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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog What Can't Wait
by Perez, Ashley Hope

School Library Journal Gr 10 Up-Marisa Moreno, a Houston high school senior, is the goody-goody younger sister of Cecelia, who had a child at 17, and macho brother Gustavo, who calls her nerda. Although Marisa earns A's, her acceptance letter to an Austin university sits hidden away in a kitchen drawer stuffed with her mother's prayer cards, an example of the narrative's rich and carefully observed detail. Afraid to let go of her younger daughter, Ma equates the distance to not-so-far-away Austin with Germany because the only other young woman who left their neighborhood is stationed there with the army. Ma's geography may be weak, but her logistical argument is solid. Marisa babysits her niece, Anita; works at a supermarket; and cooks for the family: Who will replace her? With little spare time, the teen's attempts at having a social life are flimsy; her best friend, Brenda, and boyfriend Alan provide comic relief and support. A short scene about an attempted sexual assault is too quickly drawn to be convincing. The real dynamic is among the members of this nuclear family, particularly involving its five-year-old scene stealer, Anita. The love of Marisa's life, she's someone for whom one would gladly struggle to build a future, even if it means learning to put your own needs before those of the family. This strong first novel makes an excellent choice for populations with large numbers of immigrant students.-Georgia Christgau, Middle College High School, Long Island City, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Marisa loves AP calculus, and she is good at it. But her overbearing father, a Mexican immigrant, always reminds her that familia comes first. That means picking up extra shifts at the grocery store, where she works to help pay bills, and babysitting her adorable niece, who distracts from schoolwork. This is Marisa's senior year, and she has a shot at a great engineering school, but her supportive teacher doesn't seem to comprehend the cultural conflict she is creating by pushing Marisa's college dreams. Even Marisa's new boyfriend doesn't understand her struggle to aim for a better life. Although it has the potential to become a book version of Stand and Deliver, by focusing on Marisa's determination in the face of quiet disapproval from her mother and outright opposition from her father, Perez removes the cliche and creates a relatable character who is unraveling under the pressure to support her family at the expense of her dreams. This solid debut deftly explores the daily struggle of some students to persevere in the face of long odds.--Jones, Courtney Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 10 Up-Marisa Moreno, a Houston high school senior, is the goody-goody younger sister of Cecelia, who had a child at 17, and macho brother Gustavo, who calls her nerda. Although Marisa earns A's, her acceptance letter to an Austin university sits hidden away in a kitchen drawer stuffed with her mother's prayer cards, an example of the narrative's rich and carefully observed detail. Afraid to let go of her younger daughter, Ma equates the distance to not-so-far-away Austin with Germany because the only other young woman who left their neighborhood is stationed there with the army. Ma's geography may be weak, but her logistical argument is solid. Marisa babysits her niece, Anita; works at a supermarket; and cooks for the family: Who will replace her? With little spare time, the teen's attempts at having a social life are flimsy; her best friend, Brenda, and boyfriend Alan provide comic relief and support. A short scene about an attempted sexual assault is too quickly drawn to be convincing. The real dynamic is among the members of this nuclear family, particularly involving its five-year-old scene stealer, Anita. The love of Marisa's life, she's someone for whom one would gladly struggle to build a future, even if it means learning to put your own needs before those of the family. This strong first novel makes an excellent choice for populations with large numbers of immigrant students.-Georgia Christgau, Middle College High School, Long Island City, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. 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 the Water in the World
by George Ella Lyon

Publishers Weekly Pattern-driven digital illustrations pair with concrete verse to express water's cyclical nature: "Thirsty air/ licks it from lakes/ sips it from ponds/ guzzles it from oceans/ and this wet air/ swirls up." In a bone-colored landscape in another part of the world, a child in a hut and wild animals in a barren tree await a gray storm cloud. When a torrent comes, a lullaby-like line assures: "Honey,/ living things dream/ of water," and a mother with long, brunette hair embraces her child, droplets from her hair coalescing into tiny animal silhouettes. A lyrical and bighearted outpouring. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* Lots of picture books introduce young children to the water cycle, but few have such an infectious beat and eye-catching illustrations as this title, which begs to be read aloud. With occasional rhymes, the short, poetic lines are conversational and instructive and evoke a sense of mystery: Where does it come from? / Water doesn't come. / It goes. / Around. That rain / that cascaded from clouds / . . . then slipped into rivers / and opened into oceans, / that rain has been here before. Children encountering the scientific concepts for the first time may need help understanding how, exactly, Thirsty air . . . licks . . . sips . . . guzzles water from lakes and oceans. What kids will respond to immediately, though, are the noisy, delicious sounds and rhythms in the words as well as the kinetic energy in the beautifully composed, atmospheric digital illustrations, which have the richly patterned and textured look of paint-and-paper collage. Playfully arranged type in changing fonts adds to the visual fun while giving cues for energizing read-alouds. On the final, stunning spreads, a mother's hair swirls into a wave of water that becomes a joyful spiral of living creatures, all reinforcing the simple, profound message: our lives depend on so precious water.--Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

School Library Journal K-Gr 3-Lyon briefly explains the water cycle in lyrical verse and celebrates its power to give life. "Water doesn't come./It goes./Around./That rain...has been here before," a result of water that evaporates into the air, "swirls up" into the clouds, and comes down again as rain. The precipitation is described as a "tap dance/avalanche/stampede/of drips and drops and drumming-/a wealth of water." In dry areas of the world, however, cups are empty, the soil has turned to dust, and "Everything waits...for rain sweet and loud." The digital collagelike illustrations pair dramatically with the text to depict this contrast. Turquoise endpapers usher in pages with swirls of water, water spouting from a hose, through pipes, down mountains. Rain pours down in horizontal and vertical spreads. But brown and cream-colored pages reveal a bare landscape where a little girl and animals alike anxiously anticipate an approaching rain cloud. At last, "this wet wonder" arrives and flows through all creatures, including a young child and mother whose water-sprinkled hair spreads across the pages to become a swirl of tiny creatures and plants. "Honey, living things dream of water...so precious," says the narrator. We must "keep it clear, keep it clean. keep Earth green!" Filled with rhythm and sound, this offering begs to be read aloud. Rochelle Strauss's One Well: The Story of Water on Earth (Kids Can, 2007) discusses the importance of water for older children.-Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Owl Moon
by John Schoenherr

Book list Ages 2-7. An exquisite mood piece, Owl Moon is a poetic story of a winter-wrapped little girl and her father's owling adventure. The elusive magic and gentle shivery excitement that accompany the twosome are felt by the reader. The late-night walks are steeped in family tradition, no words are exchanged, but the companionship of the elusive quest speaks volumes. ``When you go owling / you don't need words / or warm / or anything but hope. That's what Pa says.'' The integrity of Yolen's pleasure in writing about her subject is evident, and Schoenherr, also an owling enthusiast, captures the stark blue-black majesty of the nighttime forest in his powerful and evocative watercolor illustrations. Excellent for one-on-one or read-aloud groups. PW. Owls Fiction / Fathers and daughters Fiction [CIP] 87-2300

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

Book list Delicate pen-and-ink lines over watercolors capture the wonder and intimacy of a father and child's moonlit winter search for an owl. The 1988 Caldecott Medal Book. (D 15 87)

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

Book list Ages 2-7. Midnight blues and frost whites capture the stark majesty of this poetic mood piece in which a little girl and her father go owling in the nighttime forest. (D 15 87)

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

Publishers Weekly A girl and her father go owling on a moonlit winter night near the farm where they live. Bundled tight in wool clothes, they trudge through snow ``whiter than the milk in a cereal bowl''; here and there, hidden in ink-blue shadows, a fox, raccoon, fieldmouse and deer watch them pass. An air of expectancy builds as Pa imitates the Great Horned Owl's call once without answer, then again. From out of the darkness ``an echo/ came threading its way/ through the trees.'' Schoenherr's watercolor washes depict a New England few readers see: the bold stare of a nocturnal owl, a bird's-eye view of a farmhouse. In harmony with the art, the melodious text brings to life an unusual countryside adventure. Ages 2-6. (November) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Ages 5-9. This child and father's moonlight search for an owl through a snow-covered landscape is ideal for January sharing and can be smoothly linked with Franklyn Branley's informative Snow Is Falling and Patricia Hunt's Snowy Owls.Year Round Reading

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

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Lila
by Marilynne Robinson

Publishers Weekly This third of three novels set in the fictional plains town of Gilead, Iowa, is a masterpiece of prose in the service of the moral seriousness that distinguishes Robinson's work. This time the narrative focuses on Lila, the young bride of elderly Reverend Ames, first met in Gilead. Rescued as a toddler from abusive caretakers by a rough but kind drifter named Doll, raised with love but enduring the hard existence of a field worker, and later, in a St. Louis whorehouse, Lila is a superb creation. Largely uneducated, almost feral, Lila has a thirst for stability and knowledge. As she yearns to forget the terrible memories and shame of her past, Lila is hesitant to reveal them to her loving new husband. The courtship of the couple-John Ames: tentative, tender, shy, and awkward; Lila: naive, suspicious, wary, full of dread-will endure as a classic set piece of character revelation, during which two achingly lonely people discover the comfort of marital love. Threaded through the narrative are John Ames's troubled reflections that the doctrines of his Calvinist theology, including the belief that those who are not saved are destined for hell, are too harsh. Though she reads the Bible to gain knowledge, Lila resists its message, because it teaches that her beloved Doll will never gain the peace of heaven. Her questions stir up doubt in Ames's already conflicted mind, and Robinson carefully crafts this provocative and deeply meaningful spiritual search for the meaning of existence. What brings the couple together is a joyous appreciation of the beauty of the natural world and the possibility of grace. The novel ends with the birth of their son, to whom Ames will leave his diary in Gilead. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Walk Two Moons
by Sharon Creech

Book list Gr. 7-9. Thirteen-year-old Sal Hiddle can't deal with all the upheaval in her life. Her mother, Sugar, is in Idaho, and although Sugar promised to return before the tulips bloomed, she hasn't come back. Instead, Mr. Hiddle has moved Sal from the farm she loves so much and has even taken up company with the unpleasantly named Mrs. Cadaver. Multilayered, the book tells the story of Sal's trip to Idaho with her grandparents; and as the car clatters along, Sal tells her grandparents the story of her friend Phoebe, who receives messages from a "lunatic" and who must cope with the disappearance of her mother. The novel is ambitious and successful on many fronts: the characters, even the adults, are fully realized; the story certainly keeps readers' interest; and the pacing is good throughout. But Creech's surprises--that Phoebe's mother has an illegitimate son and that Sugar is buried in Idaho, where she died after a bus accident--are obvious in the first case and contrived in the second. Sal knows her mother is dead; that Creech makes readers think otherwise seems a cheat, though one, it must be admitted, that may bother adults more than kids. Still, when Sal's on the road with her grandparents, spinning Phoebe's yarn and trying to untangle her own, this story sings. ~--Ilene Cooper

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

School Library Journal Gr 6-9-An engaging story of love and loss, told with humor and suspense. Thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle's mother leaves home suddenly on a spiritual quest, vowing to return, but can't keep her promise. The girl and her father leave their farm in Kentucky and move to Ohio, where Sal meets Phoebe Winterbottom, also 13. While Sal accompanies her eccentric grandparents on a six-day drive to Idaho to retrace her mother's route, she entertains them with the tale of Phoebe, whose mother has also left home. While this story-within-a-story is a potentially difficult device, in the hands of this capable author it works well to create suspense, keep readers' interest, and draw parallels between the situations and reactions of the two girls. Sal's emotional journey through the grieving process-from denial to anger and finally to acceptance-is depicted realistically and with feeling. Indeed, her initial confusion and repression of the truth are mirrored in the book; even readers are unaware until near the end, that Sal's mother has died. Phoebe's mother does return home, bringing with her a son previously unknown to her family, who is accepted with alacrity. Overall, a richly layered novel about real and metaphorical journeys.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog The Best Way to Play
by Bill Cosby

School Library Journal : K-Gr 3--Cosby turns his hand to writing, telling stories about situations that children often face. In The Best Way to Play, Little Bill, the narrator, and his friends get caught up in the excitement and marketing of their favorite TV cartoon, Space Explorers, and desperately want their parents to buy them the expensive video game. They become bored with it quickly, however, and realize that it's more fun to play Space Explorers outside. In The Meanest Thing to Say, Little Bill comes face to face with a bully. The Treasure Hunt takes him on a voyage of self-exploration. It seems to him that everyone in his family has a special quality. After a full day of searching, he discovers that his is "telling stories and making people laugh." These titles feature short chapters, making them appropriate for beginning readers--but they're also short enough to be read aloud. Honeywood's illustrations are bright and eye-catching, and show Little Bill and his friends and family as having distinctive personalities and characteristics. Each book comes with a letter to parents from a child psychiatrist about the subject matter in that book. While the writing is nothing extraordinary, Cosby has a good grasp of the issues and how the world looks through children's eyes. The primarily African-American characters also make these books welcome additions to easy-reader collections.

Dina Sherman, Brooklyn Children's Museum, NY Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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