The Latest In Progress
Macmillan (Neal Porter/Roaring Brook)
This book sweetly answers the age old question of where does the dead goldfish go. Not down the toilet in this case. Instead this goldfish becomes a ghost, looking for a place to "settle down". There are lots of little clues here of the goldfish's "former" life, the title of books lying about, a banner from Cape Cod. The illustrations are warm and give a strong sense of place, the beach, the town, other wanderings. A nice alternative to all of those other dead fish stories. Edie Ching (up to 7).
Simon & Schuster
Amina shares with us her shyness, her jealousy when her best friend welcomes the friendship of another, her worries about her brother. She just happens to be Muslim. When, in the later chapters of the book her mosque is vandalized the emphasis is on the support of the community. I appreciated that the iman was going to participate in the dunking game at the carnival. A story that creates a feeling of inclusiveness. Ten to Fourteen -Edie Ching
Macmillan (Christy Ottaviano/Holt)
A close look at the year London spent in the Yukon trying to make his fortune in the gold fields. The details point out the grueling nature of his time there but also the experiences that helped shape future writings (another way to make a fortune). Photographs are mixed with Minor's black and white drawings to accentuate the details of the text. A timeline covers the major events of London's entire life and the book looks back on what experiences brought London to Alaska. This book has everything, a great book for biography, a great adventure story and a close up look at a major period in American History. Edie Ching (10-14)
With a tone similar to Little Bear, Charlie and his brother have adventures large and small that involve their parents and their many friends, of all ethnicities. I particularly enjoyed the snack at Sakamoto's Shave Ice. Their conversations are very natural and child like as are their actions. Look for our own children to ask for a bed-time popsicle. The illustrations enhance the story perfectly. A lovely package. Edie Ching (up to 7)
In free verse that reads like conversations we learn of the love that grows between Mildred Jeter and her brother's friend Richard Loving. It is not until well into their narratives that we learn Mildred is African American, Richard, Caucasian. Their marriage is against the laws of Virginia and a very hostile and aggressive sheriff makes their life miserable until he drives them north. But desperate to be near family, they keep returning and finally their case goes before the Supreme Court. Strickland's few illustrations are soft warm tones interspersed with photographs and newspaper headlines. An important book about how 2 simple people with no "agenda", just the desire to be together and raise their family close to relatives changed the law. Edie Ching (10-14)
Cozbi A.Cabrera, et. al.
One Last Word is a stunning combination of striking poetry and beautiful illustrations (by so many big-name African American illustrators). Grimes uses the "Golden Shovel" method to build her own poems out of classic works from Harlem Renaissance writers. She brings the past into the present, showing young readers the importance of hard work and respect for others even in the midst of struggle and sadness. Meaghan McKeron. Ten to Fourteen.
A morality story about community, freedom, individuality and passion. A community that gets annoyed by noise gets a leader who tries to shut all noise out and have total control. But one rooster refuses to be silent, even when he is threatened with death. His song may grow darker as hardships are imposed, but he will still sing and we get his song almost every other page. There's lots of sunshine on many of the pages, especially when the rooster is in full song, and the dark pages still have the song. An author's note at the end reminds us not to temper our song or stop singing. Edie Ching (up to 7).