Monday, July 15, 2019

Book of the Week: The Line Tender



by Kate Allen


Published by Dutton, 2019
384 pages
ISBN: 978-0735231603

 

Ages 9-13


When a dead great white shark is brought to the dock of their small Cape Cod town, Lucy, 12, and her best friend, Fred, are inspired to find out more about the work of Lucy’s late mom, a shark researcher who died five years before. Unlike Fred, Lucy is more interested in drawing the natural world than studying it, but she’s mildly intrigued by her mom’s last research proposal to tag and track sharks. The increased number of shark sightings is just one of many changes for Lucy that summer of 1996. She’s also noticing the way her body buzzes sometimes when Fred is near. It’s also clear that the dead shark has brought up a lot of feelings about her mom for both Lucy and her dad. Then a sudden, shocking accident stuns Lucy and the town, and Lucy is navigating new grief on top of the old. In this novel of change and love and loss, small conversations and moments are as vivid and important as big events and decisions. There is no magic antidote to grief, but the days keep coming, and people keep caring, and all of it is part of healing. Science, art, and music are all important in this beautifully realized story and the lives of its tender, true-to-life characters. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, July 8, 2019

Book of the Week: An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People



by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese

Published by Beacon Press, 2019
270 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8070-4939-6

Age 12 and older

Imagine that everything we know about U.S. history has been filtered through a kaleidoscope stuck on the lens of American exceptionalism. Now imagine the kaleidoscope comes unstuck, or breaks altogether. This history of the place, people, and politics of this land from an Indigenous perspective will offer a provocative shift for the majority of readers. It emphasizes Indigenous agency, resistance, and resilience while providing an understanding of American exceptionalism and manifest destiny rooted in European colonialism that was fueled by the Catholic Church’s Doctrine of Discovery. It traces the origins of white supremacy to these mindsets, and shows how it has played out through centuries of racist, rationalized violence against Native peoples, whose cultures and identities are numerous and complex. This adaption by Mendoza and Reese of Dunbar-Ortiz’s adult book strikes a tone remarkable for its invitation to consider rather than desire to lecture, even as it definitively challenges the way middle and high schoolers are typically taught to understand the conquest of this land. A final chapter looks at the 21st-century Standing Rock resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline, which underscores that this history is still playing out today. End matter includes a recommended reading list of Native-authored books for children and teens, as well as acknowledgement that the recorded history of native peoples includes the names of too few women. “That imbalance is the result of history being written by men who chose to write about men.” This is followed by a list of Native women to learn about, and an invitation for readers to consider other names they would add. Source notes and index are included in this exceptional challenge to the dominant narrative of U.S. history. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, July 1, 2019

Book of the Week: B Is for Baby



by  Atinuke

Illustrated by Angela Brooksbank 


Published by Candlewick Press, 2019
32 pages
ISBN: 978-1-5362-0166-6


Ages 2-5


B is for baby. It’s also for beads, basket, banana, brother, bicycle and more in this un-alphabet book that features the letter B with bountiful delight. Each page spread features a single “B is for…” statement paired with warm, bright mixed-media illustrations following the aforementioned baby on an unintended adventure after she crawls into the basket. Her brother, unaware, takes the basket, full of bananas, on his bike, crossing a bridge and passing a baboon, butterfly, and bird before they arrive at Baba’s. Surprise! A penultimate spread offers a review of the words accompanied by three panels showing Baby and brother’s return home. “B is for Baby” safe in Mama’s arms. Young readers and listeners will enjoy finding other “B” words in the art of this circular story. The author grew up in Nigeria, and the illustrations accompanying set the action in an unnamed, rural African setting. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, June 24, 2019

Book of the Week: Dig




by A. S.  King

Published by Dutton, 2019

392 pages

ISBN: 978-1-101-99491-7


Age 14 and older


In this taut, mesmerizing work, the Shoveler’s mom is adept at survival but has never told him anything about his dad, and their recent move to Pennsylvania has him wondering yet again. In the meantime, he gets a painting job. CanIHelpYou? rebels against her wealthy family with a drive-thru job at Arby’s; she also runs a thriving business selling weed. CanIHelpYou?, whose best friend, Ian, is Black, is sure she’s nothing like her unapologetically racist mother. Loretta lives in a trailer with her mom and abusive father. She copes by seeing herself as Ringmaster of the circus that is her life. While staying with his emotionally distant grandparents, Malcolm worries about his terminally ill, single-parent dad, and thinks about Eleanor, a local girl he met in Jamaica. Marla and Gottfried are having their house painted and hosting their grandson, unaware of the ways their choices and ideas have shaped generations. Teenage Jake seems to idolize his older brother, Bill. Jake is terrified of Bill. The Freak flickers in and out of all their lives as connections among these characters gradually unfold into a shape of disturbing certainty. The story fearlessly navigates intellectually and emotionally challenging terrain—racism and whiteness, abuse and assault, misogyny, and other violence—as the  teens consider and confront painful truths. Their willingness to do so, and their resilience, makes it more than bearable; it offers hope. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, June 17, 2019

Book of the Week: The Little Red Stroller



by Joshua Furst

Illustrated by Katy Wu 


Published by Dial, 2019
40 pages
ISBN: 978-0-735-22880-1


Ages 3-6


When Luna is a baby, her mommy gives her a red stroller. When Luna is bigger, she and her mommy encounter baby Ernie and his mommy and daddy. “We wish we had a little red stroller like yours,” they tell her. Luna, declaring herself too big for her stroller, gives it to them. Ernie eventually gives it to Gigi and her family, Gigi to Callie, Callie to Taj, Taj to Kavi, Kavi to Sula, and Sula to Selah. Selah and his family are sad when the now worn stroller falls apart outside a museum, but Ben and his mommy are passing by with a yellow stroller that Ben declares he has outgrown. This satisfying story is full of details wonderfully conveyed and embellished in illustrations showing diverse families and family structures, and marvelous scenes of each family’s outing, whether to a neighborhood park, a grandpa’s house, or a trip to the shore. And when Selah’s family meets Luna, now with her own baby, Isaiah, the story comes full circle as the yellow stroller gets a new home. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, June 10, 2019

Book of the Week: The Promise of Change



This Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality

by Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debbie Levy

Published by Bloomsbury, 2019
310 pages
ISBN: 978-1-68119-852-1


Age 11 and older


A compelling, present-tense narrative combines poems in teenage Jo Ann Allen’s voice with clippings from news stories and other contemporaneous documents from the 1956-57 school year, when she was one of the Clinton 12 who integrated the high school in Clinton, Tennessee. Clinton’s white leaders didn’t necessarily agree with integration but believed in upholding the law. The early days for Jo Ann and her classmates were tense but quiet, until outsiders arrived, fomenting protests and violence that racist whites in the community latched onto. The 12 Black students soon faced daily harassment; threats spilled over to the Black community in general. Soldiers arrived to keep the peace, but Jo Ann’s family and others faced difficult decisions as they weighed safety against the fight for equal education. Jo Ann’s voice in the poems is magnetic in its honesty. An afterword briefly documents what happened to each of the 12 students, and theorizes why the story of Clinton, the first school in the south to integrate, is not as famous as what happened in Little Rock the following year. A scrapbook of photographs, source information, notes on poetic forms, and authors’ notes round out this accessible, affecting work. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, June 3, 2019

Book of the Week: Heroine



by Mindy McGinnis


Published by Katherine Tegen Books / HarperCollins, 2019

432 pages

ISBN: 978-0-06-284719-5


Age 14 and older
Mickey, a talented catcher, finds her softball dreams derailed after a car accident puts her and her best friend, pitcher Carolina, in the hospital months before their senior season. When the OxyContin Mickey is prescribed runs out sooner than it should, she stumbles upon another source: Edith, who snags Oxy from the senior citizens she drives to doctors’ appointments. At Edith’s house, Mickey befriends Jodie, a brilliant high school student who uses Oxy recreationally. When Mickey and Jodie “graduate” to heroin, Mickey struggles to keep it a secret from her family, even as she steals from her mom and stepmom to buy the drugs, and even as her performance behind the plate slides. There is never a moment in this harrowing but compassionate account that feels either unbelievable or melodramatic as it illuminates the terrifying ease with which people from all walks of life can fall victim to opioid addiction. (MCT) ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center