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