Tag Archive | sisters

Friendship, loneliness & THE CARE AND KEEPING OF FREDDY, by Susan Hill Long (MG book review)

book cover of The Care and Keeping of Freddy, by Susan Hill Long. Published by Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A hungry lizard amid a cricket shortage,
a sad dad trying to make it through,
a gone mom who made a new family without her…

In their small coastal Maine town, the red-haired boy stealing a cat collar from the pet store definitely stood out to best friends Georgia and Maria.

A new foster kid, Roland insists that his big brother will arrive on August 1st to take him away – the two middle-graders aren’t sure what to believe about that.

Of course, Freddy the bearded dragon is no substitute for her mother’s love, so Georgia is thrilled when her mom Blythe announces that she’s finally bringing baby Rosie to visit… and stay in town, new stepfather and all!

An abandoned glass house in the woods to explore, Maria writing her mystery novel, and the big town parade for July 4th – lots of excitement for the three friends, if Roland’s little foster brother would quit being such a pest.

Can Georgia balance friend-time with being-Rosie’s-big-sister-time?
What’s Blythe’s new big idea?
Why won’t Blythe let Georgia bring Freddy over?

By the author of Josie Bloom and the Emergency of Life (my recommendation here)

What’s the best thing about your town?
**kmm

Book Info: The Care and Keeping of Freddy / Susan Hill Long. Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

BLOOD LIKE MAGIC, by Liselle Sambury – her witch test will destroy love or family! (YA book review)

book cover of Blood Like Magic, by Liselle Sambury. Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Safety is staying in her family home,
facing the forces outside is her fate…
how can she balance the magic required?

Oh yes, her extended family is exasperating on a day-to-day basis, but 16-year-old Voya knows they love her and that she’d do anything to keep them safe in mid-21st century Toronto.

Now the Trinidadian-Canadian teen pleads for a second chance to claim her Calling as a witch, through a task to be set by her ancestor.

But this task is brutal, far beyond what anyone in her extended family experienced in their Calling – ‘destroy her first love.’

Time is of the essence as Voya must fall in love with someone and then eliminate them…or her little sister will die, and her entire family will lose its long-held magic!

Love match via genetic blood test?
Cozying up to a rival magic family?
Surely there must be another way…

Find this great YA debut at your local library or independent bookstore now. The series continues with Blood Like Fate in August 2022.

What would you sacrifice to keep your family safe?
**kmm

Book Info: Blood Like Magic (Blood Like Magic, book 1) / Liselle Sambury. Margaret K. McElderry Books (S&S), 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Bad news AIN’T BURNED ALL THE BRIGHT, by Jason Reynolds & Jason Griffin (YA book review)

book cover of Ain't Burned All the Bright, by Jason Reynolds; artwork by Jason Griffin. Published by Atheneum | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Three long sentences,
Two Jasons collaborating again,
One vibrant book, willing us to breathe…

His father coughing and coughing in the bedroom, his mother glued to the all-bad-news television. Brother won’t stop playing his video game, sister chatting about what to bring for a protest during a pandemic.

Stuck at home together – will it ever be safe to leave?
After George Floyd’s murder – who wants to be away from home?
TV locked on the same channel – is there better news anywhere?

A Black young man feels like he’s the only family member who realizes how bad things really are, how “worry is worn like a knit sweater in summer” suffocating them all, yet maybe hope can get them through all this.

Jason Reynolds (I’ve recommended his books Boy in the Black Suit; Ghost; Look Both Ways) wrote the story of a young man and his family during that first year of pandemic and protests as three very, very long sentences.

His former roommate Jason Griffin journaled his impressions of 2020 via paint, colored pencil, and collage in his moleskin notebook, then cut out and taped Reynolds’ words onto his artwork whose textures leap off the satin-surfaced pages of this book.

Happy book birthday to this stunning reflection on events of 2020 when so many of us wished we could change the TV channel from its harsh realities to something brighter.

What do you remember most about 2020?
**kmm

Book info: Ain’t Burned All the Bright / Jason Reynolds; artwork by Jason Griffin. Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/ Atheneum, 2022. [author site] [artist site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

When tattooed boy STARLING falls from the sky.. #YALit by Isabel Strychacz (book review)

book cover of Starling, by Isabel Strychacz. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A lifetime of following the very unusual,
wanting to escape sneering neighbors,
graduation seems as far away as the stars…

Outcasts in their odd California desert town, teens Delta and Bee try to keep folks from realizing that Dad stepped into a different dimension a few weeks ago, not just off on another esoteric research trip.

Their house on the outskirts of Darling truly has a mind of its own, and the sisters won’t open the hall closet door, hoping Dad will walk back through someday soon.

When a meteor or plane or something crashes into their woods one night, Delta ventures out and finds a boy covered with moving tattoos – but who could have survived this?

Maybe Starling is a boy, but more likely not. If they can’t find the object he needs to return home, can he survive here?

If Del’s sort-of-boyfriend finds out about Starling and tells his dad the mayor…. oh no!

Recounted from Delta’s and Starling’s perspectives, this tale of disconnection, love, and loss brings the distant near.

What makes a place ‘home’ for you?
*kmm

Book Info: Starling / Isabel Strychacz. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

One night only! It’s the BATTLE OF THE BANDS anthology, ed. by Lauren Gibaldi & Eric Smith (YA book review)

book cover of Battle of the Bands, edited by Lauren Gibaldi & Eric Smith. Published by Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

On stage, behind the scenes, in the audience,
taking tickets, selling merchandise –
all connected by local teen musicians!

Sixteen authors bring us interlinking stories that center around the annual Battle of the Bands at a suburban New Jersey high school from many points of view.

Solo acts and long-standing bands, breakups and first kisses, new friends and old grudges, family ties that bend and stretch (but will they break?).

Most stories begin before The Big Night with characters appearing in more than one narrative, just like the overlapping circles of acquaintance at the high school… or the first-time interactions at the Battle itself.

Get this book now at your local library or independent bookstore – just published last week!

I rarely read books twice, but I honestly can’t wait to reread this one, now that I’ve met so many characters as they gather for the music, the friendship, and the best Battle of the Bands ever!

What’s your favorite concert story?
**kmm

Book Info: Battle of the Bands / Lauren Gilbaldi & Eric Smith, editors. Candlewick Press, 2021. ISBN 9781536214338 (Lauren’s site) (Eric’s site) (publisher site)

Stories by Brittany Cavallaro, Preeti Chhibber, Jay Coles, Katie Cotugno, Lauren Gibaldi, Shaun David Hutchinson, Ashley Poston, Jenny Torres Sanchez, Sarah Nicole Smetana, Eric Smith, Jenn Marie Thorne, Sarvenaz Taghavian, Jasmine Warga, Ashley Woodfolk, and Jeff Zentner, and featuring Motion City Soundtrack’s Justin Courtney Pierre.

She writes hopeful, worried LETTERS FROM CUBA to war-darkened Poland, by Ruth Behar (MG book review)

book cover of Letters From Cuba, by Ruth Behar. Published by Nancy Paulsen Books/ Penguin Random House | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Cross the wide ocean,
earn money slowly, slowly –
bring family to safety – soon, soon!

Papa went first to Cuba, trying to make enough money so their whole family could escape the increasing peril of merely being Jewish in Poland.

Esther is the oldest child, ready to travel across the sea and help Papa grow their savings faster, 11 years old on a ship crossing the Atlantic in 1938, writing letters to her sister Malka in an old notebook until time to send them.

Always-summer Cuba means sandals instead of woolen stockings, a small village in the hills away from the city, walking and walking with their peddler’s packs to sell goods throughout the countryside where the air smells like candy from the sugar mills.

As Esther learns Spanish, she’s befriended by Francisco Chang who came from China to his uncle’s store, Doctor Pablo and Senora Graciela whose daughter died young, and Manuela’s formerly enslaved grandmother who honors the gods of her African ancestors.

Angry sugar mill owner Eduardo thinks she and Papa don’t belong here, so the young woman takes refuge in the poems of Juan Marti shared by Senora Graciela as Esther designs and sews stylish cotton dresses that become popular in Havana.

Can she make enough dresses by herself to fill the orders?
Can they earn enough money to get their family here soon?
As Europe rejects Jewish people, will Cuba still welcome them?

As powerful people like Eduardo begin echoing Hitler’s anger and lies, Esther and Papa work hard and pray harder to bring their family to safety!

What letters have shared family stories with you?
**kmm

Book Info: Letters From Cuba / Ruth Behar. Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House, 2020. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

MISFIT IN LOVE all by herself? by S. K. Ali (YA book review)

book cover of Misfit in Love, by S. K. Ali, published by Salaam Reads | recommended on BooksYALove.com

She’s ready for yes,
he’s already moved on –
great summer now not-so-great…

Her brother Muhammad’s nikah wedding celebration will be the perfect time for Janna to tell Nuah that his year away at college confirmed she’s finally ready to be together, but there’s hardly a quiet moment as the small Muslim ceremony has become a 300-guest extravaganza at her Indian-American dad’s fancy Illinois lakeside estate!

Between her young half-brothers’ ice cream truck obsession, wondering who her best friend’s date is, and Sarah’s attempts to rein in her fiance’s over-the-top additions to the party, hijabi Janna’s stress levels are rising as family connections and conflicts swirl.

Sarah’s cousin Haytham is a so-charming singing poet, family friend Layth is a brooding young man, and Janna’s long-divorced Egyptian-American mom is suspiciously happy to see a handsome college classmate and his teenage daughters.

Has dad always been such an anti-Black racist?
Is mom’s happiness on hold till Janna leaves for college?
How can everyone have a happily ever after except her?

The story begun in Saints and Misfits (recommended here) continues as Janna tries to envision a future much different than her dreams. By the author of Love From A to Z (recommended here).

Happy book birthday to Misfit in Love!

How to you know when it’s time to let go of a dream?
**kmm

Book Info: Misfit in Love: a Saints and Misfits Novel / S.K. Ali. Salaam Reads – S&S, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Singing, dancing, emotions! THAT THING ABOUT BOLLYWOOD, by Supriya Kelkar (MG book review)

book cover of That Thing About Bollywood, by Supriya Kelkar. Published by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Happy music, angry words,
favorite foods, empty chair…
No more changes!

If family Hindi movie night would get Mom and Dad in a better mood, Sonali and little brother Ronak would be so much happier.

Those classic Bollywood movies remind the California 11 year old of her late grandfather’s video store and their shared love of this vibrant movie style from India, with its familiar patterns of music style and dance for the emotions in each story.

But along with drama class for the new semester and best friend Zara buddying up with Air, Sonali has to cope with the all-cousins dance routine for her aunt’s upcoming wedding and her parents separating.

Too many changes for Ronak’s “robot sister” who decided to lock away her emotions when grandfather died… and now Sonali hears constant music – her own theme song like in the movies!

Boom – her house and school are bathed in bright colors, anyone happy or woeful bursts out into song, and she’s the only one who thinks this Bollywooditis is new!

Why are her parents still arguing when they live apart?
Can Sonali channel her Bollywooditis into a better theater class grade?
When will Zara be her best friend again?

Sonali doesn’t want all her memories to get a Bollywood makeover too, so she has to figure out how to stop this emotional music-storm before it’s too late!

How would folks singing and dancing their emotions make you feel?
**kmm

Book info: That Thing About Bollywood / Supriya Kelkar. Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Consequences of injustice – audiobooks to ponder

Time to download this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC so you can read with your ears!

Remember that although these complete audiobooks are only available from Thursday through Wednesday, you have free use of them as long as you keep them on your phone or tablet, using the free Sora app to listen.

CD cover of They Went Left, by Monica Hesse, read by Caitlin Davies. Published by Hachette Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

They Went Left (download on Sora free 6-12 May 2021)
by Monica Hesse | Read by Caitlin Davies
Published by Hachette Audio

Liberated from the Gross-Rosen concentration camp in 1945, Zofia is desperate to find her younger brother Abek, the only other family member who wasn’t sent the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

But how will the 18 year old locate him among the sea of refugees in the displaced persons’ camps of Germany and Poland?

CD cover of Trell, by Dick Lehr, read by Bahni Turpin, published by Brilliance Audio Candlewick | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Trell (download on Sora free 6-12 May 2021)
by Dick Lehr | Read by Bahni Turpin
Published by Brilliance Audio/Candlewick

Trell is certain that her father was wrongfully convicted of murder and convinces a disillusioned Boston investigative reporter to go back to witnesses and uncover the truth.

Can the teen and reporter track down the real killer?

What other stories of confronting injustice would you recommend?
**kmm

Celebratory lines – poems about NINE! a Book of Nonet Poems, by Irene Latham (picture book review)

book cover of Nine: a Book of Nonet Poems, by Irene Latham. illustrated by Amy Huntington. Published by Charlesbridge | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Rhymes or none,
poems are fun –
you know haiku,
so try something new!

Expressing yourself in verse or song can make everyday life more interesting. That’s what a birthday girl and her little brother and their armadillo pal do, using the nonet form.

What does that look like? She answers readers in the very first poem, “Nonet”:

Grand
poem
with nine lines –
one syllable
first line builds toward
nine-syllable ninth line
(or the reverse). A staircase
for poets and readers alike!
(Any subject, rhyming optional.)
-page 1

Did you count the syllables as you read down the nonet-staircase? Yep – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

Some of the girl’s nonets start with the nine-syllable line and get shorter line by line, like “Nine-Banded Armadillo” and “Dressed to the Nines” for her big birthday bash!

Flip to the back of the book to learn more about all the nines in the poems and even the dimensions of the book itself.

Celebrate Children’s Book Week by writing your own nonet!

What’s your favorite nine fact?
**kmm

Book Info: Nine: a Book of Nonet Poems / Irene Latham; art by Amy Huntington. Charlesbridge, 2020. (author site) (artist site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.