Thursday, July 30, 2015

On Shelves Now: THE GREAT GREENE HEIST by Varian Johnson

240 p.
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Ages; 10 to 14

Jackson Greene swears he's given up scheming. Then school bully Keith Sinclair announces he's running for Student Council president, against Jackson's former friend Gaby de la Cruz. Gaby wants Jackson to stay out of it -- but he knows Keith has "connections" to the principal, which could win him the presidency no matter the vote count.

So Jackson assembles a crack team: Hashemi Larijani, tech genius. Victor Cho, bankroll. Megan Feldman, science goddess. Charlie de la Cruz, reporter. Together they devise a plan that will take down Keith, win Gaby's respect, and make sure the election is done right. If they can pull it off, it will be remembered as the school's greatest con ever -- one worthy of the name THE GREAT GREENE HEIST.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

On Shelves Now: PUMPKIN DAY! by Candice Ransom, illustrated by Erika Meza

32 p.
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Ages: 4 to 6

In this Step 1 Step into Reading early reader, a boy and his family visit a pumpkin patch to pick out perfect autumn gourds—just in time for Halloween! Buoyant rhymes and joyful art evoke the excitement of the season.

Step 1 Readers feature big type and easy words for children who know the alphabet and are eager to begin reading. Rhyme and rhythmic text paired with picture clues help children decode the story.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

On Shelves Now: DRYLONGSO by Virginia Hamilton, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

64 p.
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Ages: 8 to 12

Lindy and her family are suffering through a long drought. Then the mystical Drylongso teaches them the secrets of finding water hidden in the earth. “Drylongso is a hypnotic, joyful story from a distinguished writer--one that, with the help of Jerry Pinkney’s beautiful watercolor and pastel pictures, depicts well the dry land, the swirling wind and earth, and an African-American family planting in hope with the help of a wondrous, dusty, divining stickfella

Thursday, July 23, 2015

On Shelves Now: THE LUCKY STONE by Lucille Clifton

64 p.
Publisher: Yearling
Ages: 6 to 9

There is nothing Tee enjoys more than sitting out on the porch with her great-greatmother, listening to the fascinating stories about the lucky stone.

Shiny and black as night, it brought good fortune to each of its owners for over one hundred years. First it helped Mandy, a runaway slave, win her freedom. Then it saved Vashti from death by lightning at a prayer meeting. And it even saved Tee's great-grandmother from the ferocious dancing dog and helped her meet her husband.

Now Tee can't help wondering what the old stone has in store for her. She certainly could use some luck on Valentine's Day. But the lucky stone doesn't belong to Tee. How can her wish come true?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

On Shelves Now: THE MIGHTY MISS MALONE by Christopher Paul Curtis

320 p.
Publisher: Yearling
Ages: 9 to 12

"We are a family on a journey to a place called wonderful" is the motto of Deza Malone's family. Deza is the smartest girl in her class in Gary, Indiana, singled out by teachers for a special path in life. But it's 1936 and the Great Depression has hit Gary hard, and there are no jobs for black men. When her beloved father leaves to find work, Deza, Mother, and her older brother, Jimmie, go in search of him, and end up in a Hooverville outside Flint, Michigan. Jimmie's beautiful voice inspires him to leave the camp to be a performer, while Deza and Mother find a new home, and cling to the hope that they will find Father. The twists and turns of their story reveal the devastation of the Depression and prove that Deza truly is the Mighty Miss Malone.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


304 p.
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Ages: 8 to 12

In the valley of Fruitless Mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. In the evenings, her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man on the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life's questions. Inspired by these stories, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family's fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest for the ultimate answer.

Grace Lin, author of the beloved Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat, returns with a wondrous story of adventure, faith, and friendship. A fantasy crossed with Chinese folklore, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a timeless story reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz. Her beautiful illustrations, printed in full-color, accompany the text throughout. Once again, she has created a charming, engaging book for young readers.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

On Shelves Now: LILLIAN'S RIGHT TO VOTE: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Shane W. Evans

40 p.
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade
Ages: 5 to 9

As Lillian, a one-hundred-year-old African American woman, makes a “long haul up a steep hill” to her polling place, she sees more than trees and sky—she sees her family’s history. She sees the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment and her great-grandfather voting for the first time. She sees her parents trying to register to vote. And she sees herself marching in a protest from Selma to Montgomery.

Veteran bestselling picture-book author Jonah Winter and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner Shane W. Evans vividly recall America’s battle for civil rights in this lyrical, poignant account of one woman’s fierce determination to make it up the hill and make her voice heard.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

On Shelves Now: WE'VE GOT A JOB: The 1963 Birmingham Children's March by Cynthia Levinson

180 p.
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Ages: 9 to 14

We’ve Got a Job tells the little-known story of the 4,000 black elementary-, middle-, and high school students who voluntarily went to jail in Birmingham, Alabama, between May 2 and May 11, 1963. Fulfilling Mahatma Gandhi’s and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s precept to “fill the jails,” they succeeded—where adults had failed—in desegregating one of the most racially violent cities in America. Focusing on four of the original participants who have participated in extensive interviews, We’ve Got a Job recounts the astonishing events before, during, and after the Children’s March.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

On Shelves Now: SHOW AND PROVE by Sofia Quintero

352 p.
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Ages: 12 and up

The summer of 1983 was the summer hip-hop proved its staying power. The South Bronx is steeped in Reaganomics, war in the Middle East, and the twin epidemics of crack and AIDS, but Raymond “Smiles” King and Guillermo “Nike” Vega have more immediate concerns.

Smiles was supposed to be the assistant crew chief at his summer camp, but the director chose Cookie Camacho instead, kicking off a summer-long rivalry. Meanwhile, the aspiring b-boy Nike has set his wandering eye on Sara, the sweet yet sassy new camp counselor, as well as top prize at a breakdancing competition downtown. The two friends have been drifting apart ever since Smiles got a scholarship to a fancy private school, and this summer the air is heavy with postponed decisions that will finally be made.

Raw and poignant, this is a story of music, urban plight, and racial tension that’s as relevant today as it was in 1983.

On Shelves Now: SONA AND THE WEDDING GAME by Kashmira Sheth, illustrated by Yoshiko Jaeggi

32 p.
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Ages: 4 to 8

Sona’s big sister is getting married and she’s been given an important job to do. She has to steal the groom’s shoes. She’s never attended a wedding before, so she’s unfamiliar with this Indian tradition—as well as many of the other magical experiences that will occur before and during the special event. But with the assistance of her annoying cousin Vishal, Sona finds a way to steal the shoes and get a very special reward.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

On Shelves Now: DARIUS & TWIG by Walter Dean Myers

224 p.
Publisher: Amistad
Ages: 13 and up

Darius is a writer, struggling to find his own way with only his alter ego, Fury, a peregrine falcon, and Twig, his best friend, in his corner. Twig, a middle-distance runner, has the skills to make it but wants to dictate his own terms for success. He may be a winner on the track, but that doesn’t stop him from getting picked on. For these friends, money is tight, there are bullies and absent adults and, most disturbing, the notion that their Harlem life doesn’t have much to offer. They need to navigate their world: the thugs, the seamy side of sports, the uncertainty of their prospects. And they need to figure out how to grow up together, but apart.

This stellar, thought-provoking teen novel is the latest from highly acclaimed, award-winning author Walter Dean Myers.

On Shelves Now: ZAHRAH THE WINDSEEKER by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu

320 p.
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Ages: 10 to 12

In the Ooni Kingdom, children born dada-with vines growing in their hair-are rumored to have special powers. Zahrah Tsami doesn't know anything about that. She feels normal. Others think she's different-they fear her. Only Dari, her best friend, isn't afraid of her. But then something begins to happen-something that definitely marks Zahrah as different-and the only person she can tell is Dari. He pushes her to investigate, edging them both closer and closer to danger. Until Dari's life is on the line. Only Zahrah can save him, but to do so she'll have to face her worst fears alone, including the very thing that makes her different.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

On Shelves Now: IRA'S SHAKESPEARE DREAM by Glenda Armand, illustrated by Floyd Cooper

40 p.
Publisher: Lee & Low
Ages: 7 to 12

Ira Aldridge dreamed of being on stage one day performing the great works of William Shakespeare. He spent every chance he got at the local theaters, memorizing each actor’s lines for all of Shakespeare’s plays. Ira just knew he could be a great Shakespearean actor if only given the chance. But in the early 1800s, only white actors were allowed to perform Shakespeare. Ira’s only option was to perform musical numbers at the all-black theater in New York city. Despite being discouraged by his teacher and father, Ira determinedly pursued his dream and set off to England, the land of Shakespeare. There, Ira honed his acting skills and eventually performed at the acclaimed Theatre Royal Haymarket. Through perseverance and determination, Ira became one of the most celebrated Shakespearean actors throughout Europe. Illustrated by award-winning artist Floyd Cooper, this nonfiction picture book biography is a captivating tribute to the inspiring life of Ira Aldridge, and to the renowned works of William Shakespeare.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

On Shelves Now: TRUTH AND SALSA by Linda Lowery

176 p.
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Ages: 8 to 12

Mexico is a long way from home, and not just in terms of miles. Hayley is spending six months with her eccentric grandmother - her father recently deserted the family and Hayley's mom needs time to, as she puts it, "work things through." Down in Mexico, life is surprisingly exciting...Hayley and her new friend Lili even win parts as extras in a Hollywood movie being filmed in the town. But there are also difficult lessons to be learned. Meanwhile Hayley is on the lookout for the ghost that is said to haunt her grandma's house. With Lili's help she solves the mystery - and prepares for a new life with her mom back in the States.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

On Shelves Now: THE DIARY OF MA YAN: The Struggles and Hopes of a Chinese Schoolgirl by Ma Yan

192 p
Publisher: HarperCollins
Ages: 8 to 12

I'm so hungry, I could eat anything. Anything at all.

In a drought-stricken corner of rural China, an education can be the difference between a life of crushing poverty and the chance for a better future. But for Ma Yan, money is scarce, and the low wages paid for backbreaking work aren't always enough to pay school fees . . . or even to provide enough food for herself and her family.

Ma Yan's heart-wrenching, honest diary chronicles her struggle to escape hardship through her persistent, sometimes desperate, attempts to continue her schooling. Its publication was an international sensation, creating an outpouring of support for this courageous teenager and others like her . . . all due to one ordinary girl's extraordinary diary.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

On Shelves Now: ONE WORD FROM SOPHIA by Jim Averbeck, illustrated by Yasmeen Ismail

40 p.
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Ages: 4 to 8

Sophia has one true desire for her birthday. But she has Four Big Problems in the way: Mom, Dad, Uncle Conrad...and Grand-mama.

Will her presentations, proposals, and pie charts convince them otherwise?

Turns out, all it takes is one word.

On Shelves Now: DRUM DREAM GIRL: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Rafael López

48 p.
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Ages: 4 to 8

In this picture book bursting with vibrance and rhythm, a girl dreams of playing the drums in 1930s Cuba, when the music-filled island had a taboo against female drummers.

Girls cannot be drummers. Long ago on an island filled with music, no one questioned that rule—until the drum dream girl. In her city of drumbeats, she dreamed of pounding tall congas and tapping small bongós. She had to keep quiet. She had to practice in secret. But when at last her dream-bright music was heard, everyone sang and danced and decided that both girls and boys should be free to drum and dream.

Inspired by the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba's traditional taboo against female drummers, Drum Dream Girl tells an inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere.