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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 33, Number 8 August 2023 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Health Shelf Science Shelf
Cookbook Shelf Psychology Shelf Board Book Shelf
Picturebook Shelf Middle Grade Fiction Shelf Romantic Fiction Shelf
Young Adult Fiction Shelf Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf
Biography Shelf Graphic Novel Shelf Art Shelf
Books in Series Story Monsters Ink Shelf  

Reviewer's Choice

101 Ways To Read A Book
Timothee de Fombelle, author
Benjamin Chaud, illustrator
Karin Snelson & Angus Yuen-Killick, translators
Red Cornet Press
9781636550824, $20.00, HC, 128pp

Synopsis: The Sunflower, The contortionist, The sleepwalker, The romantic -- "101 Ways To Read A Book" is one-of-a-kind whimsical volume that presents 101 different ways, poses and positions in which to read a book.

Each of the diverse poses has been keenly observed and collected by author Timothee de Fombelle, then charmingly illustrated with the greatest precision by celebrated artist Benjamin Chaud. For young (and young at heart) bibliophiles, bookworms, browsers, and the just plain curious, "101 Ways To Read A Book" is delightful book is a joyful celebration of reading in its many and varied ways.

Critique: Ably translated into English by the team of Karin Snelson and Angus Yuen-Killick, "101 Ways To Read A Book" is a 'must' for all dedicated young bibliophiles who love books and reading. An inspiration to all bookworms who desire to pursue their cherished pastime one hundred and one percent of the time, "101 Ways To Read A Book" is strongly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library humor collections for ages 7-10. It should be noted that "101 Ways To Read A Book" is also readily available from Red Comet Press in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note #1: Timothee de Fombelle is a Paris-based playwright, and author of award-winning children's fiction and picture books. His first series, Toby Alone and Toby Alone and the Secrets of the Tree has been published in twenty-seven languages and won numerous awards, including France's prestigious Prix Sorcieres and the Marsh Award. (

Editorial Note #2: Benjamin Chaud ( has illustrated more than 60 books. He is the author and illustrator of New York Times Notable Book The Bear's Song and tree sequels. Benjamin Chaud lives in France.

Editorial Note #3: Karin Snelson ( is a Seattle-based book editor and translator, specializing in children's literature.

Editorial Note #4: Angus Yuen-Killick is the founder and publisher of Red Comet Press, located in Brooklyn, New York. (

The Health Shelf

The P Word: A Manual for Mammals
David L. Hu, author
Ilias Arahovitis, illustrator
Science, Naturally!
9781938492785, $18.95, HC, 54pp

Synopsis: With the publication of "The P Word: A Manual for Mammals". author David L. Hu and artist/illustrator Ilias Arahovitis collaborate to share everything kids wants to know about the penis, but are too afraid to ask. "The P Word: A Manual for Mammals" was specifically created to help pre-puberty kids who have a penis understand why they have one, the way their penis keeps their body healthy, and what they can expect as they get older and closer to puberty starting.

As the definitive resource about the penis for kids, "The P Word" provides the tools kids need to recognize and name their body parts, understand when something might be wrong, and practice good hygiene.

An animal expert, author Dr. David L. Hu includes fascinating mammal facts and comparisons to help kids understand that the penis is a natural, normal, and wildly diverse body part. By including fun and fascinating content about mammals, the conversations (and illustrations) become light-hearted and fun!

The best thing about The P Word is that a parent can give it to their child for them to read at their own pace. It's formatted to include the questions kids ask, uses language that doesn't single kids out, and includes mammals to discuss the penis from a biological perspective, rather than addressing gender or using exclusive terminology.

Critique: Unique, appropriate, and absolutely 'kid friendly' in commentary, organization and presentation, "The P Word: A Manual for Mammals" is well written and age appropriate for young readers ages 7-12 -- making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library Human Sexuality & Biology collections for children. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The P Word: A Manual for Mammals" is also available in a paperback edition (9781938492792, $14.95) and in digital book format (Kindle, $10.49).

Editorial Note #1: Dr. David L. Hu ( is a mechanical engineer and biologist who studies the interactions of animals with water. He has discovered how dogs shake dry, how insects walk on water, and how eyelashes protect the eyes from drying. During his career, he's won the Ig Nobel Prize in Physics, the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, and the Pineapple Science Prize. Dr. Hu's research has been featured in The Economist, The New York Times, Saturday Night Live, Science Friday, and Highlights for Children. He is the author of the young adult nonfiction book How to Walk on Water and Climb Up Walls. A professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, Dr. Hu lives with his wife and two children in Atlanta, Georgia.

Editorial Note #2: Ilias Arahovitis ( was born in South Africa and was raised in Athens, Greece. In his early years, Ilias's canvas was the floor and walls, but after the age of five, he started using actual canvas to create his first oil paintings. Ilias graduated from AKTO Art & Design College in Athens, and now specializes in children's books, having illustrated numerous books in the last 25 years.

The Science Shelf

The Little Lab: Fantastic Science for Kids
Margie Makarian, editor
Rachel Rothman, editor
Good Housekeeping, editor
Hearst Home Kids
c/o Hearst Books
9781950785926, $22.99, HC, 144pp

Synopsis: Collaboratively co-edited by Good Housekeeping, Margie Makarian, and Rachel Rothman, "The Little Lab: Fantastic Science for Kids" is a brilliant compendium of twenty-two thoroughly DIY 'kid friendly', fun and informative science experiments/activities deftly organized into five individual chapters: Food Science; Water Works; Power Up!; Outdoor Science; Slime & Grime.

Critique: Profusely illustrated throughout in full color, and featuring a three page Glossary and a three page Index, "The Little Lab: Fantastic Science for Kids" is as fun (and safe) as it is educational for children 4-8 -- making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Science Experiment/Activity collections. It should be noted for parents and care-givers that "The Little Lab: Fantastic Science for Kids" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note #1: Margie Makarian ( is a children's book author and freelance editor/writer based in Franklin, Massachusetts. The Princess and the Cafe on the Moat (Sleeping Bear Press) is her first picture book. Margie has also written several nonfiction books for kids. She specializes in content for kids, teens, parents, and teachers

Editorial Note #2: Rachel Rothman is the Chief Technologist and Engineering Director for the Good Housekeeping Institute. She has appeared as an expert on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox Business and MSNBC among other live appearances. Rachel has a BSE in Mechanical Engineering, Applied Mechanics, and Mathematics at the University. (

Editorial Note #3: Good Housekeeping ( is a leading lifestyle media brand inspiring a monthly audience of 58M readers with its magazine.

The Language of Plants
Darya Neklemesheva and Helena Harastova
97880067971, $15.95

The Language of Plants: Understanding How Plants Communicate is a picture book discussion of plant possibilities. It focuses on recent scientific findings about plant abilities that challenge traditional views of plants as largely being dull. Kids learn about the parts of plants, their operations, how plants can actually call for help and warn each other, along with many amazing facts about plants that reveals their extraordinary abilities. The result differs from any other plant botany book, promising enlightening understanding not only from picture book readers, but the adults who choose this book for its extraordinary focus and bright illustrations of plant facts.

The Cookbook Shelf

Recipes for Change
Michael Platt, author
Alleanna Harris, illustrator
Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
9781419760242, $18.99, HC, 40pp

Synopsis: From the Montgomery bus boycott to the Black Lives Matter movement, food has always played a vital role in strengthening and shaping Black empowerment.

With the publication of "Recipes for Change: 12 Dishes Inspired by a Year in Black History" (featuring illustrations by Alleanna Harris), young readers will enjoy joining food justice advocate and baker Michael Platt on a stunning visual journey as he retells moving and authentic accounts of 12 months in Black history.

Featuring mouthwatering recipes and biographies of important figures, "Recipes for Change" will inspire leaders of the future with real stories of trailblazers who helped to change the world.

The thoroughly 'kid friendly' and iconic recipes comprising "Recipes for Change" include: The Black Panther Party's creamy grits; The Greensboro Sit-In's cherry protest pie; The Selma March's carry-on cornbread; The Underground Railroad's freedom fish; The Freedom Riders' gumbo; Juneteenth's red ice pops; Baker's Against Racism's sweet potato hand pie; Martin Luther King's favorite pecan pie; Paschal's fried chicken; The Black Power Salute's Olympic gold cookies; The Christmas Sacrifice's banana pudding; The Montgomery Bus Boycott's pound cake.

Critique: A fun and informative blending of history and cuisine, "Recipes for Change: 12 Dishes Inspired by a Year in Black History" is a unique, extraordinary, and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, middle school, and community library Black History & Cookbook collections for children ages 8-12.

Editorial Note: Michael Platt is a teen baker, social entrepreneur, and food justice advocate. He has been baking since he was nine years old, but has been interested in racial inequality since he first learned about the historic March on Washington at the age of six. Platt began to ask questions about people being mistreated because of the color of their skin, and so set up a baking business in Maryland, Michael's Desserts, with a one-for-one model.

Platt appeared as one of the best kid bakers in the country in season 4 of Kids Baking Championship on the Food Network and has been covered by outlets such as the Capital Gazette, WUSA9 news, CBS, PGCTV news, Ted Talks, Good Morning America, CNN, the Washington Post,, Guideposts, the Rachael Ray Show, and more.

Editorial Note #2: Alleanna Harris ( is an illustrator and artist from New Jersey. She has been drawing for as long as she can remember, and after graduating from the University of Arts, began illustrating children's books. Harris uses her platform to tell stories - ranging from influential Black figures to important Black history milestones - as a way to inspire readers. In her work, she seeks to create images that are immersive, rich in color, and have a sense of warmth.

The Psychology Shelf

In My Feelings
Vidal Annan
Free Spirit Publishing
6325 Sandburg Road, Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55427-3674
9798885540001, $15.00, PB, 140pp

Synopsis: The simple and empowering message of "In My Feelings: A Teen Guide to Discovering What You Feel So You Can Decide What to Do" by clinical psychologist Vidal Annan is that emotions, especially unpleasant ones, are not just to be avoided, controlled, or treated. Emotions can serve as a source of information that teens can use to make decisions and help them live their best lives.

The path to emotional health for teens lies in improving their ability to recognize, understand, manage, and use emotions. With the publication of "In My Feelings", Dr. Annan encourages teens to think of emotions as messengers or sources of data that they can access and use to set and achieve goals, and to continue to grow and develop.

"In My Feelings" starts by exploring what it means to be a teenager, what emotions are, and why people have them. In the second part of the book, Dr. Annan delves into specific emotions that teens may be experiencing daily.

"In My Feelings" will help teens to develop their emotional literacy and tap into the power of their emotions to improve their mental health.

Critique: Exceptionally and effectively written, organized and presented, in this 'reader friendly' paperback edition of "In My Feelings: A Teen Guide to Discovering What You Feel So You Can Decide What to Do" from Free Spirit Publishing is an unreservedly recommended pick for family, middle school, highschool, and community library Self-Help/Self-Improvement DIY collections for young readers ages 13-17.

Editorial Note: Vidal Annan ( is a clinical psychologist who has worked with children, teens, and young adults for more than fifteen years. As a clinician, Dr. Annan has extensive training in treatments that help individuals understand their thoughts and feelings better so they can make healthier choices in their personal, social, and professional lives. In addition to his clinical work, Vidal enjoys presenting to audiences on topics related to mental health and wellness. He has also worked as a college professor, program director, and scientific researcher.

The Board Book Shelf

Mother Earth's Lullaby
Terry Pierce, author
Carol Heyer, illustrator
Tilbury House, Publishers
9781958394199, $9.95, Board Book, 20pp

Synopsis: "Mother Earth's Lullaby" by author/storyteller Terry Pierce and artist/illustrator Carol Heyer is a bedtime book about endangered species

When Mother Earth bids goodnight, / the world is bathed in silver light. / She says, "Goodnight, my precious ones." / Nature's song has just begun.

"Mother Earth's Lullaby" is a gentle bedtime call to some of the world's most endangered animals. Rhythm, rhyme, and repetition create a quiet moment for children burrowing down in their own beds for the night, imparting a sense that even the most endangered animals feel safe at this peaceful time of day.

In successive spreads, a baby giant panda, yellow-footed rock wallaby, California condor, Ariel toucan, American red wolf, Sumatran tiger, polar bear, Javan rhinoceros, Vaquita dolphin, Northern spotted owl, Hawaiian goose, and Key deer are snuggled to sleep by attentive parents in their dens and nests under the moon and stars.

Of special note are the brief descriptions of each animal appear in the back of the book.

Critique: Charming, relaxing, and ideal for bedtime storytelling, "Mother Earth's Lullaby" is extraordinary, memorable, and highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library board book collections for children ages 4-8. It should also be noted for parents and librarians that "Mother Earth's Lullaby" is also available in a hardcover edition (9780884485575, $17.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note #1: Terry Pierce ( was a Montessori teacher for 22 years before writing children's books. Her 18 books include Tae Kwon Do! (Bank Street College Best Children's Books of 2007); Blackberry Banquet; Mother Goose Rhymes (a 2007 AEP Distinguished Achievement Award Winner) and My Busy Green Garden. She is an instructor in the UCLA Extension Writers' Program.

Editorial Note #2: Carol Heyer ( has illustrated 28 children's picture books including Humphrey's First Christmas and Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude, winner of eight state awards, as well as several Hank Zipzer books written by Henry Winkler. Formerly she was a production designer and writer of feature films including Thunder Run (1986), and she illustrated game materials for Dungeons & Dragons and the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering.

Lake Life with You
Cindy Jin, author
Andres Landazabal, illustrator
Little Simon
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
9781665935142, $7.99, Board Book, 22pp

Synopsis: "when the lake is quiet / in the morning breeze / we watch the sunrise paint the sky // when the frogs are croaking / and herons take wing, / we feed the ducks wading by"

Whether it's feeding ducks, looking for fish, or enjoying a peaceful nature walk, "Lake Life With You" by author/storyteller Cindy Jin and artist/illustrator Andres Landazabal is cozy board book story that proves that the best thing about lake life is making precious memories with the ones you love -- and that last long after you leave the shore.

Critique: Gentle, charming, rhythmic, "Lake Life With You" by the creative team of Cindy Jin and Andres Landazabal is an especially recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library board book collections for young children ages 1-5. It should be noted that "Lake Life With You" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Editorial Note #1: Cindy Jin edits and writes books for children. She lives in New York City. (

Editorial Note #2: Andres Landazabal is an illustrator, production designer, and art director based in Colombia. His work has appeared in animation films, TV shows, and books. Andres's love for drawing and painting was instilled at a young age reading classic illustrated children's books. (

I'm Your Ice Cream Truck
Hannah Eliot, author
Belinda Chen, illustrator
Little Simon
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
9781665932981, $7.99, Board Book, 18pp

Synopsis: "I am your ice cream truck! / I deliver sweet treats / that are cold and frosty / and delicious to eat!"

From the playground to the pool, to the library, and every where else, very young children will enjoy finding out about all the places your favorite ice cream truck goes in "I'm Your Ice Cream Truck" -- this sweet truck-shaped board book.

Critique: Delightful, fun, sweetly charming, "I'm Your Ice Cream Truck" by the team of author/storyteller Hannah Eliott and artist/illustrator Belinda Chen is an enthusiastically recommended pick for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library board book collections for children ages 1-5. It should be noted for parents that "I'm Your Ice Cream Truck" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

Editorial Note #1: Hannah Eliot is a children's book editor. Her favorite activities include editing (of course), writing, painting, and doodling all over every piece of notebook paper she uses. (

Editorial Note #2: Belinda Chen ( is a children's book illustrator and printmaker. She is originally from Taiwan and is now based in Yorkshire, UK. Her passion for drawing and art began from a very early age. Growing up in a small family-run ceramic factory in north Taiwan surrounded by lush green mountains, Belinda imagined the factory and the forest as a giant playground. It has inspired her to create from childhood, striving to portray a dream-like utopia to be enjoyed by both children and adults of all ages.

Are You Wiggly?
Tim Button, author
Ana Larranaga, illustrator
The Collective Book Studio
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
9781685555634, $12.95, Board Book, 22pp

Synopsis: Hi Rabbit, are you wiggly? How about you, Butterfly? Are You Wiggly?

As "Are You Wiggly?" searches high and low to find who might be wiggly, they meet different critters and learn about the movements they make. That is until they meet the wiggliest creature of all - a reflection of themselves via a novelty mirror at the back of the book!

Critique: A charming, light hearted, and thoroughly fun board book for very young children ages 1-3, "Are You Wiggly" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, and community library Baby Animals themed board book collections.

Editorial Note #1: Tim Button ( started writing as a kid when he and his grandmother would write letters in poem form and send them back and forth. Today he spends his days advising businesses about technology. He loves sports of all kinds and has coached almost every kid's sport except for Lacrosse. He is known for joking around--often using different voices, which is not surprising because he's also worked as a voice-over artist.

Editorial Note #2: Ana Larranaga was born in San Sebastian, Spain, and grew up in the countryside of Castilla, in a huge family, surrounded by cousins and animals. At school, she drew little stories on every possible piece of paper. In Salamanca, where she studied Fine Arts, teachers told her to draw very big things. When she finished her studies, she returned to her small drawings and became an award-winning illustrator. Ana lives in Germany with her husband and three sons. (

Have You Seen My Sock?
Colombe Linotte, author
Claudia Bielinsky, illustrator
c/o Chronicle Books
9791036358531, $10.99, Board Book, 20pp

Synopsis: A colorful and amusing simple whodunit! The children's board book, "Have You Seen My Sock?", features an engaging, rhyming text that is about socks that have mysteriously disappeared: socks of all colors, shapes, and patterns. Just where could they have gone? Very young children ages 1-3 will laugh with delight when they find out!

Critique: Because it builds children's cognitive abilities and stimulates creative thinking, encourages curiosity, helps develop recognition of different colors, patterns, and shapes, and is a kind of matching game that reaffirms observation skills, "Have You Seen My Sock?" is an irresistible board book that children will want to read again and again and is a fun and highly recommended pick for family, daycare center, and community library board book collections.

My Hair Is Like the Sun
St. Clair Detrick-Jules, author
Tabitha Brown, illustrator
Chronicle Books
9781797221793, $8.99, Board Book, 20pp

Synopsis: My hair is like the sun... the stars... the ocean! From curls that wind like rivers to coils that shimmer like stars, "My Hair Is Like the Sun" is a delightful board book featuring photographs of real children and their natural hairstyles encourages little ones to see themselves reflected in the wonders of nature.

Critique: Charmingly inspirational and supportive, deftly written and stunningly photographed by St. Clair Detrick-Jules, and further enhanced for very young children with vibrant illustrations by Tabitha Brown, "My Hair Is Like the Sun" is a timeless and timely board book that has a powerful and important message of self-love and appreciation. While highly recommended for family, daycare center, and community library board book collections for children ages 1-3, it should be noted that "My Hair Is Like the Sun" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99).

Editorial Note #1: St. Clair Detrick-Jules ( is a filmmaker, photographer, author, activist, and speaker. She has been featured in the Washington Post, Washingtonian magazine, BuzzFeed News, the Christian Science Monitor, NPR's Strange Fruit, and elsewhere. She is also the author of My Beautiful Black Hair, which showcases photographs and stories of Black women embracing their crowns.

Editorial Note #2: Tabitha Brown ( is an illustrator who blends drawings, found textures, and vintage papers to create unique digital collage pieces. She received a BFA in illustration from the American Academy of Art, in Chicago, and her work has been featured by the Huffington Post, Design Milk, Decor8, Modish, and Afrolicious

A Day Full of Feelings: A Book of Emotions and Opposites - Beginning Baby (board book)
Scott Cain
Chronicle Books
9781797218441, $7.99, Board Book, 20pp

Synopsis: A sweet and energetic cast of animal characters guides babies through early learning concepts in a playful way that reinforces ideas through rhythm and repetition and engages eyes and hands with flaps, moving parts, mirrors, or tabs. With its irresistible interactive elements, colorful and decorative designs, and strong educational framework, Beginning Baby makes growing and learning for babies as easy as playing and dreaming.

In "A Day Full of Feelings", each character learns that it's okay to feel a certain way and that with the help of friends, everyone can express their emotions safely.

Every day is full of many feelings! Whether it's sadness or happiness, fear or laughter, or anything in between, little ones will learn that it's okay to express their emotions. With a friend to cheer you on, any scary bump can turn into loads of fun!

Critique: A delightful and fun board book that encourages empathy and understanding, "A Day Full of Feelings" makes a special gift or self-purchase for just the right moment in a child's and a parent's life. "A Day Full of Feelings" from Chronicle Books begins a line novelty board books and gifts designed to give little ones from infancy to age 3 a bright start! Vetted by early childhood experts and thoughtfully created with input from parents and caregivers, each Beginning Baby book in this new board book series will explore educational concepts tied to early learning milestones, building a foundation for a strong beginning. "A Day Full of Feelings: Beginning Baby" will prove a welcome and fun addition to family, daycare center, and community library board book collections for very young boys and girls.

Editorial Note: A graphic designer and bona fide plant geek based in Perth, Western Australia, Scott Cain (in addition to authoring "A Day Full of Feelings: A Book of Emotions and Opposites") is a certified gardening guru and has appeared on Gardening Australia.

Little Umar's Search
Mariam Kapdia, author
Ali Lodge, illustrator
Kube Publishing Ltd
9780860378433, $10.95, Board Book, 18pp

Synopsis: "Little Umar's Search" asks the question: Where is brother Ibrahim? Children ages 6 months to five years will enjoy joining little Umar, in this original lift-the-flap bored book, as he goes from room to room looking for his older brother. Be a part of little Umar's search as he discovers different members of his family engaged in different acts of Islamic worship.

Critique: A joint project by the Islamic Foundation and Kube Publishing, and featuring an Islamic theme, "Little Umar's Search" is thoroughly 'kid friendly' and highly recommended pick for family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library board book collections.

Editorial Note #1: Born and raised in Mumbai, India, children's board book author Mariam Kapadia now lives in London, England with her husband and her own two young children.

Editorial Note #2: Ali Lodge ( is a freelance children's illustrator and author from Cheshire, UK. Her first children's book 'Clever Chameleon' was published in 2005 by Barefoot Books. In 2007 she gained her Masters Degree in Illustration for Children's Publishing, and since then she has illustrated a wide range of books and projects for children - including picture books, novelty books, reading series titles, books for babies and toddlers, materials for libraries and schools, Welsh books, children's murals, and more!

Gavin Bishop
Gecko Press
9781776574865, $12.99, Board Book, 18pp

Synopsis: This is my dog. My dog is silly! Happy. Sometimes sad. My best friend.

Through the up-close expressive faces of a child and their dog, we learn words for a range of feelings in "Friend", a new board book by Gavin Bishop for the smallest children.

"Friend" is an ideal starting point to talk about how we feel with babies and toddlers. Key words describe the many emotions a dog can go through in a short time, while the expressions on the faces of the people nearby convey a whole new raft of feelings as they respond and react. And so the story becomes one of friendship and how our friends make us feel.

A warm story to share with babies, toddlers and preschoolers showing a multi-ethnic family with a gender-neutral child, "Friend" features inclusive illustrations and is an effective tool for talking about colors, expressions, emotions and actions with young children. The simplicity of the words and pictures lets readers build their own stories about how they feel.

Critique: Charming, original, and thoroughly kid-friendly, "Friends" by author/illustrator Gavin Bishop is an especially and unreservedly recommended pick for family, daycare center, preschool, and community library board book collections for ages 2-4.

Editorial Note: Gavin Bishop (, is a leading Maori illustrator. He has published over 70 books internationally and been translated into multiple languages. His awards include the Sir Kingi Ihaka award for lifetime contribution to Maori art and culture, and the Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement. Other books from Gavin Bishop include: Mihi; Koro; Pops; E Hoa; and Cook's Cook: The Cook Who Cooked for Captain Cook.

I Love You Brighter than the Stars
Owen Hart, author
Sean Julian, illustrator
Tiger Tales
9781664350854, $7.99, Board Book, 24pp

Synopsis: A bear and cub explore the woods in the early evening just as the stars are beginning to appear in the sky. As the two of them travel together through the trees, alongside a stream, and up the mountain, Bear reassures Cub that the love they share will continue to shine just as brightly as each star that lights up the night sky.

Critique: An original, charming, joyful celebration of the love between parent and child, this board book edition of "I Love You Brighter than the Stars" by author/storyteller Owen Hart and artist/illustrator Sean Julian is a lovely and recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library Board Book collections for ages 2-5.

Editorial Note #1: Owen Hart takes a walk in the woods with his dog, Bradford, whenever he's in need of a new idea. He lives directly above a bookshop and is sure that all the wonderful stories below seep into his dreams at night.

Editorial Note #2: Sean Julian ( has been working as a freelance illustrator and writer for years, working on many fun and exciting projects, something that he hopes will continue for many years to come.

Happy Halloween
Rose Adams, author
Lucy Barnard, illustrator
Tiger Tales
9781664350809, $7.99, Board Book, 10pp

Synopsis: It's Halloween night, and everyone is done trick-or-treating. Pumpkin meets Ghost, Skeleton, and Bat, and the group heads over to Black Cat's house, where the Halloween party will begin! Simple rhyming text, bold and colorful artwork, and touch-and-feel textures on each spread make this a fun, interactive Halloween book for toddlers, enabling them to experience the fun and spookiness of Halloween night as they explore the touch-and-feel textures in this adorable rhyming board book!

Critique: A 'touch and feel', Halloween themed board book for children ages 2-5, "Happy Halloween by the team of author/storyteller Rose Adams and artist/illustrator Lucy Barnard is a fun and highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, kindergarten, and community library Holiday Board Book collections.

Editorial Note #1: Rosie Adams lives in Lancashire, England. She loves to write stories about animals and nature. In her spare time, she likes painting, traveling, and taking long walks in the countryside. (

Editorial Note #2: Lucy Barnard ( is from Cheltenham but now lives in Manchester with her husband and two children. After completing her art foundation course in Cheltenham and her illustration degree in Exeter, she worked at various publishing companies in London before becoming a freelance illustrator. She worked for many years with acrylic paint and pencils but has adapted her illustration style and now works digitally. As well as illustrating for others, she also writes and illustrates her own stories, quite often inspired by her children!

Soaring Kite Books

Three new bilingual (Spanish/English) board books for children ages 6 months to 3 years from the team of author/storyteller Delia Ruiz and artist/illustrator Graziela Andrade are now available from Soaring Kite Books.

1, 2, 3 Merengue!: English-Spanish Instruments & Sounds Book (9781953859815, $9.99, 24pp) explores merengue instruments and the fun and sometimes silly sounds that they make. The musicians also practice their lefts and rights while marching in the band with friends. Vamonos! Learn about merengue instruments and their sounds in English and Spanish.

1, 2, 3 Cumbia!: English-Spanish Manners Book (9781953859839, $9.99, 24pp) teaches common manners through a dance class setting. The dancers also practice consent, learning how to say no and set boundaries with others. -Vamonos! Learn to use manners with cumbia in English and Spanish!

1, 2, 3 Salsa!: English-Spanish Counting Book (9781953859822, $9.99, 24pp) teaches how to count to 10 using salsa. Vamonos! Learn to count with salsa in English and Spanish!

Critique: Children, caretakers, and educators will love the rhythmic text paired with bright and colorful illustrations showcasing characters of diverse backgrounds and abilities in each of these three new bilingual board book titles which are unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, and community library collections.

Editorial Note #1: Delia Ruiz ( is an educator from San Antonio, Texas. Delia loves expressing herself through writing and hopes to inspire the next generation of writers who also come from immigrant households.

Editorial Note #2: Graziela Andrade ( is an illustrator based in Aracaju, Brazil. Graziela uses vibrant colors and soft tracing in her artwork.

The Picturebook Shelf

Where Can We Go?: A Tale of Four Bears
Dai Yun, author
Igor Oleynikov, illustrator
Helen Mixter, adapter
Greystone Kids
c/ Greystone Books
9781771649810, $18.95, HC, 40pp

Synopsis: One evening, Papa Bear announces, "we are moving tomorrow". His family can longer live in their Arctic home: there are no more seals to catch, and too few fish. The next morning, they set off, in search of more promising places.

From one of the world's greatest illustrators, Hans Christian Andersen award winner Igor Oleynikov, comes "Where Can We Go?: A Tale of Four Bears", an original story by author/storyteller Dai Yun and adapted by Helen Mixter about four polar bears trying to find a place to live.

All they want is food, comfort and fun for the kids. When they move into an apartment in a city of high rises, things seem promising -- until the panic they cause makes it impossible for them to stay. Turning to books and television, they find what seems to be a perfect solution: a place where there are seals, but also penguins. So they set off on a long journey.

Critique: With humorous, rich and striking art, "Where Can We Go?: A Tale of Four Bears" is a fun and 'kid friendly' picture book with an underlying message about immigration and the importance of having a home. While also available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $18.00), "Where Can We Go?" is an especially recommended pick for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4-10.

Editorial Note #1: Dai Yun ( is an author of children's picture books. She grew up in Nanjing, China, studied and worked in Sydney, Australia, and currently lives in Singapore. Some of her most acclaimed books include The Wandering Chicken, and Sudan's Horn.

Editorial Note #2: Igor Oleynikov ( is a Russian painter and illustrator. He has illustrated more than 80 books for children and young adults, and was selected as the winner of the 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration.

Editorial Note #3: Helen Mixter is a writer and the translator of several children's books, including the Governor General's Award-winning Harvey. There is a lengthy listing of her books at

Tiny Fox and Great Boar Book Three: Dawn
Berenika Kolomycka, author/illustrator
Crank, letterer
Karol Bulski, translator
Oni Press
9781637152058, $14.99, HC, 64pp

Synopsis: Tiny Fox and Great Boar have spent much of their time together playing, exploring, and adventuring. From beautiful forests all the way to the enchanting seaside, they have had such joyous times!

When they set their sights on the marshy wetlands, they meet a young mayfly and become quick friends. But when their time with the mayfly is unexpectedly cut short, Fox and Boar experience true sadness. This sadness feels too much for Fox to bear, but luckily he has Boar by his side to teach him how to be brave and remain hopeful for the adventures that lie ahead.

Critique: "Tiny Fox and Great Boar Book Three: Dawn" is the third volume in author/illustrator Berenika Kolomycka's series of picture book featuring the adventures of Tiny Fox and his friend Great Boar. Ably translated into English by Karol Bulski, "Tiny Fox and Great Boar Book Three: Dawn" is a wonderfully fun read with an important underlying message for young readers about friendship, loss, and recovery. While an extraordinary and highly recommended addition for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for ages 6-10, it should be noted that "Tiny Fox and Great Boar Book Three: Dawn" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Editorial Note: Berenika Kolomycka is a comics author, sketch artist, sculptor, and graphic artist. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and earned the Grand Prix for comics at the International Festival of Comics and Games in Lodz. Her works have been published in both Polish and foreign magazines, as well as in schoolbooks. She regularly conducts comic workshops for adults and children. The children's comic book series Tiny Fox and Great Boar is her first solo project. Outside of her work, she enjoys taking care of her cat Mami and her dog Kuka. (

Samuel & Freda Narh, authors
Alisa Knatko, illustrator
Chasing A Spider Publishing
9781734789720, $17.99, HC, 40pp

Synopsis: Milko is a young boy who misses his mother. She has been living in Ethiopia for a year. Each turn of the season reminds him of his mother. Young children will enjoy entering into Milko's world as this charming picture book story unfolds from the hills in Bolivia to the Mountains in Ethiopia.

Critique: A picture book story by the team of authors Samuel and Freda Narh, and engagingly illustrated by artistic talents of Alisa Knatko, "Milko" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 4-7.

Editorial Note #1: Samuel Narh ( is an award-winning children's book author. He enjoys painting pictures with words using his stories, which are meant to touch and reach people across the world.

Editorial Note #2: Freda Narh enjoys collecting children's books. She was born and raised in Mississippi, and she is a graduate of Ole Miss. She is also known as the Baby Whisperer, because of her love and magical ways with babies.

Editorial Note #3: Alisa Knatko ( is a freelance illustrator focused on children's decorative and fashion illustration. In 2019 she was featured in the Bologna and Seoul book fairs with her children's books illustrations. In her paintings she uses mixed media: pen, colored pencils, ink, watercolor, collage and digital software. Illustration is her life-long passion.

Who's Afraid of the Light?
Anna McGregor
Scribble Kids Books
9781957363431, $18.95, HC, 32pp

Synopsis: "Who's Afraid of the Light?" by author/illustrator Anna McGregor is the picture book story of Fergus who lives down in the deepest, darkest sea and is scared of just one thing -- the light!

"Who's Afraid of the Light?" is fun and funny tale of the deepest of sea creatures. Seamlessly combining humor, narrative, and non-fiction, storyteller and artist Anna McGregor introduces her young readers to the wonders of the ocean's 'midnight zone', where no sunlight at all is able to penetrate. Children will enjoy meeting Fergus and following his adventure when he hides from a parade of sea-creatures that use bioluminescence to find their way in the dark.

At least, we think he is hiding... or is it something else entirely?

Critique: Charming, original, informative and fun, "Who's Afraid of the Light?" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Marine Life picture book collections for children ages 3-7.

Editorial Note: Anna McGregor ( is an author/illustrator/designer devoted to giving her young readers modern, quirky, and conceptual stories from the heart. Her day job is in graphic design.

My Teacher Has Tattoos
Darren Lopez, author
Bhagya Mandanasinghe, illustrator
9781953859952, $18.99, HC, 48pp

Synopsis: In Xavier's neighborhood, tattoos represent gang membership. After Xavier catches an unexpected glimpse of his new teacher's tattoos, he learns that there's more than meets the eye when it comes to the cultural significance of tattoos.

Critique: Based on real events that took place during author Darren Lopez's first year teaching in Washington DC, and charmingly illustrated by Bhagya Mandanasinghe, "My Teacher Has Tattoos" is an ideal conversation starter for young readers ages 5-9 about the pitfalls of stereotyping in the classroom and beyond. Highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted that "My Teacher Has Tattos" is also available from Soaring Kite Books in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and in a Spanish language edition "Mi maestro tiene tatuajes" (9781958372005, $18.99 HC, $9.99 Kindle).

Editorial Note #1: Darren Lopez is a proud Puerto Rican and Colombian author. Learning oral histories from his elders enabled him to fine-tune his storytelling and share his traveling adventures with his students.

Editorial Note #2: Bhagya Madanasinghe ( grew up on the hilly side of Sri Lanka. As an illustrator, she plays with lighting and shadows, which helps her emphasize the mood of the drawing.

Humphrey the Egg-Splorer
Nadia Ali, author
Valenti Gubianas, illustrator
Yeehoo Press
9781953458575, $17.99, HC, 40pp

Synopsis: Eggs are fragile and bought specifically to be cracked -- but what if they don't want to be cracked and have their own ambitions and goals for life like becoming a great egg-splorer?

Humphrey has long known the cautionary tale of his grandfather, Humpty Dumpty. Being an egg means he can easily slip and crack at any time -- but what does that mean for his dreams of becoming an egg-splorer and going on grand adventures? But Humphrey is determined, and he'll do whatever it takes to become a brave adventurer -- even if that means putting himself through the fieriest trials to get there.

Inspired by the beloved nursery rhyme, author Nadia Ali and artist Valenti Gubianas deliver a rollicking story that expands the famous tale of a fragile egg to a new story about bravery, creativity, and forging your own path.

Critique: Lively, charming, imaginative, offering an important message about peer pressure, and a fun read from start to finish, "Humphrey the Egg-Splorer" is a one-of-a-kind picture book for children ages 4-8. While available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.99), "Humphrey the Egg-Splorer" is an especially and unreservedly recommend pick for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Editorial Note #1 Nadia Ali ( is a children's book author. She writes fiction and nonfiction picture books. Her stories range from funny to fanciful to factual. She has always had a love for books and hopes that her stories inspire future generations of book lovers.

Editorial Note #2: Valenti Gubianas studied at the Massana School in Barcelona and it was there where he discovered the art of illustrating stories. He illustrated his first book in 1995, written by Elena O'Callaghan. He has illustrated books for many publishers, both children's and young adult literature and textbooks. He has worked with most of Spain's publishers, such as Penguin Random House Spain, Planeta Group, SM Group and also several others from around the world. (

Food for the Future
Mia Wenjen
Barefoot Books
9781646868391, $17.99 HC, $9.99 PB, 40pp (Ages 6-9)

Food for the Future: Sustainable Farms Around the World features lovely art by Robert Saw-Heng as it explores twelve ways people around the world grow food in sustainable ways. The key question ("Can we feed the world without pollution?") is answered through profiles of vastly different growing environments, from a rooftop garden that grows food for fans at Fenway Park to a greenhouse pod deep in the ocean, and a vertical farm in Singapore. Light-hearted rhymes outline and emphasize these futuristic farms, which hold opportunities for supporting the environment and human endeavors alike.

Mies Van Hout
Pajama Press
9781772782875, $19.95, HC, 42pp (Ages 1-4)

If Happy sounds familiar, that's because its appearance in 2012 was applauded as a lovely emotional learning tool for picture book readers and adults looking to encourage both art and social understanding in the very young. Its appearance here contains the same large-size expressive lettering, the lure of colorful fish against ink-black backgrounds, and, most importantly, the single-letter examples of emotions that range from anger and gladness to fear and feeling perplexed. Adults can use this simple, lovely attraction as a read-aloud exploration of emotional connections that will appeal to a wide contemporary audience of young learners.

Bear is Never Alone
Mare Veerkamp & Jeska Verstegen
Translated by Laura Watkinson
Wm. B. Eerdmans
4035 Park E. Ct. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
9780802856036, $17.99 HC, $15.71 Kindle, 32pp (Ages 4-8)

This picture book story is a top recommendation for collections looking for something new and intriguing, and tells of Bear's musical talents, which leads the other animals to revere his talents and continually ask for more. Bear just wants to get away and relax, sometimes, but the pressing call for more piano music drives him to the edge. At that point, his fans just don't understand him. It takes the more understanding Zebra to both respect his boundaries and introduce him to a kind of friendship that comes from respect, not just wonder. The lessons on respecting boundaries and friendship come with a mix of black, white, and red illustrations by Jeska Verstegen, enhancing a fine message about relationship-building and understanding talent.

Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144

Candlewick Press's latest picture books are strong recommendations for libraries seeking attractive stories and superior illustrations.

Alan Lightman's Isabel and the Invisible World (9781536223330, $18.99) comes from a physicist who introduces light waves in a picture book about a little girl's wonder. Ramona Kaulitzki adds lovely, colorful embellishment to the tale of how little Isabel wants only one thing for her birthday: a way to see unseeable things. Her mother's gift bestows new opportunities for appreciating science, nature, and the world in this lovely celebration of light's invisible properties and wonders.

Jamie Michalak's Dakota Crumb and the Secret Bookshop: A Tiny Treasure Hunt (9781536223309, $17.99) sends the mouse investigator overseas to Paris, where he's called upon to find a book of lost treasures hidden somewhere in the city. He has only crumbs for clues, but Dakota faces many obstacles with a creative eye for problem-solving as he edges closer to his goals. Fun, compelling, colorful drawings by Kelly Murphy accent Dakota's whimsical efforts. The mouse finds more than he'd anticipated in a picture book replete with adventure and action.

Chihiro Takeuchi's Whose Dinosaur Bones Are Those? (9781536230697, $17.99) invites picture book readers to guess a dinosaur's identity by looking at its bones. Colors and visual cues are provided to encourage kids to not only look at anatomical detail, but better understand how bones reflect the appearance of the original creature. A very simple format and inviting discussion encourages parents and kids to take initial steps into linking bones with history. Chloe Savage's

The Search for the Giant Arctic Jellyfish (9781536228519, $18.99) tells of Dr. Morley, whose quest to the northernmost tip of the world in search of a legend comes to life in an adventure story certain to attract a wide audience. From Dr. Morley's team efforts to the motivations they have for pursuing an impossible dream, the story comes to life through vivid drawings and colorful 'in the moment' descriptions.

David Melling's Ruffles and the New Green Thing (9781536229820, $17.99) tells of a dog who loves exploring, but hates trying new things ... especially new green things that appear in his dish as if by magic. It sometimes takes a friend to lead the way into something different and possible. His friend Ralph takes the lead to teach Ruffles that new green things in life aren't always to be avoided.

Helena Ku Rhee's Sora's Seashells (9781536209938, $17.99) receives lovely illustrations by Stella Lim with Ji-Hyuk Kim as it tells of a little girl's seaside adventures with her grandmother, who visits her from South Korea. Both of them like to look for beautiful shells, but Sora's halmoni (grandmother) always leaves the best for someone else to find. When school begins and Sora is teased about her name, she discovers that Halmoni has left her a final, unexpected gift to discover. This warm story of inclusiveness, family connections, loss, and discovery is highly recommended for a wide audience of young readers and read-aloud listeners.

As Brave as a Lion by Erika Meza (9781536225082, $18.99) tells of a young girl who gets her courage from her brave lion, which sticks with her and helps her feel she can do anything. One day, she discovers that even a very brave lion has his limits. What can she do to address his very big fear? A fine story of friendship, kindness, and courage evolves that offers many opportunities for read-aloud parents to help kids tap into their own understanding and inner strengths.

Each of these excellent new picture book stories from Candlewick Press and especially recommended additions to family, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers.

Simon & Schuster

These three new picture books from Simon & Schuster provide young readers with excellent stories that are vivid and attractive choices.

Aisha Saeed's The Together Tree (9781534462960, $18.99) reaches ages 4-8 with a story of bullying and differences. Rumi is quiet and new at school, but when Asher starts to bully him, other classmates must make their own decisions whether to step up or join in. Rumi's acknowledgment of how different things are now leads to new realizations on all sides in a story that receives engaging illustration by Caldecott Honor winner LeUyen Pham.

Lisa Bentley's The Dreams We Made (9781665917650, $18.99) will also reach ages 4-8 with its story of a little girl and her father who build many things, including dreams, together. One day, Daddy doesn't come home from work, leaving his little girl all alone. How can she keep building on what they shared together? A gentle, simple story of a "perfect team" and its changes will help adults explain death and loss to the very young.

Cynthia Rylant's Rain (9781442465091, $18.99) is illustrated by Lisa Congdon and provides the gentle, nature-filled observational story of the feel of a rainy day. From what happens to birds and animals just before a storm to observations of the sky that prompt children, too, to "hurry home," this celebration of rain provides a fine story that is deceptively simple and appealing in its illustrations and focus on appreciating weather changes.

The Middle Grade Fiction Shelf

Mindy Kim and the Summer Musical
Lyla Lee, author
Dung Ho, illustrator
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
9781665935760, $17.99, HC, 96pp

Synopsis: Mindy can't wait to be in a local community theater production of Cinderella with her BFF, Sally! Mindy has her sights on the lead role. But instead of Cinderella, Mindy ends up being cast as the evil stepsister! Mindy is worried that means people might see her as mean. Can Mindy figure out a way to make the role her own?

Critique: The newest addition to the simply outstanding 'Mind Kim' series by author/storyteller Lyla Lee and artist/illustrator Dung Ho, "Mindy Kim and the Summer Musical" is a thoroughly fun read for children ages 6-9). Also available for personal reading lists in both a paperback edition (9781665935753, $6.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $6.99), "Mindy Kim and the Summer Musical" is an unreservedly recommended pick for family, elementary school, and community library Chapter Books collections for young readers with an interest in the performing arts, and Asian/American stories.

Editorial Note #1: Lyla Lee ( is the author of young adult novels like I'll Be the One and Flip the Script. She also writes the Mindy Kim series for younger readers and the Gigi Shin books for the middle school crowd. Her books have been translated into multiple languages around the world. Born in South Korea, she's since then lived in various cities throughout the United States. Inspired by her English teacher, she started writing her own stories in fourth grade and finished her first novel at the age of fourteen. She can be followed on social media (Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok @LiteraryLyla).

Editorial Note #2: Dung Ho was born and raised in Hue, Vietnam, where she studied graphic design at the Hue University College of Arts. After graduating, she worked in the design and advertising industries before discovering a great passion for illustration and picture books and becoming a freelance illustrator. Currently, she lives and works in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. She is the illustrator of the New York Times bestselling picture book Eyes That Kiss in the Corners. (

Henry Heckelbeck and the High-Dive Dare
Wanda Coven, author
Priscilla Burris, illustrator
Little Simon
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
9781665933742, $17.99, HC, 128pp

Synopsis: Henry and his friends go to the new community pool that has just opened for summer! And the timing couldn't be better because it is hot-hot-hot outside. When Henry's friends see that there are diving boards at the pool, let the splashing begin! But Henry's got a secret -- he's a little afraid of heights.

Critique: "Henry Heckelbeck and the High-Dive Dare" by the team of author/storyteller Wanda Coven and artist/illustrator Priscilla Burris is the twelfth adventure in the Henry Heckelbeck series. Featuring a story told in a easy-to-read language style and with charming illustrations in support of a fun tale, "Henry Heckelbeck and the High-Dive Dare" is an exceptional chapter book that is especially recommended for family, elementary school, and community library fiction collections for beginning readers ages 5-9.

Editorial Note #1: Wanda Coven has always loved magic. When she was little, she used to make secret potions from smooshed shells and acorns. Then she would pretend to transport herself and her friends to enchanted places. Now she visits other worlds through writing. (

Editorial Note #2: Priscilla Burris ( has illustrated numerous books for children, parents, and teachers. She enjoys cake painting and creating art for products that include murals, greeting cards, and rubber stamps.

Emi & Mini
Hanako Masutani, author
Stephane Jorisch, illustrator
Trade Wind Books
c/o Orca Book Publishers
9781926890203, $18.95, HC, 64pp

Synopsis: Emi gets a new pet, Mini, a fat hamster. Unfortunately, Emi doesn't like hamsters. She wanted a dog. But after Mini escapes from her cage and hides somewhere in their house, Emi realizes she loves her little pet!

Critique: A charming and original story (and with an important underlying message about the bond between and a pet and a child) by author Hanako Masutani and illustrator Stephane Jorisch for children ages 6-8, "Emi & Mini" is and especially and unreservedly recommended pick for family, elementary school, and community library storybook collections for young readers.

Editorial Note #1: Hanako Masutani ( writes fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and literature for children. She lives in Vancouver with her three children. She wrote a story in the collection Henry Chow and Other Stories, published by Tradewind Books.

Editorial Note #2: Stephane Jorisch ( has won many awards, including the Governor General's Award and the Ruth Schwartz Children's Book Award. He illustrated The Riddlemaster for Tradewind Books. Stephane was born in Brussels and now lives in Montreal.

Mystic Forest
Linda Chapman, author
Kim Barnes, illustrator
Tiger Tales
9781664340671, $6.99, PB, 16pp

Synopsis: Mia, Lexi, Sita, and Violet are going to a forest camp for the weekend. Violet isn't too excited about being in the woods, but the other girls reassure her that it will be fun. There's going to be so many fun activities, from tent-building to going on scavenger hunts. And it's going to be even better with their Star Animals! Then strange things start happening, and the girls wonder if there could possibly be some kind of magic at work. Can they figure out what it is? With black-and-white illustrations throughout.

A part of children's author Linda Chapman's Star Friends chapter book series, "Mystic Forest" is the story of Mia and her friends Lexi, Sita, and Violet who all discover that they are Star Friends -- that they can communicate with the animals that have traveled from the Star World. The animals show the girls how to use their unique magic abilities to do good. A whole world of magical adventures awaits!

Critique: Featuring black-and-white illustrations by artist Kim Barnes throughout, "Mystic Forest" is an original and fun read for children ages 6-9 from the impressive and imaginative storytelling tales of Linda Chapman and is an unreservedly recommended pick for elementary school and community library fiction/fantasy collections for young readers.

Editorial Note #1: Linda Chapman ( is the author of over 200 books. The biggest compliment Linda can have is for a child to tell her they became a reader after reading one of her books. When she's not writing, Linda likes to visit schools and libraries to talk to people about writing.

Editorial Note #2: Kim Barnes lives near the sea on the Isle of Wight. Kim's love of drawing began at a very young age and has lead her to a career in illustration, specializing in children's illustration. (

The Romantic Fiction Shelf

Borrow My Heart
Kasie West
Delacorte Press
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
9780593643259, $12.99, PB, 288pp

Synopsis: Wren is used to being called a control freak. But she doesn't care; sticking to the list of rules she created for herself helps her navigate life. However, when a cute guy named Asher walks through the door of her neighborhood coffee shop, the rule book goes out the window.

Asher is cute, charming -- and being catfished by his online crush. So Wren makes an uncharacteristically impulsive decision. She pretends to be the girl he's waiting for to save him from embarrassment. Suddenly she's fake-dating a boy she knows nothing about. And it's amazing!

It's not long before Asher has her breaking even more of her own rules. But will he forgive her when he finds out she's not who she says she is? Wren's not so sure. After all, rules exist for a reason.

Critique: Deftly combining an original story with memorably crafted characters, "Borrow My Heart" by author Kasie West will have a very special attraction for young readers with an affinity for Coming of Age and Contemporary Romance novels. Very highly recommended as a popular pick for middle school, highschool, and community library YA fiction collections for ages 12-17, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Borrow My Heart" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

Editorial Note: Kasie West ( is the author of many YA novels, including Places We've Never Been, Sunkissed, The Fill-in Boyfriend, P.S. I Like You, Lucky in Love, and Listen to Your Heart. Her books have been named ALA-YALSA Quick Picks, JLG selections, and ALA-YALSA Best Books for Young Adults.

The Young Adult Fiction Shelf

The Metamorphosis of Emma Murray
Rebecca Laxton
Warren Publishing
9781960146236, $26.99 Hardcover/$16.99 Paper

In The Metamorphosis of Emma Murray, thirteen-year-old Emma has her summer well planned, including participating in an environmental program to save the monarch butterflies, until her online crush Jeb Scott and his celebrity dad Chester come to town for a visit. It seems an unexpected development, but is welcomed until Emma discovers that Jeb and Chester are planning on building a ski resort, destroying her butterfly garden and its conservation promise.

Ideology collides with romance as Emma and her best friend Sophie cook up plans to stop the Scotts from destroying their dreams in an effort which also threatens to sabotage her relationship with Scott. Emma's realization about Scott's involvement is just the first stage of her metamorphosis: "I'd finally gotten close to Jeb Scott, and he was destroying everything I loved." There's only one compromise that could work - befriend the enemy, then convert him to the cause.

As Emma begins to pursue her diametrically opposed interests, she further changes in response to new realizations about motivation, politics, financial influences, and the forces at work in preservation versus development. Middle grade readers receive an evocative, heartfelt story that embraces a police investigation, her family's involvement in climate change and mystery, and the forces at work on all sides.

While some of these social issues may seem heady reading for this age group, Rebecca Laxton couches these revelations with Emma's maturity process as she enters into murky waters of blackmail and criminal activity, possible supernatural influences, and the impact of her own beliefs and choices on the attitudes and outcomes of townspeople and conservationists alike. Emma's first-person observations and growth process combines with action-packed scenes that are unpredictable and exciting.

While The Metamorphosis of Emma Murray works well as a leisure read, ideally it will be assigned reading for debates about environmental responsibility and teen involvement in climate change politics and adult issues.

Bliss Adair and the First Rule of Knitting
Jean Mills
Red Deer Press
c/o Fitzhenry & Whiteside
9780889956841, $14.95, PB, 312pp

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old ace knitter and equation wiz, Bliss Adair, runs the Help Desk at her parents' yarn store and has no difficulty solving the most challenging math problems But she discovers that helping her friends isn't anything like fixing a knitting mistake or prepping for a math contest.

Should she get involved when giving advice could get her into trouble? But what if she doesn't? And does the first rule of knitting - don't look too far ahead - always apply to life?

For Bliss, coming of age means sorting out the complex threads of all sorts of situations in this contemporary read about friendships, mathematics, yarn, and love

Critique: An original, deftly crafted, and simply fun 'coming of age' read from cover to cover, "Bliss Adair and the First Rule of Knitting" by Jean Mills is ann especially recommended pick for middle school, highschool, and community library Contemporary YA Fiction collections for young readers ages 12-17. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Bliss Adair and the First Rule of Knitting" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Jean Mills ( is the author of several young adult novels including Skating Over Thin Ice, Larkin on the Shore and The Legend She lives in Guelph, Ontario

Melody Queen
Puneet Bhandal
Lantana Publishing
9781915244284, $18.99, HC, 264pp

Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Simi's life is set. First: graduate from the Bollywood Academy, school to future stars. Second: become a super-famous actor, just like her showbiz parents. There's only one problem: Simi would rather make music than act, and music is a profession dominated by men.

Can Simi navigate the gender barriers of the industry to prove she has what it takes to become Bollywood's next big music composer?

Critique: With the publication of "Melody Queen", novelist Puneet Bhandal has created a fascinating and entertaining story of a woman's passion for music and courage in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds and discrimination. The second book the author's 'The Bollywood Academy' series, "Melody Queen takes place in the dazzling world of India's Bollywood. Exceptionally well written and thoroughly 'kid friendly', "Melody Queen" is a highly recommended addition to personal reading lists, as well as elementary school, middle school, and community library fiction collections for young readers ages 9-13.

Editorial Note: Puneet Bhandal ( is a former Bollywood film journalist and current owner of an Indian occasionwear boutique where her dresses are modeled by real-life stars including "Miss England 2021." Melody Queen is the second book in her debut series, inspired by her love of Bollywood.

The Do More Club
Dana Kramaroff
Rocky Pond Books
c/o Penguin Young Readers Group
9780593532874, $18.99, HC, 368pp

Synopsis: Ever since twelve-year-old Josh Kline found an antisemitic note in his family's mailbox in third grade, he has felt uncomfortable about his Jewish identity. At a new school where he's pretty sure he's the only Jew, he's hoping to just keep religion out of everything -- until the morning someone sprays swastikas all over the building. That's when everything changes.

In one of the school counseling groups set up in response to the attack, Josh finally reveals that he is Jewish, and quickly finds out there's more to the other kids in his grade too: All of them have their own struggles. Maybe Josh can do something to help -- to "repair the world" as his rabbi teaches, by starting a Do More club to spread kindness. But making a difference is never simple, even when you have new friends by your side.

Critique: A deftly crafted and entertaining novel written in verse and with a timely message about dealing with anti- Semitism, discrimination, and bullying, "The Do More Club" by Dana Kramaroff provides young readers ages 10-14 with an empowering examination of 'prejudice, bullying, and how to take the first step toward change'. While especially and unreservedly recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library General Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Do More Club" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Editorial Note: Dana Kramaroff ( is a mom, an elementary school teacher, and a fellow of the National Writing Project. Her publishing credits include multiple articles about parenting on Scary Mommy. She hails from rural Pennsylvania -- where her own kids are often the only Jews in their schools as well.

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

The Portraits of Pemberley
Elizabeth Gilliland
Bayou Wolf Press
9781737752592, $14.99, PB, 284pp

Synopsis: After George Wickham is found tied up, naked, on the Austen University Campus Square, President de Bourgh gives student journalist Lizzy Bennet an ultimatum: Find out who committed the crime, or be expelled from the school. Lizzy must team up with some old friends (like the Austen Murder Club) and some new (like... Karoline Bingley?) to get to the bottom of the truth.

Complicating matters is the fact that the prime suspect is Fo-Hian Darcy. Darcy and Lizzy have a messy history, but even so, Lizzy just can't accept that Darcy committed the crime. An anonymous whistleblower tips off Lizzy about a secret website called the Portraits of Pemberley that may help her get to the bottom of the mystery -- but discovering the truth about who's involved may very well challenge everything that Lizzy believes.

Critique: Showcasing author Elizabeth Gilliland's genuine flair for original and the kind of narrative driven storytelling that keeps her readers fully engaged from start to finish, "The Portraits of Pemberley" is Book 2 of her 'Austen University Mysteries' series -- but can be read and enjoyed as a standalone novel. "The Portraits of Pemberley" will have a very special appeal to young readers with an interest in novels featuring amateur female sleuths, 'whodunnit' mysteries, and a little bit of romance thrown in for good measure. While available for personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.99), "The Portraits of Pemberley" is especially and unreserevedly recommended for highschool and community library YA Fiction and Mystery/Suspense collections for ages 14-18.

Editorial Note: Elizabeth Gilliland (Twitter @Egilliland) is a writer, Dr., wife, mom, and lifelong Jane Austen fan. She is a playwright (whose plays have appeared off-off Broadway), a screenwriter (with a master's in screenwriting and production), an academic (with a PhD and a dissertation on Jane Austen adaptations), and now a published author! When she isn't writing or grading papers, she is most likely reading a good book, binge watching the latest hit, working on a puzzle, or hanging with her cute kid.

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

House of Roots and Ruin
Erin A. Craig
Delacorte Books
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
9780593482544, $19.99, HC, 544pp

Synopsis: Despite dreams of adventures far beyond the Salann shores, seventeen-year-old Verity Thaumas has remained at her family's estate, Highmoor, with her older sister Camille, while their sisters have scattered across Arcannia.

When their sister Mercy sends word that the Duchess of Bloem (wife of a celebrated botanist) is interested in having Verity paint a portrait of her son, Alexander, Verity jumps at the chance, but Camille won't allow it. Forced to reveal the secret she's kept for years, Camille tells Verity the truth one day: Verity is still seeing ghosts, she just doesn't know it.

Stunned, Verity flees Highmoor that night and (with nowhere else to turn) makes her way to Bloem. At first, she is captivated by the lush, luxurious landscape and is quickly drawn to charming, witty, and impossibly handsome Alexander Laurent. And soon, to her surprise, a romance blossoms!

But it's not long before Verity is plagued with nightmares, and the darker side of Bloem begins to show through its sickly-sweet facade...

Critique: Original, deftly crafted, and of particular interest and appeal to fans of Dark Fantasy and Paranormal Romance novels, "House of Roots and Ruin" by Erin A. Craig is an especially recommended and entertaining pick for middle school, highschool, and community library YA Fantasy Fiction collections for young readers 12-18. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "House of Roots and Ruin" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Editorial Note: Erin A. Craig ( is also the author of House of Salt and Sorrowsand Small Favors. She has always loved telling stories. After getting her BFA in Theatre Design and Production from the University of Michigan, she stage-managed tragic operas filled with hunchbacks, seances, and murderous clowns, then decided she wanted to write books that were just as spooky.

The Boy Who Woke the Sun
A. T. Woodley, author
Mike Deas, illustrator
Red Deer Press
c/o Fitzhenry & Whiteside
9780889956858, $14.95, PB, 240pp

Synopsis: Eleven-year-old Elliot is having a dismal pandemic summer when suddenly he's caught in the bubble of one of his own scary dreams He is transported to another world - a world controlled by evil butterflies, where the sun no longer shines

Along with his octopus sidekick, Elliot discovers the reason for these butterflies-gone-wrong, and realizes that things must be set right if he is ever to find his way home

As Eliot realizes that he has the power to effect the things that have been causing him anxiety - the environment and protecting life on Earth - he understands there is a way to start change in both this world and in his home

Critique: An epic fantasy quest about discovering the true path to empowerment and a better world, with the publication of "The Boy Who Woke the Sun", author A. T. Woodley has created a believable fantasy world that is very nicely supported with occasional black/white illustrations from artist/illustrator Mike Deas. While a strongly recommended pick for elementary school and community library Fantasy Fiction collections for young readers ages 8-11, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Boy Who Woke the Sun" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note #1: A. T. Woodley ( was a filmmaker in another life He grew up in Toronto and currently lives in Victoria, British Columbia, with his family "The Boy Who Woke the Sun" is his first novel.

Editorial Note #2: Mike Deas ( worked as a concept artist, texture artist, and art lead in the video game industry in England and California before returning to his native Canada. He is also the illustrator of The Buddy Bench and Gloria's Big Problem.

Gossamer Summer
H. M. Bouwman
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
9781665912532, $17.99, HC, 192pp

Synopsis: It all started when Jojo saw a fairy but said she didn't. After all, fairies aren't real -- and if they were, they wouldn't look like that! No, Jojo did not see a small, green, muddy person.

Her sisters have no problem believing, though. They beg Jojo to finish the story she started telling long ago, but since the death of their beloved grandmother, Jojo hasn't felt like talking about magic, even if her sisters still believe.

Instead, the sisters decide to make fairy gardens to entice the new kid across the street to come play. Their plan works, but it also catches the attention of creatures that bear an uncanny resemblance to the bedraggled fairies Jojo invented.

Stories can't come to life, though -- can they? Yet the danger is real enough. With the questionable help of a very self-satisfied cat, the sisters and their new friend, Theo, set off on an adventure to save the fairies from a flock of terrifying birds made of bones.

But making everything right again will require a different kind of magic: the magic of sharing stories -- and letting go.

Critique: A wonderfully charming, delightfully entertaining, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' tale of fantasy, magic, death and dying, "Gossamer Summer" by H. M. Bouwman is an inherently fascinating and original story about four sisters who find their summer vacation taking a magical turn when they stumble into the world of some rather unexpected fairies. While especially recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library Fantasy Fiction collections for young readers ages 8-12, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Gossmer Summer" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Editorial Note: H. M. Bouwman ( grew up as the second of four sisters, and together they put on plays and magic shows (and once, a circus), ran a hospital for animals, climbed trees, played made-up games, and roamed the neighborhood. She now has two children who grew up creating wild stories, collecting fossils of dead animals, and building fairy gardens. H. M. Bouwman lives in Minnesota and teaches at the University of St. Thomas. She is the author of several novels for young readers including A Crack in the Sea.

Lucy & Dee: The Caves of Wonder
Kirsten Marion
Common Deer Press
9781988761800, $12.95, PB, 282pp

Synopsis: "The Caves of Wonder" is the sequel to "The Silk Road", author Kirsten Marion's first novel in her "Lucy & Dee" series. This time Lucy and Dee are trapped in the magical world of Sericea with the young emperor Yidi and a sorceress queen who wants all three of them captured.

Hiding their true identities to protect both themselves and those who want to help them, the trio must make the hazardous trip across Sericea to the Caves of Wonder to find a fabled warrior who could help them.

But along the way, developing talents and rumors of revolution test their resolve. Lucy's magical abilities grow, Dee's interest in alchemy poses new opportunities and Yidi's budding awareness of his empire has him confronting uncomfortable truths as he learns to live among those he's meant to rule.

New dangers lurk around every corner, and if Lucy, Dee, and Yidi can't face them together, their lives and the very fate of Sericea will be in peril!

Critique: A deftly crafted and thoroughly fun read for young fantasy fans ages 11-14, "The Caves of Wonder" is especially and unreservedly recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library Fantasy Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Caves of Wonder" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.49).

Editorial Note: Kirsten Marion ( completed undergraduate studies in English and Classics and a postgraduate degree in psychology. She spent decades traveling the world and has lived on three continents. This gives her a unique mix of experiences to color her imaginary worlds. She currently lives in Victoria, Canada, and can be followed on social media on Instagram @kirstenlmarion, or on Twitter @kirsten_marion

The Grimoire of Grave Fates
Hanna Alaf, editor
Margret Ownes, editor
Delacorte Press
c/o The Random House Publishing Group
9780593427453, $18.99, HC, 464pp

Synopsis: Professor of Magical History Septimius Dropwort has just been murdered, and now everyone at the Galileo Academy for the Extraordinary is a suspect.

A prestigious school for young magicians, the Galileo Academy has recently undergone a comprehensive overhaul, reinventing itself as a roaming academy in which students of all cultures and identities are celebrated.

In this new Galileo, every pupil is welcome -- but there are some who aren't so happy with the recent changes. That includes everyone's least favorite professor, Septimius Dropwort, a stodgy old man known for his harsh rules and harsher punishments. But when the professor's body is discovered on school grounds with a mysterious note clenched in his lifeless hand, the Academy's students must solve the murder themselves, because everyone's a suspect.

Told from more than a dozen alternating and diverse perspectives, "The Grimoire of Grave Fates" follows Galileo's best and brightest young magicians as they race to discover the truth behind Dropwort's mysterious death. Each one of them is confident that only they have the skills needed to unravel the web of secrets hidden within Galileo's halls. But they're about to discover that even for straight-A students, magic doesn't always play by the rules...

Created by co-editors and creators Hannah Alkaf and Margret Owen, the contributors to "The Grimoire of Grave Fates" includes: Cam Montgomery, Darcie Little Badger, Hafsah Faizal, Jessica Lewis, Julian Winters, Karuna Riazi, Kat Cho, Kayla Whaley, Kwame Mbalia, L. L. McKinney, Marieke Nijkamp, Mason Deaver, Natasha Diaz, Preeti Chhibber, Randy Ribay, Tehlor Kay Mejia, Victoria Lee, and Yamile Saied Mendez

Editorial Note: A fun read from cover to cover, "The Grimoire of Grave Fates" will have a very special appeal to Fantasy Fiction fans. While available for personal reading lists in a paperback edition (9780593705773, $13.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99), "The Grimoire of Grave Fates" is a very special and unreservedly recommended addition to middle school, highschool, and community library Fantasy collections for young readers ages 12-18.

Editorial Note #1: Hanna Alkaf ( graduated with a degree in journalism from Northwestern University and spent over ten years writing everything from B2B marketing emails to investigative feature articles, from nonprofit press releases to corporate brochures. She writes unapologetically Malaysian YA and MG novels, including The Weight of Our Sky, The Girl and the Ghost, and Queen of the Tiles.

Editorial Note #2: Margaret Owen ( is the author of The Merciful Crow and its sequel, The Faithless Hawk, as well as Little Thieves.

A Dangerous Friendship
Katja Brandis, author
Rachel Ward, translator
Arctis Books
9781646900213, $16.00, HC, 176pp

Synopsis: It's New Year and a new term is beginning at Clearwater High. The young shape-shifter Carag is excited to go on his first study expeditions into the human world with his friends. But his former mentor, Andrew Milling, is out for revenge and suddenly Carag feels like he's being watched at every turn. Is he still being spied on at the school for or by the woodwalkers? As things take a turn for the worse, Carag is surprised when Tikaani, the Arctic wolf, takes his side and offers her help. But surely a wolf will always stay true to her pack. Can he really trust her?

Critique: Original, deftly crafted, clever, and a fun read from start to finish, "A Dangerous Friendship" is the brilliant and well written sequel to "Carag's Transformation", and a part of fantasy novelist Katja Brandis new action/adventure fantasy series 'The Woodwalkers'. Ably translated into English for a young American readership by Rachel Ward, "A Dangerous Friendship" is an unreservedly recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library Science Fiction & Fantasy collections for young readers ages 8-17. It should be noted for dedicated fantasy fans that "A Dangerous Friendship" is also available for their personal reading lists in a digital book format (Kindle, $15.18).

Editorial Note #1: As a child in Germany, Katja Brandis began to write stories that were often set in distant worlds. After a traineeship at a publishing house and a job as a journalist, she was finally able to make her dream come true in 2006 to devote herself entirely to writing books. She has published more than 50 books, about half of which are novels for young readers. She lives with her husband, son, and three cats near the German city of Munich.

Editorial Note #2: Rachel Ward ( lives in Wymondham, near Norwich, UK, and is a freelance literary and creative translator from German and French to English. Having always been an avid reader and enjoyed word games and puzzles, she discovered a flair for languages at school and went on to study Modern Languages. She spent her third year working as a language assistant at two grammar schools in Germany. She specializes in translating children's and young adult literature as well as crime fiction and other contemporary literature.

Facing the Beast Within
Mark Cheverton
Gameknight Publishing
9781735878188, $17.99, HC, 208pp

Synopsis: Cameron Poole has a problem, a big problem: he's a bully magnet who struggles with anxiety. Being the smallest sixth-grader at his summer camp, everything around him triggers his everyday struggles with anxiety, or with his Beast, making it impossible for him to do the same things other kids can do. In a constant state of worry, Cameron feels like a perpetual failure, the effects of mental illness on self-esteem. That's bad enough, but when Cameron learns that mythical monsters are trying to invade his camp, things go from bad to worse.

Malphas, the Demon Lord from a parallel world called Agartha, wants to bring magical creatures from another world to form his monster army, attack Camp Pontchartrain, and begin his invasion. But before he can bring the biggest and most ferocious monsters to Earth, he must find the seven Skull Keys that will keep the gateway between worlds open forever.

Enemies become friends against a common cause when Cameron is chosen to lead an unusual collection of kids to stop Malphas from finding the Skull Keys. But the Demon Lord of Agartha has other plans. He sends mythical creatures to Earth, gremlins, imps, gargoyles... to find the keys and destroy anyone in their way.

To stop the Malphas and his monster army from getting all the Skull Keys, Cameron must face his deepest fears while trying to keep his friends safe. But when he learns Malphas's real plan, Cameron's blood runs cold with fear.

Can Cameron control his anxiety and confront his Beast while battling an army of minotaurs, banshees, ghouls, golems, and other nightmarish monsters?

Critique: While writing this novel, author Mark Cheverton worked with a large team of psychologists, social workers, and licensed mental health counselors to learn about the many symptoms of anxiety as well as how these professionals teach their patients coping strategies to help them stand up against their own Beasts. Coupled with Cheverton's own experiences with his son's anxiety, these strategies were deftly woven throughout the story and form a teaching tool for parents and therapists while at the same time offering kids a spine-tingling adventure that will keep them turning the page.

Young readers ages 10-14 trying to deal with anxiety will find a kindred spirit in Cameron Poole and feel that they're not alone in their personal storm of fear and doubt. Parents will gain a little understanding as to what their children are going through, and hopefully, people without anxiety will gain a little insight and compassion toward those suffering from this terrible affliction. Simply stated, "Facing the Beast Within: the Anxiety of Cameron Poole" is a fun read from start to finish, making it especially and unreservedly recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library Fantasy Fiction collections. It should be noted that "Facing the Beast Within: the Anxiety of Cameron Poole" is also available for personal reading lists in a paperback edition (9798223728450, $13.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $0.990.

Editorial Note: Mark Cheverton ( was a high school math and physics teacher for fifteen years. He then moved into industry, working for another decade and a half as a research physicist for General Electric. During that time, he penned his first Minecraft-inspired series of books which ended up on the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher's Weekly bestsellers list. Today, he's written 27 novels with over 2 million copies in print worldwide. When not writing, Mark talks with school kids about creative writing while still doing research at GE.

The Biography Shelf

The Wisdom of Solomon
World Wisdom
1501 E. Hillside Dr., Bloomington, IN 47401
9781957670003, $18.95, HC

The Wisdom of Solomon is a picture book story that will reach readers ages 4-8 with its beautiful biography of the life of King Solomon in the 900s BC. From the magic ring which allows him the gift of language to rule over all creatures to his quest to conquer the evils of the world, Demi's recreation of Solomon's quest and era lends to both read-aloud pleasure and attention from audiences who would not only receive a biography of Solomon, but better understand the meaning behind his gifts.

The Graphic Novel Shelf

The Sprite and the Gardener
Joe Whitt, author
Rii Abrego, illustrator
Oni Press
9781620109069, $17.99, HC, 88pp

Synopsis: Long, long ago, sprites were the caretakers of gardens. Every flower was grown by their hand. But when humans appeared and began growing their own gardens, the sprites' magical talents soon became a thing of the past.

When Wisteria, an ambitious, kind-hearted sprite, starts to ask questions about the way things used to be, she begins to unearth her long-lost talent of gardening. But her newly honed skills might not be the welcome surprise she intends them to be.

Critique: "The Sprite and the Gardener", the impressively entertaining and debut graphic novel by author/storyteller Joe Whitt and artist/illustrator Rii Abrego. A graphic novel featuring whimsical art, vibrant characters, and a fun storyline, young readers ages 8-12 will thoroughly enjoy being introduced to a neighborhood of sprites in "The Sprite and the Gardener", a beautiful, and gentle fantasy where both gardens and friendships begin to blossom. While also available in a paperback edition (9781637152065, $9.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.88), "The Sprite and the Gardener" is an especially and unreservedly recommended pick for elementary school, middle school, and community library Graphic Novel collections for ages 7-14.

Editorial Note #1: Joe Whitt is a comic artist based in Alabama. He graduated from the University of Montevallo with a BFA in drawing. He lives with three polite cats. "The Sprite and the Gardener" is his graphic novel debut.

Editorial Note #2: Rii Abrego ( specializes in comics and illustration. She has also worked in toy design, apparel, merchandise, and more. She is deeply excited by the boundless nature of art, and is very interested in continuing to explore its various forms.

Henshin!, Volume 1: Blazing Phoenix
Bon Idle, author/illustrator
Saturday AM, author
Rockport Publishers
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
9780760382349, $13.99, PB, 224pp

Synopsis: Nine years after a mysterious ecological disaster, journalism students Alex and Rosalia investigate the strange company that rebuilt their city and turned it into a vision of the future -- that is, until Alex's world is turned upside down by a chance encounter with a gigantic monster from another world, a Kaiju, and the mysterious masked hero fighting it! Inheriting the masked hero's power, Alex must now take on these powerful Kaiju when he transforms into the hero Blaze.

As a gay man, Alex never imagined his cozy college life becoming deadly, but that's just what happens as his battles uncover an unholy connection between his city, the most powerful company in Europe, and the Kaiju. Can he uncover the secret before it's too late?

Critique: Appropriate for young readers ages 13-17, "Henshin!, Volume 1: Blazing Phoenix" is a new, action-packedm managa style graphic novel that takes on tokusatsu drama, features fiery fights, mysterious conspiracies, and LGBTQ romance for fans of classic Power Rangers and Kamen Rider stories. Original, fun, and highly recommended, "Henshin!, Volume 1: Blazing Phoenix" is also available for the personal reading lists of dedicated graphic novel and manga comics fans in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Editorial Note #1: Bon Idle (Mitch Proctor) is the creator of Henshin! and a graphic designer from Nottingham, UK. A graduate of the University of Lincoln, he has worked in the marketing industry and published several small-press titles before joining Saturday AM as a creator and Head of Design. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @iambonidle

Editorial Note #2: Saturday AM is a unique digital comics brand featuring an ever-growing catalog of popular, exclusive, and diverse action manga-style webcomics by independent creators from around the world. Among the nearly 50 visionary artists on the Saturday AM team are @WhytManga (Apple Black), @JeyOdin (Hammer), and @saigaimiproject (Saigami). To learn more about Saturday AM, visit, or find them on Instagram (@saturday_am), YouTube (, and Twitter (@saturday_am).

Cross My Heart and Never Lie
Nora Dasnes
Hippo Park
c/o Astra Publishing House
9781662640544, $24.99, HC, 248pp

Synopsis: 12 year old Tuva is starting seventh grade, and her checklist of goals includes: writing out a diary, getting a trendy look, building the best fort in the woods with her BFFs, and so much more. But when she starts school, nothing is how she hoped it would be.

Seventh grade has split her friends into rival factions: TEAM LINNEA and the girls who fall in love and TEAM BAO and the girls who NEVER fall in love. Linnea has a BOYFRIEND, Bao hates everything related to love. Worst of all, Linnea and Bao expect Tuva to choose a side!

Ably translated into English by Matt Bagguley, "Cross My Heart and Never Lie" by Nora Dasnes is a delightfully hand-lettered coming-of-age graphic novel style diary in which Tuva gets caught between feeling like a kid and wanting to know how to become a teenager. Then Miriam shows up and suddenly Tuva feels as if she's met her soulmate. Can you fall in love with a girl, keep it from your friends, and survive?

For Tuva, it may be possible, but it's definitely not easy.

Critique: An original, fully entertaining, deftly crafted, with an underlying message with respect to peer pressure, and winner of the 2020 Pondus Prize, the LGBTQ graphic novel, "Cross My Heart and Never Lie" by storyteller and artist Nora Dasnes is fully age appropriate for young readers 10-13. While especially and unreservedly recommended for middle school and community library LGBTQ and Graphic Novel collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Cross My Heart and Never Lie" is also available in a paperback edition (9781662640575, $17.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $13.99).

Editorial Note: Nora Dasnes was born in 1995, and is a Norwegian writer and illustrator. She did her BA in Illustration Animation at Kingston University outside London, graduating in 2017.

The Art Shelf

Union Square Kids
33 East 17th Street New York, NY 10003

Two 'I Cannot Draw' picture books by Charise Mericle Harper provide kids with fun reading and inviting art creation insights that take very simple subjects and pictures and turn them into creative, engrossing themes.

I Cannot Draw a Horse (9781454945949, $17.99) uses a 'quick draw' method to illustrate the basics of drawing. A shape becomes a cat which states that it wants a horse. But, a horse is hard to draw. Much harder than a cat, a beaver, or a bunny. Sound effects invite read-aloud parents to dramatize the tale as a series of drawings try to mitigate the cat's ongoing desire for something the artist isn't capable of producing. The underlying message about trying new things ("Safe is not fun," said the cat. "I want some fun.") supplements an inviting tale.

I Cannot Draw a Bicycle (9781454945956, $17.99) presents the quick-draw narrator in another dilemma with the demanding cat character of the previous story. Here, a bicycle must be built for the cat and his new acquisition. Drawing a bicycle is not easy, either, but the shape-oriented guide to drawing offers fun insights and lively instructions that will lend to a better understanding of art, words, and creative efforts.

Read-aloud parents promoting art and discovery will find both of these two outstanding books for very young children to be both attractive and inspirational.

Books in Series

Tales by Beatrix Potter
Beatrix Potter, author
Wendy Rasmussen, illustrator
The Child's World, Inc.
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003

The Child's World has now made available to family, school, and community 'Books in Series' collections a six volume "Tales by Beatrix Potter" series, each volume of which is charmingly illustrated by Wendy Rasmussen.

This classic children's series from The Child's World includes: "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" (9781503880498, $22.95, HC, 24pp); "The Tale of Benjamin Bunny" (9781503880467, $22.95, HC, 24pp); "The Tales of the Flopsy Bunnies" (9781503880511, $22.95, HC, 24pp); "The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse" (9781503380481, $22.95, HC, 24pp); "The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin" (9781503880504, $22.95, HC, 24pp); and "The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse" (9781503380474, $22.95, HC, 24pp).

Featuring full color illustrations, activities for further learning, author and illustrator biographies, critical thinking questions, and a phonetic glossary, all six volumes are also available from The Child's World as a set (9781053887442, $130.60). The "Tales by Beatrix Potter" series is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library children's books collections for ages 4-8.

Editorial Note #1: Helen Beatrix Potter (28 July 1866 - 22 December 1943) was an English writer, illustrator, natural scientist, and conservationist. She is best known for her children's books featuring animals, such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit, which was her first commercially published work in 1902. (

Editorial Note: #2: Wendy Rasmussen ( is an illustrator with an educational background in biology and art and a career background as an art director in advertising. Her website includes all of her areas of specialization and although there are some crossovers, she has separated each into their respective galleries.

Laura Teste Studios LLC

Artist, sculptor, and children's book author Laura Teste has written, illustrated, and published three remarkably entertaining and original books for young children ages 6-10 that feature humorous stories in verse combined with charming and story- supportive illustrations.

"Book of Bad Manners" (9781959961031, $19.99 HC, $17.99 PB, $9.99 Kindle, 81pp) is the first of this series. Jazz's older brother plays the straight man during the evening's antics in Book of Bad Manners. Jazz and her Uncle Mark one up each other's bad manners during Uncle Mark's dinner while her older brother stews over the full report expected by their mom. Culminating in the best worst bad manner, "Book of Bad Manners" is sure to be either the most refreshing or most raucous story on the bookshelf.

"Book of Bad Bargains" (9781959961048, $19.99 HC, $17.99 PB, $9.99 Kindle, 76pp) is book two of the series. Jazz tries to convince her older brother to trade his beloved blue marble with increasingly peculiar bargains. Readers (of all ages!) are introduced to a curious range of trinkets. Deceptively down-to-earth drawings have Easter eggs including maps in Klingon and a key from a DeLorean.

"Book of Best Words" (9781959961055, $19.99 HC, $17.99 PB, $9.99 Kindle, 78 pp) is book number three. Jazz's big brother offers homework help with inventive interpretations of a seemingly soulless A, B, C assignment. Jazz is inspired by her brother to tackle her homework in a most singular manner. Full of exuberance, Book of Best Words is sure to stretch the reader's linguistic aptitude.

Critique: Each one of author/illustrator Laura Teste's 'Bad' trilogy is an original, fun, and 'kid friendly' read with supportive and important life messages. Each one is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers (and their parents!)

Editorial Note: Fed on a steady diet of 'The Far Side' and odd engineering projects, Laura Teste ( bundles her broad interests into a series of children's picture books. Currently living the life of an artist in Michigan, Laura's foray into writing was initially to fulfill the family obligation of a homemade Christmas gift!

The Story Monsters Ink Shelf

Story Monsters LLC is dedicated to helping authors of all genres strive for excellence through our marketing and publicity services, Dragonfly Book Awards contests, Story Monsters Approved! awards program, opportunities for connecting with schools, and the award-winning Story Monsters Ink(R) magazine.

My Dog Just Speaks Spanish
Andrea Caceres
9781536222784, $17.99

Christine Irvin

Aurora speaks both Spanish and English, but her dog, Nena, was trained in Spanish, so she only "speaks" Spanish. The two of them spend time in the park where she converses with her dog. For the reader's benefit, Aurora says things like, "She doesn't know WAIT, but she does not ESPERA. This is a cute way to introduce different Spanish words to English readers and English words to Spanish readers. (Ages 2-7)

Whose Dinosaur Bones Are Those?
Chihiro Takeuchi
9781536230697, $17.99

Christine Irvin

Dinosaur enthusiasts of all ages will enjoy this simple book. Author/illustrator Chihiro Takeuchi uses little text and whimsical illustrations to show the bone structures of different types of dinosaurs. For most of the book, a two-page illustration shows a scattering of bones, with the words "Whose dinosaur bones?" After turning the page, the reader sees a fully-developed skeleton on the left-hand side of the page, along with the name and the illustration of the dinosaur the bones belong to. A delightful book about dinosaur bones. (Ages 3-5)

How Happy Is a Lark?
Gail Kuhnlein, author
Jenny Kalejs, illustrator
Independently Published
9798218056940, $11.99

Cynthia Kern OBrien

This introduction for young children to a fun aspect of language features joyful artwork that will make you smile. How fast is a jackrabbit? A jackrabbit beats a shooting star in a race across the Milky Way! Super cute book and fun read for entire family! Beautifully illustrated with wonderful colors. The fun sayings passed down for generations made me smile! (Ages 3-6)

Animal Heroes: Supermoms!
Heather Lang and Jamie Harper, authors
Jamie Harper, illustrator
9781536217971, $17.99

Cynthia Kern OBrien

An emperor penguin mom treks up to 50 miles to bring food to her hungry chick. A toothy American alligator carefully carries hatchlings in her mouth, shuttling them safely to the water. A piping plover uses her best acting skills to feign an injury, luring predators away from her offspring. Mothers in the animal kingdom - whatever their species - give it their all (and then some!) to keep their little ones safe, fed, and ready to face the world on their own. What a fun book! It's a fun read for children and adults. (Ages 3-7)

Sari-Sari Summers
Lynnor Bontigao
9781536226140 $18.99

Christine Irvin

When Nora stays with Lola (her grandmother) during the summer, one of her favorite things to do is stay at Lola's sari-sari store, a neighborhood shop filled with toys and hair accessories and yummy candies and other treats. Nora likes spending time in the store, helping her grandmother with the customers. But, when there is a heat wave and no one comes to the store, Nora is sad and bored. She comes up with a great idea to bring people back to the store. This is a delightful story of family relationships, community interactions, and creativity. (Ages 3-7)

My Bollywood Dream
Avani Dwivedi
9781536228427, $18.99

Christine Irvin

When Friday night comes, everyone in Mumbai heads out for a night of fun. A girl and her family go to the movies. On the way there, she takes pictures of things she sees and turns those pictures into a movie in her mind. Her dream is to one day produce movies herself. This is a message to follow your dreams. It is also a colorful tribute to the city of Mumbai and to Bollywood, the world's largest film industry. (Ages 3-7)

Have You Seen My Invisible Dinosaur?
Helen Yoon
9781536226256, $18.99

Christine Irvin

Any child who has ever had an imaginary friend will be able to identify with the little girl who is trying to find her invisible dinosaur. Delightful illustrations and an amusing text make this a kid-friendly book that is sure to become a favorite for many. (Ages 3-7)

Sora's Seashells
Helena Ku Rhee, author
Stella Lim and Ji-Hyuk Kim, illustrators
9781536209938, $17.99

Christine Irvin

Sora loves it when her grandmother comes to visit from South Korea. They go to the beach and collect shells. Sora brings home as many shells as she can, while her grandmother always leaves the nicest shell behind for someone else to find. Sora can't understand why her grandmother does this until her grandmother passes away. This is a touching story about the power of kindness. The soft illustrations are a perfect accompaniment to the text. (Ages 4-6)

Vivienne in Paris
Maria Castellucci Moore
Mascot Kids
9781637551431, $19.95

Deb Greenberg

Your surroundings can affect you in many ways, as we see when a young girl wanders around her hometown of Paris. The tastes of her buttery croissant, the sounds of the opera violins, and the sights and smells all around enlighten Vivienne and bring her joy. Soft and soothing illustrations capture her experiences and brighten each page. Little readers are bound to be entertained on her adventure. (Ages 4-8)

A Garden of Creatures
Sheila Heti, author
Esme Shapiro, illustrator
Tundra Books
9780735268814, $18.99

Deb Greenberg

In this meaningful picture book about loss and the questions it leaves behind, the little bunny learns that missing someone is a way of keeping them close. Using the cat's wisdom, the two figure out that the world is a garden of creatures and the big bunny is a part of everything around them. Soothing illustrations and delicate words express the tender message of the story. (Ages 4-8)

A Bed of Stars
Jessica Love
9781536212396, $18.99

Christine Irvin

A young boy has trouble sleeping because nights are dark and scary and he feels so small. But Dad has the perfect solution. The two of them camp out in the bed of Dad's old pickup truck, sleeping under the stars. Dad shows his son that the universe may be big, but it is also a beautiful place. This is a great book for a parent to share with their kids when they voice fears about their place in the world. (Ages 4-8)

Brotherly Love: A Seemore the Seagull Tale
Ralph Tufo, author
Jory Mason, illustrator
Steve Levin, photographer
Leaning Rock Press
9781950323685, $15.95

Deb Greenberg

When Sydney the seagull gets caught in a windstorm while competing in seagull field day, it's his brother Seemore the Seagull to the rescue. With a damaged wing, Sydney isn't able to fly and thinks he has no purpose. Again, it's Seemore the rescue as he gives his brother the all-important responsibility of protecting the seagull eggs. Rhyming text and a fascinating combination of photography and painting augment this adventurous story's message of overcoming obstacles. (Ages 4-8)

A Crown for Corina
Laekan Zea Kemp, author
Elisa Chavarri, illustrator
Little, Brown
9780759556843, $18.99

Cynthia Kern OBrien

Today is Corina's birthday, and she's excited to wear the biggest crown with the most beautiful flowers picked from her abuela's garden. Each flower tells a special story about all the ways Corina is rooted in the family she loves. The colors and bright illustrations are amazing! A wonderful story about Corina and her Abuela making long lasting memories exploring the flowers in the garden while learning about tradition and family. (Ages 4-8)

Eco Girl
Ken Wilson-Max
9781536228090, $17.99

Cynthia Kern OBrien

Eve loves living next to a forest because it means being close to her favorite baobab trees. Doing her best to imitate them, Eve practices patience. She feeds and shelters birds, just as her beloved trees do, stretching toward the sky as if her arms were branches. Eve longs to communicate with the leafy giants she admires, and while she can't become a tree, she can contribute to the beauty of the forest - just like her dad and grandma before her - by nurturing her very own baobab seedling. The illustrations are wonderful with bright and beautiful colors. (Ages 4-8)

Mr. Thatcher's House
Kristin Wauson
Sleeping Bear Press
9781534111578, $17.99

Deb Greenberg

It takes a bunch of familiar storybook characters to make Mr. Thatcher realize what makes the perfect house. See how Mr. Thatcher's new guests teach him that it's the family and friends inside and not the craftsmanship, it's the smells of baking and the sounds of music and laughter. Incredibly detailed artwork and simple yet thought-provoking text combine for a wonderful lesson for both kids and adults. (Ages 4-9)

Yoga at the Aquarium
Teresa Anne Power, author
Emma Allen, illustrator
Stafford House
9781736622018, $16.95

Cynthia Kern OBrien

Join Little Mouse on a hot summer day as he visits the aquarium for the first time with his best friend, Mr. Opus the orange tabby cat. Together, they meet and learn about all kinds of animals, such as octopi, dolphins, crabs, turtles, and even sharks! Along the way, Little Mouse has lots of yoga fun and learns to appreciate the similarities he shares with his new aquatic friends, as well as the differences. As I read this story to my granddaughter, I could not stop laughing at the yoga poses the cat and mouse were doing throughout. My granddaughter took in one story while I wondered if the author secretly planted those characters to keep the adults entertained! (Ages 5-8)

Outside Amelia's Window
Caroline Nastro, author
Anca Sandu Budisan, illustrator
Two Lions
9781542027854, $17.99

Christine Irvin

From cover to cover, this book is beautifully illustrated and wonderfully complements the whimsical imagination of the story. This story is not just about being differently abled, it captivates the imagination in a way that allows even the youngest child to understand being brave and acceptance. (Ages 5-8)

Bear and Bird: The Picnic and Other Stories
9781536228328, $15.99

Christine Irvin

Bear and Bird are best friends, but sometimes they get on each other's nerves or hurt each other's feelings. But they always find a way to work out their differences. Author Jarvis presents the pair delightfully in this fun little picture book, with each story connected to the other, and then coming around full circle at the end. (Ages 5-9)

Arthur Who Wrote Sherlock
Linda Bailey, author
Isabelle Follath, illustrator
Tundra Books
9780735269255, $18.99

Deb Greenberg

Learn about the man who created the world's most famous detective in this entertaining picture book biography. Arthur Conan Doyle loved stories while growing up and eventually went on to write his own, including a series of mysteries starring Sherlock Holmes. But when the character is more popular than he ever imagined, Arthur is overwhelmed. Young readers will be amused and fascinated as they read what the author does to solve his problem. (Ages 5-9)

The Nocturnals Presents: Nighttime Animals
Tracey Hecht
Fabled Films Press
c/o Simon & Schuster (distribution)
9781944020705, $6.99

Deb Greenberg

Join Bismark the sugar glider, Dawn the fox, and Tobin the pangolin as they introduce readers to bats, snakes, possums, wombats, kinkajous, and several other nighttime animals. With more than 60 bright and colorful pictures, a word glossary, science resources, and fun facts about each animal, kids will learn super interesting information about their habitats and features. Highly recommended as a resource about these fascinating animals. (Ages 6-8)

Shermy & Shake, the Not-So-Nice Neighbor
Kirby Larson, author
Shinji Fujioka, illustrator
Candlewick Press
9781536219425, $15.99

Deb Greenberg

Can two boys learn to get a long when they are forced to spend the summer together? Meticulous Shermy likes reading quietly under a tree, collects treasures, and knows the proper way to do a puzzle. Shake, who arrives next door for the summer, likes street hockey, gobbles up ice pops, and plays board games by his own rules. Can opposites attract or is this going to be one challenging summer? Young readers will be eager for more in the series. (Ages 6-9)

How Old Is a Whale?
Lily Murray, author
Jesse Hodgson, illustrator
Big Picture Press
c/o Penguin Random House
9781536229752, $21.99

Cynthia Kern OBrien

This book explores life spans across the animal kingdom, beginning with the very shortest and ending with the longest. Learn about the lives of the incredible monarch butterfly, the mysterious axolotl, the grand Galapagos tortoise, and many more in this uplifting and eye-opening book. Discover creatures who are born within a day of their mothers and others who stay infantile for almost 100 years. The illustrations are stunning! This educational book would be a great gift for any child. Most certainly to be read over and over again! (Ages 6-9)

Christo and Jeanne-Claude Wrap the World
G. Neri, author
Elizabeth Haidle, illustrator
9781536216615, $18.99

Dr. Dawn Menge

Christo and Jeanne-Claude were revolutionary artists who wanted to inspire mystery and curiosity in art form. They traveled the world, wrapping items as an artistic expression. Some items were as small as a glass jar and others were as large as museums. Some people loved their art, some were just curious what all the fuss was about, and others were adamantly against their wrapping. For the couple, the reactions from all people were acceptable as an expression of the emotions that art forms brought out in others. This is a wonderful book to share with your children. (Ages 6-9)

The Puppets of Spelhorst
Kate DiCamillo, author
Julie Morstad, illustrator
9781536216752, $17.99

Christine Irvin

This charming chapter book features five puppets - a king, a wolf, a girl, and boy and an owl - who find themselves stuffed in the bottom of an old, neglected trunk once owned by a sea captain. Although they are close friends, they often bicker and disagree with each other, but when they become separated, they must use their wits to reunite. (Ages 7-10)

Pippa Park: Crush at First Sight
Erin Yun
Fabled Films Press
c/o Simon & Schuster (distribution)
9781944020804, $16.99

Deb Greenberg

In the sequel to Pippa Park Raises Her Game, Pippa continues her efforts to fit in, while balancing sports, studying, friends, and working at her family's laundromat. But that's not all, as her math tutor, the cutest boy at school is actually paying attention to her and things with the Royals, her new friends and teammates, continue to be rocky. As her responsibilities continue to increase, can Pippa juggle everything and stay true to her real self? A relatable entertaining read for middle schoolers, complete with an Author Q&A, Book Club Questions, and Glossary of Korean Words in the back of the book. (Ages 9-12)

The Home for Friendless Children
C.L. Olsen
Independently Published
9798521787425, $13.95

Deb Greenberg

This amazing true story is bound to tug at your heartstrings, as you witness little Robbie Olsen being abandoned on a remote mountain at the age of five and then eventually left at an orphanage. This captivating and moving account of one boy's drive to persevere and accomplish his dreams was written in first person by Rob's wife. A non-stop page turner that you won't be able to put down. (Ages 10+)

The Book That No One Wanted to Read
Richard Ayoade, author
Tor Freeman, illustrator
Walker Books
c/o Candlewick
9781536222166, $17.99

Deb Greenberg

Can a book speak to you? In this humorous and clever tale, readers meet a book that has never been read. One that gets irritated when readers bend its pages back. One with pages so dry they give bookworms indigestion. But what happens when this book, tucked away high on a shelf in the miscellany section of the library, meets you... a curious reader? Kids are bound to be entertained by the witty text and illustrations, and to be influenced to use their imagination and write their own story. (Ages 10-14)

Colin Kaepernick: Change the Game
Colin Kaepernick and Eve L. Ewing, authors
Orlando Caicedo, illustrator
c/o Scholastic
9781338789652, $14.99

Deb Greenberg

Scouted by colleges and major league baseball, high school star athlete Colin Kaepernick is a highly touted prospect. His parents, teachers, and coaches agree on his next steps. But what about Colin? What does he think? He's not excited about baseball and college football looks a lot more appealing than baseball's minor leagues. But Colin doesn't have any offers to play football. This graphic novel tells the story of how a young change-maker learned to not to compromise and that the right decision is often not the easy one. This graphic novel highlights tribulations related to racism and is ideal for anyone interested in activism and sports. (Ages 12+)

James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Diane C. Donovan, Editor
Midwest Book Review
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