Tag Archive | non-US author

A SONG ONLY I CAN HEAR tempts him to dare, by Barry Jonsberg (book review)

book cover of A Song Only I Can Hear, by Barry Jonsberg. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Try something new?
Stay quiet as a mouse?
Show his true self to the world?
Better choose well…

Rob is utterly smitten with the new girl in his class and too tongue-tied to even say hello. Easier to play chess with his grandfather every afternoon at the old folks’ home.

But when text messages from an unknown number challenge the 13 year old to get out of his comfort zone if he wants to succeed, Rob enters his Australian town’s youth talent show, even though public speaking gives him panic attacks.

Inspired by another text, non-sporty Rob tries out for the soccer team because Destry likes athletes – and makes the team as goalie! (but no changing in the locker room…)

Publically protesting the environmental damages of meat production gets Rob featured in the newspaper, as one text challenged, and also sent to the principal’s office for the very first time.

Bad at math, he can count on best pal Andrew and sailor-mouthed grandad.

Great in English, Rob struggles to write the perfect poem for Destry!

Will the Vietnam War ghosts ever stop tormenting his grandad?
When will Daniel stop bullying Rob?

As the mysterious texts continue, Rob moves slowly off his path of comforting routines and begins to find himself, despite how others see him.

What challenge would you like to see in your inbox?
**kmm

Book info: A Song Only I Can Hear / Barry Jonsberg. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2020 (USA). [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

When WAR IS OVER – what next? by David Almond (book review)

book cover of War Is Over, by David Almond, illustrated by David Litchfield. Published in US by Candlewick | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Mam working at the munitions factory,
Dad away, fighting overseas,
the Great War goes on and on.

John writes to Buckingham Palace in 1918, asking when the terrible war will be over, but neither King nor teachers nor mothers can answer the boy’s question.

As his class walks to tour the gigantic weapons factory, they encounter a man who refused to fight, a conscientious objector against war who knows that German and British children are more alike than different.

After the police beat the man and take him away for speaking unpatriotic thoughts in public, one photo of a German boy is left behind.

Soon the boy Jan appears in John’s dreams, and though they speak different languages, their wish for peace is the same. “I am just a child. How can I be at war?” (pg 20)

Among the extensive black and white illustrations, the reader’s mind can imagine the red of homemade rosehip jam and of the tiny scars on Mam’s cheeks left by faulty shrapnel in the factory and of sunsets preceding John’s dreams of children spreading seeds of peace instead of hate.

Published in the UK in 2018 to mark the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War I, this child’s eye view of war is a May 2020 US release.

Can we love our country and hate war?
**kmm

Book info: War is Over / David Almond; illustrated by David Litchfield. Candlewick Press, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Statistics show OPTIMISTS DIE FIRST, right? by Susin Nielsen (book review)

book cover of Optimists Die First, by Susin Nielsen. Published by Tundra Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Sister’s death wasn’t her fault-
Everyone says so,
but she can’t accept that…

Everyday life in Vancouver is filled with deadly risks, so 16-year-old Petula takes every precaution now (but nothing can bring back her little sister or her best friend).

The new guy with the prosthetic arm witnesses her panic attack in class and is in her youth art therapy class and thinks Petula is nice (but doesn’t know how Maxine died).

Ack! Petula and Jacob have to do a project together for English?! His movie-making skills and her recently abandoned crafting supplies plus her mom’s rescue cats should be perfect (but Dad doesn’t agree about having so many cats, not one bit).

As they work together, Jacob reveals his struggles with surviving the crash that killed his best friends back in Toronto, Petula begins to look forward to spending time with him, and life becomes brighter for both of them (but hopefully kissing is less germ-filled than she thought).

When the art therapy class rebels against their teacher’s little-kid ideas, she challenges them to find creative ways to face their issues – parental rejection, grief, survivor’s guilt, addictive behaviors – and they begin working together (but don’t call them friends quite yet).

But when one secret comes to light, Petula’s new happiness and the art therapy group’s progress are all threatened.

From the author of We Are All Made of Molecules (recommended here).

How do you know when it’s time to let old problems go?
**kmm

Book info: Optimists Die First / Susin Nielsen. Tundra Books, hardcover 2017, paperback 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Searching on THE SUPER MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF FREDDY YATES, by Jenny Pearson (book review)

book cover of THE SUPER MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF FREDDY YATES, by Jenny Pearson. Published by Norton Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A missing dad still alive?
Time to go find him!
Here’s the plan, guys…

Grams’ death leaves Freddie and his stepdad all alone their English town, but her final message solves a lifelong mystery – the name of his long-gone biological father!

Best pals Ben and Charlie agree to take the train with him to Wales as their last fun weekend before they’re dragged off to summer activities that their families love (and they despise).

The eleven year olds’ quick trip turns into an adventurous trek – missed connections, a new destination, an onion-eating contest, a bicycle-built-for-two, and emergency change into superhero costumes to elude a jewel thief!

Can they keep convincing their parents that they’re just at a sleepover?
Why did Freddie’s dad never try to contact him?
Why didn’t they bring more underwear?

Their teacher said it was a miracle that their class made it through the school year, but Freddie, Ben, and Charlie encounter real miracles aplenty in this hilarious debut novel.

When does your search become a mission?
**kmm

Book info: The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddy Yates / Jenny Pearson. Norton Young Readers, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Oh, such joy! ONCE UPON AN EID, edited by S.K. Ali & Aisha Saeed (book review)

book cover of Once Upon an Eid, edited by S.K. Ali & Aisha Saeed. Published by Amulet Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Watching for the new moon to appear,
Special foods enjoyed for generations,
Gifts and love and faith and joy!

Muslims observe the two Eid holidays with celebratory traditions as varied as the world is wide.

New clothes can be a hallmark of Eid – even as cousins Hawa and Fanta disagree about which style of dress is “Perfect” during the African community’s Eid parties in New York City or Makayla worries that friends will make fun of her new-ish abaya from the second-hand store in “Creative Fixes.”

Gifts” make Eid special for Idrees who begins understanding that giving is more important than getting, and a young man saving up for a new bike is repeatedly reminded by his grandmother that his name “Kareem means ‘generous’. “

The same foods every year are family traditions, so when big sister is busy, it’s just “Yusuf and the Big Brownie Mishap”, and Nadia quietly goes to the bakery for their favorite pastries while Mama sleeps after chemo in “Don’ut Break Tradition.”

Despair lifts when a kind Greek villager helps Bassem “Searching for Blue” bring the taste of Eid love to his refugee camp, and a grieving father helps his daughter try to make the “Taste” of Mama’s special lontong, always cooked by heart in their Malaysian apartment instead of written down.

Going high above the City of Boundless Light, “Seraj Captures the Moon” marking the end of Ramadan in a graphic novel illustrated by the same artist who sketched the chapter headings and book cover showing young people preparing for Eid from Canada to the US to Australia.

Fifteen Muslim authors bring us stories that reflect the wide range of community and family traditions for celebrating Eid – all with food, all with love, all with renewed hope.

What says home and hope to you?
**kmm

Book info: Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices / edited by S. K. Ali and Aisha Saeed; illustrated by Sara Alfageeh. Amulet Books, 2020. [S. K. site] [Aisha site] [Sara site] [publisher site] Personal copy; video and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

48 HOURS to find THE VANISHING! by Gabrielle Lord (book review)

book cover of 48 Hours: The Vanishing, by Gabrielle Lord. Published by Kane Miller EDC | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Her best friend kidnapped!
She’s being watched, too –
a ‘cold case’ getting hot again?

Anika has been publishing those old diary entries on her blog. Was there a murder 20 years ago in the spooky mansion in their Australian neighborhood?

“No police!” the kidnapper tells Anika’s parents, so her best friend Jazz quietly starts gathering clues and enlists the help of tech whiz Phoenix to help analyze them in his mum’s lab.

Collecting hair samples, footprints, and other observations in their CrimeSeen app, Jazz and Phoenix race to identify the kidnapper.

Jazz knows the first 48 hours of a case are the most important – and Anika’s life is at stake!

The kidnapper is searching for them, too…

Followed by 48 Hours: The Medusa Curse, as Jazz and Phoenix work to retrieve a stolen supercomputer and prove their friend Mack’s father had no part in the museum heist.

When something goes missing, what’s your first step?
**kmm

Book info: 48 Hours: The Vanishing (48 Hours series, book 1) / Gabrielle Lord. Kane Miller EDC Publishing, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Listen to classic tales – with a twist!

Cool down this week with two winter-season tales free from AudioSYNC – Scrooge’s Christmas story gender-flipped and Shakespeare’s “which twin is which” masquerade of Twelfth Night.

Be sure you have the Sora app on your phone or tablet, then download your choice(s) before the stated deadline. As long as you set your Sora shelf as directed, you can listen to these professionally produced audiobooks any time.

CD cover of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens; freely adapted & read by Alison Larkin. Published by Alison Larkin Presents | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A Christmas Carol (download free 9-15 July 2020)

by Charles Dickens, Alison Larkin. Read by Alison Larkin. Published by Alison Larkin Presents

If Scrooge were a woman, well-educated and her own boss in the 1840s … how would she react to Tiny Tim’s plight?

Choosing money over the woman she loves, meeting the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future – Miss Scrooge has many life-changing decisions to make!

CD cover of Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare. Read by Stella Gonet, Gerard Murphy, Jonathan Keeble, Daniel Philpott, Nick Fletcher, Peter Yapp, Jane Whittenshaw, Malcolm Sinclair, David Timson, Lucy Whybrow, Christopher Godwin, Brian Parr, Adam Kotz, Benjamin Soames.
Published by Naxos AudioBooks | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Twelfth Night (download free 9-15 July 2020)

by William Shakespeare. Read by Stella Gonet, Gerard Murphy, Jonathan Keeble, Daniel Philpott, Nick Fletcher, Peter Yapp, Jane Whittenshaw, Malcolm Sinclair, David Timson, Lucy Whybrow, Christopher Godwin, Brian Parr, Adam Kotz, Benjamin Soames. Published by Naxos AudioBooks

Duke Orsino believes that shipwrecked Viola is a boy and sends her to Olivia with messages of adoration.

Of course, Viola falls in love with the Duke, wonders about the fate of her long-lost twin Sebastian, and encounters courtiers staid and silly during holiday celebrations in this full-cast Shakespeare comedy.

What other familiar stories would you like to gender-switch?
**kmm

Who’s trying to kill over THE TRUTH APP? by Jack Heath (book review)

book cover of The Truth App, by Jack Heath. Published by Simon Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A little programming,
a car crash,
a lot of trouble!

Begun as a lie-detector coding experiment, Jarli’s “truth app” becomes an overnight international sensation, and the Australian high schooler immediately receives acclaim, criticism, and death threats.

From the source code Jarli uploaded to an obscure site to get help testing it, someone has created a commercial app that gives an “honesty score” – very unpopular with teens.

Jarli’s best friend Beth and new student Anya are on his side at least. Then the guy who purposely crashed into Dad’s car comes after them – time to run!

“Did it not occur to you,” Mom said, “that almost everyone has secrets?” (p. 56). Some very powerful people will apparently do anything – legal or otherwise – to keep theirs from the public.

Is Dad’s security company job at risk?
Will the bad guy go after Jarli’s sister too?
Who is behind these attacks?

Just why did Jarli want a lie detector? You’ll have to read the first book in this Australian series to find out.

How would a “truth app” affect your life?
**kmm

Book info: The Truth App (Liars, book 1) / Jack Heath. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2020 US. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Can little brother & GIRL OF THE SOUTHERN SEA survive in the city? by Michelle Kadarusman (book review)

book cover of Girl of the Southern Sea, by Michelle Kadarusman. Published by Pajama Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Brother depends on her,
neither can depend on Father,
Survival only or education, too?

At 14, Nia must be grown-up before her time, running the family food cart to support her little brother in the Jakarta slums instead of continuing in school.

Mama’s Javanese folktales stopped when she died giving birth to Rudi, but Nia remembers and writes them down, to her teacher’s delight, adding to Dewi Kadita‘s adventures as Queen of the Southern Sea.

Father now drinks away their money, and Nia must work their banana-fritter cart alone – can she earn enough to pay rent and feed Rudi? Could she save a little toward high school registration?

When she survives a minibus accident, Oskar the tailor proclaims it a miracle and tells customers that Nia’s banana fritters must bring good luck – is it okay to charge more for fritters now?

Mama still tells her stories in dreams and Nia writes when she can – will she ever have time for herself?

Wait, what wild promise did her father make this time?

In the face of poverty and societal pressure, Nia stands strong for her own dreams, for now…

When have you stood up for yourself when others couldn’t see your plans?
**kmm

Book info: Girl of the Southern Sea / Michelle Kadarusman. Pajama Press, 2019. [author interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

If only he could meet her… SHE WORE RED TRAINERS, by Na’ima B. Robert (book review)

book cover of She Wore Red Trainers, by Na'ima B. Robert, published by Kube Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Family life is funny and frustrating,
community expectations can be a heavy burden,
how to stay true to your faith, yet find your own path?

Her stepfather is especially mean to Amirah’s younger brother who is deaf – hopefully getting all three younger siblings out of the house to the Islamic Center’s summer program will help Mom’s depression (another divorce coming?) sigh…

Mum’s death sent Dad’s business into freefall, brought Ali back to their faith – now the house is sold and they’ll be in London for his summer before college…

Playing basketball with the guys in their city Muslim neighborhood, Ali sees a young woman in hijab over there…who is she of the red shoes?

Will the right circumstances allow these new neighbors to meet properly, correctly, soon?
Can Amirah find a way to attend art school before her older brother arranges her marriage?
Can Ali convince his dad that law school was Mum’s dream, not his own?

Meet these Muslim families in south London and know more about their lives and worries and dreams. Find this 2014 book at your local library (worldcat.org/libraries) or independent bookstore (indiebound.org/indie-store-finder or https://bookshop.org/).

What happy ending are you willing to work for and wait for?
**kmm

Book info: She Wore Red Trainers / Na’ima B. Robert. Kube Publishing, 2014. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.