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Her talents rejected? ‘Tis A SEASON MOST UNFAIR! by J. Anderson Coats (Middle grade book review)

cover image of A Season Most Unfair / J. Anderson Coats. Atheneum Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Candlemaking is hot, stinky work, but Scholastica helps her father render the tallow and twist the wicks and dip the candles until they’re just right. Her loving stepmother can’t have children or bend down with her leg brace, so Tick has worked with Papa since she was tiny.

This year Tick is old enough to mold the Agnus Dei charms for travelers’ safety, using pricy beeswax and expensive paints. The charms sell well at the Stourbridge Fair, and Papa can’t see well enough now to paint their fine details.

So why does Papa think he needs an apprentice?!

Tick doesn’t care that Henry’s father and Papa are friends – how will an inexperienced boy help make enough candles to sell to get them through the bitter winter?

If only she can get some beeswax and make the charms…
If only she can find a way to Stourbridge Fair…
If only she can be sure that Papa still loves her enough…

There are joys among the hardships of living in medieval England, and Tick just wants to do the job that makes her happy!

By the author of The Night Ride, recommended here: https://booksyalove.com/?p=13684

What task did you like to help your family with when you were younger?
**kmm

Book info: A Season Most Unfair / J. Anderson Coats. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

ASTONISHING & EXTINCT PROFESSIONS: 89 JOBS YOU WILL NEVER DO, by Marcus Rottman & Michael Meister (MG non-fiction review)

book cover of Astonishing and Extinct Professions: 89 Jobs You Will Never Do,  by Markus Rottmann; illustrated by Michael Meister; translated by Ashley Curtis & Sonia Curtis. Published by Helvetiq

Who… cried on demand?
…could not afford to stumble?
…could hold their breath the longest?

This intriguing, large-format book highlights 89 long-gone jobs, some that we’ve heard of – executioner, court jester, explorer – and others that sound entirely strange to our ears – whalebone ripper, candle trimmer, ice harvesters.

From gladiators and royal tasters to switchboard operators and computing rocket women, professions have arisen to fill a need and then fade away if a better (or faster or cheaper) way is found. Wet nurses gave way to baby formula powder, and airplane detectors’ sensitive ears were replaced by the invention of radar.

You’ll be thankful for modern indoor plumbing when you learn about the jobs of fullones (collected urine to wash clothes in), nightmen (who shoveled out pit toilets), and Abtrittanbieter (walking toilets with a bucket and big cloak)!

Discover the origin of “whipping boy” and “mad as a hatter,” as well as how the Bow Street Runners led to modern police work.

The book’s illustrator even shows himself moving from traditional to digital art methods. Think about which of today’s professions are threatened with extinction as you plot your future career path!

A fascinating import from Switzerland, translated from German to English.

What’s the most unusual past profession you’ve ever heard of?
**kmm

Book info: Astonishing and Extinct Professions: 89 Jobs You Will Never Do / Markus Rottmann; illustrated by Michael Meister; translated by Ashley Curtis & Sonia Curtis. Helvetiq, 2023. [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

He escaped? Again!? Good thing we know HOW TO CATCH A POLAR BEAR, by Stacy DeKeyser (MG book review)

book cover of How To Catch a Polar Bear, by Stacy McNulty. Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

This summer will be great!
Until his buddies get jobs,
no time to play baseball…

Wow, Frosty the polar bear escaped from the city zoo! If he gets out again, Ace and Penny will watch for him on their early-morning paper route – if the boss doesn’t fire Penny for being a girl.

Since his best pals are so busy now, 12-year-old Nick helps Uncle Spiro at Sparky’s frozen custard shop. If only competitor Happy Harold would quit bugging Spiro – Milwaukee is big enough for them both…

The zookeeper offers Uncle Spiro the frozen custard concession inside the zoo for the summer! If they can just find someone over age 14 to run the stand with Nick as helper…

Oh, no! Happy’s Custard sets up a cart right outside the zoo entrance, undercutting Sparky’s price and selling a third flavor! If Nick and Mama can just invent a unique flavor and compete with that sneak Happy and bullying classmate Pete who works for him…

Hurray! Their favorite radio personalities are so pleased with Sparky’s “Frosty Freeze” custard that they decide to broadcast from the zoo for all the Fourth of July festivities. Hope those frozen custard-loving monkeys and Frosty behave…

There are plenty of reasons that signs say “Don’t Feed the Animals” all over the zoo in summer 1948! If only people heeded them…

The rollicking follow-up to The Rhino in Right Field, recommended here.

What’s your favorite hot weather treat?
**kmm

Book info: How To Catch a Polar Bear / Stacy DeKeyser. Margaret K. McElderry Books / Simon & Schuster, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

It’s not fair! Teens incite THE PEACH REBELLION post-WWII, by Wendelin Van Draanen (YA book review)

book cover of The Peach Rebellion, by Wendelin Van Draanen. Alfred A. Knopf | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Over a decade since coming to California during the Dust Bowl days, her tiny brothers dying of sickness and buried under a creekside tree north of here, and folks are still calling Ginny Rose’s family “Okies” after World War II, despite all their hard work.

After her first day working at the peach cannery, a flat bike tire detours the 17 year old to Peggy’s peach farm where she meets banker’s daughter Lisette.

Wow, Papa and Mama tell Ginny Rose to keep half her wages for new school clothes and her future! Her sister Anna Mae is aghast at the idea of being left behind with their deeply depressed mother

Peggy’s big sister opens the teen’s eyes to truths about the family peach farm, very unwelcome facts that explain why Doris hasn’t brought her baby back to visit.

Lisette’s fancy new house? Her father’s bank foreclosed on his good friend’s house, then the banker bought it instead of stopping the seizure?!

Ginny Rose discovers Babyland in the cemetery, where the tiniest children are buried – could she bring her little brothers here, for good?

The three teens from very different parts of society find a common purpose as Peggy and Lisette decide to help Ginny Rose on her quest!

Told in alternating chapters by Ginny Rose and Peggy during the sweltering summer of 1947.

Which friends would help you with a challenge?
**kmm

Book info: The Peach Rebellion / Wendelin Van Draanen. Alfred A. Knopf /PRH, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Experience our Black History when you read with your ears! (audiobook recommendations)

Our AudioSYNC 2023 summer season ends with two outstanding audiobooks celebrating Black history of recent and earlier times.

You must download either or both audiobooks into your Sora shelf by Wednesday August 2nd! Get all the details here.

Huge thanks to Audiofile magazine and the many audiobook publishers who provided these great selections to us free!

CD cover of Freedom: The Story of the Black Panther Party,by Jetta Grace Martin, Joshua Bloom, Waldo E. Martin Jr. | Read by Dion Graham. Published by Recorded Books

Freedom: The Story of the Black Panther Party (free Sora download 7/27 -8/2/23)
by Jetta Grace Martin, Joshua Bloom, Waldo E. Martin Jr. | Read by Dion Graham
Published by Recorded Books

The history of the Black Panther Party comes to life, from its founders and their stories to its work supporting African American families in crisis to its collapse and next steps of key members.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/208263/freedom!-by-jetta-grace-martin-joshua-bloom-waldo-e-martin-jr-read-by-dion-graham/

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CD cover of Not Without Laughter, by Langston Hughes | Read by Jaime Lincoln Smith. Published by Tantor Media

Not Without Laughter (free Sora download 7/27 -8/2/23)
by Langston Hughes | Read by Jaime Lincoln Smith
Published by Tantor Media

A Black family’s struggles and challenges include racially charged encounters as son Sandy grows up in 1930s Kansas.

A classic Harlem Renaissance novel, narrated to perfection.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/225993/not-without-laughter-by-langston-hughes-read-by-jaime-lincoln-smith/

What was your favorite AudioSYNC summer audiobook this year?
**kmm

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Oracle’s prophecy, a WOLFISH connection – danger! by Christiane M. Andrews (MG book review)

book cover of Wolfish, by Christiane M. Andrews. Published by Little Brown | recommended on BooksYALove.com

In their cave of mists, Oracle and Apprentice tell the future, but young Alba won’t repeat the waters’ most dismal words to rob poor peasants of a little hope.

Alas, Alba does speak truth to one boy, eleventh in the royal succession and suddenly the new king, about his joyless reign being cut short by his sibling and a beast.

Later visions show her that the king’s mother soon after birthed twins who were swiftly taken from the palace, yet all are told that her child was stillborn … where were the king’s siblings taken?

In the mountains, little Rae helps her adoptive parents watch their sheep, growing strong on their love and sunshine and Mop’s songs.

In the forest, a wolf-child learns to hunt and revel in the scents around him, as furred and swift-running as his litter-mates.

At the cave entrance, a young priest guarding them at night reluctantly teaches Alba how to write, and she records her vision of the twins for the priests’ library.

One day, Rae sings the song she senses in hillside breezes and sees a wolf, whose attack is stopped – by another wolf! The defending wolf allows Rae to tend his wounds, and somehow they truly see one another…

Alba’s writing is discovered, and she is banished. Now what? Now where?

To her first market day in the town, Rae and her parents go, not knowing that the king ordered all children of the twins’ age – and hers – captured!

Can Alba and Rae and the wolf escape the king’s anger and make their own futures come true?

A lyrical tale of the magic of songs and of being known, seen, loved.

Would you want to know your future?
**kmm

Book info: Wolfish / Christiane M. Andrews. Little Brown, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Lives lived loud and clear – historical fiction to read with your ears! (audiobook recommendations)

Our AudioSYNC offerings this week take us into different times and different places with well-crafted historical fiction audiobooks that begin with murder!

You have until Wednesday 12 July 2023 to download either or both of these professionally produced audiobooks into your Sora shelf. Get all the details here.

Now tell me… what did they do next?

CD cover of The Boy in the Red Dress, by Kristin Lambert | Read by Sophie Amoss. Published by Listening Library

The Boy in the Red Dress (free Sora download 7/6-7/12/23)
by Kristin Lambert | Read by Sophie Amoss
Published by Listening Library

Murder on New Year’s Eve! In 1929 New Orleans, the Cloak & Dagger speakeasy and LBGTQIA haven features Marion in drag – who is now suspected of murder.

His best friend Millie (teenage niece of the club owner) is determined to prove his innocence and find the real killer.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/179183/the-boy-in-the-red-dress-by-kristin-lambert-read-by-sophie-amoss/

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CD cover of This Rebel Heart, by Katherine Locke. Read by Kathleen Gati, Steven Jay Cohen. Published by Listening Library

This Rebel Heart (free Sora download 7/6-7/12/23)
by Katherine Locke | Read by Kathleen Gati, Steven Jay Cohen
Published by Listening Library

After her parents are murdered in 1956, young Hungarian woman Czilla is eager to leave the country and its repressive regime.

She finds allies in a man seeking his missing lover, an angel of death, and others primed to revolt for freedom.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/213314/this-rebel-heart-by-katherine-locke-read-by-kathleen-gati-steven-jay-cohen/

Best historical fiction book you ever read?
**kmm

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Can she OUTRUN THE MOON & fate through education or luck? by Stacey Lee (YA book review)

book cover of Outrun the Moon, by Stacey Lee. Published by Penguin | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Mercy wants better for her little brother than backbreaking laundry work, but she needs more education than their poor middle school can offer so she can start a business.

The teen negotiates her way into a semester scholarship at St. Clare’s School for Girls, the best in 1906 San Francisco, determined to brave anti-Chinese prejudice on the way to her dreams.

In return, Mercy promises snobby Elodie’s father a meeting with the Benevolent Association to apply for permission to sell his very fine chocolates in Chinatown…

Oh, how she longs to help her boyfriend Tom find his way into the sky instead of becoming an herbalist doctor like his father!

What if the headmistress decides Mercy isn’t worthy to be at St. Clare’s?
What if the Benevolent Association won’t consider their request?
What does her mother see when she foretells their futures?

Earthquake! The St. Clare’s girls escape to Golden Gate Park and, with Mercy’s practical skills, try to help others fleeing collapsed buildings and fires.

Her family! Their families! What now?

Outstanding historical fiction from the author of The Downstairs Girl (recommended here).

Are you prepared for a natural disaster?
**kmm

Book info: Outrun the Moon / Stacey Lee. Penguin, hardcover 2016, paperback 2017. [author Facebook] [publisher site] Personal collection; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Let’s hear it for inventors! (audiobook recommendations)

How clever! This week, AudioSYNC brings us stories of extremely sharp folks and their amazingly inventive minds.

You have until Wednesday 5 July 2023 to download either or both of these professionally produced audiobooks into your Sora shelf. Get all the details here.

Did you miss earlier weeks’ free audiobooks? Check with your local public library or favorite independent bookstore.

Get ready to read with your ears!

CD cover of Bump, by Chiara Atik | Read by Ana Ortiz, Herbert Siguenza, Alma Martinez, and a Full Cast. Published by LA Theatre Works

Bump (free Sora download 6/29-7/5/23)
by Chiara Atik | Read by Ana Ortiz, Herbert Siguenza, Alma Martinez, and a Full Cast
Published by L.A. Theatre Works

The humorous story of Claudia’s plan to deliver her baby at home (using an amateur-built birthing machine!) is bookended by those of a midwife and first-time mother in 1790 and an online bulletin board for December moms.

Includes an interview with the author and a gynecologist.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/226065/bump-by-chiara-atik-read-by-ana-ortiz-herbert-siguenza/

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CD cover of The Woman Who Split the Atom: the Life of Lise Meitner, by Marissa Moss | Read by Sandy Rustin. Published by Recorded Books

The Woman Who Split the Atom: the Life of Lise Meitner (free Sora download 6/29-7/5/23)
by Marissa Moss | Read by Sandy Rustin
Published by Recorded Books

It was Lise Meitner’s groundbreaking research into the behavior of atoms in the 1930s that led to understanding nuclear fission and its later use in atomic weapons, much to her sorrow.

As a Jewish woman in pre-World War II Germany, brilliant Meitner was given substandard lab facilities, saw her work attributed solely to men, was forced into exile by the Nazi regime, and never received the Nobel Prize honors awarded to her male co-researchers.

On BooksYALove here, you’ll find my recommendation of Hidden Powers: Lise Meitner’s Call to Science, by Jeannine Atkins – a biography of Meitner in verse.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/229657/the-woman-who-split-the-atom-by-marissa-moss-read-by-sandy-rustin/

Which invention has most improved your own life?
**kmm

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Audiobooks teach us about weapons of war – legal, illegal, deadly. (audiobook recommendations)

This week’s free AudioSYNC audiobooks tell of war and weaponry, during declared armed combat and on America’s streets outside the law!

You have until Wednesday 21 June 2023 to download either or both audiobooks into your Sora shelf. They expire in 99 years, so you can listen to them whenever you like, as long as you keep them on your Sora shelf.

Sign up here for a free Sora account and see the entire AudioSYNC season, too.

On to the front lines!

CD cover of Spearhead (Adapted for Young Adults): An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II,  by Adam Makos | Read by Johnathan McClain. Published by Listening Library

Spearhead (Adapted for Young Adults): An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II (free Sora download 6/15-6/21/23)
by Adam Makos | Read by Johnathan McClain
Published by Listening Library

Tank warfare during World War II was brutal, grinding, and deadly – especially for the first tank in formation.

Hear the true story of a 21-year-old American gunner in the newest Pershing super-tank and a 17-year-old German crewman in the legendary Panzer tank as their units battle to the death in the ruined streets of Cologne!

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/209608/spearhead-(adapted-for-young-adults)-by-adam-makos-read-by-johnathan-mcclain/

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CD cover of Tommy: The Gun That Changed America,by Karen Blumenthal | Read by Maggi-Meg Reed. Published by Listening Library

Tommy: The Gun That Changed America (free Sora download 6/15-6/21/23)
by Karen Blumenthal | Read by Maggi-Meg Reed
Published by Listening Library

The Thompson sub-machine gun was created by John Thompson as a more efficient weapon during World War I.

But soon the Tommy gun became the gangsters’ firearm of choice during the 1920s and ’30s, to the inventor’s dismay.

An engaging historical look at this iconic gun and its notorious users, as well as its influence on today’s conversations about gun safety and gun rights.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/229594/tommy-by-karen-blumenthal-read-by-maggi-meg-reed/

What war stories do you recommend?
**kmm

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