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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog With the Fire on High
by Elizabeth Acevedo

Book list Acevedo has done it again: the multi-award-winning author of The Poet X (2018) here delivers perfection, from the cover art featuring a young Afro-Latina woman looking out, her curls picked up in a scarf, and kitchen staples framing her face, to Acevedo's keen, stirring prose that reads like poetry and demands to be read slowly. In a distinct, perceptive, and vulnerable first-person narrative, Emoni, a young single mom being raised by her grandmother while raising her own daughter, relates the story of her last year of high school in vignettes and short chapters, trading off between sharing bits of the story and her musings about her life and her future. Emoni has a gift for cooking, and her food, like magic, conjures emotions in people she shares it with. Her teachers, friends, and family are all ready to support her when the subject of culinary arts schooling comes up, but the one Emoni needs to learn to trust is herself. Acevedo compassionately challenges her readers with a wide variety of topics, including cultural and personal identity and the needs and desires of older women, something that is so often forgotten. Fittingly, for a book so deeply about food, she also includes Emoni's recipes. This sophomore novel is simply stunning. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Acevedo's debut won a National Book Award and the Printz Award and her many fans will be salivating for this superb follow-up.--Kristina Pino Copyright 2019 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Horn Book High school senior Emoni Santiago (an aspiring chef) and her two-year-old daughter live with Emoni's abuela. Emoni signs up for a culinary arts class that culminates in a trip to Spain--and she begins to see a path forward, if only she dares follow it. Acevedo creates beautifully realized characters with complex lives. A few recipes (such as "When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemon Verbena Tembleque") are interspersed. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Seventeen-year-old Afro-Boricua Emoni Santiago hones her gift for cooking and makes important decisions about her future.Emoni's 'Buela says she's had a gift for cooking since she was small. Now Emoni has her own toddler, Emma ("The kind of name that doesn't tell you too much before you meet her, the way mine does"), nicknamed Babygirl. Emoni's first day of senior year at her Philadelphia high school is also Babygirl's first day of day care, leaving Emoni saddened about missing parts of her life. Emoni's a classic example of the school system's failure to harness many students' creativity and interests, but thankfully she discovers and enrolls in a new class called "Culinary Arts: Spain Immersion." Though the teacher, Chef Ayden, respects her, he's strict, and Emoni nearly drops the class, but eventually she gathers the ingredientsconnections and skillsshe'll need for success. A romance that doesn't fit the usual mold and a class trip to Spain round out this flavorful tale. Emoni occasionally breaks from first-person narration to address readers directly, and her voice and story feel fresh and contemporary. Diversity in representation is primarily racial and ethnic; however, Emoni's best friend Angelica is a lesbian. The short, precise prose chapters will draw in even reluctant readers, and the inclusion of several recipes adds to the appeal. Current pop-culture references and cultural relevance will attract both window and mirror readers. Sabroso. (Fiction. 14-adult) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In this stunning sophomore novel from National Book Award and Printz winner Acevedo (The Poet X), Afro-Puerto Rican and African-American Emoni Santiago, a high school senior, lives in Philadelphia with her two-year-old daughter, Emma-nicknamed Babygirl-and paternal grandmother, 'Buela. A talented cook, Emoni balances school, work at a local burger joint, and motherhood-including shared custody with her ex-boyfriend, Tyrone-with moments in the kitchen, where her "magical hands" create dishes that allow the eater to access deep, surprising memories. But she's not sure what to do with her passion, or after high school, until enrolling in a culinary arts elective helps her to hone her innate cooking skills in the classroom and during a hard-won weeklong apprenticeship in Spain. As she gains practice at leadership and fund-raising, she also cautiously develops a budding relationship with new student Malachi, a boy who respects Emoni's boundaries. Acevedo expertly develops Emoni's close female relationships, which are often conveyed through the sharing of food and recipes, and which shape and buoy Emoni's sense of her own direction and strength. With evocative, rhythmic prose and realistically rendered relationships and tensions, Acevedo's unvarnished depiction of young adulthood is at once universal and intensely specific. Ages 13-up. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (May) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-The acclaimed author follows up her celebrated The Poet X with a love letter to food and a tribute to young, single mothers. Emoni Santiago is an Afro-Latinx high school senior in Philly who dreams up the most delectable concoctions, always mixing up tastes from her two cultures with a spice of her own. The news of a culinary arts course with a possible trip to Spain grabs her interest, but how will she juggle school, work, and taking care of her daughter? The young woman is barely balancing everything on her plate with the help of her talented best friend Angelica, 'Buela (her intractable grandmother), and occasional visits from her activist father (who moved to Puerto Rico after her mother's death). Acevedo populates her first prose novel with complex and unforgettable characters and turns the stereotype of "teen mom" on its head. Emoni has to deal with daycare drop-offs, custody issues, and making ends meet alongside college applications, budding romances, and the high school rumor mill. Realistic dialogue and vulnerable interior monologues about sex, loss, and insecurities will ring true with all adolescents. The author expertly weaves Spanglish, toddler mom worries, and culinary lingo and aptly evokes the Philly and Spain settings, immersing readers in Emoni's world. The novel's three parts are introduced by recipes created and perfected by the protagonist, and hints of Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate will leave teens hungry for more. VERDICT Acevedo's second serving offers a much-needed nuanced exploration of teen parenting that belongs on all shelves.-Shelley M. Diaz, BookOps: The New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Sing a Song: How Lift Every Voice and Sing Inspired Generations
by Kelly Starling Lyons

Book list In 1900, a girl learned a hymn written by her school principal, James Weldon Johnson, and she sang it as part of a 500-member choir: Lift Every Voice and Sing. She later sang it to her husband as they moved from Florida to Pennsylvania, since it was a part of her she wanted to pass on. Later, she shared it with her son through the years. Growing up, he sang it in choirs, when facing discrimination as a soldier returning from WWII, and after becoming a father. Tracing the history of Black Americans since 1900 through five generations of one family, this creative book also connects events and cultural shifts with particular lines in the song, underscoring their relevance during certain times, ending with the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. With clarity and warmth, the illustrations sensitively capture the changing characters, emotions, and eras as time passes. This well-structured, original story will resonate most intensely with readers and listeners who are familiar with this stirring hymn, but others will sense its power as well. Dovetailing nicely with the books that introduce the song itself, this moving picture book celebrates it as a symbol of faith, brilliance, resistance, and resilience. --Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Through the lens of a family handing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” down through several generations, Lyons (Hope’s Gift) delivers the history of a song that has inspired generations of African-Americans to persist and resist in the face of racism and systemic oppression. The creators start with the song’s beginnings in 1900, when it was penned by siblings James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamund Johnson to commemorate President Lincoln’s birthday. In vibrant, realistic illustrations and painstaking facial detail, Mallett portrays a girl practicing, then singing—“back straight, head high,/ heart and mouth open”—at the song’s first choir performance before eventually teaching it to her son (“It was a part of her she wanted to pass on”). Bold colors lend emotion to scenes of hope and adversity as one child becomes a WWII veteran facing discrimination and subsequent generations witness other moments in history: the killing of Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights protests, and, in 2016, the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. All the while, each generation passes the lyrics along, and a final page urges readers to “keep singing... keep on keeping on.” A heartfelt history of a historic anthem. Ages 5–8. (Aug.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus "Before you were born, a girl learned a song"so begins the story of how "Lift Every Voice" takes root in a young African American girl's heart and becomes a source of fortitude for her and her descendants, who continue learning, singing, and passing the song along. Readers learn that the hymn was written by the fictional protagonist's principal, James Weldon Johnson, and his brother, John Rosamond Johnson, to be sung during a celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birthday in 1900. As she grows and passes the song down through generations, significant events in the lives of African Americans unspool, including the Great Migration and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and culminating with the ringing of "the freedom bell" at the opening ceremony of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Lyons writes with rhythmic warmth, weaving the lyrics into her story. Full of faith and hope, they were the foundation of the civil rights movement and continue to be a source of encouragement and pride. Mallett's artwork charmingly illumines the faces of the singers in the book, revealing their passion and often joy in singing what's become cherished as the African American national anthem. An author's note reveals that the story spread after Johnson's students took it for their own and shared it.A beautiful celebration of a song that continues to give life to African Americans. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list In 1900, a girl learned a hymn written by her school principal, James Weldon Johnson, and she sang it as part of a 500-member choir: Lift Every Voice and Sing. She later sang it to her husband as they moved from Florida to Pennsylvania, since it was a part of her she wanted to pass on. Later, she shared it with her son through the years. Growing up, he sang it in choirs, when facing discrimination as a soldier returning from WWII, and after becoming a father. Tracing the history of Black Americans since 1900 through five generations of one family, this creative book also connects events and cultural shifts with particular lines in the song, underscoring their relevance during certain times, ending with the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. With clarity and warmth, the illustrations sensitively capture the changing characters, emotions, and eras as time passes. This well-structured, original story will resonate most intensely with readers and listeners who are familiar with this stirring hymn, but others will sense its power as well. Dovetailing nicely with the books that introduce the song itself, this moving picture book celebrates it as a symbol of faith, brilliance, resistance, and resilience. --Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Through the lens of a family handing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” down through several generations, Lyons (Hope’s Gift) delivers the history of a song that has inspired generations of African-Americans to persist and resist in the face of racism and systemic oppression. The creators start with the song’s beginnings in 1900, when it was penned by siblings James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamund Johnson to commemorate President Lincoln’s birthday. In vibrant, realistic illustrations and painstaking facial detail, Mallett portrays a girl practicing, then singing—“back straight, head high,/ heart and mouth open”—at the song’s first choir performance before eventually teaching it to her son (“It was a part of her she wanted to pass on”). Bold colors lend emotion to scenes of hope and adversity as one child becomes a WWII veteran facing discrimination and subsequent generations witness other moments in history: the killing of Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights protests, and, in 2016, the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. All the while, each generation passes the lyrics along, and a final page urges readers to “keep singing... keep on keeping on.” A heartfelt history of a historic anthem. Ages 5–8. (Aug.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus "Before you were born, a girl learned a song"so begins the story of how "Lift Every Voice" takes root in a young African American girl's heart and becomes a source of fortitude for her and her descendants, who continue learning, singing, and passing the song along. Readers learn that the hymn was written by the fictional protagonist's principal, James Weldon Johnson, and his brother, John Rosamond Johnson, to be sung during a celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birthday in 1900. As she grows and passes the song down through generations, significant events in the lives of African Americans unspool, including the Great Migration and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and culminating with the ringing of "the freedom bell" at the opening ceremony of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Lyons writes with rhythmic warmth, weaving the lyrics into her story. Full of faith and hope, they were the foundation of the civil rights movement and continue to be a source of encouragement and pride. Mallett's artwork charmingly illumines the faces of the singers in the book, revealing their passion and often joy in singing what's become cherished as the African American national anthem. An author's note reveals that the story spread after Johnson's students took it for their own and shared it.A beautiful celebration of a song that continues to give life to African Americans. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.