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ALA Notable Books for Children
2019 (Younger Readers)
All of a Kind Family Hanukkah
Book Jacket   Emily Jenkins
2019 (Younger Readers)
Alma and How She Got Her Name
Book Jacket   Juana Martinez-Neal.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763693558 PreS-Gr 2-It's said there's a story behind every name and Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela is surely a moniker worthy of six tales. After complaining that her name is so long that it "never fits," Alma's father shares stories with the girl about the people she's been named after, including a book lover, an artist, and a deeply spiritual woman, among others. Martinez-Neal, the recipient of the 2018 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award for La Princesa and the Pea , works in print transfers with graphite and colored pencils for these images, limiting her palette to black, charcoal gray, and blushes of color. The round, stylized figure of the girl, dressed in pink striped pants and a white shirt, pops against the sepia pages (reminiscent of old, family photo albums). As Alma's namesakes emerge from the shadows when they are introduced, they and their distinguishing items (books, plants, paintbrushes, etc.) are highlighted in a pale, gray-blue. The softly colored images and curvilinear shapes that embrace the figures evoke a sense of warmth and affection. At the story's end, the only tale readers have not heard is Alma's. "You will make your own story," states her father. VERDICT A beautifully illustrated, tender story to be shared with all children, sure to evoke conversations about their names.-Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780763693558 Her full name is Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela, and it's so long that "it never fits," as the girl explains to her father. (When she writes it on a sheet of paper, she has to tape an extra piece to the bottom.) But as Daddy explains that there's a remarkable relative behind each of her names, Alma realizes that she embodies their talents and character, and she comfortably communes with the spirits of the departed. She loves to draw like her paternal grandfather, José, and she's so inspired by her activist maternal grandmother, Candela, that she strikes the classic Norma Rae pose and declares "I am Candela!" surrounded by her stuffed animals. Best of all, Daddy concludes, she is "the first and only Alma. You will make your own story." Martinez-Neal's first outing as author is a winner-her velvety and largely monochromatic pencil drawings, punctuated with cherry red, teem with emotional intimacy. It's an origin story that envelops readers like a hug. Ages 4-8. Agent: Stefanie Von Borstel, Full Circle Literary. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780763693558 *Starred Review* Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has a very long name for a little girl. So long, in fact, that she has to tape extra paper to the page when she writes it, just so it will fit. One day she complains about this to her father, and he sits down with her to tell Alma the story of her name. Tucked together in a cozy armchair, he opens a photo album to a black-and-white picture of Alma's grandmother Sofia. He tells his daughter how Sofia loved flowers and books, and Alma realizes she also loves those things. I am Sofia, she declares. Next, she hears about her great-grandmother Esperanza, who dreamed of traveling; and when readers turn the page, Alma stands before a large world map, zigzagged with red string marking all the places the girl wishes to go she is Esperanza, too. As her father continues, Alma comes to understand that her name fits her perfectly. Martinez-Neal brings her gentle story to life through beautiful graphite- and colored-pencil artwork set against cream-colored backgrounds. Soft blue and red details pop against the charcoal scenes, which perfectly reflect the snapshots of Alma's family. While Alma feels enriched by learning her family's history, she is also empowered by the knowledge that she will give her name Alma its own story.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2018 Booklist
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Baby Monkey, Private Eye
 Brian Selznick
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781338180619 A nearly 200-page chapter book for emerging readers? Using a pared-down vocabulary and luxuriant, chiaroscuro drawings, Selznick (The Marvels) and husband Serlin make it work-brilliantly. Four oddball robbery victims show up at Baby Monkey's Sam Spade-worthy office, including a chef whose pizza has gone missing and a clown who has had his red nose stolen. Baby Monkey's basic MO is always the same: look for clues, take notes, eat a snack, put on pants, and solve the crime (generally by looking right outside his office door). The tight, repeating structure gives Selznick plenty of opportunity to riff on the details: in each chapter, Baby Monkey has a different (and triumphant) wrestling match with his pants, and the furnishings of his office change to match the profession of each client (for those who can't guess these Easter eggs, a key and index are included). "Hooray for Baby Monkey!" are the last words of this endearingly funny graphic novel/picture book/early reader-it's a sentiment that readers of all ages will wholeheartedly affirm. Ages 4-8. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781338180619 PreS-Gr 1-Selznick and Serlin take the easy reader format to new creative heights. Baby Monkey may be a baby (and a monkey) but he has a full-time job as a private eye. Baby Monkey solves five cases (one for each chapter) by looking carefully for visual clues. Full-page illustrations facing single, simple, and often repetitive sentences in an oversized typeface make this ideal for emerging readers. The sharp pacing and charming humor also make it an excellent read-aloud choice. Selznick's signature black-and-white drawings-his noir-like style here played up to full effect-invite readers to linger and look carefully. With each case, the framed paintings and various bric-a-brac decorating Baby Monkey's well-appointed office changes. Hidden clues and jokes abound, as in "The Case of the Missing Spaceship," wherein the opening two-page spread shows a framed poster of A Trip to the Moon (a hat tip to devoted Selznick fans), an image of Apollo 13, a portrait of Galileo Galilei, and a bust of John F. Kennedy. Will most of these references sail over the heads of the intended audience? Perhaps. But the story works just as well without them, and Selznick and Serlin take pains to make sure young readers have enough information to look them up if they are so inclined; the "Key to Baby Monkey's Office" in the back matter lists each visual reference by chapter/case. A running gag about Baby Monkey forgetting to wear-and struggling to put on-pants will have readers cracking up. In the very last case, the primate private eye jumps into the loving arms of his mom and takes a well-earned nap. VERDICT A delightful easy reader that is as funny as it is elegant. This will be enjoyed equally by youngsters and their grown-ups.-Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781338180619 *Starred Review* In an office that looks like it came straight out of a noir film, Baby Monkey solves a series of perplexing mysteries. First, an opera singer is missing her necklace. Then, a chef's pizza's been stolen, a clown's nose goes missing, and an astronaut can't find her spaceship. In every case, Baby Monkey eagerly offers to help, has a snack, takes some notes, puts on his pants, and captures the culprit. There's not a lot of detective work (he spends more time struggling with pants), but the details in Selznick's signature fine-lined, crosshatched pencil artwork reveal plenty of clues. When the astronaut stops by, for instance, Baby Monkey is reading Famous Space Crimes, and a still of Georges Méliès' A Trip to the Moon is on the wall. Though 192 pages might seem like a lot for a picture book, Selznick and Serlin pull off the feat rather brilliantly. Actions are stretched out over multiple pages (one struggle with pants takes nine pages), which makes the chapters fly by, and while they can be read individually, those who read them in order will notice clever changes as the cases progress. An inventive format and tongue-in-cheek sense of humor make this sweet and silly book almost irresistible.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2017 Booklist
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2019 (Younger Readers)
A Big Mooncake for Little Star
 Grace Lin
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316404488 Nighttime paintings by Lin (Where the Mountain Meets the Moon) add magic to this fable about why the moon waxes and wanes. The story's events unfold against the velvety black of the night sky as Mama and Little Star, dressed in black pajamas spangled with yellow stars, work on their mooncake (an Asian holiday treat, Lin explains in an author's note) in the kitchen. Mama takes the cake out of the oven and lays it "onto the night sky to cool." She tells Little Star not to touch it, and Little Star attends but awakens in the middle of the night and remembers the cake. A double-page spread shows Little Star's speculative glance on the left and the huge golden mooncake-or is it the round, golden full moon?-on the right. Whichever it is, Little Star takes a nibble from the edge, another the next night, and so on until the moon wanes to a delicate crescent. Lin successfully combines three distinctive and memorable elements: a fable that avoids seeming contrived, a vision of a mother and child living in cozy harmony, and a night kitchen of Sendakian proportions. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316404488 PreS-Gr 1-Little Star's mother admonishes her not to eat the giant mooncake, which she left cooling in the night sky, but Little Star has her own ideas. Little Star makes a mischievous choice. "Yum!" Each night, she wakes from her bed in the sky and nibbles from the giant mooncake. "'Little Star!' her mama said, shaking her head even though her mouth was curving. ' You ate the big mooncake again, didn't you?'" Rather than scolding, Mama responds with a kind offer to bake a new mooncake. Observant eyes will recognize that the final pages showing Little Star and her mama baking a new mooncake are a repeat of the front papers-a purposeful hint that the ritual is repeated monthly as Little Star causes the phases of the moon. Artwork is gouache on watercolor paper. Each page has a glossy black background and small white font. Little Star and her mother have gentle countenances twinkling with merriment. Both wear star-studded black pajamas that are distinguishable from the inky sky only by their yellow stars and the occasional patch of Little Star's exposed tummy. The cherubic Little Star floats through the darkness, her mooncake crumbs leaving a trail of stardust in the sky. VERDICT The relationship between Little Star and her mother offers a message of empowerment and reassurance. Lin's loving homage to the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is sure to become a bedtime favorite.-Lisa Taylor, Florida State College, Jacksonville © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316404488 Against the backdrop of a black sky, Mama and Little Star bake a giant mooncake. But as she puts the cake out to cool, Mama admonishes her daughter not to touch it. And she doesn't until she wakes up in the night. Then, it's pat, pat, pat over to the mooncake, where she nibbles just a bit. Each night, there's more nibbling, causing the mooncake to change shape, until it's just a crescent. That's when Mama sees what's happened, but she isn't mad. It's just time to make another mooncake. Although the story is slight (and there's no direct aligning of the mooncake with the stages of the moon, either in text or note), the gouache illustrations are excellent. Mother and daughter, both dressed in star-covered black jumpsuits that add bits of light to inky backgrounds, are intriguing characters who come alive through facial expressions. Little Star's impish looks are worth the price of admission. This has no roots in Chinese mythology, Lin says, but she associates it with Asian moon festivals. A complementary read for those holidays.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2018 Booklist
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Black Bird Yellow Sun
Book Jacket   Steve Light
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763690670 Toddler-PreS-A delightful journey through a day filled with bright exciting colors. The bold yellow sun comes up and a black bird and a small orange worm greet it while standing on a black branch. Then they're off! Readers will follow eagerly as the pair move through each new environment until at last they meet a blue moon at the end of a very full day. The ink-and-paper collage illustrations bring each new setting to life with heavy, textured stamps. The black bird is created out of single piece of black paper but the changes in its eyes, posture, and positioning convey fear, curiosity, and happiness as it flies and walks through the colorful world. The words are printed with bold black type and the text doesn't stray from the repeating color format (e.g., "Black Bird/Orange Leaves, Black Bird/Red Snake") The story provides ample opportunities to talk about sizes, shapes, textures, and colors. VERDICT Adventurous and exciting but simple enough for even the earliest readers, this is an excellent board book and a first purchase.-Laken Hottle, Providence Community Library © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Blue
Book Jacket   Laura Vaccaro Seeger
 
2019 (Younger Readers)
Bowwow Powwow
 Brenda J. Child
  Book Jacket
2019 (Younger Readers)
The Day You Begin
 Jacqueline Woodson
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399246531 K-Gr 2-A beautiful and inclusive story that encourages children to find the beauty in their own lives and share it with the world. A young girl with brown skin and curly black hair stays home through the summer to watch over her younger sister while her classmates travel to distant lands. A young boy from Venezuela arrives in his new school and finds the children in his class do not speak his language. Another child brings a lunch that her classmates find too strange while another isn't physically able to keep up with the play of other children. Each child feels very alone until they begin to share their stories and discover that it is nearly always possible to find someone a little like you. López's vibrant illustrations bring the characters' hidden and unspoken thoughts to light with fantastic, swirling color. Shifting hues and textures across the page convey their deep loneliness and then slowly transition into bright hopeful possibilities. Full-bleed illustrations on every page are thick with collaged patterns and textures that pair perfectly with melodic prose that begs to be read aloud. Though the story focuses on four singular experiences, there's an essential acknowledgment that everyone will experience a time when no one is quite like them, when they can't find their voice, or when they feel very alone. Woodson's superlative text sees each character turns that moment of desolation into an opportunity to be brave and find hope in what they have in common. VERDICT This masterful story deserves a place in every library.-Laken Hottle, Providence Community Library © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780399246531 Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming) imagines being "an only" in the classroom-what it's like to be the only one with an accent ("No one understands the way words curl from your mouth"), the only one who stayed home during summer vacation ("What good is this/ when other students were flying/ and sailing"), the only one whose lunch box is filled with food "too strange or too unfamiliar for others to love as you do." Without prescribing sympathy, Woodson's poetic lines give power to each child's experience. She describes the moment when the girl who didn't go on vacation speaks her truth, her "voice stronger than it was a minute ago." She has cared for her sister all summer, she tells her classmates, reading and telling stories: "Even though we were right on our block it was like/ we got to go EVERYWHERE." And "all at once" in the seconds after sharing one's story, something shifts, common ground is revealed, and "the world opens itself up a little wider/ to make some space for you." López (Drum Dream Girl) paints the book's array of children as students in the same classroom; patterns and colors on the children's clothing and the growing things around them fill the spreads with life. Woodson's gentle, lilting story and López's artistry create a stirring portrait of the courage it takes to be oneself: "There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you until the day you begin/ to share your stories." Ages 5-8. Author's agent: Kathleen Nishimoto, William Morris Endeavor. Illustrator's agent: Stefanie Von Borstel, Full Circle. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Dont Touch My Hair!
Book Jacket   Sharee Miller
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316562584 PreS-Gr 2-Miller follows up Princess Hair with more follicle-related fun. Smiling bright, brown-skinned Aria happily shares the things she loves about her bouncy, beautiful hair. She receives plenty of compliments from others, too, which she enjoys-but she resolutely does not enjoy when people try to touch her hair without asking. In a series of amusing and increasingly wacky situations, Aria tries to flee from overly curious hands, first situating herself behind a shrub, then diving underwater with a mermaid, and even leaving Earth for the safety of space (where she is approached by two meddlesome aliens) all to no avail; everyone still wants to touch her hair! When she finally escapes notice, Aria feels lonely. She returns home, but she has something to say: "This is MY hair.please, just look and don't touch without my permission." Miller has managed to put an upbeat, silly spin on a relatable problem for many children that can be awkward and upsetting. Aria has an adventure, but more importantly, she is able to state her boundaries with others when it comes to physical contact. The book closes with examples of Aria saying both yes and no when asked about her hair, and those wishes being respected. Miller's bold mixed media art is a delight; each page brims with texture, from Aria's ebullient coils filling a spread to the zany houses of her bustling hometown. Young audiences will love pointing out each vibrant detail. VERDICT An engaging, colorful lesson in personal space that will shine whether read aloud or one-on-one.-Ashleigh Williams, School Library Journal © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316562584 Aria loves her soft and bouncy hair and so does everyone else. Aria avoids the intrusive hands of people who want to feel her tresses, with Miller's illustrations ably depicting the anxiety of being surrounded by people disregarding personal space. Aria imagines herself escaping in fantastic scenes where she encounters more creatures who also seek to touch her hair. Finally, she seeks refuge on an island, but gets lonely and reluctantly rejoins civilization. But when yet another person stretches toward her, Aria says, DON'T TOUCH MY HAIR! Aria acknowledges everyone's interest in her hair, and firmly states they can only touch with her permission. The diverse crowd of people around her look repentant, and thereafter, people ask to touch, and listen when Aria says no. This story can jump-start conversations about setting boundaries. Ink drawings with bright watercolors match the positive tone and humor of the story, and colored-pencil scribbles enhance the texture of Aria's hair. Aria is a character with a healthy self-image who demonstrates courage and grace in communicating with others.--Michelle Young Copyright 2018 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316562584 Aria is an African-American girl who's proud of her showstopping hair "that grows up toward the sun like a flower." But people keep confusing admiration with acquiescence: strangers, she laments, "are so curious about my hair that they try to touch it without even asking for permission!" It feels like the entire universe has lost its sense of boundaries. In a series of wonderfully expressive, humorous cartoons that mix full-page and spot art, Aria imagines encountering underwater creatures, forest animals, and even aliens who reach for her curls while cooing, "How do you get it so big?" She contemplates hiding; she loses her temper ("That's it. That's enough. DON'T TOUCH MY HAIR!"). Then she resolves to set limits, and, in speaking up for herself, she begins to feel free, respected, and in charge of her own body again. Storytelling by Miller (Princess Hair) is frank, funny, and revelatory, with a beleaguered but never beaten protagonist with whom readers will instantly connect. And her book embraces audiences of all backgrounds, nudging them, in different ways, to a new level of understanding. Ages 4-8. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Drawn Together
Book Jacket   Minh Le
 
2019 (Younger Readers)
Dreamers
 Yuyi Morales
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2019 (Younger Readers)
The Fox on the Swing
 Evelina Daciute
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Fox the Tiger.
Book Jacket   Corey R. Tabor
2019 (Younger Readers)
Good Rosie!
Book Jacket   Kate DiCamillo
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780763689797 Rosie the terrier and her middle-aged owner, George, are loving companions and creatures of habit. But when Rosie sees her reflection in her empty food bowl ("The other dog never answers"), she yearns for companions of her own species. One day, George decides to visit the local dog park, and Rosie is more than a little hesitant ("Rosie does not like the dog park. There are too many dogs."). Then she meets Fifi the Chihuahua and Maurice the Saint Bernard. Though their friendship is not without initial missteps (Rosie must overcome her innate reticence, Maurice must promise that he will not try to eat Fifi-again), it changes Rosie's world. DiCamillo's deep empathy for her shy, lonely protagonist will come as no surprise, but her portrayal of Rosie as genuinely puzzled by the mechanics of friendship is particularly astute. Bliss (Diary of a Worm) works in a paneled comics format, and it proves felicitous for his formal drawing style and deadpan humor. This is no shaggy dog story-it's thoughtful and funny, and a real gift for emerging readers. Ages 5-8. Author's and illustrator's agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780763689797 Short, episodic chapters and a gentle plotline make this winsome graphic novel particularly well suited to early readers. George and Rosie, a brown-and-white terrier, have a pretty solid routine of breakfast, a walk, and looking at clouds, but Rosie is lonely. George, a balding, bespectacled gentleman with a cane and a long coat, eventually catches on and takes Rosie to the dog park. But new dogs are scary to shy Rosie, and it takes some time before she finally warms up to the other pups at the park. Bliss' naturalistic, amiable cartoons appear on wide, open panels, and close-ups of George's and the dogs' faces make characters' feelings unmistakable, which will be particularly helpful for newly independent readers. Despite the story's low page count, DiCamillo infuses a surprising amount of character development: George recognizes his pal's loneliness; Rosie gets over her shyness; and three very different dogs figure out how to be friends. With humor and heart, this easy, inviting volume offers an empowering message to little ones nervous about making new friends.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763689797 PreS-Gr 1-Rosie the terrier loves her owner, George, but she feels lonely. Realizing that his pet needs to befriend other canines, George takes her to the park. But Rosie doesn't know any of these dogs, and she doesn't like Maurice, a hulking, drooly St. Bernard, or Fifi, a perky little papillon-at least not at first. Yet when an encounter between the other two dogs almost goes dreadfully wrong, Rosie steps in and discovers she might know more about friendship than she thought. Dividing the book into nine brief parts, author and illustrator allow this quiet graphic novel to unfold slowly. Though Bliss depicts idyllic, verdant parks full of smiling pups, he lets a hint of melancholy creep in as Rosie gazes longingly at dog-shaped clouds in the sky and her own reflection in her empty food dish. DiCamillo's contemplative, understated text perfectly complements Bliss's elegantly composed watercolors. Forging new bonds can be both tantalizing and overwhelming, they acknowledge, but children will feel up to the challenge after seeing Rosie conquer her anxieties. VERDICT A superb friendship story and a lovely choice for one-on-one sharing, especially with little ones with first-day-of-school jitters.-Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Hello Lighthouse
 Sophie Blackall
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316362382 Painted with the featherlight touch that distinguishes Caldecott Medalist Blackall's work, this graceful account of a lighthouse keeper's life celebrates a lost era. While it was lonely and sometimes dangerous, watching the lighthouse was monastic in its simplicity: "He tends the light and writes in the logbook." The lighthouse keeper readies his home for the arrival of his wife, who nurses him when he falls ill; then he helps her as she gives birth to their first child. Soon the family receives word that the lighthouse is to be fitted with a mechanical light, and their idyll comes to a serene end. Many spreads, delicate as painted porcelain, depict the lighthouse amid the breaking waves and changing life of the ocean. Seals bask, whales pass, and the aurora borealis flickers overhead. Repeated images of circles echo the lighthouse's circular rooms, from vignettes framed with nautical rope to a breathtaking sequence of the lighthouse-keeper's wife walking through her labor, each moment like the hand on the face of a clock. It's a jewel of a creation and a gift to those who dream of retreat. Ages 4-8. Agent: Nancy Gallt, Gallt + Zacker Literary. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316362382 PreS-Gr 3-On the highest rock of a tiny island at the edge of the world stands a lighthouse. Every day and every night, the lighthouse guides the way for passing ships, as its keeper tends to the light and writes in his guidebook. Over time, the lighthouse becomes a constant fixture in the middle of the sea as endless waves, ships, winds, whales, fish, storms, and keepers come and go. Here, Blackall tells the story of a lighthouse and its keeper, and how they both serve the sea. In the end, a machine is able to tend the light and the keeper must move on. But he will be forever connected to his lighthouse. The keeper's own light across the bay shines back at the lighthouse, saying "hello!" Gorgeous and appealing illustrations done in Chinese ink and watercolor make readers feel as though they are inside the lighthouse along with the keeper, surrounded by the beauty and drama of the ever-changing sea. A spread full of information about lighthouses for those who seek further knowledge is appended. VERDICT A lovely picture book, recommended for all libraries. A delightful bedtime read perfect for one on one sharing.-Elizabeth Blake, Brooklyn Public Library © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316362382 *Starred Review* When a new keeper arrives at a remote lighthouse, he sets out to make it a home, and in Blackall's rhythmic lines and gorgeous artwork, his adoration for the building, with its round rooms and windy ocean views, warmly comes through. Amid his responsibilities of lighting the beacon, clanging the bell in a fog, recording events in the logbooks, and helping ensure the safety of passing sailors, the lighthouse keeper makes a home with his wife, has a daughter, and feels remorse when he has to leave to make way for an automated light. All the while, Blackall's bright, crisp artwork depicts the changing skies and seas around the proud, solid lighthouse. Softly chopping waves give way to billowing white breakers that crash against the rocks. Clear blue skies transform into the black, inky clouds of a storm. It occasionally seems dangerous to live in a lighthouse, but the repeated refrain of Hello! . . . Hello! . . . Hello! is stalwart, friendly, and reassuring, just like a lighthouse should be, and the adoring expressions and gestures of the family living in it quietly demonstrate their affection for the building. Blackall's charmingly old-fashioned art style is beautifully matched to this nostalgia-rich story, which imbues an antiquated place with warmth and wonder.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2018 Booklist
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2019 (Younger Readers)
How Raven Got His Crooked Nose: An Alaskan Dena ina Fable.
 Mindy Dwyer
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2019 (Younger Readers)
I Walk with Vanessa: A Story about a Simple Act of Kindness
Book Jacket   Kerascoet
2019 (Younger Readers)
Imagine!
Book Jacket   Raul Colon
 
2019 (Younger Readers)
In the Past: From Trilobites to Dinosaurs to Mammoths in More than 500 Million Years
 David Elliott
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Islandborn
 Junot Diaz
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780735229860 K-Gr 3-When Ms. Obi asks her students to draw a picture of the country they are originally from, the children are excited. All except for Lola, "What if you left before you could start remembering?" As Lola talks to some of her neighbors from the Island to draw from their memories, she learns of bats as big as blankets; a love of music and dancing; coconut water and sweet mangoes. And an island where "Even the people are like a rainbow-every shade ever made." With a place so beautiful, Lola wonders, why did people leave? Reluctantly, Mr. Mir, the building superintendent, tells her of a Monster that fell upon their Island and did as he pleased for 30 years. Though never mentioned by name, the country in question is the Dominican Republic. The Monster refers to the dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo. Lola learns from her assignment that "Just because you don't remember a place doesn't mean it's not in you." Espinosa's gloriously vibrant mixed-media illustrations portray a thriving community living under the shadow of the George Washington Bridge in Manhattan. As Lola learns more about her Island, the illustrations cleverly incorporate a plethora of tropical plants and color, bringing to life both Lola's neighborhood and La Isla. Lola, a Spanish language edition, is ably translated by Mlawer and publishes simultaneously. VERDICT A sensitive and beautiful story of culture, identity, and belonging-a superb picture book outing for Díaz and one to be shared broadly in a variety of settings.-Lucia Acosta, Children's Literature Specialist, Princeton, NJ © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780735229860 From its very first sentence, this first picture book from Díaz (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao) is both beautifully nuanced and instantly comprehensible: "Every kid in Lola's school was from somewhere else." Lola is from a place that she calls the Island, which adult readers will recognize as the author's native Dominican Republic, but she left as a baby. When her teacher asks everyone to draw a picture of "the country you were originally from, your first country," Lola, who doesn't remember the Island herself, embarks on a quest through her tight-knit city neighborhood to collect memories. Many recall the Island with fondness: nonstop music, mangoes so sweet "they make you want to cry," colors of every kind. "Even the people are like a rainbow," says one. But Lola also hears stories of fear, hardship, and sadness; the super in her building recalls a reign of terror by what he calls "the Monster" (dictator Rafael Trujillo) and the courage it took to resist. As the story moves between past and present, the Island and "the North," and the microworlds of classroom, streets, and home, the sweep of experience and emotion becomes unmistakably novelistic. Reminiscence, reality, and Lola's imagination similarly merge in Espinosa's effervescent, mural-like drawings (which eventually become the work Lola presents to her class): bats soar through the air on blanket wings, and a barbershop customer tears up while clutching a translucent mango. With his tenacious, curious heroine and a voice that's chatty, passionate, wise, and loving, Díaz entices readers to think about a fundamental human question: what does it mean to belong? Lola realizes it means both being cherished by those around her and taking ownership of their collective memory. "Even if I'd never set foot on the Island," she tells the class, "it doesn't matter: The Island is me." Ages 5-8. Agent: Nicole Aragi, Aragi Inc. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780735229860 *Starred Review* Lola attends a school in which the majority of students, whose skin tones range from tan to deep brown, are from somewhere else. When the teacher instructs her class to draw a picture of what each child's original country looks like, the young girl is stymied. She was an infant when her family immigrated to the U.S. and has no memories of her birthplace. As Lola and her cousin walk home through their neighborhood, they discover that almost everyone is happy to share their memories of the Island. The beaches, the music, the fruits, and the colors come alive for the youngster and create a feeling of pride in her heritage. Along with all the happy memories are remembrances of struggles after a hurricane and a defeated monster, which adults may recognize as a former dictator. The exuberant, brightly colored illustrations are filled with a child's interpretation of the memories and fill the double-page spreads with details to pore over. This important title will be enjoyed by young children and may spark many significant discussions.--Owen, Maryann Copyright 2018 Booklist
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Jerome By Heart
Book Jacket   Thomas Scotto
2019 (Younger Readers)
Julian Is a Mermaid
Book Jacket   Jessica Love
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763690458 PreS-Gr 2-Young Julian lives with his abuela and is obsessed with mermaids. He imagines taking off his clothes, growing a tail, and swimming freely through the blue-tinted water with swirls of fish and stingrays. After spying some women on a train dressed as mermaids, Julian later tells his abuela, "I am also a mermaid," then proceeds to wrap a curtain around his waist as a "tail." Ferns in his hair complete the fantastical look, and when his grandmother catches him -is he in trouble? Not at all! In fact, she takes Julian to a festival where people are dressed as fantastically as Julian. Love couples the spare narrative with vivid, imaginative, and breathtaking illustrations. VERDICT A heartwarming must-have for one-on-one and small group sharing.-Amanda C. Buschmann, Carroll Elementary School, Houston © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780763690458 On the subway with his abuela after swim class, Julián is enchanted by a group of stylish women in mermaid costumes on their way to a parade. Once home, while his abuela is in the shower, Julián improvises a mermaid costume for himself out of curtains, a potted plant, and a vase of flowers. When Abuela sees the tiny havoc he wreaked in her living room, she doesn't scold him; rather, she embraces his enthusiasm, gives him the finishing touch for his costume, and takes him to the parade. Love's painted scenes glow against muted backgrounds, with saturated, opaque tones tracing the graceful shapes of the figures. They're especially striking when Julián gets swept away in a vivid underwater fantasy: a school of sea creatures whirls around him as he transforms into a mermaid. That scene is nicely replicated when he arrives at the parade, which is populated by scores of people in a wide variety of inventive costumes. The affectionate depiction of a broad range of body types and skin tones makes this particularly cheery.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2018 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780763690458 Riding home on the subway, Julián is transfixed by three mermaids-voluptuous and self-possessed, with flowing tresses of black, pink, and red, and wearing aqua fishtail costumes (the book is printed on a Kraft-like paper, so the colors seem to literally glow). "Julián loves mermaids," writes debut author-illustrator Love, and her protagonist falls into a reverie: he's under the sea, and amid a dazzling school of fish, he sprouts a radiant orange fishtail and waist-length curly hair. While Abuela takes a bath, Julián takes matters into his own hands. He strips down to his underpants, paints his lips purple, fashions a fishtail costume from curtains, and creates a headdress from ferns and flowers. He is, in a word, fabulous. Love lets an anxious beat pass before Abuela takes Julián by the hand, leading him to what some readers may recognize as the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. "Like you, mijo," says Abuela. "Let's join them." Love's deep empathy for her characters and her keen-eyed observations of urban life come together in a story of love, understanding, and embracing the mermaid within us all. Ages 4-8. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
King and Kayla and the Case of the Lost Tooth
 Dori Hillestad Butler
  Book Jacket
2019 (Younger Readers)
Lenas Shoes Are Nervous
 Keith Calabrese
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781534408944 Lena is pumped to start kindergarten, but she may have to call the whole thing off. As she explains to Dad, her shoes, which are essential to her first day ensemble, are having serious second thoughts. While Dad waits patiently, Lena enlists her headband, who is "friends with everybody," to listen to the shoes' fears ("School is big and loud and different and they'd really rather not go") and remind them of "other times they were all scared but decided to be brave, together," such as getting vaccinated and an encounter with a big dog. Lena throws in some reverse psychology-"Looks like I'll have to wear my slippers," she tells her shoes, and it's off to school for everyone. Medina (ABC Pasta) employs digital cartooning, a mix of fluid ink lines and flat, bright colors, to supply a steady flow of visual energy. Making his debut, talent-to-watch Calabrese brings flawless comic timing and a fresh twist to the back-to-school theme. Ages 4-8. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Let the Children March.
Book Jacket   Monica Clark-Robinson
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780544704527 K-Gr 3-The youth of the Birmingham civil rights movement take center stage in this historical picture book. Clark-Robinson narrates from the voice of an unnamed girl, using simple language to tell the story of the momentous events surrounding the arrest and jailing of hundreds of children protesting racial segregation. The narrator states bluntly, "There were so many things I couldn't do." Much of the text will provoke questions and important conversations between children and adult readers. The experiences of segregation are sensitively depicted by Morrison. A playground behind a tall sharp fence sets the stage, while portrait-quality oil paintings of the children and civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. fill the rest of the pages. The defiance, determination, and passion comes through clearly on the faces of the figures. An afterword and author's and illustrator's notes provide additional information, as does a cleverly illustrated time line on the endpapers. VERDICT A highly readable historical account which deserves a place on picture book and nonfiction shelves alike.-Clara Hendricks, Cambridge Public Library, MA © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780544704527 Nearly 55 years ago, an antisegregation march that came to be known as the Children's Crusade was instrumental in pushing President Kennedy and Congress to adopt the Voting Rights Act. That historic event is chronicled here in a semifictional narrative from the perspective of one of the young participants in Birmingham in 1963. Bolstered by Dr. King's assurances, the children endure snarling dogs, water hoses, and jail, emerging exhausted but undefeated. Morrison's lush oil paintings illustrate Clark-Robinson's terse descriptions, bringing to life the determination of the marchers, the brutality of the police, and the stifling heat of the packed jail cells without sugarcoating the reality. This remarkable story remains relevant today as young readers think about their roles in the ongoing struggle for justice. Teachers who use this book might scaffold it with additional resources that teach about the intensive planning and organization that went into this and other activist campaigns.--Chaudhri, Amina Copyright 2017 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780544704527 Clark-Robinson's stirring debut unfolds through the resolute voice of a (fictional) African-American girl participating in the 1963 Children's Crusade, during which young residents of Birmingham, Ala., marched to protest segregation. "Dr. King told us the time had come to march," the girl explains. Her parents can't risk losing their jobs, so she, her brother, and thousands of their peers volunteer to serve as "Dr. King's army" ("This burden, this time, did not have to be theirs to bear"). Morrison's dynamic oil paintings viscerally expose the protesters' courage and fear, as well as the anger of white onlookers and police who sic dogs on the marchers and blast them with hoses before locking many in jail. The children's refrains ("Singing the songs of freedom, one thousand strong we came") are displayed like banners across the pages, emphasizing collective strength in the face of brutal violence. The narrator's conclusion, "Our march made the difference," serves as a powerful reminder for today's readers about their own ability to fight for justice and equality. Ages 6-9. Author's agent: Natalie Lakosil, Bradford Literary. Illustrator's agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Mommys Khimar.
Book Jacket   Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
 
2019 (Younger Readers)
My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder.
 Nie Jun
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Night Job
 Karen Hesse
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2019 (Younger Readers)
A Parade of Elephants
Book Jacket   Kevin Henkes
2019 (Younger Readers)
The Party and Other Stories
Book Jacket   Sergio Ruzzier
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781452152882 PreS-Gr 2-This easy reader-style picture book is actually three stories in one and stars two lovable and very different best friends. In "The Party," Fox is trying to read while Chick repeatedly interrupts him and requests to use his bathroom, where he proceeds to throw a raucous shindig with some other party animals. In "Good Soup," Fox digs in his garden accompanied by an indignant Chick who reminds Fox at each turn that he is supposed to be a carnivore, not a veggie-lover. In a fun twist, Chick eventually remembers that foxes are also "supposed" to eat little birds, and is glad that his friend breaks the norm. Finally in "Sit Still," Fox is painting a landscape when Chick buzzes by and offers to sit for a portrait. Chick has a long list of needs that prevent him from being able to pose, so Fox happily paints the landscape after all. In each story, Chick is the comic relief to Fox's straight man. Chick takes everything literally, while Fox plays the role of grumpy, but secretly genial, next-door neighbor. Pleasant and cartoonish pastel panels add to this enjoyable read. In the tradition of Frog and Toad and Elephant and Piggie, Fox and Chick will feel right at home in company of these other friendship tales. VERDICT Simple vocabulary, dialogue-only text, and situational comedy make this a winning choice as a confidence booster for children just learning to read. Recommended for picture book collections.-Lauren Younger, formerly at NYPL © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781452152882 Ruzzier kicks off a new picture-book series with this charmer, blending graphic-novel and early-reader conventions for young readers not quite ready to tackle chapter books. Adopting an odd-couple formula, the book's three short stories follow practical Fox and unpredictable Chick think Rabbit and Tigger through misunderstandings that challenge their friendship but never derail it. In The Party, Chick asks to use Fox's bathroom but neglects to mention he'd like to use it for a party. Needless to say, Fox isn't pleased. Chick's persistent questioning of Fox's vegetarian preferences comically backfires in Good Soup when he points out that foxes should eat things like moles and little birds. The final story, Sit Still, opens outside with Fox painting the landscape, but the serene scene is once more interrupted by Chick, whose desire to have his portrait painted is pitted against his inability to hold a pose. Painted in candy-hued watercolors with all text rendered in speech balloons or as sound effects, these humorous stories highlight how patience and understanding can make even the most unlikely friendships work.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2018 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781452152882 Ruzzier (This Is Not a Picture Book!) kicks off a new comics-style early-chapter series, drawn with panels and dialogue balloons and starring an animal odd couple. Fox is an even-tempered reader, cook, and artist; Chick is a pain in the neck. In the first and funniest chapter, Chick asks Fox if he may use his bathroom, and then proceeds to throw a party in it (the "CRASH! THUD! SPLASH!" tips off Fox). Chapter two gets a little dark as Chick, who initially criticizes the vegetarian Fox for not being "a real fox," suddenly realizes that his soup-making friend is actually doing him a favor by not eating him. Chapter three centers on Chick's inability to sit still for a portrait. The root of their friendship remains an enigma-why does Fox tolerate such an annoying friend? But there's an easygoing, reassuring rhythm to the storytelling, and the simple text and sunny colors should engage nascent readers. Ages 5-8. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
The Patchwork Bike
 Maxine Beneba Clarke
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781536200317 Under a "stretching-out sky at the edge of the no-go desert," a dark brown child with mirrored sunglasses gives readers a tour of a desert village, from "our mud-for-walls home" to "the sand hill we built to slide down." But the best thing? Soaring out into the sand on the bike the kids have created from cans, discarded wood, and "a bell that used to be Mum's milk pot." In her picture book debut, Clarke's lines sing with sound and rhythm, evoking the "shicketty shake" sound of the bike on sand hills. Street artist Rudd's textured paint-and-cardboard collages create a strong sense of a place (the blaze and shadow of the desert) and the people who live there: the narrator's "fed-up mum" in a hijab and robe, and the "crazy brothers" pictured bouncing on a police car, who write "BLM" on the bike's license plate-a reference to Black Lives Matter, Rudd notes in an afterword. In an author's note, Clarke writes about her experiences with poverty: "What these times taught me was how to make something out of nothing." Without minimizing the clear references to economic and racial struggle, the words and images in this snapshot story pulse with resourceful ingenuity, joyful exuberance, and layered meanings. Ages 6-9. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
The Rough Patch
 Brian Lies
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062671271 *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
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062671271 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.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062671271 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.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Saturday Is Swimming Day
Book Jacket   Hyewon Yum
2019 (Younger Readers)
See Pip Flap
Book Jacket   David Milgrim
 
2019 (Younger Readers)
Thank You, Omu!
 Oge Mora
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316431248 PreS-Gr 2-In her apartment on the top floor, Omu (Igbo for queen) makes a tasty, thick red stew for her dinner. The smell wafts through her community, enticing neighbors to knock at her door to inquire about the delicious smell. A little boy is first, followed by a police officer, the hot dog vendor, and many other neighbors. Omu shares a bit of her stew with each person until she has none left for her dinner. When she hears the next knock, it is the visitors again, but this time with a feast to share with Omu. Even the little boy makes a contribution: a red envelope that conveys everyone's sincere gratitude. The richly textured and expressive collage illustrations were created with patterned paper and old-book clippings using acrylic paint, pastels, and markers. Mora has crafted a memorable tale of community and the unexpected rewards of sharing. VERDICT Children will enjoy this fresh, engaging story of friendship and community building, perfect for any group gathering. -Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316431248 Omu (pronounced AH-moo, it's Igbo for queen), the matriarch of her city neighborhood, is making "thick red stew in a big fat pot." As the delicious scent-rendered as an undulating strip of paper-wafts through the neighborhood, a little boy drops by, then "Ms. Police Officer," and then a deluge of hungry humans that eventually includes the mayor. Mora, a major new talent making her debut as an author-illustrator, gives her book a rhythmic, refrainlike structure: There's a "KNOCK!" at the door, a moment of thought on Omu's part, the presentation of a bowl, and a hearty "Thank you, Omu!" in brightly colored capital letters. Dinnertime arrives, and a chagrined Omu discovers that she's given all her stew away ("There goes the best dinner I ever had!"). But she isn't sad for long. The stew eaters arrive en masse at her door with a bountiful potluck (the boy proffers a handmade thank-you note), and "together they ate, danced, and celebrated." This sweet story of inclusivity, gratitude, and delicious fellowship is also a feast for the eyes, with its warm colors and inventive mAclange of cut paper and other materials. Ages 4-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316431248 Omu (Nigerian for queen, but here grandma) enjoys cooking thick red stews for her evening meal. One day, while her pot simmers, a little boy knocks at her door, enticed by the delicious aroma. Of course Omu shares with him and later with others: a police officer, a hot dog vendor, a shop owner, a cab driver, a doctor, an actor, a lawyer, a dancer, a baker, an artist, a singer, an athlete, a bus driver, a construction worker, and the mayor! Predictably, the pot is empty when suppertime arrives, but Omu's friends give back with a feast that everyone enjoys. Mora's mixed-media collage art makes use of patterned papers and book clippings in addition to paints and pastels. She uses simplified forms to represent people and objects (somewhat reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats' style), well suited to this cozy, urban setting. Particularly effective is the white trail of steam from Omu's stew that travels through the neighborhood. A great choice for food-themed story hours, or for introducing the concept of sharing.--Kay Weisman Copyright 2018 Booklist
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2019 (Younger Readers)
The Wall in the Middle of the Book
 Jon Agee
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780525555452 *Starred Review* A tall brick wall runs through the gutter of this book. On the left, a narrating knight mounts a ladder to replace a brick. He's convinced the wall is a good thing because it protects his safe side from dangers on the other. Wild animals and a large man (the knight insists he is an ogre) live on the right side of the wall. If the ogre ever caught me, he'd eat me up, states the knight with certitude. What goes unmentioned is the water rising underneath the knight and a lot of predator-prey carnage beneath him. Eventually the knight falls into the water and is rescued by the ogre (who is actually a nice guy), and everyone ends up happily on a final spread that pays homage to Maurice Sendak's wild rumpus. Agee's signature cartoon artwork employs simple shapes, white backgrounds, and muted colors, appropriate to the deadpan delivery of the story. The ogre and animals may look fearsome, but everyone is well-behaved and pleasant. By contrast, bigger creatures keep eating smaller ones (much like in Jon Klassen's Hat trilogy) in the knight's kingdom on the left side of the book. Will the intended audience recognize the xenophobia depicted here? Probably not. But the message that walls don't help us understand our neighbors will stick.--Kay Weisman Copyright 2018 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780525555452 PreS-Gr 3-There's a wall in the middle of this book. And it's a good thing, because it protects one side of the book from the other side. Or, at least that's what the hero of the book, a young knight, thinks. As the knight warns readers about all of the dangers on the other side of the wall-like tigers and mean ogres-he remains oblivious to the rising water and crocodile who are sneaking up behind him on his side of the wall. Before the water engulfs him completely, the knight is rescued by a surprising savior, and he soon learns that things may not be so bad on the other side of the wall after all. The knight's journey reminds readers that instead of building walls, we should be tearing them down in order to understand who or what is on the other side. Agee's simple illustrations combined with his trademark humor and ability to let readers in on a secret that the protagonist knows nothing about, combine to solidify him as a hilarious picture book master. VERDICT A silly read-aloud with an important message. A solid choice for storytime and one-on-one sharing.-Elizabeth Blake, Brooklyn Public Library © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780525555452 In this sly fable by Agee (Life on Mars), a tall brick wall runs along the book's gutter, and the action takes place on either side. On the verso, a short, perky knight approaches the wall with a ladder. On the recto, a menacing-looking tiger and rhino lurk. "The wall protects this side of the book" the knight explains, "from the other side of the book." The contrast between the knight's cheery, confiding tone and the outsize dangers supply hilarity, and blocky images in faded hues soften potentially scary moments. As the animals flee, the knight's side of the wall starts to fill up with water. "The most dangerous thing on the other side of the book is the ogre," the knight says from his ladder, oblivious to the deepening flood, finger raised in emphasis. Enter the ogre-uh oh. As ever, Agee nails pacing and punch lines, making inventive use of the famous fourth wall as a literary device (and giving the book a new wall altogether). Most satisfying is his gentle reminder that preconceived notions about things and people, over a boundary or otherwise, are often distinctly wrong. Ages 4-8. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
You and Me
Book Jacket   Rebecca Kai Dotlich

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