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    More Sequels and Series

    By Nancy Brashear and Carolyn Angus
     | Jul 22, 2019

    This week’s column features first books in new series and the latest books in episodic series that can be read in any order as well as standalone titles that will entice readers to earlier books. We’ve included picture books and early chapter books for younger readers and books in a variety of genres for older readers. All are perfect for summer reading.

    Ages 4–8

    A Is for Elizabeth (A Is for Elizabeth #1). Rachel Vail. Ill. Paige Keiser. 2019. Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan.

    A Is for ElizabethIn this spinoff from Rachel Vail’s Justin Case series, little sister Elizabeth is excited about her first homework assignment: “Make name posters.” She is not so excited that the name must be your own name. Since her teacher Ms. Patel’s rules of class organization involve doing everything in alphabetical order, annoying Anna’s poster will be first in the wall display. Because Elizabeth gets creative with spelling and uses small sticks and stones and lots of runny glue to make the letters, her name ends up looking like “AAbAmmm!moxooo!Eoo’oAth!” How Elizabeth turns her disastrous project into a protest against alphabetical order and then into a lively class discussion on rules and fairness will delight readers and leave them eager to discover what happens next in Class 2B in simultaneously published Big Mouth Elizabeth.
    —CA

    Dinosaur Farm! Penny Dale. 2019. Nosy Crow/Candlewick.

    Dinosaur Farm!In Penny Dale’s latest dinosaur adventure, farmer dinosaurs are hard at work operating heavy equipment on Dinosaur Farm. Dinosaurs plow the soil; feed livestock; build fences; fertilize fields; harvest crops; and scrub, clean, and pack up produce before traveling to the farm show with their animals and crops. On the final double-page spread, all the dinosaurs celebrate. “Happy dinosaurs cheering, cheering for Dinosaur Farm. Dinosaur Farm, the BEST in the show! Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!” Young children will enjoy looking for the two piglets who escape from their pen and can be found hidden in the colorful, richly detailed rural scenes throughout the book. The ten dinosaurs and nine farm machines featured in the book are identified on the endpapers.
    —CA

    Harold & Hog Pretend for Real! (Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! #6).Dan Santat. 2019. Hyperion/Disney.

    Harold & HogIn this latest entry in the metafictive Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series for early readers, when best friends carefree Harold and careful Hog spy Mo Willem’s Elephant and Piggie reading Harold & Hog Pretend for Real!, they decide to pretend they are Gerald and Piggie. Harold dons a pair of glasses and pops a paper snout on Hog. However, there are personality problems. Hog points out “I am too CAREFUL to be Piggie!” and Harold realizes “I am too CAREFREE to be Gerald!” Can they be best friends if they cannot pretend to be best friends? Yes, if they switch the glasses and paper snout. The book concludes with a cameo appearance by Willem’s Pigeon and with Elephant and Piggie pretending to be Harold and Hog.
    —CA

    Waylon! The Most Awesome of All (Waylon! #3). Sara Pennypacker. Ill. Marla Frazee. 2019. Disney-Hyperion.

    Waylon!On June 14, fourth grader Waylon hopes to meet astrophysicist Dr. Margaret J. Geller when he presents his Sound Waves: Good Vibrations project at the Boston Science Expo. Neon, his sister, is directing her original performance at the Beantown Repertory Theater with their fatherplaying the main role, and Mom won’t disclose her mysterious appointment on the family calendar for that day. Things get more complicated for Waylon when Dad is summoned to Hollywood about selling the screenplay he’s worked on for two years, and Waylon volunteers to save Neon’s play by substituting for him in a role that’s sure to embarrass him for life. And his friend Mitchell will present Waylon’s science project and be the one to meet Dr. Geller. Marla Frazee’s expressive black-and-white drawings add to the story's excitement. 
    —NB

    Ages 9–11

    The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter (Mad Wolf’s Daughter #2). Diane Magras. 2019. Kathy Dawson/Penguin.

    The Hunt for the Mad Wolf's FatherAfter rescuing her five older brothers and Grimbol (her “Mad Wolf” father), 12-year-old warrior Drest is on a quest to help her best friend, Lord Emerick Faintree, recapture his castle from his treacherous uncle, Sir Oswyn Faintree, who has put a “wolf’s head” (a bounty for capture or killing) on her. With the uncle and his knights after her, Drest must stay ahead of all of them as she clears the way for Emerick, who has been injured, to claim his legacy. Immersed in nonstop adventure, danger, and political intrigue, this feisty heroine strives to win the respect of her father as a warrior to be reckoned with instead of being ordered to stay hidden safely away and relegated to women’s work. Back matter includes a glossary and author’s note detailing relevant history in 1210 Scotland.
    —NB

    Mr. Penguin and the Fortress of Secrets (Mr. Penguin #2). Alex T. Smith. 2019. Peachtree.

    Mr. PenguinWhile on a mission to recover the Enigma Stone for Professor Stout-Girdle, Mr. Penguin, his sidekick Colin (a kung fu master spider), Edith Hedge (a resourceful human friend), and her pigeon Graham crash their plane near the village of Schneedorf-on-the-Peak on a snowy mountaintop. Rescued by Dieter and Lisle Strudel, their agreement to help solve a case involving missing pet rodents (including Dieter’s hamster, Colonel Tuftybum) soon finds them at a remote, thought-to-be-abandoned fortress on a neighboring mountain and facing Dr. Mesmero, a hypnotist with a diabolical plan to take over the world. Readers of this delightfully silly chapter book will eagerly await Mr. Penguin’s next adventure set up by a surprise meeting during a victory celebration at the Haus of Strudel with Sir Reginal Spy-Glasse, Chief Undercover Investigator from B.U.M. (the Bureau of Unsolved Mysteries).
    —CA

    Sal & Gabi Break the Universe (Sal & Gabi #1). Carlos Hernandez. 2019. Rick Riordan Presents/Disney-Hyperion.

    Sal & Gabi Break the UniverseIn this Cuban-flavored coming-of-age sci-fi adventure, 12-year-old Sal Vidón, new student and magician, makes a splash at Culeco Academy of the Arts during his first week when he accidentally taps into the multiverse and threatens its delicate balance by transporting a dead chicken from another dimension into the locker of Yasmany Robles, the school bully. Student body president Gabi Reál sets out to expose Sal’s brujo tricks in the school paper, but their lives intertwine unexpectedly at the hospital where her newborn brother struggles for his life and Sal entertains sick children. Sal’s physicist father, his helpful American Stepmom, versions of his dearly departed mother (Mami Muerta) from parallel universes, and Principal Torres (and friends, family members, and teachers) round out the quirky ensemble in this quick-paced, fun-to-read series opener filled with bilingual banter, Cuban food, magic, friendship, and humor— while also dealing with issues of abuse and illness.
    —NB

    Stephen Curry (Epic Athletes #1). Dan Wetzel. Ill. Zeke Peña. 2019. Henry Holt/Macmillan.

    Stephen CurryWardell Stephen Curry II was born in in 1988, in Akron, Ohio, and grew up in North Carolina, where his father, Dell, played for the Charlotte Hornets. Steph, who loved basketball, was a good ball handler and shooter but usually the smallest player on the court. He worked tirelessly to develop his talent and became an outstanding player at Davidson College. His dream of playing for the NBA came true when he was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 2009. Sports journalist Dan Wetzel’s account of Curry’s career from an overlooked high school player to three-time NBA champion on a team with the prospect of winning more championships includes exciting accounts of games and an abundance of quotes (from Curry, coaches, teammates, and others) and is accompanied by Zeke Peña’s comic-style paneled artwork.
    —CA

    Ages 12–14

    Freedom Fire (Dactyl-Hill Squad #2). Daniel José Older. 2019. Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic.

    Freedom FireTwelve-year-old Magdalys Roca, from the Colored Orphan Asylum in New York, flies south on the back of Stella, her giant pteranodon, with a group of friends to find her older brother, Montez, lost in the Civil War. Swept into the Battle of Chickamauga in Tennessee alongside the dino-mounted Louisiana Native troops, her developing skill in using mental telepathy to direct Stella and other pterobacks becomes evident. After saving General Ulysses S. Grant’s life, Magdalys is recruited by him to form a special regiment of dinowarriors while she searches for her brother in this alternate historical fantasy series. Back matter includes “A Note on the People, Places & Dinos of the Dactyl Hill Squad” (which differentiates fact and fiction in the story) and “A Note on Weapons.”
    —NB

    The Tornado Scientist: Seeing Inside Severe Storms (Scientists in the Field). Mary Kay Carson. Ill. Tom Uhlman. 2019. Houghton Mifflin.

    The Tornado ScientistIn their latest Scientist in the Field book, Mary Kay Carson and Tom Uhlman introduce readers to “tornado scientist” Robin Tanamachi, whose fascination with tornadoes as a child led to her career as a research meteorologist and radar expert. A lively narrative and an abundance of captioned photographs cover Tanamachi’s activities, from storm chasing in Tornado Alley in the Midwest to her present research with the Vortex-SE team surveying the hard-to-predict severe storms of Dixie Alley in the Southeast. Numerous text boxes and diagrams provide additional information on the science of tornadoes such as the EF Rating Scale and weather radar scans. Back matter includes a glossary of words and acronyms; websites on tornadoes, research, and tornado safety; sources of quotes and a selected bibliography; and an index.
    —CA

    Ages 15+

    King of Scars (King of Scars #1). Leigh Bardugo. 2019. Imprint/Macmillan.

    King of ScarsNikolai Lantsov, the young king of Ravka, strives to heal the fractured kingdom he’s inherited. At the urging of General Zoya Nazyalensky, he’ll choose a wife at a gala event to forge political alliances and plan for producing an heir to secure the throne and Ravka’s future. With a monster growing within him, those closest to Nikolai cover for his absences and random slaughter of animals. Before the ball, he must travel to the Shadow Fold to destroy the source of the Darkling’s power that has infected him while Isaak, his “double,” carries on business in the court as usual where an insurgency is brewing. In this complex fantasy adventure, reminiscent of “Beauty and the Beast,” readers will root for Nikolai to overcome his affliction in time to save his kingdom.
    —NB

    Nancy Brashear is Professor Emeritus of English, Azusa Pacific University, in Azusa, California. Carolyn Angus is former director of the George G. Stone Center for Children's Books, Claremont Graduate University, in Claremont, California.

    These reviews are submitted by members of the International Literacy Association's Children's Literature and Reading Special Interest Group (CL/R SIG) and are published weekly on Literacy Daily. 

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    Books From Across the Pond

    By Skye Deiter and Carolyn Angus
     | Jul 16, 2019

    In this week’s column, we review U.S. editions of books that originated in Great Britain and Ireland. Included are books by authors and illustrators who continue to receive national and international recognition and are popular with readers on both sides of “the pond.” 

    Ages 4–8 

    The Baby Beast. Chris Judge. 2019. Andersen USA.

    The Baby BeastWhen Beast discovers a surprise, an egg, at his door, disaster unfolds as he attempts to look after it (almost losing the egg, dropping it in the bath, and chasing it down a hill). Fortunately, Dr. Yoko helps Beast by giving care instructions. “It all seemed clear except for one thing: ‘What am I waiting for?’ wondered the Beast.” He eagerly purchases necessary items and follows the doctor’s advice—just in time for Baby Beast’s arrival. A combination of colorful spreads and panels depict the ups and downs of parenting as Beast takes care of his precious egg—and soon after, Baby Beast. This sweet, humorous story concludes with one last comical surprise on the Beast family’s doorstep. Chris Judge lives in Ireland.
    —SD

    The Great Gran Plan. Elli Woollard. Ill. Steven Lenton. 2019. Godwin/Henry Holt/Macmillan.

    The Great Gran PlanWhen one of the three little pigs discovers the wolf’s next intended victim, he sets out for town to acquire a Superpig cape, spy binoculars, and rope. “Pig to the rescue—SAVE THAT GRAN!” Having to settle for substitutes: a shawl, a pair of big glasses on a pearl chain, and a basket of yarn, he soon finds himself mistaken for Red Riding Hood’s granny and pursued by the hungry wolf. Now it’s Gran to the rescue as she ensnares the wolf in a net, and together they take the wolf to Fairy Tale Jail. As children enjoy repeated readings of this rhyming fractured fairy tale, they can also search for characters from fairy tales and nursery rhymes in the colorful, richly detailed illustration. Elli Woollard and Steven Lenton live in England.
    —CA

    The Grumpy Duck. Joyce Dunbar. Ill. Petr Horáček. 2019. Candlewick.

    Grumpy DuckPetr Horáček’s brightly colored, textured illustrations combined with Joyce Dunbar’s lively text, rich with onomatopoeia, will dazzle young readers as they enjoy this story in which animals learn lessons about feelings and friendship. Duck, whose grumpiness about the dry pond causes a little gray cloud to appear above her, encounters animal friends including Dog, who suggests digging together, and Rabbit, who proposes a jumping contest. As Duck finds fault in each new invitation to play, the cloud grows BIGGER. Her negativity eventually produces a large, dark Grumpy Duck cloud, which, in turn, makes the other animals moody, until it bursts. “Suddenly there were . . . MILLIONS OF BIG SHINY WET SPLASHY RAINDROPS!” Duck “splished and splashed and sploshed” and wasn’t grumpy anymore, and the other animals happily joined her. Joyce Dunbar lives in England; Petr Horáček was born in Czechoslovakia and now lives in England.
    —SD

    The Little Rabbit. Nicola Killen. 2019. Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster.

    The Little RabbitAfter waiting for the rain to stop, Ollie (dressed in a gray bunny suit) is ready to splash in the puddles with her toy bunny. “Ollie spotted the perfect puddle right away, but before she could jump in…Whooooosh! A sudden breeze whistled past, bringing a cloud of blossoms with it.” One of the blossom petals (illustrated with gold foil embellishments) lands on Bunny’s nose. He comes to life and hops off. Ollie chases after Bunny, and with Ollie’s bravery— and a little help from the magical breeze—the two are reunited and find their way back home. Nicola Killen’s text placement, die-cut pages, and illustrations in limited colors (gray with pops of yellow and green) capture the playful spirit of Ollie and Bunny’s adventure. Nicola Killen lives in England.
    —SD

    What Does an Anteater Eat? Ross Collins. 2019. Nosy Crow/Candlewick.

    What Does an Anteater Eat 02Unable to remember what an anteater eats, hungry Anteater queries various animals—from a lazy sloth too busy resting to reply to a cheetah, who doesn’t know but says he looks very tasty. Coming upon a colony of ants busily carrying bits of banana back to their anthill under a banana tree, his “Excuse me, I don’t suppose you happen to know what an—” is met with “Run!” Now Anteater knows what an anteater eats, or does he? The surprising answer he comes up with is revealed on the final double-page spread: “BANANAS!” Ross Collins’ silly story, illustrated with bold cartoon artwork done in watercolor and charcoal and told entirely in dialogue, is perfect for reading aloud. Ross Collins lives in Scotland.
    —CA

    What the Ladybug Heard at the Zoo. Julia Donaldson. Ill. Lydia Monks. 2019. Henry Holt/Macmillan.

    What the Ladybug Heard at the ZooOn a visit to the zoo, the ladybug sees Lanky Len and Hefty Hugh. “And she heard them chuckle, “Ho ho ho! / We’re going to kidnap Monkey Joe.” They’re planning to have Joe break into the Queen’s bedroom and steal her crown. The ladybug, however, has a clever plan, which she whispers to Joe before she flies to the palace to enlist the cooperation of the Queen’s corgis, Willow and Holly. “And both the dogs agreed to do / Just what the ladybug told them to.” The thieves end up with a bag full of bones instead of the crown and find themselves pursued by every dog in town. Extend the enjoyment of this Ladybug adventure, presented in playful rhyming couplets and colorful collage illustrations, by reading What the Ladybug Heard (2010) and What the Ladybug Heard Next (2018). Julia Donaldson divides her time between England and Wales; Lydia Monks lives in England.
    —CA

    Ages 9–11

    Good Dog, McTavish. Meg Rosoff. Ill. Grace Eaton. 2019. Candlewick.

    Good Dog, McTavishChildren will be delighted to read this short, illustrated novel about a disheveled family, who, after Ma Peachey has chosen to resign from her motherly duties, agrees to adopt a rescue dog, a Scottish terrier mix named McTavish. In an ironic twist, McTavish perceives his new family as a rescue family in need of training. “When you took on a rescue family, it often took some weeks for them to settle, but he was glad he’d decided to adopt the Peacheys.” A limited omniscient narrator relays not only McTavish’s thoughts but also those of 8-year-old Betty, the youngest (and most stable, aside from Ma Peachey) member of the family. Together, McTavish and Betty work towards a common goal of making the Peachey family functional again. Meg Rosoff lives in England; Grace Eaton lives in the U.S.
    —SD

    Ocean Emporium: A Compilation of Creatures. Susie Brooks. Ill. Dawn Cooper. 2019. Charlesbridge.

    Ocean EmporiumAn introductory “Welcome to the Emporium” invites readers to explore the diversity of life in our planet’s oceans, home to more than a million species. Each double-page spread includes an introductory paragraph, text boxes of related information, and full-color realistic images of representative marine animals, labeled with their common and scientific names. Some spreads focus on the variety of one group of animals such as sea urchins, sea turtles, sharks, whales, and penguins; other spreads examine different habitats (coral reefs and “the deep”) or ocean rivalries (orcas vs. great white sharks or swordfish vs. mackerel). A table of contents makes it easy to find information, and the back matter contains a glossary and an index. Susie Brooks lives in Scotland; Dawn Cooper lives in England.
    —SD

    Ages 12–14

    The Afterwards. A. F. Harrold. Ill. Emily Gravett. 2019. Bloomsbury.

    The AfterwardsEmber’s best friend and neighbor, Ness, has died after a fall from a swing in the park. Uncle Graham, who’s grieving over the death of his beloved dog, Betty, takes his niece Ember for a walk that ends at a gate opening into a black-and-white world, the place where the recently dead reside for as long as it takes for them to forget that they ever were alive. He’s made a deal to swap her for Betty. Ember finds Ness and wants to take her home from this afterworld. But as the mysterious talking cat that Ember keeps meeting explains, rules about life and death have been broken and that can’t happen. In the end, it will take a sacrifice on the part of the cat to restore the balance between the worlds of the living and the dead needed to get Ember back home. Emily Gravett’s soft watercolor and pencil artwork beautifully complement A. F. Harrold’s eerily disturbing, yet lovely, story of letting go and accepting the death of a loved one. A. F. Harrold and Emily Gravett live in England.
    —CA

    The Book of Unwyse Magic. Claire Fayers. 2019. Henry Holt/Macmillan.

    The Book of Unwyse MagicThis fantasy/mystery hybrid centers around “The Book,” an enchanted book responsible fora magical covenant between the Human World and Unworld, in which pairs of magic mirrors form doorways between the two worlds so the requests of humans for magical goods can be supplied by Fair Folk. One day, 12-year-olds Ava (from Wyse in the Human World) and Howell (from Unwyse in the Unworld) accidentally restore an inactive mirror’s magic. Connected in a magical way they don’t understand at first, Ava and Howell form a friendship over their suspicions of Lord Skinner and Mr. Bones, respective “rulers” of their cities. Now, the determined pair must travel between worlds to protect “The Book” as its guardians, or—as the “The Book” alludes to in witty epigraphs—both worlds will be doomed. Claire Fayers lives in Wales.
    —SD

    Ages 15+

    Goodbye, Perfect. Sara Barnard. 2019. Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster.

    Goodbye, PerfectOn Saturday just before their GCSEs begin, Eden receives a text from her best friend, Bonnie, that she’s run away with Jack, her secret boyfriend, and has Eden swear that she’ll tell no one that they have been in contact. When the police arrive at her home, she’s surprised to learn that Jack is Mr. Cohn, the music teacher at Kett Academy. As Bonnie continues to keep Eden apprised of their whereabouts, it becomes harder for Eden to continue to keep silent. Continually lying to everyone while faced with Bonnie’s seeming disregard for the feelings of other causes Eden to wonder about everything she thought she knew about her ever-so-perfect friend, her own decidedly not-so-perfect self, and their relationship. What should she do? This compelling novel, told from Eden’s point of view, including “Conversations That Took on a New Meaning after Bonnie Disappeared” sections, is a thought-provoking exploration of issues of perfection, love, family, and friendship. Sarah Barnard lives in England.
    —CA

    Skye Deiter is an elementary classroom teacher in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and a recent graduate from Pennsylvania State Harrisburg’s Masters in Literacy Education Program. Carolyn Angus is former director of the George G. Stone Center for Children's Books, Claremont Graduate University, in Claremont, California.

    These reviews are submitted by members of the International Literacy Association's Children's Literature and Reading Special Interest Group (CL/R SIG) and are published weekly on Literacy Daily. 

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    • Children's & YA Literature

    Stories From the Past (Continued)

    By Sandip Wilson and Carolyn Angus
     | Jul 08, 2019

    In this second column of Stories from the Past, we review additional recently published books, some fiction and some nonfiction, that will engage and inform readers of all ages with stories of historical events that are as exciting and suspenseful as they are moving and heartfelt.

    Ages 4–8

    The Cat Who Lived with Anne Frank. David Lee Miller & Steven Jay Rubin. Ill. Elizabeth Baddeley. 2019. Philomel/Penguin.

    The Cat Who Lived With Anne FrankMouschi, the cat of Peter, whose family hid with the Franks in the Secret Annex over a spice factory in Amsterdam during the Holocaust, tells how he too is in hiding because Jews are forbidden to own pets. Mouschi, along with the eight people living in the annex, must stay silent during the day to avoid detection. Unlike them, however, he is free to explore the streets crowded with “Black Spiders” (Nazi soldiers) and witnesses and reports on what is happening to “Yellow Stars” (Jewish people) in the city. Narration from the point of view of Mouschi and incorporation of hand-lettered excerpts from Anne Frank’s diary in expressive mixed-media illustrations make this picture book an accessible introduction to the Anne Frank story. Back matter includes biographical information about Anne Frank, a note on the characters and places in the story, and sources.
    —CA

    Girls with Guts!: The Road to Breaking Barriers and Bashing Records. Debbi Gonzales. Ill. Rebeca Gibbon. 2019. Charlesbridge.

    Girls with GutsThis engaging informational picture bookis a lively introduction to women athletes who “competed when others said they shouldn’t—or couldn’t” including Gertrude Ederle, who became the first woman to swim the English Channel in 1926; Althea Gibson, who became the first black athlete to win a Grand Slam tennis title in 1956; and Donna de Varona, who won medals as a member of the US Olympic swimming team in 1964. The book also traces the activities of Congresswoman Edith Green, Shirley Chisolm, Patsy Mink, and other activists who advocated for equal academic and athletic opportunities for girls. Their challenges to unfair federal funding eventually led to the passage in 1972 of Title IX, which mandated equal treatment for girls under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. Backmatter includes an extensive time line (from 1880–1890 to 2017), author’s note, and a bibliography.
    —CA

    Stubby: A True Story of Friendship. Michael Foreman. 2019. Andersen Press USA.

    StubbyA soldier narrates this true story of a stray dog that entered an Army training camp in Connecticut, in 1917, looking for food, and was befriended by the soldiers, including the narrator who instead of leaving the dog behind, takes Stubby with him on the train and then the ship across the Atlantic. Stubby, who, with his keen hearing warns soldiers of approaching enemy and with his keen sense of smell warns them of gas attacks, becomes a war hero. Realistic illustrations in luminous watercolor and graphite show scenes of war in the trenches and the power of friendship. Back matter includes an archival photograph of Stubby with his medals and more information about Stubby, Corporal Robert Conroy, their experiences on the front lines, and Stubby’s valor and life after the war.
    —SW

    Ages 911

    Last of the Name. Rosanne Parry. 2019. Carolrhoda/Lerner.

    Last of the NameIn early 1863, 12-year-old Daniel O’Carolan and his older sister Kathleen emigrate from Ireland with their grandmother, the last of their family, to New York City. After their grandmother dies at sea, the children arrive with a bundle she left them. Through the Catholic Church, Kathleen and Daniel, disguised as a girl named Mary, find rooms and domestic work in the house of a wealthy family. Daniel charms townspeople with his golden voice and haunting Irish songs but their lives become endangered during five days of draft riots in the summer of 1863 that include many Irish protestors. Kathleen and Daniel discover their family history revealed in their grandmother’s bundle. Front matter contains a map of Lower Manhattan with places, both fictional and real, featured in the book. The back matter includes an author’s note with more information on 19th-century immigration of Europeans to America and changes in the demographics of New York City, books for further reading, and questions for discussion.
    —SW

    The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA. Brenda Woods. 2019. Nancy Paulsen/Penguin.

    The Unsung Hero of BirdsongExcited about riding the Schwinn Deluxe he receives on his twelfth birthday, Gabriel Haberlin does not see Mrs. Babcock racing through town in her yellow Roadmaster. Meriwether Hunter, who served in the 761st Tank Battalion, nicknamed “the Black Panthers,” and resettled with his family in Birdsong, South Carolina, pulls Gabriel to safety and fixes his damaged bicycle. When Gabriel extols the town’s events to honor war heroes, Meriwether explains that colored men, who fought side by side with white soldiers, are not part of the parade and must keep their war stories secret because their physical safety, even their lives, are threatened when white people learn of their experiences. Gabriel learns lessons about friendship, racism, resourcefulness, and valor after he asks his father to give Meriwether a job as a mechanic in his auto garage and witnesses the prejudice of the other mechanic rumored to have Ku Klux Klan connections. Acknowledgments in the back detail contributions of men and women of color in the armed forces.
    —SW

    Ages 12–14

    The Good Son: A Story from the First World War Told in Miniature. Pierre-Jacques Ober. Ill. Jules Ober & Felicity Coonan. 2019. Candlewick Studio/Candlewick.

    The Good SonIn 1914, during the war that was supposed to last only a few months, soldiers continue to march to battle—except for one. Pierre, a young French soldier, who had gone home for two days to spend Christmas with his widowed mother. Upon returning to his regiment, Pierre is imprisoned and sentenced to death for desertion. Told with a minimal text and intriguing photographs of tableaus created with toy soldiers, this thought-provoking story of a good son who wanted to be a good soldier ends with “About one hundred years ago, the whole world went to war. It was supposed to last months. It was supposed to be over by Christmas. It was fought by little soldiers like Pierre. It would be won by little soldiers like Pierre. But not by Christmas. And not by Pierre.” Back matter includes a note from the author or his connection to the story and notes and photographs of the process used in creating the book.
    —CA

    A Slip of a Girl. Patricia Reilly Giff. 2019. Holiday House.

    A Slip of a GirlIn this free-verse novel set during the time of the Irish Land Wars brought about by the rebellion of Irish tenants to eviction by English landlords for failing to pay unreasonable rents, Anna Mallon is determined to honor the promises she made to her dying mother: to keep her baby sister Nuala safe and protect the Mallon’s house and land. When Anna breaks the earl’s window after failing to meet with him about an extension on their rent payment, she and her father are jailed. She escapes and makes the long journey with Nuala to an elderly aunt’s home. They are safe, but with news of the growing unrest of tenant farmers, Anna knows she must go home. “I’ll be strong / to get back what belongs / to us, / what has always belonged: / our house, / our land.” Captioned archival photographs interspersed among the poems help set the scene. Back matter includes a glossary and an author’s note.
    —CA

    Ages 15+

    Someday We Will Fly. Rachel DeWoskin. 2019. Viking/Penguin.

    Someday We Will FlyLillia narrates the story of the journey she takes with her circus performer father and younger sister when they flee 1940 Warsaw, Poland, leaving behind her mother who has disappeared. Escaping by car out of Warsaw, they take a train from Lithuania to Italy and sail to Shanghai, which is occupied by the Japanese Army but is one of few places in the world welcoming Jewish refugees. The family finds shelter in Hongkou, and her father searches for employment as they eke out survival. Always hungry but wanting to hold onto her old self as she discovers a new self, Lillia continues her dance and acrobat practice and attends the Kaadori School, where she befriends, Wei, a Chinese boy who acts as the school’s janitor but wants to be a student, and learns Chinese. As her new self, Lillia ventures into the International Settlement and becomes a dancer at a night club, a job she keeps secret from her family, but their lives change when Japan bombs Pearl Harbor in 1941. Back matter includes an author’s note detailing research in Shanghai and separating fact from fiction and sources consulted.
    —SW   

    Susan B. Anthony (The Making of America #4). Teri Kanefield. 2019. Abrams.

    The Making of AmericaBorn at a time when a woman had no rights to own property, to keep hard-earned income from her labors, or to have custody of her children if she divorced, Susan B. Anthony (18211905), known “as a woman ruled by logic, serenely self-assured, and dignified,” became an outspoken champion of women’s rights involving her in political action nationally, including extensive travel to western states that passed legislation for women’s suffrage. This biography, which includes archival images and photographs, shows Susan B. Anthony as a tireless and outspoken advocate for the rights and freedoms of women and African Americans in face of entrenched opposition, and describes her lifelong friendship and collaboration with Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The final chapter chronicles the changes in rights for women that followed Anthony’s death, including the passage of the 19th amendment to the Constitution of the United States in 1919. Back matter includes source notes; a timeline; excerpts from Anthony’s selected writings; a bibliography that includes primary sources, books, articles, and legal cases; acknowledgments; and an index.
    —SW

    Sandip LeeAnne Wilson is a professor in the School of Education and the English Department of Husson University, Bangor, Maine, and is serving on the Children’s Literature and Reading SIG’s Notable Books for a Global Society Committee. Carolyn Angus is former director of the George G. Stone Center for Children's Books, Claremont Graduate University, in Claremont, California.
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    Stories From the Past

    By Sandip Wilson and Carolyn Angus
     | Jul 02, 2019

    Books on historical topics bring to life events and individuals, some of them familiar and some new, for readers. The stories reviewed in this week’s column make engaging reading for pleasure and for learning about different places and time periods.

    Ages 48

    Born to Ride: A Story About Bicycle Face. Larissa Theule. Ill. Kelsey Garrity-Riley. 2019. Abrams.

    Born to RideThe year is 1896, and Louisa Belinda Bellflower is told she can’t ride a bicycle because girls are not strong enough to balance and, in trying to ride, their eyes will bulge and jaws clench, giving them “bicycle face,” which can be permanent. Determined to ride, she trades her restrictive dress for her brother’s trousers and, though she falls again and again, she learns to ride.  Her bicycle face is a “gigantic, joyous smile.” Whimsical naïve paintings depict Louisa Belinda’s activities and scenes of Rochester, New York, bustling with bicycle riders. The final double-page spread pictures many women and girls (including Louisa Belinda and her mother dressed in pants) cycling to join a women’s suffrage rally. Back matter has more information about restrictions on women in the 1890s and describes women’s efforts, in the face of resistance, to become wheelwomen.
    —SW

    Follow Me to Nicodemus Town: Based on the History of the African American Pioneer Settlement. A. LaFaye. Ill. Nicole Tadgell. 2019. Albert Whitman.

    Follow Me Down to Nicodemus TownDede Patton, who earns pennies shining shoes at the train station, returns the wallet a man dropped while racing to catch his train and receives a reward of 10 dollars. Her parents, who work from “sun-climb to sun-slide” as sharecroppers, now have enough money to take advantage of the U.S. government’s offer of free land to homestead on the Kansas prairie near a soon-to-built town, Nicodemus. Warm, richly detailed watercolor illustrations show the experiences of the Patton family as they survive years of hardship during which they build a sod house, work the land and grow crops, and finally see their dream of owning their own farm come true. Historical context is provided in a note on the Exodusters, the African Americans who participated in the land rush to the frontier in the 1870s, and the development of Nicodemus.
    —CA

    How Emily Saved the Bridge: The Story of Emily Warren Roebling and the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge. Frieda Wishinsky. Ill. Natalie Nelson. 2019. Groundwood/House of Anansi.

    How Emily Saved the BridgeGrowing up during a time when “many girls were told they weren’t smart, especially in math or science,” Emily Warren (18431903) was eager to learn all she could and received a good education before marrying Washington Roebling, a soldier and engineer. In 1869, Emily encouraged her husband to take on the supervision of the construction of the suspension bridge across the East River following the accidental onsite death of his father, the chief engineer. When illness prevented Washington from continuing the work, Emily took over the challenging project, and the Brooklyn Bridge was completed in 1883. Colorful artwork created with digital collage and found photographs with imagined dialogue balloons complement this story of how Emily saved the bridge. Back matter includes interesting facts about the Brooklyn Bridge, suggestions for further reading, source notes, and an author’s note.
    —CA

    Ages 9–11

    Allies. Alan Gratz. 2019. Scholastic.

    AlliesAlan Gratz tells the dramatic story of D-Day from the points of view of a diverse group of individuals representing participants in the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944: paratroopers who landed first, soldiers who stormed the beaches, medics who tended the wounded, and members of the French Resistance who spied on the German army and sabotaged roads, railways, and telephone lines. Extensive author’s notes offer details on the complicated, international mission, code-named Operation Overlord; the beach invasion, Operation Neptune; and other operations for which Gratz created names to separate the stories of the fictional characters; and changes he made to limit the occurrence of events to a single day—from just before dawn on the English Channel to close to midnight on the road to Bayeux on D-Day.
    —CA

    Captain Rosalie. Timothée de Foblelle. Trans. Sam Gordon. Ill. Isabelle Arsenault. 2019. Candlewick.

    Captain Rosalie“I have a secret,” says 5-year-old Rosalie, whose father is fighting on the front during World War I. While her mother works in a factory, the teacher lets Rosalie spend the day at the back of the older children’s classroom. They think she’s just drawing in her notebook and daydreaming, but she’s a soldier with a special mission. Some evenings her mother reads aloud the cheery letters from her father. The nature of Rosalie’s secret mission—to learn to read— is revealed after a gendarme delivers a letter that her mother does not read to her. She steals home during the day to find out what her father really says in his letters (“At night I cry in the mud or Oh, my darling, you will never see me again.) and the letter from the Ministry of War (“Killed in action fighting for his country”). Expressive mixed-media artwork beautifully complements this quiet, powerful wartime story.
    —CA

    Ages 12–14

    1919: The Year That Changed America. Martin W. Sandler. 2019. Bloomsbury.

    19191919, the year after the armistice ending World War I and the second year of the deadly influenza pandemic, was also the year that saw other events that changed America including the passage of the 19th amendment that ensured women’s right to vote, the introduction of prohibition, the rise of organized labor, and the chaos of race riots resulting from growing resistance to racial discrimination. The book opens with a tragic event, the Great Molasses Flood that destroyed a large section of the city of Boston when a giant storage tank of molasses exploded on January 15, a tragic event that raised awareness of the need for government oversight of big business. Illustrated with archival photographs, each chapter details a different major movement and ends with a “One Hundred Years Later” section covering related events and a timeline. Back matter includes books and resources for further reading, a list of Sandler’s research sources, and an index.
    —SW

    O Captain, My Captain: Walt Whitman, Abraham Lincoln, and the Civil War. Robert Burleigh. Ill. Sterling Hundley. 2019. Abrams.

    O Captain, My CaptainWith Robert Burleigh’s lyrical text and Sterling Hundley’s beautifully composed mixed-media illustrations, O Captain, My Captain weaves together the stories of Walt Whitman (1819–1892), one of America’s greatest poets, and Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865), whom the great American poet so greatly admired, during the Civil War years. Using numerous quotes from Whitman’s poetry, Burleigh focuses on how Whitman was affected by his experiences of nursing and supporting injured soldiers in hospitals throughout the city of Washington and the assassination of President Lincoln on April 14, 1865. Back matter includes biographical notes on Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln; a timeline of important dates in the Civil War; two of Whitman’s poems, “O Captain! My Captain!” and “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”; author’s and artist’s notes; endnotes on quotes; a bibliography; and an index.
    —CA

    A Place to Belong. Cynthia Kadohata. Ill. Julia Kuo. 2019. Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum/Simon & Schuster.

    A Place to BelongTwelve-year-old Hanako and her brother, born in the United States, and their parents, also U.S. citizens, are transported to Japan in 1946 when they are freed from the American internment camps where they had been incarcerated for five years. Along with other Japanese immigrants, her father had renounced his citizenship because, as Hanako’s mother explains to her, when the U.S. government came to him in the camp “he wasn’t sure he was safe in America.” As the family lives with her grandparents, tenant farmers, in a village not far from the remains of Hiroshima, and adapts to local customs, eking out a life in post-war Japan, Hanako realizes she has no home in her native country and is a stranger to life in Japan. Back matter includes an Afterword that provides historical context and further information about the citizenship of deported Japanese after World War II.
    —SW

    Ages 15+

    Inventing Victoria. Tonya Bolden. 2019. Bloomsbury.

    Inventing VictoriaA young black woman in 1880s Savannah, Georgia, Essie feels trapped between the life she has and the life she wants. She gets a chance to change her life when Ma Clara, a housekeeper for her mother and solace for her, advocates for her going to school. Ostracized and teased at school she leaves, still hungry for learning. Essie becomes housekeeper at Miss Abby’s boarding house, where she meets Dorcas Vachon, a wealthy, black socialite from Baltimore, Maryland, who offers her a new life but, as Victoria Vashon, she must break all ties with her past. Victoria harbors the secret of her origins and when she falls in love must decide whether to divulge the truth of her past. With its twists and revelations, the novel illustrates the power of patience, persistence, and the strength that comes from these qualities. Back matter includes an author’s note with information separating historical fact from conjecture and notes on research sources.
    —SW

    When the Ground Is Hard. Malla Nunn. 2019. Putnam/Penguin.

    When the Ground is HardSixteen-year-old Adele looks forward to returning to Keziah Christian Academy, a boarding school in the British protectorate of Swaziland, after a winter break with her mother and mixed-race brother, but finds she is no longer one of the top girls, rich and pretty students whose parents pay full fees, just as her white “sometimes father,” who lives in Johannesburg with his other family, does. Adele is assigned a small room with Lottie Diamond, a poor Swazi girl, who is tormented by the clique. Their lives are complicated as they try to find mentally challenged Darnell, who goes missing, the top girls accuse Lottie and Adele of a theft, a raging brush fire threatens the school buildings, and a poor, white landowner threatens people who approach his land. Through Lottie, Adele discovers new ways of being as she learns about her past and her culture. Readers learn about class and racial discrimination in Swaziland in the 1960s in this engrossing coming-of-age story.
    —SW

    Sandip LeeAnne Wilson is a professor in the School of Education and the English Department of Husson University, Bangor, Maine, and is serving on the Children’s Literature and Reading SIG’s Notable Books for a Global Society Committee. Carolyn Angus is former director of the George G. Stone Center for Children's Books, Claremont Graduate University, in Claremont, California.

    These reviews are submitted by members of the International Literacy Association's Children's Literature and Reading Special Interest Group (CL/R SIG) and are published weekly on Literacy Daily

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    Firing Up Minds With Poetry

    By Susan Knell and Nancy Brashear
     | Jun 24, 2019

    The books reviewed this week include eye-catching illustrated anthologies of poems, written in various poetic forms, that tell stories and convey information on a variety of topics. There is also a multi-voiced historical novel in verse that will engage and ignite the interest of older readers. Reading aloud the poems in these collections will encourage an appreciation of the beauty and power of poetry.

    Ages 4–8

    Blooming Beneath the Sun. Christina Rossetti. Ill. Ashley Bryan. 2019. Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum/Simon & Schuster.

    Blooming Beneath the SunThirteen poems by Christina Rossetti (1830–1894) with lively language and rhyme schemes are accompanied by Ashley Bryan’s whimsical, colorful cut-construction paper art. For example, the poem “I Dreamt I Caught a Little Owl” is spotlighted by collage artwork of a colorful, mostly blue owl for the lines “I dreamt I caught a little owl / And the bird was—blue” / “But you may hunt for ever / And not find such a one.” On the facing page, featuring a red sunflower against a bright yellow background, the poem finishes with “I dreamt I set a sunflower, / and red as blood it grew—” / “But such a sunflower never / Bloomed beneath the sun.” The book concludes with a biographical note about Rossetti’s life and work.
    —NB

    Clackety Track: Poems About Trains. Skila Brown. Ill. Jamey Christoph. 2019. Candlewick.

    Clackety TrackSkila Brown’s 13 poems about trains ranging from sleeper trains to zoo trains and everything in between will entertain and inform young readers. As they are whisked down the track on a bullet train and sprayed with snow by a train snowplow, young children learn railroad-related vocabulary (words like pantograph and tethered in the poem “Electric Train”) and word play (such as how to “unpack your appetite” in “Dinner Train”). Brown includes 12 train facts at the end of the book, such as “The U.S. is divided into time zones because it once made travel by train easier to schedule.” Jamey Christoph adds detailed retro-style digital art to this delightful read-aloud poetry.
    —SK

    In the Middle of the Night: Poems from a Wide-Awake House. Laura Purdie Salas. Ill. Angela Matteson. WordSong/Highlights.

    In the Middle of the NightIn a series of poems, Laura Purdie Salas imagines what happens to objects in a house after lights out. Stuffed animals put on a talent show in “Animals on the Go,” and a variety of household objects including a comb, Kleenex, a mixing bowl, and a marker missing its cap also come to life. An overdue book sneaks around to tease. “I creep to your closet / I burrow. I sneak. / I LOVE to play overdue-book / hide and seek!” The book ends with a good morning poem for two voices. Angela Matteson’s cheerful and lively illustrations add to the playfulness of the poems through personification of the wide-awake objects.
    —SK

    Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons. Laura Purdie Salas. Ill. Mercè López. 2019. Millbrook/Lerner.

    Lion of the SkyReaders will have fun trying to solve each of the clever “riddle-kus,” combinations of a riddle, haiku, and mask poem in which something nonhuman narrates or speaks, in Laura Purdie Salas’ collection of seasonal poems. Entries include “fire in our bellies,  / we FLICKER-FLASH in twilight— / rich meadow of stars” (a firefly) and “I’m cold confetti / falling from a crystal sky, / blanketing the town (snow in a snow globe). Mercè López’ beautiful illustrations (created in acrylics and finished digitally) give visual hints for solving the riddle-kus. The author includes instructions on how readers can try writing their own “riddle-kus,” a list of poetry collections (Haiku, Riddle Poems, and Seasons) for further reading, and an answer key to the 24 narrators.

    SK

    The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems. Paul B. Janeczko (Ed.). Ill. Richard Jones. 2019. Candlewick.

    The Proper Way to Meet a HedgehogPaul B. Janeczko’s anthology offers young children a delightful variety of how-to poems by 33 classic and contemporary poets. Selections include Christina Rossetti’s “Mix a Pancake” (“Mix a pancake, / Stir a pancake, / Pop it in the pan; / Fry the pancake, / Toss the pancake— / Catch it if you can.”); Nikki Grimes’ “A Lesson from the Deaf” with the first verse “First, sweep one hand / up to your mouth, as if to blow a velvet kiss. / Like this.”; and the closing  poem, a couplet, “How to Pay Attention” by April Halprin Wayland with the best how-to advice of all for everyone, “Close this book. / Look.” Richard Jones’ colorful, playful illustrations, rendered in paint and digitally edited, complement this collection of poems that are perfect for reading aloud.

    —NB 

    Ages 9–11

    Boom! Bellow! Bleat!: Animal Poems for Two or More Voices. Georgia Heard. Ill. Aaron DeWitt. 2019. WordSong/Highlights.

    Boom! Bellow! Bleat!In 13 poems to be read aloud by two or more readers, Georgia Heard partners with illustrator Aaron DeWitt as she incorporates descriptions into her onomatopoetic arrangements of sounds that various animals make. In “Rattlesnake Warning,” for example, “Stay / away; / I’m / warning / you” and each of the following three verses are paired with the answering “chhhhh-chhhhh-chhhhh / chhhhh-chhhhh-chhhhh / chhhhhchhhhhhchhhhhchhhhhhchhhhh” in undulating letters on the left side of the double-page spread. On the opposing page, there’s a large tan, black, and white snake, mouth stretched wide open and the words “I’LL BITE!” Color-coded lines make it easier to identify alternating voices, and some poems include performance instructions for readers. The book concludes with Nature’s Notes detailing information about the animals and their sounds explored in these fun read-aloud poems.
    —NB

    The Day the Universe Exploded My Head: Poems to Take You into Space and Back Again. Allan Wolf. Ill. Anna Raff. 2019. Candlewick.

    The Day the Universe Exploded My HeadReaders will learn many facts about outer space while being entertained by Allan Wolf’s humorous and clever poems, some to be read aloud by up to four voices, as well as a thought-provoking poem, “For Those Who Light the Candle,” about the astronauts and cosmonauts who gave their lives to further space exploration. The poem “The Sun Did Not Go Down Today” explains “The sun remains there in the sky / and waves at us as we go by / on our spherical, miracle merry-go-round.” Wolf’s “Mars: A Martian Sonnet” speaks to the possibly-not-so-distant future: “From afar I seem harsh, but I bid you ‘Shalom!’ / Someday in the future you may call me home.” Anna Raff’s digitally assembled collages add fun and color to the poems. Wolf also includes notes on the poems, a glossary of selected space terms, and internet resources to enhance learning.
    —SK

    Predator and Prey: A Conversation in Verse. Susannah Buhrman-Deever. Ill. Bert Kitchen. 2019. Candlewick Studio/Candlewick.

    Predator and PreyScience meets poetry in these conversations in verse between predator and prey, who both just want to stay alive and raise their young. In the pairing of the poems “Hot-Tempered Squirrel” and “Patience of a Snake,” for example, readers learn how the squirrel often wins the battle with a rattlesnake by simply confronting the snake and asserting itself. “I’m hot / and bothered. / I’m hot / under the collar. / I’m fur-rious F U R I O U S ! / Flag waving, / I boldly scold: / ‘Hey, you! Get off my lawn!’” A text box with scientific information about the predator and prey accompanies each conversation in verse. Bert Kitchen’s brightly colored illustrations, done in watercolor and gouache, portray that suspenseful moment when predator and prey meet.
    —SK

    Ages 12–14

    The Undefeated. Kwame Alexander. Ill. Kadir Nelson. 2019. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

    The UndefeatedIn this ode to African American dreamers and doers, Kwame Alexander remembers black Americans including the unforgettable, the unafraid, and the undefeated. “This is for the / undefeated. / This is for you. / And you. / And YOU. / This / is / for / US.” Kadir Nelson’s stunning oil portraits of African Americans, created on panels, complement Alexander’s tribute to sung and unsung heroes. In an afterword, Alexander adds the inspirational note that to “truly know who we are as a country, we have to accept and embrace all our woes and wonders” and encourages readers “to never, ever give up.” Back matter includes a “Historical Figures and Events Featured in The Undefeated” section and a free audio access link and code to Kwame Alexander’s performance of the poem.
    —NB 

    Ages 15+

    Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc. David Elliott. 2019. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

    VoicesJoan of Arc (14121431) was only 13 when she received her first vision and 16 at the Trial of Condemnation (which sentenced to her to death for heresy). David Elliott’s historical novel in verse opens with an excerpt from the Trial of Nullification (that declared her innocent 20 years after her death) and includes poems from multiple points of view beginning with the candle as it sparks the flames that will burn Joan at the stake. The final poem, in Joan’s voice, begins with the words “I am come to the end. My saints / will not save me. I surrender / to the fire that craves me” and ends with “I was the Maid of Orléans. / I was a girl called Joan.” An epilogue concludes with “Yet all agree she burned too bright, / lost in the blinding glare of the sun, / alone in the sacred light.” In an author’s note. Elliott cross-references poetic forms including the ballade, rondeau, rondel, sestina, villanelle, haiku, and shape poem in the book.
    —NB

    Susan Knell is a professor in the Department of Teaching and Leadership at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, where she teaches literacy and literature courses at the undergraduate and graduate level. Nancy Brashear is Professor Emeritus of English at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California

    These reviews are submitted by members of the International Literacy Association's Children's Literature and Reading Special Interest Group (CL/R SIG) and are published weekly on Literacy Daily.

     
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