Monday, December 30, 2019

Book of the Week: Don't Date Rosa Santos

by Nina Moreno

Published by Hyperion, 2019

325 pages

ISBN: 978-136803970-3

Age 12 and older

High school senior Rosa Santos’s mother was born at sea during her grandparent’s escape from Cuba. Rosa’s grandfather drowned on that journey. Rosa’s own father died at sea before she was born. Rosa, who’s been shaped by both the love and the pain of her grandmother and mother, avoids the water, believing her family has a curse. Still, she longs to visit Cuba—stories of the island where her family came from filled her childhood and occupy her imagination. But she dreads telling her grandmother, who also can’t forget why they fled. When her town’s annual spring festival is threatened by development, Rosa and others in their diverse, predominantly Latinx community throw themselves into saving it. Among them is Alex, a young man Rosa finds more appealing than she wants to admit. But Alex is also a sailor. There’s a satisfying romance in this remarkable debut novel, but it’s the complex, heartfelt, nuanced exploration of mothers and daughters and grandmothers, immigration and exile, trauma and healing, family and community that makes it hard to put down. Both aching and whimsical, the writing is fresh, often funny, and always observant. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, December 23, 2019

Book of the Week: Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey from World War II to Peace

by Ashley Bryan

A Caitlyn Dlouhy Book / Atheneum, 2019

107 pages

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0490-8

Age 11 and older

Like most African American soldiers in the segregated army during World War II, Ashley Bryan was assigned to a service unit. As a stevedore he helped unload shipments in Boston—although he was much more adept drawing others at work—before going overseas. There, he and other Black solders cleared mines on the beach and unloaded supplies during the invasion of Normandy before moving across France. At war’s end, he was in charge of getting his unit home, a task made more challenging by continued segregation rules that saw them repeatedly denied space on transport ships. Bryan survived the violence of war and of racism by creating art—carrying supplies in his gas mask, and sketching whenever he had the chance. A volume beautiful in both sensibility and design, Bryan describes how art provided both escape and a means of preserving his humanity. His gentle spirit shines through in his first-person account looking back, in excerpts from his handwritten letters home, and in the moving sketches and other art he created before and during the war. Black-and-white photographs are included throughout, while several recent full-color paintings in which he revisits the war close this arresting work. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, December 16, 2019

Book of the Week: Moth: An Evolution Story

by Isabel Thomas

Illustrated by Daniel Egnéus

U.S. edition: Bloomsbury, 2019

48 pages

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0020-5

Age 6-9

“This is a story of light and dark. Of change and adaptation, of survival and hope.” Once, most peppered moths had “speckled, freckled” wings—black on white. Occasionally they were born with charcoal wings—easily spotted by predators. It was the speckled ones that survived to breed. Then came the Industrial Revolution. Coal blackened everything, and the speckled moths were more easily spotted and eaten. More charcoal moths survived to breed, passing down their traits. Fifty years passed, and the majority of peppered moths were the color of charcoal. Then, efforts to clean the environment slowly brightened the world. Today, peppered moths are a mix—some speckled (light form), some charcoal (dark form) as their story continue This lyrical accounting of one of the most famous and accessible examples of evolution in action through adaptation and natural selection is set against striking illustrations and accompanied by an informative end note. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, December 9, 2019

Book of the Week: Astro Girl

by Ken Wilson-Max

Published by U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2019

28 pages

ISBN: 9781536209464

Ages 3-6

Young Astrid wants to be an astronaut. Can she go round and round the earth? She assures Papa she can as he spins her. Can she eat food from a package? Astrid says she can through bites of a cereal bar. And then there’s zero gravity, Papa points out as he tosses her into the air. Astrid is certain she’s up to every task, whether it’s conducting science experiments in space (making rocket ship cookies with Papa) to sleeping on her own among the stars. “I think that will be very hard … but I’ll do it!” A surprise ending adds another layer of welcome affirmation to this ebullient picture book: Astrid’s mother is an astronaut! Bright acrylic illustrations add to the warmth of a story featuring a brown-skinned family. Brief information about several pioneering woman astronauts, including women of color, is provided at story’s end. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Book of the Week: Viral: The Fight against AIDS in America

by Ann Bausum

Published by Viking, 2019

168 pages

ISBN: 9780425287200

Age 13 and older

After the Stonewall uprising of 1969, the LGBTQ community enjoyed a sense of newfound visibility and freedom and entered a period of sexual liberation. When an unknown disease made its way to the United States, thousands of gay men contracted it, and the death toll rose alarmingly quickly. Originally dubbed gay-related immune deficiency (GRID), HIV/AIDS was scorned as a punishment for what conservatives saw as “deviant” behavior, and little federal funding was allocated to fight it. LGBTQ communities—especially gay men—took education, advocacy, and care into their own hands. They formed organizations, worked with the NIH to accelerate drug trials, and organized highly visible protests. This compassionate account starts in 1969 and continues to present day, covering not only the physical but also the emotional and financial impact of HIV/AIDS and its disproportionate impact on people of color and poor communities. It debunks myths, discusses past and current methods of prevention and treatment, and looks back on what has been learned about this devastating disease, which killed nearly half a million people between 1981 and 2001. In this story, a country mired in anger and grief nonetheless finds some hope and comfort in community and love. (MCT) ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, November 25, 2019

Book of the Week: More to the Story

by Hena Khan

Published by Salaam Reads, 2019

262 pages

ISBN: 9781481492096

Ages 8-12

Jameela (Jam) and her sisters live in Atlanta, where Jam aspires to be a journalist. Older sister Maryam is responsible, beautiful, and caring; quiet, 11-year-old Bisma looks up to Jam; youngest Aleeza gets on Jam’s nerves. Their family’s recent financial worries are eased with Baba’s new job in Abu Dhabi, but they miss him despite daily video calls. Jam, Features editor of her middle school paper, is eager to write a piece in the spirit of her late, journalist grandfather. She interviews 8th grader Ali, a British boy staying with their close family friends. From casual conversation, she knows that Ali, like she, has experienced micro-aggressions as a Muslim. But Ali’s not interested in talking about it in the interview. Jam backs off, but not before writing a draft of the piece she wishes she could publish. When that piece accidentally gets printed, she knows she must make amends as both a journalist and Ali’s friend. Bisma’s diagnosis of lymphoma adds to Jam’s upset, but friends, including Ali, and the community rally around as her sister goes through treatment. Each of the four Pakistani American sisters has a distinct personality and voice, and the family and larger social dynamics are spot-on in this engaging, fresh, contemporary retelling of Little Women that doesn’t require familiarity with the original and is wholly enjoyable in its own right. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, November 18, 2019

Book of the Week: Frankly in Love

by David Yoon

Putnam, 2019

432 pages

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1220-9

Age 13 and older

High school senior Frank Li is first generation Korean American. He’s grown up solidly middle class thanks to his parents’ drive. They work almost constantly as owner/operators of a store in a poor urban neighborhood an hour away. Frank’s older sister, Hanna, has become persona non grata at home (but not to Frank) since dating and marrying a Black man. Frank’s best friend, Q, is Black, and he wishes he was courageous enough to challenge his parents’ racism like Hanna always did. He wishes it even more when he starts dating Brittany Means, who is white, knowing his parents would never approve of a girlfriend who isn’t Korean. Instead, he deceives them, working out a plan with Joy, daughter of another Korean immigrant family, to fake date. Joy has been keeping her Chinese American boyfriend a secret from her parents, and this keeps all the parents happy while freeing Frank and Joy to spend time with their significant others. What could go wrong? Frank’s first-person voice is funny and tender in an exceptional, emotionally charged debut novel that plays out in ways both expected and unexpected, offering an insightful, nuanced examination of immigrant families, parents and children, race and racism, love and romance, and the sustaining gift of friendship. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, November 11, 2019

Book of the Week: The (Other) F Word

edited by Angie Manfredi


Published by Abrams, 2019
206 pages


Age 11 and older

Diverse voices from individuals across gender and sexuality spectrums, from varied racial and economic backgrounds, who are abled and who are disabled, all identify as fat matter of factly and without apology in 30 body-positive pieces. In the essays, art, letters to their younger selves, and other pieces, some contributors focus on their personal journey to accepting and celebrating their bodies, including often difficult experiences in childhood and adolescence and young adulthood. Others debunk myths, and challenge social norms and stereotypes in popular culture that treat fat people as laughable, and expendable. Many affirm the value and beauty of everybody and every body, an intention that carries through the volume overall. The contributors come from the worlds of literature, art, social criticism, fashion, and other spaces. Poignantly honest or sharply funny, individually and collectively they are multidimensional, multi-faceted and, fierce in their commitment to being themselves and holding up others. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, November 4, 2019

Book of the Week: Mary Wears What She Wants

by Keith Negley

Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins, 2019

40 pages

ISBN: 978-06-284679-2

Ages 4-7

Gender norms are broken in this story set in the 1830s and inspired by the life of Mary Edwards Walker, who enjoyed wearing pants before it was common practice for women to do so. Tired of being limited to hot, heavy, constricting dresses, Mary decides to branch out. Pants are much more comfortable, more flexible! She feels liberated—until she ventures into town and, baffled, realizes that others are offended by her outfit. They’re “scared of what they don’t understand,” explains her quietly supportive father. Although she’s nervous, Mary decides to try it again the next day, striding purposefully toward school wearing pants. This time, she challenges semantics with a smart comeback prepared for those who harass her for wearing boys’ clothes: “I’m wearing my clothes!” Color-pencil and cut-paper illustrations cleverly show confident, spunky Mary dressed in bright yellow, standing out in a crowd of people wearing blues and hot pinks in a story that stoutly affirms those who choose to go against the grain. A short biography of trailblazing Mary Edwards Walker follows the story.  (MCT) ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, October 28, 2019

Book of the Week: Indian No More

by Charlene Willing McManis and Traci Sorell

Tu Books / Lee & Low, 2019

211 pages

ISBN: 9781620148396

Ages 9-12

When the government strips the Grand Ronde in Oregon, comprised of multiple Northwest Native nations, of their federally recognized Indian status, Regina Petit and her Umpqua family move to Los Angeles. Regina, 10, and her little sister, Peewee, are soon playing with kids in the neighborhood but find even their closest new friends, African American siblings Keith and Addie, think the Hollywood version of Indians is real. Regina’s frustration sometimes has her wishing she could just go along—Why not dress up as Tonto for Halloween? (No, says her Portuguese mother.) Regina’s optimistic dad has gotten a good job and they are transforming their rundown house into a cozy home, but his positive outlook begins to unravel in the face of discrimination. Traditional tales and family history shared by her grandmother, Chich, help Regina feel comforted. So, too, does realizing that her Indian identity has been shaped by her family and Native community; it doesn’t come from outsiders. Regina’s compelling, engaging voice is honest and childlike in a novel based on author McManis’s family history. Set in the mid-1950s, Regina’s story speaks of resilience, even as the racism faced by Native children and children of color it reveals still resonates today. Endmatter includes McManis’s childhood photos, and information about government termination of tribes from the 1940s to 1960s (the Grand Ronde were reinstated in 1983), and the Indian Relocation Act of 1956. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, October 21, 2019

Book of the Week: The Miracle & Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets

by Sarah Miller

Published by Schwartz & Wade, 2019
309 pages
ISBN: 9781524713812

Age 11 and older

The birth of Yvonne, Annette, Cécile, Émilie, and Marie Dionne on May 28, 1934, in a small Ontario village shocked their unsuspecting parents and quickly captivated the world. With initial focus on the tiny babies’ survival, the village doctor and a rotating schedule of nurses were soon managing their care. Eventually, the government built a compound across the road from their home where the girls lived until age 9, given ample attention but little open affection from the adults who managed their regimented routine. Put on display daily for tourists who came from across Canada and the U.S., visits with their poor, rural, French-speaking parents—offered little sympathy from the government or media-shaped public opinion—were increasingly controlled. There was money to be made through product endorsements, appearances, tourism and souvenirs, and many benefitted from the exploitation. By the time the government returned custody to their parents, they were essential strangers to their family, as their family was to them. Through continuing challenges and fear, they relied, as always, on one another, still smiling for the camera on demand. Laying out facts, complexities and contradictions, Miller allows readers to draw their own conclusions about the motivations and actions of individuals and institutions that shaped the quintuplets’ lives. Ample black-and-white photographs accompany this meticulously researched, riveting work that follows them into adulthood. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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

Monday, September 30, 2019

Book of the Week: The Undefeated

by Kwame Alexander

Illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Versify / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019

ISBN: 9781328780966

Age 8 and older

“This is for the unforgettable. The swift and sweet ones who hurdled history and opened a world of possible. The ones who survived American by any means necessary.” This is for those with “undeniable” strength, unforgettable” achievements, “unflappable” courage. This is for “unspeakable” pain that was endured. Kwame Alexander’s powerful ode, a celebration of African American survival, achievement, creativity, and resilience, is brimming with references to historical and contemporary people and cultural touchstones and incorporates direct quotes that speak to past (“we shall not be moved”) and present (”black lives matter”). Events and individuals are further illuminated in Kadir Nelson’s stirring oil-on-panel artwork that expands the emotional resonance of the arresting poem that is also a celebration of the promise of every Black youth today: “This is for you. And you. And you. This is for us.” An author’s note is followed by brief information about each of the individuals and events referenced in the narrative and artwork. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, September 23, 2019

Book of the Week: Amelia Westlake Was Never Here

by Erin Gough

Poppy / Little Brown, 2019

368 pages

ISBN: 9780316450669

Ages 12 and older

Tired of the sexual harassment perpetrated by the swim coach at her private girls’ academy in Sydney, Amelia Westlake publishes a cartoon calling him out in the school paper. Encouraged by the approval of her fellow students, her acts of resistance (a.k.a. “pranks”) continue, and soon school administration is bent on stopping her. The problem is that Amelia Westlake does not exist. She’s the handiwork of Harriet and Will, two polar opposites who reluctantly unite to call out sexism and hypocrisy at Rosemead under the guise of a made-up student. Harriet, a straight-laced overachiever, is an asset to the school; Will, who loves to challenge authority, is more of a liability. Later joined by Natasha Nguyen, Will’s friend and editor of the school paper, the three girls bring light to other problems at Rosemead, including homophobia and racism. Harriet and Will, who are both gay and dancing around an unacknowledged mutual crush, experience homophobia at school themselves; Natasha is the one who must do the work of expanding Harriet’s and Will’s narrow, White perspectives. Lighthearted and funny, this novel uses rom-com conventions to explore surprisingly meaty issues. (MCT) ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, September 16, 2019

Book of the Week: Daniel's Good Day

by Micha Archer

 Nancy Paulsen Books / Penguin, 2019

32 pages

ISBN: 9780399546723

Ages 4-8

Daniel is on his way to Grandma’s house when passing neighbors tell him to “have a good day!” But what makes a day a good one? Curious, Daniel pauses along his way to ask everyone he passes. For some, weather makes a good day: clear skies for the housepainter perched on a ladder, a strong wind for kite-flying Emma. For others, it’s friendliness: The bus driver appreciates a “please” and a “thank-you,” while the mail carrier hopes for “wagging tails” at the houses to which he delivers. Success at work makes a good day for some, like the baker (“birthdays”) and the crossing guard (“everybody home safe”). And all Grandma needs is a hug from Daniel to make her day a good one. Welcomed home by his family later, Daniel remembers his neighbors’ answers and lists them as reasons he’s had a good day himself. Daniel, who has brown skin and curly black hair, enjoys a level of independence and a close familiarity with his neighbors. Brightly colored, highly detailed mixed-media illustrations show a highly diverse neighborhood in a story that exudes warmth and good cheer. (MCT)  ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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

Monday, August 26, 2019

Book of the Week: When Aidan Became a Brother

by Kyle Lukoff

Illustrated by Kaylani Juanita 

Lee & Low, 2019

32 pages

ISBN: 978-1-62014-837-2

Ages 3-8

When Aidan was born, everyone thought he was a girl. As Aidan got bigger, he knew he wasn’t. “It was hard to tell his parents … but it was harder not to.” Following the news that he’s going to become a big brother, Aidan helps his parents choose baby clothing (seahorses or penguins?), paint the nursery (sky blue with clouds), and consider names. Buoyant illustrations show that Aidan’s own clothing choices range from dinosaur t-shirts to bowties, baseball hat to head wrap, shorts to frilly pinafore, because that’s the kind of boy he is. Aidan doesn’t like when people ask if his mom is having a boy or a girl (“I’m having a baby,” his mom replies). When he’s worried about being a good big brother, his mom reminds him that they didn’t know everything when Aidan was born, but he helped them learn. “You taught us how important it is to love someone for exactly who they are.” Aidan is mixed race (his mom looks Black, his dad Asian) in art full of playfulness (the clothing patterns!) and abundant warmth. A story offering opportunities to reflect and discuss beautifully affirms gender identity as a matter of internal understanding and self-knowledge rather than an assignment based on physical appearance, and shows gender expression as open and expansive rather than culturally proscribed. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, August 19, 2019

Book of the Week: Genesis Begins Again

by Alicia D. Williams

A Caitlyn Dlouhy Book / Atheneum, 2019
364 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4814-6580-9

Ages 11-14

Genesis’s family gets a deal on a rental in a suburb outside Detroit through a coworker of her dad’s. She loves the house but doesn’t know how long they’ll be able to stay given her dad’s history of gambling and losing the rent in his effort to get ahead: They’ve been evicted four times. At her new, predominantly white middle school, Genesis is wary that not even the Black kids will be nice given the darkness of her skin—she’s been called names like “Charcoal” in the past. Even Genesis’s dad, dark-skinned like she is, has made clear when he drinks that he wishes Genesis was light-skinned like her mother, a rejection that’s searing. Genesis finds release in singing, and the African American choir teacher tells Genesis she has a gift. But putting that gift on display in front of the entire school? Genesis, whose lack of self-worth is itemized in her ongoing list of all the things she hates about herself, can’t image doing so, until doing so becomes the only way she can see to move forward. An unflinching, candid exploration of the pain and impact of colorism on an African American family builds to a moment of triumph, and hope for healing and change for both Genesis and her family. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, August 12, 2019

Book of the Week: The Bluest of Blues: Anna Atkins and the First Book of Photographs

by Fiona Robinson

Abrams, 2019
42 pages
ISBN: 9781419725517

Ages 6-9

Growing up in early 19th-century England, Anna Atkins was fascinated by seashells, plants, and insects. Her father nurtured her curiosity, taking her on outings and teaching her the scientific names and classifications of the natural world. Anna also drew what she saw, making precise images she labeled with their Latin names. She grew up to become a botanist, following her passion in the world of science dominated by men. She was already experimenting with photography when she learned about cyanotypes—images created from chemicals and sunlight on paper. Excited by the possibility of perfectly capturing nature, she created cyanotypes of her entire seaweed collection, more than 10,000 images. Their publication in three volumes beginning in 1843 became the first book of photographs. Cyanotypes are always blue because of the chemical compounds used, and the mixed-media illustrations, all in hues of blue, incorporate some of Anna’s cyanotype images as well as some the author/illustrator created in this inspired, inspiring tribute that includes an informative note on Anna’s life, as well as “how to make cyanotypes.” ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, August 5, 2019

Book of the Week: Pie in the Sky

by Remy Lai

Henry Holt, 2019
380 pages
ISBN: pbk. 9781250314109

Ages 8-13

Jingwen, his little brother Yanghao, and their mother are recent immigrants to Australia (probably from China, although it’s never specified). Their father was killed in a car accident two years earlier. Jingwen misses baking with his father, who dreamed of opening a bakery in Australia called Pie in the Sky. Frustrated with his inability to learn English, and struggling to make friends at school, Jingwen focuses instead on secretly recreating the cakes he and his dad used to bake together, one each evening with Yanghao when their mother is away at work. Although Yanghao is happy to devour as much cake as possible each night, he eventually shares some with a neighbor, an act that leads to the unraveling of their secret baking sessions and the revelation that Jingwen is harboring guilt over his belittlement of the humble cakes his father made in their bakery back home. A graphic/fiction hybrid, this is a compelling and emotionally complex story about starting over in a new country. At its heart lies Jingwen’s relationship with Yanghao, who provides both comic relief and a stable (if annoying) presence in his life when everything else feels foreign. (MCT) ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, July 29, 2019

Book of the Week: The Home Builders

by Varsha Bajaj
Illustrated by Simona Mulazzani 

Published by Nancy Paulsen Books, 2019
32 pages
ISBN: (978-0-399-166685-3)


Ages 2-5

A cozy natural world book for young children shows a variety of animals moving through the seasons. Terrific word choice in the rhyming text follows beavers, bees, deer, eagles, foxes, owls, and turtles as they construct their homes (“shovel and plow / Construct and flit, / Rummage and roam, / Gather and knit), shelter from storms, and care for young, who make their first ventures out into the world (“Hatchlings go forth / fox cubs nuzzle, / Beaver kits swim, / Owlets huddle.”). The final nighttime scene echoes the comforting sense conveyed throughout the mixed-media illustrations, which feature a soft palette and circular shapes throughout. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Monday, July 22, 2019

Book of the Week: When the Ground Is Hard

by Malla Nunn

Published by Putnam, 2019
257 pages
ISBN: 978-0-525-51557-9

Age 14 and older

In 1965, 16-year-old Adele attends a boarding school for mixed-race students in the British protectorate of Swaziland. Her white father lives with his white wife and children, but calls and visits and pays for Adele’s schooling. Her mother, like Adele herself, is biracial (Black/white). At Adele’s school class matters most; students whose parents are able to pay tuition enjoy better treatment from staff and teachers, and are the most popular. When Adele is booted from her friend group after a new, wealthy student arrives, she is forced to room with Lottie, who is part Zulu and very poor. Adele despises Lottie’s poor manners, outspokenness, and penchant for fighting anyone who snubs her. But Adele grows to appreciate Lottie’s fearlessness. She also admires Lottie’s friendship with Darnell, who has a developmental disability, and whose disappearance becomes increasingly more central as the plot progresses. So, too, does Adele’s desire to learn more about her mother’s decision to leave the nearby village she grew up in. Although the complexities of this story are embedded in a specific time and place, the social dynamics are universal, as is Adele’s curiosity about her family’s past, and longing for reassurance she is loved. At times shocking in its depictions of racism and ableism, Adele’s story is compelling, personal, and ultimately empowering. (MCT) ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Book of the Week: My Papi Has a Motorcycle

by Isabel Quintero

Illustrated by Zeke Peña

Published by Kokila, 2019
32 pages
ISBN: 978-0-525-55341-0

Ages 4-8

As Daisy rides with Papi on his motorcycle, she describes her neighborhood and city in a delightful, loving ode to present and past, family and community, joyfully evoking place and people and connections. They pass Abuelita’s church; Tortilleria la Estrella, where they “stop for stray cats crossing in front of us,” Joy’s Market, and Abuelito and Abuelita’s old yellow house, “the one with the lemon tree that grew from the seeds of the lemons Abuelito used to pick not far from here.” There is constancy but also change: their favorite place to stop for shaved ice has closed; they visit the place where Papi works building houses that are “replacing the last of the citrus groves.” The mixed-media art features a warmly colored palette on matte paper, cartoon-like energy, and singular details mined from a superbly crafted narrative that also quietly affirms the important (and often unacknowledged) contributions of immigrants past and present, including Daisy’s father, to their community. This English-language edition (it is also available in Spanish) incorporates Spanish dialogue in speech bubbles that are part of the art. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center