Tag Archive | art

No party for MISS QUINCES, por favor, please! by Kat Fajardo (Graphic novel book review)

book cover of Miss Quinces, by Kat Fajardo; color by Marianna Azzi. Published by Graphix /Scholastic Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A month away from her friends,
no internet, no cellphone service…
a surprise quinceaneara! What?!

Suyapa loves reading graphic novels and trying to draw her own. Her friends in Comics Club will go to Camp Willow later this summer, but not her – Mami won’t let the 15 year old go anywhere (anywhere!) without her older and younger sisters!

Same when their family goes to Honduras for a month – cousins everywhere, people in and out of Abuelita’s house, even going to a village shop with Papi becomes a parade. The introverted teen cherishes moments alone with her artistic grandmother who agrees to do a travelogue comic with her!

Surprise!! Mami has invited the whole town to Sue’s quinceanera, the traditional ceremonies and dances marking a young lady’s 15th birthday as she moves from childhood to the adult world!

But Sue had told them repeatedly she didn’t want a quinces! She hates speaking in front of people, can’t dance, and certainly can’t wear the required high heels!

Abuelita suggests that she and Mami compromise, so Suyapa agrees to the quinces as Mami has arranged it, and Mami agrees to call the camp so she can go with her friends when they get back to New York!

A poufy pink dress (so different from Abuelita’s satiny white one), stepping on her cousin’s toes as she tries learning to waltz, big sister choreographing the big dance, writing a speech of thanks – aggggghhhhh!

When a tragedy strikes their family, the quinces drops off their priority list – but having heard Abuelita’s quinces stories, maybe this is what Sue wants to do after all…

Family or friends, old ways and new ways – happy book birthday to Miss Quinces!

Be sure to grab this just-published graphic novel today at your local library or independent bookstore to see just how pink and poufy that dress is! Compare quinces traditions by reading Once Upon a Quinceanera (recommended here).

What’s your least-favorite family tradition?
**kmm

Book info: Miss Quinces / Kat Fajardo; color by Marianna Azzi. Graphix /Scholastic Books, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

V is for VIOLETS ARE BLUE, Wren and her makeup are, too, by Barbara Dee (MG book review) #A2Z

book cover of Violets Are Blue, by Barbara Dee.Published by Aladdin / Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

New town, new school,
same Mom, new stepmom,
same worries, plus some…

They move the summer after the divorce, after her sixth grade sort-of-friends abandon her, after Wren starts learning to do special effects makeup, after Dad marries pregnant Vanessa in faraway Brooklyn.

Wren hides the high-quality makeup that Vanessa buys so she can create mermaids and super-characters like KatFX videos show. Mom adds a lock to her bedroom door to keep the cat out… huh?

When her skills catch the attention of new friends, Wren is asked to do makeup for the school play – turning snooty Avery into so-green Elphaba might be fun.

Kai is really talented – draws superheroes, runs sound and lights for the play. Wren hopes he doesn’t really have a crush on her.

Mom’s an ER nurse on different shifts, sleeps all the time she’s home, pill bottles under the sink… now she’s missing work.

Why can’t Wren make KatFX’s mermaid instructions work?
How can she keep Kai as just a friend?
Why did Dad say she could call him about anything?

Seventh grade year is full of tension for Wren as she tries to balance two families and navigate too many changes at the same time.

When someone you love is in trouble, how do you know when to help?
**kmm

Book info: Violets Are Blue / Barbara Dee. Aladdin / Simon & Schuster, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

T is for Trix, family secrets & A CONSTELLATION OF ROSES, by Miranda Asebedo (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of A Constellation of Roses, by Miranda Asebedo. Published by Harper Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Thieving is a gift,
all that Trix has now
since Mom has gone again.

Running away from that foster home wasn’t her best idea, but Trixie knows that if drug-addicted Mom is coming back, she’ll come to this cheap motel – exactly where her social worker finds the 17-year-old and takes her to relatives on her dad’s side, a family she never knew about.

Her aunt Mia bakes amazing pies, almost magical Lucky Lime, Never-Lonely Lemon – all the McCabe women have some kind of gift, according to her great-aunt. Eventually her very quiet teen cousin Ember will tell Trix about her gift, maybe.

What’s a streetwise teen with a gift for undetectable theft going to do in this tiny Kansas country town? Live with her aunt and graduate from high school – or go to prison! Okay… but Trix missed so much school that it’ll take two years to finish now!

She’s sketched since she could hold a stolen pencil, so art class is fine (artistic just like her late father, folks say), and some of the students are okay, like Jasper who helps with pie deliveries.

How did Jasper’s brother die last year?
Why does everyone in Rocksaw have a different story of how her dad died?
What future does her great-aunt see in Trix’s palm?

Putting down roots like the climbing roses at the McCabe house or blowing away with the drifters in the city – Trix thinks and thinks…

What paranormal gift would you choose, if you knew it was in control?
**kmm

Book info: A Constellation of Roses / Miranda Asebedo. Harper Teen, hardcover 2019, paperback 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Personal collection; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

P is painting! P is president? BLAINE FOR THE WIN, by Robbie Couch (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of Blaine for the Win, by Robbie Couch. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Dumped! In public!
On their anniversary!
Gotta win him back…

Blaine was sure that Joey was planning to ask him on a ritzy trip with his rich family, not break up on their one-year anniversary! The mural-painting junior doesn’t fit into senior Joey’s long-range plan to become the first out US President, since he’s “not a Serious guy” like Blaine’s classmate Zach.

Well, Blaine will show Joey that he’s serious – he’ll run for Senior class president! His best friend Trish says she’ll be his campaign manager, her girlfriend Camilla will help too (between interning at the Field Museum with dinosaur bones).

His loving, workaholic parents support him, as does his biggest fan Aunt Starr who’s living with them between jobs – best company ever on these long, no-Joey nights.

Whoa, so many requirements to get onto the ballot: 50 junior classmates’ signatures in two days, a speech to the 94-member student council, then a debate between the highest-ranked candidates in front of the whole school!

Trish helps Blaine stand out from the other candidates – he asks fellow students to talk to him, instead of telling them why he’s great. So many concerns that center around stress and mental health issues…

And cute Dannie, whose aloe vera plant was a casualty when Blaine literally ran into him on the sidewalk, joins the group as his dad’s coffeehouse in their Chicago neighborhood becomes their campaign headquarters, complete with amazing Vietnamese pastries.

Can he really make a difference for his classmates?
Will he win back Joey if he wins the race?
Where did his passion for painting murals go?

Easy-going Blaine shifts his focus from big murals to the big picture and finds out what’s really important to him.

When did you step out of your comfort zone?
**kmm

Book info: Blaine for the Win / Robbie Couch. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

E is exploring & enquiring & FINDING ESME, by Suzanne Crowley (MG book review) #AtoZ

book cover of Finding Esme, by Suzanne Crowley. Published by Greenwillow Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Peach trees and bees,
water-divining and watching,
finding what’s been lost – most times.

It’s not that Esme doesn’t love her prickly grandmother Bee, it’s that missing Paps takes up so much of her heart. And under his tractor on Solace Hill, there where her sweet grandfather died, is where the twelve year old finds bones after a rainstorm.

Bee is a finder of things and a water-witcher, sure that Esme will inherit that gift (if only it could help the tween find friends at the junior high school in their tiny Texas town).

Honey and peach pies won’t pay Bee’s mortgage in the 1970s, little brother Bo is truly a wild child, and their mother June Rain is just a quiet shadow since their artist father disappeared.

And now these big bones that Esme’s best pal Finch helps her dig around – has she found a dinosaur? They write to an expert over in Dallas for his opinion and wait.

Can Esme’s finding gift finally locate her father?
What should she decide about the amazing bones?
Are some family secrets too big to stay buried?

When yet another person goes missing, the townspeople turn to Bee… and Esme, if her gift is truly here.

If you had the gift to find one thing, what would you seek?
**kmm

Book info: Finding Esme / Suzanne Collins. Greenwillow Books, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

B is their band BARAKAH BEATS (don’t tell her parents!), by Maleeha Siddiqui (MG book review)

book cover of Barakah Beats, by Maleeha Siddiqui. Published by Scholastic Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

First year in public school!
Big building, confusing schedule,
best friend ignoring her?

After memorizing the entire Qu’ran, 12-year-old Nimra finally moves from private Islamic school to the same Virginia public middle school that her BFF Jenna attends – is she really ready?

She’s excited about the chance to take art class (if she can convince her conservative Pakistani-American parents), but not happy that Jenna pays so much more attention to other friends.

Her quiet noon prayer is interrupted by some eighth grade guys in the band room – a Muslim boy band?! The whole school is obsessed with Barakah Beats, and they’re inviting her, a new seventh grader, to join?

Beliefs about music vary throughout Islam, but for Nimra’s family, playing instruments or singing isn’t acceptable. Maybe the band will accept the new logo she drew instead of being mad that the young hijabi can’t sing with them…

Her new friend Khadijiah’s big brother is in Barakah Beats. She says they really, really want Nimra in the band to sing and to write new lyrics.

If Nimra practicing with the band makes her cool to Jenna’s friends, but she never performs in public, that would be okay, right?

Oh, of course Barakah Beats is performing at the fundraiser for refugees! And the entire Muslim community will be there, including her parents!

How can Nimra dare sing in public?
Why can’t her parents view music like other Muslims do?
Why can’t Mom and her grandparents agree on the right way to do anything?

Nimra’s heart is in turmoil about keeping her new Muslim friends while defying her family to regain Jenna’s friendship.

What long-held dream are you willing to go for?
**kmm

Book info: Barakah Beats / Maleeha Siddiqui. Scholastic Press, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Ready…set…MAKE YOUR OWN MANGA! by Elaine Tipping and Erwin Prasetya (YA book review)

book cover of Make Your Own Manga: Create Your Own Anime Comics With Action-Packed Story Fill-ins and Blank Comic Panels, by Elaine Tipping and Erwin Prasettya. Published by Adams Media | recommended on BooksYALove.com

If you love anime and manga,
if you imagine the dialogue you’d write on the next page,
if you sketch and sketch on any paper nearby –
this is the book you need!

Story and art must work together seamlessly in manga, so Make Your Own Manga provides you pages upon pages of practice space for each skill.

Manga artists Elaine Tipping (draws Dubious Company and Licensed Heroes ) and Erwin Prasetya (illustrates Blade Bunny ) give you helpful hints about transfering your imagination to the page, then set you free to create.

Part one – Write Your Own Story – contains six illustrated stories with empty dialogue bubbles so you can practice fitting the story you’ve written into the usual manga framework. Three stories by each author are presented in left-to-right, top-to-bottom pattern, rather than traditional manga reading style, because this is a practice book to help you with the flow of the story. Why are they flying? Who’s the villain? – you decide!

Part two – Write and Draw Your Own Story – is hundreds of professionally drawn comic frames in many styles, just waiting for you to capture your manga! You can divide these 100+ pages into as many anime comics as you like – be sure to note each one’s title and starting page on the blank table of contents at the front of the book.

So get this book now at your favorite independent bookstore or order it through Bookshop.org where you choose the indie bookstore that gets credit, and the books are shipped straight to you! (These aren’t affiliate links; BooksYALove never profits from recommending books)

Whether you’re just starting to draw manga or you’re an experienced creator looking for layout inspiration, grab your pencil and Make Your Own Manga – then keep creating!

What series would you recommend for a first-time manga reader?
**kmm

Book info: Make Your Own Manga: Create Your Own Anime Comics With Action-Packed Story Fill-ins and Blank Comic Panels / Elaine Tipping and Erwin Prasettya. Adams Media / Simon & Schuster, 2021. [Elaine’s site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Helping others find love, where’s her MATCH MADE IN MEHENDI? by Nandini Bajpai (YA book review)

paperback book cover of A Match Made in Mehendi, by Nandini Bajpai. Little Brown Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Henna or paint?
Matchmaking or the magic of art?
Family expectations or her own dreams?

Simi wants a future in art, not becoming a traditional matchmaker like her mom and aunt and grandmother, nor excelling in STEM like her Indian-American parents expect – let big brother Navdeep please them with his amazing computer skills.

Sophomore year is their turn to get out of the shadows where the popular crowd shoves everyone, Simi and best friend Noah decide, just like the transfer students who don’t know that Amanda tries to run everything at their New Jersey high school.

Hmm… incorporating her mehendi henna designs into a large-scale artwork could be perfect for Simi’s signature project.

Maybe stand out by matchmaking! Using Navdeep’s stalled app (Mom insists on talking in person), Noah’s clever quiz questions, and Simi’s charming icons, they create Matched! limited to students at their school.

At first, Simi and Noah stay quiet about Matched! but when more and more students take the quiz, their secret is out – and kids are excited to see who their top Matches will be.

Ohh… soccer stars Ethan and Tea are perfectly Matched even as Amanda keeps saying she’s getting Ethan back.

Umm… maybe Simi’s Matches include long-time crush Aiden from art or Suraj who transferred here for robotics.

Eek… Noah won’t tell Simi if cute new guy Connor from California is one of his matches – surely they’re compatible!

As Matches begin to meet in person and decide whether to go out or not, Amanda’s demands to be Matched with Ethan grow more frenzied – yikes!

Enjoy this debut novel to see which Matches flare brightly!

Have you ever tried a matching app?
**kmm

Book info: A Match Made in Mehendi / Nandini Bajpai. Little Brown Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2019, paperback 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Personal collection; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

This summer could be the best ever for THE ISLANDERS! by Mary Alice Monroe & Angela May (MG book review)

Book cover of The Islanders, by Mary Alice Monroe & Angela May. Published by Aladdin/ Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

No videogames or wi-fi?
Driving a golf cart! Or a boat?!
Maybe summer will be okay…

As a military kid, twelve-year-old Jake knows that staying with his grandma Honey will help Mom as she’s at the Army hospital with Dad, but having no internet or cellphone (don’t ask) will be terrible.

Luckily, two kids his age are on Dewees Island for the summer: Macon, a facts-spouting Black guy from Atlanta, whose mom is on bed rest waiting for her baby to arrive, and nature-fanatic Lovie, who drives her own boat over from Isle of Palms every day to stay with her aunt.

Honey doesn’t seem herself after Jake’s granddad died a while ago, and her house on stilts needs lots of care. Dad grew up here, roaming these woods and beaches, learning to drive a boat, leaving his nature journal and favorite books in the loft bedroom where Jake is staying.

Doing chores for Honey still leaves Jake plenty of time to explore the South Carolina coastal island with Lovie and Macon. Lots of lessons too – driving the golf cart, learning his way around a boat, recognizing loggerhead turtle tracks, avoiding alligators.

An incident gets the three friends assigned to Dawn Patrol, checking the beaches early, early every morning for new turtle nests that the licensed specialists verify and encircle with warning tape.

Jake sketches in his own nature journal, writes illustrated letters to Dad, and listens to the worries that Lovie and Macon confide.

Can Jake earn his boating license before summer ends?
How can they keep predators away from the turtle nests?
How fast can Dad recover from the IED explosion?

Sometimes the island seems like paradise, other times it’s not. For these three friends, this will be a summer to remember! First in a new series, followed by Search for Treasure in June 2022.

What’s your favorite summer-with-friends memory?
**kmm

Book info: The Islanders (Islanders, book 1) / Mary Alice Monroe & Angela May. Aladdin/ Simon & Schuster, 2021. [author site] [co-author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

She’s leaving. DESTINATION ANYWHERE, anywhere but here, by Sara Barnard (YA book review)

book cover of Destination Anywhere, by Sara Barnard; Christiane Furtges, illustrations. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Bullied.
Mocked.
No friends during all her years in secondary school – not. a. single. one.

Even trying to make friends in early college was so disastrous that 17-year-old Peyton just leaves England, flies to Vancouver with her sketchbook and savings, choosing an adventure alone over being so very, very alone at school.

At the Canadian youth hostel, she meets honestly nice people from all over the world. With young adults from Scotland and Russia and beyond, she tours the city, visits the beach and a zipline in the forest – and they’re glad that she’s with them (wow).

Flashbacks to the dreadful night in college that triggered her flight illuminate the chasm of self-doubt caused by years of bullying – can journeying get her over that?

Beasey, Khalil, and friends think that Peyton is traveling to see her grandfather in Alberta (well, she tells everyone that’s why she’s here) and ask if she wants to join them when they rent an RV to visit Banff, which is on her route – why not?

They understand her dreams of becoming an illustrator (her parents don’t), savor nature’s beauty with her, and soon will be on their way to other countries and jobs and such – what next for her?

Maybe actually visiting the grandfather who abandoned her dad and grandma decades ago is the right path…

By the author of A Quiet Kind of Thunder (I recommended it here).

Where would you go on your next journey of self-discovery?
**kmm

Book info: Destination Anywhere / Sara Barnard; Christiane Furtges, illustrations. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.