Tuesday, May 31, 2016

On Shelves Now: JUNETEENTH FOR MAZIE by Floyd Cooper

40 p.
Publisher: Picture Window Books
Ages: 6 to 9

Mazie is ready to celebrate liberty. She is ready to celebrate freedom. She is ready to celebrate a great day in American history. The day her ancestors were no longer slaves. Mazie remembers the struggles and the triumph, as she gets ready to celebrate Juneteenth.

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On Shelves Now: SONGS IN THE SHADE OF THE FLAMBOYANT TREE: French Creole Lullabies and Nursery Rhymes by Chantal Grosl├ęziat

52 p.
Publisher: The Secret Mountain
Ages: 3 to 5

Through colorful tunes and splashy illustrations reminiscent of the vibrant flamboyant tree, this collection celebrates life’s passages and various island rituals in the tropical isles of Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique, and Reunion. Lyrics are reproduced in the original French Creole dialects and translated into English, followed by notes on the origin and cultural context of each song. The accompanying CD features 30 traditional songs recorded with indigenous acoustic instruments and exquisitely performed by women, men, and children. This uplifting, enchanting production captures the joie de vivre evoked in the original repertoire, making it an absolute delight to musical ears.

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

On Shelves Now: SAVE ME A SEAT by Sarah Weeks & Gita Varadarajan

240 p.
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Ages: 8 to 12

From award-winning author of Pie Sarah Weeks and debut author Gita Varadarajan comes a story that shows us the beautiful ways our lives end up being much more similar than we ever imagine.

Two boys -- one white, one Indian American -- gain strength from each other from afar as they struggle to navigate middle school, family, and friendships.

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On Shelves Now: MORE-IGAMI by Dori Kleber

40 p.
Publisher: Candlewick
Ages: 4 to 8

Joey loves things that fold: maps, beds, accordions, you name it. When a visiting mother of a classmate turns a plain piece of paper into a beautiful origami crane, his eyes pop. Maybe he can learn origami, too. It’s going to take practice — on his homework, the newspaper, the thirty-eight dollars in his mother’s purse…Enough! No more folding! But how can Joey become an origami master if he’s not allowed to practice? Is there anywhere that he can hone the skill that makes him happy — and maybe even make a new friend while he’s at it?

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

On Shelves Now: KEEPER by Mal Peet

240 p.
Publisher: Candlewick
Ages: 10 and up

"And you found it, this thing you were looking for?"

It was darker now, and the city below Faustino’s office was a jazzy dance of neon signs and traffic. The big man went to the window and looked down at it all, spreading his large hands on the glass. "No," he said. "It found me."

When Paul Faustino of LA NACION flips on his tape recorder for an exclusive interview with El Gato — the phenomenal goalkeeper who single-handedly brought his team the World Cup — the seasoned reporter quickly learns that this will be no ordinary story. Instead, the legendary El Gato ("The Cat") quietly narrates a spellbinding tale that begins in a mythic corner of the South American rain forest, where a ghostly but very real mentor, the Keeper, emerges to teach the gangly boy the most thrilling secrets of the game. Combining vivid imagery and heart-stopping action, this evocative, strikingly ethereal novel about loyalty, passion, and magic will haunt readers, regardless of their love for soccer, long after the story is ended.

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On Shelves Now: THE WORLD BENEATH by Janice Warman

176 p.
Publisher: Candlewick
Ages: 12 and up

South Africa, 1976. Joshua lives with his mother in the maid’s room, in the backyard of their wealthy white employers’ house in the city by the sea. He doesn’t quite understand the events going on around him. But when he rescues a stranger and riots begin to sweep the country, Joshua has to face the world beneath—the world deep inside him—to make heartbreaking choices that will change his life forever. Genuine and quietly unflinching, this beautifully nuanced novel from a veteran journalist captures a child’s-eye view of the struggle that shaped a nation and riveted the world.

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

On Shelves Now: TWINTUITION: DOUBLE TROUBLE by Tia & Tamera Mowry

192 p.
Publisher: HarperCollins
Ages: 8 to 12

Identical twins Cassie and Caitlyn Waters have finally adjusted to life in the small town of Aura, Texas, but they’re still not used to seeing visions of the future. And as their twelfth birthday approaches, their Sight is only getting stronger!

But even with this new gift, neither girl could have predicted what the mysterious package they received would contain—a connection to the father they know nothing about. Why hasn’t their mom told them anything about their dad? What reason could she have for keeping the girls away from this side of the family? And does it have anything to do with the Sight?

As the twins struggle to discover more about their own history, they distract themselves by planning a party to celebrate their special day with their new friends. Their visions of the big event promise a lot of fun ahead—along with a big fiasco. Cassie and Caitlyn must work together to keep everything running smoothly so that their birthday will stay on track!

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On Shelves Now: TWINTUITION: DOUBLE VISION by Tia & Tamera Mowry

224 p.
Publisher: HarperCollins
Ages: 8 to 12

Cassie and Caitlyn Waters are identical twins, but the similarities stop there. Caitlyn is a glass-half-full type of girl, while Cassie always looks for the dark cloud behind the silver lining.

When their mother’s new job forces them to move from bustling San Antonio to middle-of-nowhere Aura, Caitlyn tries to stay positive, focusing on meeting new people and having new adventures. Cassie, on the other hand, is convinced that it’s only a matter of time until they’ll be sick of Aura and ready to move back to the big city.

As if being the new kids in town isn’t hard enough, the girls start experiencing strange visions—and what they see starts coming true! Then they both get a confusing vision that seems to show that something bad might happen to their mother, and the twins must work together to change the future before it can happen.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

On Shelves Now: LISTEN, SLOWLY by Thanhha Lai

288 p.
Publisher: HarperCollins
Ages: 8 to 12

Mai has been shipped off to Vietnam with her grandmother, who is traveling there to find out what happened to her husband during the Vietnam War. Mai’s parents think this trip is a great opportunity for her to learn more about her roots. But Vietnam is hot, smelly, and the last place Mai wants to be during vacation. Besides barely speaking the language, she doesn’t know the geography, the local customs, or even her distant relatives. To survive this trip, Mai will be forced to find the balance between her two completely different worlds.

Listen, Slowly is an irresistibly charming and emotionally poignant tale of a girl who discovers that home is not found on a map, but is instead made up of the people she surrounds herself with and who she calls family.

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On Shelves Now: THE GIRL WHO SAVED YESTERDAY by Julius Lester

32 p.
Publisher: Creston Books
Ages: 4 to 9

When the girl, Silence, is sent by the trees to save Yesterday, she doesn't know what her task is, only that it is important. Returning to the village that cast her out, Silence recognizes her purpose: to join the dead with the living in an act that celebrates their memory.

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

On Shelves Now: REAL SISTERS PRETEND by Megan Dowd Lambert

32 p.
Publisher: Tilbury House Publishers
Ages: 2 to 5

This warm, engaging story, which unfolds entirely through the conversation of two adopted sisters, was inspired by the author's own daughters, whom she overheard talking about how adoption made them "real sisters" even though they have different birth parents and do not look alike.

"I liked how they took care of one another in their pretend-play scenario about climbing a mountain," Lambert says, "and I loved how they also took care of one another's feelings as they talked about adoption. Real Sisters Pretend captures these interactions perfectly and movingly.

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On Shelves Now: WE CAME TO AMERICA by Faith Ringgold

32 p.
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Ages: 5 to 8

From the Native Americans who first called this land their home, to the millions of people who have flocked to its shores ever since, America is a country rich in diversity. Some of our ancestors were driven by dreams and hope. Others came in chains, or were escaping poverty or persecution. No matter what brought them here, each person embodied a unique gift—their art and music, their determination and grit, their stories and their culture. And together they forever shaped the country we all call home.

Vividly expressed in Faith Ringgold’s sumptuous colors and patterns, We Came to America is an ode to every American who came before us, and a tribute to each child who will carry its proud message of diversity into our nation’s future.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

On Shelves Now: THUNDER BOY JR. by Sherman Alexie

40 p.
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Ages: 4 to 8

Thunder Boy Jr. is named after his dad, but he wants a name that's all his own. Just because people call his dad Big Thunder doesn't mean he wants to be Little Thunder. He wants a name that celebrates something cool he's done, like Touch the Clouds, Not Afraid of Ten Thousand Teeth, or Full of Wonder.

But just when Thunder Boy Jr. thinks all hope is lost, he and his dad pick the perfect name...a name that is sure to light up the sky.

National Book Award-winner Sherman Alexie's lyrical text and Caldecott Honor-winner Yuyi Morales's striking and beautiful illustrations celebrate the special relationship between father and son.

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On Shelves Now: EVEN IF THE SKY FALLS by Mia Garcia

304 p.
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Ages: 14 and up

Who would you be if you had one night to be anyone you want?

Volunteering in New Orleans was supposed to be a change, an escape from the total mess Julie left at home and her brother’s losing battle with PTSD. But building houses surrounded by her super-clingy team leader and her way-too-chipper companions has Julie feeling more trapped than ever. And she’s had enough.

In a moment of daring, Julie runs away, straight into the glitter, costumes, and chaos of the Mid-Summer Mardi Gras parade—and instantly connects with Miles, an utterly irresistible musician with a captivating smile and a complicated story of his own. And for once, Julie isn’t looking back. Together, Julie and Miles decide to forget their problems and live this one night in the here and now. Wandering the night, they dance on roofs, indulge in beignets, share secrets and ghost stories under the stars, and fall in love. But when a class-four hurricane changes course and heads straight for NOLA, their adventure takes an unexpected turn. And, suddenly, pretending everything is fine is no longer an option.

Richly evocative to the heart-racing end, Even If the Sky Falls is a swoon-worthy debut to indulge in to the very last note.

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

On Shelves Now: WHOOSH!: Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton

32 p.
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Ages: 7 to 10

You know the Super Soaker. It’s one of top twenty toys of all time. And it was invented entirely by accident. Trying to create a new cooling system for refrigerators and air conditioners, impressive inventor Lonnie Johnson instead created the mechanics for the iconic toy.

A love for rockets, robots, inventions, and a mind for creativity began early in Lonnie Johnson’s life. Growing up in a house full of brothers and sisters, persistence and a passion for problem solving became the cornerstone for a career as an engineer and his work with NASA. But it is his invention of the Super Soaker water gun that has made his most memorable splash with kids and adults.

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On Shelves Now: AS BRAVE AS YOU by Jason Reynolds

432 p.
Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Ages: 10 and up

Genie’s summer is full of surprises. The first is that he and his big brother, Ernie, are leaving Brooklyn for the very first time to spend the summer with their grandparents all the way in Virginia—in the COUNTRY! The second surprise comes when Genie figures out that their grandfather is blind. Thunderstruck and—being a curious kid—Genie peppers Grandpop with questions about how he covers it so well (besides wearing way cool Ray-Bans).

How does he match his clothes? Know where to walk? Cook with a gas stove? Pour a glass of sweet tea without spilling it? Genie thinks Grandpop must be the bravest guy he’s ever known, but he starts to notice that his grandfather never leaves the house—as in NEVER. And when he finds the secret room that Grandpop is always disappearing into—a room so full of songbirds and plants that it’s almost as if it’s been pulled inside-out—he begins to wonder if his grandfather is really so brave after all.

Then Ernie lets him down in the bravery department. It’s his fourteenth birthday, and, Grandpop says to become a man, you have to learn how to shoot a gun. Genie thinks that is AWESOME until he realizes Ernie has no interest in learning how to shoot. None. Nada. Dumbfounded by Ernie’s reluctance, Genie is left to wonder—is bravery and becoming a man only about proving something, or is it just as important to own up to what you won’t do?

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

On Shelves Now: IT AIN'T SO AWFUL, FALAFEL by Firoozeh Dumas

384 p.
Publisher: Clarion Books
Ages: 10 to 12

Zomorod (Cindy) Yousefzadeh is the new kid on the block . . . for the fourth time. California’s Newport Beach is her family’s latest perch, and she’s determined to shuck her brainy loner persona and start afresh with a new Brady Bunch name—Cindy. It’s the late 1970s, and fitting in becomes more difficult as Iran makes U.S. headlines with protests, revolution, and finally the taking of American hostages. Even mood rings and puka shell necklaces can't distract Cindy from the anti-Iran sentiments that creep way too close to home. A poignant yet lighthearted middle grade debut from the author of the best-selling Funny in Farsi.

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On Shelves Now: THE TURTLE OF OMAN by Naomi Shihab Nye

320 p.
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Ages: 8 to 12

Aref does not want to leave Oman. He does not want to leave his elementary school, his friends, or his beloved grandfather, Sidi. He does not want to live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where his parents will go to graduate school. His mother is desperate for him to pack his suitcase—but he refuses. Finally, she calls Sidi for help. But rather than pack, Aref and Sidi go on a series of adventures. They visit the camp of a thousand stars deep in the desert, they sleep on Sidi’s roof, they fish in the Gulf of Oman and dream about going to India, they travel to the nature reserve to watch the sea turtles. At each stop, Sidi finds a small stone that he later slips into Aref’s suitcase—mementos of home.

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