Discussion of the above book with the author, illustrator and Georgetown Law Professor Emerita, moderated by our own Deborah Taylor. Coolidge Auditorium, Thomas Jefferson Building, Mary 3, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. No RSVP needed unless you want to bring a group of children. Then please respond to: Monica Valentine, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-707-1950.
James Edward Shippy is adept at voicing not only male and female characters of varying races/cultures, but of also capturing their emotional states as they navigage "juvie", all charged with crimes, some heinous. The main narrator Isaac West has taken the "rap" for someone else in an effort to secure a better life for his sister but he finds lies in prison much more difficult to maintain. While the story may have a potentially happier resolution that is realistic, the friendships that form and the sense of what life is like for kids who really never have had a chance is very powerful. A compelling listen. Edie Ching (Audiobook).
This modern, middle-school retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac introduces readers to a group of friends who are making their first forays into the mysterious world of romance. One day Gracie notices her friend A.J. in a new light and is immediately in the midst of her first real crush. However, A.J. is interested in Grace's best friend Sienna. Sienna and A.J. can't seem to communicate without the help of their best friends. On top of all these new complications, Gracie feels constant pressure to be a ray of sunshine for her parents who lost their first child seven years before Gracie was born. Gracie draws readers in with her funny, offbeat inner monologue. The reader brings to life the characters, humor and heart throughout this story. (M. Crews)
Lee is a pea, and all his friends are peas, everyone except Colin. Colin is a carrot. He can't do all the same things as peas, but he can do other awesome things. The text and illustrations are sparse but humorous. Each picture is actually a collage composed of recycled plastic bags. While embracing differences is a common theme in picture books, I think the author's humor and illustrations make this one unique and thought-provoking. (M. Crews - Up to Seven).
Only Jon Klassen, working with the text of Mac Barnett could make a triange look devious, devilish AND purposeful. This beautifully constructed book has a very simple premise, Triangle walks from his house (looking very purposeful) to that of his friend Square, in order to play a sneaky trick. There are no secondary characters here giving hints, there is lots of repetition of simple (and not so simple) words and a HEAVY emphasis on what are triangles, what are squares and those shapes with no names. Could one make the argument that this is a concept book? If one was so inclined, but really this is a book about friends, and tricksters and being purposeful or not. Edie Ching (up to 7)
After plodding through the fall of her freshman year, Marin convinced the college to let her spend winter break in her dorm room, alone. When her best friend, Mabel, flies out to visit, Marin must finally confront the abrupt end to the girls' past summer, and its impact on their relationship. A quiet novel, heavy with loss and loneliness, and beautifully written. (Fourteen and up) ~ Kit Ballenger
This heart-wrenching novel follows the rekindled friendship between Adam, a popular high school senior, and his former foster brother Julian, a quiet and socially anxious freshman trying to navigate the world years after his parents' death. This was an impressive author debut that explores the difficult themes of death and domestic abuse as well as the life-saving power of kindness and friendship. Meaghan McKeron. 14 and up.
Edited by Ellen Oh and dedicated to the memory of Walter Dean Myers, this is a collection of short stories celebrating the diverse stories that everyone needs. Sometimes race is very apparent, see Main Street by Woodson, and sometimes it is just an additional aspect of the character (see Matt da la Pena's first story about friendship and father son relationships. Each character wants to be heard, some shot at us, some whisper. Each story is unique and brings to life a memorable character. Edie Ching (10-14)
In this character- and plot-rich story we meet many unforgettable characters who fill up Salvadore Silvia's world. The adopted son of a Mexican-American father who happens to be gay, he has a best friend Sam, a feisty girl with attitude, a loving grandmother and a friend in need, Fito. But all the characters are in need in this book in the way that we are all in need, of self-understanding, companionship, love, families. This is a book that looks at how to live life, face grief, find self-awareness, understand love. Sounds ambitious, yes......and memorable. Edie Ching (14 and up)
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
Three unusual children and a saintly dog experience prejudice against Muslims, Jews and peasants in this funny and serious set of tales of spiritual and earthly adventure, all wrapped up in the guise of an illuminated manuscript. A great introduction to the Canterbury Tales.