Tag Archive | communication

Her talents rejected? ‘Tis A SEASON MOST UNFAIR! by J. Anderson Coats (Middle grade book review)

cover image of A Season Most Unfair / J. Anderson Coats. Atheneum Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Candlemaking is hot, stinky work, but Scholastica helps her father render the tallow and twist the wicks and dip the candles until they’re just right. Her loving stepmother can’t have children or bend down with her leg brace, so Tick has worked with Papa since she was tiny.

This year Tick is old enough to mold the Agnus Dei charms for travelers’ safety, using pricy beeswax and expensive paints. The charms sell well at the Stourbridge Fair, and Papa can’t see well enough now to paint their fine details.

So why does Papa think he needs an apprentice?!

Tick doesn’t care that Henry’s father and Papa are friends – how will an inexperienced boy help make enough candles to sell to get them through the bitter winter?

If only she can get some beeswax and make the charms…
If only she can find a way to Stourbridge Fair…
If only she can be sure that Papa still loves her enough…

There are joys among the hardships of living in medieval England, and Tick just wants to do the job that makes her happy!

By the author of The Night Ride, recommended here: https://booksyalove.com/?p=13684

What task did you like to help your family with when you were younger?
**kmm

Book info: A Season Most Unfair / J. Anderson Coats. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Friends and more – tweens look for ANSWERS IN THE PAGES, by David Levithan (MG book review)

book cover of Answers in the Pages, by David Levithan. Alfred A. Knopf Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

What an exciting book!
Who wants to take it away?
Why can’t kids read what they want?!

The Adventurers! Donovan can’t wait to read the novel that Mr. Howe has chosen for their fifth-grade class – three young people trying to stop an evil mastermind, with danger and bravery at every turn!

But his mom’s bad habit of jumping to the end of a book halts everything. She interprets its final sentence as too mature for tweens to handle: “At that moment, Rick knew just how deeply he loved Oliver, and Oliver knew just how deeply he loved Rick, and the understanding of this moment would lead them to much of the happiness and adventure that came next.”

She calls other parents and visits the principal, making Mr. Howe take back The Adventurers until the school board can meet about it. But Donovan forgot his copy at home (way under his bed), so he gets to read it – alligators and helicopters and three amazing friends saving the world.

Meanwhile, shy Gideon is stunned to make a new friend when Roberto moves to town – a fellow lover of turtles and books. Joelle and Tucker have been his friends forever, but Roberto likes Gideon for being himself, and the pair spends more and more time together.

Can Donovan get the author to town to defend the book?
Does Oliver have to choose between help Rick escape from the alligator and capturing the villain?
Does Roberto share the same feelings as Gideon?

At the school board meeting, viewpoints clash. Some adults want to “protect kids” by banning the book. Members of the community and gay students speak up for everyone’s right to live and love.

Three stories, presented chapter by chapter – Donovan’s headed by a book symbol, Rick and Oliver’s by an alligator, and Gideon and Roberto’s by a turtle – each symbol reminding us of the characters’ essential focus.

Released in paperback on 5 September 2023 – read the first pages free here, courtesy of the publisher.

What book has revealed an important truth about your own self to you?
**kmm

Book info: Answers in the Pages / David Levithan. Alfred A. Knopf Books, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Kids start THE GREAT BANNED-BOOKS BAKE SALE to get their books back! by Aya Khalil & Anait Semirdzhyan (Picturebook review)

book cover of The Great Banned-Books Bake Sale, by Aya Khalil; art by Anait Semirdzhyan. Tilbury House Publishers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Our favorite books!
So many different faces!
Where have they gone?

Kanzi is excited to lead her class to the school library, remembering how they welcomed her from Egypt.

But they are dismayed to find their favorite shelves of diverse books… empty!

Those beautiful books about many different types of people have been banned – why? Ms. Jackson, the librarian, says “Some books are so powerful that they intimidate people.”

Now Kanzi can’t find any books with words in Arabic to share at home, and other classmates don’t see any books with kids who look like them either.

During discussion time, Kareem asks if they could raise money to buy those books to donate to Little Free Libraries around town, and the class decides on a bake sale and protest!

After school on Friday, they set out the treats featured in their beloved books and quickly sell them all.

It’s time to protest! Students hold signs asking for diverse books, teachers and parents join the chant “No banned books!” and here comes the TV reporter!

Can they convince the school district to bring back the books they love?

Unfortunately this book is based on a real incident, as Kanzi’s first story, An Arabic Quilt, is among books being removed from school libraries in the US.

During Banned Books Week (and every week), seek out books that feature characters from outside the dominant culture and hear voices often suppressed!
**kmm

Book info: The Great Banned-Books Bake Sale / Aya Khalil; art by Anait Semirdzhyan. Tilbury House Publishers, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy, sample pages, and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

pages from The Great Banned-Books Bake Sale, showing children & adults in group, saying No Banned Books. Student hands holding her poem "Books are for everyone. Am I not important? Am I invisible? Books make us think. Books make us imagine. Books make us compassionate. Books make us creative. Books make us LOVE. You have banned important books, but you can't ban my words. Books are for EVERYONE."
(c) Tilbury House Publishing

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.

Get THE JUMP on invading oil company! by Brittney Morris (YA book review)

book cover of The Jump, by Brittney Morris. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

They know Seattle, street by street, edge to edge, even belowground. No one is better at digital scavenger-hunting than Team JERICHO.

Jax, cryptologist, Black vegan – why should the community garden his parents founded be replaced by an Roundworld oil refinery?

Yas, parkourist, gay hijabi – her father’s Pakistani-American convenience store is losing business to Roundworld’s HQ cafeteria.

Spider, tech-whiz, social justice warrior – thankful that Mom and her Korean restaurant staff support his transitioning.

Han, cartographer, autistic – brother working for Roundworld, Dad’s livelihood threatened by its pipeline.

When “The Order” posts a puzzle whose prize is “power” during protests against Roundworld, JERICHO decides to accept the challenge!

Can they solve The Order’s puzzle before Team Royal?
Will it allow the teens to stop Roundworld from placing an oil refinery in their neighborhood?
What does “the game is anarchy” in The Order’s first clue really mean?

The four long-time friends take turns telling this complex tale of clues, loyalties, greed, and consequences.

By the author of The Cost of Knowing, recommended here.

How are you reacting against injustice near you?
**kmm

Book info: The Jump / Brittney Morris. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

A quest, an escape, SOMETHING CLOSE TO MAGIC is needed! by Emma Mills (YA book review)

book cover of Something Close to Magic, by Emma Mills. Published by Atheneum | recommended on BooksYALove.com

When Aurelie’s feckless parents used up all their money, she was forced to leave school and magic lessons to become apprentice to a miserly baker.

Use her Seeker skills again? Dashing finder Iliana convinces her to try – for a percentage of the bounty. Everyone knows that each magic spell used has a consequence of opposites…

They set out through the dreaded Underwood to find Elias, son of a royal servant. Along the way, Aurelie is pulled underground by an ancient being, rescued by Quad (a troll friend of Iliana), and has a vision of Elias nearby.

But instead of Elias, the three young women find Prince Hapless’s coach under attack!

To throw off the kidnappers, they continue roundabout in the Underwood, rather than take Hapless directly onward to the Scholar’s City. The prince is funny and nice and honest about being a very terrible student of magic, only living up to his court-given royal name now and again.

What?! The newspaper says Iliana and Aurelie kidnapped Hapless! But the attackers wore palace guard uniforms… something’s fishy.

They magically change the prince’s appearance and head for the capital instead. He and Aurelie hate to part, but promise to write… back to boring real life.

When Iliana appears at the bakery several weeks later, worried about a plot against Hapless at his sister’s ball, Aurelie must decide – see the man she knows she cannot be with or abandon her chance to become a master baker.

A pretender grabbing for the throne, unrequited affections, old magic and new magic – a worthy tale indeed!

What magic spell would you choose, if you knew it could boomerang?
**kmm

Book info: Something Close to Magic / Emma Mills. Atheneum, 2023. [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.

You know you can LEAN ON ME! by Bill Withers & Rachel Moss (Picturebook review)

book cover of Lean On Me / Bill Withers; illustrated by Rachel Moss. Published by LyricPop/ Akashic Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Four young friends in a seaside town help each other through good times and bad in this brand-new picturebook version of Bill Withers‘ classic song.

“Sometimes in our lives
We all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there’s
Always tomorrow”

From bike mishaps and fort-building fails in elementary school to growing up through family problems to their graduation day, each verse of the song underscores how these friends care for one another.

“Lean on me
When you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on…”

Whether grownups and kiddos sing along through this upbeat book or read it using Withers’ inimitable rhythms, Lean On Me will become a family read-aloud favorite!

Happy book birthday to the newest LyricPop picturebook in the series introducing classic pop songs to a new generation, like Dream Weaver (recommended here) and Good Times Roll (more here).

Who can you lean on?
**kmm

Book info: Lean On Me / Bill Withers; illustrated by Rachel Moss. LyricPop/ Akashic Books, 2023. [illustrator site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Scary times – who will be brave? (audiobook recommendations)

Frightening or challenging? You decide with these professionally produced audiobooks respinning fairy tales as our AudioSYNC summer winds down.

You have until Wednesday 19 July 2023 to download either or both audiobooks into your Sora shelf. Get all the details here.

Not your everyday experiences…

CD cover of The Lantern's Ember, 
by Colleen Houck | Read by Piper Goodeve. Published by HighBridge Audio

The Lantern’s Ember (free Sora download 7/13 – 7/19/23)
by Colleen Houck | Read by Piper Goodeve
Published by HighBridge Audio

Guarding the Otherworld’s entrance for centuries, Jack is startled when young witch Ember slips through its gates.

Doesn’t she realize its true dangers? Dare he leave his post to save her? How could he not?!

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/229597/the-lanterns-ember-by-colleen-houck-read-by-piper-goodeve/

swirling lines clipart http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/mondays-throughout-the-day-17164159
CD cover of Red Hood, by Elana K. Arnold | Read by January LaVoy.
Published by Harper Audio

Red Hood (free Sora download 7/13-7/19/23)
by Elana K. Arnold | Read by January LaVoy
Published by Harper Audio

For 16-year-old Bisou, one transcendent evening encompasses her first period, first encounter with the pleasures of sex, memories of her mother’s bloody death, and a stalker whose wolf-form hides a terrible classmate.

Red Riding Hood retold with emphasis on feminine instincts in the face of male toxicity.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/173189/red-hood-by-elana-k-arnold-read-by-january-lavoy/

What edge-of-your-seat tale would you recommend?
**kmm

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