Monday, December 3, 2018

Book of the Week: The Patchwork Bike



by Maxine Beneba Clarke
Illustrated by Van Thanh Rudd 


Published by U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2018
36 pages

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0031-7


Ages 5-8


A girl enthusiastically describes her antics with her brothers, with riding the bike they built themselves her favorite of all they do. The bike is comprised of found objects: “handlebar branches that shicketty shake … tin can handles and wood-cut wheels…and a bell that used to be Mum’s milk pot.” That it is handmade out of economic necessity, sometimes requiring repairs relying on more ingenuity, is something that readers and listeners can infer, but it has no relation to the siblings’ pleasure and delight, which is absolute. Set in a village on the African continent, “at the edge of the no-go desert,” under the “stretching-out sky,” the story featuring a Muslim family celebrates creativity, imagination, and universal joy in play. The fresh, playful use of language is perfectly suited to its theme. The same is true of the acrylic-on-recycled cardboard art, in which the use of shadow and light suggests the hot sun on every page. Informative notes from both author and illustrator speak more to the story’s themes, and intentional connections the artist made between the African setting and characters and African Americans in the United States, including a “BLM” license plate. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, November 26, 2018

Book of the Week: Hearts Unbroken



by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Published by Candlewick Press, 2018
289 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7636-8114-2

Age 13 and older


Lou starts senior year feeling protective of her little brother Hughie, an incoming freshman, but Hughie fits right in among theater kids. Lou joins the school paper, and soon is crushing on a fellow journalist, Lebanese American Joey. Burned by her last boyfriend’s unexpected racism, she is hesitant to tell Joey that she is Muscogee Creek, even after it’s clear he likes her, too. Meanwhile, inclusive casting of The Wizard of Oz at their predominantly white suburban Kansas high school has a parent group up in arms: the actor playing Dorothy is Black, the Scarecrow is a Latinx student, and Hughie is the Tin Man. The administration, and staff on the paper, face pressure not to support the play, while anonymous racial slurs are sent to the three actors. Racism and school politics, social relationships and romance converge in this lively, illuminating novel. Lou is appealing and fallible, self-absorbed and genuinely caring; her relationships, with Joey and with extended family members and friends, are wonderfully realized. Coming to terms with her anger at what is happening, and her own missteps (including mis-assumptions about Joey because of his Arab heritage, and blindness to her economic privilege), Lou discovers Hughie is torn about his role after reading Oz author L. Frank Baum’s hateful writings about Native peoples in a story that explores difficult truths and hard decisions even as it entertains. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, November 19, 2018

Book of the Week: A Big Mooncake for Little Star



A Big Mooncake for Little Star

by Grace Lin

Published by Little, Brown, 2018
32 pages
ISBN: 978-0-316-40448-8

Ages 3-6


Little Star’s Mama takes the Big Mooncake out of the oven and lays it onto the night sky to cool. “Can you remember not to touch this Big Mooncake until I tell you to?” Little Star says yes, and she does remember until the middle of that night. Then all she can think about is that Big Mooncake. “Pat Pat Pat.” She tiptoes out and takes a tiny nibble. Trailing crumbs, she flies back to bed. But the next night she does it again. And again the night after that. Slowly the Big Mooncake gets smaller, it’s shape gradually changing from round to crescent to nothing at all. Grace Lin’s enchanting original story inspired by the Chinese Mid-Autumn (Moon) Festival features luminous gouache illustrations in beautiful black and gold showing Little Star, Mama, and the deep night sky in which the Big Mooncake wanes, crumbs sparkling as stars. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, November 12, 2018

Book of the Week: Blood Water Paint



by Joy McCullough

Published by Dutton, 2018
289 pages
ISBN: 9780735232112

Age 14 and older


In early 17th-century Rome, Artemisia Gentileschi, 17, has surpassed her father’s skill as a painter but gets no credit for her work because she is a woman. Artemisia’s late mother told her about the Biblical figures of Susanna and Judith, wanting Artemisia to understand the struggles of the two women—the things they suffered simply for being women—as well as their courage and bravery, none of which Artemisia sees reflected in the work of men who’ve painted them. When her father hires Agostino Tassi to tutor her in perspective, Artemisia is happy to learn from a better teacher, and their mutual attraction leads her to believe he may propose. Then he rapes her. Artemisia makes the decision to publicly charge him. The burden of proof placed on her by the court is emotionally and physically brutal, and it is visions of Susanna and Judith that she draws upon for strength. This extraordinary, enraging, astonishing story based on true events is told primarily in verse, with stories about Judith and Susanna interspersed in prose. McCullough’s research included over 300 pages of transcripts from the 1611 trial. Artemisia won her case (although the sentence for Tassi was laughable), but her true triumph, more fully documented in an author’s note, is in what came next: A career as a painter—more than 50 of her works survive. “I will show you / what a woman can do.” ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, November 5, 2018

Book of the Week: Small Spaces

by Katherine Arden

Published by Putnam, 2018
216 pages
ISBN: 978-0-525-51502-9


Ages 9-12


Ollie, 11, stays up late one night reading a book called Small Spaces. Published in 1895, it tells of a woman whose husband made a deal with the devil to bring his brother back to life. The next day, Ollie’s class takes a field trip to a local sustainable farm. The farm’s history has elements that match the story—long-ago disappearances and rumors of ghosts—while the owner turns out to be the woman Ollie got the book from under strange circumstances, although the woman shows no signs of recognizing Ollie. On the way back to the school at the end of the day, the bus breaks down on a darkening road. Heavy mist and no cell service send Ollie’s teacher in search of help, while the driver, with an eerie smile and flicking red tongue, tells the kids, “At nightfall, they’ll come for the rest of you.” With two of her classmates, Ollie bolts from the bus in fear. Ollie, who's been a loner since her mother’s death months before, has been dismissive of Coco, who cries a lot, and Brian, a jock, but the three work together to evade capture from whatever is out there, coming up with a plan to save their classmates. This genuinely scary novel features terrific character development, which is why it also succeeds as a satisfying, surprisingly warm story about family, loss, and friendship. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, October 29, 2018

Book of the Week: Front Desk

by Kelly Yang

Published by Arthur A. Levine / Scholastic, 2018
304 pages
ISBN: 978-1338157796


Ages 8-11


Nine-year-old Mia Tang’s immigrant Chinese parents manage the Calivista Motel in Anaheim. Because the job comes with a room to live in, and because her family has been homeless on and off since coming to the United States, Mia’s parents won’t complain to Mr. Yao, the owner, about his unfair labor practices. Outgoing Mia likes helping out at the front desk. She checks short-term guests in and becomes friends with the “regulars,” customers who live there, while unofficial guests—Chinese immigrants her parents occasionally let stay for free when Mr. Yao isn’t around—give her an even deeper understanding of how immigrant workers can be threatened and exploited. Mia’s English is more proficient than her parents, although, her mom cautions, not good enough to be a writer. Mia’s dream. It’s a remark made out of love and concern that Mia be realistic, but it cuts deep, undermining Mia’s confidence. Mia is a natural optimist, however. She’s also precocious and determined, whether entering an essay contest to win a hotel in Vermont, fighting back against racism faced by an African American resident, or pulling off an incredible organizational coup. The results of her efforts are not only satisfying, but firmly grounded in this upbeat, engaging novel’s realm of possibility. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, October 22, 2018

Book of the Week: Stumpkin



by Lucy Ruth Cummins


Published by Atheneum, 2018
48 pages pages
ISBN: 9781534413627

Ages 4-9


On the sidewalk outside a city shop is a cheery display of bright orange pumpkins. As Halloween approaches, the pumpkins are chosen one by one and taken away, only to appear in windows of apartments across the street with triangle eyes and friendly, toothy grins. The pumpkins left behind long to become jack-o-lanterns like their friends. But one pumpkin knows he’s different. He’s a stemless pumpkin. A stumpkin. The shopkeeper’s black cat likes Stumpkin, but no one else seems to want him. When even a gnarled yellow gourd is taken home to be transformed into a Halloween visage before the shop closes up on Halloween night, Stumpkin knows his chances are gone. (“The gourd?? thought Stumpkin. I guess that’s that.”) In fact, his future looks pretty grim... Humor and pathos are perfectly balanced in a picture book that is also a masterful pairing of words and pictures. The illustrations, rendered in goache, pencil, ink, and brush marker, are black-and-white on cream-colored pages, with pumpkin-orange (of course) and hints of green for stems (or stump) as accent. The humans are all faceless silhouettes, the pumpkins incredibly expressive. The narrative is perfectly paced, guileless, and open-hearted—of course we care about Stumpkin, whose story is poignant, and sweetly triumphant. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, October 15, 2018

Book of the Week: Darius the Great Is Not Okay

by Adib Khorram

Published by Dial, 2018
314 pages
ISBN: 978-0-525-55296-3

Age 12 and older



Darius is a self-described “fractional” Iranian; his mom from Iran, his dad a white “ubermensch.” Darius loves tea and Star Trek with equal passion. Watching episodes of “The Next Generation” is one of the few ways he and his dad connect anymore. Otherwise, he feels judged—for his lack of friends, for being overweight, for being so sensitive, for not standing up to bullies in high school—and although both he and his dad take medication for depression, they don’t talk about it. When Darius’s family travels to Iran to spend time with his grandparents, Darius makes his first good, true friend in Sohrab. Sohrab “doesn’t have walls around his heart”—he is easy to talk to and openly affectionate. Because of Sohrab, Darius starts to see himself differently. And because of Sohrab, and his grandparents and extended family, and the places they visit in Iran, Darius also begins to understand the history and culture of the place and people that live in his mother’s—and now his—heart. And because of his grief—over his grandfather’s illness, over unexpected hurt—his dad bridges the distance between them, revealing love that’s always been there. Darius is a funny and tender first-person narrator in a debut novel with terrifically drawn characters, richly depicted relationships, and full of warmth and hope. Darius is just beginning to consider his love for Sohrab may be more than friendship by story’s end. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, October 8, 2018

Book of the Week: Mommy's Khimar



by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
Illustrated by Ebony Glenn 

Published by Salaam Reads / Atheneum, 2018
32 pages
ISBN: 978-1-5344-0059-7

Ages 3-6


A young girl admires the rainbow of khimars in her mother’s closet. “Some have tassels. Some have beads. Some have sparkly things all over.” Her mother wears one every day, tucking her hair under the scarf before she leaves the house. On this day, the little girl decides to put one on too, choosing her favorite color, yellow. She imagines herself a queen, a bird, a superhero with a cape; when daddy swings her up she flies. The khimar smells like her mother: coconut oil, cocoa butter, and cinnamon. Her grandmother, Mom-Mom, doesn’t wear a khimar, or go to mosque. Stopping by after her Sunday service, she calls the little girl “Sunshine” when she sees her draped in yellow. At mosque, older women say, “Assalamu alaikum, Little Sis!” and her Arabic teacher tells her another word for khimar is “hijab.” That night, her mother gently tells her it’s time to take the khimar off, but memories of the day, and a feeling of closeness to her mother, follows the girl into sleep. A story that will resonate with any child who loves dressing up offers a joyful, welcome depiction of an African American Muslim child, her family, and community. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, October 1, 2018

Book of the Week: Harbor Me



by Jacqueline Woodson

Published by Nancy Paulsen Books, 2018
176 pages
ISBN: 978-0-399-25252-5

Ages 9-12


“I want each of you to say to the other: I will harbor you.” Eleven-year-old Haley’s teacher, Ms. Laverne, challenges Haley and her classmates to be there for one another. But how do you become someone’s harbor? The final hour of school each week, Ms. Laverne leaves Haley and her five classmates alone to talk, trusting them to figure it out. As the kids spend time together over the course of the school year, they gradually reveal some of the hardest parts of their lives: A father who was picked up by immigration, fears about racism, bullying, housing and economic insecurity. Quiet Haley is hesitant to share her own, complicated story: Her father, who is white, is getting out of prison, where he’s been serving time for the accidental death of her mom, who was Black, in a car accident when she was three. She loves her dad, but isn’t sure about living with him, and can’t imagine daily life without the uncle who’s been raising her. Haley’s classmates often laugh and joke, but they also come to embody the meaning of refuge for one another: safety, security, relief. Woodson’s characters are vivid, lively, poignant, and relatable in a story that reveals hope in everyday connection and caring, and will be deeply resonant for young readers. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, September 24, 2018

Book of the Week: All That I Can Fix

by Crystal Chan
Published by Simon Pulse, 2018
314 pages
ISBN: 978-1-5344-0888-3

Age 13 and older


Teenage Ronney’s small Indiana town has been overrun by wild animals released from a private zoo, the owner’s last act before committing suicide by gun. Ten-year-old Sam, a friend of Ronney’s little sister, Mina, is convinced Ronney can find his older brother, who ran away. Ronney is worried about Sam, worried about Mina, and worried about his stressed out mom. He also feels betrayed, and heartbroken, when he learns his two best friends are dating (they all know he has a crush on one of them). Above all, Ronney is uncompromisingly angry at his dad, who’s battling depression and recovering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a suicide attempt months before. His dad has retreated from family life and, Ronney feels, abdicated his responsibilities, which Ronney is doing his best to fill. This compelling, ambitious novel has just the right touch of the absurd to balance its serious themes. Some of the dangers and complexities of guns in society continue to play out as townspeople arm themselves against the animals. (Some animals—and some people—prove more dangerous than others.) Mixed-race Ronney’s specific heritage is intentionally never revealed. His experience as a brown-skinned teen is that people want to categorize him, and do judge him. He is an irresistible force at the center of this story, a heart that won’t be denied, caring with each beat despite every claim he makes to the contrary.  ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, September 17, 2018

Book of the Week: You and Me


by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Illustrated by Susan Reagan 

Published by Creative Editions, 2018
16 pages
ISBN: 978-1-56846-321-6

Birth - 6


“His skin’s so soft. / His hair’s so fine. / “I know my numbers / up to nine.” A board book brimming with warmth offers a fresh, lively, relatable look at family change. Rhyming couplets pair third-person statements in the voice of an adult (who appears to be the mom) making observations about the new baby in the family to an older sibling, and first-person statements in the voice of the older child, who is eager to tout their own accomplishments. The big sibling is also, of course, assuring they still have a place at the grown-up’s center of attention, something that there is no doubt about even before the big kid finally gets undivided attention--lap and storytime--when the baby falls asleep. “Hurray! / It’s time for you and me!” The baby is a boy; the older child could be any gender in story that celebrates both children in this Black family. The illustrations, like the narrative, provide a vivid, comforting sense of realism. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, September 10, 2018

Book of the Week: You Go First



by Erin Entrada Kelly

Published by Greenwillow / HarperCollins, 2018
288 pages
ISBN: 978-1-06-241418-2

Ages 9-12


Twelve-year-old Charlotte’s Dad is hospitalized and she’s scared to visit him. Meanwhile, her best friend wants to move up in the social hierarchy at school and is willing to belittle Charlotte to do so. Eleven-year-old Ben is surprised and then furious when his parents announce they’re divorcing. He throws himself into running for student council treasurer, although his earnest campaign is destined to fail. Both smart and precocious, Charlotte and Ben live in separate cities. Their connection to each other is through an online word game and the online chatting that has grown around their play. Ben is generally oblivious to his social awkwardness and inability to pick up on cues that would no doubt make his transition to middle school easier. Charlotte is more aware of the ways she’s seen as odd. Alternating chapters follow each of their lives over the course of a difficult week, although neither is honest with the other about their current challenges. The parallels offer readers plenty to ponder. So, too, does the fact that Charlotte and Ben’s personalities are a matter of fact, not fault or in need of fixing. When they each connect with someone new at school, it’s clearly because of who they each are, not in spite of it. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Charlotte Zolotow Symposium: Illuminating Experience


The early bird registration rate for the Charlotte Zolotow Symposium expires September 15.  


Join us for a day of illuminating presentations, book discussion, breakouts, and conversation featuring Angie Thomas, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Candace Fleming, Crescent Dragonwagon, Eric Rohmann, Javaka Steptoe, and editors Anne Hoppe and Neal Porter.

Click on the link above for a complete schedule and more information. 




Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Book of the Week: We Don't Eat Our Classmates


by Ryan T. Higgins


Published by Disney / Hyperion, 2018
40 pages
ISBN: 978-1-368-00355-1


Ages 5-8


Penelope Rex is nervous about starting school, but she’s prepared: She’s got a new backpack with ponies on it (she loves ponies--they’re delicious), and 300 tuna sandwiches packed for lunch. But she is not prepared when she walks into her classroom and discovers the other students are all children. “So she ate them. Because children are delicious.” She spits them back up after being yelled at by her teacher, but it isn’t easy to make friends after that. Everyone is afraid of her, especially as she’s prone to the occasional relapse. Discouraged, she asks Walter, the class goldfish, if he’ll be her friend. Walter’s response gives Penelope a new perspective on how it feels to be someone’s snack, paving the way to friendship with her classmates. There’s no heavy-handed lesson in this hilarious picture book but that doesn’t mean there isn’t food—or at least a snack—for thought. The humor gets an even greater boost in mixed-media illustrations showing sweet-faced Penelope in her bright pink overalls alongside a diverse cast of sometimes angry, sometimes fearful, ultimately friendly human classmates. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, August 27, 2018

Book of the Week: Pride



by Ibi Zoboi

Published by Balzer + Bray, 2018
304 pages
ISBN: 978-0-06-256404-7

Age 12 and older


Zuri is second-oldest of five sisters in the Dominican-Haitian-American Benitez family. After the wealthy Darcys move into a renovated brownstone across the street from the Benitz’s apartment building in Bushwick, Zuri’s older sister, Janae, and friendly Ainsley Darcy fall hard for each other, but Zuri finds Darius Darcy to be arrogant and aloof. Once she’s thrown together with him, however, she begins to see there’s more to Darius. She’s intrigued, and more than a little attracted, until Warren, who attends Darius’s private high school on scholarship, tells her a story that confirms Zuri’s initial impression. Warren, meanwhile, is fine, not to mention sweet and charming. And he’s from the neighborhood, the real deal in every way. Isn’t he? Readers of Pride and Prejudice may find delight, recognition, and surprise in how this remix reimagines characters and plot for the 21st century, but familiarity is not required. Zuri is smart, witty, and perceptive; her sisters lively and entertaining. Rooted firmly in the specifics of people and place, this novel is steeped in Zuri’s tight-knit Afro-Latinx family and working class community, her love of them both, and her plans for attending Howard University and returning to Bushwick someday. It explores economics and race and culture and gentrification, revealing the complexities where and how they intersect. It’s also a satisfying love story. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, August 20, 2018

Book of the Week: Bob



by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead

Illustrated by Nicholas Gannon 

Published by Feiwel and Friends, 2018
208 pages
ISBN: 978-1-250-16662-3

Ages 7-10


It’s been over five years since Livy, now almost 11, last visited her grandmother in Australia. Her grandmother is disappointed that Livy doesn’t remember much from that earlier trip. It’s even more disappointing to Bob, whom Livy finds in the closet of her mother’s childhood bedroom. A tattered chicken suit disguise 5-year old Livy made can’t hide the fact that Bob’s a small green creature, neither human nor fowl. Bob’s been waiting in the closet for Livy’s return, passing the time practicing the hokey pokey, constructing and de-constructing a Lego pirate ship, and occasionally crying as he wondered where and why his friend had gone. Livy’s memories of Bob gradually return in bits and pieces as he tells how she rescued him—or did he rescue her? Chapters alternate between Bob’s and Livy’s perspectives, and the impossible truth about Bob emerges within a larger story of family and home. Livy’s voice is firmly grounded in childhood as she struggles with anxiety about staying without her mother, who is off seeing friends, reconnects with Sarah, a girl she played with during her last visit, and attempts to keep Bob safe from all who might not be fooled by his chicken costume. Occasional brown--tone illustrations add a reassuring tone to this seamless merger of everyday and extraordinary.  (MVL) ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, August 13, 2018

Book of the Week: Jerome By Heart

By Thomas Scotto
Translated by Claudia Zoe Bedrick & Karin Snelson from the French.
Illustrated by Olivier Tallec  

U.S. edition: Enchanted Lion, 2018
32 pages
ISBN: 9781592702503

Ages 3-8


Raphael loves his friend Jerome, who holds his hand and chooses him for a buddy on field trips. Jerome, who is fun to be with and makes Raphael feel safe. Raphael’s parents think he talks and thinks too much about Jerome. “Now that’s enough,” says his dad. “Dad’s voice is like sharp fish bones in my hot chocolate.” But Raphael knows “Jerome” is not a bad word, and is determined to find the perfect gift for his friend, who is always up for an adventure, and would never hide his head in shame. “Raphael loves Jerome. I can say it. It’s easy.” Illustrations that are soft yet slightly quirky showcase the deep and genuine affection between the two boys, and the temporary dissonance and isolation caused by adult disproval before Raphael affirms feelings that bring him such contentment and joy. This welcome picture book offers sweet and essential conformation of emotions that children are too often encouraged to deny or suppress, particularly when it comes to same-gender friendships/relationships, and especially between boys. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, August 6, 2018

Book of the Week: Running through Sprinklers



Running through Sprinklers

by Michelle Kim
Published by Atheneum, 2018
209 pages pages
ISBN: 9781481495288

Ages 9-12


Sara, 12, has been best friends with Nadine since they were in diapers. Both are biracial, Sara Korean/white, Nadine Japanese/white, and have grown up on a cul de sac in Surrey, BC, moving in and out of each other’s houses and families and traditions with ease. Sometimes it seems to Sara they’re a single person, and she likes that feeling. As the summer before grade 7 winds down, two things disrupt Sara’s sense of security: A boy named Daniel Monroe disappears without a trace, and Nadine announces she will be skipping a grade and entering high school (grade 8 in Canada). Sara’s sense of hurt at the last-minute announcement is amplified by the feeling that Nadine is ready to leave her behind. When school starts, Sara focuses on getting good grades in the (unrealistic) hope of skipping to grade 8 midway through the year. She also becomes closer to Nadine’s younger sister, 6th grader Jen, but still longs for reconnection with Nadine. Sara is imperfect, at times incredibly selfish, but genuinely grieving and achingly real as first-time novelist Kim writes with a singular style and sure hand, immersing readers in Sara’s slowly expanding perspective in a story that explores friendship, family, growth, change, loss, and finding the light again. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, July 30, 2018

Book of the Week: The Field



The Field

by Baptiste Paul
Illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara
Published by NorthSouth, 2018
28 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7358-4312-7

Ages 5-8


A game of futbol on the island of Saint Lucia isn’t going to be stopped by anything. Not cows on the field (“Shoo!”) or the arrival of rain (“Dash. Splash. Slip-slide. Belly flop!”) or the calls of mamas that it’s time to come home as the sun begins to set (“Vini, abwezan! Come now!”). Only when the game is finally over do the children disperse, racing off to their homes in the dusk. “We dream about futbol. We dream about friends. Until the field calls again.” A spare, energetic narrative that weaves in words from the author’s native Creole language expresses a joyful sense of childhood and community that is extended by marvelous illustrations full of energy, color and movement. An author’s note about his childhood playing futbol on Saint Lucia, and a glossary of Creole terms, is provided at story’s end. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, July 23, 2018

Book of the Week: The Place Between Breaths



The Place Between Breaths

by An Na
Published by A Caitlyn Dlouhy Book / Atheneum, 2018
181 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4814-2225-3

Age 13 and older


Grace is a high school senior with a coveted intern position at the genetics lab where her dad recruits scientific researchers. Grace’s schizophrenic mother left them when she was a small child, a loss that echoes continuously. But Grace finds her dad’s obsession with the lab’s work trying to isolate a gene for schizophrenia frustrating. It’s not like isolating a gene will lead automatically to a cure, and it’s not like her mom will benefit regardless—they have no idea what happened to her. Grace wishes her dad devoted more of his time and attention to her. A beautifully written narrative moves between Korean American Grace in the present day—her lonely life at home, her work at the lab, where she meets graduate student Will; her early childhood memories in which her parents’ love and her mom’s increasingly unpredictable behavior and growing sense of her desperation filters through; and second-person chapters in which an unknown speaker addresses an unknown “you.” Locating oneself in the story becomes more and more challenging in a novel that parallels Grace’s own experience as it becomes clear she has schizophrenia, too. Like Grace, we aren’t quite sure what is real. But beyond the fear, pain and sense of loss in this aching, deeply resonant novel, are glimmers of hope, too. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center