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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog The Poet X
by Acevedo, Elizabeth

Book list This coming-of-age story from the streets of Harlem centers on Xiomara Barista, a teenage poet seeking to express herself. X has loved writing down her thoughts from an early age. Unfortunately, she doesn't get to share them with her family, due to her mother's strict dedication to making sure X is focused on being a good Catholic girl. When X starts questioning her faith and realizes her brother is hiding his own secrets from their mother, she starts figuring out how she can stand up for herself and her beliefs. The story, though centered around the family drama, explores other poignant themes facing girls today, diving into human sexuality, the psychological impacts of going through an early puberty, and how girls have to fend off advances from men as well as the slut-shaming stigma that simultaneously can come from women. Ultimately, though, this is a powerful, heartwarming tale of a girl not afraid to reach out and figure out her place in the world.--Bratt, Jessica Anne Copyright 2017 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Magnificently crafted, Acevedo's bildungsroman in verse is a stunning account of a teen girl's path to poetry. Sophomore Xiomara Batista is simultaneously invisible and hyper visible at home, school, and in her largely Dominican community in Harlem-her body is "unhide-able" she tells readers early on, yet she bristles at how others project their desires, insecurities, failures, patriarchal attitudes toward her. Though she is quick to battle and defend herself and her twin brother Xavier, Xiomara's inner life sensitively grapples with these projections and the expectations of her strict, religious mother. Acevedo's depiction of a faith in crisis is exceedingly relatable and teens, especially those going through the sacrament of Confirmation, will deeply appreciate Xiomara's thoughtful questioning of the Church and how it treats women. Forbidden kisses with a crush and an impromptu performance at an open mic prove to be euphoric, affirming moments for Xiomara: "it's beautiful and real and what I wanted." Acevedo's poetry is skillfully and gorgeously crafted, each verse can be savored on its own, but together they create a portrait of a young poet sure to resonate with readers long after the book's end. -VERDICT Truly a "lantern glowing in the dark" for aspiring poets everywhere. All YA collections will want to share and treasure this profoundly moving work.-Della Farrell, School Library Journal © 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 Harlem sophomore Xiomara Batista isn't saintly like her virtuous twin brother. And her tough exterior-she's always ready to fend off unwelcome advances and unkind words-hides questions and insecurities. As her confirmation nears (after two failed attempts), Xiomara begins to voice her uncertainties about the Catholic faith and patriarchal piety pressed on her by her mother and the church. Both intrigued and disgusted by the advances of her peers and older men, she begins a secret relationship with her lab partner Aman, who seems interested in more than her curves ("who knew words,/ when said by the right person,/ by a boy who raises your temperature,/ moves heat like nothing else?"). Xiomara pours her innermost self into poems and dreams of competing in poetry slams, a passion she's certain her conservative Dominican parents will never accept. Debut novelist Acevedo's free verse gives Xiomara's coming-of-age story an undeniable pull, its emotionally charged bluntness reflecting her determination and strength. At its heart, this is a complex and sometimes painful exploration of love in its many forms, with Xiomara's growing love for herself reigning supreme. Ages 13-up. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Stop! Bot!
by James Yang

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

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

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

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Kittens First Full Moon
by Kevin Henkes

School Library Journal : PreS-K-An irresistible offering from the multifaceted Henkes. The spare and suspense-filled story concerns a kitten that mistakes the moon for a bowl of milk. When she opens her mouth to lick the treat, she ends up with a bug on her tongue. Next, she launches herself into the air, paws reaching out for the object of her desire, only to tumble down the stairs, "bumping her nose and banging her ear and pinching her tail. Poor Kitten." Again and again, the feline's persistent attempts to reach her goal lead to pain, frustration, and exhaustion. Repetitive phrases introduce each sequence of desire, action, and consequence, until the animal's instincts lead her home to a satisfying resolution. Done in a charcoal and cream-colored palette, the understated illustrations feature thick black outlines, pleasing curves, and swiftly changing expressions that are full of nuance. The rhythmic text and delightful artwork ensure storytime success. Kids will surely applaud this cat's irrepressible spirit. Pair this tale with Frank Asch's classic Moongame (S & S, 1987) and Nancy Elizabeth Wallace's The Sun, the Moon and the Stars (Houghton, 2003) for nocturnal celebrations.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library

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

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog The Storyteller
by Dave Grohl

Kirkus The Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman shares anecdotes from his (mostly) charmed life in rock ’n’ roll. Grohl’s memoir is thick with name-drops, but not for the sake of gossip or even revelatory detail. (Fans likely won’t learn anything about Kurt Cobain they didn’t already know, except perhaps his choice for cheap sustenance in the band’s pre-fame days, a canned-tuna-on-toast concoction dubbed “shit on a shingle.”) Rather, Grohl’s name-drops are of the “can you believe I get to do this for a living” variety: backing Tom Petty and Iggy Pop, meeting musical heroes from Little Richard to Joan Jett, singing “Blackbird” at the Oscars, performing at the White House, and filling arenas all over the world. As the book’s entertaining early pages reveal, Grohl was an unlikely candidate for global stardom. An accident-prone kid and unschooled drummer raised in a middle-class suburb of Washington, D.C., he caught the punk bug at a Naked Raygun show in Chicago, later dropping out of high school to join Scream. Though Scream was only moderately popular, Grohl thought he'd reached the mountaintop, so Nirvana’s massive fame, followed by Cobain’s suicide, was seriously disorienting. Still, the author is upbeat even when talking about lean or tense moments, like when his body finally pushed back against his five-pot-a-day coffee habit. Grohl is good company, but the gee-whiz tone as well as the clichés (hanging out with the members of metal band Pantera is “not for the faint of heart”) make the book feel like a missed opportunity. Grohl survived a massive band’s collapse and leads another hugely successful act in a genre that’s no longer dominant. Rather than exploring that, he’s largely content to celebrate his good fortune. Perhaps when he finally hangs it up, he will dig more deeply into his unique career. A high-spirited yet surface-level glimpse into the life of one of the planet’s last rock stars. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Sixteen-time Grammy-winner Grohl cranks the story of his life to full volume in this exciting debut chronicling his rock ’n’ roll career. Growing up in the 1970s in the suburbs of Springfield, Va.—a “Wonder Bread existence”—Grohl followed the sound of drumming all the way to the stage, from jamming with friends in high school to playing in the D.C. hardcore punk band Scream, joining Kurt Cobain’s Nirvana in 1990, and eventually fronting his band, the Foo Fighters. Grohl’s uninterested in regaling readers with tales of backstage debauchery; instead, he candidly shares his reverence for the enduring power of music. As a teenager, he writes, it became his religion, “the rock stars my saints, and their songs my hymns.” By the time he turned 22, he was traveling the world with Nirvana. After the shock of Cobain’s 1994 suicide subsided, Grohl focused on the Foo Fighters and began touring internationally again, while raising three girls with his wife (“music and family intertwined”). Reflecting on his fame, Grohl writes, “I have never taken a single moment of it for granted.” Paired with his sparkling wit, this humility is what makes Grohl’s soulful story a cut above typical rock memoirs. There isn’t a dull moment here. Agent: Eve Atterman, WME. (Oct.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman Grohl joyfully recounts his life in this memoir. Growing up in Virginia, Grohl taught himself to play drums by ear. He left school to tour with the group Scream, then joined Nirvana and struggled with its monumental success. The lifelong nonconformist found himself adored by Nirvana's mainstream audiences while dealing the band's "awkward dysfunction." After Nirvana's breakup, Grohl started the Foo Fighters, then formed the supergroup Them Crooked Vultures, with Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme and Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones. In nostalgic, often humorous anecdotes, he recalls meeting the musicians who inspired him: jamming with Iggy Pop, drumming for Tom Petty on Saturday Night Live, sharing bedtime story duties with Joan Jett. Grohl seems most proud of his role as father, and his loving stories of parenthood are sprinkled throughout the book. VERDICT Grohl bares his soul and shares his passion in this must-read memoir, which will resonate with music lovers and his fans.—Lisa Henry, Kirkwood P.L., MO

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

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Merci Suarez Changes Gears
by Meg Medina

Book list *Starred Review* Merci Suárez loves painting with her Papi, playing on his soccer team, telling her Abuelo Lolo about her days at school, and taking pictures of her family when they are together. But lately Lolo has been acting different he wanders off, forgets things easily, and has even gotten angry. To add to Merci's worries, sixth grade at Seaward Pines Academy has gotten off to a rocky start. To make up her school tuition, Merci has been assigned community service as a Sunshine Buddy to new student Michael Clark, and, as the weeks go by, popular Edna Santos only gets meaner as Merci and Michael become friends. Merci isn't sure what to make of this new world where maybe like is not the same as like like, and where popular is not the same as having friends. As she navigates her way through the year, she discovers that, even though change is scary and even though it may mean things will never be the same, sometimes it is unavoidable. Medina's breathtaking coming-of-age story features a strong, deeply honest protagonist whose insights will make readers laugh, as well as dynamic secondary characters who reveal glimmers of profound depth. Medina capably gets to the heart of middle-school experiences in this engrossing story of a kid growing into herself. A must-read.--Paz, Selenia Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Horn Book Cuban American Merci's life in south Florida consists of spending time with her extended family (including her abuelo, Lolo, who no longer seems like himself) and attending elite Seaward Pines Academy, where she does community service to pay for her tuition. Medina brings depth, warmth, and heart to her characters, never shying away from portraying this family's flaws. Accurate, natural use of Spanish builds authenticity. (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 Gr 4-7-Eleven-year-old Merci Suárez is starting sixth grade and everything is changing. Not only do upper graders have to switch teachers throughout the day, but playing sports, like Merci loves to do, is seen as babyish and befriending boys is taboo. So when Merci is assigned to show new kid Michael Clark around as part of her scholarship package at Seaward Pines Academy, it's a problem. Especially when the richest, smartest, most popular girl in school, Edna, who gets to write the sixth grade's social rules and break them, too, seems to like Michael. Meanwhile, at home, Merci has to watch over her little twin cousins who live close by at Las Casitas, a row of houses belonging to Mami and Papi; Abuela and Lolo; and Tia, for free, so trying out for the school's soccer team and earning money to buy her dream bike is almost impossible. What's worse, Merci can't even talk to her beloved Lolo about all her problems like she used to as he starts acting less and less like himself. The realistic portrayal of a complex young Latina's life is one many readers will relate to as she discovers that change can be hard, but it's the ride that matters. VERDICT Pura Belpré-winning author Medina cruises into readers' hearts with this luminous middle grade novel. A winning addition to any library's shelves.-Brittany Drehobl, Morton Grove Public Library, 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.

Publishers Weekly In this warmly told story, Medina (Burn Baby Burn) introduces 11-year-old Merci, descendent of Cuban immigrants, who attends a Florida private school on scholarship with her whip-smart older brother. Merci doesn't feel much pressure to be anyone but herself, but her self-assuredness ("It's never too early to work on your corporate leadership skills," she declares at one point) makes her a target: rich kid Edna tries to put Merci outside the sixth grade girls' friend circle, and the clashes make school miserable ("No offense is what Edna says right before she takes a hatchet to your feelings," she reports). Merci's home life is also stressful-money is tight, her beloved grandfather is failing, and familial obligations (mostly babysitting twin cousins) mean there's no chance to try out for the school soccer team. Through all this, Medina keeps the tone light as Merci's take-charge personality helps her to succeed in this coming-of-age tale about family and the perils of sixth grade. Ages 9-12. Agent: Jennifer Rofé, Andrea Brown Literary. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Kirkus Merci navigates the challenges of being a scholarship kid at a posh South Florida private school and the expectations of and responsibilities to her intergenerational family.Eleven-year-old Merci Surez isn't the typical Seaward Pines Academy sixth-grader. Instead of a stately mansion, Merci lives with her parents and older brother, Roli, in one of three identical homes next to her Cuban-American extended family: Abuela and Lolo, Ta Inz, and her rambunctious little twin cousins. At school, Merci has to deal with condescending mean girl Edna Santos, who loves to brag, boss around her friends, and throw out hurtful comments that start with "No offense." Although Merci wants to earn money so that she can afford a new bike, she's stuck volunteering for Sunshine Buddies, in which current students mentor new ones. What's worse is that her assigned buddy is Michael Clark, a new tall white boy in her class. At home, Merci's beloved Lolo begins to act erratically, and it becomes clear something secret and serious is happening. Medina writes about the joys of multigenerational home life (a staple of the Latinx community) with a touching, humorous authenticity. Merci's relationship with Lolo is heartbreakingly beautiful and will particularly strike readers who can relate to the close, chaotic, and complicated bonds of live-in grandparents.Medina delivers another stellar and deeply moving story. (author's note) (Fiction. 9-13) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog Cane River
by Lalita Tademy

Library Journal: First novelist Tademy turns fact (the story of her antebellum Southern family) into fiction.

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

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