Thursday, September 29, 2016

On Shelves Now: CHASING BUTTERFLIES by Amir Abrams

320 p.
Ages: 14 and up

At sixteen, gifted pianist and poet Nia Daniels has already known her share of heartache. But despite the pain of losing her mother and grandmother, she’s managed to excel, thanks to her beloved father’s love and support. He’s held her through every tragedy, and cheered her on through every performance. Nia can’t imagine what she’d do without him—until an illness suddenly takes him, and she has no choice. And Nia’s in for one more shocking blow. The man who’d always been her rock, her constant, wasn’t her biological dad.

Orphaned and confused, Nia is desperate for answers. But what she finds will uproot her from the life she’s always known in California and bring her to the east coast—to Omar. He’s a man who’s spent most of his life—and all of Nia’s—behind bars. He’s her biological father. An ex-gang member. Living in the hood. And he’s determined to do whatever it takes to win the love of his only daughter and make up for his mistakes. If only she’ll let him…

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On Shelves Now: IN PLAIN SIGHT by Richard Jackson

40 p.
Ages: 4 to 7

Sophie lives with Mama and Daddy and Grandpa, who spends his days by the window. Every day after school, it's Grandpa whom Sophie runs to.

"Here I am, Grandpa!"
"Ah, Sophie, how was your day?"

As Sophie and her grandpa talk, he asks her to find items he's "lost" throughout the day, guiding Sophie on a tour through his daily life and connecting their generations in this sweet, playful picture book illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Jerry Pinkney.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

On Shelves Now: SHAME THE STARS by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

320 p.
Ages: 12 to 18

Eighteen-year-old Joaquín del Toro's future looks bright. With his older brother in the priesthood, he’s set to inherit his family’s Texas ranch. He’s in love with Dulceña—and she’s in love with him. But it’s 1915, and trouble has been brewing along the US-Mexico border. On one side, the Mexican Revolution is taking hold; on the other, Texas Rangers fight Tejano insurgents, and ordinary citizens are caught in the middle.

As tensions grow, Joaquín is torn away from Dulceña, whose father’s critical reporting on the Rangers in the local newspaper has driven a wedge between their families. Joaquín’s own father insists that the Rangers are their friends, and refuses to take sides in the conflict. But when their family ranch becomes a target, Joaquín must decide how he will stand up for what’s right.

Shame the Stars is a rich reimagining of Romeo and Juliet set in Texas during the explosive years of Mexico’s revolution. Filled with period detail, captivating romance, and political intrigue, it brings Shakespeare’s classic to life in an entirely new way.

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On Shelves Now: THE THREE LUCYS by Hayan Charara

40 p.
Ages: 8 to 9

Luli likes to sit in the shade of an olive tree with his beloved cats: Lucy the Fat, Lucy the Skinny, and Lucy Lucy. But when Luli and his parents go to the city to see his aunt and uncle one weekend, the cats must stay behind at home.

After a fun visit with family, Luli is looking forward to going home and seeing the Lucys. But then Luli's hometown comes under attack and the family must seek refuge at his aunt and uncle’s house. Luli doesn’t understand what is happening and worries about his pets. Who will keep the three Lucys safe? And when will he and his family be able to return home?

Recipient of Lee & Low’s New Voices Honor award, The Three Lucys is inspired by real events of the July War in Lebanon. This tender story of loss, rebuilding, and healing is a tribute to the sustaining love of family, and to the power of the human spirit to hope for a peaceful future.

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

On Shelves Now: ALUTA by Adwoa Badoe

192 p.
Ages: 14 and up

For eighteen-year-old Charlotte, university life is better than she’d ever dreamed — a sophisticated and generous roommate, the camaraderie of dorm living, parties, clubs and boyfriends. Most of all, Charlotte is exposed to new ideas, and in 1981 Ghana, this may be the most exciting – and most dangerous — adventure of all.

At first Charlotte basks in her wonderful new freedom, especially being out of the watchful eye of her controlling and opinionated father. She suddenly finds herself with no shortage of male attention, including her charismatic political science professor, fellow student activist Banahene, and Asare, a wealthy oil broker who invites Charlotte to travel with him and showers her with expensive gifts, including a coveted passport.

But Ghana is fraught with a history of conflict. And in the middle of her freshman year, the government is overthrown, and three judges are abducted and murdered. As political forces try to mobilize students to advance their own agendas, Charlotte is drawn into the world of student politics. She’s good at it, she’s impassioned, and she’s in love with Banahene. “The struggle continues! Aluta! Aluta continua!” she shouts, rallying the crowd with the slogan of the oppressed. But her love of the spotlight puts her in the public eye. And when Asare entrusts her with a mysterious package of documents, she suddenly realizes she may be in real danger.

But it’s too late. As she is on her way to a meeting, Charlotte is picked up by national security, and her worst nightmares come true. And in the end, she must make a difficult and complicated decision about whether to leave her education, and her beloved Ghana, behind.

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On Shelves Now: BOOK UNCLE AND ME by Uma Krishnaswami

96 p.
Ages: 7 to 10

Every day, nine-year-old Yasmin borrows a book from Book Uncle, a retired teacher who has set up a free lending library next to her apartment building. But when the mayor tries to shut down the rickety bookstand, Yasmin has to take her nose out of her book and do something.

But what can she do? The local elections are coming up but she’s just a kid. She can’t even vote!

Still, Yasmin has friends — her best friend, Reeni, and Anil, who even has a black belt in karate. And she has grownup family and neighbors who, no matter how preoccupied they are, care about what goes on in their community.

Then Yasmin remembers a story that Book Uncle selected for her. It’s an old folktale about a flock of doves trapped in a hunter’s net. The birds realize that if they all flap their wings at the same time, they can lift the net and fly to safety, where they seek the help of a friendly mole who chews a hole in the net and sets them free.

And so the children get to work, launching a campaign to make sure the voices of the community are heard.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

On Shelves Now: EVERY FALLING STAR by Sungju Lee

336 p.
Ages: 13 and up

Every Falling Star, the first book to portray contemporary North Korea to a young audience, is the intense memoir of a North Korean boy named Sungju who is forced at age twelve to live on the streets and fend for himself. To survive, Sungju creates a gang and lives by thieving, fighting, begging, and stealing rides on cargo trains.

Sungju richly re-creates his scabrous story, depicting what it was like for a boy alone to create a new family with his gang, his “brothers”; to be hungry and to fear arrest, imprisonment, and even execution. This riveting memoir allows young readers to learn about other cultures where freedoms they take for granted do not exist.

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On Shelves Now: INTO WHITE by Randi Pink

288 p.
Ages: 14 to 18

LaToya Williams lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and attends a mostly white high school. She's so low on the social ladder that even the other black kids disrespect her. Only her older brother, Alex, believes in her. At least, until a higher power answers her only prayer--to be "anything but black." And voila! She wakes up with blond hair, blue eyes, and lily white skin. And then the real fun begins . . .

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

On Shelves Now: TWO NAOMIS by by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich & Audrey Vernick

208 p.
Ages: 8 to 12

Other than their first names, Naomi Marie and Naomi Edith are sure they have nothing in common, and they wouldn’t mind keeping it that way.

Naomi Marie starts clubs at the library and adores being a big sister. Naomi Edith loves quiet Saturdays and hanging with her best friend in her backyard. And while Naomi Marie’s father lives a few blocks away, Naomi Edith wonders how she’s supposed to get through each day a whole country apart from her mother.

When Naomi Marie’s mom and Naomi Edith’s dad get serious about dating, each girl tries to cling to the life she knows and loves. Then their parents push them into attending a class together, where they might just have to find a way to work with each other—and maybe join forces to find new ways to define family.

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On Shelves Now: ADA TWIST, SCIENTIST by Andrea Beaty

32 p.
Ages: 5 to 7

Like her classmates, builder Iggy and inventor Rosie, scientist Ada has a boundless imagination and has always been hopelessly curious. Why are there pointy things stuck to a rose? Why are there hairs growing inside your nose? When her house fills with a horrific, toe-curling smell, Ada knows it’s up to her to find the source. What would you do with a problem like this? Not afraid of failure, Ada embarks on a fact-finding mission and conducts scientific experiments, all in the name of discovery. But, this time, her experiments lead to even more stink and get her into trouble!

Inspired by real-life makers such as Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie, Ada Twist, Scientist champions girl power and women scientists, and brings welcome diversity to picture books about girls in science. Touching on themes of never giving up and problem solving, Ada comes to learn that her questions might not always lead to answers, but rather to more questions. She may never find the source of the stink, but with a supportive family and the space to figure it out, she’ll be able to feed her curiosity in the ways a young scientist should.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016


48 p.
Ages: 4 to 7

Long before the natural-food movement gained popularity, Edna Lewis championed purity of ingredients, regional cuisine, and farm-to-table eating. She was a chef when female chefs—let alone African American female chefs—were few and far between.

With lyrical text and watercolor illustrations, Robbin Gourley traces the roots of Edna's appreciation for the bounties of nature through the seasons. Folk rhymes, and songs about food are sprinkled throughout the text, and five kid-friendly recipes and an author's note about Edna's life are included.

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On Shelves Now: LUCY AND LINH by Alice Pung

352 p.
Ages: 12 and up

Lucy is a bit of a pushover, but she’s ambitious and smart, and she has just received the opportunity of a lifetime: a scholarship to a prestigious school, and a ticket out of her broken-down suburb. Though she’s worried she will stick out like badly cut bangs among the razor-straight students, she is soon welcomed into the Cabinet, the supremely popular trio who wield influence over classmates and teachers alike.

Linh is blunt, strong-willed, and fearless—everything Lucy once loved about herself. She is also Lucy’s last solid link to her life before private school, but she is growing tired of being eclipsed by the glamour of the Cabinet.

As Lucy floats further away from the world she once knew, her connection to Linh—and to her old life—threatens to snap. Sharp and honest, Alice Pung’s novel examines what it means to grow into the person you want to be without leaving yourself behind.

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Thursday, September 8, 2016


48 p.
Ages: 6 to 9

The newest installment in the Geisel Honor Ling & Ting early reader series follows the adorable Asian American twins throughout all the seasons of the year!

Ling and Ting have fun, rain or shine, in the fourth book of this irresistible early reader series.

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On Shelves Now: LIBBY AND PEARL by Lindsey Bonnice

32 p.
Ages: 4 to 8

Libby and Pearl.
Pearl and Libby.

A little girl and a little piglet who have been the best of friends since the day they met. Libby and Pearl may be different in a lot of ways, but they always agree on one thing: everything is better together.

This irresistible photographic picture book is a celebration of love, friendship, and the people—and animals—we hold close.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

On Shelves Now: THE CAT KING OF HAVANA by Tom Crosshill

368 p.
Ages: 13 and up

When Rick Gutierrez—known as “That Cat Guy” at school—gets dumped on his sixteenth birthday for uploading cat videos from his bedroom instead of experiencing the real world, he realizes it’s time for a change. So Rick joins a salsa class...because of a girl, of course. Ana Cabrera is smart, friendly, and smooth on the dance floor. He might be half Cuban, but Rick dances like a drunk hippo. Desperate to impress Ana, he invites her to spend the summer in Havana. The official reason: learning to dance. The hidden agenda: romance under the palm trees.

Except Cuba isn’t all sun, salsa, and music. As Rick and Ana meet his family and investigate the reason why his mother left Cuba decades ago, they learn that politics isn’t just something that happens to other people. And when they find romance, it’s got sharp edges.

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On Shelves Now: ONE HALF FROM THE EAST by Nadia Hashimi

272 p.
Ages: 8 to 12

Obayda’s family is in need of some good fortune.

Her father lost one of his legs in a bomb explosion, forcing the family to move from their home city of Kabul to a small village, where life is very different and Obayda’s father almost never leaves his room.

One day, Obayda’s aunt has an idea to bring the family luck—dress Obayda, the youngest of her sisters, as a boy, a bacha posh.

Now Obayda is Obayd.

Life in this in-between place is confusing, but once Obayda meets another bacha posh, everything changes. The two of them can explore the village on their own, climbing trees, playing sports, and more.

But their transformation won’t last forever—unless the two best friends can figure out a way to make it stick and make their newfound freedoms endure.

Nadia Hashimi’s first novel for young readers is perfect for fans of Rita Williams-Garcia, Rebecca Stead, and Thanhha Lai.

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