935179900.

ea vol: illus. by Liniers. 64p. (TOON Books). Toon Graphics. Sept. 2015. Tr. $12.95.

Gr 2-4 –Henrietta is a young girl who has just received a new box of colored pencils, which she describes as “owning a piece of the rainbow.” And that is exactly how this book is illustrated, with bright, thickly applied colors in childlike drawings that reinforce the mood and action of the text. Liniers offers a book within a book; Henrietta is the author and illustrator of a story starring herself. In between panels, Henrietta consults her talking cat Fellini, who offers his sometimes philosophical advice and checks up on Henrietta’s writing progress. Her story begins with a secret closet, much like the well known one from the Narnia series. To Emily’s surprise, out pops a monster with three heads (but only two hats). The young author and My Favorite (her beloved stuffed animal) embark on a journey through the closet to help her monster friend find another hat, aided by an almost silent mouse who gives excellent directions and helps them escape from a big red monster. At one point, Henrietta is so invested in her artwork and the creation of her story that she scares herself (and perhaps a few sensitive readers as well.) The Spanish language version is just as delightful—perhaps even more humorous. VERDICT This title is sure to be a hit with emerging readers and young fans of graphic/cartoon stories during storytime or independent reading.–Martha Rico, El Paso ISD, TX

Odyssey Award

the war that saved my liferedstarBradley, Kimberly Brubaker. The War That Saved My Life. 6 CDs. 7:38 hrs. Listening Library. 2015. $40. ISBN 9780553556537. digital download.

Gr 4-6–Since she was born with a twisted foot, 10-year-old Ada has never been allowed to leave the one-room London apartment she shares with her mother and younger brother, Jamie. Mam is mortified by Ada’s foot, and she physically and emotionally abuses Ada, withholding food, locking her in a cupboard, and forcing Ada to crawl on the floor instead of supplying her with crutches. But when Ada learns Jamie will be shipped out of London in case the city is bombed by the Germans, Ada sneaks away with him, freeing herself from her mother’s cruelty and discovering a world she never before imagined for herself. The two children are sent to live in the country with Susan Smith, a woman who is still reeling from the death of her close friend, and who initially isn’t keen on taking them in. As the story progresses, however, Ada and Jamie slowly begin to trust Susan, and Susan opens her heart to them. Thanks to narrator Jane Entwistle’s distinct voicing, each character’s personality shines through. VERDICT Highly recommended, particularly for those studying the Second World War.–Anne Bozievich, Friendship Elementary School, Glen Rock, PA

Odyssey Honor

TOP10_Latino_EchoRyan, Pam Muñoz. Echo. 9 CDs. 10:22 hrs. Scholastic Audiobooks. 2015. $79.99. ISBN 9780545788373.

Gr 5-8–This World War II–set story concerns three children: 12-year-old Friedrich in Germany in 1933, 11-year-old Mike in Pennsylvania in 1935, and fifth-grader Ivy in southern California in 1942. They have nothing in common except a love for music, difficult challenges they each have to face, and, by an odd coincidence, the use of the same harmonica. The three characters are united at the end of the story in a satisfying conclusion. The narrators include Mark Bramhall, David de Vries, Macleod Andrews, and Rebecca Soler; the beautiful harmonica and piano music integrated into the recording is performed by Corky Siegel. Ryan’s lyrical phrases are read beautifully by the narrators, but it is the inclusion of the musical performances that make this audiobook stand apart from others. VERDICT A must purchase.–Julie Paladino, East Chapel Hill High School, NC

Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award

PB_Engle_DrumDreamGirlredstarEngle, Margarita. Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music. illus. by Rafael López. 48p. HMH. Mar. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544102293.

Gr 1-4–Engle’s spare, rhythmic text gets at the heart of the struggle to achieve a dream in this picture-book biography about a Chinese African Cuban girl who aspired to play drums even when society’s double standards stood as a barrier. Growing up in tempestuous 1930s Havana, during a time when universities were often shut down because of their opposition to the dictatorial President Machado, Millo Castro Zaldarriaga dared to dream of playing percussion instruments—timbales, congas, bongós—but her father was adamant that “only boys should play drums.” But still she persisted in her hopes and eventually, with the help of her sisters and music teacher, became a member of the renowned Anacaona, Cuba’s first all-girl dance band, founded by her sister, Cuchito Castro. López’s zinging, neon-tinged art highlights the island’s diversity, depicting the drum girl’s flights of fancy set against the backdrop of carnival scenes and outdoor cafes. Details of Cuba’s and the protagonist’s Chinese, African, Taíno, and Spanish roots are seamlessly interwoven into the lyrical narrative and luminous acrylic paintings. The alliterative text parallels the snappy syncopation of the subject’s instruments. The heroine’s tenacity in the face of naysayers will inspire all dreamers, and the illustrator’s smile-inducing cameo on the last page emphasizes the universality of Millo’s story. For those looking for more nonfiction titles about female musical powerhouses, such as Monica Brown’s My Name Is Celia/Me llamo Celia (Cooper Square, 2004), Katheryn Russell-Brown’s Little Melba and Her Big Trombone (Lee & Low, 2014), and Carole Boston Weatherford’s Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century (Knopf, 2014). An author’s note gives more background on the groundbreaking percussionist.–Shelley Diaz, School Library Journal

Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Honor Award

Rivera-AshfordMy Tatas RemediesRivera-Ashford, Roni Capin. My Tata’s Remedies/Los remedios de mi Tata. illus. by Antonio Castro L. 40p. Cinco Puntos. 2015. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781935955917; pap. $8.95. ISBN 9781935955894. BL

Gr 2-4 –A boy learns about making and applying herbal remedies from his grandfather, Tata, in this warm portrait of a loving Latino family. While Aaron spends the day at his grandparents’ home, various neighbors drop by and ask for help with small ailments and injuries—a bee sting, itchy feet, an eye infection. Tata treats each one with an herbal tea, poultice, wrap or other application, then repeats the comforting Spanish refrain “Sana, sana, colita de rana, si no sanas hoy, sanarás mañana.” All are grateful and stay for empanadas and hot chocolate, and the story closes with Aaron expressing his gratitude for the lessons and his intention to practice making his Tata’s remedies. This is a lovely intergenerational story that could have benefitted from some additional back matter about curanderas; a glossary offers definitions and pictures of each plant mentioned in the story, but there is no information about the family’s cultural heritage, the origins of the remedies Tata employs, or the region where the story takes place. A disclaimer notes that readers should not take the text as medical advice; good thing, as one or two of the maladies Tata treats seem serious enough to warrant medical attention (a neighbor’s burn, which the text indicates is mild but appears deep in the illustration, and a child’s spiking fever). Realistic watercolor illustrations are kid-friendly but occasionally unsettling as the neighbors show up with their various ailments. Nevertheless, the bilingual text is strong, and the story will appeal to those looking for loving intergenerational relationships and Latino family traditions. VERDICT A strong choice for larger collections or those in need of grandparent stories.–Amy Martin, Oakland Public Library, CA

PURA BELPRÉ (ILLUSTRATOR) HONOR AWARD

MangoMedina, Meg. Mango, Abuela, and Me. illus. by Angela Dominguez. 32p. Candlewick. Aug. 2015. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780763669003.

PreS-Gr 2 –Mia is unsure of what to think when her grandma, Abuela, comes to live with her. She must open up her room to share with Abuela, even though the two don’t even share a common language. “Abuela and I can’t understand each other” Mia confides to her mom. “Things will get better,” she tells her, and indeed they do. Through some trial and error, persistence and even a feathered friend, Mia and Abuela find new ways to communicate. “Now, when Abuela and I are lying next to each other in bed, our mouths are full of things to say.” In this tale, Medina blends Spanish and English words together as seamlessly as she blends the stories of two distinct cultures and generations. Dominguez’s bright illustrations, done in ink, gouache, and marker, make the characters shine as bright as the rich story they depict. The glowing images of Mango, the parrot, a nearly silent star of the book, will win over audiences of all ages but the real magic is in the heartfelt tale of love. Everything about this book will make readers want to share it with someone they love. VERDICT A timeless story with wide appeal.–Megan Egbert, Meridian Library District, ID

PURA BELPRÉ (ILLUSTRATOR) HONOR AWARD

TOP10_Latino_FunnyBonesCoverredstarTonatiuh, Duncan. Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras. illus. by Duncan Tonatiuh. 40p. bibliog. glossary. index. websites. Abrams. 2015. RTE $18.95. ISBN 9781419716478. LC 2014042319.

Gr 3-6 –Tonatiuh’s latest delves into the life of artist and social commentator extraordinaire José Guadalupe Posada, best known for his literary calaveras, brief and amusing rhyming poems about skeletons dressed in clothes, going about their daily business. The beautifully expressive Day of the Dead–inspired illustrations on heavy paper pages sport borders of bones, grinning skeletons, and Tonatiuh’s signature figures shown in profile, influenced by the ancient Mexican art of his ancestors. Simple yet effective sentences accompany step-by-step images detailing the artistic processes that Posada learned as a printer’s apprentice: lithography, engraving, and etching. Reproductions of Posada’s calaveras will help children appreciate Posada’s passion for his profession, such as the broadside “Calavera Love,” which depicts a gentleman skeleton proposing marriage; the poem concludes, “I am sorry, Señor. But that cannot be./You’re handsome and all,/but too skinny for me!” Tonatiuh explains the poetry, posing questions about the artist’s intentions and adding historical context, explaining the calaveras that Posada created in response to the Mexican Revolution. Extensive back matter includes links where students can see Posada’s original work and an author’s note that suggests using the calaveras “to learn and celebrate el Dia de Muertos.” VERDICT A stunning work, with great possibilities for lesson plans or tie-ins with Day of the Dead.–Toby Rajput, National Louis University, Skokie, IL

Pura Belpré (Author) Award

TOP10_Latino_enchanted-airredstarEngle, Margarita. Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir. illus. by Edel Rodriguez. 208p. S. & S./Atheneum. Aug. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481435222; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781481435246. LC 2014017408.

Gr 6-10–A deeply personal memoir-in-verse filled with Engle’s trademark intricately woven lyricism. The author’s memories focus on the first 14 years of her life, beginning with idyllic summers spent in her mother’s homeland of Cuba and ending during the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis and subsequent travel ban. Engle captures the heart of a quiet, young girl torn between two cultures. This historical memoir/love poem to Cuba couldn’t be more timely. With the recent easing of relations with Cuba, teachers can use the text as an accessible entry point into the history behind this very current event. And while the narrative unfolds over 50 years ago, Engle’s experiences will still resonate with adolescents and teens today. Any child who has felt like an outsider will recognize themselves in Margarita’s tale. When the Cuban Missile Crisis ended and everyone’s focus shifted, \the author was left confused, empty and unfulfilled by her school’s seemingly senseless focus on what felt like irrelevant historical events. What American child with ties to a country experiencing turmoil couldn’t relate to the lingering after-effects of far off events in our era of two-minute news bytes? VERDICT A more than worthwhile purchase for any library in need of a universally applicable coming-of-age tale, a fantastic new memoir-in-verse, or a glimpse into Cuba’s past.–Jill Heritage Maza, Montclair Kimberley Academy, Montclair, NJ

Pura Belpré (Author) Honor

BOWLES, David . The Smoking Mirror. 226p. (Garza Twins Bk. 1). IFWG Publishing. Mar. 2015. pap. $13.99. ISBN9781925148640. No review available.

PURA BELPRÉ (AUTHOR) HONOR

MangoMedina, Meg. Mango, Abuela, and Me. illus. by Angela Dominguez. 32p. Candlewick. Aug. 2015. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780763669003.

PreS-Gr 2–Mia is unsure of what to think when her grandma, Abuela, comes to live with her. She must open up her room to share with Abuela, even though the two don’t even share a common language. “Abuela and I can’t understand each other” Mia confides to her mom. “Things will get better,” she tells her, and indeed they do. Through some trial and error, persistence and even a feathered friend, Mia and Abuela find new ways to communicate. “Now, when Abuela and I are lying next to each other in bed, our mouths are full of things to say.” In this tale, Medina blends Spanish and English words together as seamlessly as she blends the stories of two distinct cultures and generations. Dominguez’s bright illustrations, done in ink, gouache, and marker, make the characters shine as bright as the rich story they depict. The glowing images of Mango, the parrot, a nearly silent star of the book, will win over audiences of all ages but the real magic is in the heartfelt tale of love. Everything about this book will make readers want to share it with someone they love. VERDICT A timeless story with wide appeal.–Megan Egbert, Meridian Library District, ID

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award

TOP10_Latino_FunnyBonesCoverredstarTonatiuh, Duncan. Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras. illus. by Duncan Tonatiuh. 40p. bibliog. glossary. index. websites. Abrams. 2015. RTE $18.95. ISBN 9781419716478. LC 2014042319.

Gr 3-6 –Tonatiuh’s latest delves into the life of artist and social commentator extraordinaire José Guadalupe Posada, best known for his literary calaveras, brief and amusing rhyming poems about skeletons dressed in clothes, going about their daily business. The beautifully expressive Day of the Dead–inspired illustrations on heavy paper pages sport borders of bones, grinning skeletons, and Tonatiuh’s signature figures shown in profile, influenced by the ancient Mexican art of his ancestors. Simple yet effective sentences accompany step-by-step images detailing the artistic processes that Posada learned as a printer’s apprentice: lithography, engraving, and etching. Reproductions of Posada’s calaveras will help children appreciate Posada’s passion for his profession, such as the broadside “Calavera Love,” which depicts a gentleman skeleton proposing marriage; the poem concludes, “I am sorry, Señor. But that cannot be./You’re handsome and all,/but too skinny for me!” Tonatiuh explains the poetry, posing questions about the artist’s intentions and adding historical context, explaining the calaveras that Posada created in response to the Mexican Revolution. Extensive back matter includes links where students can see Posada’s original work and an author’s note that suggests using the calaveras “to learn and celebrate el Dia de Muertos.” VERDICT A stunning work, with great possibilities for lesson plans or tie-ins with Day of the Dead.–Toby Rajput, National Louis University, Skokie, IL

Robert F. Sibert Informational Honor

NF_Brown_DrownedCityredstarBrown, Don. Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans. illus. by Don Brown. 96p. bibliog. ebook available. notes. HMH. Aug. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780544157774.

Gr 7 Up –A murky watercolor storm spreads across pages, darkening and becoming more ominous as it builds in Brown’s deeply affecting look at Hurricane Katrina. Dynamic sketches capture shocking scenes, such as residents fleeing down claustrophobic highways as the 400-mile-wide storm looms in a nearly completely dark spread. Brown depicts broken levees, flooded homes, and inhabitants scrabbling to not drown in their attics. A stunningly powerful spread shows water everywhere and two lone people trapped on a roof. The images demonstrate the utter devastation and despair while the at times spare text powerfully reveals the voices of the victims. The many failures of President Bush, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Mayor Ray Nagin, and others are repeatedly noted, as is the heroism of various organizations and ordinary people. Brown walks readers through the ghastly conditions at the Superdome, the horrors of hospitals with no electricity, and the nightmarish reality of dead bodies everywhere. The story becomes grimmer at every turn: ineffectual police and rescue efforts, looting, the lack of housing for rescued victims, and 5,000 missing children. The muted watercolors effectively capture the squalid and treacherous conditions of every inch of New Orleans. The final pages show the rebuilding efforts but note the lasting effects of vastly decreased populations. VERDICT This astonishingly powerful look at one of America’s worst disasters is a masterful blend of story and art and a required purchase for all libraries.–Amanda MacGregor, Great River Regional Library, St. Cloud, MN

ROBERT F. SIBERT INFORMATIONAL HONOR

Hoose - Churchill ClubredstarHoose, Phillip. The Churchill Club: Knud Pedersen and the Boys Who Challenged Hitler. 208p. bibliog. illus. index. maps. notes. photos. Farrar. May 2015. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780374300227; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780374302726.

Gr 9 Up –In April 1940, occupying German forces made Denmark a “protectorate” of the Third Reich. The Danish government accepted the occupation, but a small group of teen boys, angry at their nation’s cowardice, formed the secret Churchill Club to resist the Germans and conducted a six-month spree of sabotage and destruction. Incorporating lengthy first-person reminiscences of one of the group’s leaders, Knud Pedersen, Hoose describes how the club recruited members, exploited their youth and innocent looks to deceive their parents and the Germans, appropriated weapons, and carried out guerilla-style attacks from their bicycles. Although the boys were eventually arrested and imprisoned, their exploits made them national heroes, shamed many adults, and fueled Danish resistance. After the war, Winston Churchill honored their efforts. The book is well organized, effectively integrating Pedersen’s vivid descriptions of his group’s motives, determination, and sometimes foolhardy bravery within the larger narrative, which includes information about Denmark, the war, and the boys’ families and lives. Sidebars, detailed maps, and period photos supplement the text. Often reading like a thriller, this title puts a human face on the often-overlooked Danish Resistance and complements titles such as Michael Burgan’s Refusing to Crumble: The Danish Resistance in World War II (Compass Pt., 2010) and Ellen Levine’s Darkness over Denmark: The Danish Resistance and the Rescue of the Jews (Holiday House, 2000). VERDICT A captivating work that will appeal to many readers.–Mary Mueller, Rolla Public Schools, MO

ROBERT F. SIBERT INFORMATIONAL HONOR

Turning15Lowery, Lynda Blackmon. Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March. Elspeth Leacock & Susan Buckley retel. illus. by PJ Loughran. 128p. reprods. Dial. Jan. 2015. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780803741232. LC 2013047316.

Gr 5 Up –One of the youngest participants in the 1965 voting rights march in Alabama, Lowery provides a moving first-person account of her experience. Through this thought-provoking volume, the picture of an incredibly courageous young woman emerges. Lowery effectively conveys the enormity of the injustices in her world and the danger that those she knew encountered daily. Lowery shows what people, including children, are capable of when they stand together. Readers will appreciate what the author endured, including being jailed nine times before she turned 15. Lowery includes many intricate details, such as what the marchers ate and where they slept. The illustrations are a mix of photographs and cartoonish drawings, which bring a graphic novel–like feel to this memoir. A concluding chapter explains the fight for voting rights and contains short biographies of those who died for the cause. This is an honest, powerful historical work, straight from the source.–Heather Acerro, Rochester Public Library, MN

ROBERT F. SIBERT INFORMATIONAL HONOR

voiceredstarWeatherford, Carole Boston. Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement. illus. by Ekua Holmes. 56p. chron. notes. Candlewick. Aug. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763665319. LC 2013957319.

Gr 6 Up –This welcome biography brings to light one of the civil rights movement’s most inspiring leaders. The youngest of 20 children, Fannie Lou Hamer grew up in a family of sharecroppers in the Mississippi Delta. Forced to leave school after sixth grade, she joined the rest of her family in the fields picking cotton. Still hungry for knowledge, she found strength in the love of her family and through her Christian faith. Weatherford describes the hardships that Hamer endured. For instance, in 1961, while she was having a small tumor removed, a doctor performed a hysterectomy without her consent; at that time, Mississippi law allowed poor women to be sterilized without their knowledge. Hamer was in her 40s when young activists spoke at her church; until that point, she hadn’t known that she could vote, and she volunteered to register. Though she faced threats and in 1963 was brutally beaten, she spent the rest of her life rallying others. Told in the first person from Hamer’s own perspective, this lyrical text in verse emphasizes the activist’s perseverance and courage, as she let her booming voice be heard. Holmes’s beautiful, vibrant collage illustrations add detail and nuance, often depicting Hamer wearing yellow, which reflects her Sunflower County roots and her signature song, “This Little Light of Mine.” Pair this title with Don Mitchell’s The Freedom Summer Murders (Scholastic, 2014), which features a short chapter on Hamer, for a well-rounded look at this tumultuous, turbulent era. VERDICT Hamer’s heroic life story should be widely known, and this well-crafted work should find a place in most libraries.–Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA

STONEWALL BOOK AWARD for Children’s and YA Literature

MG_Gino_georgeredstarGINO, Alex. George. 240p. Scholastic. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545812542; ebk. $16.99. ISBN 9780545812580.

Gr 4-6 –Before her mother and older brother Scott come home, George has a few, treasured moments to experience life as she’s always wanted to live it. She looks in the mirror and calls herself Melissa, combs her hair over her forehead to mimic the appearance of bangs, and reads glossy magazines full of ads for lipstick, perfume, and tampons. Once her mom and brother come home, however, the magazines must go back to their secret hiding place. While George has no doubt she’s a girl, her family relates to her as they always have: as a boy. George hopes that if she can secure the role of Charlotte in her class’s upcoming production of Charlotte’s Web, her mom will finally see her as a girl and be able to come to terms with the fact that George is transgender. With the help of her closest ally, Kelly, George attempts to get the rest of the world to accept her as she is. While children can have a sense of their gender identity as early as the age of three, children’s literature is shockingly bereft of trans* protagonists, especially where middle grade literature is concerned. George offers more than the novelty of an LGBTQ coming-out story, however. Here, what is most remarkable is the use of pronouns: While the world interacts with George as if she is a boy, the narrator only refers to her with female pronouns, which gives her girl-ness a stronger sense of validation. In addition, George comments on the fact that, in past years, gays and lesbians have achieved a certain amount of visibility and acceptance, while the trans* community is still largely ignored and misunderstood. George’s mother remarks that while she can handle having a gay child, she simply can’t accept her as “that kind of gay.” For George, as is the case for many LGBTQ youth, coming out is a process that she must repeat until she is properly recognized. There is pain in George, but not without the promise of a better tomorrow, even if tomorrow doesn’t arrive as soon as it should. VERDICT A required purchase for any collection that serves a middle grade population.–Ingrid Abrams, Brooklyn Public Library, NY

STONEWALL BOOK AWARD

konigsberg porcupineredstarKONIGSBERG, Bill. The Porcupine of Truth. 336p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Bks. May 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545648936; ebk. ISBN 9780545648943.

Gr 9 Up –Carson’s mother thwarts his summer plans when she drags him from New York City to Montana. He wasn’t especially looking forward to working at a frozen yogurt shop, but it couldn’t be worse than staying with his ailing (and alcoholic) father, a man he hasn’t seen in 14 years. Aisha Stinson has been sleeping at the Billings Zoo since coming out to her ultra-conservative father. After a chance meeting, Carson and Aisha recognize each other as kindred spirits. Aisha comes to stay with Carson’s family, and the pair soon unearth family secrets in the basement. They set off on a roadtrip to uncover the root cause of three generations of estrangement. As they pursue a reconciliation with Carson’s missing grandfather, both teens wrestle with their own strained family relationships. Konigsberg perfectly depicts the turbulent intensity of a new friendship. Carson is an intensely likable, hilarious, and flawed narrator. There are no true villains in the well-developed cast of characters, just people trying to do their best and frequently failing. VERDICT Konigsberg weaves together a masterful tale of uncovering the past, finding wisdom, and accepting others as well as oneself.–Tony Hirt, Hennepin County Library, MN

STONEWALL HONOR

BARZAK-Wonders-ofthe-Invisible-WorldBARZAK, Christopher. Wonders of the Invisible World. 352p. ebook available. Knopf. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780385392792.

Gr 9 Up –Aiden Lockwood is a 17-year-old farm boy drifting through his unremarkable life when Jarrod returns to their small town and long-buried memories begin to surface. Aiden is confused about why he cannot remember details from when he and Jarrod were best friends in middle school. Aiden slowly realizes that buried along with his memories were his unique abilities to see the future, the past, others’ dreams, and more sinister visions, such as the moment of death. His mother is also a seer with abilities similar to Aiden’s; she seems to know all but tells her son the bare minimum. Aiden’s brother and father are blissfully unaware of anything beyond the material world. Through visions, the teen travels through time to see his paternal relatives and learns unsettling things about the Lockwood family history. The more Aiden finds out, the more he wants to know. When tragedy strikes, Aiden become more determined to find answers, so he and Jarrod embark on a journey for the truth to Lily Dale, NY (a famous town of Spiritualists). This story has plenty of appeal and potential and offers a twist on the typical paranormal romance—while a sincere, thoughtful LGBT relationship is important to Aiden’s character development, it isn’t the central focus of the book. Unfortunately, other key characters are not developed fully. The pacing of the narrative is also slightly off-kilter. VERDICT An additional purchase.–Tara Kehoe, New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center, Trenton

STONEWALL HONOR

SILVERBERG, Cory & Fiona Smyth. Sex Is a Funny Word: A Book About Bodies, Feelings, and You. 160p. Triangle Square. Jul. 2015. Tr $23.95. ISBN 9781609806064. No review available.

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award

moAdler, David A. Don’t Throw It to Mo! illus. by Sam Ricks. 32p. (Mo Jackson). Penguin. May 2015. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780670016310; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780698136120.

K-Gr 2 –Mo loves football so much that his mother wakes him up every morning for school by throwing him a forward pass. He participates in a neighborhood football team in which most of the kids are older, but Mo practices every day and keeps coach Steve company on the bench cheering for his team. Sometimes his coach works with Mo even though the boy doesn’t play. One day, things change for Mo; coach Steve puts him in the game. No one expects him to play well, and the other team doesn’t try to challenge him. Then one special play saves the game, and Mo wins it for his team. This beginning reader is well designed with bold colors and cartoon illustrations to provide new readers with context clues that support the story. Simple sentences and in-depth plot support key details providing material for strong comprehension to support fluency. VERDICT An engaging sports title with ethnically diverse characters, recommended for all early reader collections.–Melissa Smith, Royal Oak Public Library, MI

Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award

Fenske, Jonathan . A Pig, a Fox, and a Box. illus. by Jonathan Fenske. 32p. Penguin Young Readers. Jun. 2015. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780448485119; pap. $3.99. ISBN 9780448485102.

THEODOR SEUSS GEISEL HONOR AWARD

SupertruckredstarSavage, Stephen. Supertruck. illus. by Stephen Savage. 32p. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks. Jan. 2015. Tr $12.99. ISBN ISBN 9781596438217.

PreS-K –Superpowers and vehicles collide in this tale of an unassuming garbage truck and his own alter ego. All city trucks have a mission; whether it’s rescuing broken down buses, or fighting fires, they all help to save the day. One blustery evening when the snow piles up, the bespectacled garbage truck sneaks away to transform into Supertruck. In secret, he plows all the falling snow overnight but vanishes the next morning without a trace. The city dwellers and other four wheelers are all safe thanks to the powers of Supertruck. Savage creates an appealing hero that echoes another beloved character with a secret identity. Kids will chuckle at the truck’s likeness to Clark Kent, and the minimal text will assist emerging readers in their own super abilities. Savage’s distinct, graphic portrayal of the snowy metropolis sets the scene, while his use of perspective and color gradients allow readers to experience the blizzard firsthand. A superb addition to any library or storytime collection.–Claire Moore, Darien Library, CT

THEODOR SEUSS GEISEL HONOR AWARD

PB_Henkes_WaitingredstarHenkes, Kevin. Waiting. illus. by Kevin Henkes. 32p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062368430; lib. ed. $18.89. ISBN 9780062368447. LC 2014030560.

PreS-K –Five toys sit on a windowsill, each waiting for something. There’s an owl with spots waiting for the moon, a pig with the umbrella waiting for the rain, a bear with a kite waiting for the wind, and a puppy on a sled waiting for the snow. And then there’s a “rabbit with stars,” content to simply look out the window. With an economy of words and gently repeating patterns, the text informs readers about the emotional ups and downs of this tiny band of friends: what makes them happy (getting what they’ve waited for), what makes them sad (when one of them goes away), and what surprises them (gifts, visitors, new friends.) Along with happiness and friendship, there are small moments of grief, anxiety, and existential wonder—all thoughtfully and authentically depicted with childlike honesty and optimism. On thick, creamy pages, Henkes uses brown ink with touches of watercolor and colored pencil in muted shades of pink, green, and blue to depict the softly rounded figures, shown small before the expanse of the four-paned window. Henkes varies the compositions with vignettes and a four-page wordless sequence showing the beautiful (a rainbow, fireworks) and sometimes scary (lightning) sights that the toys observe from the vantage point of their windowsill. The careful placement of the text and images establishes a leisurely pace, encouraging readers and listeners to slow down, examine the pictures, and discuss. Are these sentient little beings or are they moved and posed by an unseen child? Henkes leaves it up to readers to determine. VERDICT Waiting further cements Henkes’s place alongside picture book legends like Margaret Wise Brown, Crockett Johnson, and Ruth Krauss, through his lyrical text, uncluttered yet wondrously expressive illustrations, and utmost respect for the emotional life of young children.–Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults

NF_Sheinkin_MostDangerousredstarSheinkin, Steve. Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War. 384p. bibliog. index. notes. photos. Roaring Brook. Sept. 2015. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781596439528.

Gr 7 Up –In this thoroughly researched, thoughtfully produced, and beautifully written book, Sheinkin delves into the life of Daniel Ellsberg, former Pentagon consultant and a self-described “cold warrior,” who gradually made an about-face with regard to America’s presence in Vietnam. Ellsberg famously leaked the Pentagon Papers, a lengthy document written by military insiders about the Vietnam War, to various members of the press in 1971. He was quickly labeled an enemy of the state and a traitor to his country, aka the most dangerous man in America. With access to many of the key players in this real-life drama, as well as mountains of source material, Sheinkin builds a narrative that is at once accessible and suspenseful, with revelations and details coming at just the right moments. In Sheinkin’s careful hands, Ellsberg and others, including Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, and Robert McNamara, are fully realized characters with strengths, flaws, and motivations that grow ever more clear as the story unfolds. Direct quotes, primary source documents, and archival photographs are peppered throughout, supplementing and complementing the text. Meticulous source notes indicate the level of research and time that the author has put into this particular work. With the news filled with stories about Edward Snowden and the NSA, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, and privacy rights and government overreach, this brilliant work about an extraordinary whistle-blower taking a stand should be on everyone’s reading list. VERDICT A timely and extraordinary addition to every library.–Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA

2016 William C. Morris Award

Simon_AlbertalliAlbertalli, Becky. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. 320p. HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray. Apr. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062348678; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780062348692. Gr 8 Up–Simon Speir, high school junior, walks away from his computer at school for just a moment, and that is when his biggest secret is discovered. He has been emailing a boy in his grade anonymously ever since a poetic waxing on his high school’s gossip Tumblr caught his eye, and now Martin Addison has taken a screenshot and has a powerful way to blackmail Simon into getting his friend, Abby, to date him. Although it is filled with trendy pop-culture and digital-age references (Tumblr, Justin Beiber, The Bachelor, etc.) that may not stand the test of time, the message will resonate. Rife with realistic, high school relationships and drama, with a laugh or two at every turn, this is a coming-of-age, coming-out, and defying-the-odds story with which many teens will identify. With a very tidy, feel-good ending, the book will appeal to readers who enjoyed Tim Federle’s Better Nate Than Ever (2013) and Five, Six, Seve, Nate! (2014, both S. & S.) and will find a familiar, slightly more mature home with Simon.–Brittany Staszak, St. Charles Public Library, IL

 

 

 

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  1. De la Peña’s Last Stop on Market Street Takes 2016 Newbery; Blackall’s Finding Winnie Wins Caldecott”
    I don’t agree, look at that
    http://www.freep.com/story/entertainment/movies/2016/03/31/freep-film-festival-kevin-smith/82481678/

    Sincerely, Annett