Tag Archive | A2Z

I is for OUR INCREDIBLE LIBRARY BOOK and the Wonderful Journeys It Took, by Caroline Crowe & John Joseph (Picturebook review) #A2Z

book cover of Our Incredible Library Book and the Wonderful Journeys It Took, written by Caroline Cooke, illustrated by John Joseph. Published by Floris Books

“Ready, Set, Library!” for National Library Week (7-13 April 2024)!

Welcome to the children’s area of a public library, filled with kids and books and parents from every part of the community.

So many books to choose from! Beyond the story told by author and illustrator in each book is “the tale of the journey it’s been on as well…”

Let’s follow a picture book from the New Books display to Nia’s house, where she read it over and over, even while her cocoa got cold (and left a little ring on a page).

Returned to the library, the book is borrowed by Luis – the first book he can read all by himself! He reads it to Abuela and even Ana while she’s in the tub (just a little bubble bath splashes onto a page).

And on and on this incredible library book travels through town in bouncy rhymes as young readers nudge sleepy cats off it (pawprints), read it to ducks in the park (muddy fingerprints), use it as a bridge for toy trucks after reading together, and as a shield in the rain. Each encounter leaves a mark on its pages or cover, showing how much this book is loved and shared.

Readers can see themselves and families like theirs in this book – kids with glasses, kids with missing front teeth, wheelchair users, moms in hijab, single dads, families of many ethnicities – as they are reminded that we can enjoy books in many places, as solo readers or with others.

What stories could your favorite book tell of its travels?
**kmm

Book info: Our Incredible Library Book and the Wonderful Journeys It Took / written by Caroline Cooke, illustrated by John Joseph. Floris Books, UK 2022, USA 2023. [illustrator site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

H is for HEALER OF THE WATER MONSTER, a huge task for a Navajo preteen! by Brian Young (MG book review) #A2Z

book cover of Healer of the Water Monster, by Brian Young. Published by Heartdrum / Harper Collins.

No electricity, no cell service –
a boring summer at grandmother Nali’s place…
until Nathan encounters a Holy Being!

Nali doesn’t mind the hardships of living part-time on their Navajo ancestors’ land – chopping wood, hauling water – so Nathan tries to help her and shake off his divorced parents’ squabbles.

The 11 year old starts his science project of comparing the growth of Nali’s traditional corn to the modern kernels he bought in the city and begins to learn more about this dry place where the usual summer rains haven’t arrived in years.

Uncle Jet shows up suddenly at Nali’s, still off-balance after his military service, still trying to heal his soul with alcohol.

One night in the desert, Nathan meets Water Monster from the Third World of the Navajo creation story, stranded here in the Fourth World and dreadfully ill!

Is Nathan the only one who can see and hear the Holy Beings?
Can he learn all the correct Navajo songs and travel the difficult path to heal Water Monster?
Will Uncle Jet ever listen to Nali and ask the elders to help him find peace?

An amazing journey to the Third World, frustration when adults don’t believe the Holy Beings are real, a summer that will shape Nathan forever.

Published in partnership with We Need Diverse Books, Healer of the Water Monster was named as Best Middle Grade Book: 2022 American Indian Youth Literature Awards.

The sequel, Heroes of the Water Monster, will be published on May 14, 2024 – more at https://www.harpercollins.com/products/heroes-of-the-water-monster-brian-young?variant=41096247541794.

Could you brave the unknown to save a friend?
**kmm

Book info: Healer of the Water Monster / Brian Young. Heartdrum/ Harper Collins, 2021 (hardcover), 2023 (paperback). [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

G is for GODDESS: 50 Goddesses, Spirits, Saints…by Dr. Janina Ramirez & Sarah Walsh (MG nonfiction book review) #A2Z

book cover of Goddess: 50 Goddesses, Spirits, Saints, and Other Female Figures Who Have Shaped Belief / written by Dr. Janina Ramirez, illustrated by Sarah Walsh. Published by Nosy Crow

We’re familiar with Greek and Roman goddesses like Athena and Diana, but many others around the world have escaped our notice and regard.

This large-format book, published in collaboration with the British Museum, introduces and expands our knowledge of female deities and spiritual beings, ten exemplars in each of five categories: Ruling and Guiding, New Life, War and Death, Love and Wisdom, and Animals and Nature.

Meet rulers and guides like Mami Wati, African water spirit and bringer of riches, and Rhiannon, Welsh queen of horses and courage.

Honored as bringers and protectors of new life are Pattini, Sri Lankan goddess of purity and fighter against injustice, and Mokosh, mother of the earth and Slavic goddess of spinning and fate.

Presiding over war and death, we find Sekhmet, Egyptian lioness and bringer of destruction, and Anat, Middle Eastern goddess of war and peace.

Revered for their gifts of love and wisdom are Tara, Buddhist mother of compassion and wisdom, and Pte San Win, sacred prophet of the Lakota people.

Related to animals and nature are Papatuanuku, Maori earth goddess, and Sedna, Inuit mother of the sea and all its creatures.

You’ll find female saints and goddesses who hold power over contrasting ideas (Izanami, Japanese goddess of death and new life) and those who concentrate their attention on just one thing (Chang’e, Chinese goddess of the Moon).

Browse through this compendium of fifty faith figures or read it straight through, as you appreciate vibrant painted illustrations by Sarah Walsh, photos of items from the Museum’s collections, and a useful glossary.

Which goddess would you like to encounter?
**kmm

Book info: Goddess: 50 Goddesses, Spirits, Saints, and Other Female Figures Who Have Shaped Belief / written by Dr. Janina Ramirez, illustrated by Sarah Walsh. Nosy Crow, 2023. [author site] [illustrator site] [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.

D is for a dog, determination, and OUR DIVINE MISCHIEF interfering! by Hanna C. Howard (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of Our Divine Mischief, by  Hanna C. Howard. Published by Blink YA | recommended on BooksYALove.com

What will be her role in the village?
Mother must let her go try!
It’s time…

Aila sails to Yslet’s island to discover what skill the goddess will grant her. But instead of a golden disk with apprentice symbol inscribed, the 17 year old finds only a muddy puppy who insists on going home with her.

Hew waits with the other villagers, hoping that she didn’t receive a blank disk like he did, praying that she’s not cursed to be Unblessed as he is…

The priest is flummoxed, finds that a series of Ordeals might still reveal Yslet’s way for Aila’s lifework, and assigns Hew to watch over her as she prepares.

Orail, the puppy, is delighted to be with Aila and Hew as her mind expands, as the teens experience her mischief and magic growing rapidly, as she secretly helps Aila during the Ordeals.

When a scribe from the mainland intuits that Orail is a wish-granter, he decides that the dog’s gifts will help the Usurper overthrow the King and steals her away!

Aila and Hew follow, never mind the mainland’s dangers – they must rescue their friend!!

Reflecting Scottish history and folklore, this adventure is told in the three voices of Aila, Hew, and Orail, whose poetic mind-speak grows more lyrical as she quickly grows from rambunctious puppy to full-grown protector.

Would you want your future job to be locked-in by others?
**kmm

Book info: Our Divine Mischief / Hanna C. Howard. Blink, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

C is CALLING THE MOON: 16 Period Stories from BIPOC Authors, edited by Aida Salazar & Yamile Saied Mendez (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of Calling the Moon: 16 Period Stories from BIPOC Authors, edited by Aida Salazar & Yamile Saied Mendez. Published by Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

One’s first period…
awaited, dreaded, longed-for, a total surprise?

Whether you know a little or a lot about menstruation and the cultural traditions surrounding it, you’ll empathize, learn, and celebrate the varied perspectives shared by these Black, Indigenous, and people of color writers.

“The Arrival” is chronicled in verse by Nikki Grimes, as a young athlete fears that she’s injured herself at track practice, learns that it’s just a normal first period, and is determined to channel her new “woman-me” into strength and speed at the track meet.

Leah Henderson writes that Amari absolutely knows that she doesn’t want to give up soccer and return to ballet like her mom wants, but is really uncertain about the “Turning Point” Celebration day that Mom sets in motion as soon as the 12 year old gets her first period.

After their mother’s sudden death, how will Papi cope with his girls growing up? wonders the eldest, 13-year-old Lucia, when the neighborhood ladies tell him to worry about “pimples and periods and hormones” in “Ofrendas” by Guadalupe Garcia McCall.

Contributors include Hilda Eunice Burgos * Veeda Bybee * Susan Muaddi Darraj * Saadia Faruqi * Nikki Grimes * Leah Henderson * Mason J. * Erin Entrada Kelly * Guadalupe Garcia McCall * Elise McMullen-Ciotti * Yamile Saied Méndez * Emma Otheguy * Aida Salazar * Christina Soontornvat * Padma Venkatraman * Ibi Zoboi.

The list of Resources includes books (like Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement, which I recommended here), films, podcasts, support organizations, and websites.

*kmm

Book info: Calling the Moon: 16 Period Stories from BIPOC Authors, edited by Aida Salazar & Yamile Saied Mendez. Candlewick Press, 2023. [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.

A is for ARYA KHANNA’S BOLLYWOOD MOMENT, by Arushi Avachat (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of Arya Khanna's Bollywood Moment, by Arushi Avachat. Published by Wednesday Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Senior year at last!
Too bad Arya is student council VP to long-term rival Dean as president, especially as they have to work together closely to fundraise for the Autumn Formal.

Big sister Alina the artist is finally back home!
If only she and Mamma would reconcile during the complex preparations for Alina and Nikhil’s elaborate Hindu wedding…

So much tension in Arya’s life!
Her BFFs Andy and Lisa dated for a while, then broke up, but the trio should be enjoying senior activities together in their Boston suburb, not drifting apart.

As she juggles college application deadlines, Mamma’s depression, fall festival planning meetings with now-charming Dean, and working part-time at her favorite Boston bookstore, the Indian-American teen longs for her own super-romantic Bollywood moment…

This charming debut rom-com includes cupcakes and wedding cakes, a pumpkin patch and henna mehndi designs, practicing for Alina’s sangeet dance at the wedding and dressing up for the Autumn Formal dance, plus waiting for college acceptance letters to arrive.

Be sure to look for Arya’s lists of recommended Bollywood movies and music, too!

**kmm

Book info: Arya Khanna’s Bollywood Moment / Arushi Avachat. Wednesday Books, 2024. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Ta-da! Another April #A2ZChallenge in the books! (Reflective) #A2Z

BooksYALove.com logo = heart, 3 upright books, cat

Another April, another double-dozen book recommendations for y’all!

I pointed out 25 wonderful new books and a pair of free audiobooks this month (download them free by Wednesday, of course).

Was the effort of participating in #AprilA2Z blogging challenge worth it?

Well, it was good to get back in the groove of writing every morning early, before facing the news and email demands.

I posted a link to my blog post with the Challenge hashtags on social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Spoutible – every day. Every, single, day that I posted.

Got a nice handful of comments through the month, thanks to the AprilAtoZ Blog Challenge List here, a great place for you to find new blogs of interest to you.

I do wonder if anyone reads these recommendations which are my own summaries, not just copied from publishers or the book cover blurbs.

Going forward, I’ll aim for 3 posts a week, including the remaining 12 weeks of AudioSYNC summer free audiobooks.

Which AprilA2Z recommendation made you want to go grab that book?
**kmm

Z is for Zahra and THE LOVE MATCH: who to choose? by Priyanka Taslim (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of The Love Match, by Priyanka Taslim. Published by Salaam Reads | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Zahra, her widowed mother, grandmother, and little sister and brother are squeezed into a tiny city apartment, thankfully in the largest Bangladeshi community in the US.

Every Muslim deshi auntie in Paterson joins her mom in trying to set up Zahra with the right young man. Everyone knows that marrying into a rich family will solve every problem, as the popular Bengali natok dramas show through music and extravagant dances.

But the recent grad wants true love, like a Jane Austen novel – someone who adores her for herself, not for her auspicious social connections to Bangladeshi royalty or her mother’s amazing dressmaking skills.

Enough that Zahra has to work for a year to support her family while her besties head away to college. For now, she’ll keep drafting her novel, and someday she’ll finally study creative writing at Columbia University, someday…

Oh dear! Amma agrees with the wealthy Emon family that their son Harun and Zahra are a perfect match!! The 18 year olds decide quickly that they’re not suited for each other, but will go on several dates (with chaperones) to make their parents happy.

Meanwhile, every shift working together at the Pakistani chai shop brings Zahra and cute Nayim closer. He’s just arrived here in New Jersey, is staying with the imam, and loves music (more fun than Harun’s model-building and bearded dragon).

It is nice to be friends with Harun, even if there’s no spark between them. It’s lovely to be with Nayim at the deshi community picnic, even though he won’t discuss his family back home. It’s hard to watch her best friends excitedly prepare to move away for college, so hard.

Nayim or Harun?
Fairy tale or practicality?
Secrets?! More secrets?!

Trying to balance family expectations with her own dreams makes Zahra wonder if this summer will be a happy Dhallywood natok or a tragic one!

What’s your favorite literary love match?
**kmm

Book info: The Love Match / Priyanka Taslim. Salaam Reads/ Simon & Schuster, 2023. [author site] [author interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.