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Children's Bookwatch

Volume 30, Number 10 October 2020 Home | CBW Index

Table of Contents

Reviewer's Choice Pets/Wildlife Shelf Science Shelf
Folktale/Fairytale Shelf Picturebook Shelf Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf
Audiobook Shelf Music CD Shelf General Fiction Shelf
Mystery/Suspense Shelf Fantasy/SciFi Shelf Biography Shelf
Political Science Shelf Health/Medicine Shelf American History Shelf
Dance Shelf Christian Shelf Religion/Spirituality Shelf
Art Shelf Reference Shelf Books in Series
Story Monsters Ink Shelf    

Reviewer's Choice

I'll Never Get All of That Done!
Bryan Smith, author
Lisa M. Griffin, illustrator
Boys Town Press
13603 Flanagan Blvd., Boys Town, NE 68010
9781944882501, $10.95, PB, 32pp

Blake has a to-do list that's just too long. How can his parents and teachers expect him to finish his homework, clean his room AND bake cookies for the baseball bake sale? Don't they know there's something urgent he has to do now like play video games?!

When Mom encourages Blake to follow the 3 Ps, prioritizing, planning and posting a reminder of what needs to be done in order of importance, he's unimpressed. But as his responsibilities pile up and his deadlines quickly approach, he has to figure out what needs doing now. Can following Mom's advice and using the 3 Ps really make a difference?

In "I'll Never Get All of That Done!: A Story about Planning and Prioritizing", school counselor and author Bryan Smith reveals the answer in a relatable picture book story about the power of preparation and planning.

Specifically written for K-5 students, their parents and teachers and also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.76), "I'll Never Get All of That Done!: A Story about Planning and Prioritizing" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers ages 5-10. Of special note is the inclusion of practical tips for parents and educators on how to teach kids planning and prioritizing when completing chores, schoolwork or any project.

My Bonus Mom!: Taking the Step Out of Stepmom
Tami Butcher, author
Feras Nouf, illustrator
Story Monsters Ink
9781589850811, $16.95, HC, 56pp

Charmingly illustrated by artist Feras Nuf and in a rhythmic verse by author/storyteller Tami Bucher, "My Bonus Mom!: Taking the Step Out of Stepmom" shows children of divorced families that a positive attitude can lead to a happy outcome and springs open their hearts and minds to accept their own bonus moms. It captures the mixed emotions that surge through young children as they deal with divorce and adjust to remarriage. The children work through their feelings of dismay, fear and anger, and grow to love dad's new wife, whom they come to think of as their bonus mom. Twice the attention, twice the love, twice the fun and twice as many birthday presents! What's not to love?

"My Bonus Mom!: Taking the Step Out of Stepmom" is thoroughly 'kid friendly' in tone and presentation, making it ideal for children ages 4-10. While especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "My Bonus Mom!: Taking the Step Out of Stepmom" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781589852402, $14.95) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $1.99).

How I Survived: Four Nights on the Ice
Serapio Ittusardjuat, author
Matthew K. Hoddy, illustrator
Inhabit Media
9781772272727, $18.95, HC, 48pp

After his snowmobile breaks down halfway across the sea ice on a trip back from a fishing camp, Serapio Ittusardjuat recounts the traditional skills and knowledge he leaned on to stay alive. This harrowing first-person account of four nights spent on the open sea ice (with few supplies and no water) shows young readers in grades 7-9 the determination and strength necessary to survive in the harsh Arctic climate, even when the worst occurs. An inherently fascinating story, "How I Survived: Four Nights on the Ice" is especially recommended for personal reading lists, as well as middle school, highly school, and community library True Life Action/Adventure collections.

5-Minute Really True Stories for Bedtime
Brittanica Books
9781912920655, $12.99, HC, 192pp

"5-Minute Really True Stories for Bedtime" from Britannica Books is compendium of thirty 5-minute really true stories about bedtime, taking young listeners and readers ages 4 to 8 on a journey of wonder and learning to find out the answers to all manner of topics ranging from frozen frogs to the phases of the moon.

Children will enjoy stories about Ancient Egypt to explore the beds of Tutankhamun, jetting off into space to see how astronauts get ready for bed, or even plunging underwater to learn how hibernating turtles breathe through their bottoms! All facts cited in this anthology of 30 amazing 5-minute stories are verified by Britannica.

Lavishly illustrated on every page with specially commissioned artwork, and packed full of up-to-the-minute, expert information, "5-Minute Really True Stories for Bedtime" is the ultimate brainy bedtime companion for young children, making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

Editorial Note: based in Chicago, Illinois, the Britannica Group is a global education leader with over 250 years of dedication to seeking out facts and providing insight into the mysteries of the universe. Its beloved Encyclopaedia Britannica is the world's oldest English-language general encyclopedia, first published in 1768 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Today, Britannica continues to create innovative and engaging learning experiences through books, digital content and educational tools. Over three thousand expert contributors have helped make Britannica what it is today, including former U.S. presidents, professional athletes, Nobel laureates, and Pulitzer Prize winners. Britannica's mission to inspire curiosity and the joy of learning helps build the world's future thinkers and innovators.

The Pets/Wildlife Shelf

Living Fossils
Rebecca E. Hirsch
Millbrook Press
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9781541581272, $31.99, HC, 48pp

In the history of life on this planet, 99.9 percent of all species have gone extinct. But there are a few that have survived almost unchanged. In "Living Fossils: Survivors from Earth's Distant Past", author Rebecca E. Hirsch introduces readers ages 8-12 to six living fossils, including the chambered nautilus, the horseshoe crab with its sticky blue blood, and venomous platypuses that sting, as well as a comprehensive explanation of evolution and extinction for readers who may not be familiar with the terms yet. You readers will also discover a spectacular timeline of the history of animal life on Earth as they dive into the stories of these incredible animals and find out how they help scientists piece together evolutionary history.

Of special note is the inclusion of source notes, a glossary, a selected bibliography, and an index, making "Living Fossils: Survivors from Earth's Distant Past" is ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to elementary school, middle school, and community library Pets/Wildlife collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Living Fossils: Survivors from Earth's Distant Past" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

All Fish Faces: Photos and Fun Facts about Tropical Reef Fish
Tam Warner Minton
Twm Publishing
9781735000305, $26.99, HC, 50pp

Now in a newly updated second edition, young ocean lovers and budding marine biologists will enjoy reading through "All Fish Faces: Photos and Fun Facts about Tropical Reef Fish" by Tam Warner Minton. An underwater treasure of tropical reef fish faces, some fierce, some fun, but all a joy for fish fans, "All Fish faces is replete with colorful photography and includes the names of every fish featured.

Introducing kids and their families to our ocean friends will create a generation of excited, enthusiastic, and caring ocean lovers who care deeply about marine life, "All Fish Faces: Photos and Fun Facts about Tropical Reef Fish" well could encourage future scientists and conservationists!

"All Fish Faces: Photos and Fun Facts about Tropical Reef Fish" includes ocean and marine life education and tips on how kids, and everyone they know, can help save our ocean friends.

Of special note is that 10% of profits will go to the Marine Megafauna Foundation to continue their scientific research to protect our oceans and ocean giants.

Fun and informative, "All Fish Faces: Photos and Fun Facts about Tropical Reef Fish" is especially recommended for children ages 5-10 and an ideal addition to elementary school, middle school, and community library Pets/Wildlife collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "All Fish Faces: Photos and Fun Facts about Tropical Reef Fish" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781735000312, $14.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $5.89).

A Day for Misty
Sheila Cayolle
Pontchartrain Publishing
9780984825745, $12.99, PB, 33pp

In "A Day for Misty" by author and illustrator Sheila Cayolle, children are introduced to a delightfully curious cat named Misty who finds excitement in discovering new and interesting things as she bounces through a wonderful and fun-filled day as she explores all that surrounds her.

Original, inherently entertaining, and unreservedly recommended, "A Day for Misty" is especially appropriate for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Pets/Wildlife picture book collections for young readers.

Claude: The True Story of a White Alligator
Emma Bland Smith, author
Jennifer M. Potter, illustrator
Little Bigfoot
c/o Sasquatch Books
1904 Third Ave, Suite 710, Seattle, WA 98101
9781632172693, $18.99, HC, 32pp

Claude is a celebrity alligator and the mascot for San Francisco's California Academy of Sciences. His story started almost 25 years ago in Louisiana, where he hatched out of his egg to discover he looked different from the other hatchlings. They were green and Claude was white. The other hatchings avoided him, and his color made him vulnerable to predators. So Claude went to a special zoo that cared for alligators where he lived in a pen by himself. Now he was safe--but alone.

One day, scientists at the California Academy of Sciences heard about him and asked the zoo if he could come and live in the Academy's swamp. He made a 2,800 mile journey to his new home, where he had a surprise -- he would share his swamp with Bonnie, an alligator who the scientists hoped would be a friend for Claude. Unfortunately, Bonnie didn't like Claude's differences either, so she was moved to another home. But then Claude was alone again -- or was he?

With Bonnie gone, Claude began to interact with the five enormous snapping turtles who shared his swamp. The turtles didn't mind at all that Claude was different! And neither do the millions of people who visit him every year. They know that Claude's differences are exactly what makes him special. Written by Emma Bland Smith and illustrated by Jennifer M. Potter, "Claude: The True Story of a White Alligator" includes back matter with answers to frequently asked questions about the famous alligator, including information about albinism in animals -- making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Pets/Wildlife picture book collections for children ages 4-8.

Kits, Cubs, and Calves: An Arctic Summer
Suzie Napayok-Short, author
Tamara Campeau, illustrator
Inhabit Media
9781772272741, $17.95, HC, 32pp

Akuluk is a young girl who is visiting her family in Nunavut and can't wait to get out on her uncle's boat for a ride into the powerful Arctic Ocean. Surrounded by her family, and with her trusty toy polar bear beside her, Akuluk experiences the beautiful sights, sounds, and animals that abound in the ocean and along the shore during the short Arctic summer, ranging from a mother polar bear and her cubs to a family of belugas and tiny Arctic fox kits.

As they encounter each animal, Akuluk's aunt and uncles share with her how each species cares for its young, and how they protect their babies from the other animals who share their ecosystem. "Kits, Cubs, and Calves: An Arctic Summer" is a beautifully presented picture book story of family connection and respect for the natural world teaches ages 5-7 how close humans are to our animal counterparts and that caring for the environment in which we live is one of our most important responsibilities -- making it an ideal and especially recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library Pets/Wildlife collections for young readers.

About Seabirds: A Guide for Children
Cathryn Sill, author
John Sill, illustrator
Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
9781682630921, $16.99, HC, 48pp

Beautifully illustrated by John Sill and informatively written by Cathryn Sill, "About Seabirds: A Guide for Children" is an informatively entertaining beginner's guide that offers a thoughtful first glimpse into the fascinating world of seabirds. "About Seabirds: A Guide for Children" features simple, easy-to-understand language to teach children ages 2-6 what seabirds are, where they live, what they eat, and how they move. John Sill's detailed, full-color illustrations show the characteristics of different types of seabirds ranging from the Magnificent Frigatebird to the Blue-footed Booby. Of special note is the inclusion of a glossary and an afterword that provide further fascinating details about seabirds that will inspire children to learn more, making "About Seabirds: A Guide for Children" an especially recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library Pets/Wildlife collections.

The Science Shelf

My First Book of the Cosmos
Sheddad Kaid-Salah Ferron, author
Eduard Altarriba, illustrator
Button Books
c/o The GMC Group
9781787080775, $17.99, HC, 56pp

Cosmology is closely related to astronomy and studies the origin and evolution of the universe. As with their first book published by Button Books "My First Book of Quantum Physics", illustrator Eduard Altarriba and author Sheddad Kaid-Salah Ferron's "My First Book of the Cosmos" introduces children ages 8-10 to what is an incredibly complex subject in a fun and entertaining way, using highly attractive and absorbing illustrations to explain the basic principals and concepts of this complex and fascinating subject, making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to elementary school and community library introductory Science collections for young readers.

Here We Go Digging for Dinosaur Bones
Susan Lendroth, author
Bob Kolar, illustrator
Charlesbridge Publishing
85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472
9781623541040, $16.99, HC, 32pp

In the pages of "Here We Go Digging for Dinosaur Bones" by author/storyteller Susan Lendroth and artist/illustrator Bob Kolar, young paleontologists and dinosaur enthusiasts ages 4-8 are invited on a fossil dig, set to the tune of "Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush." Hike the trail, scan the ground, and make a find -- and then discover how to build a T. Rex from its bones. "Here We Go Digging for Dinosaur Bones" also includes hand-play motions for sing-alongs and bite-size science sidebars, making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library dinosaur themed picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Here We Go Digging for Dinosaur Bones" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

What's the Weather?
Editorial Staff
Arbordale Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Suite A2, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
9781643518206, $17.95, PB, 32pp

By asking simple questions (and providing the basic information required to answer them), with "What's the Weather?: A What, Why, or Where Book" from the editorial staff of Arbordale Publishing children ages 4-8 can become entertainingly and informationally engaged and can start to observe and make correlations about the weather around them -- all so they will understand how the weather impacts their lives. While especially appropriate and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book science collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "What's the Weather?" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781643518275, $9.95). Librarians should be aware that there is also a Spanish language edition available (Como Esta El Tiempo? Un Libro de Que, Por Que O Donde, 9781643518343, $11.95, PB, 32pp).

Dinopotamus Solves a Mystery
Lois Wickstrom, author/illustrator
Look Under Rocks
c/o Gripper Products
9780916176877, $19.99, HC, 20pp

When it's naptime, Dinopotamus always gets the warm spot in the room. He decides to let the children have his favorite spot. But the spot is no longer warm. This is a mystery. Together, Dinopotamus and the children discover that it's always warm where Dinopotamus sleeps. He lies down on the children's favorite spot during story time, making it warm for the children's naptime.

"Dinopotamus Solves a Mystery" by author and illustrator Lois Wickstrom is a charmingly entertaining and science-based mystery about heat, making it a welcome and recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library science oriented picture book collections for children ages 3- 7.

The Folktale/Fairytale Shelf

Chinese Children's Favorite Stories
Mingmel Yip, author/illustrator
Tuttle Publishing
364 Innovation Drive, North Clarendon, VT 05759-9436
9780804851497, $14.99, HC, 80pp

"Chinese Children's Favorite Stories" is a delightful selection of thirteen Chinese fables, myths and fairytales as beautifully and entertainingly retold by author and illustrator Mingmei Yip. Inspired by her beloved father's nightly story-telling when she was a child, Yip hopes that by retelling some of these thousand-year-old Chinese stories she can pass along Chinese folklore and fables to international readers of all ages.

These beautifully illustrated tales give children in other countries a glimpse into the traditions and culture of China, while emphasizing universal lessons about being kind and successfully overcoming obstacles. Readers will encounter many delightful characters ranging from an angry dragon to a wise cow in stories that include: The Dream of the Butterfly (A sweet tale about accepting who you are and fully appreciating the world around you); Carp Jumping Over the Dragon Gate (A popular story about the rewards of hard work); Playing the Qin for the Water Buffalo (A musical tale that highlights empathy and understanding); and so many more!

Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, elementary school, and community library Fairytale/Folktale collections for young readers 5-10, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Chinese Children's Favorite Stories" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Secret of the Tattered Shoes
Jackie Morris, author
Ebsan Abdollahi, illustrator
Tiny Owl Publishing
9781910328378, $17.95, HC, 40pp

"The Secret of the Tattered Shoes" by the team of author/storyteller Jackie Morris and artist/illustrator Ebsan Abdollahi is a fresh picture book interpretation of the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tale about twelve princesses who are locked in at night, yet whose dancing shoes are still worn down by morning.

A young soldier is tasked to discover their night-time adventures. But unlike the story told by the Brothers Grimm, this soldier seeks a different ending. Jackie's dark and poetic text updates this well-known fairy tale and shows how stories evolve and adapt over time. Beautifully illustrated by Ehsan Abdollahi, who has created stunning puppet-like illustrations in rich and delicate detail, this unique illustrative style brings the story to life and perfectly encapsulate the beauty and melancholy of the story.

"The Secret of the Tattered Shoes" will prove to be an immediate and enduringly welcome addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

The Picturebook Shelf

My Hair Went on Vacation
Paula Quinn, author
Chiara Civati, illustrator
Mascot Books
620 Herndon Parkway, #320, Herndon, VA 20170
9781645432814, $15.95, HC, 38pp

A charming and entertaining picture book story by the team of author/storyteller Paula Quinn and artist/illustrator Chiara Civati, "My Hair Went on Vacation" is about a little girl named Rosie who lives in Chicago. Within three weeks she lost all of her hair and asked, "Where did it go?"

Rosie loved to rock the bald, without even skipping a beat. She happily wore sunscreen -not even a hat!- in the summer heat. At bedtime, Rosie would tell her own stories with a smile on her face. She'd imagine her hair going on magical adventures all over the place.

From a young age, Rosie loved herself and was not phased by her look, So her mother decided to share her spirit to teach others through this book. Come on this adventure with a confident bald girl, who tells us Bald is beautiful! as she smiles with a twirl.

With its positive underlying message for children ages 6-8, "My Hair Went on Vacation" will inspire young readers to love others as they are, -- and to love themselves every day, whether their hair is near or far!

"My Hair Went on Vacation" is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

Life Lessons from a Sled Dog
Denise Lawson
Brown & Lowe Books
9781732230361, $16.99, HC, 32pp

In "Life Lessons from a Sled Dog" by author and illustrator Denise Lawson, children ages 3-8 will fully enjoy joining Black Bear Sled Dog and friends as they share some simple secrets of happiness. Through playful verse and illustrations, kids will appreciate these life lessons from the sled dog point of view. Entertaining, thoroughly 'kid friendly' in commentary and presentation, thoughtful and thought-provoking, "Life Lessons from a Sled Dog" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

The Abba Tree
Devora Busheri, author
Gal Shkedi, illustrator
Kar-Ben Publishing, Inc.
241 First Ave. N, Minneapolis, MN. 55401-1607
9781541534667, $17.99, HC, 24pp

A little girl named Hannah and her father Abba (which is Hebrew for "Dad") are spending time together in nature on Tu B'Shevat, the Jewish Arbor Day. As Abba rests under a carob tree, Hannah declares that she wants to climb a tree. The carob tree's trunk is too skinny, but can she climb a eucalyptus tree or a pine tree or an olive tree? When each poses a challenge (one for being too scratchy, the other for not having footholds) Abba offers new inspiration for climbing and insight into what Hannah and the carob tree share in common.

A delightfully charming and wonderfully entertaining picture book story for children ages 4-8, "The Abba Tree" is an original tale by author and storyteller Devora Busheri that is delightfully illustrated with the visual imaging of artist Gal Shkedi. While especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture books for children, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Abba Tree" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781541534759, $7.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $7.99).

I'm a Zcary Vampire
Jose Carlos Andres, author
Gomez, illustrator
9788417673857, $16.95, HC, 40pp

Synopsis: This little vampire is very scary! Or rather -- ZCARY! To pass his Vampire Test, he must give someone the zcare of their life. If he fails, he'll be sent to Banana Peeler School! Can he pull off the biggest scare ever or will he fail the test? An absolutely original and thoroughly charming picture book story for children ages 4-8 by the team of author/storyteller Jose Carlos Andres and artist/illustrator Gomez, "I'm a Zcary Vampire" is particularly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

The Most Beautiful Thing
Kao Kalia Yang, author
Khoa Le, illustrator
CarolRhoda Books
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9781541561915, $17.99, HC, 32pp

Drawn from author Kao Kalia Yang's childhood experiences as a Hmong refugee, "The Most Beautiful Thing" is moving picture book that is elegantly illustrated with the impressive artwork of Khoa Le, portraying a family with a great deal of love and little money. Weaving together Kalia's story with that of her beloved grandmother, "The Most Beautiful Thing" moves from the jungles of Laos to the family's early years in the United States. When Kalia becomes unhappy about having to do without and decides she wants braces to improve her smile, it is her grandmother (a woman who has just one tooth in her mouth) who helps her see that true beauty is found with those we love most. A memorably entertaining read for children ages 5-8, "The Most Beautiful Thing" is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Most Beautiful Thing" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Mouse in the House
Russell Ayto
Andersen Press USA
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9781728415819, $17.99, HC, 32pp

Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner have a mouse in their house, and they want it gone. Big chief mouse-catcher, Mr. Bosh, and assistant mouse-catcher, Mr. Bumble, arrive on the scene. They try all the old tricks: setting a trap, bringing in a (big!) cat, inviting an elephant around -- but that mouse is always one step ahead! A thoroughly charming and entertaining picture book story for children ages 4-8, "Muse in the House" by artist and storyteller Russell Ayto will prove to be a welcome and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections.

How to Make a Flying Carpet
Lois Wickstrom, author
Janet King, illustrator
Independently Published
9780916176778, $19.99, HC, 28pp

The frog magnet on the refrigerator fell and broke. Alex likes to make fun stuff from old broken things. She does a variety of experiments with the magnet, and finds things they stick to and things they don't. She finds a box full of magnets on the workbench in the garage. She discovers that magnets can both repel and attract each other. She decides to use the repelling properties to make a flying carpet. That leads to more experiments! An original, imaginative, and entertaining picture book for children ages 5-8, "How to Make a Flying Carpet" by author Lois Wickstrom and illustrator Janet King is a unique and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, middle school, and community library collections.

Crocodilly Lilly: Not So Toothy a Grin
Richard Faith, author
Todd Hobin, illustrator
Independently Published
9781708103774, $9.77, PB, 31pp

Crocodilly Lilly has eaten so many turtles her teeth are falling out. She must find some help. She goes looking for Old Doc Turtle. What do you think, will wise old Doc help out Crocodilly Lilly? Is she too old to learn anything new? Children ages 4-8 will enjoy "Crocodilly Lilly: Not So Toothy a Grin" by author/storyteller Richard Faith and artist/illustrator Todd Hobin as they find out just how everything works out! Charmingly entertaining and thoroughly 'kid friendly', "Crocodilly Lilly: Not So Toothy a Grin" is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Time To Roar
Olivia A. Cole, author
Jessica Gibson, illustrator
Bloomsbury Children's Books
9781547603701, $17.99, HC, 32pp

Sasha the bear loves the meadow in her forest more than anything. But when great yellow beasts threaten to cut and burn the forest, Sasha and the other animals must find a way to stop them.

"Don't go roaring," squirrel tells Sasha. The bird tries singing sweetly. The rabbit tries thumping to distract them. The deer tries running to lead them away. But none of these things stop the machines. Must they all run and hide? Sasha the bear knows they need something louder, something bigger, something more powerful. And Sasha knows her voice--her roar--is the most powerful tool she has.

Olivia A. Cole's deceptively simple text is perfectly enhanced with Jessica Gibson's vibrant art, the result is a celebration the power of learning to raise your own strong voice to defend what you love. Because sometimes you must be a bear. Sometimes you must roar.

While especially recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3-6, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Time To Roar" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Me and My Sister
Rose Robbins, author/illustrator
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
c/o Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
4035 Park East Court SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
9780802855428, $16.99, HC, 32pp

Life in a neurodiverse home isn't straightforward: these siblings communicate and behave in different ways. They're also unique people with different likes and dislikes. Misunderstandings are bound to happen! But despite the occasional bickering and confusion, maybe this brother and sister can discover new ways to love and help one another.

Getting along with your sister is never easy -- especially if your brains work in different ways! Based on the author/illustrator Rose Robbins' childhood, "Me and My Sister" is a gentle exploration of growing up with an autistic sibling. Siblings of all backgrounds will connect to this playfully illustrated story about embracing difference.

While highly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4-8, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Me and My Sister" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781912650231, $11.99).

I Will Dance
Nancy Bo Flood, author
Julianna Swaney, illustrator
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781534430617, $17.99, HC, 48pp

Like many young girls, Eva longs to dance. But unlike many would-be dancers, Eva has cerebral palsy. She doesn't know what dance looks like for someone who uses a wheelchair. Then Eva learns of a place that has created a class for dancers of all abilities. Her first movements in the studio are tentative, but with the encouragement of her instructor and fellow students, Eva becomes more confident. Eva knows she's found a place where she belongs. At last her dream of dancing has come true.

A thoroughly charming picture book story by author/storyteller Nancy Bo Flood and artist/illustrator Julianna Swaney, "I Will Dance" is an extraordinary and would be an enduringly welcome addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 4-8. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "I Will Dance" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Our Favorite Day of the Year
A. E. Ali, author
Rahele Jomepour Bell, illustrator
Salaam Reads
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481485630, $17.99, HC, 40pp

Musa's feeling nervous about his first day of school. He's not used to being away from home and he doesn't know any of the other kids in his class. And when he meets classmates Moises, Mo, and Kevin, Musa isn't sure they'll have much in common. But over the course of the year, the four boys learn more about each other, the holidays they celebrate, their favorite foods, and what they like about school. The more they share with each other, the closer they become, until Musa can't imagine any better friends.

"Our Favorite Day of the Year" is a wonderfully charming story of friendship and celebrating differences in which children ages 4-8 can discover how entering a new friendship with an open mind and sharing parts of yourself brings people together. And the calendar of holidays at the end of the book will delight children as they identify special events they can celebrate with friends throughout the year. While certain to be an enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Our Favorite Day of the Year" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Only The Cat Saw
Ashley Wolff
Beach Lane Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781481466929, $17.99, HC, 32pp

When night falls, a family eases into supper, bath, and bedtime. But while their day is ending, their farm cat's adventures have just begun! Only the cat sees the sun set over a flock of sheep, an owl stalking a mouse, a shooting star...and much, much more. This original, peaceful, visually stunning picture book story by author/illustrator Ashley Wolff deftly explores what happens at night when no one (well, almost no one) is watching! While "Only The Cat Saw" is an ideal and highly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3-6, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Only The Cat Saw" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Sing Some More
Deborah Diesen, author
Howard Gray, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
315 East Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
9781534110526, $16.99, HC, 32pp

Before the sun even rises, a confident group of birds is warming up their vocal chords preparing for a full day of singing. They perform solos and acapella and arpeggios. And they sing and sing -- and then sing some more! Until the day comes to an end and they decide that they are all actually pretty exhausted. But come morning, they have big plans to SING SOME MORE!!!

An original, delightfully charming and thoroughly entertaining picture book story for children ages 5-7 by the team of author/storyteller Deborah Diesen and artist illustrator Howard Gray, and also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.14), "Sing Some More" will prove to be an enduringly appreciated addition to family, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.

Malina's Jam
Svetla Radivoeva
Disney Press
c/o Disney Publishing Worldwide
9781368024587, $17.99, HC, 48pp

Malina the hedgehog loves to tend to her raspberry bushes and loves to make delicious raspberry jam, but when winter comes, she realizes that a caring community is sweeter than any sweet treat. A Walt Disney Animation Studios Artist Showcase picture book for children ages 3-5, Malina's Jam" by storyteller and artist Svetla Radivoeva is an impressively original and thoroughly entertaining addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

You Are So Wonderful
Jacqueline J. Lewis, author
Jeremy Tugeau, illustrator
Beaming Books
PO Box 1209, Minneapolis, MN 55440
9781506463766, $16.99, HC, 32pp

The underlying message for children ages 3-5 in "You Are So Wonderful" by author/storyteller Jacqueline J. Lewis and artist/illustrator Jeremy Tugeau is that from their nose to their toes and from their chin to their grin, God made each one of them special, wonderful, and perfectly themselves. Featuring a diverse cast of children and adults playing and enjoying life in New York City's Central Park, this joyful picture book celebrates and affirms that every child is unique and deeply loved by God. This updated and revised edition of "You Are So Wonderful" includes a new reading guide by teacher and educational consultant Gabrielle Deveaux, making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "You Are So Wonderful" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Duck and Penguin Do NOT Like Sleepovers
Julia Woolf
Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
9781682632017, $16.99, HC, 32pp

Duck and Penguin do not like sleepovers, despite what their owners, Betty and Maud, might have you think. They do not like snuggly sleeping bags, they do not like super-soft pillows, and they especially do not like being extra cozy together in a teeny weeny tiny tent! But when Betty and Maud abandon Duck and Penguin outside, Duck and Penguin have no choice but to stick together. The dark outside is full of strange noises, after all, and they have the oddest feeling that something is watching them!

This sequel to "Duck & Penguin are NOT Friends" is a laugh-out-loud tale about the secret world of toys from author-illustrator Julia Woolf. A hilarious bedtime romp tackles the thrills and anxieties of sleeping over presented with a relatable topic and hilarious illustrations "Duck and Penguin Do NOT Like Sleepovers" is sure to have a very special appeal for children ages 4-8, making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.

Pugtato Finds a Thing
Zondervan, author
Sophie Corrigan, illustrator
c/o HarperCollins Children's Books
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780310767817, $17.99, HC, 32pp

When Pugtato's simple, quiet life is disrupted after he digs up a strange object in his garden, he enlists his best "spuddies" to help (they are more clever than he is, after all). Tweetroot is certain it's a new egg for her nest. Tomatoad is quite sure it's a toy just for him. And Purrsnip simply won't stop scratching it! Luckily, Pugtato has another very special spuddy to ask ...

Charmingly illustrated by Sophie Corrigan, "Pugtato Finds a Thing" introduces kids 4-8 to a hilarious mash-up of pet and vegetable characters. This wonderfully entertaining and original picture book is written in delightful, giggle-inducing, rhyming text, making it an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 4-8.

The Girl with the Cat
Beverley Brenna, author
Brooke Kerrigan, illustrator
Red Deer Press
c/o Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited
9780889955318, $19.95, HC, 32pp

In "The Girl with the Cat", nine-year-old Caroline Markham visits the local art gallery and makes an extraordinary discovery! In one corner there is something even more compelling than the paintings. It's a sculpture of a girl named Nina with a cat named Sammy on her lap, sitting in a rocking chair. There is no Do Not Touch sign like on the paintings. And Caroline can actually push the chair back and forth, and pat Sammy.

Then one day a sign is placed on the sculpture: Moving Soon, and Caroline is heartbroken.

"The Girl with the Cat" is the inspiring picture book story by author/storyteller Beverley Brenna and artist/illustrator Brooke Kerrigan of one girl's successful fight to save the famous Mendel Gallery sculpture, rallying an entire city to her side, proving to all that one person can really make a difference, even against soaring odds.

This is all a true story. Caroline was a real girl. And the sculpture is still in Saskatoon today.

Critique: A charmingly delightful, thoroughly entertaining, and beautifully illustrated picture book for children ages 6- 8, "The Girl With The Cat" is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, family, elementary school, and community library collections for young readers.

Casey Rislov
Mountain Stars Press
9780578713946, $7.95, Board Book, 22pp

Love will reach K-2 young picture book readers with a gentle lesson on love, and features lovely animal drawings by Rachael Balsaitis. Parents will want to choose this story as a read-aloud for the very young, recommended for its simple message and heartwarming moments of connection and love. It presents very basic, Bible-based definitions of love: "Love is generous. It celebrates the joys of others." These simple admonitions are designed for parent/child interactions and easy lessons, and lend especially well to introductory discussions about love, affection, and giving, and Biblical teachings. One of the delights in this particular message is that it takes time to review all the behaviors that demonstrate love, from patience and acceptance to enduring hardships and believing in the best for all. This message is critical for helping young learners form ethical and moral foundations of behavior towards others, and goes beyond the ideal of romantic attraction alone. The result is a warm, lovely picture book that crafts a delicate life lesson that hopefully will take early root to live in young reader's hearts as they mature.

Together We Grow
Susan Vaught and Kelly Murphy
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781534405868, $17.99 HC, $10.99 Kindle, 40pp

Together We Grow joins an award-winning novelist and a New York Times bestselling illustrator in a lovely picture book story of farm animals that are driven indoors by a storm. The fox family isn't part of their circle, but they too are threatened by the weather. Where will they seek refuge? Ages 4 to 8 receive a picture book story of generosity, sharing, and adversity that excels in gorgeous drawings and a message about opening one's home and heart to those in need. Together We Grow promotes the benefits of unity and caring which parents will find to be important lessons for the very young.

Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144

Five new arrivals are highly recommended picks for young picture book readers and adults looking for original, bright productions. Jane Clarke's Leap Frog (9781536212051, $14.99) is one such example, illustrated by Britta Teckentrup with beautifully bright drawings as it invites kids to look for Felix the tree frog, who is unlike the other frogs in the pond.

Kids learn fun facts about tree frogs, couched in the story of Felix, who is fearful about his environment and the sounds, sights, and other creatures that inhabit it. The fictional overlay of the nonfiction facts make for a particularly inviting story line.

Mara Rockliff's Jefferson Measures a Moose (9780763694104, $17.99) is illustrated by S.D. Schindler, who provides engaging drawings to accompany the biography of Thomas Jefferson and his passion for numbers and learning. When faced by European ignorance of America's attractions, he uses these numbers to prove his points and help non-Americans better understand the country's natural history. Kids with good reading skills who are interested in lively biographical sketches will find this story unusual in its focus and presentation.

Ann Stott's Nana Says I Will Be Famous One Day (9780763695606, $16.99) is illustrated by Andrew Joyner, who provides a fine story of a Nana who never misses her grandson's shows, games, or concerts. Nana is a positive, forthright supporter and fan of her grandson, but when she's injured, it's up to him to support her, in turn. But, how? This fine story of family support and relationships is bright, colorful, and highly recommended.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal's Choo-Choo School (9780763697426, $14.99) is illustrated by Mike Yamada and features seven train cars that make tracks to their first day of school. As the train theme blends with school objectives ("Gym is for blowing off steam"), train-crazy youngsters will appreciate the playful approach to classroom learning and how it translates to the train children's world.

Philip Ardagh's Bunnies on the Bus (9781536211160, $16.99) benefits from illustrator Ben Mantle's work in animation and provides an engaging set of experiences and insights about a set of wild bunnies on the bus. A rollicking rhyme ("Bunnies on the bus!/Bunnies on the bus! No wonder there's a fuss/about the bunnies on the bus!") lends whimsical atmosphere to the bunnies who take different approaches to the bus ride.

All are engaging stories that stand out from the crowd, making for highly recommended library or at-home reading picks.

Penguin Young Readers Group

Three new picture books are standout picks for schools and parents looking for exceptional leisure reads for kids.

Eric Carle's Happy Halloween from the Very Busy Spider (9780593097106, $12.99) provides at-home readers with a lovely rhyming lift-the-flap board book about a busy spider who is looking for her friends. An inviting format and Eric Carle's bright, appealing drawings pack a story that lends to read-aloud fun as questions are asked, spider perceptions are gathered, and kids use the flaps and bright, hidden answers to join in on the fun of a busy spider's seasonal enjoyments.

Tina Cho's The Ocean Calls (9781984814869, $17.99) presents a haenyeo mermaid story that will require good reading skills or parental assistance. Dayeon wants to be a haenyeo like Grandma: a Korean woman diver who gets treasures from the sea. There's only one problem: a frightening memory keeps Dayeon from fulfilling her family destiny. Can she learn to overcome her fears and join in a long-held tradition? Lovely drawings by muralist Jess X. Snow bring this gentle folk tale to life.

Deborah Underwood's Every Little Letter (9780525554028, $17.99) receives whimsical, fun, colorful drawings by Joy Hwang Ruiz as it tells of a little letter who lives in a city surrounded by walls made of big letters designed to keep out other, different letters. These big letters feel side behind this wall, hidden from the differences in the outside world, but one small, curious letter wonders about that world. When she finds an opening and other letters, she realizes their fears may be unfounded in this intriguing story of friendship and discovery.

The Comix/Graphic Novel Shelf

Rin Tin Can's Inheritance
Rene Goscinny, author
Morris, illustrator
Cinebook Ltd.
c/o National Book Network (dist.)
4501 Forbes Boulevard, Suite 200, Lanham, MD 20706
9781849185349, $11.95, PB, 48pp

When a former convict at the penitentiary where Rin Tin Can 'works' passes away, he leaves his entire and immense fortune to Rin Tin Can -- arguably the stupidest dog in the West! The inheritance includes multiple buildings in Virginia City, including most of Chinatown, which isn't to everyone's taste. Even worse, the will states that if anything should happen to Rin Tin Can, everything would then pass onto the infamous convict Joe Dalton.

Young readers will thoroughly enjoy following the inevitable escape of the four Dalton brothers, and how Lucky Luke will have to protect the canine millionaire -- from himself as much as from the Dalton brothers! The 75th volume in the Cinebook 'Lucky Luke Adventure' series from Cinebook, "Rin Tin Can's Inheritance" is very highly recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library graphic comedic novels collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Rin Tin Can's Inheritance" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle & comiXology, $7.55).

Who's Who in the Marvel Universe
Disney Storybook Art Team
Marvel Press
125 West End Avenue, New York, NY 10023
9781368062909, $12.99, HC, 144pp

The Marvel Universe is full of so many amazing heroes and villains -- how can even the most dedicated of Marvel fans keep track? That's the value of a new book from Marvel Press. "Who's Who in the Marvel Universe" by the Disney Storybook Art Team is a profusely illustrated character storybook that features and showcases over 40 key players that every Marvel fan needs to know! Young readers ages 5-8 can get to know the ins-and-outs through three sections: Spider-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Avengers. Of special note are the side-bar profiles which are paired with adventure stories to introduce each character and their place in the Marvel universe. As entertaining as it is informative, "Who's Who in the Marvel Universe" is especially recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library collections -- as well as the personal collections of all dedicated Marvel fans of any age!

The Audiobook Shelf

Crank Palace
James Dashner, author
Mark Deakins, narrator
Tantor Media, Inc.
6 Business Park Road, Old Saybrook, CT 06475
9781705238790, $19.99, CD

Synopsis: Newt has been to hell and back with his friends. The Glade. The Maze. The Scorch. The inner halls of WICKED. But now he has a burden that can't be shared with Thomas and the others-the Flare. And Newt can't bear the thought of his friends watching him descend into madness as he succumbs to the virus.

Leaving only a note, Newt departs the Berg before the Gladers return from their mission into Denver, Colorado. From there, he experiences the gritty nightmare of life on the streets, running from the infected and those hunting them, until he ends up in the Crank Palace, the last dumping ground of those without hope.

Although Newt thought he was running away from his friends to save them from himself, along the way he meets a young mother named Keisha and her son, Dante, who end up saving Newt in a way he could never have imagined.

Taking place during the latter events of The Death Cure, "Crank Palace" tells the story of Newt like never before, from inside his own mind, as he searches for meaning in a life gone horribly wrong. He will try to fulfill a newfound destiny before his path leads to its inevitable conclusion-and one last meeting with his best friend.

Critique: The latest addition to author James Dashner's popular Maze Runner science fiction series, "Crank Palace" is expertly narrated by Mark Deakins who brings to life another riveting science fiction action/adventure novel that features more unexpected plot twists and turns than a Disney Land roller coaster ride. This complete and unabridged CD audio book edition from Tantor Media is especially recommended for middle school, high school, and community library Science Fiction audio book collections for ages 8-12 -- and is a 'must' for the legions of James Dashner fans of all ages. (4 CDs, 4 Hours)

The Music CD Shelf

Thank You, Mister Rogers Music & Memories
Act IV Music
$13.98 CD / $5.99 MP3

Thank You, Mister Rogers Music & Memories is a family-friendly music album in which twelve award-winning artists perform re-imagined renditions of classic songs created by Fred Rogers, the host of the "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" educational television show for children. A wonderful tribute to a legendary and beloved figure, Thank You, Mister Rogers Music & Memories is highly recommended for both family and public library children's music collections. The tracks are "Won't You Be My Neighbor", "You Can Never Go Down the Drain", "Sometimes People Are Good", "Perfectly Beautiful Day", "Many Way to Say I Love You", "Some Things I Don't Understand", "This is My Home", "Let's Be Together Today", "Please Don't Think It's Funny", "It's Such a Good Feeling", "When the Day Turns Into Night", "Podemos ser Amigos?", "Thank You for Being You".

Cats Sit On You
The Story Pirates
Face Cake Records
$13.99 CD / $9.49 MP3

Cats Sit On You is an original children's album of fan-favorite songs from seasons two and three of "The Story Pirates Podcast", a family-friendly musical sketch comedy show. Each song has been remixed and mastered for optimal audio quality. Like the podcast itself, Cats Sit On You is a whimsical, laugh-out-loud delight! Highly recommended, both for family and public library children's music collections. The tracks are "The Raccoon's Very Hard Choice", "The First Kids to Work at the Census", "Banana Clown (feat. Secret Agent 23 Skidoo)", "Turtle Beach", "Humming", "Cats Sit On You", "The Boy Who Hated Kisses", "The Mad Piano Player", "Animal Week", "Cheese Quest", "The Amazing Adventure", and "One Little Pink Rose".

Suzanne Jamieson
Pop Up City Records
$9.98 CD / $8.99 MP3

Bounce is a cheerful children's music album embracing retro sound. The songs offer helpful positive messages emphasizing life skills and attitudes that foster happiness. As joyful and jubilant as its title implies, Bounce is a high- energy delight! The tracks are "Bounce", "Grateful (feat. Alphabet Rockers)", "Lemonade", "Luna", "Brave", "Gut Check", "You Got This (feat. Patti Murin)", "High Hopes", "Om Shanti (feat. The Pop Ups)", "Happy Feels", and "Pure Energy".

Camping With Dads
Peter Alsop
Moose School Music
$14.98 CD / $9.49 MP3

Camping With Dads is a folk-story-song album created especially for fathers and sons, emphasizing the importance of respecting daughters, sisters, mothers, and themselves. The upbeat, positive message comes through a medley of musical instruments and styles from ukulele to church piano, Afro-chic, guitar, Appalachian mountain dulcimer, and much more. Camping With Dads delivers welcome life lessons in a most enjoyable way, and is highly recommended. The tracks are "Follow the Leader", "Get on Home", "Home+", "Sonical Digital Musical Box", "Anthropologist", "Pologist+", "Bad Dad Jokes", "You Need a Good Listenin' To", "Listen+", "I Brought a Gorilla Home", "Gorilla+", "Dads 'n Boys", "Boys+", "All Our Kids", "Crossing the Creek", "Different Choice", "I Had a Dream", "Skin Color", "Color+", "Spit Ball", "Ball+", "I Wear Pink", "Pink+", "We Can Bounce", "Bounce+", "Stronga", "Wronga+", "Some Gifts", "Gifts+", and "Gotta Be Somewhere".

The General Fiction Shelf

The Summer We Found the Baby
Amy Hest
Candlewick Press
99 Dover Street, Somerville, MA 02144
9780763660079, $16.99, HC, 192pp

On the morning of the dedication of the new children's library in Belle Beach, Long Island, eleven-year-old Julie Sweet and her six-year-old sister, Martha, find a baby in a basket on the library steps.

At the same time, twelve-year-old Bruno Ben-Eli is on his way to the train station to catch the 9:15 train into New York City. He is on an important errand for his brother, who is a soldier overseas in World War II. But when Bruno spies Julie, the same Julie who hasn't spoken to him for sixteen days, heading away from the library with a baby in her arms, he has to follow her.

Holy everything, he thinks. Julie Sweet is a kidnapper.

Of course, the truth is much more complicated than the children know in "The Summer We Found The Baby", a heartwarming and beautifully textured family story by novelist Amy Hest for children ages 10-14. Told in three distinct voices, each with a different take on events, this original and fully 'kid friendly' novel fully captures the moments and emotions of a life-changing summer -- a summer in which a baby gives a family hope and brings a community together.

While especially and unreservedly recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library general fiction collections for young readers, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "The Summer We Found The Baby" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Sing Like No One's Listening
Vanessa Jones
Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
1700 Chattahoochee Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30318-2112
9781682631942, $17.99, HC, 384pp

Synopsis: Nettie Delaney has just been accepted into a prestigious performing arts school -- the very same school her superstar mother attended. With her mother's shadow hanging over her, Nettie has her work cut out for her -- and everyone is watching. To make matters worse, Nettie hasn't been able to sing a single note since her mother died. Whenever she tries, she just clams up. But if Nettie's going to survive a demanding first year and keep her place in a highly coveted program, she'll have to work through her grief and deliver a showstopper or face expulsion.

All may not be lost, however, when Nettie stumbles upon a mysterious piano player in an empty studio after class. Masked behind a curtain, can Nettie summon the courage to find her voice? Or will the pressure and anxiety of performing come crashing down?

Critique: "Sing Like No One's Listening" is an impressively well written, inherently entertaining, and thought- provoking novel by Vanessa Jones and one that will be an immediate an enduringly popular addition to highschool and community library YA Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Sing Like No One's Listening" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781529010916, $14.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $8.99).

Watch Over Me
Nina Lacour
c/o Penguin Group USA
9780593108970, $17.99, HC, 272pp

Synopsis: Mila is used to being alone. Maybe that's why she said yes. Yes to a second chance in a remote place, among the flowers and the fog and the crash of waves far below.

But she hadn't known about the ghosts.

Newly graduated from high school, Mila has aged out of the foster care system. So when she's offered a teaching job and a place to live on an isolated part of the Northern California coast, she immediately accepts. Maybe she will finally find a new home -- a real home. The farm is a refuge, but it's also haunted by the past. And Mila's own memories are starting to rise to the surface.

Critique: A modern ghost story about trauma and survival, chosen family and rebirth, "Watch Over Me" by Nina Lacour is a deftly crafted and fully engaging novel that will be immediately welcome and an enduring popular addition to highschool and community library YA Fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Watch Over Me" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Cynthia Kadohata
Caitlyn Diouhy Books / Atheneum
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781442412781, $17.99, HC, 304pp

Synopsis: Being a quadruplet can make it hard to stand out from the crowd. Becca's three brothers all have something that makes them -- well them! Bailey has his music and dancing, Jammer plays hockey, and K.C. thinks they're all living in a simulation and doesn't see the point of doing much of anything. Becca is the only one with nothing to make her special.

But when she finds a tiny, sick piglet on the side of the road, Becca knows this is it. This is her thing. She names the piglet Saucy and between her own pleading and Saucy's sweet, pink face, Becca convinces her family to take her in. Soon, Saucy is as big a part of the family as anyone else--and getting bigger. With each pound Saucy gains, the more capable she becomes of destroying the house and landing Becca in trouble.

Some tough decisions need to be made about Becca's pet, and her search for solutions brings to light exactly where Saucy came from. Turns out, there are a lot more scared piglets out there, and saving them may take Becca and her brothers finally doing something together.

Critique: An original, deftly written and thoroughly entertaining novel for children ages 8-12, "Saucy" by Cynthia Kadohata is certain to be an immediately welcome and appreciated addition to elementary school, middle school, and community library general fiction collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Saucy" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781797115498, $29.99, CD).

The Mystery/Suspense Shelf

Nujran and the Corpse in the Quadrangle
Krishna Sudhir
Notion Press
9781648508783, $14.99, PB, 250pp

On the sprawling campus of the prestigious University of Western Foalinaarc a body has just been discovered. Who is this girl, and why is she dead? Could it be linked to the mysterious illness sweeping the campus and plaguing the teaching community?

Why does Amsibh come to the school, and what does he need to protect Prince Nujran from? Through what twist of fate is Prince Nujran reunited with his old friends, the Monks of Meirar? And why does Prince Nujran end up being a captive again?

In "Nujran and the Corpse in the Quadrangle" the stakes are high, with fugitives on the run, turbulence on the university campus, a new romance, a bizarre kidnapping, a perilous escape from prison, and a rescue mission where things don't quite go as planned.

"Nujran and the Corpse in the Quadrangle" is the second volume in the Prince of Typgar series by Krishna Sudhir. The much-anticipated sequel to Nujran and the Monks of Meirar, "Nujran and the Corpse in the Quadrangle" is another original, entertaining, fast-paced, action packed adventure that will hold young readers spellbound! While highly recommended for middle school, highschool, and community library YA Fiction collections it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Nujran and the Corpse in the Quadrangle" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $3.00).

The Fantasy/SciFi Shelf

The Last Monster Hunter
Luke Romyn
Independently Published
9798654752475, $15.99 Paper/$2.99 Kindle, 344pp

The Last Monster Hunter, Book 1 in a series, offers a fantasy adventure story for middle grades and tells of Theo, who is attacked by the wall in his bedroom. Until that point, he knows nothing about magic. After that, he has a vested interest in learning more about not just magic, but the monsters, magicians, and dragons that emerge into his everyday life. Luke Romyn provides a vivid, action-packed story that is based as much on confrontation and problem-solving as it is on Theo's evolution and courage.

Whether he's facing a threatening, grinning wall or exploring an ancient city, Theo embarks on a series of adventures that not only provides a quest and a number of puzzles, but leads him to reexamine his own life, prejudices, and choices. It's these moments of personal insights that elevate The Last Monster Hunter to a production beyond the usual middle-grade fantasy read, offering young readers the opportunity to see how Theo grows and matures during the course of his extraordinary adventure.

As he learns he is actually the son of a lost hero who is charged with not only playing a pivotal role in a looming war, but may be the last Hunter of his kind, young readers receive a thoroughly engrossing story of a boy who uncovers his hidden heritage, learns his place in it, and cultivates a newfound purpose in life. Think Harry Potter for a younger audience, but with all the trappings of magic and emotional growth that Potter exhibited for older readers.

Luke Romyn's saga is rich, deep, well-described, and powered by a believable, likeable young protagonist's efforts to not just confront his abilities and the world, but do the right thing for everyone around him. The Last Monster Hunter is thoroughly absorbing, rich in descriptions of growth and change, and leaves the door open for further adventures, which young fans of magic will welcome.

Jordan Ifueko
Harry N. Abrams
195 Broadway, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10007
9781419739828, $18.99 HC, 400pp

Synopsis: Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as the Lady. The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aritsar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince's Council of Eleven. If she's picked, she ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood.

That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But the Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. Tarisai won't stand by and become someone's pawn but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?

Nothing is more important than loyalty. But what if you ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?

Critique: Clearly showcasing author Jordan Ifueko's impressive narrative storytelling style and flair for originality, "Raybearer" is a compelling novel that will prove to be a welcome and enduringly popular addition to middle school, highschool, and community library Fantasy Fiction collections for young readers. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of all dedicated fantasy fans that "Raybearer" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99) and as a complete and unabridged audio book (Blackstone Audio, 9781094149189, $29.95, CD)

A Curse of Gold
Annie Sullivan
c/o HarperCollins
10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022
9780310768319, $17.99, HC, 352pp

After barely surviving thieving, bloodthirsty pirates and a harrowing quest at sea to retrieve her stolen treasure, Kora finds readjusting to palace life just as deadly. Her people openly turn against her, threatening to overthrow her as heir to the throne due to fear of her magical powers. When Dionysus puts out a challenge to kill the girl with the golden touch and burn down her kingdom, it's not just her future on the throne in danger. Kora's life and entire kingdom are now on contract.

With no other choice, Kora sets out to find Dionysus, journeying to the mysterious disappearing island of Jipper. If she wants to save her kingdom and have any chance at reversing her father's curse, she will have to enter into a deadly game with Dionysus, the greatest trickster the world, or the underworld, has ever seen.

"A Curse of Gold" is the highly-anticipated sequel to author Annie Sullivan's "A Touch of Gold" and is another of her enchanting and captivating fantasy adventure/fairy tales told from the perspective of Kora, King Midas's daughter. While very highly recommended for middle school, highschool, and community library YA Fiction collections for young readers ages 13-18, it should be noted for personal reading lists that a "A Curse of Gold" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The Night Weaver
Monique Snyman
Vesuvian Books
9781645480068, $16.99 PB, $7.99 Kindle, 286pp

The Night Weaver will reach mature teen horror readers with a penchant for horror stories. It opens with the small town of Shadow Grove's missing children and an even stranger silence from adults who neither acknowledge nor worry about their absence.

Seventeen-year-old Rachel Cleary lives on the edge of town near a dark and dank forest, so she's not caught up in the heart of these matters -- at first. But when the trees begin whispering and shadows fall in strange new ways upon her home and life, Rachel too is drawn into the Maine town's odd threat. More mystery lies in the lack of adult response to vanishing children than in the kids' disappearances themselves.

Rachel thinks she's the only one concerned, but her unusual attendance at a party (which really is a concerned teen planning mission headed by Greg Pearson) drives her investigation into what winds up being a shocking truth not just about the kids, but the town and reality as a whole. Everything she's taken for granted is about to be turned upside down. Indeed, the entire Ridge Crest High student body becomes involved when one of their own, Astraea Hayward, literally vanishes into thin air in front of witnesses.

One satisfying approach to this horror story is the juxtaposition of teens on the cusp of adulthood who are forced into assuming adult roles when those who guide their lives seem indifferent. As the local forest is pinpointed as a possible source of the threat, Rachel and her newfound friends find themselves learning about another world, which includes the dangerous Night Weaver and her army.

As the battleground moves from the small town to Fae territory in the woods, the teens become involved in not only The Night Weaver's threat, but the quest to reclaim the Akrah Cloak, one of the House of Nebulius' most treasured artifacts. They identify the many adults involved in what can only be described as a dangerous cult.

Monique Snyman crafts a vivid story worthy not just of mature teen attention, but many an adult horror story reader. The tale excels in strong characterization and mystery, which drives the plot and keeps readers guessing about its outcome. As Rachel, Dougal, and her newfound circle of fellow teen investigators arrive at impossible truths, readers will find the story riveting and hard to put down, filled with unexpected twists that keep them thinking. The result is an engrossing, involving story that brings relationships and possible love to a relative loner whose former goal was to get out of town as soon as she is of age. Its special brand of mystery, horror, and dark fantasy, finished with a touch of romance, will keep mature teens engaged to the end.

The Bone Carver
Monique Snyman
Vesuvian Books
9781645480082, $16.95 PB,$8.99 Kindle, 28ppp, Ages 9-12

The Bone Carver is a follow-up to The Night Weaver, expanding the story of Rachel Cleary, who continues to come into her own powers and abilities as she maintains a desire to leave the town which keeps drawing her back into a dangerous mystery. She's again on a trajectory for college, which feels threatened by her insecurities and knee-jerk reaction panic attack to taking the SAT, when suddenly her goals are no longer solid, but fluid with possibilities.

Readers of The Bone Carver ideally will have absorbed Rachel's initial challenge, success, and persona in The Night Weaver, which will add depth and understanding to her reactions in this second book. Newfound threats come from both familiar and strange places. More encounters with the Fae both threaten and change her college trajectory as Rachel finds herself confronting both unwanted gifts and a spate of accidents that eventually turn up a body.

With the protecting Orion Nebulius gone, unlike in her prior encounter, Rachel and her senior high school friends may be helpless to confront what the threat come. Rachel also has her hands full caring for her Mom at home. Rachel is constantly evolving and coming into her own powers. So is the ongoing threat she faces, along with fellow senior students and the town as a whole. How can she flee the town when it needs her help to survive?

The tone and presentation of this story lends to its pursuit by mature teen to new adult audiences. From violent threats and death to unholy creatures, the mature themes of this engrossing horror fantasy place it in a category that will especially appeal to ages 16 and older. Readers who enjoy dark fantasy are in for a treat with a heroine who is also finding her way to adulthood through her fears, choices, actions, and evolving goals in life.

Private Ivy
Steven Cortinas
Independently Published
9798644811427, $9.99 Paper/$4.99 Kindle

Ivy Virtue is a teen who has been trained by her parents to be a sleuth. She's biracial in 1930s Brooklyn - already a questionable place to be practicing on the side of the law. And she's about to tackle a case that brings her into contact with not just gangsters, but vampires...all at the same time, as a deadly disease strikes her family and challenges its relationships. It may sound like Private Ivy is a mishmash of themes, but Steven Cortinas succeeds in creating an original, appealing character in Ivy and her late 1930s milieu, opening with a vivid observation designed to capture reader attention from the first few sentences.

Mature teens used to the twists and turns of an action-packed plot, the spunky observations of a young investigator whose actions move beyond both her biracial heritage and her gender, and who look for extraordinary stories replete in both action and personal growth will find Private Ivy one of the more unexpectedly compelling reads of 2020. This 13-year-old, admittedly-amateur, detective harbors a "stupid Brooklyn accent" and faces capture, when the scene opens, by perps wearing Dracula and Frankenstein masks. Her Brooklyn accent worsens under stress. The entire scene is hilarious, unique, and unexpected.

This sense of surprise, wonder, and adventure permeates a story packed with unexpected twists and turns. Under another hand, it would have been all too easy for this tale to turn into a fantasy or a series of silly encounters, but Cortinas has the ability to juxtapose comic relief with believable action, and humor with a serious inspection of life challenges. Placing Ivy and her action in the late 1930s in Brooklyn is a brilliant move because the dialogue reflecting her Brooklyn roots and the milieu reflecting the period are impeccable, fine devices for crafting a unique story.

As Ivy struggles with mysteries, perps, and family challenges, teens are presented with the perfect mix of action and psychological inspection that keep Ivy's character vivid and her choices and confrontations thoroughly absorbing. It may sound like Private Ivy is primarily a teen read, but many an adult who chooses teen stories for leisure and fun will find it surprisingly appealing and complex.

Private Ivy is a very highly recommended standout in teen detective fiction, far surpassing most of her competitors in a story that is filled with gangsters, battles, and moral and ethical conundrums.

Temple of Eternity
R. Scott Boyer
Main Street Reads Publishing
9781662902338, $18.95 PB, $6.99 Kindle, 278pp

Temple of Eternity is the second book in the Bobby Ether series, and provides teen fantasy readers with another fine adventure.

Seventeen-year-old Bobby Ether has returned from the Jade Academy, but somehow, home is not the same. For one thing, his parents know the truth about the Core: the secret organization which experimented on the Academy's students in pursuit of increasing human abilities. They also know how Bobby and his friend Jinx thwarted the devious plot, escaped a secret monastery, and were aided by his grandfather's own supernatural powers. The adventure is over, and his parents just want everything to go back to normal. But how can it, when Bobby still holds connections to the people who helped him escape? He also has natural abilities that could thwart the ongoing efforts of the Core. And he needs to do something to help. Then he learns about a Mayan temple hidden in the jungle that could provide both the answers to eternal life and pose a threat for those who would use its powers for nefarious purposes.

Think Indiana Jones, but on a level geared to young adult adventure story readers. Add a dash of cultural intrigue, with warrior descents of the Mayans determined to take action as souls are claimed by evil forces. Mix in a riddle that evokes the Fountain of Youth, yet seems to negate the legend behind it. What results is a fast-paced adventure designed to keep young readers engaged and guessing throughout.

Bobby Ether and his friends face a series of impossible circumstances and family connections to the Core which place in jeopardy not just the lives, but the minds of those he loves. His grandparents aren't stay-at-home elders, but active participants in the events that swirl around them. This is a refreshingly different perspective on family interactions and the involvements of the savvy, active elders in Bobby's world. As betrayals and sacrifices coalesce on multiple levels, young adults are treated to a fast-paced series of confrontations which will keep them engaged and engrossed in Bobby's many dilemmas and challenges. Prior fans of Bobby's escapades will easily pick up the action that begins a few months from his previous adventures. Meanwhile, newcomers receive quick access to Bobby's world that requires no familiarity with prior events to prove accessible and inviting.

The juxtaposition of a search for a beloved grandmother and a mission to save the world is nicely done, and contrasts personal with social objectives. The blend of a circle of strong characters who each contribute to Bobby's strengths and abilities is another fine feature of a story that revolves around relationships, trials, confrontations, and spiritual components of Bobby's growth. Temple of Eternity offers an excellent introduction to the underlying social, cultural, and spiritual issues involved in an adventure that changes Bobby's perspective.

It is highly recommended.

The Biography Shelf

Lift as You Climb: The Story of Ella Baker
Patricia Hruby Powell, author
R. Gregory Christie, illustrator
Margaret K. McElderry Books
c/o Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
1230 Avenue of the Americas, 4th floor, New York, NY 10020
9781534406230, $17.99, HC, 48pp

Long before the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s, Ella Josephine Baker (December 13, 1903 - December 13, 1986) worked to lift others up by fighting racial injustice and empowering poor African Americans to stand up for their rights. Her dedication and grassroots work in many communities made her a valuable ally for leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and she has been ranked as one of the most influential women in the civil rights movement. In the 1960s she worked to register voters and organize sit-ins, and she became a teacher and mentor to many young activists.

Caldecott Honor winner R. Gregory Christie's powerful pictures pair perfectly with Patricia Hruby Powell's poignant words to paint a vivid portrait of the fight for the freedom of the human spirit. Very highly recommended, especially for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book biography collections for children ages 4-8, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Lift As You Climb" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

Dark Was the Night
Gary Golio, author
E. Bw. Lewis, illustrator
Nancy Paulsen Books
9781524738884, $17.99, HC, 32pp

Willie Johnson (who would grow up to be a legendary Texas musician whose song "Dark Was the Night" was included on the Voyager I space probe's Golden Record) was born in 1897, and from the beginning he loved to sing -- and play his cigar box guitar.

But his childhood was interrupted when he lost his mother and his sight. How does a blind boy make his way in the world? Fortunately for Willie, the music saved him and brought him back into the light. His powerful voice, combined with the wailing of his slide guitar, moved people.

Willie made a name for himself performing on street corners all over Texas. And one day he hit it big when he got a record deal and his songs were played on the radio. Then in 1977, his song, "Dark Was the Night", was chosen to light up the darkness when it was launched into space on the Voyager I space probe's famous Golden Record. His immortal song was selected for the way it expresses the loneliness humans all feel, while reminding us we're not alone.

Critique: Exceptionally illustrated throughout by the artwork of E. B. Lewis, "Dark Was the Night" by Gary Golio is an informative and entertaining picture book biography that is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 4-8. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Dark Was the Night' is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $10.99).

The Political Science Shelf

She Represents
Caitlin Donohue
Zest Books
9781541579002, $37.32, HC, Library Binding, 216pp

In a complicated political era when the United States feels divided, "She Represents: 44 Women Who Are Changing Politics . . . and the World" by journalist, culture editor, and author Caitlin Donohue celebrates feminism and female contributions to politics, activism, and communities.

Each of the forty-four women profiled in this illustrated volume has demonstrated her capabilities and strengths in political and community leadership and activism, both in the United States and around the world. Written in an approachable, journalistic tone and rounded out by beautiful color portraits, history, key political processes, terminology, and thought-provoking quotes, "She Represents" will inspire and encourage young women everywhere to enact change in their own communities and to pursue opportunities in public affairs.

Impressively informative and ultimately inspiring, "She Represents: 44 Women Who Are Changing Politics . . . and the World" is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to middle school, high school, and community library Political Science and Women's Studies collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "She Represents" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781541579019, $16.99) and in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99).

The Health/Medicine Shelf

Genomics: A Revolution in Health and Disease Discovery
Whitney Stewart & Hans C. Andersson, MD
Twenty-First Century Books
c/o The Lerner Publishing Group
241 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401-1607
9781541500563, $37.32, HC, Library Binding, 144pp

Over the past 50 years, scientists have made incredible progress in the application of genetic research to human health care and disease treatment. Innovative tools and techniques, including gene therapy and CRISPR-Cas9 editing, can treat inherited disorders that were previously untreatable, or prevent them from happening in the first place. You can take a DNA test to learn where your ancestors are from. Police officers can use genetic evidence to identify criminals - or innocents. And some doctors are using new medical techniques for unprecedented procedures.

"Genomics: A Revolution in Health and Disease Discovery" delves into the history, science, and ethics behind recent breakthroughs in genetic research. Authors Whitney Stewart and Dr. Hans Andersson collaboratively present fascinating case studies that show how real people have benefitted from genetic research. Though the genome remains full of mysteries, researchers and doctors are working hard to uncover its secrets and find the best ways to treat patients and cure diseases. The discoveries to come will inform how we target disease treatment, how we understand our health, and how we define our very identities.

Ideal for students in grades 3-12 as a curriculum text book on the subject, "Genomics: A Revolution in Health and Disease Discovery" is an especially recommended for middle school, high school, and community library Medical Biology & Science collections. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Genomics: A Revolution in Health and Disease Discovery" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

The American History Shelf

Mayflower: The Ship that Started a Nation
Rebecca Siegel, author
Michael Lauritano, illustrator
Mike Love, illustrator
Words & Pictures
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
9780711248250, $19.95, HC, 64pp

Marking the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower's voyage, with edge-to-edge illustrated scenes, interspersed with detailed maps, inventories and cutaways, along with engaging, narrative text, with "Mayflower: The Ship that Started a Nation", children ages 7-12 will learn about the perilous journey, the crew and passengers, the cargo on board, and what happened when the Mayflower finally dropped anchor in Cape Cod.

Young readers will learn about the Wampanoag people and how the Pilgrims' arrival changed their way of life. Atmospheric artwork and detailed scenes will spark young imaginations as young readers discover the amazing true story behind the birth of a nation.

"Mayflower: The Ship that Started a Nation" answers such questions as: Who were the Pilgrims?; Why did they want to leave England?; Why was the journey so perilous?; What was the Mayflower Compact?; Who are the Wampanoag?; How did the Pilgrims interact with the Wampanoag?; What happened at the first Thanksgiving?; What became of the Mayflower?

A profusely illustrated and fact-packed children's history book that is enhanced with the inclusion of a comprehensive timeline of events, an author's note, a glossary, and ideas for further learning, "Mayflower: The Ship that Started a Nation" is especially and unreservedly recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library American History collections.

The Dance Shelf

Welcome to Ballet School
Ashley Bouder, author
Julia Bereciartu, illustrator
Frances Lincoln Children's Books
c/o Quarto Publishing Group USA
100 Cummings Center, Suite 265D, Beverly, MA 01915
9780711251281, $19.99, HC, 64pp

Synopsis: Welcome to your first day at ballet school! Put on your ballet shoes and let's master your basics with author and New York City Ballet principal Ashley Bouder in "Welcome To Ballet School"! Children ages ages 4-8 will like learning ballet's five basic lessons, then visiting a costume room, before enjoying an entertaining show of Sleeping Beauty at the end.

"Welcome To Ballet School" also covers what happens if you fall, How to stretch and look after your body, how do you get ready for class. Then go on to learn the characters and interpretations of Sleeping Beauty -- taught in an inclusive way so anyone can dance the parts they want to. A helpful glossary at the back provides a review of ballet terms.

Nicely enhanced throughout with the illustrations of artist Julia Bereciartu, "Welcome To Ballet School" by professional ballet dancer and instructor Ashley Bouder will prove to be an original, entertaining, instructive and welcome addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for aspiring young dancers! It should be noted for personal reading lists that "Welcome To Ballet School" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $9.99).

Editorial Note: Ashley Bouder is a dancer and choreographer based in New York. She is principal dancer for the New York City Ballet and runs her own arts organisation: The Ashley Bouder Project. The project is an arts collaborative dedicated to furthering the inclusion of women and marginalized people in leadership roles in the performing arts world. She can be found on instagram @ashleybouder

The Christian Shelf

Rainbow Land
J.M. Huxley
Author Academy Elite
9781647462574, $26.95 Hardcover/$14.95 Paper/$9.99 Kindle

Truly lovely color nature drawings by Kate Zotova illustrate a Christian inspirational celebration of God and life in Rainbow Land. A gentle rhyme captures the presence of color in nature: "Green from pom poms that cheered from tall trees/orange that melted the sea to an end/white sails that moved on a coconut breeze,/blue waves a cheery good friend." Young picture book readers and read-aloud parents will enjoy the opportunity to learn about colors and equate them with nature scenes, receiving a gentle lesson on God's paintbox efforts at the same time. The story emphasizes concepts of God the Creator as the Painter of all the little girl observes. This
serves as a fine starting point for linking ethereal spiritual concepts to daily life and nature observations in a story especially recommended for Christian parents.

The Religion/Spirituality Shelf

We All Have Sacred Spaces
Rev. Dr. Vicki Michela Garlock
Eaton Press
9781947486164, $12.99, PB, 49pp

"We All Have Sacred Spaces" by the Rev. Dr. Vicki Michela Garlock" is for children ages 4-10 who have ever wondered about the inside of an Islamic mosque or a Sikh gurdwara? Who have ever wondered what the first worship spaces were like?

"Rev. Dr. Vicki Michela Garlock" will enable children to learn which religions usually require removing shoes or wearing head coverings, explore the ins and outs of sacred spaces around the world including all seven of the world's major faith traditions.

Profusely illustrated throughout with full color photography, "We All Have Sacred Spaces" is impressively informative and thoroughly 'kid friendly' in organization and presentation, making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, Sunday school, elementary school, and community library collections.

The Art Shelf

The Nature Explorer's Sketchbook
Jean Mackay
Tumblehome Inc.
9781943431595, $16.95, PB, 80pp

"The Nature Explorer's Sketchbook" if is fun DIY sketchbook that will help kids ages 8-14 to look more closely at nature and capture what they discover with pencil, pen, and paint. "The Nature Explorer's Sketchbook" will inspire exploration, creativity and observation, and is replete with ideas and tips, and plenty of space for kids to draw. "The Nature Explorer's Sketchbook" is comprised of 28 pages of instruction and color illustrations followed by blank pages, with more hints and examples every ten pages. Very highly recommended, "The Nature Explorer's Sketchbook" is the perfect art-themed resource for home schoolers, environmental education programs, STEAM programs, or simply as a gift to budding young artists and neophyte nature lovers.

The Reference Shelf

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2021, U.S. Edition
National Geographic Kids
c/o National Geographic Press
101 West 104th Street, Suite 8, New York, NY 10025
9781426336720, $24.90, HC, 352pp

Kids ages 8-12 can have fun keeping up with our rapidly changing planet with "National Geographic Kids Almanac 2021, U.S. Edition", the world's best-selling almanac for kids from the National Geographic Press. Packed from cover to cover with incredible photos, tons of fun facts, crafts, activities, and fascinating features about animals, science, nature, technology, conservation, and more, "National Geographic Kids Almanac 2021, U.S. Edition" includes an entire chapter devoted to full of fun and games, including activities, jokes, and comics.

Practical reference material, including fast facts and maps of every country, has been fully updated. Homework help on key topics is sprinkled throughout, making "National Geographic Kids Almanac 2021, U.S. Edition" an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, middle school, and community library collections for young readers. It should be noted for personal reading lists that "National Geographic Kids Almanac 2021, U.S. Edition" is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781426336713, $14.99).

Books in Series

Jeremy Austin and Miervaldis
Rod C. Spence
Gallant Press
9781952553011, $20.95 PB, $4.99 Kindle, 601pp

Jeremy Austin and Miervaldis is the third book in the Jeremy Austin series for teens and young adults interested in survival stories, but requires no prior familiarity to prove accessible to newcomers. A series synopsis recaps past adventures and the basic premise of Jeremy's encounter with a wormhole that transforms his life and his perceptions of the universe. Six teens charged with putting their survival skills to the test embark on a quest to locate an ancient sword called Miervaldis and release its magic before they can return to what is familiar and safe in their own world.

One satisfying device Rod C. Spence employs during the telling of this yarn is that the young 'heroes' are not always heroic figures. Several struggle with being bullies or getting into trouble, while others are at odds with themselves and their personalities. It's a ragtag band of different individuals with very different skills and perceptions of life. Joined together when they are stranded on a planet 2.4 million light years away from Earth, they are enslaved, threatened, and have already faced adventure and danger, in the first two books.

This volume continues to spin new threats as each individual confronts unique challenges and opportunities to either grow and change, or die. Jeremy Austin and Miervaldis does contain violence, so it's recommended reading for mature teens who will find its acceptable level of description and age-appropriate confrontations blend into the greater story of this disparate group's individual and unified prowess. As Jeremy finds he is the "hope of nations" to others and searches within himself for strengths he never knew he had, readers follow him through an intriguing world of magic and new possibilities.

The fast-paced story's episodes of comic relief and swift action will particularly appeal to fantasy readers who like their plot filled with unexpected twists, and the main characters more nerdy than heroic. Fantasy readers will especially appreciate the many trappings of the genre, from elf maidens to gnome armies and the often-whimsical dialogues between characters: "Thy purpose, Elf?" Lord Gareth spluttered, hands spreading out toward the Gnome army. "I hast a duty to fulfill. Save the city, and all that." The result is a rollicking good read highly recommended for prior fans of Jeremy, who will find his coming of age and preparations for wider conflict to be thoroughly absorbing.

It should be noted that the door is left open for more books in the series. Fans will welcome this opportunity!

Red Chair Press
PO Box 333, South Egremont, MA 01258

"Beginner Biography" is a series from Red Chair Press featuring two Native Americans, one Latino, and one Asian- American who are role models based upon their accomplishments and specifically written for children ages 6-8. The four hardcover titles ($25.32 List/$18.99 S&L) comprising this outstanding series included: Cesar Chavez; Daniel Inouye; Maria Tallchief; and Sequoyah. Each 24 page book features large and colorful illustrations, a 'Good to Know' section about the individual showcased. While especially recommended for elementary school, and community library American Biography collections. It should be noted for home schooling parents and individual reading lists that this outstanding series four title set is also readily available in a digital book format ($38.65 List/$28.99 S&L)

The Child's World
1980 Lookout Drive, Mankato, MN 56003

An absolutely essential and critically timely addition to elementary school, middle school, and community library collections for young readers, "Pandemics and COVID-19" is a new six volume series ($191.70 List/$119.70 S&L) from the people at The Child's World. The six titles comprising this simply outstanding series include: What Is COVID- 19?; How Can I Help During COVID-19?; How Has COVID-19 Changed Our World?; Who Are The COVID-19 Helpers?; What Is "A Pandemic?. Each fully illustrated, twenty-four page volume includes informative sidebars, a phonetic glossary, sections featuring positive news on the topic, sources for further research, suggested and thematically relevant web sites, a 'Think About It' section, a table of contents, and an index. Librarians are seriously advised that if they are working with limited acquisition budgets, to make "Pandemics and COVID-19" a priority acquisition selection choice.

Crabtree Publishing Company
PMB 59051, 350 Fifth Avenue, 59th Floor, New York, NY 10118

"Careers on the Frontline" is a new series for young readers from the Crabtree Publishing Company is bold and exciting six volume series that gives them a comprehensive look at the skills, aptitude, and education required for working "on the front lines". Comprising this outstanding series are Airforce Careers; Army Careers; Navy Careers; Police Force Careers; Special Forces Careers; and Careers in Undercover Operations. Fascinating bios of real life service people and their career challenges make each of these books fully and authentically informative, while a follow-the-path illustration helps those interested in military careers determine if these careers are a good fit for them. Featuring a Reading Level: Gr. 5 Interest Level: Gr 6-7; "Careers on the Frontline" (Hardcover $20.70 each; Paperback $8.95 each) is especially and unreservedly recommended for middle school and community library Jobs/Careers collections.

The Rosen Publishing Group
29 East 21st Street, New York, NY 10010

Soccer Superstars is a new series from The Rosen Publishing Group for young readers in grades 6-12 showcasing four of the most legendary soccer players whose talent at the game keep viewers' eyes glued to the screen and their hearts pounding. Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are four of the most exciting, internationally recognized
athletes in the sport, and this compelling set takes young readers through each individual player's professional and personal journey. Each individual biography is brimming with engrossing features that include key quotes, statistics, and interactive games that all readers will enjoy, from the hardcore soccer fan to the casual World Cup viewer.

Each title in this four volume library bound series (9781725340367, $137.80 List/$103.40 S&L), features vivid full-color photographs showcasing these star players on and off the field; include a 'Riveting Great Goals' feature takes young readers along on a play-by-play through each player's most thrilling and seemingly impossible goals; includes a Know Your Stuff and picture quiz features which will allow young readers to test their newfound knowledge and their memories with scavenger hunt-style questions.

Certain to be enduringly popular with young (and not so young!) soccer fans, "Soccer Superstars" is very highly recommended for middle school, high school, and community library collections for young readers.

PowerKids Press
29 East 21st Street, New York, NY 10010

Growing up is full of fun and amazing things. Starting school, being part of a team, and gaining independence are all important parts of getting older. Even though these new experiences are important and rewarding, they can also be difficult or even scary sometimes. "Ready To Learn" (9781508197713, Library Binding, $109.00 List/$81.80 S&L) is a is charming four titles series from PowerKids Press that will help young readers ages 5-8 understand that they don't have to handle every obstacle alone.

Each fictional story helps young readers navigate situations in their own lives, including starting school and working together with friends. They'll learn that asking for help is okay, and how to deal with intense emotions such as anger and sadness. Relatable and engaging, this series will be a valuable addition to any library and classroom.

Very highly recommended for elementary school, middle school, and community library collections. The four titles comprising the "Ready To Learn" series provides: Expressive illustrations help readers relate to each story; Helps for young readers understand and deal with complex emotions; Is a perfect introduction to real-life situations and lessons.

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.

How to Take Care of Your Dinosaur
Jason Cockcroft
Nosy Crow
9781536205688, $15.99

Diana Fisher

Cleverly written, How to Take Care of Your Dinosaur teaches children how to take proper care of and show kindness toward their pets - and tangentially they learn a few things about themselves. From scooping pet poop to a good bedtime routine, all bases are covered and the reward is a pet friend for life. The story and illustrations are charming. (Ages 2-5)

What is a Family?
Annette Griffin, author
Nichola Cowdery, illustrator
9781641702447, $10.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

This sweet and interesting early reader board book echoes of the famed Shakespeare's query. What is in a name? Whether geese are found in gaggles or dolphins in pods, a family by any other name is still as warm and loving! From A to Z, children will learn the many ways family is called to be. (Ages 2-5)

Becca's Big Decision
Jam Media
9780763692476, $12.99

Christine Irvin

There's a special delivery in the mail for Becca today: tickets to see the Firefly Flyby in Uncle Ned's hot-air balloon! It's the perfect adventure for the Bunch, as Becca and her friends Pedro, Sylvia, and Russell like to call themselves. But excitement turns to worry when Becca realizes she has only three tickets but that there are four of them all together. Oh, feathers! How will Becca choose which of her friends to take on the Firefly Flyby? Based on Becca's Bunch, the acclaimed stop-motion animated series on Nick Jr. (Ages 2-5)

Grandma's Halloween Stories
Joan Tenner, author
Jesus Lopez, illustrator
Wisdom House Books
9780578528663, $24.99

Dr. Dawn Menge

Halloween is such a fun time of year. This delightful book filled with Halloween poems is a must-read to your child for the fall. "It's time for Grandma to write another theme. To tickle your fancies about Halloween!" Pick up your copy of Grandma's Halloween Stories to read to your own grandchildren during the Halloween season. I guarantee they will have a sudden love of the holiday and of reading poems. (Ages 2-10)

Gustavo, the Shy Ghost
Flavia Z. Drago
9781536211146, $16.99

Christine Irvin

How do you get people to notice you when you're a ghost and you're shy? Gustavo loves playing his violin. He wants to make friends and share his music, but in order to do so, he has to figure out a way to make other ghouls and goblins see him. And, he needs to do it soon, as the town will soon hold their annual Day of the Dead celebration. (Ages 3-7)

The Paper Kingdom
Helena Ku Rhee, author
Pascal Campion, illustrator
Random House Books For Young Readers
9780525644613, $17.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

When circumstances change, a young couple has to stir their child from his warm bed to accompany them to their janitorial positions at a large office building. The unfortunate change could have presented an unpleasant situation had it not been for the love and imagination of Daniel's parents! The story offers a look at family and the magic it can bring to any situation. It also fosters consideration with building blocks of self-development. (Ages 3-7)

Bones in the White House: Thomas Jefferson's Mammoth
Candice Ransom, author
Jamey Christoph, illustrator
Doubleday Books
9780525646075, $17.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

History can be like tuning into a great new gossip show. There are so many fun, little-known facts just waiting to tickle a curious ear! Did you know our third president, Thomas Jefferson, was a collector of prehistoric bones? He was obsessed with the thought of monstrous creatures that roamed our lands. Our land was new and held many mysteries. Today, we go to museums anywhere and enjoy common finds that once just lived in the minds and imaginations of men driven to discover! Very interesting book! It opens that portal to the past and lets us discover men who dared to wonder, to seek and find, and to leave its rewards for all who came after them. (Ages 3-7)

The Tooth Fairy's Tummy Ache
Lori Orlinsky, author
Vanessa Alexandre, illustrator
Mascot Books
9781643073507, $14.95

Darleen Wohlfeil

A sweet way to make an important point. In this very relatable story, all children will be able to process a lesson of honesty. Sometimes, circumstances can offer an easier option when things don't go just as they should. When faced with things we don't know what to do about, we must remember that pretending or lying will never do. Honesty is the one sure way to get us through. (Ages 3-9)

Billie the Octopus
Lotus Kay, author
Chey Diehl, illustrator
Eifrig Publishing
9781632332363, 9.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

Billie the Octopus invites you to explore the wonders of the ocean, become aware of the threats to it, and how you can make a difference. An important message to educate children on the beauty of nature, and the endangerment of our world's balance. Fostering awareness to those rising up in the generational ranks. Connected to the Jane Goodall Institute's youth program, Roots and Shoots, it delivers a powerful plea for change. (Ages 3-10)

Letters from My Tooth Fairy
Brooke Hecker, author
Deborah Melmon, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
9781534110557, $16.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

What a cute story! And, an even cuter idea for all you tooth fairies out there. Through those young and often intimidating years, where our smile shifts and gaps appear, Natalie and her tooth fairy navigate a safe journey through it all. This sweet confidant teaches, assures, and brings comfort all along the way. A truly enjoyable read! (Ages 5-7)

The Big Buna Bash
Sara C. Arnold, author
Roberta Malasomma, illustrator
Brandylane Publishers
9781951565022, $13.95

Dr. Dawn Menge

Cultures and customs are quite different for each country. Moving to a new one can be exceedingly difficult for young children. When Almaz makes a mistake in school, she's really embarrassed! Other kids tease her because they don't understand her Ethiopian culture. How can she use her family's traditions to make friends? This is an intriguing book that not only teaches us about an Ethiopian ceremony, but also gives children and adults a coping skill to help introduce new customs to their friends. This book is a great teaching tool for a diverse classroom. (Ages 5-8)

Chip and Curly: The Great Potato Race
Cathy Breisacher, author
Joshua Heinsz, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
9781585364084, $16.99

Diana Fisher

This cleverly written, spud-tacular story is entertaining and downright funny. Meet Chip, an ambitious potato who wants to win the Spud City Festival sack race. The competition is high, especially when fast and springy Curly shows up. But kindness overrides the thrill of competition in the end, and winning gains new meaning. Prepare to laugh and cheer with the potato crowd as Chip races toward the finish line. (Ages 5-8)

A Ben of All Trades: The Most Inventive Boyhood of Benjamin Franklin
Michael J. Rosen, author
Matt Tavares, illustrator
9781536201215, $15.99

Dr. Dawn Menge

Did you know what Benjamin Franklin wanted to do during his life? He wanted to be a sailor. His father said, "No," and had him apprentice at many different crafts. All the while, Benjamin kept practicing his skills as a sailor in hopes his father would change his heart. After many attempts, his father made him an apprentice in a press shop. He flourished and soon become a skilled publisher. "Not one job was exactly like the one before, but he excelled at each career by applying the diverse knowledge he'd gained and the insightful curiosity that seemed insatiable." A beautifully illustrated book that teaches your child about Benjamin Franklin and his experiences as a child that helped him grow into who he became as a man. (Ages 5-9)

The Little Ouch
Katherine Picarde, author
Khalima Murzina, illustrator
Mascot Books
9781645434368, $15.95

Darleen Wohlfeil

We have all been there - when our reaction was far more painful than the situation we faced. Penelope does NOT want to have her flu shot, but learns a valuable lesson in the end. This is a great story to calm the fears of little ones facing those dreaded events of life that can't be avoided. (Ages 6-8)

Bread for Words: A Frederick Douglass Story
Shana Keller, author
Kayla Stark, illustrator
Sleeping Bear Press
9781534110014, $16.99

Christine Irvin

Frederick Douglass was born a slave. As such, he was not permitted to learn to read and write. But he learned anyway. His first teacher was Mrs. Auld, the wife of his new owner. When she taught her own son to read, she taught Frederick, too. When her husband forbade her to teach him anymore, he found other teachers. He was sent on many errands for his new owner. When he went, he took extra bread with him. If he saw hungry boys on the streets, he would offer them his bread in exchange for their help in learning to read. It took a long time, but he finally earned to read. With that knowledge, he was able to break the bonds of slavery and eventually become a free man. Author Shana Keller has included more information about Douglass' biography in the back of the book. (Ages 6-9)

Julius Zebra: Entangled with the Egyptians!
Gary Northfield
9781536205237, $15.99

Diana Perry

This is a cute graphic novel about the wild and crazy adventures of Julius Zebra and his jungle animal friends. They nearly sink the ship they're on in the high seas and crash onto the shores of Egypt. Julius resembles a god predicted to come one day and the Egyptians worship him. They all lead a grand life until one day, Felix (the rock-collecting antelope) steals a sacred rock from a royal tomb. Now the same Egyptians who pampered them are out to get them. How will they escape when they're so vastly outnumbered? This is a fast-moving, funny, and dangerous story that young mid-grade or early readers will love to read. This would make a great kids' movie or TV pilot; these characters are great. (Ages 7-10)

Where Is My Teacher?
Dalal Ghanim Al-Romaihi, author
Nikos Yanopulos, illustrator
HBKU Press
9789927137655, $TBA hc / $3.99 Kindle

Darleen Wohlfeil

Anyone who has ever experienced the mounting exhilaration as their imagination breaks free and gains the momentum of a runaway train is sure to find a chuckle or two in this story. When the teacher is late, a young student has no trouble searching her mental literary database for probable cause. (Ages 7-10)

Lois Lane and the Friendship Challenge
Grace Ellis, author
Brittney L. Williams, illustrator
DC Comics
9781401296377, $9.99

Christine Irvin

This graphic novel is a story about 13-year-old Lois Lane, the same Lois Lane who later grows up and falls in love with Clark Kent, aka Superman. In this story, though, she is just a teenager. Like all teenagers, she has to make her way through life, navigating the perils of friendship and social connections. There is going to be a big bike race in Lois' neighborhood and Lois is determined to win. She has started a new video channel to promote herself and her adventures. Her bike needs some work before the big race, so she takes it to the local bike shop. But she runs into a problem when the bike store is robbed and her bike, along with the town's stash of fireworks, is stolen. Lois must figure out a way to find the missing fireworks, recover her stolen bicycle, and keep her friendship with her best friend intact. Can she handle all of that? (Ages 8-12)

Rise of Zombert
Kara LaReau, author
Ryan Andrews, illustrator
9781536201062, $15.99

Christine Irvin

When Mellie finds a scraggly looking cat behind a dumpster, she hides him in her room and names him Bert. But Bert as a bizarre way of tearing the heads off of animals, including the stuffed animals in her room and the birds and mice he catches. Mellie's best friend, Danny, thinks Bert is a zombie, because zombies eat the brains of their victims. So Danny calls Bert, "Zombert" and the name sticks. The two of them try to figure out why Zombert acts so strangely, and in the process, learn other strange things are happening in their town. This is the first book in the Zombert series. The author sprinkles the narrative with some cat facts and trivia, and illustrator Ryan Andrews provides some detailed black-and-white illustrations throughout the book. (Ages 8-12)

Discovering Energy
Eduard Altarriba, Johannes Hirn, and Veronica Sanz
Button Books
9781787080485, $TBA

Dr. Dawn Menge

Teaching the different forms of energy can be a complex and puzzling concept for a teacher or a parent. This beautifully illustrated book covers many forms of energy and how we've come to understand its origins. What exactly is energy? "Aristotle, the clever ancient Greek, realized that sometimes nothing is happening, but it might." How did sailors learn to harness the wind? Centuries of sailing. "As far as we know, the first sails were used about 5,500 years ago on the River Nile." If your child is intrigued by how energy works, this is a wonderful book to add to your library. (Ages 8-12)

Lila and Hadley
Kody Keplinger
9781338306095, $14.99

Christine Irvin

Hadley has a lot to be angry about: Her mom was sent to jail and she has to move in with her older sister who lives in another state. She has to leave her friends and her school behind. And, if that wasn't enough, she is going blind and there's nothing she can do to stop it. Hadley does a lot of feeling sorry for herself until she meets Lila. Lila is a pit bull mix that has been abandoned at the local dog rescue where Hadley's sister works. Lila hasn't found a forever home because she is extremely anti-social. Bu, the two strike up a friendship of sorts. Lila comes to live with Hadley so Hadley can train her, and in the process, the two learn valuable lessons together. (Ages 8-12)

300 Minutes of Danger
Jack Heath
Sterling Children's Books
9781454931416, $7.95

Christine Irvin

This book contains 10 short stories, each featuring a different teenager in immediate danger. The action in each story takes place within a 30-minute time range, hence the title for the book. George finds himself in a failing airplane with no pilot, no engine, and a ripped parachute. Milla gets covered in radioactive waste as her Hazmat suit runs out of air. Nassim is poisoned and has only 30 minutes to live before the poison kills him. Each story is fast-paced. (Ages 8-12)

The Light at the Lake
Sarah R. Baughman
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
9780316422406, $7.99

Diana Perry

Twelve-year-old Addie should stay away from Maple Lake. After all, her twin brother, Amos, drowned there only a few months ago. But its crisp, clear water runs in Addie's veins, and the notebook Amos left behind - filled with clues about a mysterious creature that lives in the lake's inky-blue depths - keeps calling her back. This story is heart-warming, is laced with scientific facts, and teaches how to overcome challenges. (Ages 8-12)

The Ice Garden
Guy Jones
Chicken House
9781338285338, $17.99

Diana Perry

Allergic to the sun, Jess sets out to explore the world she longs to be a part of by night. One night, tired of peeking at the other children beyond her curtained house, she sneaks out to explore the empty playground she's longed to visit. Beyond, she discovers a garden made entirely of ice. This is her place: a Narnia with flying elephant mice and ice apples with shining gold liquid inside. But Jess soon discovers that she's not alone. And her presence there could be destroying its very existence. Young readers will find danger, courage, and perseverance in this heart-warming story of overcoming pitfalls of life. (Ages 8-12)

Connect the Dots
Keith Calabrese
9781338354034, $16.99

Christine Irvin

Is there anything more random than middle school? Sixth graders Oliver and Frankie don't think so. Their first few weeks have been full of weirdness - lunchtime thievery, free beef jerky, and Matilda, the mysterious new girl who knows everything about them but has a lot to learn about making friends. Connect the Dots is an intricately plotted story about the power of human connection and a chain of "coincidences" so serendipitous they must be destiny at work. (Ages 8-12)

Elijah Lovejoy's Fight for Freedom
Jennifer Phillips
Independently Published
9781734233629, $9.50

Darleen Wohlfeil

Life flows in circles and cycles, and history tends to repeat itself. Hopefully, as we grow as a people, and develop as communities, we will one day begin to learn and outgrow the smallness of times that preceded us. Elijah Lovejoy, a white newspaper editor of the 1800s, believed in the freedom his newly found country proclaimed. He lived and he died for those beliefs. It was freedom he cherished. Whether freedom for all men, for women, for the right to believe and voice that belief freely. That's what made these new United States powerful. Lovejoy's death turned slavery into a national debate and helped mobilize the abolitionist movement. (Ages 9-12)

Remembering Green: An Ojibwe Girl's Tale
Lisa Gammon Olson, author
Lauren Rutledge, illustrator
Eifrig Publishing
9781632332707, $9.99

Darleen Wohlfeil

Remembering Green features Wenonah, an Ojibwe girl from the Lac Du Flambeau tribe in northern Wisconsin in the early 1900s during the forced assimilation period of Native American children into the white culture. Often, we cannot prevent what comes, what demands are laid upon us. But we all have the power over our responses. Times, circumstances, and people can force conformity, but no one can possess who we are. That can only be lost by our own forfeit. We are not defined by our outward situations or circumstances, but by the heart that beats within us. (Ages 10+)

Legend of the Storm Sneezer
Kristiana Sfirlea
Monster Ivy Publishing
9781948095563, $15.99

Christine Irvin

Thirteen-year-old Rose Skylar sneezed a magical storm cloud at birth, and it's followed her around ever since. But when Stormy causes one too many public disasters, Rose is taken to Heartstone, an asylum for unstable magic. Its location? The heart of a haunted forest whose trees have mysteriously turned to stone. They say the ghosts are bound to the woods ... then why does Rose see them drifting outside the windows at night? Guided by her future selves via time traveling letters, Rose must solve the mystery of the specters and the stone trees before the ghosts unleash a legendary enemy that will make their own spooks look like a couple of holey bed sheets....Kristiana Sfirlea incorporates some imaginative literary devices in the telling of the story, interrupting the story with input from both the past and future Rose. (Ages 10-12)

Pippa Park Raises Her Game
Erin Yun
Fabled Films Press
9781944020262, $15.99

Christine Irvin

Readers will cheer on Korean American Pippa Park in this compelling middle grade reimagining of Great Expectations. Navigating friendships and cyberbullying at a new school, Pippa reinvents herself and discovers who she really is. Author Erin Yun includes several extra items in the back of the book: a list of 12 Discussion Questions about events in the story; a Question-and-Answer segment with the author; and a glossary of Korean words that are used throughout the text. (Ages 10-12)

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