Monday, September 9, 2019

Book of the Week: All the Greys on Greene Street

by Laura Tucker


Published by Viking, 2019

307 pages

ISBN: 978-0-451-47953-2


Ages 9-12


In 1981, Ollie (Olympia), 11, lives in a SoHo loft with her artist mother and art restorer dad, who has recently gone to France with a woman client, leaving a cryptic note for Ollie behind. Since he left, Ollie’s mom has taken to her bed. It’s not the first time her mom has been depressed, but now Ollie is on her own. She confides in her two best friends and swears them to secrecy, refusing to tell an adult, not even family friend Apollo. Her dad’s note, along with the appearance of a stranger asking questions about a missing piece of art, lead Ollie to wonder if her dad’s disappearance isn’t only about the Frenchwoman she and her friends call Vooley Voo. Smart, sensitive Ollie is an artist herself—she does pencil drawings—and her sketches are scattered throughout a story that has satisfying elements of mystery. But it’s the vividly realized setting—pre-gentrified SoHo--captured in myriad details, and the acute exploration of family, friendship, and the impact of a parent’s depression, that make this a book that will resonate deeply. It also offers hope, as Ollie comes to understand things can’t go back to the way they once were, but the future is full of promise. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Book of the Week: Patron Saints of Nothing



by Randy Ribay


 Kokila, 2019

323 pages

ISBN: 9780525554912


Age 14 and older


Jay Reguero came from the Philippines to the U.S. with his Filipino dad and American white mom as a baby. He hasn’t been back since he was 10, but has maintained a friendship with his cousin Jun across the years. When he learns Jun has died, Jay feels equal parts grief, guilt—he hadn’t written Jun much recently—and frustration: No one will tell him what happened. Jay wants answers, especially after he receives an anonymous message suggesting Jun’s death was connected to Philippine President Duterte’s violent war on drugs. Jay visits the Philippines during spring break of his senior year determined to learn what happened, although he tells his parents he simply wants to support Grace, Jun’s teenage sister. Jay’s search for truth is complicated not only by the silence he is unable to breach in his police officer uncle’s home, but also by what he learns about Jun. Nothing Jay discovers changes his understanding of Jun as smart, sensitive, compassionate, and committed to justice. But in tracing Jun’s final months, talking to family members, and working with journalism student Mia, Jay begins to see the complexities and contradictions in both his homeland and family. More than one silence is finally breached in a riveting novel that sees Jay deepening his understanding of himself, recognizing his privilege, and strengthening his connections to the Philippines and to the people he loves. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center