Tag Archive | belonging

Oh, no! She has the WORST BROOMMATE EVER at witch school! by Wanda Coven & Anna Abramskaya (MG book review)

book cover of Worst Broommate Ever! by Wanda Coven; illustrated by Anna Abramskaya. Published by Simon Spotlight | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Learning to be a better witch! Eek!
Leaving friends and family…sad.
No more bully Melanie – yay!

Heidi knows that her mom and aunt loved going to Broomsfield Academy – regular boarding school with secret witch classes.

But what if no one at Broomsfield likes her? How can she start middle school without her best friends, Lucy and Bruce?

Her broommate’s side of their dorm room is all pink, pink, pink – oh, no! It’s snarky Melanie, and she’s a witch, too?!

Heidi uses magic to prank Melanie into moving to another room, but gets busted for doing spells outside their amazing hidden Magic School.

Forced together during getting-acquainted games and activities, the tweens find some common ground, still wish for other broommates.

Why has Melanie always picked on Heidi?
How does the Academy keep the School of Magic secret from the regular students?
Will Heidi ever discover her secret witch gift?

Her first crush, new ways of looking at familiar things – definitely a growing-up year for Heidi!

Brimming with illustrations and Heidi’s words getting bigger for emphasis, this first book in the Middle School and Other Disasters series is a fun read.

What’s your best starting-school memory?
**kmm

Book info: Worst Broommate Ever! (Middle School and Other Disasters, book 1) / Wanda Coven; illustrated by Anna Abramskaya. Simon Spotlight, 2023. [author video] [illustrator site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

They’re seeking SPELLS FOR LOST THINGS, like hearts… by Jenna Evans Welch (YA book review)

book cover of Spells for Lost Things, by Jenna Evans Welch. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

How can Willow’s aunt be dead? Mom doesn’t even have a sister!

Willow’s parents divorced two years ago, Mom took her from Brooklyn to LA, Dad remarried and had triplets. Only being in Paris with best friend Bea feels like home, but Mom won’t let her go there to finish high school…

Now Mom has inherited a witch’s beautifully renovated house from her twin sister, so they’re in Salem to sell it. Bur Mom won’t even go in the front door! Willow adores Bell House – can’t they just stay here?

Mason bounced through foster care for years as his mom’s addiction worsened. Now he’s in Salem, with her high school best friend Emma, her husband, and their blended family – they became foster parents just for him?

After an awkward meeting on the Bell House roof (telescope, Mason, stars, of course), the teens try to unravel the mystery of Lily Bell retold in the spell book kept by Mom and Aunt Sage as teens.

Why didn’t Willow know she had great-aunts who are witches?
Does Emma know where Mason’s mom is?
What is this feeling growing between Willow and Mason?

Told in alternating chapters by Willow and Mason during the summer before their senior year as they try to find a solid place to land in their lives’ uncertainty.

Available in paperback today, 8/29/23! By the author of Love & Gelato (I recommended it here), Love & Luck (more here), and Love & Olives (here).

What family tale was most surprising to you?
**kmm

Book info: Spells for Lost Things / Jenna Evans Welch. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2022, paperback 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.

How friendly is their new-old house in THE TIME OF GREEN MAGIC? by Hilary McKay (MG book review)

book cover of The Time of Green Magic, by Hilary McKay. Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Two families into one.
An old house large enough for all.
Enough love to go around?

Abi had been an only, cherished by Dad Theo and Granny Grace after Mum died when she was a baby.

Now the 11 year old is a middle, squished between 13-year-old Max and grubby hands 6-year-old Louis when Dad marries Polly, and they move into her small house.

The blended family searches and searches for another house to rent, finally deciding on an old, tall house covered with ivy – and room enough for everyone!

With Polly and Theo working more hours to afford the house, Esme is hired to bring Louis home from school, and Max is enraged that his best friend Danny tells everyone that the 18-year-old French art student is his “babysitter” now.

Abi is happy to get back to escaping into books in her own room – so vivid, so real that she can feel the ocean spray in her face as she reads Kon-Tiki.

It isn’t ‘a nowl’ that Louis hears in the ivy, but an invisible friend, a cat-shaped being named Iffen who races up the vines to sleep in his room, who sharpens his mighty claws on the bedside mat, who is hungry.

Could Max finally calm down around Esme?
Is Iffen listen getting larger?
How can Abi see Iffen?!

Perhaps, perhaps the old house’s magic can help their many-parts family become whole.

Did you have an imaginary childhood friend?
**kmm

Book info: The Time of Green Magic / Hilary McKay. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2020, paperback 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Oracle’s prophecy, a WOLFISH connection – danger! by Christiane M. Andrews (MG book review)

book cover of Wolfish, by Christiane M. Andrews. Published by Little Brown | recommended on BooksYALove.com

In their cave of mists, Oracle and Apprentice tell the future, but young Alba won’t repeat the waters’ most dismal words to rob poor peasants of a little hope.

Alas, Alba does speak truth to one boy, eleventh in the royal succession and suddenly the new king, about his joyless reign being cut short by his sibling and a beast.

Later visions show her that the king’s mother soon after birthed twins who were swiftly taken from the palace, yet all are told that her child was stillborn … where were the king’s siblings taken?

In the mountains, little Rae helps her adoptive parents watch their sheep, growing strong on their love and sunshine and Mop’s songs.

In the forest, a wolf-child learns to hunt and revel in the scents around him, as furred and swift-running as his litter-mates.

At the cave entrance, a young priest guarding them at night reluctantly teaches Alba how to write, and she records her vision of the twins for the priests’ library.

One day, Rae sings the song she senses in hillside breezes and sees a wolf, whose attack is stopped – by another wolf! The defending wolf allows Rae to tend his wounds, and somehow they truly see one another…

Alba’s writing is discovered, and she is banished. Now what? Now where?

To her first market day in the town, Rae and her parents go, not knowing that the king ordered all children of the twins’ age – and hers – captured!

Can Alba and Rae and the wolf escape the king’s anger and make their own futures come true?

A lyrical tale of the magic of songs and of being known, seen, loved.

Would you want to know your future?
**kmm

Book info: Wolfish / Christiane M. Andrews. Little Brown, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Can she OUTRUN THE MOON & fate through education or luck? by Stacey Lee (YA book review)

book cover of Outrun the Moon, by Stacey Lee. Published by Penguin | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Mercy wants better for her little brother than backbreaking laundry work, but she needs more education than their poor middle school can offer so she can start a business.

The teen negotiates her way into a semester scholarship at St. Clare’s School for Girls, the best in 1906 San Francisco, determined to brave anti-Chinese prejudice on the way to her dreams.

In return, Mercy promises snobby Elodie’s father a meeting with the Benevolent Association to apply for permission to sell his very fine chocolates in Chinatown…

Oh, how she longs to help her boyfriend Tom find his way into the sky instead of becoming an herbalist doctor like his father!

What if the headmistress decides Mercy isn’t worthy to be at St. Clare’s?
What if the Benevolent Association won’t consider their request?
What does her mother see when she foretells their futures?

Earthquake! The St. Clare’s girls escape to Golden Gate Park and, with Mercy’s practical skills, try to help others fleeing collapsed buildings and fires.

Her family! Their families! What now?

Outstanding historical fiction from the author of The Downstairs Girl (recommended here).

Are you prepared for a natural disaster?
**kmm

Book info: Outrun the Moon / Stacey Lee. Penguin, hardcover 2016, paperback 2017. [author Facebook] [publisher site] Personal collection; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Lady Liberty is A LIGHT FOR ALL! by Margarita Engle & Raul Colon (Picturebook recommendation)

book cover of Light For All, by Margarita Engle; illustrated by Raul Colon. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Light, hope, freedom!

The Statue of Liberty‘s welcoming presence weaves throughout this uplifting and reflective picturebook.

Children’s hopes, dreams, and memories of their birth-lands fill these pages showing the many reasons that people come to the United States.

The text also acknowledges the Native Americans who lived here first and the Africans forcibly brought here in slavery, as well as recent immigrants’ struggles to be accepted by those whose families also arrived as immigrants in past generations.

By the author of many novels in verse that carry forward the voices of non-dominant cultures, several recommended on BooksYALove here.

The illustrator uses varied color palettes to portray disaster and turmoil, community and reunion, friendship and hope.

Also available in Spanish : Luz Para Todos.

Have you visited the Statue of Liberty?
**kmm

Book info: Light For All / Margarita Engle; illustrated by Raul Colon. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021. [author site] [illustrator interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Let’s hear it for inventors! (audiobook recommendations)

How clever! This week, AudioSYNC brings us stories of extremely sharp folks and their amazingly inventive minds.

You have until Wednesday 5 July 2023 to download either or both of these professionally produced audiobooks into your Sora shelf. Get all the details here.

Did you miss earlier weeks’ free audiobooks? Check with your local public library or favorite independent bookstore.

Get ready to read with your ears!

CD cover of Bump, by Chiara Atik | Read by Ana Ortiz, Herbert Siguenza, Alma Martinez, and a Full Cast. Published by LA Theatre Works

Bump (free Sora download 6/29-7/5/23)
by Chiara Atik | Read by Ana Ortiz, Herbert Siguenza, Alma Martinez, and a Full Cast
Published by L.A. Theatre Works

The humorous story of Claudia’s plan to deliver her baby at home (using an amateur-built birthing machine!) is bookended by those of a midwife and first-time mother in 1790 and an online bulletin board for December moms.

Includes an interview with the author and a gynecologist.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/226065/bump-by-chiara-atik-read-by-ana-ortiz-herbert-siguenza/

swirling lines clipart http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/mondays-throughout-the-day-17164159
CD cover of The Woman Who Split the Atom: the Life of Lise Meitner, by Marissa Moss | Read by Sandy Rustin. Published by Recorded Books

The Woman Who Split the Atom: the Life of Lise Meitner (free Sora download 6/29-7/5/23)
by Marissa Moss | Read by Sandy Rustin
Published by Recorded Books

It was Lise Meitner’s groundbreaking research into the behavior of atoms in the 1930s that led to understanding nuclear fission and its later use in atomic weapons, much to her sorrow.

As a Jewish woman in pre-World War II Germany, brilliant Meitner was given substandard lab facilities, saw her work attributed solely to men, was forced into exile by the Nazi regime, and never received the Nobel Prize honors awarded to her male co-researchers.

On BooksYALove here, you’ll find my recommendation of Hidden Powers: Lise Meitner’s Call to Science, by Jeannine Atkins – a biography of Meitner in verse.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/229657/the-woman-who-split-the-atom-by-marissa-moss-read-by-sandy-rustin/

Which invention has most improved your own life?
**kmm

divider clipart http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/mondays-throughout-the-day-17164159

Traverse A WILDERNESS OF STARS to save humanity, by Shea Ernshaw (YA book review)

book cover of A Wilderness of Stars, by Shea Ernshaw. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

An unmistakable omen,
Time to leave safety,
Time to find the stars’ secrets.

Every night, Vega and Mom talk about all the stars they can see from their secluded valley, including the constellation tattooed on the teen’s neck.

When Vega sees a dreadful omen in the skies and Mom dies, it’s time to go away – for Vega is the last Astronomer and must find the Architect to save their world.

Together, they can find a cure for the fast-spreading sickness that takes sight and hearing before death.

If she can stay clear of the star-branded Theorists who believe the Astronomer can help them end the world quickly…
If that young man truly knows where to find the Architect…
If the Architect and the Astronomer can get to the sea…

Hunted by Theorists, going quietly around dusty near-ghost towns where her face is on wanted posters, Vega moves quickly with teens Cricket and Noah, now the Last Architect.

Vega’s affection for Noah grows as they travel stealthily across the hostile wilderness toward the sea, even as she worries about the secrets of his past.

Will their knowledge – passed down orally for generations – be accurate enough to save their world?

**kmm

Book info: A Wilderness of Stars / Shea Ernshaw. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

PIGSKINS TO PAINTBRUSHES: football-playing artist Ernie Barnes, by Don Tate (Picturebook review)

book cover of Pigskins to Paintbrushes: the Story of Football-Playing Artist Ernie Barnes, by Don Tate. Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

His pencil never stopped drawing,
his heart was filled with music and images,
some day he would show the world!

On the sidelines as he played professional football, Ernie kept drawing. After all, art had long been his escape from bullies as he grew up in segregated North Carolina.

In high school, Ernie was a big guy, so his mother convinced the football coach to let him play – and Ernie hated it! Only when the weight-lifting coach encouraged him to get stronger did the young Black man find his rhythm on the field and on the track team, leading to college scholarship offers

Oh, how Ernie loved the art studio at his all-Black college, learning oil painting and perspective and art history. His professor encouraged him to use his own experiences as inspiration for his work, and Ernie began painting about football as he kept playing.

His NFL career cut short by injury, Ernie proposed that the American Football League hire him as their official artist. He painted for the New York Jets, exhibiting 30 vibrant and exciting works to great acclaim in the mid-1960s.

Ernie’s paintings of Black Americans reflected joy and community, and his art career came full circle when they were exhibited in 1979 at the North Carolina Museum of Art, where he wasn’t allowed to enter as a child during segregation.

Movement, muscle, memory, and heart made Ernie Banks an art superstar. Watch the book trailer here!

What sport-related artwork is your favorite?
**kmm

Book info: Pigskins to Paintbrushes: the Story of Football-Playing Artist Ernie Barnes / Don Tate. Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.