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Agatha Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Well Read,Then Dead
by Rhys Bowen

Book list Sassy Cabot and Bridget Mayfield are trying to keep their bookstore and cafe, called Read 'Em and Eat, going in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, with clever literary-themed foods and book clubs. Then one of a pair of cousins who attend the book clubs is murdered, and the grieving cousin Augusta asks Sassy to find the killer. Victim Delia was rumored to own an island off the Gulf Coast, and developers had been hounding her to sell. Wreckers diving for treasure also want that land. Sassy, Bridget, and many of their customers and neighbors all chip in on the effort to solve the case. Moran effectively mixes sunken treasure with the bookstore ambience in this thoroughly cozy series debut.--Alessio, Amy Copyright 2014 Booklist

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

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 All of a Kind Family Hanukkah
by Emily Jenkins

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 3-Four-year-old Gertie, the youngest of five sisters growing up on the Lower East Side of New York City in the beginning of the 20th century, is frustrated that she can't help prepare the potato latkes for the first night of Hanukkah. Charlotte gets to peel the potatoes and Sarah grates them; Henny chops the onions; and Mama cracks the eggs and adds the salt and matzo meal. Big sister Ella picks up Gertie so she can see the two big frying pans hiss and smoke on the stove, but Mama is afraid that the grease will spit and burn her and sends Gertie to her room. Discouraged and angry, Gertie hides under the bed until Papa comes home and lures her out with gingersnaps. Though she isn't old enough to help make the latkes, she is old enough to help Papa light the menorah. And at dinner, Mama gives Gertie the first latke to try and it tastes "of history and freedom, of love and crispy potato." Zelinsky's expressive and textured illustrations done in yellow, blue, and red earth tones with thick, bold lines perfectly capture the love and warmth of a large family despite the modest and overcrowded living quarters. The back matter also provides information about Sydney Taylor, the author of the original All-of-a-Kind Family (first published in 1951), life on the Lower East Side, and additional background about Hanukkah. VERDICT While readers need not be familiar with the classic series, generations of parents who grew up with this unforgettable immigrant family will certainly welcome this new picture book as the perfect way to introduce these memorable characters to the next generation of readers.-Rachel Kamin, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, IL © 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.

Book list *Starred Review* The All-of-a-Kind Family gets new life in this handsome picture book that captures the charm of the classic middle-grade series. As with those books, about a Jewish family living on the Lower East Side of New York City at the turn of the last century, this brings readers close to the step-stair sisters Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte, and the four-year-old star of this book, Gertie. The family is getting ready for Hanukkah, which means lots of cleaning and cooking. Especially labor intensive are the potato latkes, the pancakes that are the culinary centerpiece of the festivities. But Gertie is too young to peel the potatoes or chop the onions. And the more she's not allowed to do, the angrier she gets, until a total meltdown ensues. Gertie is sent to her room. She hides under the bed until Papa saves the day and Gertie joins the family, just in time to say the blessings and enjoy a latke. Without concentrating too much on the details of the Hanukkah story, Jenkins captures the warmth the holiday engenders. Zelinsky does a masterful job with the artwork, drawing with bold strokes that have energy and emotion. Adults, especially those who love the original books, will appreciate his note, which details how he decided on the rough style he chose for his art. Here's hoping for more adventures starring these exceptional sisters.--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2018 Booklist

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

Horn Book This original story based on Sydney Taylor's characters is a perfect standalone Hanukkah read, or an inviting introduction to the All-of-a-Kind Family series. Four-year-old Gertie wants to help her older sisters prepare the holiday latkes. A tantrum ensues from left-out Gertie, but eventually she helps Papa light the menorah. Cozy present-tense text and thick-lined, expressive, color-saturated illustrations capture the loving family's happy bustle amid well-researched period details. Bib., 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.

Publishers Weekly When two top picture book talents (the team behind the Toys Go Out series) introduce a new generation to Sydney Taylor's classic stories of Jewish family life on the Lower East Side, it's what's known in Yiddish as a mechaye-something that gives great joy. The year is 1912, and Gertie, the youngest of five sisters, throws a tantrum after being told she's too little to be included in the Hanukkah preparations: "No, Mäusele," says Mama when Gertie wants to use the potato peeler, "It's too sharp." Sent to the communal bedroom for a time-out, Gertie sulks, then worries she'll miss Hanukkah altogether. But with some sweet, timeless Papa humor and an important responsibility-lighting the first night's candle-the girl feels welcomed back into the family fold. Jenkins captures a wealth of feelings with a few understated words: "The latkes taste of history and freedom, of love and crispy potato." Zelinsky's warm-toned, rough-hewn pictures and intimate perspectives give readers a sense of both the close quarters of tenement life and the unbreakable bonds that made immigrant Jewish families so resilient. Ages 3-7. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus The first night of Hanukkah brings initial disappointment but finally great happiness to the youngest of the family.It is 1912 on New York City's Lower East Side, and two sisters are hurrying home to their family to prepare for Hanukkah. Gertie is especially eager because Mama will be making potato pancakesa once-a-year treat for her "all of a kind" five daughters. At 4, the youngest, Gertie wants to help her older sisters, but Mama will not let her peel or grate the potatoes, chop the onions, or fry the pancakes in the schmaltz, triggering a tantrum. After Gertie's fit of anger, Mama takes her daughter to the bedroom, where she hides under the bed. It is Papa, a very wise father indeed, who knows what to say and how to make Gertie feel so special. She will recite the blessings with Papa and light the first candle. A festive dinner of chicken and latkes for the entire family follows. Writing with the support of the Sydney Taylor Foundation, Jenkins expertly captures the warm family spirit of the classic books and their time for a new generation of readers. Zelinsky's digital artwork brilliantly evokes the crowded but cozy tenement world of the early 20th century, while his use of perspective lovingly draws readers into the drama.Share this joyous holiday tale of a Jewish immigrant family all year long. (glossary, author's note, illustrator's note, link to latke recipe, sources) (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Bram Stoker Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog While the Black Stars Burn
by Lucy A. Snyder

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog The Rough Patch
by Brian Lies

Book list *Starred Review* Farmer Evan, portrayed as a fox in overalls, has a dog. Constant companions, they enjoy playing games, taking hikes, and working in the garden. But after the dog's death, Evan feels that nothing will be quite the same and so hacks his beloved garden to bits. Time passes. Weeds move in, and he lets the itchy, spiky-looking ones stay. He begins to tend a prickly vine, which eventually produces an enormous pumpkin. Feeling an old, familiar sense of excitement, Evan hauls his pumpkin to the local fair, where he enjoys the food, the games, and talking with old friends. His pumpkin wins him a prize: $10 or a puppy. He drives home with a new companion. Spare and beautifully phrased, the story is well told in the text. But Evan's emotions are most vividly conveyed in the artwork, created with acrylics, oils, and colored pencils. In the graveside scene, a shadow literally falls over Evan, while on the facing page, the phrase and nothing was the same appears on a light gray background, encroached by looming, chaotic darkness. Lies' rich colors and expressive use of light are evident throughout this picture book, which acknowledges grief and delivers a hopeful message with subtlety, empathy, and eloquence.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2018 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 2-5-Lies taps into the powerful nature of love, loss, grief, and hope in his latest picture book. Evan, a fox, and his dog are best friends and in a series of acrylic, oil, and colored pencil vignettes, they are shown attending a fair, playing games, and, most important, working in Evan's meticulously groomed garden. These loving scenes are abruptly cut short by a large spread of white space with spare text stating: "But one day, the unthinkable happened." On the opposing page, white space surrounds a grieving Evan as he mourns the loss of his dog. In his grief, Evan destroys the garden that reminds him so much of his friend and weeds grow in its place. When a pumpkin vine sneaks into the garden, Evan allows it to take root and with it, hope returns. With lyrical figurative language, Evan transitions from being devastated by heartache to a being willing to step back into the world again. With his pumpkin, Evan rejoins his friends at the fair. Although it's not the same without his best friend, he enjoys himself again and even wins a prize for his pumpkin. His prize and the hope of all those who suffer love's loss is a chance to love again with a new puppy. While best suited for independent readers or shared moments during a loss, this poignant picture book provides an exquisite depiction of grief and hope. VERDICT A remarkable first selection for all libraries and a helpful guide for children and adults who are going through their own rough patches.-Rachel Zuffa, Racine Public Library, WI © 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.

Publishers Weekly The polished, jaunty spreads that open this story by Lies (Gator Dad) give little hint of the deep emotion to come. Evan, a fox, cuts a handsome figure in his overalls and wire-rimmed spectacles, and he and his beloved black-and-white dog are always together. They drive in Evan's red farm truck and play games, "But what they loved the most was working in Evan's magnificent garden," a lush, fertile enclosure studded with neat trellises. Then, two terrible things happen: Evan's dog dies-readers see the fox slumped over the hound's body-and in his grief, Evan destroys his garden, swinging a hoe that fells the plants and snaps the trellises in two. The story of how Evan finds his way through his grief rings true, and Lies's atmospherically lit, exquisitely drafted paintings will absorb readers as they trace Evan's journey through mourning. Some sensitive readers may draw back from tragedy this stark, but others will be fascinated by Evan's mysterious world, in which pumpkins grow into prize-winning behemoths and rubber boots come specially made for fox feet. Ages 4-8. Agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved