Tuesday, June 30, 2015

On Shelves Now: SHADOWSHAPER by Daniel José Older

304 p.
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Ages: 14 and up

Paint a mural. Start a battle. Change the world.

Sierra Santiago planned an easy summer of making art and hanging out with her friends. But then a corpse crashes the first party of the season. Her stroke-ridden grandfather starts apologizing over and over. And when the murals in her neighborhood begin to weep real tears... Well, something more sinister than the usual Brooklyn ruckus is going on.

With the help of a fellow artist named Robbie, Sierra discovers shadowshaping, a thrilling magic that infuses ancestral spirits into paintings, music, and stories. But someone is killing the shadowshapers one by one -- and the killer believes Sierra is hiding their greatest secret. Now she must unravel her family's past, take down the killer in the present, and save the future of shadowshaping for generations to come.

Full of a joyful, defiant spirit and writing as luscious as a Brooklyn summer night, Shadowshaper introduces a heroine and magic unlike anything else in fantasy fiction, and marks the YA debut of a bold new voice.

On Shelves Now: THE JUMBIES by Tracey Baptiste

240 p.
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Ages: 8 to 12

Corinne La Mer isn’t afraid of anything. Not scorpions, not the boys who tease her, and certainly not jumbies. She knows that jumbies aren’t real; they’re just creatures parents make up to frighten their children. But on All Hallows’ Eve, Corinne chases an agouti all the way into the forbidden woods. Those shining yellow eyes that follow her to the edge of the trees, they couldn’t belong to a jumbie. Or could they?

Corinne begins to notice odd occurrences after that night. First she spots a beautiful stranger speaking to the town witch at the market. Then this same beauty, called Severine, turns up at Corinne’s house, cooking dinner for her father. Danger is in the air. Sure enough, bewitching Corinne’s father is the first step in Severine’s plan to claim the entire island for the jumbies. Corinne must call on her courage and her friends and ancient magic to stop Severine and to save her island home.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

On Shelves Now: KIMCHI & CALAMARI by Rose Kent

240 p.
Publisher: HarperCollins
Ages: 8 to 12

There are worse things in the world than being adopted. But right now Joseph can't think of one.

Joseph Calderaro has a serious problem. His social studies teacher has given him an impossible assignment: an essay about ancestors. Ancestors, as in dead people you're related to.

Joseph was adopted, but the only sure thing he knows about his birth family is that they shipped his diapered butt on a plane from Korea and he landed in New Jersey. How do you write about a family you've never known and at the same time manage all the other hassles that middle school mixes in the pot? What Joseph writes leads to a catastrophe messier than a table of shattered dishes—and self-discovery that will change his life recipe forever. . . .

Thursday, June 25, 2015

On Shelves Now: THE COLORED CAR by Jean Alicia Elster

224 p.
Publisher: Wayne State University Press
Ages: 8 to 12

In The Colored Car, Jean Alicia Elster, author of the award-winning Who's Jim Hines?, follows another member of the Ford family coming of age in Depression-era Detroit. In the hot summer of 1937, twelve-year-old Patsy takes care of her three younger sisters and helps her mother put up fresh fruits and vegetables in the family's summer kitchen, adjacent to the wood yard that her father, Douglas Ford, owns. Times are tough, and Patsy's mother, May Ford, helps neighborhood families by sharing the food that she preserves. But May's decision to take a break from canning to take her daughters for a visit to their grandmother's home in Clarksville, Tennessee, sets in motion a series of events that prove to be life-changing for Patsy.

After boarding the first-class train car at Michigan Central Station in Detroit and riding comfortably to Cincinnati, Patsy is shocked when her family is led from their seats to change cars. In the dirty, cramped "colored car," Patsy finds that the life she has known in Detroit is very different from life down south, and she can hardly get the experience out of her mind when she returns home-like the soot stain on her finely made dress or the smear on the quilt squares her grandmother taught her to sew. As summer wears on, Patsy must find a way to understand her experience in the colored car and also deal with the more subtle injustices that her family faces in Detroit. By the end of the story, Patsy will never see the world in the same way that she did before.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

On Shelves Now: WHO'S JIM HINES? by Jean Alicia Elster

152 p.
Publisher: Wayne State University Press
Ages: 8 to 12

Who’s Jim Hines? is a story based on real events about Douglas Ford Jr., a twelve-year-old African American boy growing up in Detroit in the 1930s. Doug’s father owns the Douglas Ford Wood Company, and Doug usually helps his dad around the scrap wood yard located in the side lot next to their house. But after Doug loses his school textbooks one day he is faced with the prospect of paying for new books and must join his father in the backbreaking work of delivering wood throughout the city and suburbs. Doug, who knows all of his father’s delivery drivers, takes this opportunity to unravel the mystery of a man named Jim Hines whom he always hears about but has never seen. In discovering Hines’s identity, Doug also learns much about the realities of racism in Depression-era Detroit.

As she tells Doug’s story, author Jean Alicia Elster incorporates rich descriptions of daily life, including glimpses into Detroit’s auto factories and unions, northern-style segregation, and color distinctions within the African American community. Elster also introduces readers to the Fords’ neighborhood, a racially mixed community of Eastern European immigrants and southern blacks.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

On Shelves Now: GORDON PARKS: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Jamey Christoph

32 p.
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Ages: 5 to 8

Gordon Parks is most famous for being the first black director in Hollywood. But before he made movies and wrote books, he was a poor African American looking for work. When he bought a camera, his life changed forever. He taught himself how to take pictures and before long, people noticed.

His white teacher tells her all-black class, You'll all wind up porters and waiters. What did she know? Gordon Parks is most famous for being the first black director in Hollywood. But before he made movies and wrote books, he was a poor African American looking for work. When he bought a camera, his life changed forever. He taught himself how to take pictures and before long, people noticed. His success as a fashion photographer landed him a job working for the government. In Washington DC, Gordon went looking for a subject, but what he found was segregation. He and others were treated differently because of the color of their skin. Gordon wanted to take a stand against the racism he observed. With his camera in hand, he found a way. Told through lyrical verse and atmospheric art, this is the story of how, with a single photograph, a self-taught artist got America to take notice.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

On Shelves Now: SINCLAIR'S BIG HAIR by Allison Taylor Price, illustrated by Ann Pilicer

34 p.
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Ages: 4 to 8

Sinclair's big hair is the talk of the town! But, sadly, the attention is making her feel a bit different. Her feelings lead her on a trip of self discovery that opens her eyes to the beauty within herself, others and the wonderful ways we can be different.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Kids Read in Colour Too! June 2015 Edition

Looking for summer reads for your little ones, teens and tweens? We've got you.  Check out a few titles sure to keep the kids entertained.

The Hula-Hoopin' Queen by  Thelma Lynne Godin, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

40 p.
Ages: 6 to 10
Publisher: Lee & Low

Kameeka is confident that today she will finally beat her rival, Jamara, and become the Hula-Hoopin’ Queen of 139th Street. But then Mama reminds her that today is their neighbor Miz Adeline’s birthday, and Kameeka has a ton of chores to do to get ready for the party they are hosting. Kameeka’s disappointed to be stuck at home and can only think about the hoopin’ competition. Distracted, Kameeka accidentally ruins Miz Adeline’s birthday cake, and has to confess to her that there won’t be a cake for her special day. But then Miz Adeline’s confesses something too: she’s also got the itch—the hula-hoopin’ itch! Her fingers start snappin’. Her hips start swingin’. Soon everyone’s hips are swinging as the party spills out onto the street. The whole neighborhood’s got the itch—the hula-hoopin’ itch!

Twenty-two Cents: The Story of Muhammad Yunus by Paula Yoo, illustrated by Jamel Akib

40 p.
Ages: 6 to 11
Publisher: Lee & Low

Growing up in Bangladesh, Muhammad Yunus witnessed extreme poverty all around and was determined to eradicate it. In 1976, as an Economics professor, Muhammad met a young craftswoman in the village of Jobra who needed to borrow five taka (twenty-two cents) to buy materials. No bank would lend such a small amount to an uneducated woman, so she was forced to borrow from corrupt lenders who charged an unfair interest rate, and left her without enough profit to buy food. Muhammad realized that what stood in the way of her financial security was just a few cents. Inspired, Muhammad founded Grameen Bank where people could borrow small amounts of money to start a job, and then pay back the bank without exorbitant interest charges. Over the next few years, Muhammad’s compassion and determination changed the lives of millions of people by loaning the equivalent of more than ten billion US dollars in micro-credit. This has also served to advocate and empower the poor, especially women, who often have limited options. Twenty-two Cents is an inspiring story of economic innovation and a celebration of how one person—like one small loan—can make a positive difference in the lives of many.

Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown, illustrated by Frank Morrison

40 p.
Ages: 6 to 10
Publisher: Lee & Low

A biography of African American jazz virtuoso Melba Doretta Liston, a pioneering twentieth-century trombone player, composer, and music arranger at a time when few women, of any race, played brass instruments and were part of the jazz scene.

Melba Doretta Liston loved the sounds of music from as far back as she could remember. As a child, she daydreamed about beats and lyrics, and hummed along with the music from her family’s Majestic radio. At age seven, Melba fell in love with a big, shiny trombone, and soon taught herself to play the instrument. By the time she was a teenager, Melba’s extraordinary gift for music led her to the world of jazz. She joined a band led by trumpet player Gerald Wilson and toured the country. Overcoming obstacles of race and gender, Melba went on to become a famed trombone player and arranger, spinning rhythms, harmonies, and melodies into gorgeous songs for all the jazz greats of the twentieth century: Randy Weston, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, and Quincy Jones, to name just a few. Brimming with ebullience and the joy of making music, Little Melba and Her Big Trombone is a fitting tribute to a trailblazing musician and a great unsung hero of jazz.

Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

208 p.
Ages: 14 to 18
Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press

Gabi Hernandez chronicles her last year in high school in her diary: college applications, Cindy's pregnancy, Sebastian's coming out, the cute boys, her father's meth habit, and the food she craves. And best of all, the poetry that helps forge her identity.

July 24

My mother named me Gabriella, after my grandmother who, coincidentally, didn't want to meet me when I was born because my mother was unmarried, and therefore living in sin. My mom has told me the story many, many, MANY, times of how, when she confessed to my grandmother that she was pregnant with me, her mother beat her. BEAT HER! She was twenty-five. That story is the basis of my sexual education and has reiterated why it's important to wait until you're married to give it up. So now, every time I go out with a guy, my mom says, "Ojos abiertos, piernas cerradas." Eyes open, legs closed. That's as far as the birds and the bees talk has gone. And I don't mind it. I don't necessarily agree with that whole wait until you're married crap, though. I mean, this is America and the 21st century; not Mexico one hundred years ago. But, of course, I can't tell my mom that because she will think I'm bad. Or worse: trying to be White.

Sunday Shopping by Sally Derby, illustrated by Shadra Strickland

32 p.
Ages: 5 to 8
Publisher: Lee & Low

Sunday nights are special for Evie and Grandma. That's when they go on their weekly shopping spree. Grandma flips open the newspaper to see what’s advertised, and the imaginary tour of neighborhood stores begins. Toting a wallet filled with colorful pretend bills, Evie and Grandma take turns "buying" whatever catches their fancy. A big chunk of ham, a “sofa with a secret,” and a dress with spangles are just a few of the treasures they “purchase.” Most special of all is the jewelry box Evie chooses for the gold heart necklace Mama gave her before leaving to serve in the army—and the bouquet of flowers Evie leaves as a surprise for Grandma.

Overflowing with whimsy and a sweet grandmother-granddaughter relationship, this picture book is a joyous celebration of imagination, family love, and making a lot out of what you've got.

Poems in the Attic by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon

48 p.
Ages: 6 to 11
Publisher: Lee & Low

During a visit to her grandma's house, a young girl discovers a box of poems in the attic, poems written by her mother when she was growing up. Her mother’s family often moved around the United States and the world because her father was in the Air Force. Over the years, her mother used poetry to record her experiences in the many places the family lived. Reading the poems and sharing those experiences through her mother’s eyes, the young girl feels closer to her mother than ever before. To let her mother know this, she creates a gift: a book with her own poems and copies of her mother’s. And when she returns her mother’s poems to the box in the attic, she leaves her own poems too, for someone else to find, someday. Using free verse for the young girl’s poems and tanka for her mother’s, master poet Nikki Grimes creates a tender intergenerational story that speaks to every child’s need to hold onto special memories of home, no matter where that place might be.

Little Rhino #3: Dugout Hero by Ryan & Krystle Howard, illustrated by Erwin Madrid

112 p.
Ages: 7 to 10
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
Publication Date: June 30, 2015

A new chapter book series from Major League Baseball's 2006 National League MVP, Ryan Howard!

The score was 5-5 in the bottom of the ninth, with two outs and two strikes. The Mustangs were on a hot winning streak and every victory was important. Little Rhino's whole team was cheering for him. Even Dylan was standing on the bench rooting for Little Rhino, the home run hitter. It all came down to the next pitch. When the pitcher threw the ball, Little Rhino swung as hard as his arms could handle, felt a pop in his ankle, and dropped to the ground.

That was yesterday. Today, Little Rhino is propped up on the couch with a sprained ankle. The doctor said Little Rhino is not going to be able to play baseball for the next two weeks. Rhino's friends keep dropping by to bring him his homework, but Rhino just wants to be back on the field. Can he find a way to help his team without playing?

Check back monthly for new titles!