Thursday, October 20, 2016

On Shelves Now: THE SCHOOL THE AZTEC EAGLES BUILT by Dorinda Makanaonalani Nicholson

48 p.
Ages: 8 to 12

In May 1942, German U-boats torpedoed two unarmed Mexican oil tankers off the Gulf Coast, forcing Mexico to enter World War II. With the help of United States President Roosevelt, Mexican President Camacho arranged to send one Air Force squadron to fight in the war. Thirty-eight of Mexico’s top pilots, and about two hundred sixty additional military crew were carefully selected to form the 201st Air Force Squadron, also known as the Aztec Eagles. The squadron was the first unit in history to leave Mexico on a fighting mission.

To mark this historic event, President Camacho asked the men if they had any last minute requests before they went to war. Sergeant Angel Bocanegra, a former teacher and now squadron ground crewmember, stepped forward and made a request. He asked that a school be built in his small village of Tepoztlan. The School the Aztec Eagles Built tells the exciting story of how a Mexican Air Force squadron and an unknown schoolteacher made their mark in history.

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On Shelves Now: PREACHING TO THE CHICKENS: The Story of Young John Lewis by Jabari Asim

32 p.
Ages: 5 to 8

Even as a very young boy, John Lewis knew he wanted to be a preacher when he grew up. He wanted to be the kind of leader who could use his passionate speeches to stir hearts to change, minds to think, and bodies to take action.

But why wait to grow up? At five years old, when he became the official caretaker of the sixty chickens on his family’s farm, he realized he had a wonderful audience to practice on—and they became this brave Civil Rights activist’s first flock, content under his watchful care and riveted by the power of his words.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

On Shelves Now: RAINBOW WEAVER: Tejedora del arcoíris by Linda Elovitz Marshall

40 p.
Ages: 6 to 9

Ixchel wants to follow in the long tradition of weaving on backstrap looms, just as her mother, grandmother, and most Mayan women have done for more than two thousand years. But Ixchel's mother is too busy preparing her weavings for market. If they bring a good price, they will have money to pay for Ixchel’s school and books. And besides, there is not enough extra thread for Ixchel to practice with.

Disappointed, Ixchel first tries weaving with blades of grass, and then with bits of wool, but no one would want to buy the results. As she walks around her village, Ixchel finds it littered with colorful plastic bags. There is nowhere to put all the bags, so they just keep accumulating.

Suddenly, Ixchel has an idea! She collects and washes the plastic bags. Then she cuts each bag into thin strips. Sitting at her loom, Ixchel weaves the plastic strips into a colorful fabric that looks like a beautiful rainbow—just like the weavings of Mayan women before her.

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On Shelves Now: THE LOST ONES by Michaela MacColl

256 p.
Ages: 9 to 12

Despite her father’s warnings that their tribe is always in danger, Casita, a ten-year-old Lipan Apache girl, has led a relatively peaceful life with her tribe in Mexico, doing her daily chores and practicing for her upcoming Changing Woman ceremony, in which she will officially become a woman of the tribe. But the peace is shattered when the U.S. Cavalry invades and brutally slaughters her people.

Casita and her younger brother survive the attack, but are taken captive and sent to the Carlisle Indian School, a Pennsylvania boarding school that specializes in assimilating Native Americans into white American culture. Casita grieves for her lost family as she struggles to find a way to maintain her identity as a Lipan Apache and survive at the school. Includes author’s note and bibliography.

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

On Shelves Now: LILA AND THE CROW by Gabrielle Grimard

32 p.
Ages: 5 to 8

Lila has just moved to a new town and can't wait to make friends at school. But on the first day, a boy points at her and shouts: “A crow! A crow! The new girl's hair is black like a crow!” The others whisper and laugh, and Lila's heart grows as heavy as a stone.

The next day, Lila covers her hair. But this time, the boy points at her dark skin. When she covers her face, he mocks her dark eyes. Now every day at school, Lila hides under her turtleneck, dark glasses, and hat. And every day when she goes home, she sees a crow who seems to want to tell her something. Lila ignores the bird and even throws rocks at it, but it won't go away.

Meanwhile, the great autumn festival is approaching. While the other kids prepare their costumes, Lila is sadder and lonelier than ever. At her lowest point of despair, a magical encounter with the crow opens Lila's eyes to the beauty of being different, and gives her the courage to proudly embrace her true self.

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On Shelves Now: THE BOY & THE BINDI by Vivek Shraya

32 p.
Ages: 4 to 8

In this beautiful children’s picture book by Vivek Shraya, author of the acclaimed God Loves Hair, a five-year-old South Asian boy becomes fascinated with his mother’s bindi, the red dot commonly worn by Hindu women to indicate the point at which creation begins, and wishes to have one of his own. Rather than chastise her son, she agrees to it, and teaches him about its cultural significance, allowing the boy to discover the magic of the bindi, which in turn gives him permission to be more fully himself.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

On Shelves Now: WHEN THE SEA TURNED TO SILVER by Grace Lin

384 p.
Ages: 8 to 12

Pinmei's gentle, loving grandmother always has the most exciting tales for her granddaughter and the other villagers. However, the peace is shattered one night when soldiers of the Emperor arrive and kidnap the storyteller.

Everyone knows that the Emperor wants something called the Luminous Stone That Lights the Night. Determined to have her grandmother returned, Pinmei embarks on a journey to find the Luminous Stone alongside her friend Yishan, a mysterious boy who seems to have his own secrets to hide. Together, the two must face obstacles usually found only in legends to find the Luminous Stone and save Pinmei's grandmother--before it's too late.

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On Shelves Now: RANI PATEL IN FULL EFFECT by Sonia Patel

224 p.
Ages: 12 and up

Almost seventeen, Rani Patel appears to be a kick-ass Indian girl breaking cultural norms as a hip-hop performer in full effect. But in truth, she's a nerdy flat-chested nobody who lives with her Gujarati immigrant parents on the remote Hawaiian island of Moloka'i, isolated from her high school peers by the unsettling norms of Indian culture where "husband is God." Her parents' traditionally arranged marriage is a sham. Her dad turns to her for all his needs—even the intimate ones.

When Rani catches him two-timing with a woman barely older than herself, she feels like a widow and, like widows in India are often made to do, she shaves off her hair. Her sexy bald head and hard-driving rhyming skills attract the attention of Mark, the hot older customer who frequents her parents' store and is closer in age to her dad than to her. Mark makes the moves on her and Rani goes with it. He leads Rani into 4eva Flowin', an underground hip hop crew—and into other things she's never done. Rani ignores the red flags. Her naive choices look like they will undo her but ultimately give her the chance to discover her strengths and restore the things she thought she'd lost, including her mother.

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

On Shelves Now: CALLING THE WATER DRUM by LaTisha Redding

32 p.
Ages: 5 to 9

Henri and his parents leave their homeland, Haiti, after they receive an invitation from an uncle to come to New York City. Only able to afford a small, rickety boat, the family sets out in the middle of the night in search of a better life. Out at sea Henri dreams of what life will be like “across the great waters.” Then the small boat overturns, and Henri is placed on top of the boat as his parents drift further out at sea.

Overcome with grief, Henri retreats into himself and is no longer able to speak once he reaches land. Encouraged by his uncle and neighbor, Henri takes a bucket and plays on it like a drum. The drumming becomes a link to his past and a conduit for his emotions. Slowly, through his drumming and the kindness of his uncle and friend, Henri learns to navigate this new and foreign world without his parents. Calling the Water Drum is a tender and timely tribute to the bravery of immigrants and refugees, and the resiliency of the human spirit.

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On Shelves Now: STITCHIN' AND PULLIN': A Gee's Bend Quilt by Patricia McKissack

48 p.
Ages: 5 to 9

For generations, the women of Gee’s Bend have made quilts to keep a family warm, as a pastime accompanied by sharing and singing, or to memorialize loved ones. Today, the same quilts hang on museum walls as modern masterpieces of color and design. Inspired by these quilts and the women who made them, award-winning author Patricia C. McKissack traveled to Alabama to learn their stories. The lyrical rite-of-passage narrative that is the result of her journey seamlessly weaves together the familial, cultural, spiritual, and historical strands of life in this community.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

On Shelves Now: SOMETHING IN BETWEEN by Melissa de la Cruz

448 p.
Ages: 14 and up

She had her whole life planned.

She knew who she was and where she was going.

Until the truth changed everything.

Jasmine de los Santos has always done what’s expected of her. She’s studied hard, made her Filipino immigrant parents proud and is ready to reap the rewards in the form of a full college scholarship to the school of her dreams.

And then everything shatters. Her parents are forced to reveal the truth: their visas expired years ago. Her entire family is illegal. That means no scholarships, maybe no college at all and the very real threat of deportation.

As she’s trying to make sense of who she is in this new reality, her world is turned upside down again by Royce Blakely. He’s funny, caring and spontaneous—basically everything she’s been looking for at the worst possible time—and now he’s something else she may lose.

Jasmine will stop at nothing to protect her relationships, family and future, all while figuring out what it means to be an immigrant in today’s society.

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On Shelves Now: FREDDIE RAMOS RULES NEW YORK by Jacqueline Jules

96 p.
Ages: 7 to 10

Freddie and his mom are visiting Uncle Jorge in New York City! Just before they leave, Mr. Vaslov gives Freddie a new pair of zapatos to replace the ones that were getting too small. But Freddie worries if his new zapatos will work as well as his old ones. Will Freddie be able to save the day when Uncle Jorge misplaces an engagement ring in the middle of a New York City traffic jam?

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