Featured Book Lists
ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Salt to the Sea.
by Sepetys, Ruta

Book list Gr. 5-8. Igus' prose poems and Wood's evocative paintings combine to give a succinct overview of African American music. A useful time line sets the social context, and brief paragraphs describe the various types of music, from African origins and slave songs through ragtime; the blues; big band, bebop, and cool jazz; gospel; rhythm and blues; and the contemporary sounds of rock, hip-hop, and rap. Igus effectively uses snippets from song lyrics to communicate both a feel for the music itself and a sense of how the various styles played to the emotions of the musicians and their fans ("From the basements to the rooftops, / I see the cool tones of modern jazz / escape the city heat"). Wood's paintings are equally suggestive. Mixing modernist and primitive styles and using color nicely to communicate musical style and tone, her art not only complements the text but vivifies it. Audience may be a problem: the supportive text is too sophisticated for younger readers to grasp themselves, and the format may alienate some older readers. Perhaps best used in a junior-high classroom with audio accompaniment, this striking book, in the hands of a creative teacher or librarian, could give kids a feeling for the majesty, creativity, and continuity of African American music. (Reviewed February 15, 1998)0892391510Bill Ott

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

Kirkus The collaborators on Going Back Home (1997) return with a stunning history of African-American music. They begin 500 years ago, on the African continent, chronicle the slave trade, and document the work songs and spirituals of American slaves. The blues, ragtime, jazz, gospel, R&B, rock, funk, rap, and hip hop all come under scrutiny in free-verse poems that incorporate lyrics about and the rhythms of every style. In addition, Igus has added a brief description of each musical movement and a terrific timeline noting highlights of African-American history--both musical and more general information--which roots the whole book in a broader context. Wood's vibrant paintings are based in historical detail, and resonate with emotion. The color choices, postures of the figures, as well as the expressions on their faces, reflect various aspects of African-American music; the pictures broadcast joy, innovation, and exuberance in the face of systematic oppression. A child hidden in each scene adds a nice piece of personality for readers to interpret. Stylish and lively design pulls it all together into an absorbing, attractive package. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Stormy: A Story about Finding a Forever Home.
by Guojing

Kirkus This wordless story details the developing friendship between a homeless dog and a kind, patient young woman.The scruffy dog has floppy ears and long, reddish hair, and the light-skinned woman has long hair of the same auburn shade. The story is set in a modern city and a nearby park with a huge tree and a wooden bench that serves as the only shelter for the dog at night. When the woman comes to read on the bench, she spots the shy dog, gradually befriending the appealing canine over several visits by playing with a tennis ball. One night the dog follows the woman to her apartment building, waiting outside in the rain for her to reappear even as the woman goes back to the park in the pelting rain to search for the dog. In an emotionally satisfying reunion they find each other outside the apartment, and the woman takes the dog into her home. The heartwarming conclusion shows the dog sleeping on the end of the woman's bed as morning sunlight streams in the windows. Skillfully composed illustrations in a muted palette alternate between small panels in rows and full-page spreads with dramatic effects in mood and lighting. The narrative is conveyed so capably through the compelling illustrations that not a word is needed.A touching tale about the strong emotional connection between dog and human. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list A small, curly-haired dog huddles alone under a park bench. When a young woman sits down, she is drawn to the stray, who runs away. The next day, she returns with a ball. As the two interact from a distance, the cautious dog slowly warms up, never coming too close. After the third day, as the woman walks back to her apartment, she doesn't see the dog follow her home. A terrible thunderstorm strikes that night, and while the dog shivers in a box near her doorway, the woman hurries off to the park on a rescue mission. When she returns home dejected, she finally notices the frightened, dripping stray and takes her new friend inside. Guojing (The Only Child, 2015) presents this wordless story in clean-cut panels interspersed with full-bleed spreads. Evocative pencil-and-watercolor images use a soft color palette sepia tones in daylight, grays and blues at night to emphasize the warmth developing between the woman and dog. The dramatic, elegantly designed illustrations bring an astounding power to an otherwise simple story, capturing nuanced emotion through movement, posture, and color. Brimming with golden-hued love, this is a book that successfully appeals to our most basic human sentiment, perfect for anyone who appreciates Guojing's accomplished visual style as well as for dog-lovers of all ages.--Lucinda Whitehurst Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 1–4—Guojing's wordless picture book follow-up to The Only Child is a story of patience and building trust in new relationships. A small, stray dog lives under a park bench and is visited by a young woman who repeatedly tries to connect with the pup, eventually using the element of play and the lure of playing ball. After one day of ball, without the woman knowing, the dog follows her home and that night a storm eventually brings the two permanently together. On the surface this is a simple story, but Guojing's artistic techniques draw readers in to each quiet, tender, fearful moment and allows them to understand the trauma that comes from living in insecurity. Using pencil and watercolor, her emotive use of light shows the sense of loneliness and isolation that happens in the shadows. Pages move from panels to full spreads that offer pacing and pauses to match the ebbs and flows of the building relationship. Just like the young woman gives the dog the space it needs, Guojing gives readers moments to stop and feel the emotion. VERDICT This beautifully illustrated book will appeal to a wide range of ages, can spark conversations around houselessness and insecurity, or just be enjoyed as a tale of a dog finding a "forever home."—Danielle Jones, Multnomah County Library, OR

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

Publishers Weekly Accomplished panel artwork by Guojing (The Only Child) tells a wordless story about a young woman who spots a shaggy stray in a park. The dog stays behind when she leaves, and it’s there when she returns; she’s determined to lure it closer, but it won’t approach. Guojing’s panels convey the young woman’s patience as she uses a ball to build a bond with the stray. As the day ends, the light shifts from silvery cloudiness to golden rays of sunset. Readers see the dog trail the woman home, carrying its ball, then, in one of the story’s heart-tugging moments, sit in front of her apartment gazing up at her window. That night, a storm drives the hound into a discarded box as the woman dashes back to the park. A series of tense crosscut panels depict her frantic search amid sheets of rain, her downcast return, and the moment she spies the pup. From then on, warmth and love enter the dog’s life—and the woman’s. Guojing paces the story to rock emotionally between the dog’s lonely existence and the woman’s offer of love, building all the way to a joyful conclusion. Ages 3–7. Agent: Isabel Atherton, Creative Authors. (Sept.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog So You Want to be President
by David Small

Publishers Weekly : HThis lighthearted, often humorous roundup of anecdotes and trivia is cast as a handbook of helpful hints to aspiring presidential candidates. St. George (Sacagawea; Crazy Horse) points out that it might boost your odds of being elected if your name is James (the moniker of six former presidents) or if your place of birth was a humble dwelling ("You probably weren't born in a log cabin. That's too bad. People are crazy about log-cabin Presidents. They elected eight"). She serves up diverse, occasionally tongue-in-cheek tidbits and spices the narrative with colorful quotes from her subjects. For instance, she notes that "Warren Harding was a handsome man, but he was one of our worst Presidents" due to his corrupt administration, and backs it up with one of his own quotes, "I am not fit for this office and never should have been here." Meanwhile, Small (The Gardener) shows Harding crowned king of a "Presidential Beauty Contest"; all the other presidents applaud him (except for a grimacing Nixon). The comical, caricatured artwork emphasizes some of the presidents' best known qualities and amplifies the playful tone of the text. For an illustration of family histories, Small depicts eight diminutive siblings crawling over a patient young George Washington; for another featuring pre-presidential occupations, Harry Truman stands at the cash register of his men's shop while Andrew Johnson (a former tailor) makes alterations on movie star Ronald Reagan's suit. The many clever, quirky asides may well send readers off on a presidential fact-finding missionDand spark many a discussion of additional anecdotes. A clever and engrossing approach to the men who have led America. Ages 7-up. (Aug.)

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

School Library Journal : Gr 4-8-Curious tidbits of personal information and national history combine with humorously drawn caricatures to give this tongue-in-cheek picture book a quirky appeal. "There are good things about being President and there are bad things about being President." So begins a walk through a brief history of facts, successes, oddities, and mishaps. For example, most readers won't know that William Howard Taft weighed over 300 pounds and ordered a specially made bathtub. Small's drawing of a naked Taft being lowered into a water-filled tub by means of a crane should help them remember. Another spread depicts a men's shop where Andrew Johnson (a tailor) fits Ronald Reagan (an actor) for a suit while Harry Truman (a haberdasher) stands behind the counter. While the text exposes the human side of the individuals, the office of the presidency is ultimately treated with respect and dignity. A list of presidents with terms of office, birthplace, date of birth and death, and a one-sentence summary of their accomplishments is provided. This title will add spark to any study of this popular subject.-Alicia Eames, New York City Public Schools

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

Independent Booksellers List
Click to search this book in our catalog Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn

Book list Gr. 5-8. Igus' prose poems and Wood's evocative paintings combine to give a succinct overview of African American music. A useful time line sets the social context, and brief paragraphs describe the various types of music, from African origins and slave songs through ragtime; the blues; big band, bebop, and cool jazz; gospel; rhythm and blues; and the contemporary sounds of rock, hip-hop, and rap. Igus effectively uses snippets from song lyrics to communicate both a feel for the music itself and a sense of how the various styles played to the emotions of the musicians and their fans ("From the basements to the rooftops, / I see the cool tones of modern jazz / escape the city heat"). Wood's paintings are equally suggestive. Mixing modernist and primitive styles and using color nicely to communicate musical style and tone, her art not only complements the text but vivifies it. Audience may be a problem: the supportive text is too sophisticated for younger readers to grasp themselves, and the format may alienate some older readers. Perhaps best used in a junior-high classroom with audio accompaniment, this striking book, in the hands of a creative teacher or librarian, could give kids a feeling for the majesty, creativity, and continuity of African American music. (Reviewed February 15, 1998)0892391510Bill Ott

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

Kirkus The collaborators on Going Back Home (1997) return with a stunning history of African-American music. They begin 500 years ago, on the African continent, chronicle the slave trade, and document the work songs and spirituals of American slaves. The blues, ragtime, jazz, gospel, R&B, rock, funk, rap, and hip hop all come under scrutiny in free-verse poems that incorporate lyrics about and the rhythms of every style. In addition, Igus has added a brief description of each musical movement and a terrific timeline noting highlights of African-American history--both musical and more general information--which roots the whole book in a broader context. Wood's vibrant paintings are based in historical detail, and resonate with emotion. The color choices, postures of the figures, as well as the expressions on their faces, reflect various aspects of African-American music; the pictures broadcast joy, innovation, and exuberance in the face of systematic oppression. A child hidden in each scene adds a nice piece of personality for readers to interpret. Stylish and lively design pulls it all together into an absorbing, attractive package. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Carrie Soto Is Back
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Kirkus A retired tennis player returns to the game to defend her Grand Slam record. Carrie Soto is the best tennis player in the world, and she knows it. Her father, Javier, is a former tennis champion himself, and he's dedicated his life to coaching her. By the time she retires in 1989, she holds the record for winning 20 Grand Slam singles titles. But then, in 1994, Nicki Chan comes along. Nicki is on the verge of breaking Carrie’s record, and Carrie decides she can’t let that happen: She’s coming out of retirement, with her father coaching her, to defend her record…and her reputation. Carrie was never a friendly player, preferring to focus on both a brutal game and brutal honesty, and now the media has a field day with her return to the sport as a 37-year-old. At times, it seems like everyone is waiting for her to fail, but when Carrie wants something, she doesn’t give up easily. Along the way, she reconnects with Bowe Huntley, a 39-year-old tennis player she once had a fling with. Now they need to help each other train, but Carrie quickly realizes she might need him for more than just tennis—if she can let herself be vulnerable for the first time in her life. Reid writes about the game with suspense, transforming a tennis match into a page-turner even for readers who don’t care about sports. Will Carrie win? And, more importantly, will she finally make time for a life outside of winning? Reid has scored another victory and created another memorable heroine with Carrie Soto, a brash, often unlikable character whose complexity makes her leap off the page. Sports commentators may call her “The Battle Axe” or worse, but readers will root for her both on and off the court. A compulsively readable look at female ambition. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list From a young age, Carrie Soto wanted to be the greatest tennis player ever. Javier, her father, is a tennis instructor, and Carrie grows up on the courts, where she’s her father’s star pupil. Her drive and her natural abilities make her a formidable force, and she quickly climbs the ranks of elite players. But her record-setting career ends with a knee injury, and she retires at age 31. Several years later, one of Carrie’s records is in jeopardy thanks to phenom Nicki Chan, and Carrie launches her comeback, working alongside her father to get back into the game. Reid captures the excitement of elite sports in her descriptions of Carrie’s games, as well as the struggle that women athletes face when their ambition and confidence is “too much.” But the most affecting moments are when Carrie lets her guard down and shows the woman behind the myth—a woman scarred by the loss of her mother at an early age and afraid to show her gentle side because she doesn’t want to appear weak. It’s another triumph for best-selling author Reid, and her growing number of fans will be thrilled to see cameo appearances from characters from her earlier books. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Reid's previous works (like Daisy Jones & the Six, 2019) have been phenomenal hits, so expect no less from her latest.

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

Kirkus A retired tennis player returns to the game to defend her Grand Slam record.Carrie Soto is the best tennis player in the world, and she knows it. Her father, Javier, is a former tennis champion himself, and he's dedicated his life to coaching her. By the time she retires in 1989, she holds the record for winning 20 Grand Slam singles titles. But then, in 1994, Nicki Chan comes along. Nicki is on the verge of breaking Carries record, and Carrie decides she cant let that happen: Shes coming out of retirement, with her father coaching her, to defend her recordand her reputation. Carrie was never a friendly player, preferring to focus on both a brutal game and brutal honesty, and now the media has a field day with her return to the sport as a 37-year-old. At times, it seems like everyone is waiting for her to fail, but when Carrie wants something, she doesnt give up easily. Along the way, she reconnects with Bowe Huntley, a 39-year-old tennis player she once had a fling with. Now they need to help each other train, but Carrie quickly realizes she might need him for more than just tennisif she can let herself be vulnerable for the first time in her life. Reid writes about the game with suspense, transforming a tennis match into a page-turner even for readers who dont care about sports. Will Carrie win? And, more importantly, will she finally make time for a life outside of winning? Reid has scored another victory and created another memorable heroine with Carrie Soto, a brash, often unlikable character whose complexity makes her leap off the page. Sports commentators may call her The Battle Axe or worse, but readers will root for her both on and off the court.A compulsively readable look at female ambition. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman

Publishers Weekly : Starred Review. A lavish middle-grade novel, Gaiman's first since Coraline, this gothic fantasy almost lives up to its extravagant advance billing. The opening is enthralling: There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife. Evading the murderer who kills the rest of his family, a child roughly 18 months old climbs out of his crib, bumps his bottom down a steep stairway, walks out the open door and crosses the street into the cemetery opposite, where ghosts take him in. What mystery/horror/suspense reader could stop here, especially with Gaiman's talent for storytelling? The author riffs on the Jungle Book, folklore, nursery rhymes and history; he tosses in werewolves and hints at vampires—and he makes these figures seem like metaphors for transitions in childhood and youth. As the boy, called Nobody or Bod, grows up, the killer still stalking him, there are slack moments and some repetition—not enough to spoil a reader's pleasure, but noticeable all the same. When the chilling moments do come, they are as genuinely frightening as only Gaiman can make them, and redeem any shortcomings. Ages 10–up. (Oct.)

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

School Library Journal : Gr 5–8—Somewhere in contemporary Britain, "the man Jack" uses his razor-sharp knife to murder a family, but the youngest, a toddler, slips away. The boy ends up in a graveyard, where the ghostly inhabitants adopt him to keep him safe. Nobody Owens, so named because he "looks like nobody but himself," grows up among a multigenerational cast of characters from different historical periods that includes matronly Mistress Owens; ancient Roman Caius Pompeius; an opinionated young witch; a melodramatic hack poet; and Bod's beloved mentor and guardian, Silas, who is neither living nor dead and has secrets of his own. As he grows up, Bod has a series of adventures, both in and out of the graveyard, and the threat of the man Jack who continues to hunt for him is ever present. Bod's love for his graveyard family and vice versa provide the emotional center, amid suspense, spot-on humor, and delightful scene-setting. The child Bod's behavior is occasionally too precocious to be believed, and a series of puns on the name Jack render the villain a bit less frightening than he should be, though only momentarily. Aside from these small flaws, however, Gaiman has created a rich, surprising, and sometimes disturbing tale of dreams, ghouls, murderers, trickery, and family.—Megan Honig, New York Public Library

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

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog Tara Road
by Maeve Binchy

Library Journal: Abandoned by her husband, a Dublin woman named Ria meets American Marilyn via the phone, and they end up swapping houses--with surprise results.

Copyright 1998 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Rebecca Caudill Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins

Publishers Weekly : Starred Review. SignatureReviewed by Megan Whalen TurnerIf there really are only seven original plots in the world, it's odd that boy meets girl is always mentioned, and society goes bad and attacks the good guy never is. Yet we have Fahrenheit 451, The Giver, The House of the Scorpion—and now, following a long tradition of Brave New Worlds, The Hunger Games. Collins hasn't tied her future to a specific date, or weighted it down with too much finger wagging. Rather less 1984 and rather more Death Race 2000, hers is a gripping story set in a postapocalyptic world where a replacement for the United States demands a tribute from each of its territories: two children to be used as gladiators in a televised fight to the death.Katniss, from what was once Appalachia, offers to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, but after this ultimate sacrifice, she is entirely focused on survival at any cost. It is her teammate, Peeta, who recognizes the importance of holding on to one's humanity in such inhuman circumstances. It's a credit to Collins's skill at characterization that Katniss, like a new Theseus, is cold, calculating and still likable. She has the attributes to be a winner, where Peeta has the grace to be a good loser.It's no accident that these games are presented as pop culture. Every generation projects its fear: runaway science, communism, overpopulation, nuclear wars and, now, reality TV. The State of Panem—which needs to keep its tributaries subdued and its citizens complacent—may have created the Games, but mindless television is the real danger, the means by which society pacifies its citizens and punishes those who fail to conform. Will its connection to reality TV, ubiquitous today, date the book? It might, but for now, it makes this the right book at the right time. What happens if we choose entertainment over humanity? In Collins's world, we'll be obsessed with grooming, we'll talk funny, and all our sentences will end with the same rise as questions. When Katniss is sent to stylists to be made more telegenic before she competes, she stands naked in front of them, strangely unembarrassed. They're so unlike people that I'm no more self-conscious than if a trio of oddly colored birds were pecking around my feet, she thinks. In order not to hate these creatures who are sending her to her death, she imagines them as pets. It isn't just the contestants who risk the loss of their humanity. It is all who watch.Katniss struggles to win not only the Games but the inherent contest for audience approval. Because this is the first book in a series, not everything is resolved, and what is left unanswered is the central question. Has she sacrificed too much? We know what she has given up to survive, but not whether the price was too high. Readers will wait eagerly to learn more.Megan Whalen Turner is the author of the Newbery Honor book The Thief and its sequels, The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia. The next book in the series will be published by Greenwillow in 2010.

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

School Library Journal : Gr 7 Up?In a not-too-distant future, the United States of America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war, to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year, two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss?s young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district?s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, the son of the town baker who seems to have all the fighting skills of a lump of bread dough, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives. Collins?s characters are completely realistic and sympathetic as they form alliances and friendships in the face of overwhelming odds; the plot is tense, dramatic, and engrossing. This book will definitely resonate with the generation raised on reality shows like ?Survivor? and ?American Gladiator.? Book one of a planned trilogy.Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK

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

1204 Market St. Gowrie, IA 50543  |  Phone: 515-352-3315
Powered by: YouSeeMore © The Library Corporation (TLC)