Waking Brain Cells
Filed under: Recommended Links
The Quick Picks list is always my favorite list of the year. I find titles on it every year that I’ve never heard of and that are amazing and even better will be popular with teen readers! YALSA picks the Quick Picks list every year and it includes both fiction and nonfiction. Here are the top ten titles for 2016, but the big list is worth looking at for great additions to your library collections:
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon
The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Shadowshapers by Daniel Jose Older
The Silence of Six by E. C. Myers
Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee
Filed under: Awards, Teen
This is the second book featuring Bear and his adopted family of ducks. In the first book, the bear and ducks had to figure out a home that worked for all of them. In this follow up, bear is getting steadily more and more sleepy as winter approaches. But ducks don’t hibernate and Bear worried about missing out on things throughout an entire season. So Bear decided not to sleep, but the ducks started to notice that Bear was acting differently. Bear tried and tried to stay awake, but nothing seemed to work. Finally Mama Duck pulled Bear aside and promised that if he slept through the winter, he would not miss a thing. And it was true!
Gavin has written another winning picture book about the unusual pairing of a family of ducks and a solitary bear. Here the story focuses on Bear and his unique need to sleep through the cold months. It’s a story that will speak to families who have people who respond differently to things, who like different activities, but still want to be with one another. Perhaps the ducks’ ways of including Bear in everything despite him being asleep will inspire new ways of thinking for human families to stay close even when they are doing different things.
Gavin’s art work has a lovely gauzy quality to it, giving Bear his huge softness. Meanwhile the little ducks are done in firmer lines. All of them have personalities that brighten the page and enhance the story. The little ducks are all characters, and it is clear through their body language alone how much all of the animals love one another.
A lovely winter read, perfect for curling up on a cozy couch or snuggled at bedtime. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from library copy.
Filed under: Book Reviews, Picture Books Tagged: bears, ducks, families, hibernation
YALSA has selected a list of the Best Fiction for Young Adults. They also choose a Top Ten which happens to have many of my personal favorites of the year:
Audacity by Melanie Crowder
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds
The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
X by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon
Filed under: Authors, Teen
Inge arrives at the small island town of Bornholm, Denmark via boat. She hasn’t eaten since the morning of the day before, thanks to missing her mother and the fish guts on the boat. Inge has never met her grandmother before, but now the two of them will be living together at her small farm. Inge brings with her plenty of laughter and trouble, but her grandmother does not seem amused by any of it. Over and over again, Inge gets into mischief, whether it is in a kicking contest with the donkey, learning how to walk in wooden shoes, or insisting that in 1911, girls can play on the grass at school too. Inge’s vibrant personality never stays down for long, but can this small island community survive her?
This book is pure silly and shimmering perfection. Inge is a marvelous protagonist, filled with life and the ability to get into great trouble even on a small farm on a tiny island. Inge is the real reason this book works so well, but so is her grandmother who proves the perfect foil for the rambunctious child. While I don’t want to spoil the book, it is the grandmother’s reaction to Inge that makes this book so special by the end.
The setting of the small Danish island also plays a huge role in the book. Set in 1911, the strict community rules rub Inge entirely the wrong way. Though some areas are moving in a more modern way, the small town keeps things traditional. With a strong focus on food, children will enjoy the changing menagerie of gingerbread creatures, the question of how thick a piece of cake should be, and the way that the grandmother feeds Inge with a beautiful determination held together by lots of cream.
A gem of a book, this would make a great read aloud for a classroom thanks to the large amounts of guffaw-level humor throughout as well as a winning young female protagonist. Appropriate for ages 8-11.
Reviewed from library copy.
Filed under: Book Reviews, Elementary School Tagged: Denmark, families, historical fiction, humor
Every year YALSA creates a list of amazing graphic novels for teens. They also pick a Top Ten Great Graphic Novels list. Here is this year’s top ten:
Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova
Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown
Lumberjanes (Volumes 1 & 2)by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis and Shannon Watters, illustrated by Brooke Allen
Ms. Marvel (Volumes 2 & 3) by G. Willow Wilson
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Sacred Heart by Liz Suburbia
A Silent Voice (Volumes 1-3) by Yoshitoki Oima
Trashed by Derf Backderf
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (Volumes 1 &2) by Ryan North, illustrated by Erica Henderson
Filed under: Awards, Graphic Novels, Teen
Released February 9, 2016.
Every card has a special grown up job, except for Little Card and Long Card. There were cards who were price tags, others were office folders, others were postcards. So the two cards waited for their special letter to arrive. But on the day the letter arrived, the two cards collided and cards went everywhere. Little Card picked up a letter and read that he was going to be a birthday card! He got lots of training and found that he loved everything about being a birthday card. But one day when he got home, Long Card was there and told him there had been a mix up. She was the birthday card and he was a different type of card. It was too late to be trained again, so Little Card was sent off immediately to work at the library as a library card. He tried to use his birthday card training at his new job, but his loud singing wasn’t welcome. Little Card soon learned though what special things were available at the library and was thrilled in the end to know that he could be at the library more than once a year!
This clever take on libraries and having a library card is very nicely structured. The exuberance of Little Card makes the book read aloud well. Children will enjoy the pleasure of the birthday card part of the book, the loud singing, the cake, and the balloons. One might think that that would overshadow the more quiet library portion of the book, but the author made sure to make the library part just as appealing, so the result is that libraries are shown as being just as much fun and just as joyous as a birthday party. Hurrah!
The illustrations of the book are just as fun and buoyant as the story itself. Done in ink washes, pencil, pen and ink, and stamps, they were also colored digitally. They have a nice simplicity to them that will make this book easy to share with groups. The sprightly Little Card dances (literally) across the page and invites children to have a great time with the book and at the library.
A jaunty picture book about libraries, this book will be welcome for library tour groups as well as for introducing children to libraries as a place of fun. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from ARC received from Candlewick Press.
Filed under: Book Reviews, Picture Books, Uncategorized Tagged: birthdays, libraries
This wordless alphabet book is a wonderful mix of concept book and also guessing game. Each double-page spread is dedicated to one letter and filled with natural elements that demonstrate that letter being used. The detailed illustrations invite readers to look closely and explore what other items they can spot that start with that letter. Nicely, the book ends with a list for each letter so adults can help make sure all of the details are noticed. This alphabet book is a unique and wondrous book that invites whimsical dreaming even as young ones learn their alphabet.
The illustrations are the entirety of this book. They are a gorgeous mix of pen and ink fine lines and watercolor washes. This combines black and white detail with touches of color that enliven the pages. Each illustration is its own fine composition with colors that complement one another and invite you to lean in and look even closer.
One of the more unique alphabet books around, this picture book will delight adults and children alike. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from copy received from Random House Books for Young Readers.
Filed under: Book Reviews, Picture Books Tagged: alphabet, concepts
Jeremiah loves baseball but due to his heart transplant, he isn’t allowed to run or play ball. When his father is asked to work in a baseball-crazed town for a couple of months, Jeremiah insists on going along rather than being left behind with his aunt. But all is not happy in Hillcrest as a scandal breaks out soon after Jeremiah and his father move to town. Jeremiah though knows that baseball can heal too, so he sets out to follow his dream of being a coach by trying to create a new middle school team. It’s up to one boy with lots of spirit to try to inspire an entire town to care again.
This is Bauer at her best. Her books are always readable and easily related to. Here that very accessible text allows Jeremiah to shine as a character. His spirit battles his health limitations, his ability to keep on trying and to stay positive is inspiring and refreshing to see. This is a book about living life filled with the sport that you adore, whether your body allows you to actually play or not. It’s also about not letting limitations define your life but your own will power and spirit to do that.
It’s also great to see a book about moving where an unusual kid manages to make friends quickly and be accepted by most others. Happily, Jeremiah is not shy or withdrawn, but his gregarious nature, coach quotes and willingness to talk directly to adults as equals makes him quite unique. Bauer writes with such understanding of her protagonist that the entire book gels around his personality and approach to life.
A strong elementary school read, this book will be loved by fans of baseball and those looking for just a great book to read or share. Appropriate for ages 8-11.
Reviewed from library copy.
Filed under: Book Reviews, Elementary School Tagged: baseball, friendship, heart transplants, moving
A little girl knows that something strange is happening to her older sister. She has gotten a lot taller lately and never wants to play any more. She doesn’t like pretty things and has become very secretive. She spends a lot of time in her room alone with the door shut. The little girl tries to seek out advice from her sister’s friends, but they all seem to be acting in a similar way. Her mom and dad are no help at all either. Then the little girl realizes that she misses her big sister so much and the way they used to be together. But maybe someone else feels that way sometimes too.
Ciraolo has created a funny and shining look at the transition from childhood to being a teenager. Told from the first-person perspective of the younger sister, the book reflects her confusion about the changes she sees in her older sister. Any child living with a tween or teen will relate to this book, laugh at the teens with their earbuds in, and also share in the feeling of being left behind. Throughout, Ciraolo honors the emotions of the child with a real tenderness.
The art is modern and dynamic with playful colors that surprise with some page turns. They beautifully convey the emotions, pages with loneliness are filled with gray while moments of connection are a glowing orange that jumps off the page.
A strong book about a moment in life that can be painful to process, this book shows how growing up can also be done side-by-side. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from copy received from Flying Eye Books.
Filed under: Book Reviews, Picture Books Tagged: families, growing up, sisters
Send a Question or Comment to Appleton Public Library.