Tag Archive | grandparents

They search to see WINGS IN THE WILD – wings of hope? by Margarita Engle (YA book review)

Standing brown girl paints mural of tropical birds while seated brown boy serenades her with guitar - book cover of Wings In the Wild, by Margarita Engle

Creative people caged like birds,
our overheating planet –
where is justice?

Fleeing Cuba when their massive wood sculptures protesting the imprisonment of artists are revealed by a hurricane in 2018, Soleida is separated from her parents – the sixteen year old animal rescuer must continue out into the world, alone.

Yet another wildfire consumes his parents’ California mansion and the forest where Dariel serenades animals with Cuban love songs. Better to leave their elite expectations and go with Abuelo to help interview Cuban refugees stranded in Costa Rica, experience its natural wonders before climate change destroys them, too.

In spring 2019, Soleida and Dariel meet among the sea of refugee tents – her hopes of freedom shredded to the bone, his anger at these injustices burning hot.

What will she think of the tropical animals and birds that move in closer and closer to hear his songs and guitar?
What will he think of her journey-story, surviving fear and flood and hunger, leaving her parents behind?

Together, they find her artist cousin nearby in the cloud forest.
Together, can they let the world know about her parents, trapped in Cuba?
Together…can they have any future together?

Watching incredible birds, painting them, singing them near, pondering what could be – this novel-in-verse traverses difficult situations and wonder-filled landscapes.

Readers will recognize Soleida’s neighbors Liana and Amado from Your Heart, My Sky (recommended here), much like the interwoven stories of people who have left Cuba connect with those remaining there. Just released in paperback on April 23, 2024.

How far would you go to be free?
**kmm

Book info: Wings in the Wild / Margarita Engle. Atheneum, hardcover 2023, paperback 2024. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Z is for alien Zyx fused with FELIX YZ – can they survive separation? by Lisa Bunker (MG book review) #A2Z

DNA spiral rising vertically from book title of Felix Yz, by Lisa Bunker

Thirty days till the Procedure –
a successful separation
or death sentence for them both?

The gigantic experiment that killed his scientists father fused a fourth-dimensional alien into Felix at age three, leaving his body contorted and hyperintelligent Zyx permanently part of his brain.

Zyx is a secret from everyone except Felix’s older sister Beatrix (piano genius), Mom, and Grandy (grandparent who is Vera with pearls or Vern in flannel or neither) – and the government group where Dad worked.

When Zyx encounters something new, its enthusiasm causes body spasms so Felix is shunned or bullied at school, his own mental capacity questioned by most teachers, except Mrs. C who encourages him to enter the annual essay contest.

The government experts say that the 13 year old and Zyx must be separated now, or Felix won’t grow to adulthood!

Felix journals what he and Zyx think about and encounter during the 30 days leading up to the Procedure – Zyx’s new-found joy in online chess making Mom’s boyfriend think Felix is a chess genius; Felix finally talking to his crush Hector, then a big misunderstanding; Zyx taking Felix on a small journey into the fourth dimension…

Because whether Zyx and Felix survive the Procedure or not, now is the time to celebrate the most important things in life! And finish that essay.

If you knew you had a short time to live, what would you do first?
**kmm

Book info: Felix Yz / Lisa Bunker. Puffin Books, hardcover 2017, paperback 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

X for excitement – THE WOLVES OF GREYCOAT HALL have arrived! by Lucinda Gifford. (MG book review) #A2Z

Tartan-clad wolf mom, wolf dad & wolf cub who holds large book on cover of The Wolves of Greycoat Hall, by Lucinda Gifford.

Where to go on vacation?

Aha! Once his father reads “Wolves to be reintroduced to Scotland” in the newspaper, Boris knows that’s where his wolf family will go!

The young cub reads about the Greycoats’ Scottish heritage on their interesting train and ferry journey to Portlessie, near the long-lost McLupus castle, Wolfemina Hall.

Folks stare at first, then welcome the Greycoats – except for dreadful Mr. Vorslad who wants to tear down Drommuir Castle to build a luxury resort (no one in town but the real estate agent wants that).

Such a lovely place and what wonderful food! If only they could outbid Mr. Vorslad and buy Drommuir as a vacation home in the Highlands, as a tribute to Wolfemina Hall…

Meeting historic battle re-enactors with swords – exciting!
Sketching birds at the beach and making sandcastles with new friends – very good.
Vorslad starting to destroy the beach and forest before the property sale is final – terrible!!

Can one young wolf save the castle and forest and beach, before it’s too late?

The author’s clever sketches add greatly to readers’ enjoyment – Mr. and Mrs. Greycoat in kilts, Boris sketching as they sightsee, paintings of their McLupus ancestors, and pages from A Guide to Morovia, their current wolfly homeland.

Followed by Boris in Switzerland at boarding school with snowboarding and a grand mystery. Find both books today, Independent Bookstore Day, and every day through the finder site for a store near you or online at bookshop.org.

What do you know of wolves that live in your region?
**kmm

Book info: The Wolves of Greycoat Hall (Wolves of Greycoat Hall, book 1) / Lucinda Gifford. Kane Miller/EDC, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

V is for her very disastrous Valentine’s Day, on repeat! THE DO-OVER, by Lynn Painter (YA book review) #A2Z

Girl in blue van crashes back of red truck driven by boy. Second crash, he comforts her. Third crash, they stand apart. Book cover of The Do-Over, by Lynn Painter. Simon & Schuster.

Determined, organized,
people-pleaser –
now what’s all this!?

Her perfect Valentine’s Day plan gets a jolt when Emilie rear-ends her aloof lab partner’s truck, is told that her summer fellowship fell through, and sees her boyfriend kissing his ex!

This is not on her agenda at all: her divorced parents will be furious about the wreck, she needs that fellowship to pay for college, and how could Josh even do that to her?

Escaping to Grandma Max’s after more bad news from Dad, the high school junior turns in early so this horrible day can finally be over… and wakes up in her own bed on Valentine’s morning!

Her van is fine…until she rear-ends Nick’s truck again. Then she loses the fellowship again, and Josh is kissing Macy again… what is going on?

Next morning is Valentine’s Day yet again, and then the next is, too! Does the universe want her to change something to get out of this time loop?

On every repeated February 14th, she gets to know Nick a little better, but he doesn’t remember the next morning (also Feb. 14).

Different outfit, drive another route to school, talk her way back into the summer program, stop Josh from being alone with Macy, talk her way back into the summer program, convince Dad not to move – what else should she try?

Time for ultra-organized Emilie to go way off-script!

What single day would you want a do-over for?
**kmm

Book info: The Do-Over / Lynn Painter. Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, hardcover 2022, paperback 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

U is THE UMBRELLA HOUSE and the stories it could tell! by Colleen Nelson (MG book review) #A2Z

Two kids and dog entering an apartment building whose fire escapes hold many colorful umbrellas - book cover of The Umbrella House, by Colleen Nelson; Pajama Press

Young Voices video contest!
At Veracity News!
She just needs the right story to tell…

Growing up in Umbrella House with her grandmother, 12-year-old Roxy knows all about its origins as an abandoned building brought back to life by creative people who fought for the right to live there.

She and her best friend Scout love to show off the neighborhood on their EaVillKids video channel, from their umbrella-covered co-op to unique shops and restaurants to the 3-story high murals defiantly created by the mysterious Midnight Muralist some years ago. Surely Roxy’s contest entry will convince Veracity News to make a documentary about it!

Researching East Village history, Roxy finds out more about her late father (didn’t know he was such a talented artist!) and fellow residents, plus articles and photos about the murals and Umbrella House’s early days – who exactly was the Midnight Muralist?

Oh, no! A fancy real estate developer is buying up nearby properties – could he convince the city to change its rules and force the co-op owners to sell it?

Scout is being evasive about his photography portfolio – will he still have time to video and edit Roxy’s contest entry? Just three weeks till the deadline!

A tense meeting with the City Council, the whole neighborhood working together to save Umbrella House – if only the Midnight Muralist could help!

Although the secret Muralist is fictional, this book is based on the real Umbrella House‘s journey to legalizing the building as low-income co-op housing in 2010.

What stories could your home tell?
**kmm

Book info: The Umbrella House / Colleen Nelson. Pajama Press, hardcover 2023, paperback 2024. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

S is for SHE’LL BE THE SKY: POEMS BY WOMEN AND GIRLS, selected by Ella Risbridger (YA / MG book review) #A2Z

Woman with cascading hair made of plants, water, trees, on book cover of She'll Be the Sky: Poems by Women and Girls, selected by Ella Risbridger. Nosy Crow Books.

Quick, quick!
How many women poets can you name?
Oh, there are so many more than that!

“There is a poem / scratched onto the walls of my throat / no one has heard it / but it is there” writes Kai Cheng Thorn (pg. 31) in this wonderful anthology of 100 short poems by women and girls.

The extensive introduction and afterword recount how the creative work of women and people of color has long been ignored while poems and novels by white men were readily published, leading to this collection. “It isn’t that art by boys is different from art by girls. It’s just that, all through history, we’ve simply paid it more attention. And that’s not fair, either.” (pg. 9)

Stars and cities, pets and wild horses, school time, family time, night time, celebrating common things, honoring persons of influence, worrying about the future – this anthology bring us all these themes and more, in words carefully chosen and artfully arranged and illustrated.

Jean Ayer lists “Everyday Things” in rhyming couplets, starting and ending her poem with
“Millionaires, presidents – even kings / Can’t get along without everyday things.” (pg. 108)

You’ve likely heard these lines “Tell me, what is it that you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?” – you’ll be surprised by the rest of Mary Oliver’s poem “The Summer Day” when you read it in this or other collections.

Readers are invited to create their own anthology of poems, and the Indexes of poets, poems, and first lines can help point the way to other works by these women and girls and one non-binary person who asked that their poem be included here.

“When you see a poem you love, write it down. Copy it out. Print it off. Take a screenshot. Take a photo. Whatever. Write it down; learn it by heart. Keep it with you. Tell someone about it.” (pg. 133)

“Keep a poem in your pocket
and a picture in your head
and you’ll never feel lonely
at night when you’re in bed.” by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers (pg. 114)

Happy National Poetry Month!
Which is your favorite poem by a woman?
**kmm

Book info: She’ll Be the Sky: Poems by Women and Girls / selected by Ella Risbridger; illustrated by Anna Shepeta. Nosy Crow, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Q is QUESTIONS I WANT TO ASK YOU when I find you, Mom, by Michelle Falkoff (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of Questions I Want to Ask You, by Michelle Falkoff. Published by Harper Teen

What a great 18th birthday – Maddie with him at CrossFit, last day of senior year, getting ready for a beach party, then… a letter from his mom?!

She died when Pack was a baby, Dad always said. Now he updates the story: Mom just abandoned them and their small Massachusetts city, then died later of a drug overdose.

After watching true crime shows with his police detective dad for years, Pack is definitely going to dig into this mystery, asking Dad’s school buddies, checking old yearbooks, finding Mom’s sister who lives in Connecticut not far away!

Her letter says not to tell Dad she’s alive, and as Pack meets the family he never knew and hears their side of events, he begins to see why.

Kidnapping, drug raids – what really happened when Pack was a baby?

The more he investigates why Mom left, the more dangerous things get for her and for Pack! Is he ready for the consequences?

Senior year with Maddie made Pack want to stop time. But she’s going away to college; he’s iffy about more school. He’s completely committed to the Paleo diet that changed him from pudgy to fit; she says it’s okay to ease up after reaching major fitness goals. Can they survive a long-distance relationship?

Questions and more questions… check out Pack’s intriguing story at your local library or independent bookstore.

What’s the biggest question you have about your family’s past?
**kmm

Book info: Questions I Want to Ask You / Michelle Falkoff. Harper Teen, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Personal copy won at Friends for Levine Querido auction; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

I is for OUR INCREDIBLE LIBRARY BOOK and the Wonderful Journeys It Took, by Caroline Crowe & John Joseph (Picturebook review) #A2Z

book cover of Our Incredible Library Book and the Wonderful Journeys It Took, written by Caroline Cooke, illustrated by John Joseph. Published by Floris Books

“Ready, Set, Library!” for National Library Week (7-13 April 2024)!

Welcome to the children’s area of a public library, filled with kids and books and parents from every part of the community.

So many books to choose from! Beyond the story told by author and illustrator in each book is “the tale of the journey it’s been on as well…”

Let’s follow a picture book from the New Books display to Nia’s house, where she read it over and over, even while her cocoa got cold (and left a little ring on a page).

Returned to the library, the book is borrowed by Luis – the first book he can read all by himself! He reads it to Abuela and even Ana while she’s in the tub (just a little bubble bath splashes onto a page).

And on and on this incredible library book travels through town in bouncy rhymes as young readers nudge sleepy cats off it (pawprints), read it to ducks in the park (muddy fingerprints), use it as a bridge for toy trucks after reading together, and as a shield in the rain. Each encounter leaves a mark on its pages or cover, showing how much this book is loved and shared.

Readers can see themselves and families like theirs in this book – kids with glasses, kids with missing front teeth, wheelchair users, moms in hijab, single dads, families of many ethnicities – as they are reminded that we can enjoy books in many places, as solo readers or with others.

What stories could your favorite book tell of its travels?
**kmm

Book info: Our Incredible Library Book and the Wonderful Journeys It Took / written by Caroline Cooke, illustrated by John Joseph. Floris Books, UK 2022, USA 2023. [illustrator site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

H is for HEALER OF THE WATER MONSTER, a huge task for a Navajo preteen! by Brian Young (MG book review) #A2Z

book cover of Healer of the Water Monster, by Brian Young. Published by Heartdrum / Harper Collins.

No electricity, no cell service –
a boring summer at grandmother Nali’s place…
until Nathan encounters a Holy Being!

Nali doesn’t mind the hardships of living part-time on their Navajo ancestors’ land – chopping wood, hauling water – so Nathan tries to help her and shake off his divorced parents’ squabbles.

The 11 year old starts his science project of comparing the growth of Nali’s traditional corn to the modern kernels he bought in the city and begins to learn more about this dry place where the usual summer rains haven’t arrived in years.

Uncle Jet shows up suddenly at Nali’s, still off-balance after his military service, still trying to heal his soul with alcohol.

One night in the desert, Nathan meets Water Monster from the Third World of the Navajo creation story, stranded here in the Fourth World and dreadfully ill!

Is Nathan the only one who can see and hear the Holy Beings?
Can he learn all the correct Navajo songs and travel the difficult path to heal Water Monster?
Will Uncle Jet ever listen to Nali and ask the elders to help him find peace?

An amazing journey to the Third World, frustration when adults don’t believe the Holy Beings are real, a summer that will shape Nathan forever.

Published in partnership with We Need Diverse Books, Healer of the Water Monster was named as Best Middle Grade Book: 2022 American Indian Youth Literature Awards.

The sequel, Heroes of the Water Monster, will be published on May 14, 2024 – more at https://www.harpercollins.com/products/heroes-of-the-water-monster-brian-young?variant=41096247541794.

Could you brave the unknown to save a friend?
**kmm

Book info: Healer of the Water Monster / Brian Young. Heartdrum/ Harper Collins, 2021 (hardcover), 2023 (paperback). [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

F is this FAR OUT! festival, with UFOs and mysteries, by Anne Bustard (MG book review) #A2Z

book cover of Far Out! by Anne Bustard. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

“Welcome to our extraterrestrial festivities, with aliens as guests of honor!”

Well, invitations have officially been extended to any and all space people for the first annual Come On Down Day at Totter, Texas in November 1964.

Mary Jane and her best friend Nick can’t wait to see an actual meteorite at the library’s new display, but it goes missing before the grand opening!

MJ’s beloved grandmother is arrested as the main suspect (by a deputy, not MJ’s dad/the sheriff), so the 11 year old starts gathering evidence to prove that Mimi is innocent.

How many people had a library key? Who was in the town square that night? Who wants to mess up Come On Down Day?!

Space-themed bingo at school, counting down to the big day, then Mimi goes missing!

Was she abducted by aliens? Does the visiting UFO expert have information to share? Can Dad’s photos shed light on the matter?

A big day in their small town – hope the aliens Come On Down!

Also available in paperback on 24 April 2024.

Have you ever spotted a UFO?
**kmm

Book info: Far Out! / Anne Bustard. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.