Everything is different,
no one understands –
moving to a new country is so hard!
Jingwen feels like like an alien when Mom moves him and little brother to Australia, especially when Yanghao picks up English so much faster than he can. Or maybe a ghost, since his classmates hardly include him in anything because he’s so quiet.
Only remembering Papa’s special cakes makes him happy (and sad), so he decides to bake each one, just as Papa taught him back in the family bakery after all the plain, inexpensive ones were done.
Why did Mama decide to emigrate, even after Papa died?
Why can’t Jingwen understand English better? Why?
Will he be held back at school to be in little brother’s class next year!?
Illustrated middle grade novel with so much heart! (and fantastically yummy descriptions of Papa’s cakes)
How can we understand others when words don’t connect us? **kmm
Book info: Pie in the Sky, by Remy Lai. Henry Holt and Company Books for Young Readers, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
No longer victims,
many choices to be made,
young women leap, tiptoe, and march onward!
A cooking show that time-travels back to the days when food was real.
The procession of elders leads young women to the sea where their true names will be revealed.
As authors and artists in Australia and India worked together on stories (in words and/or images) to show the range of experiences that teen girls are facing and have endured and can overcome, a common thread of ‘connections’ emerged in the finished compilation.
What new connections will you make to move forward?
Book info: Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean: Stories of Imagination and Daring / edited by Kirsty Murray, Payal Dhar, and Anita Roy. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2017 hardcover, 2018 paperback. [editor site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: In response to rapes and attacks on young women, writers and artists from India and Australia created this anthology of stories (several with art) reflecting the possibilities beyond powerlessness.
“Little Red Suit” in future Australia battles to reach Grandmother before the voice snarling unauthorized through her shield-suit radio does.
A young woman travels from India to “Arctic Light” on a ship to protest oil drilling and climate change, despite the loss of her mother, despite the threat of imprisonment.
Kavya wavers between remaining a low-society cleaner who removes magical problems (pixies in the toilet again…) or becoming standardized which would make “The Wednesday Room” with its removed zombies and poker-playing mermaids vanish forever.
Collaborators of different cultures and countries were asked to work together on this theme, resulting in graphic-novel short stories, single-act plays, tales of now and tales of lands imagined.
Can’t let Dad worry about the cafe,
can’t keep up with her schoolwork,
can’t stop dreaming about flamenco dancer Rosa.
Delilah’s senior year in Sydney is stress overload – mean girls, family cafe difficulties, and falling in love with the girl she can’t have.
What else could happen? Funny you should ask…
Book info: Get It Together, Delilah / Erin Gough. Chronicle Books, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk:
As Dad’s short vacation grows longer and longer, 17-year-old Delilah juggles schoolwork, her best friends’ expectations, and unfair business competition so she can keep her family cafe going, but is dreaming of dancing Rosa across the street of their Sydney suburb.
She refuses to ruin Dad’s trip (first since Mum ran off with another man) by telling him of their cafe manager’s arrest; she’ll just run The Flywheel till he’s back in a few weeks…
Being short-handed at the cafe means she’s falling behind on her classwork.
Helping Charlie with his wild plans to make his (older) tutor fall in love with him aren’t helping, either.
Best friend Lauren is completely ignoring Del’s coming-out, but the bullies at their school aren’t.
The underhanded tricks of a new restaurant nearby are cutting into The Flywheel’s business, Del actually talks to beautiful Rosa (and doesn’t faint) – and Dad extends his vacation – uh, oh.
Waiting for that car to return from the hanging forest,
waiting to finish school and leave this tiny town,
waiting for the right guy to notice her (really notice)…
Jacklin wishes she could go to Europe like her sister did (why’d she come home?) or actually get paid for her job at the town’s failing grocery store.
Is Ma just waiting for Jacklin and Trudy to leave town for good?
Is renovating the old drive-in movie show with Jeremiah and Roly worthwhile?
What about that guy camping in the suicide grove of the national forest nearby?
Look for this summer tale of interpersonal drama and some questionable choices in hardcover or paperback at your local library or favorite independent bookstore (more opening every week in USA!)
What are you waiting for today?
Book info: In-Between Days / Vikki Wakefield. Simon Schuster Books For Young Readers, 2016 (hardcover), 2017 (paperback). [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Sent to Dad’s house in Maine from Australia to shake his depression, Luke isn’t sure he wants to “get over” his girlfriend’s death or to talk again or to meet anybody (especially the girl who reminds him of someone…)
A 2nd place at debate tournament gets Alex to her dream writer’s workshop, but she needs a debate partner. Passing AP Biology gets Jeremy closer to becoming a doctor (his parents’ dream), but he needs a tutor. Helping each other will be easy, right?
Expectations can be a heavy burden – how do you cope?
My book talk: Dreams of being with handsome Billy are fruitless; dreams of making her living as an artist get Vân Ước through tough days. But the Vietnamese Australian teen may have a chance at both, if the guest creative writing teacher is right!
The transition from her Sydney immigrant neighborhood where she shares strong coffee with her lesbian-in-waiting best friend to the private school where she’s a scholarship student is jarring, as is Billy’s transformation from popular prankster to nice guy in their International Baccalaureate classes.
When a tiny bottle marked ‘wish’ just vanishes into her skin during a creative writing seminar, odd things begin to happen to Vân Ước – like Billy really paying attention to her – in a good way!
Will she be able to magically change her parents’ expectations for her future?
Can Mama’s depression be cured, years after that traumatic journey from Vietnam?
What would Jane Austen do in all these strange, changed situations?
Her name means ‘cloudwish’ – and maybe, just maybe, her dearest wishes and dreams could come true.
Smart at old school,
struggling at new school,
where is her self and center now?
While the access scholarship admits Lucy to Laurinda, privilege and social power at the fancy private school will keep this child of Chinese immigrants from true success there. Her less-educated parents want her to be happy and do well, but aren’t demanding that she ace every exam.
Her letters to funny and outspoken Linh at her old school chronicle Lucy’s worries about fitting in, finding a friend, and her baby brother’s worsening health.
How do you stay true to yourself while trying to rise?
Book info: Lucy and Linh / Alice Pung. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2016. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: As a new scholarship girl at Laurinda, Lucy suddenly walks into a world of generational privilege where acceptance by ‘the Cabinet’ of most-influential students at the historic Sydney girls’ school is more important than grades or kindness.
The distance between her scruffy immigrant neighborhood and the elegance of Laurinda is more than just a bus ride, thinks Lucy, as the disconnect grows between her home life where Ma assembles garments in the back room and school days where the Cabinet connives to discredit any teacher they dislike.
Why did the girls of the Cabinet seek out Lucy?
Why must Laurinda’s social order remain the same now as last generation?
Would Lucy return to her old school where she can be herself?
Worrying about baby brother’s health amid Ma’s sewing dust, trying to understand why the Cabinet gets away with so much, wondering if she can succeed at Laurinda without completely losing herself, this teen child of Chinese immigrants pours out her new life in letters to Linh.
Nearing the end of this great summer program, so please download either or both books (click on link following title) before Wednesday 3 August 2016, so that you can listen free as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device.
Mom demands weight loss, school is terrible, as Angie alone believes that her POW sister will come home from Iraq. When ultra-cool girl KC moves to her small Ohio town and sees the true Angie, life gets a lot more real in this not-traditional rom-com. (great book trailer here!)
Alba never expected
(a) sleepy Eden Valley as gathering place for the just-announced end of the world, 10 days from now,
(b) then-chunky pal, now-hunky TV star Daniel to return after years away,
(c) best friend Grady really expecting them to move to college at summer’s end,
(d) all of the above, plus a demand for vegan choices at Mum’s bakery (where they live, too).
Surely she can become an award-winning graphic novelist with her Cinnamon Girl character without leaving everything she loves about their little back-country town…
Published in Australia in 2014 and brought to the USA by Peachtree Publishers in 2016, the longing and love story of Cinnamon Girl is so worth asking for at your local library or independent bookstore – you’ve got to find out if the world ends, right?
So, the world ending – caused by humans, nature, aliens?
Book info: The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl / Melissa Keil. Peachtree, 2016. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Alba and Grady have been best buddies forever, but when a psychic’s ‘end of the world’ pronouncement names their little Australian town, the recently graduated teens must cope with strangers in the pasture and old friends with new perspectives, as she wants everything to stay the same and he longs to head for college.
Can’t she be a brilliant graphic artist without leaving her tiny hometown?
If her dad hadn’t died in a motorcycle crash and Grady’s dad hadn’t fled for the city, what would life be like now?
Wait, is old pal, now TV actor Daniel flirting with her? Grady is acting so weird these days…
Each chapter is headed with a panel from Alba’s graphic-novel-in-progress as her sorta-superhero Cinnamon Girl also copes with time passing too fast, enjoys terrible television shows, worries about the impending apocalypse, and stars in the Albany Bakery’s scrumptious menu. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)
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