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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Shadowshaper
by Daniel Jose Older

Publishers Weekly In Older's (Half-Resurrection Blues) YA debut, Sierra Santiago is from Bedford-Stuyvesant, parties in Park Slope, and crashes Columbia University with ease. Sierra's roots in her neighborhood are three generations deep, but no part of the city is alien to her. She loves art, and painting a mural on an abandoned building is the focus of her summer. Abruptly, her stroke-disoriented grandfather urges her to hurry the project-and then she is attacked by what looks like a walking corpse. What follows is a well-executed plot of the exceptional child with a mysterious history standing forth to save her world, aided by a similarly gifted romantic interest. What makes Older's story exceptional is the way Sierra belongs in her world, grounded in family, friends, and an awareness of both history and change. Her goal is to go deeper into that history and, by so doing, effect change of her own. Sierra's masterful adaptability is most apparent in her language, which moves among English and Spanish, salsa and rap, formality and familiarity with an effortlessness that simultaneously demonstrates Older's mastery of his medium. Ages 14-up. Agent: Eddie Schneider, JABberwocky Literary Agency. (June) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* When Sierra's grandfather warns her to finish her mural because the paintings are fading, she is puzzled, but the only person willing to help her find answers is talented artist Robbie, and even he is reticent. Determined, Sierra finally learns the truth: her grandfather was a powerful shadowshaper, able to animate art with the spirit of a departed soul, and now an interloper, anthropologist Dr. Wick, is trying to steal these powers for himself. As Sierra investigates the shadowshapers, she discovers her own shockingly powerful role in the disappearing community. Apart from being an awesome power, shadowshaping becomes a resonant metaphor for the importance of cultural heritage, as Puerto Rican Sierra and Haitian Robbie draw on and amplify their ancestors' spirits, and their primary concern is keeping their honorable tradition alive in their community. Older's world building echoes that, too, weaving in timely commentary on gentrification, cultural appropriation, and even the shifting social mores of immigrant communities (especially evident in Sierra chafing against her grandfather's machismo). Even if readers don't recognize Older's crafty commentary, they will find plenty to like in the unique fantasy elements, entertainingly well-wrought characters, and cinematic pacing. Smart writing with a powerful message that never overwhelms the terrific storytelling.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-The 2015 SLJ Best Book follows Afro-Latina Sierra Santiago as she discovers that she's part of a long line of shadowshapers, people with the ability to infuse magic into their art in order to fight off demons. The Brooklyn teen embraces her Blackness and defends it against the critique of her family members-a powerful statement in YA lit. Fresh dialogue and exceptional world-building will have readers anticipating further adventures in the upcoming Shadowhouse Fall slated for September 2017. 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 7 Up-Summer has just started, and Sierra plans to enjoy it, hanging out with her friends in their Brooklyn neighborhood and painting a mural at the local junklot. Then things start to get weird. While she is talking to fellow artist Robbie at the first party of the summer, a zombielike creature disrupts things, Robbie disappears, and she is left to discover that she lives in a world full of magic that she knows nothing about. As she slowly pieces together the mystery of her heritage, Sierra discovers her own powers of ancestral magic and battles the evil professor who is trying to steal them. Robbie is a clear love interest, but he isn't there to rescue Sierra. Sierra is a tough, confident, body-positive female protagonist of Puerto Rican descent, proud of her 'fro and curves. The fact that she and Robbie seem to be connecting romantically is portrayed as more of a happy coincidence than the culmination of a lifelong dream of romance. Dialogue is fast paced and authentic to Sierra's Brooklyn neighborhood, which is vividly described. Readers will find someone to whom they can relate in her diverse group of friends. VERDICT Excellent diverse genre fiction in an appealing package.-Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH Copyright 2014. 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 How Raven Got His Crooked Nose: An Alaskan Dena ina Fable.
by Mindy Dwyer

Horn Book When Granddaughter rushes and spills blueberries, Grandmother explains how trickster raven Chulyen's nose became bent because he hurried. After Chulyen loses his beak, an old woman uses it as a tool; Chulyen steals his nose back, but without noticing it's now worn and crooked. Sprightly comic-style art and the inclusion of Dena'ina words make this an engaging retelling from southern Alaska. Reading list. Glos. (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.

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2-A grandmother shares a traditional Dena'ina tale about Raven, an oft-featured trickster deity in Alaskan Native mythology. The Dena'ina people live in Southcentral Alaska, part of the Athabascan language group and this tale was passed on from an elder to the authors (his niece and great nephew). In the book, the grandmother and child perform traditional activities (berry picking, salmon fishing, and cleaning) in a contemporary setting while she retells the story. (One quibble regarding the chronology of the artwork: the pair is first shown cleaning a fish and next they are shown catching one, which may confuse young readers.) The font and illustration style differ in the present narrative and the animal fable. The scenes of the retelling are visually strong; their bold style pays homage to traditional painting and mask styles. In comparison, the artwork accompanying the matriarch and her grandchild looks amateurish. Laced throughout are Dena'ina words with pronunciation guides. Back matter includes more information on Dena'ina storytelling and people, a glossary, and suggested further reading. These provide only the briefest glimpses into a complex culture, but will round out the story sufficiently for most readers and encourage the curious to seek more information. The conversational writing style and the clean layout design make this an easy read-aloud choice to share with a group. VERDICT A fine addition to nonfiction collections to highlight Dena'ina culture and traditional stories.-Elizabeth Nicolai, Anchorage Public Library, AK 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.

Kirkus A young Alaskan Dena'ina granddaughter rushes so much that her grandmother tells her about Chulyen, the raven.Chulyen's nose was once straight and beautiful. Being a trickster though, Chulyen often got into trouble. One day, he wakes without his nose (and is far too embarrassed ever to explain how it happened). Later, a Chida (old woman) finds Chulyen's missing nose and uses it as a tool until it becomes bent and worn. Chulyen decides he should use his powers to change into a human, then creates an army of sand people to scare the villagers away. He hurriedly searches Chida's house, finally finding his nose just as his magic is fading, and jams it back ononly later to discover that it's crooked and will stay that way. Both authorsa mother and sonare of Dena'ina heritage and grew up listening to community elders' stories. In this retelling, which is gently laced with Dena'ina vocabulary, readers learn not only a cautionary tale, but also facts about the culture, both as Chida uses Chulyen's nose in her work and in a closing note and glossary. Dwyer's illustrations range from soft tones when depicting the modern-day human characters to stark contrasting colors and bold patterns with Chulyen, the trickster raven.Both entertaining and instructive, a refreshing breath of air from the far north. (further reading) (Picture book/folktale. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In a visually striking yet rather muddied retelling of a native Alaskan myth, a grandmother recites a story to her granddaughter about Chulyen, or Raven, to demonstrate how "it is always best to take our time and do things right." Working in graphic novel-style panels, Dwyer introduces Chulyen, who is boldly depicted with patterned black and purple plumage and lime-green eyes. After losing his beak in an unidentified accident, the bird fastens on a replacement beak made from white bark and goes to find his old one ("When he really thought about it, Chulyen did know where his nose was"). An elderly woman has found it on the shore and is using it as a household tool. In an especially surreal interlude, Raven changes himself into humanesque form, standing on long, black legs and wearing a feathery blue-black beard. Stealing into the woman's home, he finds his beak, but "because of his rush, he jammed it back on without care," causing it to be forever crooked. Dwyer's use of strong contrasting colors brings a fresh, modern sensibility to this tale, while patterns and motifs are suggestive of traditional Dena'ina art. Ages 5-8. (Apr.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Independent Booksellers List
Click to search this book in our catalog Men Explain Things To Me
by Rebecca Solnit Haymarket

Library Journal This production includes Solnit's influential "mansplaining" essay, which addresses the widespread phenomenon of men believing that they know what they're talking about (even when they don't) while women don't (even when they do). The work also includes six other previously printed pieces that challenge the conversations and assumptions that go on between women and men. For Solnit, it's more than conversation that falters-it's the entire spectrum of male-assumed agency, from morality mongers and traditional marriage dynamics to violence against women and rape culture. Women too often doubt themselves, and it is that misplaced humility that cedes ground to mansplainers of all stripes. This is a powerful, spare work, yet laced with the saving grace of humor. Narrator Luci Christian deftly balances the tonal shifts. Verdict Recommended.-Kelly Sinclair, Temple P.L., TX 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.

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Where The Crawdads Sing
by Delia Owens

Library Journal Owens (The Eye of the Elephant: An Epic Adventure in the African Wilderness), an experienced nature writer, puts her background to good use in her debut novel. Her descriptions of the Carolina coastal marsh add vibrancy to this story of Kya Clark, known as the Marsh Girl, who has survived alone there for years. Kya's story is intertwined with a 1969 murder mystery in which Kya is the chief suspect. The nature writing is lyrical, and narrator Cassandra Campbell does it justice. Unfortunately, the somewhat implausible mystery plot does not measure up to the quality of the nature prose, but the characters will keep listeners engaged. -Verdict A selection of Reese Witherspoon's book club, this should be a popular addition for most fiction collections despite its flaws.-Cynthia Jensen, Gladys Harrington Lib., Plano, TX 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.

Kirkus A wild child's isolated, dirt-poor upbringing in a Southern coastal wilderness fails to shield her from heartbreak or an accusation of murder."The Marsh Girl," "swamp trash"Catherine "Kya" Clark is a figure of mystery and prejudice in the remote North Carolina coastal community of Barkley Cove in the 1950s and '60s. Abandoned by a mother no longer able to endure her drunken husband's beatings and then by her four siblings, Kya grows up in the careless, sometimes-savage company of her father, who eventually disappears, too. Alone, virtually or actually, from age 6, Kya learns both to be self-sufficient and to find solace and company in her fertile natural surroundings. Owens (Secrets of the Savanna, 2006, etc.), the accomplished co-author of several nonfiction books on wildlife, is at her best reflecting Kya's fascination with the birds, insects, dappled light, and shifting tides of the marshes. The girl's collections of shells and feathers, her communion with the gulls, her exploration of the wetlands are evoked in lyrical phrasing which only occasionally tips into excess. But as the child turns teenager and is befriended by local boy Tate Walker, who teaches her to read, the novel settles into a less magical, more predictable pattern. Interspersed with Kya's coming-of-age is the 1969 murder investigation arising from the discovery of a man's body in the marsh. The victim is Chase Andrews, "star quarterback and town hot shot," who was once Kya's lover. In the eyes of a pair of semicomic local police officers, Kya will eventually become the chief suspect and must stand trial. By now the novel's weaknesses have become apparent: the monochromatic characterization (good boy Tate, bad boy Chase) and implausibilities (Kya evolves into a polymatha published writer, artist, and poet), yet the closing twist is perhaps its most memorable oddity.Despite some distractions, there's an irresistible charm to Owens' first foray into nature-infused romantic fiction. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly In Owens's evocative debut, Kya Clark is a young woman growing up practically on her own in the wild marshes outside Barkley Cove, a small coastal community in North Carolina. In 1969, local lothario Chase Andrews is found dead, and Kya, now 23 and known as the "Marsh Girl," is suspected of his murder. As the local sheriff and his deputy gather evidence against her, the narrative flashes back to 1952 to tell Kya's story. Abandoned at a young age by her mother, she is left in the care of her hard-drinking father. Unable to fit in at school, Kya grows up ignorant until a shrimper's son, Tate Walker, befriends her and teaches her how to read. After Tate goes off to college, Kya meets Chase, with whom she begins a tempestuous relationship. The novel culminates in a long trial, with Kya's fate hanging in the balance. Kya makes for an unforgettable heroine. Owens memorably depicts the small-town drama and courtroom theatrics, but perhaps best of all is her vivid portrayal of the singular North Carolina setting. (Aug.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Owens' (Secrets of the Savanna, 2006) first novel is a leisurely, lyrical tale of a young woman growing up in isolation in the 1950s and 60s, in a marsh on the North Carolina coast. Kya is abandoned by her troubled mother when she is only six. Soon after, her four, much-older siblings leave, as does her alcoholic father a couple of years later. As Kya matures and teaches herself to be a naturalist, she is torn between two slightly older boys: kind, observant Tate and rascally, attractive Chase. Chase dies falling from a fire tower in his twenties, and the investigation of his possible murder, which alternates with the story of Kya's coming-of-age, provides much of the novel's suspense. Because the characters are painted in broad, unambiguous strokes, this is not so much a naturalistic novel as a mythic one, with its appeal rising from Kya's deep connection to the place where she makes her home, and to all of its creatures.--Margaret Quamme Copyright 2018 Booklist

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

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Scary Stories for Young Foxes
by Christian McKay Heidicker,

Book list Heidicker (Attack of the 50-Foot Wallflower, 2018) deftly transitions from YA to middle-grade fiction with his account of seven fox kits on the prowl for scary bedtime stories. Cute, right? Only if you find the anxious cowering of both kids and kits endearing. But for a certain type of reader those lost in a battered copy of Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark this is exactly the kind of book they're hunting for. The vulpine siblings venture into Antler Wood to find Bog Cavern, a place, their mother has cautioned, where an old storyteller lives who will tell them a story so frightening it will put the white in your tail. This is no exaggeration: the storyteller doles out two tales of two kits, Mia and Uly, who endure different horrors, from injuries to hunters' traps to rabid animals, eventually bringing their narratives together. Throughout, the stories are punctuated with unsettling black-and-white illustrations and pauses to momentarily shift the focus back to the original seven kits, effectively building suspense and providing momentary relief for the storyteller's audience. As the tensions and dangers build, the siblings' numbers dwindle as they slip away for the comfort of their den. Kids able to brave the harrowing adventures of Mia and Uly are in for a chilling roller coaster of a read.--Julia Smith Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly An ancient fox storyteller presents eight interwoven tales to seven intrepid fox kits in this inventive middle-grade debut by Heidicker (Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower). The kits’ eyes are opened to real-world trauma as they follow the harrowing journeys of Mia and Uly, two young foxes who encounter disease, humans, predators, hunger, separation, and loss. As each tale grows progressively darker, the kits must question their fearlessness and consider returning to the safety of their mother’s side. Heidicker ratchets up the tension as his protagonists encounter poisonous snakes, a rabies-like affliction called the yellow, an abusive fox father, author Beatrix Potter moonlighting as a taxidermist, light body horror, and more. Beguiling, intricate, black-and-white illustrations enrich the text, while the narrative framing device offers distance from the bleakness that Mia and Uly face. Heidicker presents but doesn’t fully develop themes of loss and anthropogenic change, and readers may gloss over them as they fly through the swiftly moving story. An entertaining read for those who enjoy spooky animal thrills. Ages 9–12. Agent: John M. Cusick, Folio Literary. (Aug.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus Two young foxes struggle to survive predators, the elements, and their families.In a frame, seven fox kits are eager to hear some scary stories. For "a story so frightening it will put the white in your tail," their mother sends them to "the old storyteller," an elderly fox in a cavern, who proceeds to spin a tale of vulpine horror. At first the stories seem unrelated; Mia is separated from her loving family, while Uly is exiled. Soon the kits' stories intertwine as the horrors they survive increase and multiply. After a rocky start prosewise (repetitive adjectives, slightly ornate descriptions), the story picks up, and the "scary stories" border on downright disturbing. There's domestic horrorMia survives an encounter with her beloved teacher, who's gone rabid, and Uly is terrorized by his sisters and father because he's disabled. Later Mia is trapped by Beatrix Potter, who murders animals after using them as inspiration for her stories, and Uly is attacked by a Golgathursh, "a whirlwind of scaly limbs." Ethereal sketches in what looks like charcoal add to the atmosphere, with appealing fox kits set against menacing backgrounds. The stomach-clenching fear and suspense are resolved by a happy ending, but some readerssensitive animal lovers especiallymay have a hard time reaching it. Similarly, the abuse that Uly faces from his family due to his disability may be painful to read.Dark and skillfully distressing, this is a story for the bold. (Horror. 9-14) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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