Featured Book Lists
ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Golden boy
by Tara Sullivan

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-Habo, 13, knows that his albinism makes him a zeruzeru, less than a person. His skin burns easily, and his poor eyesight makes school almost impossible. People shun or mock him. Unable to accept his son's white skin and yellow hair, his father abandoned the family, and they cannot manage their drought-ravaged farm in a small Tanzanian village. Habo and his mother, sister, and brother travel across the Serengeti to seek refuge with his aunt's family in Mwanza. Along the way, they hitch a ride with an ivory poacher, Alasiri, who kills elephants without remorse for the money the tusks bring. In Mwanza, the family learns that one commodity can fetch even higher prices: a zeruzeru. Rich people will pay handsomely for albino body parts, and Alasiri plans to make his fortune. Habo must flee to Dar es Salaam before he is killed. After a harrowing escape, he reaches the city and miraculously encounters a person to whom his appearance makes no difference: a blind woodcarver named Kweli. Slowly Habo develops a sense of self-worth as well as carving skills. When Alasiri brings ivory for Kweli to carve, the boy and old man work with the police to send the hunter to prison. Habo's gripping account propels readers along. His narrative reveals his despair, anger, and bewilderment, but there are humorous moments, too. Although fortuitous encounters and repeated escapes may seem unlikely, the truth underlying the novel is even more unbelievable. In Tanzania, people with albinism have been maimed and killed for their body parts, thought to bring good luck. Readers will be haunted by Habo's voice as he seeks a place of dignity and respect in society. An important and affecting story.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato (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.

Book list Born albino in a Tanzanian village, Habo suffers virulent prejudice for his pale skin, blue eyes, and yellow hair, even from his own family. At 13, he runs away to the city of Dar-es-Salaam, where he thinks he will find more acceptance: there are even two albino members of the government there. He finds a home as an apprentice to a blind sculptor who knows Habo is a smart boy with a good heart, and he teaches Habo to carve wood. But Habo is being pursued by a poacher who wants to kill him and sell his body parts on the black market to superstitious buyers in search of luck. Readers will be caught by the contemporary story of prejudice, both unspoken and violent, as tension builds to the climax. Just as moving is the bond the boy forges with his mentor, and the gripping daily events: Habo gets glasses for his weak eyes, discovers the library, and goes to school at last. The appended matter includes a Swahili glossary and suggestions for documentary videos.--Rochman, Hazel 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 I Walk with Vanessa: A Story about a Simple Act of Kindness
by Kerascoet

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 3-A picture book without words, but with images that speak volumes. This story, inspired by true events, follows Vanessa along her journey as the new kid in school. Like most new students, she feels nervous and even unwelcome at first, and she is treated unkindly on her walk home. Another child notices the bullying and decides to befriend Vanessa the very next day. What happens next is unexpected and quite beautiful as the whole school comes together to stand by Vanessa and show how a small act of kindness can unite an entire community. Created by a husband-and-wife team of illustrators who are known for their work on the critically acclaimed graphic novel Beautiful Darkness and most recently the picture book Malala's Magic Pencil, KerascoŽt's latest book is powerful in its simplicity. The illustrations explore the various feelings of hurt, powerlessness, and anger that arise when being bullied or witnessing bullying, and the many positive feelings that accompany acts of acceptance and inclusion. A special afterword with advice for children and adults on how to help those who may be bullied or hurt is appended. The message is powerful: one small act can make a difference and change the world. VERDICT A simple, beautiful story with an empowering lesson and call to action. Recommended for every library.-Elizabeth Blake, Brooklyn Public Library © 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.

Book list In this wordless story, a dark-skinned girl (Vanessa) arrives in class and is shown a seat. She spends most of her day alone, but after school, a blond boy approaches, yelling and provoking tears. Another girl observes this interaction and becomes upset. The next morning, she stops at Vanessa's house to accompany her to school. As they walk along, other children join them, and everyone arrives at school as a cohesive group, minus the now isolated bully. French duo Marie Pommepuy and Sťbastien Cosset (Paul and Antoinette, 2016), aka KerascoŽt, here share a story that demonstrates how simple acts of kindness can turn a bullying situation around. The ink-and-watercolor artwork uses full color for the children (focusing on their expressive faces), and often mutes (or omits) the backgrounds. Comics conventions are used to good effect, and the final spreads feature the large, ethnically diverse cast of children. Appended with notes about bullying, this will be a welcome addition to the choose-kindness shelf.--Weisman, Kay Copyright 2017 Booklist

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

Horn Book In this wordless story, brown-skinned newcomer Vanessa is bullied by a white boy as she walks home alone from school. A girl classmate witnesses the abuse; the next morning she walks to school with Vanessa and they're joined by more supporters. Watercolor and ink illustrations excel at communicating emotions; a mix of vignettes and full-page illustrations expertly controls the pacing. Bullying-related resources are appended. (c) Copyright 2018. 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 this wordless book, new girl Vanessa, shy and withdrawn, becomes a bully's target after school and finally runs home in tears.Another little girl sees it happen and is concerned enough to tell all of her friends, who also become concerned and wander home, sad for Vanessa. The observant girl stays up late, worrying, and the next morning, has the idea to go to Vanessa's house and offer to walk her to school, which she does. They're joined by one more kid, then another, and another, until a smiling throng accompanies Vanessa to school, with the bully skulking away. (Adult readers may recall a similar real-life scenario that took place at Baylor University in 2016, when a black student was racially bullied and then 300 students walked her to class.) In this book, Vanessa is black, and the protagonist has light brown skin and straight black hair. The bully is white, and the rest of the students are different ethnicities and races. Kerascot's sweet, charming illustrations do the talking in this bookno words appear, and none are needed. Each page is lovingly and respectfully drawn using a lot of white space, spare application of bright watercolor, and thick ink linework kept simple but loaded with impact and emotion. Tips for children on helping a target of bullying and language for adults to use when talking about bullying with children follow the story.A wonderfully illustrated, hopeful book that can help caregivers tackle an emotionally fraught subject with even very young children. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In this powerful wordless tale by the French duo KerascoŽt (Paul and Antoinette), a child reaches out to a fellow pupil who has been bullied. Vanessa isn't the only child of color in her school, but she is new; the teacher introduces her, and she sits by herself. On the way home, she's accosted by a boy with yellow hair, cries, and runs back to her house. Another girl sees what has happened, and, in an important series of vignettes, the artists make it clear how much the incident upsets her-one nighttime spread shows both girls awake and despondent in their bedrooms. In the morning, the girl invites Vanessa to walk to school with her, and they are soon joined by other children. It's not a story about bullying per se-although Vanessa's pain is evident, her emotions are not its focus. Instead, it looks at stepping up and being an ally. The wordless pages and small, toylike figures make this a good choice for young children who can work out for themselves what has happened, what Vanessa's new friend does, and why it works. Ages 4-8. Agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog My Dark Vanessa
by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Kirkus The #MeToo movement forces a struggling young woman to confront the abusive relationship that defines her sexual and romantic past.At 15, Vanessa Wye falls for her English teacher at Browick, a private boarding school. Jacob Strane is 42, "big, broad, and so tall that his shoulders hunch as though his body wants to apologize for taking up so much space." Strane woos Vanessa with Nabokov's novels, Plath's poetry, and furtive caresses in his back office. "I think we're very similar, Nessa," Strane tells her during a one-on-one conference. "I can tell from the way you write that you're a dark romantic like me." Soon, Vanessa is reveling in her newfound power of attraction, pursuing sleepovers at Strane's house, and conducting what she feels is a secret affair right under the noses of the administration. More than 15 years later, at the height of the #MeToo movement, Taylor Birch, another young woman from Browick, publicly accuses Strane of sexual abuse. When a young journalist reaches out to Vanessa to corroborate Taylor's story, Vanessa's world begins to unravel. "Because even if I sometimes use the word abuse to describe certain things that were done to me, in someone else's mouth the word turns ugly and absolute....It swallows me and all the times I wanted it, begged for it," Vanessa tells herself. Russell weaves Vanessa's memories of high school together with the social media-saturated callout culture of the present moment, as Vanessa struggles to determine whether the love story she has told about herself is, in fact, a tragedy of unthinkable proportions. Russell's debut is a rich psychological study of the aftermath of abuse, and her novel asks readers both to take Vanessa's assertions of agency at face value and to determine the real, psychological harm perpetrated against her by an abusive adult. What emerges is a devastating cultural portrait of enablement and the harm we allow young women to shoulder. "The excuses we make for them are outrageous," Vanessa concludes about abusive men, "but they're nothing compared with the ones we make for ourselves."A gut-wrenching debut. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list In the year 2000, high-school sophomore Vanessa returns to her Maine boarding school, Browick, still deflated from last year's falling-out with her best friend. Encouraged to pick up an extracurricular activity, she joins the creative-writing club helmed by her English teacher, Mr. Strane. Soon he is just Strane, a fortysomething man who compliments her poems and the color of her hair, introduces her to Lolita and Poe's ""Annabel Lee,"" and touches her knee when no one's looking. She falls for him, hard. In the other time line in Russell's debut, it's 2017, Vanessa is working in a hotel, and a younger Browick alum has just publicly accused Strane of sexual misconduct while she was a student. A bomb dropped halfway through the novel impacts both story lines significantly. Narrating in present tense, Vanessa is easy to sympathize with, and her story is hard to stop reading. On another level, Russell realistically portrays how this sort of thing could happen Strane's diabolical manipulation, Vanessa's confused love even as Vanessa can't see it or understand how it hurts her. Empathetic, incendiary, and discussable.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: With dozens of international rights sold and a massive publicity campaign, this is being touted as a defining novel of the #MeToo era.--Annie Bostrom Copyright 2019 Booklist

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

Library Journal DEBUT At age 15, Vanessa had a relationship with her 42-year-old English teacher, Jacob Strane, who claims to love her for her emotional intelligence and creative writing abilities. At least that's what she tells us nearly two decades later, when another student has called out Strane for their sexual activity and starts a social media firestorm. It also starts Vanessa thinking. She had always believed that she and Strane shared true love and defends him now against this student's so-called lies, but what really happened? Vanessa must decide whether she was a victim or willing participant, which of course raises the question of how willing you can be at age 15 in an unequal power relationship. As Vanessa slowly unpacks what happened, we see her youthful and ongoing denial, the impact of events on her still unsure self, how sedulous Strane was in drawing her in, how unabashed he remains, how much she needed and still needs to believe they had something special, and how she still takes Strane as a measure. VERDICT A deeply relevant debut that the author has been writing since age 16, drawing on her own experiences, and the reading enlightens even as it chills. [See Prepub Alert, 7/1/19.]—Donna Bettencourt, Mesa Cty. P.L., Grand Junction, CO

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

Publishers Weekly Russell offers readers an introspective narrative that fully captures the complexity and necessity of the #MeToo movement in her powerful debut. In the year 2000, Vanessa Wye is a lonely sophomore at Maine’s Browick boarding school. The academically gifted 15-year-old professes not to mind her solitude, especially when her 42-year-old English teacher, Jacob Strane, begins to pay attention to her, remarking on her red hair and fashion sense, and lending her some of his favorite books—including Nabokov’s Lolita. Almost before Vanessa realizes what’s happening, the two have embarked on a sexual relationship, and Vanessa is convinced she’s been singled out as someone truly special—until, under threat of exposure, their relationship begins to go off the rails. Seventeen years later, Vanessa is still occasionally in contact with Jacob, but their relationship has grown tense, as another former student has gone public about his inappropriate advances. Russell’s novel, alternating between past and present, presents a damning indictment of sexual predation, as she starkly elucidates the ways in which abuse robbed Vanessa not only of her childhood but also of her own once-promising future. It also prompts readers to interrogate their own assumptions about victimhood, consent, and agency. This is a frighteningly sharp debut. Agent: Hillary Jacobson, ICM Partners. (Jan.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Rebecca Caudill Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Mick Harte Was Here
by Barbara Park

Publishers Weekly : "I don't want to make you cry. I just want to tell you about Mick. But I thought you should know right up front that he's not here anymore. I just thought that would be fair." Phoebe, the eighth-grade narrator of Park's (Buddies; Don't Make Me Smile) heart-wrenching novel, weaves together diverting anecdotes about her endearingly eccentric brother with her reactions, and those of her parents, to his death in a bicycle accident at the age of 12. The genius of this novel is Park's ability to make the events excruciatingly real while entirely avoiding the mawkish; likable Phoebe's frank, at times even funny narration will leave readers feeling as though they've known the girl-and Mick-for a very long time. Park's ability to convey so affectingly both the individual and collective pain of this family's members is remarkable. She focuses on small moments-the father closing the door to Mick's room upon returning from the hospital; the mother covering her ears because she cannot bear Phoebe's talk about her brother. But the novel has another crucial dimension in that it stresses the importance of wearing bike helmets. Midway through the story, in response to Phoebe's misplaced sense of guilt, Phoebe's father introduces the subject: "He heaved a God-awful sigh and whispered, `If only I had made him wear his helmet.'" The message is skillfully reprised toward the conclusion, in a powerful scene in which Phoebe overcomes her own pain and anger to participate in a school assembly on bicycle safety. An author's note at the end reinforces the message. To Park's great credit, the lesson never dominates-the story reads not as a cautionary tale, but as a full-fledged and fully convincing drama. Ages 8-12.

Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : Thirteen-year-old Phoebe works through raw grief and depression after her younger brother, Mick, is killed in a bicycle accident. A loving family, a sense of humor, and memories of mischievous Mick give Phoebe the strength she needs to speak about her brother at a school assembly.

Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

1549 Dewitt St. Ellsworth, IA 50075  |  Phone: 515-836-4852
Powered by: YouSeeMore © The Library Corporation (TLC)