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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Eleanor and Park
by Rainbow Rowell

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-In this novel set in the 1980s, teenagers Eleanor and Park are outsiders; Eleanor, because she's new to the neighborhood, and Park, because he's half Asian. Although initially wary of each other, they quickly bond over their love of comics and 1980s alternative music. Eleanor's home life is difficult; her stepfather physically abuses her mother and emotionally abuses Eleanor and her siblings. At school, she is the victim of bullying, which escalates into defacement of her textbooks, her clothes, and crude displays on her locker. Although Park's mother, a Korean immigrant, is initially resistant to the strange girl due to her odd fashion choices, his father invites Eleanor to seek temporary refuge with them from her unstable home life. When Eleanor's stepfather's behavior grows even more menacing, Park assists in her escape, even though it means that they might not see each other again. The friendship between the teens is movingly believable, but the love relationship seems a bit rushed and underdeveloped. The revelation about the person behind the defacement of Eleanor's textbooks is stunning. Although the narrative points of view alternate between Eleanor and Park, the transitions are smooth. Crude language is realistic. Purchase for readers who are drawn to quirky love stories or 1980s pop culture.-Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Half-Korean sophomore Park Sheridan is getting through high school by lying low, listening to the Smiths (it's 1986), reading Alan Moore's Watchmen comics, never raising his hand in class, and avoiding the kids he grew up with. Then new girl Eleanor gets on the bus. Tall, with bright red hair and a dress code all her own, she's an instant target. Too nice not to let her sit next to him, Park is alternately resentful and guilty for not being kinder to her. When he realizes she's reading his comics over his shoulder, a silent friendship is born. And slowly, tantalizingly, something more. Adult author Rowell (Attachments), making her YA debut, has a gift for showing what Eleanor and Park, who tell the story in alternating segments, like and admire about each other. Their love is believable and thrilling, but it isn't simple: Eleanor's family is broke, and her stepfather abuses her mother. When the situation turns dangerous, Rowell keeps things surprising, and the solution-imperfect but believable-maintains the novel's delicate balance of light and dark. Ages 13-up. Agent: Christopher Schelling, Selectric Artists. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* Right from the start of this tender debut, readers can almost hear the clock winding down on Eleanor and Park. After a less than auspicious start, the pair quietly builds a relationship while riding the bus to school every day, wordlessly sharing comics and eventually music on the commute. Their worlds couldn't be more different. Park's family is idyllic: his Vietnam vet father and Korean immigrant mother are genuinely loving. Meanwhile, Eleanor and her younger siblings live in poverty under the constant threat of Richie, their abusive and controlling stepfather, while their mother inexplicably caters to his whims. The couple's personal battles are also dark mirror images. Park struggles with the realities of falling for the school outcast; in one of the more subtle explorations of race and the other in recent YA fiction, he clashes with his father over the definition of manhood. Eleanor's fight is much more external, learning to trust her feelings about Park and navigating the sexual threat in Richie's watchful gaze. In rapidly alternating narrative voices, Eleanor and Park try to express their all-consuming love. You make me feel like a cannibal, Eleanor says. The pure, fear-laced, yet steadily maturing relationship they develop is urgent, moving, and, of course, heartbreaking, too.--Jones, Courtney Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog The Great Pet Escape
by Victoria Jamieson

School Library Journal Gr 1-3-George Washington, or "GW" for short, may look like a sweet, innocent classroom hamster, but little do the second graders at Daisy P. Flugelhorn Elementary School know that he's the inventor of the Sunflower Seed Slingshot and the Rodent Catapult Transportation Device, both of which are going to help him and his fellow inmates-Barry the rabbit (serving time in first grade) and Biter the world's toughest guinea pig (doing a stint in kindergarten)-escape to freedom. Unfortunately, when GW finally liberates his rodent pals, a gang of surly mice threaten their plans. Jamieson, author and illustrator of Roller Girl (Dial, 2015), here presents a giggle-worthy tale for younger readers and those just venturing into graphic novels. Easy-to-follow panels, complemented by several spreads, explode off the page with her bright and cheery palette. Visual humor abounds, from GW's gallant attempts at sword fighting with the mouse leader (using a broken piece of uncooked spaghetti) to Biter's confession that, while in kindergarten, she's found a way to channel her anger issues through meditation. VERDICT Hand this charmingly goofy graphic novel to chapter book readers who enjoy Dav Pilkey's works, Cyndi Marko's "Kung Pow Chicken" series (Scholastic), and Geoffrey Hayes's "Benny and Penny" books (TOON.)-Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal Copyright 2016. 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 *Starred Review* For the hamster known as George Washington (GW, for short), there is no greater prison than the second grade classroom. For three months, GW has been plotting and scheming, waiting patiently for things to fall into place so he can finally break free from the joint. It takes some effort to convince fellow prisoners Barry and Biter to join him they actually seem to like it there but a well-laid guilt trip does the trick. On the brink of freedom, the three rodents run up against the biggest obstacle of all, Harriet the mouse. She and her minions have a taste for destruction, but will GW have a change of heart and stop Harriet's mad plan to ruin the school? Told with a wickedly sharp sense of humor, Jamieson's latest delivers a madcap adventure that is sure to please young readers. The hilariously expressive rodents guarantee laughs from page one with plenty of slapstick humor and pointed one-liners. Jamieson makes excellent use of a variety of panel sizes to maximize the action, and the liberal use of bright color adds extra visual punch.--Hayes, Summer Copyright 2016 Booklist

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

British Crime Writers' Assoc.
Click to search this book in our catalog The Ghost Riders of Ordebec
by Fred Vargas

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat
by Javaka Steptoe

School Library Journal Gr 1-5-Through a simple text and vivid mixed-media collage art, the author evokes the life and work of the Brooklyn-born Basquiat, who was nurtured in a loving family and schooled in the museums and streets of New York City. Incorporating found materials into the illustrations, Steptoe captures the originality and urban vibe of a charismatic artist whose talent revealed itself early on and matured into a powerful social and political voice. Copyright 2016. 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.

School Library Journal Gr 1-5-A visually stunning picture book biography about modern art phenomenon Jean-Michel Basquiat. Coretta Scott King Award-winner Steptoe's vivid text and bold artwork reflect the Haitian Puerto Rican artist's collage-style paintings that rocketed him to fame in the 1980s. Back matter and an introduction to symbolism in Basquiat's work help readers appreciate the layers of Black identity and Yoruba influences at play in Steptoe's illustrations. Copyright 2017. 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.

School Library Journal Gr 1-5-One extraordinary artist illuminates another in this textured, heartfelt picture book biography of the 1980s cultural phenom. Employing signature features of Jean-Michel Basquiat's work-vibrant colors, found objects, repeated motifs-Steptoe allows his own emotionally rich style to shine through the artistic and biographical references dotting the illustrations. Pieces of discarded wood from Basquiat's stomping grounds fit together to form the painted surfaces for Steptoe's scenes of the Afro Puerto Rican artist, each unfolding within a colored frame. Occasional collage elements of newsprint, photographs, and art materials add dimension and immediacy, highlighting both artists' immersion in their work and surroundings. Adhering to a straightforward chronology, Steptoe addresses events in Basquiat's life primarily as they affected his artistic growth from young boyhood in Brooklyn through the triumphant years as a critical and popular success in Manhattan. With minimal detail, the author sensitively touches upon his subject's childhood car crash and his mother's mental illness, though the story avoids his drug use and stops before his early death. Crucial back matter provides context for readers in every respect. Additional biographical information fleshes out the lyrical text of the main narrative, and an introduction to symbolism in Basquiat's work helps readers appreciate the layers at play in Steptoe's illustrations. An author's note articulates feelings that radiate from every page of the book: Steptoe's admiration for and attachment to Basquiat and his personal investment in depicting a complicated, loving relationship between a child and a mentally ill parent. VERDICT Pairing simple text with expressive, encompassing illustrations, this excellent title offers a new generation a fittingly powerful introduction to an artistic luminary.-Robbin E. Friedman, Chappaqua Library, NY Copyright 2016. 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.

Publishers Weekly In this visually arresting and vibrantly narrated biography, Steptoe (In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall) charts the childhood of incandescent, ill-fated artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988). Although the book includes no work by Basquiat himself, Steptoe emulates 1980s street art by layering paint, paper scraps, paint tubes, and photos on found-wood panels. The artist, Steptoe writes, learned to see art in the "messy patchwork of the city," the "street games of little children," and the "terrible blues" of growing up. Basquiat's early influences include his Puerto Rican mother, Matilde, who encourages him with museum visits and with the textbook Gray's Anatomy. Poetry and his Haitian father's jazz records fuel his imagination, too: "His drawings are not neat or clean, nor does he color inside the lines." Basquiat's radiance was suffused with trauma, and Steptoe alludes to Matilde's mental illness and Basquiat's teenage strife ("His mother's mind is not well, and the family breaks"). Passing references to Warhol, Haring, graffiti, and Basquiat's heroin overdose appear in the afterword: "Basquiat lived an exhilarating life, but... he struggled with a drug addiction until his death." Overall, Steptoe focuses on Basquiat's meteoric rise, and readers see the artist smiling as he walks on the gritty Lower East Side. Collaged photographs picture a crowded gallery, and Steptoe concludes in the present tense: "He is now a famous artist!" Steptoe downplays tragic elements, instead celebrating Basquiat's irreverence and brilliance. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Beautifully evoking his subject's exuberant, colorful, and playful art style in jostling paintings on scraps of found wood, Steptoe introduces young readers to Basquiat's childhood and early career. Born in Brooklyn, Basquiat loved art early, and with the encouragement of his similarly artistic mother, he actively pursued his dream of being a famous artist, finding creative inspiration not only at museums but also in the color and rhythm of the city around him. Basquiat's signature style sloppy, ugly, and sometimes weird, but somehow still beautiful should appeal in particular to kids who find joy in free-form scribbles, and that same spirit animates Steptoe's collage illustrations. Thickly laid paints and exploded perspectives in bright hues depict scenes from Basquiat's life and highlight some of his iconic imagery, like golden cartoon crowns, eyeballs, and vehicles scattered everywhere. There's no mention of his problems with addiction or untimely death; rather, the book closes with him achieving his dream, crown overhead and surrounded by clipped headlines about his work. A lively, engaging introduction to a one-of-a-kind artist perfect for art-loving kids.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2016 Booklist

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

Horn Book Picture Book Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog At Night
by Jonathan Bean

Publishers Weekly : Starred Review. Bean (The Apple Pie That Papa Baked; reviewed below) creates almost magical rhythms in this pitch-perfect story. As the opening pages describe bedtime at the main character's urban house (At night, after her brother and sister went to bed/ long after her parents whispered Good night, happy dreams! and went to sleep), square watercolor panels move from scenes in the emptying hallway and into the girl's room. There, readers learn, she lies AWAKE, and the blank space surrounding the single, jarring word contains all the feeling in the close-up of the girl's face, seen for the first time on the opposite page. The plot is so quiet it would escape a lesser writer: lured by a breeze, the girl brings pillows and bedding up to the roof, followed by her cat (and, unbeknown to her, by her mother). Bean makes a visual poetics of this concept as the square panels now yield to full-spread illustrations. The artist supplies luminous aerial scenes of the roof garden amid a friendly, well-lit cityscape, then zooms out for more panoramic views (She thought about the wide world around her and smiled). His eye returns to rest on an image of the girl and her cat, comfortable at last in an improvised bed, at home in the world. The story breathes reassurance and adventure at the same time-just in case, after the girl has fallen asleep, the mother appears by her side. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : PreS-K—This quiet book tells the story of a city girl who can't sleep. When she feels a breeze blow in through her open window, she gathers pillows, her blanket, and the family cat and follows the wind up to the roof of her building. She doesn't realize that her mother is also awake and is trailing her up the stairs. On the rooftop, the child snuggles into a bed made of two chairs pulled together and contemplates the wide world and the open sky, eventually falling asleep. The final scene shows her mother, sitting next to her and thoughtfully gazing at the full moon. The watercolor illustrations, some full-page, some panels, perfectly depict the shadows, darkness, and light of the slumbering city. The volume's small size makes it most appropriate for sharing one-to-one.—Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Independent Booksellers List
Click to search this book in our catalog Let's Pretend This Never Happened
by Jenny Lawson

Publishers Weekly In punchy chapters that cover a fairly uneventful life in the southern Republican regions, blogger Lawson achieves an exaggerated sarcasm that occasionally attains a belly laugh from the reader ("I grew up a poor black girl in New York. Except replace 'black' with 'white' and 'New York' with 'rural Texas' "), but mostly descends into rants about bodily functions and dead animals spiced with profanity. The daughter of a taxidermist whose avid foraging and hunting filled their "violently rural" Wall, Tex., house with motley creatures like raccoons and turkeys and later triggered some anxiety disorder, Lawson did not transcend her childhood horrors so much as return to them, marrying at age 22 a fellow student at a local San Angelo college, Victor, and settling down in the town with a job in "HR" while Victor worked "in computers." In random anecdotal segments Lawson treats the vicissitudes of her 15-year marriage, the birth of daughter Hailey after many miscarriages, some funny insider secrets from the HR office, and an attempt to learn to trust women by spending a weekend in California wine country with a group of bloggers. With little substantive writing on these subjects, however, Lawson's puerile sniggering and potty mouth gets old fast. Agent: Neeti Madan, Sterling Lord. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list In this mordant memoir, Lawson, who calls herself The Bloggess, displays the wit that's made her a hit on the Web. She makes hilarious hay out of her rural Texas upbringing, during which her taxidermist father thought nothing of bringing feral creatures into the house (on her future husband Victor's first visit to meet the family, dear old Dad tossed a baby bobcat into the unsuspecting lad's lap). Plagued by anxiety attacks, Lawson is loath to go out in public, and when she does, she inevitably makes a scene. At a Halloween party, she regales guests with a tale of being attacked by a serial killer (turns out it was just her corpulent cat). Lawson, whose award-winning website, TheBloggess.com, averages more than half-a-million page-views per month, delivers some mild moments among the mayhem. At a women's retreat replete with bonding and wine, she happily discovers that girls really aren't so bad. Lawson is funny, but her over-the-top tales eventually take their toll, prompting jaded readers to wonder how much of this stuff she's making up.--Block, Allison Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

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