Tag Archive | music

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.

B is for BORN READING: 20 Stories of Women Reading Their Way Into History, by Kathleen Krull & Virginia Loh-Hagan (MG book review) #A2Z

book cover of Born Reading: 20 Stories of Women Reading Their Way Into History, byKathleen Krull & Virginia Loh-Hagan; illustrated by Aura Lewis. Paula Wiseman Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The skill of reading hasn’t always been taught to girls or encouraged for women, but that didn’t stop those determined to learn!

Meet Wu Zeitan, the first and only woman emperor of China, who promoted reading and education, published books on farming and government, wrote poetry, and created new Chinese written characters.

Get to know E. Pauline Johnson, an Indigenous Canadian poet and performer who was able to lecture and write about her Mohawk and White heritage in the late 1800s when few Indigenous or native voices reached such wide audiences.

Patsy Takemoto Mink didn’t let prejudice against Japanese Americans after World War II stop her from continuing her education, becoming a lawyer, then going into politics to change policies that discriminated against women and people of color. In Congress, she championed Title IX to end gender discrimination in higher education.

You’ll discover more about the reading lives of historical figures Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth I, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Phillis Wheatley Pierce, Chien-Shiung Wu, Indira Gandhi, Shirley Chisholm, and Audre Lorde in this book.

Contemporary women readers chronicled include Temple Grandin, Sally Ride, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor, Serena Williams, Taylor Swift, Mala Yousafzai, Amanda Gorman, and Marley Diaz.

The 20 profiles are followed by sections on Feminist Fun Facts, more Girls with Books, activities to keep you reading, how to access free books, organizations that help girls and children read, and an extensive resource list.

Prolific author Kathleen Krull died in 2021, leaving behind a handful of profiles in the manuscript for this book which was further researched and completed by author and long-time friend Dr. Virginia Loh-Hagan.

Kathleen said “Once books change their brains, girls change history.” (page 1)
How will you read your way into history?
**kmm

Book info: Born Reading: 20 Stories of Women Reading Their Way Into History / written by Kathleen Krull & Virginia Loh-Hagan; illustrated by Aura Lewis. Paula Wiseman Books/ Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2023. [Loh-Hagan interview] [illustrator site] [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.

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.

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.

Lives lived loud and clear – historical fiction to read with your ears! (audiobook recommendations)

Our AudioSYNC offerings this week take us into different times and different places with well-crafted historical fiction audiobooks that begin with murder!

You have until Wednesday 12 July 2023 to download either or both of these professionally produced audiobooks into your Sora shelf. Get all the details here.

Now tell me… what did they do next?

CD cover of The Boy in the Red Dress, by Kristin Lambert | Read by Sophie Amoss. Published by Listening Library

The Boy in the Red Dress (free Sora download 7/6-7/12/23)
by Kristin Lambert | Read by Sophie Amoss
Published by Listening Library

Murder on New Year’s Eve! In 1929 New Orleans, the Cloak & Dagger speakeasy and LBGTQIA haven features Marion in drag – who is now suspected of murder.

His best friend Millie (teenage niece of the club owner) is determined to prove his innocence and find the real killer.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/179183/the-boy-in-the-red-dress-by-kristin-lambert-read-by-sophie-amoss/

swirling lines clipart http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/mondays-throughout-the-day-17164159
CD cover of This Rebel Heart, by Katherine Locke. Read by Kathleen Gati, Steven Jay Cohen. Published by Listening Library

This Rebel Heart (free Sora download 7/6-7/12/23)
by Katherine Locke | Read by Kathleen Gati, Steven Jay Cohen
Published by Listening Library

After her parents are murdered in 1956, young Hungarian woman Czilla is eager to leave the country and its repressive regime.

She finds allies in a man seeking his missing lover, an angel of death, and others primed to revolt for freedom.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/213314/this-rebel-heart-by-katherine-locke-read-by-kathleen-gati-steven-jay-cohen/

Best historical fiction book you ever read?
**kmm

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

Are they cursed by THE GHOST OF SPRUCE POINT? by Nancy Tandon (MG book review)

book cover of The Ghost of Spruce Point, by Nancy Tendon. Published by Aladdin | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Keeping track of the moon in his journal – check.
Learning to moderate his anxious tendencies – sort of check.

June in their remote Maine coastal village means two things to 12-year-old Parker: best friend Frankie arrives from the city to spend her summer, and tourists come to his family’s inn for relaxation and Mom’s incredible cooking.

Frankie is finally here, but the tourists aren’t. Only grumpy neighbor Mrs. Gruvlig would be pleased to have fewer people on Spruce Point – has she reawakened the curse that brought the sailing ship Westward to wreck upon its rocks long ago?

The whole Kids Confidential Meeting – Parker, little sister Bailey, their cousins from across the bay, and Frankie – brainstorm ways to save the inn, like more advertising and Mom leading cooking classes.

Unceasing rain in usually bright June, dangerous-to-touch moths eating all the oak leaves, road to the inn flooding – it must be a curse!

What are those floating green blobs of light in the cove?
Who (or what) is leaving things in the kids’ treehouse?
Why is there a ghost in Mrs. Gruvlig’s yard?

Maybe the sailors who died in the wreck of the Westward are causing the troubles or maybe it’s closer to home!

What’s your favorite ghost story?
**kmm

Book info: The Ghost of Spruce Point / Nancy Tendon. Aladdin / Simon & Schuster, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

MYTHOLOGY CLASS for fighting Philippine monsters! by Arnold Arre (Graphic Novel review)

book cover of The Mythology Class: Where Philippine Legends Become Reality, by Arnold Arre. Published by Tuttle Publishing | recommended on BooksYALove.com

“All of you are worthy to join her quest. We need you!” said the ghost lady in their dreams.

Friends at University of the Philippines get an invitation to join a mythology class meeting off-campus, and their teachers are time travelers from the past!

Nicole’s thesis about the myth of Bathala’s creation of the worlds – human and mystical – was slammed by her professors, but now she learns it’s true.

Now enkantos have been released into our world, some benign and others incredibly evil.

A perilous transfer has gone wrong, and the most dangerous foul-mouthed enkantos are gathering beneath the largest shopping mall in Manila to begin their reign of terror!

It’s up to these students to learn how to fight and capture all kapres to be returned to their spirit world – by spear and arrow, dance and music, knowing when to challenge and when to flee.

Lane’s telepathic skills get just a little better, Nicole is amazed by legendary Kubin’s emergence from myth into now as a young warrior, and Gina allows herself to be convinced by a tiny kapre that it should stay right here.

A super-concert at the mall? Uh-oh…

Throughout all the training and chases and battles, Rey and Misha keep quarreling, each hoping the other will apologize so they can get back together.

Arre introduced the Mythology Class characters in 1999, later collecting all issues into this omnibus edition; Tuttle Publishing has brought the full 2014 version across the Pacific for the first time.

What mythological being would you be brave enough to meet?
**kmm

Book info: The Mythology Class: Where Philippine Legends Become Reality / Arnold Arre. Tuttle Publishing, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Z is for Zahra and THE LOVE MATCH: who to choose? by Priyanka Taslim (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of The Love Match, by Priyanka Taslim. Published by Salaam Reads | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Zahra, her widowed mother, grandmother, and little sister and brother are squeezed into a tiny city apartment, thankfully in the largest Bangladeshi community in the US.

Every Muslim deshi auntie in Paterson joins her mom in trying to set up Zahra with the right young man. Everyone knows that marrying into a rich family will solve every problem, as the popular Bengali natok dramas show through music and extravagant dances.

But the recent grad wants true love, like a Jane Austen novel – someone who adores her for herself, not for her auspicious social connections to Bangladeshi royalty or her mother’s amazing dressmaking skills.

Enough that Zahra has to work for a year to support her family while her besties head away to college. For now, she’ll keep drafting her novel, and someday she’ll finally study creative writing at Columbia University, someday…

Oh dear! Amma agrees with the wealthy Emon family that their son Harun and Zahra are a perfect match!! The 18 year olds decide quickly that they’re not suited for each other, but will go on several dates (with chaperones) to make their parents happy.

Meanwhile, every shift working together at the Pakistani chai shop brings Zahra and cute Nayim closer. He’s just arrived here in New Jersey, is staying with the imam, and loves music (more fun than Harun’s model-building and bearded dragon).

It is nice to be friends with Harun, even if there’s no spark between them. It’s lovely to be with Nayim at the deshi community picnic, even though he won’t discuss his family back home. It’s hard to watch her best friends excitedly prepare to move away for college, so hard.

Nayim or Harun?
Fairy tale or practicality?
Secrets?! More secrets?!

Trying to balance family expectations with her own dreams makes Zahra wonder if this summer will be a happy Dhallywood natok or a tragic one!

What’s your favorite literary love match?
**kmm

Book info: The Love Match / Priyanka Taslim. Salaam Reads/ Simon & Schuster, 2023. [author site] [author interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

O is for on campus, starting college at FIRST-YEAR ORIENTATION! edited by Eric Smith & Lauren Gibaldi (YA book review) @A2Z

book cover of First-Year Orientation, edited by Eric Smith & Lauren Gibaldi. Published by Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Move-in day,
time for goodbyes and hellos –
your new life after high school begins!

Welcome to Rolland College, home of the Owls! Many first-year students (we don’t say freshman anymore) come from other states or countries to this small New Jersey institution, which is a hometown fixture for a few.

This year’s entering class includes marching band buddies and theater stars (on stage and behind the scenes), a football player with brains and brawn, former child actors trying to escape rerun fame, youth with helicopter parents or a missing family member or a big secret…

Through these 16 short stories by YA authors and an actress, we meet students who are first in their family to attend college and those following relatives’ footsteps at Rolland, young people who want to reinvent themselves or finally get to show their true selves.

Get ready for dorm drama, an emotional support rabbit, a crack in the universe, and campus ghosts in these stories by Adi Alsaid * Anna Birch * Bryan Bliss * Gloria Chao * Jennifer Chen * Olivia A. Cole * Dana L. Davis * Kristina Forest * Lauren Gibaldi * Kathleen Glasgow * Sam Maggs * Farah Naz Rishi * Lance Rubin * Aminah Mae Safi * Eric Smith * Phil Stamper.

I love how main characters in one story appear in others as the first-years and returning students at this fictitious college rush to and from orientation, the student organizations fair, welcome parties, and the much-anticipated live concert… a kaleidoscope of encounters and emotions.

Just published this month in hardcover and paperback! From the editors of short story anthology Battle of the Bands, another look at a single day from multiple perspectives by several YA authors – recommended here.

What “how I got here” story do you tell on your first day in a new place?
**kmm

Book info: First-Year Orientation / edited by Eric Smith & Lauren Gibaldi. Candlewick Press, 2023. [Eric’s site] [Lauren’s site] [publisher site] Review copy via Edelweiss and cover image courtesy of the publisher.