Thursday, October 29, 2015

On Shelves Now: MANY THOUSAND GONE: African Americans from Slavery to Freedom by Virginia Hamilton, illustrated by Diane & Leo Dillon

160 p.
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Ages: 3 to 7

Virginia Hamilton’s award-winning companion to The People Could Fly traces the history of slavery in America in the voices and stories of those who lived it. Leo and Diane Dillon’s brilliant black-and-white illustrations echo the stories’ subtlety and power, making this book as stunning to look at as it is to read.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

On Shelves Now: MY STORY, MY DANCE: Robert Battle's Journey to Alvin Ailey by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James E. Ransome

48 p.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Ages: 5 to 10

When Robert Battle was a boy wearing leg braces, he never dreamed he’d study at Juilliard. Though most dancers begin training at an early age, it wasn’t until Robert was a teenager that his appreciation for movement—first from martial arts, then for ballet—became his passion. But support from his family and teachers paired with his desire and determination made it possible for Robert to excel. After years of hard work, the young man who was so inspired by a performance of Alvin Ailey’s Revelations became the artistic director of the very company that motivated him. Today, under Robert’s leadership, Alvin Ailey continues to represent the African American spirit through dance.

Featuring illustrations brimming with vibrant color and swirling motion, this biographical picture book from husband-and-wife team James Ransome and Lisa Cline-Ransome includes a foreword from Robert Battle himself as well as a bibliography, suggested further reading, and an author’s note.

On Shelves Now: THE ROSE SOCIETY by Marie Lu

416 p.
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Ages: 12 and up

Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she and her sister flee Kenettra to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good, when her very existence depends on darkness?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

On Shelves Now: BUENAS NOCHES MOTORES/GOOD NIGHT ENGINES by Denise Dowling Mortensen, illustrated by Melissa Iwai

32 p
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Ages: 3 and under

In this rhyming bedtime book, vehicles wind down for the night and roll off to bed. Luminous paintings depict a little boy playing with toy engines in his bedroom, and life-sized engines in the outside world. The soothing text and large, up-close pictures of vehicles such as trucks, planes, and fire engines will make this a favorite bedtime or naptime story for little ones who are fascinated with things that go. The Spanish and English texts are set in two different colors for easy readability.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

On Shelves Now: SEWING STORIES: HARRIET POWERS' JOURNEY FROM SLAVE TO ARTIST by Barbara Herkert, illustrated by Vanessa Newton

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

Harriet Powers learned to sew and quilt as a young slave girl on a Georgia plantation. She lived through the Civil War and Reconstruction, and eventually owned a cotton farm with her family, all the while relying on her skills with the needle to clothe and feed her children.

Later she began making pictorial quilts, using each square to illustrate Bible stories and local legends. She exhibited her quilts at local cotton fairs, and though she never traveled outside of Georgia, her quilts are now priceless examples of African American folk art.

Barbara Herkert’s lyrical narrative and Vanessa Newton’s patchwork illustrations bring this important artist to life in a moving picture-book biography.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

On Shelves Now: DOUBLE TROUBLE FOR ANNA HIBISCUS! by Atinuke, illustrated by Lauren Tobia

32 p.
Publisher: Kane Miller Books
Ages: 3 to 7

Anna Hibiscus welcomes not one but two new baby brothers in her latest picture book. It’s going to be a big adjustment for everyone, especially Anna Hibiscus. Luckily, her family knows that while two babies mean double the trouble, it also means double the love.

On Shelves Now: ALL ABOUT THE PHILIPPINES: Stories, Songs, Crafts and Games for Kids by Gidget Roceles Jimenez, illustrated by Corazon Dandan-Albano

64 p.
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
Ages: 8 to 12

All About the Philippines takes you on an incredible journey across the colorful island nation of the Philippines with Mary, Jaime and Ari—three Filipino cousins who look totally different and yet are the best of friends. You'll visit their homes, their schools, their families, their favorite places, and much more. They'll show you how kids in different parts of the Philippines come from many different ethnic groups and have very different cultures—each with its own traditions, languages and beliefs…and yet, they are all 100% Filipino!
  • This children's book, aimed at kids ages 8 to 12, brings them on an exciting trip though some of the most fascinating islands on earth.
  • Join Mary, Jaime and Ari to see the how earthquakes, typhoons and other natural events can be scary and yet also make the islands beautiful and full of life.
  • Check out Filipino games, and make your own sipa—the Philippines's version of a hacky-sack.
  • Experience the festivals and foods of various different cultures found in the Philippines, and try a few easy recipes.
  • Make a parol—a Filipino holiday decoration that you can enjoy all year long.
  • Learn about the conquistadors and traders who came to these islands many centuries ago.
  • Learn how peoples who speak very different languages can communicate easily when they meet.
  • And a lot more!
Along with fun facts, you'll learn about the spirit of the Philippines that make this country and its people totally unique. This is a book for families or classrooms to enjoy together.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

On Shelves Now: WHEN THE SLAVE ESPERANCA GARCIA WROTE A LETTER by Sonia Rosa, illustrated by Luciana Justiniana Hees

48 p.
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Ages: 8 to 11

In 1770, the slave Esperança Garcia bravely penned a letter to the governor of Piauí state, in Brazil, describing how she and her children were being mistreated and requesting permission to return to the farm where the rest of her family was living. Before she wrote her letter, Esperança Garcia lived on a cotton farm run by Jesuit priests, where she learned to read and write — a rare opportunity for a woman, especially a slave. But one day she was separated from her husband and older children and taken with her two little ones to be a cook in the home of Captain Antonio Vieira de Couto, where she and the other slaves were beaten. In despair, she wrote to the governor about her terrible situation. She waited each day for a reply, never giving up hope, and although she never received an answer, she is remembered today for being the courageous slave who wrote the first letter of appeal in Afro-Brazilian Brazil. Commemorating the date of the letter’s discovery, September 6th has become Black Consciousness Day in Piauí state. This moving picture book provides a personal look at the tragic history of slavery.

On Shelves Now: MONSTER: A GRAPHIC NOVEL by Walter Dean Myers, illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile

160 p.
Publisher: Amistad
Ages: 13 and up

Monster is a multi-award-winning, provocative coming-of-age story about Steve Harmon, a teenager awaiting trial for a murder and robbery. As Steve acclimates to juvenile detention and goes to trial, he envisions the ordeal as a movie. Monster was the first-ever Michael L. Printz Award recipient, an ALA Best Book, a Coretta Scott King Honor selection, and a National Book Award finalist.

Now Monster has been adapted into a graphic novel by Guy A. Sims, with stunning black-and-white art from Dawud Anyabwile, Guy’s brother.

Fans of Monster—and even kids who think they don’t like to read-—and of Walter alike will devour this graphic adaptation, which is being published simultaneously in hardcover and paperback.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

On Shelves Now: JUBA! by Walter Dean Myers

208 p.
Publisher: Amistad
Ages: 13 and up

My name is William Henry Lane, but when I dance, I call myself Master Juba, and people I know just call me Juba. Juba is a dance that black people do in the South. They say it comes from Africa. I don’t know about that, but most dancers in Five Points give themselves a stage name, so I settled on Juba. It has a nice ring to it.

This engaging historical novel is based on the true story of the meteoric rise of an immensely talented young black dancer who influenced today’s tap, jazz dance, and step. With meticulous and intensive research, Walter Dean Myers has brought to life Juba’s story.

On Shelves Now: TWO WHITE RABBITS by Jairo Buitrago, illustrated by Rafael Yockteng

32 p.
Publisher: Groundwork Books
Ages 4 to 7

In this moving and timely story, a young child describes what it is like to be a migrant as she and her father travel north toward the US border.

They travel mostly on the roof of a train known as The Beast, but the little girl doesn’t know where they are going. She counts the animals by the road, the clouds in the sky, the stars. Sometimes she sees soldiers. She sleeps, dreaming that she is always on the move, although sometimes they are forced to stop and her father has to earn more money before they can continue their journey.

As many thousands of people, especially children, in Mexico and Central America continue to make the arduous journey to the US border in search of a better life, this is an important book that shows a young migrant’s perspective.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

On Shelves Now: SHANTIDEVA: How to Wake Up a Hero by Dominique Townsend, illustrated by Tenzin Norbu

64 p.
Publisher: Wisdom Publications
Ages: 5 and up

Shantideva: How to Wake Up a Hero is the retelling of Shantideva’s teachings before a surprised audience, who had thought he was useless and could only eat, sleep, and poop. Leading his listeners into a superhero training of different kind, he reveals the secret to perfect bravery and unbounded compassion and shows how anyone can develop them. You don’t need super-strength or magical powers, he says. You just need practice.

A dozen illustrations painted in traditional Tibetan style draw in readers to this work that will be treasured not only by Buddhist families but by anyone who aspires to become more kind and wise.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

On Shelves Now: WHISPERS OF THE WOLF by Pauline Ts'o

40 p.
Publisher: Wisdom Tales
Ages: 4 to 8

"Ahrooooooo" went the cry. It was the call of the wolf pack. A young boy named Two Birds heard it, and so did his wolf. Two Birds had found the abandoned wolf pup, and they had grown up together. Now, the wild was calling, and Two Birds had a choice to make. Struggling with a mix of emotions, he must decide whether his love for the wolf is greater than his need to be near it. Will Two Birds learn to let go—not just of the wolf, but also of his own fears? Whispers of the Wolf is a beautiful picture book set around 500 years ago among the Pueblo Indians of the desert Southwest. A heartwarming piece of historical fiction, it weaves together themes of community, tradition, self-esteem, and respect for all life, creating a realistic portrait of a culture that continues to exert a vibrant, living influence today.

On Shelves Now: FULL CICADA MOON by Marilyn Hilton

400 p.
Publisher: Dial
Ages: 8 to 12

It’s 1969, and the Apollo 11 mission is getting ready to go to the moon. But for half-black, half-Japanese Mimi, moving to a predominantly white Vermont town is enough to make her feel alien. Suddenly, Mimi’s appearance is all anyone notices. She struggles to fit in with her classmates, even as she fights for her right to stand out by entering science competitions and joining shop class instead of home ec. And even though teachers and neighbors balk at her “unconventional” family and her refusals to conform, Mimi’s dreams of becoming an astronaut never fade—no matter how many times she’s told no.

This historical middle grade novel is told in poems from Mimi’s perspective over the course of one year in her new town, and shows readers that positive change can start with just one person speaking up.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

On Shelves Now: FREEDOM'S PRICE by Michaela MacColl & Rosemary Nichols

288 p.
Publisher: Calkins Creek
Ages: 9 to 12

Eliza Scott isn’t quite a slave, but she’s not free either. She’s not a prisoner, but her family lives in a jail. Eliza, who attends a secret floating school on the Mississippi River because it’s illegal for her to read, says she understands how dangerous her situation is—but her parents know she’s not afraid enough. When a devastating cholera epidemic strikes the city, Eliza discovers she will have to be clever and resourceful to escape a slave catcher and the worst fire in St. Louis’ history. Will Eliza be willing to pay the price of freedom? Freedom’s Price is the second book in the Hidden Histories series, which examines little known moments in American history. Based on actual events and people, the book is extensively researched and includes an author’s note and bibliography.

On Shelves Now: MAMA's NIGHTINGALE: A Story of Immigration and Separation by Edwidge Danticat, illustrated Leslie Staub

32 p.
Publisher: Dial
Ages: 5 to 8

After Saya’s mother is sent to an immigration detention center, Saya finds comfort in listening to her mother’s warm greeting on their answering machine. To ease the distance between them, Mama begins sending Saya bedtime stories on cassette tape. Every night, Saya drifts off to sleep to the sounds of Haitian folktales mixed with parables of their current situation. Inspired by her mother’s stories and her father’s attempts to reunite their family, Saya writes a story of her own—one that just might bring her mother home for good. With colorful, stirring illustrations, this picture book is a poignant and tender tale about the human side of immigration and how every child has the power to make a difference.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

On Shelves Now: DON'T FAIL ME NOW by Una LaMarche

288 p.
Publisher: Razorbill
Ages: 12 and up

Michelle and her little siblings Cass and Denny are African-American and living on the poverty line in urban Baltimore, struggling to keep it together with their mom in jail and only Michelle’s part-time job at the Taco Bell to sustain them.

Leah and her stepbrother Tim are white and middle class from suburban Maryland, with few worries beyond winning lacrosse games and getting college applications in on time.

Michelle and Leah only have one thing in common: Buck Devereaux, the biological father who abandoned them when they were little.

After news trickles back to them that Buck is dying, they make the uneasy decision to drive across country to his hospice in California. Leah hopes for closure; Michelle just wants to give him a piece of her mind.

Five people in a failing, old station wagon, living off free samples at food courts across America, and the most pressing question on Michelle’s mind is: Who will break down first—herself or the car? All the signs tell her they won’t make it. But Michelle has heard that her whole life, and it’s never stopped her before….

Una LaMarche triumphs once again with this rare and compassionate look at how racial and social privilege affects one family in crisis in both subtle and astonishing ways.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

On Shelves Now: SEEING OFF THE JOHNS by Rene S Perez II

256 p.
Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press
Ages: 14 and up

People in the small town of Greenton mark their lives from that day in late summer when crowds lined the streets to see off high school athletic stars John Robison and John Mijias. That was the day the Johns, as they were known by adoring fans in Greenton, left for state college, and never made it there—or back. The Johns had spent their high school years putting that nowhere losing town on the map with playoff runs in football and state championship bids in baseball. For Concepcion "Chon" Gonzales, the days that the Johns headed out and didn't return was the first day of his new life. He had waited all his growing up years for a shot at Araceli when one of the Johns, John Mejia, stole her away. Now, while Greenton mourns, while the Johns' families become actors in a spectacle of grief, while Johns memorabilia is sold in every gas station and convenience store in town, while Araceli has to endure a senior year in the watchful gaze of the whole town, Chon Gonzales makes his slow methodical move on the only girl he's ever loved, hoping maybe that she won't notice what he wants.

On Shelves Now: THE GREEN BICYCLE by Haifaa Al Mansour

352 p.
Publisher: Dial
Ages: 10 and up

Spunky eleven-year-old Wadjda lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with her parents. She desperately wants a bicycle so that she can race her friend Abdullah, even though it is considered improper for girls to ride bikes. Wadjda earns money for her dream bike by selling homemade bracelets and mixtapes of banned music to her classmates. But after she’s caught, she’s forced to turn over a new leaf (sort of), or risk expulsion from school. Still, Wadjda keeps scheming, and with the bicycle so closely in her sights, she will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Set against the shifting social attitudes of the Middle East, The Green Bicycle explores gender roles, conformity, and the importance of family, all with wit and irresistible heart.