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L is LUMINOUS LIFE OF LUCY LANDRY: orphan, treasure seeker, by Anna Rose Johnson (MG book review) #A2Z

book cover of The Luminous Life of Lucy Landry, by Anna Rose Johnson. Published by Holiday House/PRH

Mama the actress died, then Papa,
now her guardian too –
where will Lucy go?

A remote lighthouse on a tiny island in vast Lake Superior!? Living with a family she’s never met? Thankfully, they’re also of Ojibwe and Acadian heritage…

So 11-year-old Lucy goes to the Martin family in 1912, an only child in hand-me-down clothes with a big imagination and few practical skills now among a bustling family of eight.

They gather seagulls’ eggs for cooking, their school lessons arrive every month with the household supply order and a box of books, and not one of the six children believes that Lucy’s mother was a famous actress…

Her ship-captain father told Lucy of a valuable ruby necklace lost when the Elva Jane shipwrecked and how a grand piano from its cargo washed ashore at Mermaid’s Cove across the water from this island – she’s determined to find that necklace in memory of her father!

But first she has to get over her fear of boats and convince the older Martin children to help her search and not make more mistakes at the lighthouse (that scary inspector could arrive any time).

The necklace’s owner is still living? Perhaps she knows a little more.
Who’s that boy searching for the necklace? Lucy must find it first!
A storm is coming while Mr. Martin is away? The children must light up the lighthouse for sailors’ safety!

Lucy tries to find her place in a new family in northern Michigan while keeping memories of her parents alive in this historical novel touched with mystery, glossary of Ojibwe and French words included.

Could you live on an island with little communication to the outside world?
**kmm

Book info: The Luminous Life of Lucy Landry / Anna Rose Johnson. Holiday House, 2024. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

K is Supriya Kelkar’s STRONG AS FIRE, FIERCE AS FLAME during revolution! (MG book review) #A2Z

book cover of Strong as Fire, Fierce as Flame, by Supriya Kelkar.  Published by Tu Books /Lee & Low Books

Soon to be married,
then tragedy, death!
Must she die also?

Changes, changes! In 1857 India, British occupiers push Indian men to join their military as Sepoy brigades, tax people so much that starvation is increasing, and want to change devoutly followed religious traditions, leading to widespread rioting.

When Meera turns 13 in a few days, she’ll move into Krishna’s family home, sealing the Hindu marriage agreement made when they were toddlers.

Aiie! Instead of a wedding celebration in their tiny village, it’s Krishna’s funeral on the day before her birthday. Tradition demands that widowed Meera commit sati and allow herself to burn on her husband’s pyre as she follows him into the afterlife.

Leave! Go! Aunt urges her to run away, and Meera flees alone into the rainy night and an unknown future. Could she possibly reach Rani Lakshmibai, the widowed queen who defies the British and rules her region with fairness?

Rescued from the raging river by people on a boat, Meera meets Bhavani who is going to see her sister in town. Perhaps she can help both girls find jobs…

A tiny mistake puts them in the hands of Captain Keene, the one who’s abolishing their traditions! He orders them to work at his big house to pay for their error – at least they’ll have food and a place to sleep.

Luckily, his wife doesn’t share his anger, this kindly memsahib who likes to sketch, who mourns the death of their daughter, who asks that schools for local girls be created.

The two young teens help the cook, serve meals to Captain and Memsahib and their guests, and hear much talk about how the East India Company will soon complete the takeover of their homeland. Bhavani and her sister believe that the British must leave India alone, so they’re meeting with local rebels to make plans.

What’s this? Captain has a secret stash of ammunition and plans to attack! The rebels must be told!

Is Meera brave enough to search the Captain’s desk and help the rebels find out how to get that ammunition?
Can the sepoy Charan truly be on their side against the British officers?
Will the young women be as fearless as Rani Lakshimibai?

Based on true events of India’s history – see the endnotes for more details and timeline. By the author of contemporary middle-grade novel That Thing About Bollywood, recommended here.

When have you chosen to stand against injustice instead of just being a bystander?
**kmm

Book info: Strong as Fire, Fierce as Flame / Supriya Kelkar. Tu Books /Lee & Low Books, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

J is THE JOCKEY AND HER HORSE – yes, a Black girl should ride in races! by Sarah Maslin Nir & Raymond White Jr. (MG book review)

Book cover of The Jockey and Her Horse, by Sarah Maslin Nir & Raymond White Jr. Published by Cameron Kids/ Abrams

To understand without words,
to work as a team of two,
horse and rider, running together with one mind!

Was the horse barn was Cheryl’s favorite place in the world, or the pasture where the queen mare ran with their herd? Only riding in races on Jetolara, the first thoroughbred she ever loved, could ever be better than growing up on their Ohio racehorse farm.

Dreaming of a better future for their children, her White mother and Black father married well before the 1964 Civil Rights Act allowed it nationwide.

Cheryl’s great-grandfather was a Black horse trainer who refused to let prejudice force him out of racing. Her father continues the business with pride and knowledge. He is sure that little brother Drew will be a winning jockey, when it’s really Cheryl who has the desire and skill.

A whiz at school, she accepts her mother’s challenge for 1971- if Cheryl aces her senior year classes, she’ll get to race on powerful filly Ace Regard to earn her jockey license!

Studying for academic quiz show tryouts and the jockey license exam, riding Jetolara and Ace in training runs, preparing to race nearby and travel far away to Senegal – can Cheryl do it all?

Listen in on the thoughts of Jetolara and Ace as they find their places in the herd and in Cheryl’s life, too.

This fictionalized story of Cheryl White, the first Black female professional jockey and winner of 750 races, was co-written by Cheryl’s little brother who held almost every job in horse racing – except jockey, because he grew too tall!

What’s your dream job and what will you do to get there?
**kmm

Book info: The Jockey and Her Horse (Once Upon a Horse, book 2) / Sarah Maslin Nir & Raymond White Jr., art by Laylie Frazier. Cameron Kids/Cameron + Company, 2023. [co-author interview] [artist page] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

F is this FAR OUT! festival, with UFOs and mysteries, by Anne Bustard (MG book review) #A2Z

book cover of Far Out! by Anne Bustard. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

“Welcome to our extraterrestrial festivities, with aliens as guests of honor!”

Well, invitations have officially been extended to any and all space people for the first annual Come On Down Day at Totter, Texas in November 1964.

Mary Jane and her best friend Nick can’t wait to see an actual meteorite at the library’s new display, but it goes missing before the grand opening!

MJ’s beloved grandmother is arrested as the main suspect (by a deputy, not MJ’s dad/the sheriff), so the 11 year old starts gathering evidence to prove that Mimi is innocent.

How many people had a library key? Who was in the town square that night? Who wants to mess up Come On Down Day?!

Space-themed bingo at school, counting down to the big day, then Mimi goes missing!

Was she abducted by aliens? Does the visiting UFO expert have information to share? Can Dad’s photos shed light on the matter?

A big day in their small town – hope the aliens Come On Down!

Also available in paperback on 24 April 2024.

Have you ever spotted a UFO?
**kmm

Book info: Far Out! / Anne Bustard. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

E is for ENLIGHTENED: A Fictionalized Tale of the Buddha, by Sachi Ediriweera (Graphic Novel review) #A2Z

book cover of Enlightened: A Fictionalized Tale / words and art by Sachi Ediriweera. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Locked safely in the palace after his mother’s death, lively Prince Siddhartha has never known suffering, never seen an old person – how can he be a good king in the future when he knows so little about real life?

Even when he marries, the King insists he and the princess stay inside the palace for safety. Their son is born, and yet the young family must remain there, suffering despite having the best of everything.

Enough! Siddharta leaves behind his wife and child, traveling into the countryside to meet his people, to try to understand the truths about suffering – however long it takes.

The king of a nearby realm leads Siddhartha to a monastery, where the prince will live and work and meditate as a monk, learning from a wise teacher.

After a year, Siddhartha has found inner peace, but not the answers for his deepest questions, and so he travels onward. Will fasting provide insight? More meditation?

Time passes as he journeys, and he suffers because he desires to see his family as much as he desires to know the truth about suffering. Clarity comes at last – suffering and desire are a never-ending cycle!

He refines his realizations into Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path that can end the pain of our cyclical existence: right view, right intention, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right endeavor, right mindfulness, right concentration.

As the Awakened One, he teaches to all who will listen as he travels back toward his homeland and the family he left behind, never again to be a prince, moving ever onward to establish monasteries for men and women in India and beyond.

Experience the Buddha’s life and journey toward enlightenment in this compelling graphic novel. Sri Lankan artist and author Ediriweera skillfully uses soft blue, umber, and orange tones to accentuate both the stillness and the action of its storyline.

What are your experiences with Buddhism?
**kmm

Book info: Enlightened: A Fictionalized Tale / words and art by Sachi Ediriweera. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

B is for BORN READING: 20 Stories of Women Reading Their Way Into History, by Kathleen Krull & Virginia Loh-Hagan (MG book review) #A2Z

book cover of Born Reading: 20 Stories of Women Reading Their Way Into History, byKathleen Krull & Virginia Loh-Hagan; illustrated by Aura Lewis. Paula Wiseman Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The skill of reading hasn’t always been taught to girls or encouraged for women, but that didn’t stop those determined to learn!

Meet Wu Zeitan, the first and only woman emperor of China, who promoted reading and education, published books on farming and government, wrote poetry, and created new Chinese written characters.

Get to know E. Pauline Johnson, an Indigenous Canadian poet and performer who was able to lecture and write about her Mohawk and White heritage in the late 1800s when few Indigenous or native voices reached such wide audiences.

Patsy Takemoto Mink didn’t let prejudice against Japanese Americans after World War II stop her from continuing her education, becoming a lawyer, then going into politics to change policies that discriminated against women and people of color. In Congress, she championed Title IX to end gender discrimination in higher education.

You’ll discover more about the reading lives of historical figures Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth I, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Phillis Wheatley Pierce, Chien-Shiung Wu, Indira Gandhi, Shirley Chisholm, and Audre Lorde in this book.

Contemporary women readers chronicled include Temple Grandin, Sally Ride, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor, Serena Williams, Taylor Swift, Mala Yousafzai, Amanda Gorman, and Marley Diaz.

The 20 profiles are followed by sections on Feminist Fun Facts, more Girls with Books, activities to keep you reading, how to access free books, organizations that help girls and children read, and an extensive resource list.

Prolific author Kathleen Krull died in 2021, leaving behind a handful of profiles in the manuscript for this book which was further researched and completed by author and long-time friend Dr. Virginia Loh-Hagan.

Kathleen said “Once books change their brains, girls change history.” (page 1)
How will you read your way into history?
**kmm

Book info: Born Reading: 20 Stories of Women Reading Their Way Into History / written by Kathleen Krull & Virginia Loh-Hagan; illustrated by Aura Lewis. Paula Wiseman Books/ Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2023. [Loh-Hagan interview] [illustrator site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

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.