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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Freakboy
by Kristin Elizabeth Clark

Publishers Weekly Debut novelist Clark uses free verse to write a gripping story about a complex topic: the challenges of growing up transgender or genderqueer. Brendan struggles with his occasional desires to be a girl; in her own series of poems, Brendan's devoted girlfriend, Vanessa, worries about why he is suddenly avoiding her. Meanwhile, transgendered Angel-whom Brendan meets near the teen center where Angel works-reveals her own painful journey; her intense story includes physical abuse and a hospital stay after being beaten up while working as a prostitute. Clark doesn't stray far from central theme (the back matter includes resources and further reading) as she empathically explores what it can be like to be a transgendered teen (for example, not every transitioning character considers sex-reassignment surgery to be important). The author emphasizes that there are no simple answers for her characters, especially Brendan, who wonders if the transgendered label even fits. At the same time, through Angel, she gives her story a current of hope: "Everyone feels like a freak/ until they make up their mind/ they're not." Ages 12-up. Agent: Tracey Adams, Adams Literary. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* When Brendan Chase types Want to be a girl into his Mac's search engine, one word pops up: transsexual. In Clark's raw, honest debut novel, told in verse, three voices capture a few experiences of teens on the transgender spectrum. Brendan is not one of those people / who's always wanted to wear a dress. / Who's always known / he should have been born female. Sex with girlfriend Vanessa, although confusing, feels good, and Brendan questions throughout whether or not he's trans. Fortunately, there's an angel in his life literally. Angel, trans without sex-reassignment surgery ( My junk doesn't dictate who I am ), fights against demons of her own and struggles to reconnect with her younger brother. She's a volunteer at Willows, a center for queer teens, and eventually introduces Brendan to terms like gender identity, gender attraction, genderqueer, and gender fluid. Meanwhile, the third voice belongs to Vanessa, a girl on the boy's wrestling team, who can't understand why her boyfriend, Brendan, is suddenly so distant. Unlike many novels that deal with one transgender character, this movingly explores so many gender identities, from the three main characters (each appears as a different font) to Angel's roommates. A must-have for library shelves, this will be popular with fans of Ellen Hopkins. Resources and further reading conclude.--Kelley, Ann Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Brandon, a high school wrestler, must face the fact that despite his best efforts he isn't as hyper-masculine as he feels he needs to be. Acceptance of his gender fluidity will prove to be his greatest challenge. Brandon's stepfather, a symphony conductor, appears to need regular validation of his manliness, and his mother undergoes breast enhancement surgery to appear, presumably, more womanly. Vanessa, Brandon's girlfriend, is also a wrestler; she feels she can only have a true win on the mat once her opponent lets go of the thought that she's a girl. When he's not aggressive enough in the ring, Brandon's coach calls him Brenda. Eventually, he meets Angel, an attractive young woman whose birth certificate reads "male." Angel-empowered, self-loving, and equipped to help others-can support Brandon to be at home in his body and in his craving for feminine expression. This book is a strong addition to LBGT and general collections as a compelling story for reluctant readers and an educational piece on a topic that needs discussion. The use of typography for emphasis is occasionally awkward and self-conscious, but overall this novel-in-verse presents a clear, realistic narrative in various voices. It succeeds in conveying the message that "you are not alone" to transgender youth while helping everyone else get a handle on these often-tortured teens. The author succeeds in her mission to foster "greater understanding and acceptance of gender's vast and lovely variation." -Teresa Pfeifer, The Springfield Renaissance School, Springfield, MA (c) Copyright 2013. 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 Imagine!
by Raul Colon

Publishers Weekly Though Colón (Draw!) grew up in New York City, he didn't visit the city's art museums until he was an adult. The powerful idea of encountering original modern masterworks as a child, his author's note says, inspired this wordless fantasy. Using the deeply saturated hues and combed textures of his signature style, the artist draws a brown-skinned boy hopping onto his skateboard, sailing across the Brooklyn Bridge, and heading into the Museum of Modern Art, checking his helmet and board at the entrance. Inside, he encounters Rousseau's The Sleeping Gypsy, Picasso's Three Musicians, and Matisse's Icarus. He's awed by the paintings-Colón draws him with his hands clasped behind his head-and is overjoyed when the figures burst from their frames. After dancing with the boy out onto the street, they tour famous New York landmarks together-fast-moving stills show the figures in improbable N.Y.C. settings with humorous believability-before returning to the museum. Back in Brooklyn, the figures remain in the boy's mind, and he creates some magnificent art of his own. Colón's vibrant scenes make it clear that visiting works of art can breathe magic into the everyday and inspire further creativity afterward. Ages 4-8. Agent: Gail Morgan, Morgan Gaynin Agency. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-A young boy skateboards across the Brooklyn Bridge to the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. There he encounters works by some of the most famous artists in the collection: Rousseau, Picasso, and Matisse. The enchanting figures leap off their canvases and join the boy on a tour of the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Times Square, and Coney Island before returning to their frames. On his way home, the newly inspired child envisions painting murals on the sides of the buildings he passes and falls asleep with his head filled with the images he's internalized. In an author's note, Colón explains that he never saw original art in museums as a child, but was overwhelmed with emotion when he encountered the paintings as an adult. His wordless picture book captures the drama of a personal artistic experience and the lasting impact it can have. The paintings he represents in his subtly textured pencil, lithograph, and watercolor illustrations are recognizable to those who know them and captivating even for those meeting them for the first time. -VERDICT A compelling introduction to the power of art and an irresistible invitation to creativity, to boot. Best shared one-on-one or with a small group, with plenty of time to pore over the brilliant images within.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Library, NY © Copyright 2018. 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.

Horn Book In Colsn's wordless love letter to the experience of visiting an art museum, a brown-skinned boy skateboards to Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art. Figures from paintings cavort with him throughout NYC, after which the boy's new friends return to their canvases and he creates a mural of their likenesses in his Brooklyn neighborhood. Colsn's mixed-media illustrations in his signature stippled and crosshatched textures hum with energy and jubilation. (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 In Coln's newest wordless tribute to creativity, a young child kindles his imagination during an art museum visit. A boy (gendered in the author's note) emerges onto the city street with a skateboard in hand. The young skateboarder drifts through the city and over a bridge, ending up at the Museum of Modern Art. Inside, he surrenders his skateboard at a checkroom and strides into the museum. Similar to his previous reflection on imagination, Draw! (2014), Coln's latest again challenges readers to discover inspiration through ingenious means. Wonder fills the boy's face as he observes the artworks adorning the museum walls, including Pablo Picasso's Three Musicians, Henri Rousseau's The Sleeping Gypsy, and Henri Matisse's Icarus. When the larger-than-life characters from these paintings break free from the canvas and join him, the boy and his newfound company dance their way out of the museum and onto the streets of New York City. What follows is a series of merry adventures sweeping past familiar landmarks like Times Square and the Statue of Liberty. Inspired by the author's museum experiences, the story leaps off every page thanks to the textured artwork brimming with buoyant body movement and cast in muted colors and striking patterns. It's over all too soon. A few goodbyes back in the museum, and the boy goes on his way, stopping briefly to leave his mark on the city's walls.Beautifully euphoric. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list *Starred Review* A brown-skinned boy, living in a New York City borough, rides his skateboard into Manhattan to visit the Museum of Modern Art for the first time. After the boy views several revered paintings, his inspired imagination enables him to enter one of the pictures and then lead the characters out of three separate works of art. He and seven of the images, including a dog and a lion, dance out of the museum. They all spend the day experiencing some New York City highlights, such as the Statue of Liberty and the Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster, eating hot dogs from a street vendor and having a sing-along in a park. Colón's signature colored pencils and watercolor scratchboard-style illustrations bring the magical adventure to life. Rich colors and textures create paintings readers will want to spend time studying. References to famous artists and their work are sprinkled throughout: Matisse's Icarus conjures up a hat when emerging from his frame; the flat, angular shapes of Picasso's Three Musicians become rounded and animated; and Rousseau's The Sleeping Gypsy awakens to join the fun. The author/illustrator has combined his love of music and illustration to create a delightful, wordless tribute to the arts, with a magical touch.--Owen, Maryann Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog The Vanishing Half
by Brit Bennett

Library Journal After achieving Hopwood and Hurston/Wright honors and debuting big with The Mothers, Bennett here features identical twin sisters, who at age 16 run away from their small, black, 1950s Southern town and take different paths, one passing for white. What's key is the relationship between their daughters.

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

Library Journal After achieving Hopwood and Hurston/Wright honors and debuting big with The Mothers, Bennett here features identical twin sisters, who at age 16 run away from their small, black, 1950s Southern town and take different paths, one passing for white. What's key is the relationship between their daughters.

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

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures
by Kate DiCamillo

Publishers Weekly Newbery Medalist DiCamillo and illustrator Campbell meld prose with comics sequences in a broad comedy tinged with sadness. Bitter about her parents' divorce, Flora Buckman has withdrawn into her favorite comic book, The Amazing Incandesto! and memorized the advisories in its ongoing bonus feature, Terrible Things Can Happen to You! She puts those life-saving tips into action when a squirrel is swallowed whole by a neighbor's new vacuum cleaner, the Ulysses Super-Suction Multi-Terrain 2000X. Flora resuscitates the squirrel, christens him after the vacuum, and witnesses a superhero-like transformation: Ulysses is now uber-strong, can fly, and composes poetry. Despite supremely quirky characters and dialogue worthy of an SAT prep class, there's real emotion at the heart of this story involving two kids who have been failed by the most important people in their lives: their parents. It's into this profound vacuum that Ulysses really flies, demonstrating an unconditional love for his rescuer, trumped only perhaps by his love for food and a desire "to make the letters on the keyboard speak the truth of his heart." Ages 10-up. Author's agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. Illustrator's agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* The story begins with a vacuum cleaner. And a squirrel. Or, to be more precise, a squirrel who gets sucked into a Ulysses Super Suction wielded by Flora's neighbor, Mrs. Tickham. The rather hairless squirrel that is spit out is not the same one that went in. That squirrel had only one thought: I'm hungry. After Flora performs CPR, the rescued squirrel, newly named Ulysses, is still hungry, but now he has many thoughts in his head. Foremost is his consideration of Flora's suggestion that perhaps he is a superhero like The Amazing Incandesto, whose comic-book adventures Flora read with her father. (Drawing on comic-strip elements, Campbell's illustrations here work wonderfully well.) Since Flora's father and mother have split up, Flora has become a confirmed and defiant cynic. Yet it is hard to remain a cynic while one's heart is opening to a squirrel who can type ( Squirtl. I am . . . born anew ), who can fly, and who adores Flora. Newbery winner DiCamillo is a master storyteller, and not just because she creates characters who dance off the pages and plots, whether epic or small, that never fail to engage and delight readers. Her biggest strength is exposing the truths that open and heal the human heart. She believes in possibilities and forgiveness and teaches her audience that the salt of life can be cut with the right measure of love. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: DiCamillo has a devoted following, plus this book has an extensive marketing campaign. That equals demand.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog The Rapture of Canaan
by Sheri Reynolds

Kirkus A second tragedy-laden southern coming-of-age tale from Reynolds (Bitterroot Landing, 1995)--this one, set in a strict and punitive religious community, with a good, gothic allure despite its lamentably plodding prose. Ninah Huff is 14 when she really begins to chafe at the confines of her small world. Her grandpa Herman, founder of the Church of Fire and Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind, keeps harsh control over their small South Carolina community, which is populated mostly by Ninah's extended family. Those who stray from the righteous path know to expect treatment that can range from whippings with a leather strap to sleeping overnight in a newly dug grave. And Grandpa Herman is always ready with Scripture to justify any of these punishments. Ninah, meanwhile, finds herself dreaming more and more about forbidden things, especially her strong physical attraction to James, one of the few boys around who's not her blood kin. When she winds up pregnant, it sparks tragedy within her family and shock waves throughout the community. But Ninah insists that she's not guilty of the sin of fornication, that what she and James did together was a form of pure prayer. And, sure enough, when baby Canaan is born, he appears to bear a sign from God--his hands are joined at the palms like someone perpetually praying. Grandpa Herman proclaims him the New Messiah, and he's taken away from Ninah to be raised by others. This time out, Reynolds burdens her story with some unworkable metaphors--a rug that grins?--and much awkward dialogue, but, in all, she creates a strongly compelling tension between family feeling and religious fervor. The fate of Ninah and her son is uncertain until the small epiphany (or, really, anti-epiphany) at book's end--a moment that seems just right. Fire and brimstone that goes tepid at times but is really chilling overall. (Literary Guild alternate selection; author tour)

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In this gritty portrait of a young girl who battles repression in a rural Southern religious community, Reynolds (Bitterroot Landing) once again showcases a compelling narrative voice that's simultaneously harsh and lyrical. The narrator is Ninah Huff, granddaughter of Herman Langston, the founder of a Pentecostal sect in rural South Carolina. Herman is a strict disciplinarian, to say the least: he forces one congregant found guilty of drinking to sleep in an open grave. Because of the Pentecostal group's rigid attitudes, Ninah and her peers are frequently scorned and mocked at school. But her real problems start when she becomes pregnant by her prayer partner. Ninah's subsequent rebellion and the tragic aftermath of her tryst threaten to tear the community apart, particularly when the despotic Herman interprets an ordinary, curable birth defect in her infant son, Canaan, as a sign that she has given birth to the new messiah. While many of the issues Reynolds deals with are coming-of-age staples-teen rebellion; the standoff between adolescent expression and religious repression; the morality of the individual vs. the morality of the group-her gift for characterization ultimately transcends the material as Ninah's strength and resilience enable her to move beyond benighted religiosity toward a true and lasting faith. Literary Guild featured alternate selection. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal For Ninah Huff, being different from most people has meant being saved. Growing up in her grandfather's penitential religious commune in the rural South, Ninah is surrounded by love and the assurance of sanctity, though she sometimes wonders if she is truly holy. At 14, she begins to have serious doubts. Are all outsiders really damned? Are long, somber dresses and never-cut hair really necessary? Most of all, how sanctified are the feelings sparking between Ninah and James, her prayer partner in the Church of Fire and Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind? With Ninah's pregnancy, questions of faith and sin take on real urgency, leading to tragedy and even a miracle. Ninah relates her story in prose both poetic and page turning; Reynolds lives up to the praise garnered by her first novel, Bitterroot Landing (LJ 11/15/94).-Starr E. Smith, Marymount Univ. Lib., Arlington, Va. (c) Copyright 2010. 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.

Book list For 14-year-old Ninah Huff, growing up in the extended family community of the Church of Fire and Brimstone and God's Almighty Baptizing Wind has meant working on the communal tobacco farm, receiving harsh punishments for unintended acts, being different from schoolmates, and enjoying a few simple pleasures. Foremost among the pleasures have been the company and stories of Nanna, whose husband, Grandpa Herman, founded the church after surviving wartime combat and unilaterally controlled its finances, doctrines, and daily life. Then comes a pleasures surpassing all others in the person of 15-year-old James. Designated prayer partners, Ninah and James share rebellious ideas, tentative touches, and more (after beseeching Jesus to speak to each of them through the other), leaving Ninah pregnant and touching off events that shake the community and its faith. Reynolds' second assured coming-of-age novel (after Bitterroot Landing, 1995) is also a devastating portrayal of organized religion as illogical, intolerant, and cruel but still unable to extinguish the spark of the human spirit. --Michele Leber

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

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