Tag Archive | competition

L is LUMINOUS LIFE OF LUCY LANDRY: orphan, treasure seeker, by Anna Rose Johnson (MG book review) #A2Z

book cover of The Luminous Life of Lucy Landry, by Anna Rose Johnson. Published by Holiday House/PRH

Mama the actress died, then Papa,
now her guardian too –
where will Lucy go?

A remote lighthouse on a tiny island in vast Lake Superior!? Living with a family she’s never met? Thankfully, they’re also of Ojibwe and Acadian heritage…

So 11-year-old Lucy goes to the Martin family in 1912, an only child in hand-me-down clothes with a big imagination and few practical skills now among a bustling family of eight.

They gather seagulls’ eggs for cooking, their school lessons arrive every month with the household supply order and a box of books, and not one of the six children believes that Lucy’s mother was a famous actress…

Her ship-captain father told Lucy of a valuable ruby necklace lost when the Elva Jane shipwrecked and how a grand piano from its cargo washed ashore at Mermaid’s Cove across the water from this island – she’s determined to find that necklace in memory of her father!

But first she has to get over her fear of boats and convince the older Martin children to help her search and not make more mistakes at the lighthouse (that scary inspector could arrive any time).

The necklace’s owner is still living? Perhaps she knows a little more.
Who’s that boy searching for the necklace? Lucy must find it first!
A storm is coming while Mr. Martin is away? The children must light up the lighthouse for sailors’ safety!

Lucy tries to find her place in a new family in northern Michigan while keeping memories of her parents alive in this historical novel touched with mystery, glossary of Ojibwe and French words included.

Could you live on an island with little communication to the outside world?
**kmm

Book info: The Luminous Life of Lucy Landry / Anna Rose Johnson. Holiday House, 2024. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

J is THE JOCKEY AND HER HORSE – yes, a Black girl should ride in races! by Sarah Maslin Nir & Raymond White Jr. (MG book review)

Book cover of The Jockey and Her Horse, by Sarah Maslin Nir & Raymond White Jr. Published by Cameron Kids/ Abrams

To understand without words,
to work as a team of two,
horse and rider, running together with one mind!

Was the horse barn was Cheryl’s favorite place in the world, or the pasture where the queen mare ran with their herd? Only riding in races on Jetolara, the first thoroughbred she ever loved, could ever be better than growing up on their Ohio racehorse farm.

Dreaming of a better future for their children, her White mother and Black father married well before the 1964 Civil Rights Act allowed it nationwide.

Cheryl’s great-grandfather was a Black horse trainer who refused to let prejudice force him out of racing. Her father continues the business with pride and knowledge. He is sure that little brother Drew will be a winning jockey, when it’s really Cheryl who has the desire and skill.

A whiz at school, she accepts her mother’s challenge for 1971- if Cheryl aces her senior year classes, she’ll get to race on powerful filly Ace Regard to earn her jockey license!

Studying for academic quiz show tryouts and the jockey license exam, riding Jetolara and Ace in training runs, preparing to race nearby and travel far away to Senegal – can Cheryl do it all?

Listen in on the thoughts of Jetolara and Ace as they find their places in the herd and in Cheryl’s life, too.

This fictionalized story of Cheryl White, the first Black female professional jockey and winner of 750 races, was co-written by Cheryl’s little brother who held almost every job in horse racing – except jockey, because he grew too tall!

What’s your dream job and what will you do to get there?
**kmm

Book info: The Jockey and Her Horse (Once Upon a Horse, book 2) / Sarah Maslin Nir & Raymond White Jr., art by Laylie Frazier. Cameron Kids/Cameron + Company, 2023. [co-author interview] [artist page] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

A is for ARYA KHANNA’S BOLLYWOOD MOMENT, by Arushi Avachat (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of Arya Khanna's Bollywood Moment, by Arushi Avachat. Published by Wednesday Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Senior year at last!
Too bad Arya is student council VP to long-term rival Dean as president, especially as they have to work together closely to fundraise for the Autumn Formal.

Big sister Alina the artist is finally back home!
If only she and Mamma would reconcile during the complex preparations for Alina and Nikhil’s elaborate Hindu wedding…

So much tension in Arya’s life!
Her BFFs Andy and Lisa dated for a while, then broke up, but the trio should be enjoying senior activities together in their Boston suburb, not drifting apart.

As she juggles college application deadlines, Mamma’s depression, fall festival planning meetings with now-charming Dean, and working part-time at her favorite Boston bookstore, the Indian-American teen longs for her own super-romantic Bollywood moment…

This charming debut rom-com includes cupcakes and wedding cakes, a pumpkin patch and henna mehndi designs, practicing for Alina’s sangeet dance at the wedding and dressing up for the Autumn Formal dance, plus waiting for college acceptance letters to arrive.

Be sure to look for Arya’s lists of recommended Bollywood movies and music, too!

**kmm

Book info: Arya Khanna’s Bollywood Moment / Arushi Avachat. Wednesday Books, 2024. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

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.

He escaped? Again!? Good thing we know HOW TO CATCH A POLAR BEAR, by Stacy DeKeyser (MG book review)

book cover of How To Catch a Polar Bear, by Stacy McNulty. Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

This summer will be great!
Until his buddies get jobs,
no time to play baseball…

Wow, Frosty the polar bear escaped from the city zoo! If he gets out again, Ace and Penny will watch for him on their early-morning paper route – if the boss doesn’t fire Penny for being a girl.

Since his best pals are so busy now, 12-year-old Nick helps Uncle Spiro at Sparky’s frozen custard shop. If only competitor Happy Harold would quit bugging Spiro – Milwaukee is big enough for them both…

The zookeeper offers Uncle Spiro the frozen custard concession inside the zoo for the summer! If they can just find someone over age 14 to run the stand with Nick as helper…

Oh, no! Happy’s Custard sets up a cart right outside the zoo entrance, undercutting Sparky’s price and selling a third flavor! If Nick and Mama can just invent a unique flavor and compete with that sneak Happy and bullying classmate Pete who works for him…

Hurray! Their favorite radio personalities are so pleased with Sparky’s “Frosty Freeze” custard that they decide to broadcast from the zoo for all the Fourth of July festivities. Hope those frozen custard-loving monkeys and Frosty behave…

There are plenty of reasons that signs say “Don’t Feed the Animals” all over the zoo in summer 1948! If only people heeded them…

The rollicking follow-up to The Rhino in Right Field, recommended here.

What’s your favorite hot weather treat?
**kmm

Book info: How To Catch a Polar Bear / Stacy DeKeyser. Margaret K. McElderry Books / Simon & Schuster, 2023. [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.

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.

Her art school future requires ceramics mastery – will she SLIP? by Marika McCoola & Aatmahja Pandya (Graphic novel review)

book cover of Slip / words by Marika McCoola, art by Aatmaja Pandya. Published by Algonquin Young Readers

Jade is attending an intensive art camp to develop her ceramics skills and prepare her art school application portfolio.

But the high schooler is worried beyond words that her best friend Phoebe just went into treatment for attempted suicide – how can she try to make new friends?

Jade’s technique with clay is good, but where’s the inspiration? Everyone else at Art Camp is so much better prepared…

One night, she crumples up yet another not-good-enough sketch and sets a match to it – there in the smoke her memories with Phoebe appear like a movie!

Mary tries to help Jade find inspiration in the woods, the art book library, the hardware store in the nearby tiny town, in being together…

When Jade’s ceramic angry cat comes out of the kiln and runs away, she’s not sure what’s happening!

Getting a scholarship for art college requires a strong portfolio, and Jade’s days at Art Camp are growing short.

How can Jade support her best friend when Phoebe doesn’t want to talk to anyone?
How can she and Mary have wonderful moments together while Jade is struggling?
How can the images in smoke and moving ceramic cat exist?

Pressure to succeed, to love and be loved, to respect others’ artworks – Jade doesn’t want to fail.

When have you searched for inspiration and found it?
**kmm

Book info: Slip / words by Marika McCoola, art by Aatmaja Pandya. Algonquin Young Readers, 2022. [author site] [artist site] [book site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.