Monthly Archives: March 2018

#KidLitWomen – Book A Day in March (21)

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See KidlitWomen for daily links to posts by the children’s lit community, in celebration of Women’s History Month and focusing on improving the climate for social and gender equality. I plan to share my favorite books focused on girl characters and/or written by women through this month.

Today’s feature is a middle grade novel with a main character who captured my heart – Smart Cookie by Elly Swartz.

Frankie’s mom died years ago, but as much as Frankie misses her, she wants to be a family of three again. So she secretly sets up a dating profile for her dad in hopes of having a new mom but so far none of the candidates are good fits. Frankie is also dealing with problems with an ex-best-friend, a ghost-hunting friend, and family members who may be keeping secrets. This is a sweet story about how family doesn’t have to look one certain way. Buy the book!

#kidlitwomen

#KidLitWomen – Book A Day in March (20)

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See KidlitWomen for daily links to posts by the children’s lit community, in celebration of Women’s History Month and focusing on improving the climate for social and gender equality. I plan to share my favorite books focused on girl characters and/or written by women through this month.

I just recently read the graphic novel The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang and love love loved it!

Prince Sebastian’s parents are pressuring him, at age 16, to find a bride, but he is instead thrilled to have discovered a talented dressmaker. At night he becomes Lady Crystallia, a fashion icon. Frances, who dreams of a career in fashion design is at first happy to design dresses for the prince, and easily keeps his secret. But when it becomes apparent that in order to keep his secret, she must give up her dreams, she must make a difficult decision, protect her friend or leave him to strike out on her own. A romantic tale of loyalty and being true to oneself – I swooned. Loved this story! I was completely swept away! Buy the book!

#kidlitwomen

#KidLitWomen – Book A Day in March (19)

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See KidlitWomen for daily links to posts by the children’s lit community, in celebration of Women’s History Month and focusing on improving the climate for social and gender equality. I plan to share my favorite books focused on girl characters and/or written by women through this month.

Doing something a little different today, all because I want to feature I book I haven’t read yet but am greatly anticipating. Full disclosure here, when I started out wanting to write for children 15+ years ago, author Cynthia Leitich Smith was my guide and mentor. She was patient and generous with her time and knowledge and I am forever grateful to her.

I fell in love with her work, first with Jingle Dancer, a picture book about a contemporary Native American girl excitedly preparing for an upcoming powwow where she will participate in a jingle dance for the first time. (Illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright) And then with Indian Shoes, a book with six interconnected short stories. But my favorite of her books was a YA novel, Rain is Not My Indian Name.

It’s been many years since I’ve read the book, but I recall feeling so much sympathy for the main character, Rain, who had recently lost her best friend, and used photography to help her cope with grief. She also struggles with deciding how involved she wants to become in a controversy that has come up around her aunt’s Indian Camp. (Ah this makes me want to re-read this book!)

And now I recently learned that the author, who has had success with a series of paranormal novels, will be publishing a contemporary YA novel this fall! I’m beside myself with excitement!

Hearts Unbroken is due out on November 6. This from the publisher’s site: When Louise Wolfe’s first real boyfriend mocks and disrespects Native people in front of her, she breaks things off and dumps him over e-mail. It’s her senior year, anyway, and she’d rather spend her time with her family and friends and working on the school newspaper. The editors pair her up with Joey Kairouz, the ambitious new photojournalist, and in no time the paper’s staff find themselves with a major story to cover: the school musical director’s inclusive approach to casting The Wizard of Oz has been provoking backlash in their mostly white, middle-class Kansas town. From the newly formed Parents Against Revisionist Theater to anonymous threats, long-held prejudices are being laid bare and hostilities are spreading against teachers, parents, and students — especially the cast members at the center of the controversy, including Lou’s little brother, who’s playing the Tin Man. As tensions mount at school, so does a romance between Lou and Joey — but as she’s learned, “dating while Native” can be difficult. In trying to protect her own heart, will Lou break Joey’s?

AHHHH! I can’t wait! But I will! Pre-order here.

#kidlitwomen

#KidLitWomen – Book A Day in March (17 & 18)

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See KidlitWomen for daily links to posts by the children’s lit community, in celebration of Women’s History Month and focusing on improving the climate for social and gender equality. I plan to share my favorite books focused on girl characters and/or written by women through this month.

This weekend I’m happy to share two books I unexpectedly loved. Unexpectedly only because I thought the subject of the book,  the competitive world of ballet, wasn’t my thing. How wrong I was! I was immediately pulled into this world and devoured both books!

Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

At an exclusive competitive ballet school, the top three ballerinas, Bette, June, and Gigi vie for the top spot, as well as the top guy. Bullying and harassing are not beyond what these girls are capable of in getting what they want – at least everyone but Gigi, who is the new girl from the West Coast, talented, naively friendly, and attracted to Bette’s on-and-off again boyfriend who is the top male ballerina. Told in multiple POVs, the girls reveal their vulnerabilities, their deepest desires, and their fears – and in the end, only one girl can hold the top spot. Buy the book!

Shiny Broken Pieces by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton

In this follow up to TINY PRETTY THINGS – Spoiler Alert……., Bette has been suspended and Gigi is back for level 8 and her last year, and June is determined to get one of two coveted spots in the American Ballet Company. Tension mounts as Bette tries to clear her name but finds she has burned all her bridges even with her former best friend. Gigi, goaded on by Cassie, exacts revenge by becoming the bully. And June despite her relationship with Jayhe is torn between her growing feelings for him and her desperation for ballet. Outstanding sequel! Buy the book!

If the name Dhonielle Clayton sounds familiar, yes, she is the author of the blockbuster YA The Belles! You’re going to definitely want to read that one, too!

#kidlitwomen

#KidLitWomen – Book A Day in March (16)

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See KidlitWomen for daily links to posts by the children’s lit community, in celebration of Women’s History Month and focusing on improving the climate for social and gender equality. I plan to share my favorite books focused on girl characters and/or written by women through this month.

Today’s featured book is the picture book Lucy’s Lovey by Betsy Devany, illustrations by Christopher Denise.

Lucy has seventeen dolls, but Smelly Baby is her favorite. Lucy takes her lovey everywhere and Smelly Baby is well-loved; a little raggedy and a little smelly. Lucy’s older sister Ivy complains, but when Smelly Baby is lost, Ivy and the family come together to try to first, find Smelly Baby, and then comfort Lucy. Will Lucy get her favorite lovey back? Sweet story with sweet illustrations! Buy the book!

#kidlitwomen

 

 

#KidLitWomen – Book A Day in March (15)

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See KidlitWomen for daily links to posts by the children’s lit community, in celebration of Women’s History Month and focusing on improving the climate for social and gender equality. I plan to share my favorite books focused on girl characters and/or written by women through this month.

 

Today’s featured book is by an author I’ve long admired and respected – The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner.

While ice fishing, 12-year-old Charlie catches a magic fish and it offers her a wish. Charlie makes a couple of wishes (like not being afraid of the ice-frozen lake) and they come true! She goes back for more wishes, but she soon learns that the wishes might not come true the way she asked. Charlie misses her sister Abby who is away at college and growing more and more distant. When she and her family learn that Abby is a heroin addict, Charlie is hurt and angry. The age-appropriate parallel between drug addiction and the magic wishing fish is done very well. This book handles addiction and how it affects the family, particularly a younger child with respect and age-appropriate emotion. A fast read with a hopeful but realistic ending. Buy the book!

#kidlitwomen

#KidLitWomen – Book A Day in March (14)

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See KidlitWomen for daily links to posts by the children’s lit community, in celebration of Women’s History Month and focusing on improving the climate for social and gender equality. I plan to share my favorite books focused on girl characters and/or written by women through this month.

Today’s featured book is the middle grade novel Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan.

Amina is happy to start middle school with her best friend Soojin by her side. But when a former nemesis, Emily, starts to hang out with them, Amina worries she’s going to lose Soojin. Add to that that her uncle from Pakistan is visiting and her dad wants everything and everyone to be perfect and Amina is starting to feel a little stressed. When their beloved mosque is vandalized, Amina learns the value of community and friendship, and finally is brave enough to use her voice. I loved this story – I learned so much about Pakistani, Islam, and the languages of Arabic and Urdu. The author expertly weaved all of this in without disrupting the flow of the story. So well done! And I got teary at the end. Buy the book!

Guest recommendation by Amy Losak is The Hunt a wordless picture book by Margeux Othats.

From the publisher:

Part girl-power, part cautionary tale, The Hunt (5 & up) depicts a young girl who builds and rebuilds a rock sculpture despite the efforts of two hunters to shoot her creation to bits. The girl persists, her sculpture taking shape and becoming a testament to the creative spirit and a condemnation of violence. Buy the book!

#kidlitwomen

#KidLitWomen – Book A Day in March (13)

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See KidlitWomen for daily links to posts by the children’s lit community, in celebration of Women’s History Month and focusing on improving the climate for social and gender equality. I plan to share my favorite books focused on girl characters and/or written by women through this month.

Today’s book is the middle grade novel The Stars of Summer by Tara Dairman, the sequel to All Four Stars.

Twelve-year-old Gladys Gatsby has a huge secret – she is the New York Standard’s newest restaurant reviewer. Only her two best friends, her aunt in France, and the grocer know her new career. This is a dream come true for Gladys, a foodie and writer – but how will she continue doing her assignments when she has to go to summer camp? Then there’s the fact that her editor took away prime assignments and gave her one of finding the best hot dog in the city. Little does Gladys know that the other restaurant critic, jealous of Gladys, is trying to sabotage her. With the help of her friends, Gladys not only is able to complete her assignment, but she grows closer to her parents AND helps her editor save her job. Such a cute story! Buy the book!

And our guest recommendation today comes from Kara LaReau and is a book I have on my TBR pile!

Kara says: From the moment I read Starring Carmen!, I knew this little drama queen was going to be a sensación, thanks to a show-stopping story by Anika Denise and dazzling illustrations by Lorena Alvarez Gomez. I can’t wait to check out her next performance in Lights, Camera, Carmen! this fall! Buy the book!

#kidlitwomen

#KidLitWomen – Book A Day in March (12)

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See KidlitWomen for daily links to posts by the children’s lit community, in celebration of Women’s History Month and focusing on improving the climate for social and gender equality. I plan to share my favorite books focused on girl characters and/or written by women through this month.

Today I’m happy to feature Hello, Goodbye Dog, a picture book by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Patrice Barton. I’m a true blue dog lover so this book speaks to my heart. Moose hates goodbyes, so when Zara leaves for school, he finds a way to be with her. Zara insists he’ll behave when she reads to him. Each time, he’s dragged back home, he finds a way back. Zara comes up with the solution of training him to be a therapy dog, and so Moose is able to spend reading time with Zara and her classmates. I love how Zara is a compassionate dog lover and how she comes up with a way to relieve her dog’s distress at being left behind. Buy the book.

#kidlitwomen

 

#KidLitWomen – Book A Day in March (10 & 11)

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See KidlitWomen for daily links to posts by the children’s lit community, in celebration of Women’s History Month and focusing on improving the climate for social and gender equality. I plan to share my favorite books focused on girl characters and/or written by women through this month.

This weekend I’d like to share two books in The Bland Sisters series by Kara LaReau, illustrated by Jen Hill. The Bland Sisters are Kale and Jaundice who live on their own while waiting (a very long time) for their parents to return. They like their quiet life in Dullsville, darning socks. But in The Jolly Regina, the sisters end up on a pirate ship with swashbuckling (female) pirates on an expected (and unwanted) adventure. And in book 2, The Uncanny Express, Kale and Jaundice end up on a train. They become assistants to a great detective as they try to unravel the mystery and interrogate the passengers on the train who all seem a bit suspicious. Both books are full of clever word play and mystery. Buy the books!

#kidlitwomen