Tag Archive | reading

Friends and more – tweens look for ANSWERS IN THE PAGES, by David Levithan (MG book review)

book cover of Answers in the Pages, by David Levithan. Alfred A. Knopf Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

What an exciting book!
Who wants to take it away?
Why can’t kids read what they want?!

The Adventurers! Donovan can’t wait to read the novel that Mr. Howe has chosen for their fifth-grade class – three young people trying to stop an evil mastermind, with danger and bravery at every turn!

But his mom’s bad habit of jumping to the end of a book halts everything. She interprets its final sentence as too mature for tweens to handle: “At that moment, Rick knew just how deeply he loved Oliver, and Oliver knew just how deeply he loved Rick, and the understanding of this moment would lead them to much of the happiness and adventure that came next.”

She calls other parents and visits the principal, making Mr. Howe take back The Adventurers until the school board can meet about it. But Donovan forgot his copy at home (way under his bed), so he gets to read it – alligators and helicopters and three amazing friends saving the world.

Meanwhile, shy Gideon is stunned to make a new friend when Roberto moves to town – a fellow lover of turtles and books. Joelle and Tucker have been his friends forever, but Roberto likes Gideon for being himself, and the pair spends more and more time together.

Can Donovan get the author to town to defend the book?
Does Oliver have to choose between help Rick escape from the alligator and capturing the villain?
Does Roberto share the same feelings as Gideon?

At the school board meeting, viewpoints clash. Some adults want to “protect kids” by banning the book. Members of the community and gay students speak up for everyone’s right to live and love.

Three stories, presented chapter by chapter – Donovan’s headed by a book symbol, Rick and Oliver’s by an alligator, and Gideon and Roberto’s by a turtle – each symbol reminding us of the characters’ essential focus.

Released in paperback on 5 September 2023 – read the first pages free here, courtesy of the publisher.

What book has revealed an important truth about your own self to you?
**kmm

Book info: Answers in the Pages / David Levithan. Alfred A. Knopf Books, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Kids start THE GREAT BANNED-BOOKS BAKE SALE to get their books back! by Aya Khalil & Anait Semirdzhyan (Picturebook review)

book cover of The Great Banned-Books Bake Sale, by Aya Khalil; art by Anait Semirdzhyan. Tilbury House Publishers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Our favorite books!
So many different faces!
Where have they gone?

Kanzi is excited to lead her class to the school library, remembering how they welcomed her from Egypt.

But they are dismayed to find their favorite shelves of diverse books… empty!

Those beautiful books about many different types of people have been banned – why? Ms. Jackson, the librarian, says “Some books are so powerful that they intimidate people.”

Now Kanzi can’t find any books with words in Arabic to share at home, and other classmates don’t see any books with kids who look like them either.

During discussion time, Kareem asks if they could raise money to buy those books to donate to Little Free Libraries around town, and the class decides on a bake sale and protest!

After school on Friday, they set out the treats featured in their beloved books and quickly sell them all.

It’s time to protest! Students hold signs asking for diverse books, teachers and parents join the chant “No banned books!” and here comes the TV reporter!

Can they convince the school district to bring back the books they love?

Unfortunately this book is based on a real incident, as Kanzi’s first story, An Arabic Quilt, is among books being removed from school libraries in the US.

During Banned Books Week (and every week), seek out books that feature characters from outside the dominant culture and hear voices often suppressed!
**kmm

Book info: The Great Banned-Books Bake Sale / Aya Khalil; art by Anait Semirdzhyan. Tilbury House Publishers, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy, sample pages, and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

pages from The Great Banned-Books Bake Sale, showing children & adults in group, saying No Banned Books. Student hands holding her poem "Books are for everyone. Am I not important? Am I invisible? Books make us think. Books make us imagine. Books make us compassionate. Books make us creative. Books make us LOVE. You have banned important books, but you can't ban my words. Books are for EVERYONE."
(c) Tilbury House Publishing

How friendly is their new-old house in THE TIME OF GREEN MAGIC? by Hilary McKay (MG book review)

book cover of The Time of Green Magic, by Hilary McKay. Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Two families into one.
An old house large enough for all.
Enough love to go around?

Abi had been an only, cherished by Dad Theo and Granny Grace after Mum died when she was a baby.

Now the 11 year old is a middle, squished between 13-year-old Max and grubby hands 6-year-old Louis when Dad marries Polly, and they move into her small house.

The blended family searches and searches for another house to rent, finally deciding on an old, tall house covered with ivy – and room enough for everyone!

With Polly and Theo working more hours to afford the house, Esme is hired to bring Louis home from school, and Max is enraged that his best friend Danny tells everyone that the 18-year-old French art student is his “babysitter” now.

Abi is happy to get back to escaping into books in her own room – so vivid, so real that she can feel the ocean spray in her face as she reads Kon-Tiki.

It isn’t ‘a nowl’ that Louis hears in the ivy, but an invisible friend, a cat-shaped being named Iffen who races up the vines to sleep in his room, who sharpens his mighty claws on the bedside mat, who is hungry.

Could Max finally calm down around Esme?
Is Iffen listen getting larger?
How can Abi see Iffen?!

Perhaps, perhaps the old house’s magic can help their many-parts family become whole.

Did you have an imaginary childhood friend?
**kmm

Book info: The Time of Green Magic / Hilary McKay. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2020, paperback 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

WITH GREAT POWER: THE MARVELOUS STAN LEE! by Annie Hunter Erickson & Lee Gatlin (Picturebook review)

book cover of With Great Power: The Marvelous Stan Lee: An Unauthorized Biography, by Annie Hunter Erickson; illustrated by Lee Gatlin. Published by Page Street Kids | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Growing up poor in New York City, Stanley Lieber escaped by reading adventure stories and dreamed of writing his own.

He began working at age 16 as an errand boy for Timely Comics magazine and got to write a Captain America story. But he signed it as Stan Lee, saving his real name for the day he would be a “real” writer.

When veteran writers quit Timely, Stan moved up to full-time writer and editor – as a teenager!

For two decades, he wrote story after story of predictable, perfect heroes as the company grew and became Marvel Comics. So boring.

His wife suggested that he write the superhero story that he’d want to read. So Stan teamed up with artist Jack Kirby, and they created the flawed yet Fantastic Four – a huge hit with comics readers!

What next? Reflecting on his own childhood, Stan invented a lonely, geeky, science-loving hero – the Amazing Spider-Man, drawn by Steve Ditko – an even bigger hit with readers!

Finally, the Marvel Comics’ bosses decided that Stan should make a series of unconventional superheroes, and the Marvel Comics Universe was born.

Continuing with Stan’s move to Hollywood as his superheroes became movie stars, this lively picturebook includes great background information. You can find free activity sheets here, courtesy of the publisher.

Who’s your favorite Marvel superhero?
**kmm

Book info: With Great Power: The Marvelous Stan Lee: An Unauthorized Biography / Annie Hunter Erickson; illustrated by Lee Gatlin. Page Street Kids, 2021. [author interview] [artist site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

L is LOVE RADIO: advice, music, more? by Ebony LaDelle (YA book review) @A2Z

book cover of Love Radio, by Ebony LaDelle. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Someday, he’ll be a hip-hop DJ and radio host.
Someday, she’ll be a noted writer on New York’s literary scene.
These days, maybe they can find time to find each other…

Sharing relationship advice on the radio is a highlight of Prince’s senior year, so very full of helping his mom who has multiple sclerosis and caring for his 6-year-old brother Mook.

Dani has an iron-clad plan for getting out of Detroit: be accepted to a great college in NYC, earn her Master of Fine Arts in writing, and become an author who changes the world.

As their paths cross for the first time since middle school, Prince thinks he might have a chance with his long-time crush, but Dani is intent on her exit plan. She does give him three dates to change her mind about starting a relationship – just three.

Sweet, thoughtful dates – interspersed with her flashbacks to an awful incident some months ago and his mom’s medical needs and…

Can you schedule falling in love?
When is a relationship past recovering?
What about a friend who lets you down one time too many?

Told in alternating chapters by the two teens, including transcripts of Prince’s radio shows and Dani’s unsent letters to noted Black women authors as she struggles with writer’s block on her all-important admissions essay.

What love song would you play to ease someone’s heartache?
**kmm

Book info: Love Radio / Ebony LaDelle. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2022. [author site] [author video] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

F is Martha Freeman’s TRASHED! as a young detective aims to solve the perfect crime (MG book review) #A2Z

book cover of Trashed! by Martha Freeman. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Planning a mouse’s funeral,
a long-lost souvenir teacup reappearing,
his best friend’s mom going on a date – lots happening in 11-year-old Arthur’s life these days!

He and little sister Ramona (mouse owner) live with their parents above the Boulder thrift store founded by his grandparents, and that’s where the teacup showed up. Grandpa recognized his favorite rock band’s cartoon bear mascot on it right away – but who brought it into the store?

The mouse is back, as a ghost now called Watson – maybe here to be helpful?

Arthur hopes that Watson’s ghostly stealth and observational skills help solve the teacup mystery and why store-worker Randolph dislikes Officer Bernstein and where the confidential consignment items file went.

Did someone bring items for the store to sell that were actually stolen?!
How could the thief snatch so many things from people’s homes without anyone noticing?
Will Grandpa’s prejudice make him accuse the wrong person?

If Arthur can figure out why best friend Veda is mad at him, maybe she can help him and Watson solve “the perfect crime” in this entertaining mystery by the author of Noah McNichol and the Backstage Ghost (recommended here).

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever bought (or sold)?
**kmm

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

It’s A2Z time again!!

April Blogging from A to Z challenge 2023 participant

Yep, it’s almost April, which means the big April A to Z Blogging Challenge is just hours away!

As I have for the past 11 years (over a decade?!), I will post 26 new book recommendations on an alphabetic schedule, starting tomorrow with A – and never give away the ending!

You’ll discover middle-grade and young adult titles, all-age picture books, and graphic novels from the US and abroad – beyond the often-duplicated bestsellers lists and well worth your time to read.

If you want to join the challenge, go here http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/ before April 9th to sign up – it’s free and can bring lots of new readers to your blog.

Check out the wide variety of blogs participating in April A to Z on the Master List here https://tinyurl.com/3we8aa84 where mine is #148 – with 39 different categories, you’re sure to find interesting new blogs.

Ready to read?
**kmm

THE FIRE STAR jewel is missing – will these young 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.

Sisters sharing DRIZZLE, DREAMS, AND LOVESTRUCK THINGS, by Maya Prasad (YA book review)

book cover of Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things, by Maya Prasad. Published by Hyperion /Disney | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Four sisters,
four seasons,
five chances for love…

For the past decade, the four teen Singh sisters have lived in the Songbird Inn on Orcas Island, where their widowed father met and married Pop as they renovated the old property together. But three years ago, the girls’ beloved stepdad died, before he could see their dream named as “the most romantic inn in America” for its unique seaside weddings.

Nidhi has planned her senior year and beyond in great detail as she will head to pastry school in Paris after graduation, with boyfriend Matt. A tree crashing through her bedroom brings Grayson and construction crew to the inn – how will his secret artistic passions affect her carefully ordered life this fall?

Avani has spent the winter avoiding Francisco after a date mix-up, not so easy when his family supplies produce and goat cheese to the inn daily. Her grief for Pop lingers even as Dad begins seeing Amir, so she decides to revive his beloved Winter Ball in his memory, finding that Francisco’s help can make it happen.

Spring on the is photographer Sirisha’s favorite season, and hosting the Thousand Shores theater troupe at the Inn makes it even better – brown girls, queer girls, stories turned and retold. And beautiful Brie leaves her tongue-tied, even as the young actress tries to help Sirisha find the story that will help her photos win the San Juan Snaps contest.

Queen of Romance – Rani’s deep love of romance novels has helped her twin Avani and her older and younger sisters find happiness this past year. As they prepare for the biggest summer wedding of all, which inn visitor will be her happily ever after – socially-conscious Vikram, fun and sporty Leo, or Raj who didn’t kiss her last summer?

A wonderful year in Washington’s Pacific Northwest with the Singh family as they work through past issues with family still in India, decide what their futures might look like, and host a parade of interesting guests in the beautiful inn that they call home.

Where would you build the best inn ever?
**kmm

Book info: Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things / Maya Prasad. Hyperion, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.