Monday, October 14, 2019

Book of the Week: Beverly, Right Here



by Kate DiCamillo


Candlewick Press, 2019
256 pages
ISBN: 978-07636-9464-7


Ages 10-13


After her beloved dog Buddy dies, Beverly Tapinski, 14, can’t think of a reason to stick around home with her neglectful mother. Beverly hitches a ride to another small Florida town and gets a job bussing tables in a greasy spoon diner. Iola, who lives in a nearby trailer, owns a car but no longer drives and offers Beverly a room in exchange for a ride to her weekly Bingo game. Beverly meets gangly, kind, awkward, art-obsessed Elmer at the convenience store, where he works. He’s unlike anyone Beverly’s ever met. They all are, from her beleaguered boss at the restaurant to the ambitious and self-involved waitress to the steady, hardworking kitchen crew, who go on strike for better wages. Iola, meanwhile, clearly recognizes in Beverly a loneliness akin to her own. A story that mines difficult experiences and feelings with grace and humor illuminates goodness and connection through characters that find one another in ways that feel fated but work as happenstance. For Beverly, friend of the main characters in the earlier Raymie Nightingale and Louisiana’s Way, this summer of the mid 1970s is one in which she discovers—and perhaps remembers—that friendship is a gift to be received as well as given. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, October 7, 2019

Book of the Week: Love from A to Z



by S. K.  Ali


Published by Salaam Reads, 2019

342 pages

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4272-6


Age 13 and older


Suspended from school for challenging a teacher’s Islamophobia, West Indian/Pakistani American Zayneb spends an extended break in Doha, Qatar, with her aunt. Adam (Chinese/White) has returned to Doha for spring break from college in London. When they meet, Adam is immediately drawn to Zayneb. Not only are they both Muslim, they also both keep “Marvels and Oddities” journals, named for the same piece of Islamic art that inspired them, in which they record the ups and downs of their days. As they spend time together, the two slowly share their current struggles. Zayneb and her friends back home are trying to build a case against their teacher for his Islamophobic online activity. She’s also learning to embrace her identity as an activist, dealing with almost daily Islamophobia due to her hijab, and grieving her daadi, who was killed during a U.S/ drone strike in Pakistan. Adam, recently diagnosed with MS, has dropped out of college without telling his father, wanting to focus on his art instead. Although they’re falling in love, Adam and Zayneb also struggle realistically to communicate and to support one another’s choices and reactions to events in their lives. This empowering novel offers a refreshing portrayal of two distinct teens whose approach to romance and dating is shaped by their strongly held Muslim beliefs. (MCT) ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center