Tag Archive | grandparents

Can she be both HEALER & WITCH without peril? by Nancy Werlin (MG/YA book review)

book cover of Healer & Witch, by Nancy Werlin. Published by Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A family of healers,
an unlooked-for skill,
now her future is uncertain…

A healer relieves pain with herbs and treatments – wouldn’t removing a painful memory from the mind also be healing? But this action in 1531 France will definitely not be seen as a gift from God!

Soon after her beloved grandmother’s death, 15-year-old Sylvie leaves her mother as lone healer for their village, departing to seek a teacher to help her tame this new skill.

Martin decides to travel with her, having no skill at his family’s trade – now Sylvie has to feed a growing young boy and keep them both safe.

In the market town, they find a healer who knew her grandmother and tells Sylvie where she might find a teacher – a long, dangerous journey away.

Of course, the healer’s friend Robert whose caravan is going to Lyon is the same young man that Martin insulted at the market…

Can the merchant’s caravan avoid robbers on the way?
Will this Madame du Bois help Sylvie learn to contain her gift?
What’s the connection between Robert and Madame and…the archbishop?

The divide between being a healer or a witch is thinner than one of Martin’s red hairs, and Sylvie must decide for herself where to make her stand. Read the first chapter here free, courtesy of the publisher.

Have you ever wished to see inside another’s mind?
**kmm

Book info: Healer & Witch / Nancy Werlin. Candlewick Press, 2022 [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image by Jade Zhang courtesy of the publisher.

THE FIRE STAR jewel is missing – will these your courtiers be next? by A. L. Tait (YA book review)

book cover of The Fire Star (Maven & Reeve Mystery, book 1), by A. L. Tait. Kane-Miller Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A wedding almost delayed by goats,
a new squire for the groom,
a reluctant lady’s maid for the bride…

Rennart Castle is swirling with preparations for Sir Garrick’s wedding to Lady Cassandra – and rumors that its Airl will oppose the new King who is using the kingdom’s wealth for himself alone.

Reeve’s training in court etiquette and observing people should help Sir Garrick through this new situation – and is the 16 year old’s final chance to become a knight himself.

Maven now waits upon a young noblewoman displeased to be marrying a lowly knight. Not long ago, Maven also wore fine clothes, but the teen’s family has fallen upon desperately hard times.

The priceless Fire Star gem always goes to the family’s youngest daughter upon her betrothal – never to a son – and that is what Lady Cassandra brings into this marriage. The Airl will soon demand that she gives it to his headstrong daughter.

When the Fire Star is stolen before the wedding, Reeve and Maven find themselves searching for clues in the castle and countryside new to them both.

Is the secret Birch Circle of women involved?
Why is the Airl’s daughter taking so many risks?
Can Maven’s forbidden ability to read and write stay hidden?

Told in alternating chapters by the two teens, The Fire Star takes us to a medieval land where their detecting skills can save the castle household and perhaps the entire kingdom! Followed by The Wolf’s Howl (info here).

What part of courtly life would you like to experience for yourself?
**kmm

Book info: The Fire Star (Maven & Reeve Mystery, book 1) / A. L. Tait. Kane-Miller Books, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Searching for THE LOST RYU, dragon of his memory, by Emi Watanabe Cohen (YA book review)

book cover of The Lost Ryu, by Emi Watanabe Cohen. Published by Levine Querido | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Kohei still dreams of being three years old at the last dragon parade, holding his smiling grandfather’s hand as huge winged Western dragons flew overhead and sinuous Japanese ryu dragons strode along Osaka’s streets at the end of World War II.

His maternal grandfather was so angry about Kohei’s father dying soon afterward that he made the boy take his mother’s family name – maybe Ojiisan would be happy if he had a big dragon again, bigger than ryu Yuharu who rides on Kohei’s shoulder.

Isolde moves in downstairs, with her Japanese-American mom, Polish-American dad, and winged dragon Cheshire (very small, Kohei is so disappointed) – imagine starting middle school in a new country and language!

When Ojiisan is suddenly hospitalized, Kohei decides that he must bring a ryu to him. Isolde never knew her grandparents who died in concentration camps in the United States and Poland during the War, so she wants to help.

Venturing into Papa’s study, Kohei finds details about how ryu are hatched, so he and Isolde travel to the faraway New Ryugyu-jo where their dragons will help bring a special ryu into the world.

When the biggest ryu Kohei has ever seen snatches the baby ryu, of course he has to follow and save her!

His memories shift like a kaleidoscope as Kohei learns more about his father’s and grandfather’s pasts.

How far, how far will we go to bring comfort to those we love?
**kmm

Book info: The Lost Ryu / Emi Watanabe Cohen. Levine Querido, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

So much to do as SISTER OF THE BOLLYWOOD BRIDE! by Nandini Bajpal (YA book review)

book cover of Sister of the Bollywood Bride, by Nandini Bajpal. Published by Poppy/ Little Brown & Company | recommended on BooksYALove.com

As big sister Vinnie’s wedding approaches and Dad is immersed in his new start-up, Mini misses their late mother more than ever. Thankfully, the Boston teen has an entire community of Desi aunties to help her with all the planning details, since Vinnie and fiance Manish are medical students in Chicago.

Tutoring pays Mini’s fashionista bills (thrift stores plus her sewing skills equals amazing), and running with her dog Yogi on the grounds of a nearby college gives her time away from planning and time to get to know handsome Vir, the dean’s son.

The beautiful gold wedding jewelry that Mom left for them inspires Mini’s vision for the big day:
Outdoor venue? The beautiful gardens in the park where Vinnie played youth sports – check!
Food from two different regions of India? Check and… the other will get back to her (eventually?)
Dress? By her designer aunt Masi, of course. Never mind that Mini’s role model and inspiration has been oddly distant these past few years.

Worrying about whether Dad will accept her dream of attending design school (instead of law/medicine/engineering that all Indian parents want for their children), if she can actually get Manish to ride in on a horse per tradition, what Vir’s very successful father will think of her – two months to plan a summer wedding!?

Mini is determined to squeeze their budget to make Vinnie’s wedding as memorable and beautiful as any Bollywood movie extravaganza, like Mom would have done.

Family, love, fun and stress, British car enthusiasts, henna and altering bridesmaids’ outfits
And then the weather forecast changes – hurricane on the horizon!

From the author of Made in Mehendi (recommended here), another Indian-American romance to savor.

What’s your favorite wedding tradition?
**kmm

Book info: Sister of the Bollywood Bride / Nandini Bajpal. Poppy/ Little Brown & Company, 2021.
[author site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Celebration and rogue spirits? She needs A GIRL’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MAGIC, by Debbie Rigaud (YA book review)

Book cover of A Girl's Guide to Love & Magic, by Debbie Rigaud. Published by Scholastic Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

This year, the West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn falls on Cecile’s 15th birthday, and her vodouista aunt Tati Mimose promises it will be epic!

What the Haitian-American teen really wants is for Tati Mimose and her devout Catholic mother to be friends again, but Grandma Rose’s death last year didn’t bring the sisters back together…

All of Caribbean culture is on display for the Parade – national flags on every car, food from every island, and music, music everywhere! Superstar singer Papash will perform, then be interviewed by Tati Mimose with Cecile as her guest!!

Her parents’ restaurant has a corner booth on the parade route, she’ll be running more food over, meeting Papash (!!), and enjoying her birthday with best friend Renee – best day ever, made better when she runs into her crush Kwame on her way to meet Mimose.

Ooh, something has gone very wrong at Mimose’s tarot card reading for a man in Kwame’s building, and a dread spirit has taken over her aunt’s body!

Cecile, Kwame, and Renee research how to eject the spirit, then dart through the Parade crowds, trying to keep Mimose in sight as they gather the ingredients needed.

Can Cecile do the Vodou spell correctly?
Can they keep the spirit from getting close to Papash?
Will Kwame like her at all after this wild day of chases and spirits?

It’ll take plenty of magic for Cecile to make everything right on this special day for her family and Caribbean community.

What annual cultural tradition is your favorite?
**kmm

Book info: A Girl’s Guide to Love & Magic / Debbie Rigaud. Scholastic Press, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Always leave THE FIRST BLADE OF SWEETGRASS, Grandmother says, by Suzanne Greenlaw, Gabriel Frey, Nancy Baker (Picturebook review)

book cover of The First Blade of Sweetgrass: a Native American Story / Suzanne Greenlaw & Gabriel Frey; illustrated by Nancy Baker.  Published by Tilbury House Publishers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Musquon’s first trip to the salt marsh with Grandmother to gather sweetgrass!

But in an ocean of grasses, how will the young girl know which kind to pick?

Grandmother patiently shows her the emerald green grass with a purple bottom and reminds Musquon that her ancestors are here with them, where so many have carefully picked sweetgrass for basketmaking and spiritual medicine.

Musquon breathes the salty air, remembering that Grandmother learned as a small girl in this same marsh to pass over the first blade of sweetgrass she finds: “If we never pick the first blade, we will never pick the last one.”

Soon she will learn how to braid sweetgrass and help Grandmother make baskets as the Wakenabi people have done for countless generations.

The authors note the cultural significance of sweetgrass for First Nations’ peoples in their home state of Maine and beyond, as well as a glossary of Passamaquoddy-Maliseet words used in the story including Musquon (“blue sky”) who shares a name with one of their daughters. Watch an interview with the authors here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7weayTgxwgk

What gifts of the natural world are important to you?

**kmm

Book info: The First Blade of Sweetgrass: a Native American Story / Suzanne Greenlaw & Gabriel Frey; illustrated by Nancy Baker. Tilbury House Publishers, 2021. [author & illustrator interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

He wants to shine! CARLOS GOMEZ FREESTYLES…HEAVY ON THE STYLE, by Chuck Gonzales (Graphic novel review)

book cover of Carlos Gomez Freestyles...Heavy on the Style, written & illustrated by Chuck Gonzales. Published by Reycraft Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Take a chance?
Stay in the background?
Be himself?

Two years after moving to so-white South Dakota for Dad’s job, their Mexican-American family still faces racism at every turn, including the nosy ladies across the street.

For youngest kid Carlos, it’s been disastrous – his lisp got worse, he’s terrible at PE, and his classmates call him queer and tease him for loving art and fashion.

Luckily, RJ arrives in fifth grade and actually talks to Carlos (without spitballs). Her BMX bike team enters the town charity talent show and invites Carlos to ride with them – once he ditches the training wheels (his balance is just so bad….)

They have big competition – his big sister Marie dazzling with her interpretive dance, middle brother Juan’s astonishing magic act, and a chainsaw-wielding stump carver – plus the yummy biscochito cookies that Mom and the nosy ladies make for the bake sale.

Can Carlos’ bike skills catch up in time?
Will his flair for fashion and sparkles win over the judges?
Will that bully Scott ever quit pushing him down?

This graphic novel has its roots in the artist’s own childhood as a lisping, non-athletic Mexican-American gay kid who didn’t fit in with his South Dakota classmates and found his own happier future in another place.

What act would you perform for a talent show?
**kmm

Book info: Carlos Gomez Freestyles…Heavy on the Style / written & illustrated by Chuck Gonzales. Reycraft Books, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Which side of his family will LUMBERJACKULA follow? by Mat Heagarty & Sam Owen (Graphic Novel review)

book cover of graphic novel Lumberjackula / words by Mat Heagarty, art by Sam Owen. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Chop, chop, chop!
Eerie, eerie, spooky!
What to do? What to do?

Choosing a secondary school is so important! Should young Lumberjackula go to Sorrow’s Gloom Vampire Academy like Dad and Grandpa or to Mighty Log Lumberjack Prep like Mom and her parents did?

The 11 and a half year old will try one day at each school so he can see where he fits best.

But Jack splashes out during the essential lumberjack skill of log-rolling, and he’s scared of heights, so the flying part of being a vampire is out.

Feeling out of place at both schools, Jack dances out his stress in the woods, where a fairy dancer sees him and invites him to try the dance school she attends in a nearby town.

Fibbing to his parents about another trial day at each of their schools, Jack treks to Tip Tap Twinkle Toes Dance Academy where he’s warmly welcomed and complimented on his technique.

This is where he belongs! But how will he convince his family that dancing is the better choice for him?

Some family drama, some friend misunderstanding, and a ManaTeen giving good advice – it’s your future to decide, Lumberjackula!

Enjoy this video interview with writer Mat and artist Sam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwhhJHbHEFg

What family tradition have you veered away from?
**kmm

Book info: Lumberjackula / words by Mat Heagarty, art by Sam Owen. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2022. [author site] [artist info] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

At the powwow, hear ANCESTOR APPROVED: INTERTRIBAL STORIES FOR KIDS, edited by Cynthia Leitich Smith (YA book review)

book cover of Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids / Cynthia Leitich Smith, editor. Published by Heartdrum/Harper Collins | recommended on BooksYALove.com
Cover art by Nicole Neidhardt

“A powwow is
where our hearts beat as one
to the thump of the drum,
together
so strong
where we belong.”

  • Kim Rogers (pg. 3)

The great Dance for Mother Earth Powwow draws Native American families and friends from all over North America to visit, dance in competitions, sell their wares, and celebrate being together in Michigan.

Smell the frybread cooking, eat the best corn soup, admire the silver bracelets and intricate beadwork, hear the drums – it’s time for the Grand Entry of all the dancers!

Can Jess convince her grandpa to dance in the Veterans’ Dance or will they go back to Oklahoma sad again this year?

Back in New Mexico, Alan and Kevin definitely don’t get along, but at the Powwow the sixth graders need to help each other locate down a certain girl and a certain silver bracelet.

Oh, beaded regalia has gone missing at this powwow too? Shana asks Tokala to help find her floral-beaded Anishinaabe moccasins before the Jingle Dance begins!

Marino’s t-shirt business could use some clever advertising – good thing that “everybody’s dog” Ozzie hitched a ride all the way from the Pueblo of Ohkay Owingeh to the powwow!

This collection of intertwined stories brings us viewpoints from 16 Native authors from different places and tribes, as Elders, young people, and one very cool rez dog experience Powwow, some for the first time, others returning for their favorite weekend of the year together.

Enjoy these stories and poems during Native American Heritage Month and all year long!

What Native American dances have you seen?
**kmm

Book info: Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids / Cynthia Leitich Smith, editor. Heartdrum/Harper Collins, 2021. [editor site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Can he shoot a deer or not? It’s HUNTER’S CHOICE, by Trent Reedy (MG book review)

book cover of Hunter's Choice, by Trent Reedy. Published by Norton Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Family tradition,
careful practice,
fear of failing!

He has been waiting so long – taking hunter safety classes, getting his deer hunting license, practicing and practicing – because even if this is his very first hunting trip, twelve-year-old Hunter knows you get just one good shot at a deer.

Hunter’s granddad built a lodge on their property in the mountains above their Idaho town, so his family knows the streams where deer like to drink and where a bear might hang out.

His cousin Yumi brings their classmate Annette for the weekend so she can write about hunting for the school newspaper and give Yumi a buffer between her dad and his post-Afghanistan war PTSD.

Hunter might have a little crush on Annette, so his nerves about this important milestone get worse. On their first night, Grandpa, Dad, and Uncle Rick tell stories about past hunts and time here together – reminders that hunting is more than getting venison for the freezer.

“For the time that we’re hunting, everything else, all the frustrations and bull crap from the outside world don’t matter,” (pg.101) Grandpa says as they head out for the evening hunt.

Can Hunter let go of his worries and focus on spotting a deer?
Can Yumi understand what her dad is struggling with?
Will Hunter actually choose to kill a deer?

The author’s experiences fill this book with authentic details, from safe gun handling to field-dressing a deer, as he shares the decisions every hunter must make.

First of three interconnected books set on McCall Mountain – great for fans of Hatchet, hunting, fishing, and the woods.

What’s your favorite outdoor activity with family?
**kmm

Book info: Hunter’s Choice / Trent Reedy. Norton Young Readers, 2021 hardcover, 2022 paperback. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.