Tag Archive | art

Can they keep safe THE BOOK OF STOLEN DREAMS? by David Farr (MG book review)

book cover of The Book of Stolen Dreams, by David Farr. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Scarce food, few jobs,
little hope, no freedom –
all seized by the dictator.

When he invaded Krasnia, Charles Malstain ordered that children be kept out of sight because he hates them so much!

Rachel and Robert have grown up in this sad country, she a dreamer and big brother an avid experimenter. The love and imagination of their parents turned the Kleins’ tiny apartment into a pirate ship or polar expedition!

On Rachel’s 11th birthday, Father took her and Robert to the city library where he worked, to see the world’s most fascinating book – The Book of Stolen Dreams, reputed to bring loved ones back from death’s kingdom. Actually, they were there to steal it, to keep it away from evil President Malstain who wants to use its power so he can live forever!

Oh no, the police! Father sends the siblings out of the library by a secret way, with the wondrous Book and instructions on how to safeguard it.

Mum’s poor health cannot long stand the strain of Father’s imprisonment far away. Following the only clue they have, 13-year-old Robert flees across the sea to Port Clement, a city of parks and happy people and hope, as Rachel is taken to a distant and dismal re-education orphanage.

How can they locate the person who should receive the Book?
Can Rachel escape the orphanage and find their father?
Does the artist who created its amazing images know where the last page of the Book is?

A race to keep the ultimate power over death out of evil Malstain’s hands!

Be sure to check out the puzzles and games on the author’s website here. Yes, book two is in the works.

Who would you want to visit with one last time?
**kmm

Book info: The Book of Stolen Dreams / David Farr; illustrated by Kristina Kister. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

U is UNOFFICIAL GUIDE TO THE ANCIENT EGYPTIAN AFTERLIFE, by Bastet the Cat & Laura Winstone (Nonfiction book review) #A2Z

book cover of The Unofficial Guide to the Ancient Egyptian Afterlife, by Sophie Berger & Laura Winstone. Published by Cicada Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Mummies and pyramids – we modern-day people know some things about ancient Egypt’s afterlife.

However, for the real inside story, we need a tour guide like Bastet the cat who will explain all of its important rules and symbolism.

“My pre-death career was as Pharaoh’s cat,” says Bastet, as he introduces the major gods (like his namesake) who placed the pharaohs as rulers over Egypt, as well as the four sons of Horus who guard those who have died.

After death, ancient Egyptians believed that the soul split into two parts, reuniting in the body nightly. Mummification was perfected to preserve bodies and prevent a second, final death.

Bastet the cat gives us a detailed (but not gory) tour through mummification’s steps and the meanings of the many symbols placed on each mummy’s coffins and sarcophagus.

Everything a person needed in life will also be required in their afterlife, so ancient Egyptian tombs contain food, clothes, furniture, and mummified cats for good luck. The walls are painted with servants, animals, more food and entertainments.

The journey to the Land of the Dead is perilous, so our guide shows ancient ones everything they need to get there safely!

Travel along with knowledgeable and witty Bastet to learn the symbolism of scarab beetles, what shabti dolls are, and why both legs are shown on Egyptian paintings of people.

Lavishly illustrated in the two-dimensional style that we associate with hieroglyphics and paintings inside pyramids, this book cleverly conveys familiar and little-known information about ancient Egyptian beliefs and practices.

Ever tried writing your name in hieroglyphics?
**kmm

Book info: The Unofficial Guide to the Ancient Egyptian Afterlife / Sophie Berger & Laura Winstone. Cicada Books, 2022. [publisher interview] [illustrator site] [publisher site] Review copy, page image, and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

pages 1 & 2 of The Unofficial Guide to the Ancient Egyptian Afterlife, by Sophie Berger & Laura Winstone. Published by Cicada Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Q is for quiet, quizzical CREATURE drawings and paintings by Shaun Tan (Nonfiction book review) #A2Z

book cover of Creature: Paintings, Drawings, and Reflections, by Shaun Tan. Published by Levine Querido | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A mechanical gecko,
a garden atop a traveling snail’s shell,
an armored jet-propelled ancient fish…

Imaginary beings are at the heart of Shaun Tan’s most beloved books: The Arrival, Tales from Outer Suburbia, The Lost Thing (also made into an award-winning short film – trailer here).

Collected in this large and beautiful book are 25 years of the Australian artist’s paintings and drawings from those books, as well as many standalone works.

“The first thing I remember drawing was a creature… and not much has changed since.” (page 7)

Tan writes intriguing commentary about influences on his style and subject matter – old monster movies, Aboriginal stories, birds in his family’s neighborhood – and how his imagination reinterpreted them as he told stories through images.

Enjoy these large-scale pictures of mechanico-animal beings, humans living alongside unusual beasties, and transformational situations, then flip to the back and read Tan’s notes about how each creature was made.

Includes this set of creature Emoticons, 2016, pencil on paper, digitally composited, originally published in The Stick and Der Spiegel, as shown on Tan’s website.

Emoticons, 2016, pencil on paper, digitally composited, originally published in The Stick and Der Spiegel - from https://www.shauntan.net/creature-book-1

What creature from your own imagination would you like to meet?
**kmm

Book info: Creature: Paintings, Drawings, and Reflections / Shaun Tan. Levine Querido, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher; Emoticons illustration from https://www.shauntan.net/creature-book-1.

M is for Hayao Miyzaki masterwork: SHUNA’S JOURNEY west to save his people, translated by Alex Dudok de Wit (Graphic Novel review) #A2Z

book cover of Shuna's Journey, by  Hayao Miyazaki; translated by Alex Dudok de Wit. Published by First Second Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Shuna’s people are ever-hungry as no crops can thrive in their cold desert land.

When a traveler tells of a strong golden grain that grows far away, the young prince is determined to bring its seeds back to their mountain valley.

Riding west on his yakul, Shuna traverses strange landscapes, fights those who would capture him, despairs at the fortress slave market.

He rescues two sisters at great peril, and the trio travels west without stopping until they reach the cliffs of World’s Edge.

Can Thea and her little sister safely reach their home in the north?
Can Shuna reach the God-lands past these dreadful cliffs and find the golden grain?
Will Thea and Shuna ever meet again?

Just before co-founding Studio Ghibli in 1985, Miyazaki created this stunning illustrated story based on a Tibetan folktale about a prince’s epic pilgrimage to bring barley to his people.

Four decades after its publication in Japan, the classic graphic novel (read back to front) is available to English readers for the first time. Visit the publisher’s page here to look at its gorgeous artwork.

When the going gets tough, how do you respond?
**kmm

Book info: Shuna’s Journey / Hayao Miyazaki; translated by Alex Dudok de Wit. First Second Books/Roaring Brook Press, original 1983, English translation 2022. [translator interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

J is Jade and growing up and WHAT THE JAGUAR TOLD HER, by Alexandra V. Mendez (MG book review) #A2Z

book cover of What the Jaguar Told Her, by Alexandra V. Mendez. Published by Levine Querido | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Jade didn’t want to leave Chicago and her friends and her abuela, but Mom’s new job with TV news in Atlanta is a big deal.

Thankfully, the first person she meets at private school is Chloe who explains things and introduces her to other 8th graders.

Little sister Katerina favors their Mexican-American mom, while Jade got her blonde hair and freckles from Dad, the professional gardener.

Walking the woodland path home from school, Jade meets an old man who tells stories like Abuela, about the early people of Mexico. Itztli’s tales fuel Jade’s drawings, moving her beyond pencil and notebook paper to vivid colors and deepest shadows that reflect their history and drama.

Chloe encourages her to practice with the cross-country runners, and Jade is thrilled to qualify for the team! If only the young woman could be confident about flirting and wearing makeup like her friends…

When Abuela must come stay with them, Jade learns more of their family history, painting the stories like Itztli does. Did her grandmother see animals in the obsidian mirror like Mom did? What will Jade glimpse there now?

Did Itztli look like a jaguar when she first saw him?
Will she see Chloe’s cute big brother at the high school during cross-country practice?
Wait, Mom is on TV reporting from New York City, where planes just flew into the Twin Towers…

This novel of magical realism starts in 2001, yet goes far back into ancient history with Itztli’s vivid stories as strong as oak trees, as nourishing as corn.

What story from your family starts furthest from where you are now?
**kmm

Book info: What the Jaguar Told Her / Alexandra V. Mendez. Levine Querido, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

D = Is she a good animator or just DRAWN THAT WAY? by Elissa Sussman & Arielle Jovellanos (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of Drawn That Way, by Elissa Sussman; illustrations by Arielle Jovellanos. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The greatest animation director in the world is offering a summer internship – Hayley is so excited to be chosen to work with other teens on producing short films and maybe get a real job at BB Gun Films.

She’s been so inspired by Beckett’s magical, Oscar-winning film based on his son Bear’s imagination that she follows all his advice on their craft – what will the so-private genius be like in person?

Four films, four teams, all the leadership roles given to boys, including Bear himself who seems really bored with everything – not fair! Away from the studio, Bear seems a nice enough guy, reluctantly dragged into the program when his long-divorced dad discovered he can draw so well.

At least Hayley’s BB mentor is a woman, but she warns that this studio is as much an “old boys’ club” as the others and that women in animation have to work much harder to get work, let alone get credit for it.

Truth! Their team director takes credit for Hayley’s script, then lies about it in front of Beckett himself who chastises Hayley and puts her on Bear’s team as ‘his muse’ – stating bluntly that the Jewish girl was among the interns chosen “for diversity.”

After following Beckett’s advice for so long, Hayley is utterly stunned – is she really as talented as she thinks she is?

Bear believes in Hayley’s talents and reminds her that the animation business never promised to be fair. Being with Bear in the evenings alone – that’s more than fair.

The few other girls in the program are equally angry about their team leaders’ lack of leadership, and Hayley has an idea – why don’t they make their own short-short film too?

Working wild hours outside their team projects, the young women create Hayley’s girl and golem story that Beckett said no one could relate to – can they sneak it into the final showcase?

Time to aim for that glass ceiling and break through!

When has someone denied your proven talents?
**kmm

Book info: Drawn That Way / Elissa Sussman; illustrations by Arielle Jovellanos. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021, paperback 2022. [author site] [illustrator site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

C is CULTURED DONUTS: Take a Bite Out of Art History, by Chloe Tyler (Nonfiction Picturebook) #A2Z

book cover of Cultured Donuts: Take a Bite Out of Art History, by Chloe Tyler. Published by Flowerpot Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Close your eyes and imagine how Picasso would paint a donut. I bet you see strong colors and lots of angles in his famous Cubist abstract style.

How would other noted artists portray that donut?

This delicious book answers that curious question with donuts in the style of 16 well-known artists from Da Vinci to Van Gogh, Seurat to Matisse, Dali to Basquiat.

Each two-page spread features information on the artist’s life and works, what’s distinctive about their style, and a huge donut in that style.

Artist Chloe Tyler who so brilliantly created all these donuts also includes an extensive glossary, as well as tips & tricks for tasty technique to help you echo a famous artist’s style on your next project.

Which artist would you like to share a real donut with?
**kmm

Book info: Cultured Donuts: Take a Bite Out of Art History / Chloe Tyler. Flowerpot Press, 2022. [author/artist interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

So much to do as SISTER OF THE BOLLYWOOD BRIDE! by Nandini Bajpal (YA book review)

book cover of Sister of the Bollywood Bride, by Nandini Bajpal. Published by Poppy/ Little Brown & Company | recommended on BooksYALove.com

As big sister Vinnie’s wedding approaches and Dad is immersed in his new start-up, Mini misses their late mother more than ever. Thankfully, the Boston teen has an entire community of Desi aunties to help her with all the planning details, since Vinnie and fiance Manish are medical students in Chicago.

Tutoring pays Mini’s fashionista bills (thrift stores plus her sewing skills equals amazing), and running with her dog Yogi on the grounds of a nearby college gives her time away from planning and time to get to know handsome Vir, the dean’s son.

The beautiful gold wedding jewelry that Mom left for them inspires Mini’s vision for the big day:
Outdoor venue? The beautiful gardens in the park where Vinnie played youth sports – check!
Food from two different regions of India? Check and… the other will get back to her (eventually?)
Dress? By her designer aunt Masi, of course. Never mind that Mini’s role model and inspiration has been oddly distant these past few years.

Worrying about whether Dad will accept her dream of attending design school (instead of law/medicine/engineering that all Indian parents want for their children), if she can actually get Manish to ride in on a horse per tradition, what Vir’s very successful father will think of her – two months to plan a summer wedding!?

Mini is determined to squeeze their budget to make Vinnie’s wedding as memorable and beautiful as any Bollywood movie extravaganza, like Mom would have done.

Family, love, fun and stress, British car enthusiasts, henna and altering bridesmaids’ outfits
And then the weather forecast changes – hurricane on the horizon!

From the author of Made in Mehendi (recommended here), another Indian-American romance to savor.

What’s your favorite wedding tradition?
**kmm

Book info: Sister of the Bollywood Bride / Nandini Bajpal. Poppy/ Little Brown & Company, 2021.
[author site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Sisters sharing DRIZZLE, DREAMS, AND LOVESTRUCK THINGS, by Maya Prasad (YA book review)

book cover of Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things, by Maya Prasad. Published by Hyperion /Disney | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Four sisters,
four seasons,
five chances for love…

For the past decade, the four teen Singh sisters have lived in the Songbird Inn on Orcas Island, where their widowed father met and married Pop as they renovated the old property together. But three years ago, the girls’ beloved stepdad died, before he could see their dream named as “the most romantic inn in America” for its unique seaside weddings.

Nidhi has planned her senior year and beyond in great detail as she will head to pastry school in Paris after graduation, with boyfriend Matt. A tree crashing through her bedroom brings Grayson and construction crew to the inn – how will his secret artistic passions affect her carefully ordered life this fall?

Avani has spent the winter avoiding Francisco after a date mix-up, not so easy when his family supplies produce and goat cheese to the inn daily. Her grief for Pop lingers even as Dad begins seeing Amir, so she decides to revive his beloved Winter Ball in his memory, finding that Francisco’s help can make it happen.

Spring on the is photographer Sirisha’s favorite season, and hosting the Thousand Shores theater troupe at the Inn makes it even better – brown girls, queer girls, stories turned and retold. And beautiful Brie leaves her tongue-tied, even as the young actress tries to help Sirisha find the story that will help her photos win the San Juan Snaps contest.

Queen of Romance – Rani’s deep love of romance novels has helped her twin Avani and her older and younger sisters find happiness this past year. As they prepare for the biggest summer wedding of all, which inn visitor will be her happily ever after – socially-conscious Vikram, fun and sporty Leo, or Raj who didn’t kiss her last summer?

A wonderful year in Washington’s Pacific Northwest with the Singh family as they work through past issues with family still in India, decide what their futures might look like, and host a parade of interesting guests in the beautiful inn that they call home.

Where would you build the best inn ever?
**kmm

Book info: Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things / Maya Prasad. Hyperion, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

At the powwow, hear ANCESTOR APPROVED: INTERTRIBAL STORIES FOR KIDS, edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith (YA book review)

book cover of Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids / Cynthia Leitich Smith, editor. Published by Heartdrum/Harper Collins | recommended on BooksYALove.com
Cover art by Nicole Neidhardt

“A powwow is
where our hearts beat as one
to the thump of the drum,
together
so strong
where we belong.”

  • Kim Rogers (pg. 3)

The great Dance for Mother Earth Powwow draws Native American families and friends from all over North America to visit, dance in competitions, sell their wares, and celebrate being together in Michigan.

Smell the frybread cooking, eat the best corn soup, admire the silver bracelets and intricate beadwork, hear the drums – it’s time for the Grand Entry of all the dancers!

Can Jess convince her grandpa to dance in the Veterans’ Dance or will they go back to Oklahoma sad again this year?

Back in New Mexico, Alan and Kevin definitely don’t get along, but at the Powwow the sixth graders need to help each other locate down a certain girl and a certain silver bracelet.

Oh, beaded regalia has gone missing at this powwow too? Shana asks Tokala to help find her floral-beaded Anishinaabe moccasins before the Jingle Dance begins!

Marino’s t-shirt business could use some clever advertising – good thing that “everybody’s dog” Ozzie hitched a ride all the way from the Pueblo of Ohkay Owingeh to the powwow!

This collection of intertwined stories brings us viewpoints from 16 Native authors from different places and tribes, as Elders, young people, and one very cool rez dog experience Powwow, some for the first time, others returning for their favorite weekend of the year together.

Enjoy these stories and poems during Native American Heritage Month and all year long!

What Native American dances have you seen?
**kmm

Book info: Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids / Cynthia Leitich Smith, editor. Heartdrum/Harper Collins, 2021. [editor site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.