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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Bitter Melon
by Chow, Cara

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-While this novel will tend to resonate most with Asian-Americans, many teens can find kinship with a high school senior straining against rigid parental expectations. Living in late-1980s San Francisco in a one-bedroom apartment with a Chinese mother focused entirely on the future success of her daughter, Frances (Fei Ting) is accidentally scheduled for a public-speaking class instead of Berkeley-worthy calculus. Soon she is so taken with her free-spirited teacher, Ms. Taylor, that she misses the deadline to change classes and must lie to her mother, especially once her talents lead her to off-campus speech competitions. Frances takes second place in her first attempt and gets to know Collins, a boy she has met in the Princeton Review class her mother is making her attend to boost her SAT score. Lies build until her mother finds a forged report card with no calculus. A Chinese American Association competition that Frances wins gives the woman a chance to take pride in her daughter's accomplishment, but instead of releasing her from a tunnel-future straight through to medical school, the win merely recasts the future Frances: now her studies must be journalism and she, the next Connie Chung. As senior year goes on, Frances works to determine her own fate, choose her own college, control her own money, and even date Collins. Chow skillfully describes the widening gulf between mother and daughter and the disparity between the Chinese culture's expectation of filial duty and the American virtue of independence.-Suzanne Gordon, Lanier High School, Sugar Hill, GA (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.

Book list Your papers say American but your blood is Chinese. You inherit my genes. You eat my rice. You will mold to my shape. In San Francisco, Frances has grown up feeling crushed by the weight of her mother's expectations that she will go to Berkeley and become a wealthy doctor. Frances doesn't actively defy her mother until she takes a senior year speech class and discovers the truth in her teacher's message, language is power. A few cultural details point to the 1980s setting, but this debut reads like a searing, contemporary story of timeless parent-child friction across cultural and generational borders. Frances' mother's cruelty is shockingly unrelenting and includes some Mommie Dearest moments. Chow adds depth to these scenes by making clear not only Frances' boiling rage but also her confusion as she balances loyalty, tradition, duty, and independence. Readers will connect with Frances' fury and yearning as well as her sense of empowerment when she begins to find her voice: I am not a helpless prisoner anymore. Like a secret agent, I am plotting my escape. --Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Frances lives to please her mother, pushing herself for top grades so that she can get into Berkeley and become a doctor. But at the start of her senior year, she is mistakenly scheduled for speech class, where she learns she is a natural at public speaking, and she begins to question the path her mother has outlined for her. "If you eat bitterness all the time, you will get used to it. Then you will like it," Frances's mother tells her, referring to the eponymous dish, a blatant metaphor for the tight confines of their life together. Frances begins to make choices for herself, first hiding them from her mother, but ultimately confronting her. Though the viciousness her mother displays at times strains credulity (as when she beats Frances with a speech trophy, telling Frances she wants her to die), teens will be able to identify with the intense pressure Frances is under to succeed. The story follows a foreseeable course, but debut novelist Chow's descriptions, dialogue, and details of Chinese-American life in 1980s San Francisco shine, and Frances's growth is rewarding. Ages 12-up. (Dec.) (c) 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 Lemonade, and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word
by Bob Raczka

School Library Journal Gr 3-8-Raczka credits Andrew Russ for inspiring him to try his hand at creating poems by rearranging the letters of a single word. The letters that make up each word in the 22 selections are placed directly under the matching letters of the original word, which is used as the poem's title. The resulting odd spacing of letters and words adds an element of puzzlement to the deciphering of some words and requires a certain facility with the English language, along with the capability for recognizing words whose letters are placed horizontally, vertically or diagonally; backwards or forwards; separated by one space or six, or an entire line with no punctuation included. Each poem is printed on the verso of the following page with words in correct order. A clever, catchy, and challenging collection.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH (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.

Publishers Weekly Inspired by the concrete poetry of Andrew Russ (aka endwar), Raczka's poems are all produced from the letters in single words, magnifying and playing on their meanings. "Vacation" is transformed into "action/ in/ a/ van," and the letters from "snowflakes" trickle down lazily as though from the sky. Several words result in more imaginative compositions: from "constellation" come the lines, "a/ silent/ lion/ tells/ an/ ancient/ tale." Some selections feel slight, but there's a subtle humor and power at work in many ("friend" reads simply "fred/ finds/ ed"), and readers may be spurred to construct their own. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8-12. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* As in previous titles, such as Snowy, Blowy Winter (2008) and Summer Wonders (2009), Raczka offers an accessible, playful poetry collection. This time, each selection is both a poem and a puzzle. As the whimsical subtitle states, every entry begins with a single-word title whose letters, when rearranged, make up the words in the following lines, as in Bleachers : Ball / reaches / here / bases / clear / cheers. Each poem appears twice: first, the letters, printed in an old-fashioned, typewriter font, are scattered individually across an open background, and readers must piece them together to make words. On the following page, the words are set in more traditional, easily read lines. Pepperoni, for example, begins with swirling, unconnected letters that resemble ingredients being sprinkled onto a pizza's surface; on the next page, the letters are arranged in short lines: One / pie / no / pepper / onion. Doniger's spare illustrations add quirky appeal without distracting from the inventive formations of type. More than just clever gimmicks, the poems leave room for moving lines with a depth that invites imaginative wandering: A / silent / lion / tells / an ancient / tale, reads Constellation. Sure to have wide classroom appeal.--Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 3-8-Raczka has rearranged letters from a single word to spell out new words, creating engaging verses that are both poems and puzzlers. The odd spacing of letters and words makes deciphering somewhat difficult, but each poem is printed on the verso with words in correct order. Quiet watercolor and ink drawings complement this catchy and innovative collection. (c) Copyright 2012. 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 Mirette on the High Wire
by Emily McCully

Publishers Weekly : In this picture book set in 19th-century Paris, a child helps a daredevil who has lost his edge to regain his confidence. Many traveling performers stay at Madame Gateaux's boarding house, but Mme.'s daughter Mirette is particularly taken with one guest--the quiet gentleman who can walk along the clothesline without falling off. Mirette implores the boarder to teach her his craft, not knowing that her instructor is the ``Great Bellini'' of high wire fame. After much practice the girl joins Bellini on the wire as he conquers his fear and demonstrates to all of Paris that he is still the best. McCully's story has an exciting premise and starting point, but unfortunately ends up as a missed opportunity. Bellini's anxiety may be a bit sophisticated for the intended audience and, surprisingly, the scenes featuring Mirette and Bellini on the high wire lack drama and intensity. McCully's rich palette and skillful renderings of shadow and light sources make this an inviting postcard from the Old World. Ages 4-8.

Copyright 1992 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : K-Gr 4-- Mirette's mother keeps a boardinghouse that attracts traveling performers . The girl is intrigued by one silent visitor, Bellini, who has come for a rest. She finds him next morning walking a high wire strung across the backyard. Immediately, she is drawn to it, practicing on it herself until she finds her balance and can walk its distance. But she finds the man unusually secretive about his identity; he was a famous high-wire artist, but has lost his courage. He is lured by an agent to make a comeback, but freezes on the wire. Seeing Mirette at the end of it restores his nerve; after the performance the two set off on a new career together. As improbable as the story is, its theatrical setting at some historical distance, replete with European architecture and exotic settings and people, helps lend credibility to this circus tale. Mirette, through determination and perhaps talent, trains herself, overcoming countless falls on cobblestone, vaunting pride that goes before a fall, and lack of encouragement from Bellini. The impressionistic paintings, full of mottled, rough edges and bright colors, capture both the detail and the general milieu of Paris in the last century. The colors are reminiscent of Toulouse-Lautrec, the daubing technique of Seurat. A satisfying, high-spirited adventure. --Ruth K. MacDonald, Purdue Univ . Calumet, Hammond, IN

Copyright 1992 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog The Wright Brothers
by David McCullough

Library Journal McCullough (John Adams; 1776) effectively blends impeccable writing with historical rigor and strong character definition in his biography of Wright brothers Wilbur, the abstract thinker and introvert; and Orville, the extrovert and hands-on doer. They had limited formal education, with the author instead attributing his subjects' success to industry, imagination, and persistence, as seen in their early enterprises as newspaper publishers, printers, and bicycle salesmen in Dayton, OH. Credit is also accorded to their widowed father, Bishop Milton Wright, as well as their sister Katharine for their support of "Ullam" (Wilbur) and "Bubs" (Orville). Highlights of McCullough's narrative include his discussions of the Wrights' innovative conception of wing-warping as a means of flight control; the brothers' first controlled, powered, and sustained heavier-than-air human flight at Kitty Hawk, NC, on December 17, 1903; the issuance of the Wright flying machine patent #821,393 on May 22, 1906; the Ohioans' ongoing search for markets abroad; and the elder Wright's perfect flying demonstrations at Le Mans, France, even as Orville was nearly killed in a similar performance before army brass at Fort Myer, VA. The author closes with the incorporation of the Wright Company, patent infringement suits filed against competitor Glenn Curtiss, and the deaths of Wilbur (1912), Milton (1917), Katharine (1929), and Orville (1948). VERDICT A signal contribution to Wright historiography. Highly recommended for academicians interested in the history of flight, transportation, or turn-of-the-century America; general readers; and all libraries.-John Carver Edwards, formerly with Univ. of Georgia Libs. Copyright 2015. 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.

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Dear Mr. Henshaw
by Beverly Cleary

Publishers Weekly : This amusing, often touching series of letters from Leigh Botts to a children's book author he admires again demonstrates Cleary's right-on perception of a kid's world. Ages 8-12.

Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog The Corrections
by Jonathan Franzen

Library Journal: As her husband's health deteriorates, Enid faces the disappointments in her life including her three grown children.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly: If some authors are masters of suspense, others postmodern verbal acrobats, and still others complex-character pointillists, few excel in all three arenas. In his long-awaited third novel, Franzen does. Unlike his previous works, The 27th City (1988) and Strong Motion (1992), which tackled St. Louis and Boston, respectively, this one skips from city to city (New York; St. Jude; Philadelphia; Vilnius, Lithuania) as it follows the delamination of the Lambert family Alfred, once a rigid disciplinarian, flounders against Parkinson's-induced dementia; Enid, his loyal and embittered wife, lusts for the perfect Midwestern Christmas; Denise, their daughter, launches the hippest restaurant in Philly; and Gary, their oldest son, grapples with depression, while Chip, his brother, attempts to shore his eroding self-confidence by joining forces with a self-mocking, Eastern-Bloc politician. As in his other novels, Franzen blends these personal dramas with expert technical cartwheels and savage commentary on larger social issues, such as the imbecility of laissez-faire parenting and the farcical nature of U.S.-Third World relations. The result is a book made of equal parts fury and humor, one that takes a dry-eyed look at our culture, at our pains and insecurities, while offering hope that, occasionally at least, we can reach some kind of understanding. This is, simply, a masterpiece. Agent, Susan Golomb. (Sept.)Forecast: Franzen has always been a writer's writer and his previous novels have earned critical admiration, but his sales haven't yet reached the level of, say, Don DeLillo at his hottest. Still, if the ancillary rights sales and the buzz at BEA are any indication, The Corrections should be his breakout book. Its varied subject matter will endear it to a genre-crossing section of fans (both David Foster Wallace and Michael Cunningham contributed rave blurbs) and FSG's publicity campaign will guarantee plenty of press. QPB main, BOMC alternate. Foreign rights sold in the U.K., Denmark, Holland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and Spain. Nine-city author tour.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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