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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Akata Witch
by Okorafor, Nnedi

Publishers Weekly Okorafor (The Shadow Speaker) returns with another successful tale of African magic. Although 12-year-old Sunny is Nigerian, she was born in America, and her Nigerian classmates see her as an outsider. Worse, she's an albino, an obvious target for bullies and suspected of being a ghost or a witch. Things change, however, when she has a vision of impending nuclear war. Then her classmate Orlu and his friend Chichi turn out to be Leopard People-witches-and insist that she is, too. Soon Sunny discovers her spirit face ("It was her, but it felt as if it had its own separate identity, too. Her spirit face was the sun, all shiny gold and glowing with pointy rays"). Eventually, the three and an American boy named Sasha visit the dangerous, magical city of Leopard Knocks and learn from their mentors in witchcraft that they must destroy Black Hat Otokoto, a monstrous serial killer and powerful witch. Although a bit slow getting started, this tale is filled with marvels and is sure to appeal to teens whose interest in fantasy goes beyond dwarves and fairies. Ages 12-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 6 Up-This contemporary fantasy features Sunny, 12, Nigerian by blood but born in New York City, who's been living in Nigeria since she was 9. She has West African features but is an albino with yellow hair, white skin, and hazel eyes. This mixture confuses people, and she is teased and bullied by classmates. One day while looking into a candle flame, she sees a vision of the end of the world. She discovers that her classmate Orlu; his friend Chichi; and Sasha, newly arrived from America, all have magical abilities, and they suspect that she does, too. She finds out she's of the Leopard spirit line and has the ability to cross over into the spirit world, become invisible, see the future, and manipulate time. She and her new friends must use their abilities to try to defeat a serial killer who's maiming and killing children to use to awaken a monster from the spirit world. This vividly imagined, original fantasy shows what life is like in today's Nigeria, while it beautifully explores an alternate magical reality. Sunny must deal with cultural stereotypes, a strict father who resents her being female, and older brothers who pick on her because she's better at soccer than they are. This is a consistently surprising, inventive read that will appeal to more thoughtful, patient fantasy readers because it relies less on action and more on exploring the characters' gradual mastery of their talents.-Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton (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 Flame has always been soothing to 12-year-old Sunny until she sees a vision of the end of the world in candlelight. Raging fires, boiling oceans and ruptured land, dead and dying people. It was horrible. And it was coming. Born in the U.S. to Nigerian parents, Sunny and her family have returned to Nigeria, where she is taunted for being both foreign-born and albino. Then Sunny learns that her classmates' jeers that she i. half-ghost, half-huma. hold truth: she is a Free Agent, descended from both Leopard People, who have magical abilities, and Lambs, who are equivalent to J. K. Rowling's dull Muggles. Along with three other Leopard kids, Sunny has been chosen to help stop a serial killer whose dark juju depends on sacrificing children and links to her apocalyptic vision. The story's pacing isn't consistently smooth, but the world Okorafor creates is spellbinding, from its fantastical plants and animals, including sculpture-buildin. wasp artist. and forceful lightning bugs ( the ones with attitude have the best light ), to its values, which are refreshing inversions of Lamb beliefs: money is earne. by gaining knowledge and wisdom. for example. Harry Potter fans will find plenty of satisfying parallels here, as will readers who know Okorafor's previous novels, especially The Shadow Speaker (2007), for which Akata Witch serves as a prequel of sorts. Okorafor's high-spirited characters, sly humor, archetypal themes, and inventive reworking of coming-of-age journeys will leave readers eager for this series starter's planned sequels. For more about Okorafor and her imagined worlds, see the accompanyin. Story behind the Stor. feature.--Engberg, Gillia. Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog The cats of Tanglewood Forest
by written by Charles de Lint ; illustrated by Charles Vess.

Book list In this expanded version of A Circle of Cats (2003), 12-year-old orphan Lillian is bitten by a snake, but she is spared death when the cats of Tanglewood Forest turn her into a kitten. Old Mother Possum takes her back in time to return her to human shape, but this time Lillian's aunt succumbs to the snake. Realizing that her choices bring unintended consequences, Lillian begins a quest to revisit her decisions, with the goal of saving her aunt, and her kindness toward others (as well as her cleverness) eventually does just that. Set in a magical forest populated by Bear People, an Apple Tree Man, and the Father of Cats, the story's lyrical, folkloric style is well suited to a tale of magic and mystery. Vess' line-and-watercolor illustrations (not seen in final form) appear throughout; they help to break up the text for younger readers and give form to de Lint's unusual characters. Give this to fans of Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black's Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World around You (2005).--Weisman, Kay Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly In this enchanting expansion of De Lint and Vess's 2003 picture book, A Circle of Cats, the duo tells the story of Lillian Kindred, a spirited orphan living on a farm at the edge of a forest with her beloved aunt. While exploring, Lillian is bitten by a snake but saved from death by the magic of the feral cats she has befriended, who turn her into a kitten. Seeking a return to human form, Lillian makes a deal with Old Mother Possum, only to discover that her aunt has died of snakebite. A complex series of adventures, transformations, and tradeoffs occurs, involving a number of De Lint's typically syncretistic magical characters, including Aunt Nancy the spider woman and T.H. Reynolds the fox, who unapologetically informs Lillian that he's eaten Mother Possum's husband, saying, "I'm a fox. It's what we do." De Lint zestfully combines the traditional and the original, the light and the dark, while Vess's luminous full-color illustrations, simultaneously fluid and precise, capture Lillian's effervescent blend of determination and curiosity. Ages 8-12. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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 ...

Rebecca Caudill Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Hoot
by Carl Hiaasen

Publishers Weekly : With a Florida setting and proenvironment, antidevelopment message, Hiaasen (Sick Puppy) returns to familiar turf for his first novel for young readers. Characteristically quirky characters and comic twists will surely gain the author new fans, though their attention may wander during his narrative's intermittently protracted focus on several adults, among them a policeman and the manager of a construction site for a new franchise of a pancake restaurant chain. Both men are on a quest to discover who is sabotaging the site at night, including such pranks as uprooting survey stakes, spray-painting the police cruiser's windows while the officer sleeps within and filling the portable potties with alligators. The story's most intriguing character is the boy behind the mischief, a runaway on a mission to protect the miniature owls that live in burrows underneath the site. Roy, who has recently moved to Florida from Montana, befriends the homeless boy (nicknamed Mullet Fingers) and takes up his cause, as does the runaway's stepsister. Though readers will have few doubts about the success of the kids' campaign, several suspenseful scenes build to the denouement involving the sitcom-like unraveling of a muckity-muck at the pancake house. These, along with dollops of humor, help make the novel quite a hoot indeed. Ages 10-up.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : Gr 6-9-Packed with quirky characters and improbable plot twists, Hiaasen's first novel for young readers is entertaining but ultimately not very memorable. Fans of the author's adult novels will find trademark elements-including environmental destruction, corrupt politicians, humorous situations, and a Florida setting-all viewed through the eyes of a middle-school student. Roy Eberhardt has just moved with his family to Coconut Cove. He immediately becomes the target of a particularly dense bully who tries to strangle him on the school bus. Roy seems more concerned, however, with discovering the identity of a running, barefoot boy he spots through the window of the bus. Meanwhile, plans to build a pancake house on a vacant lot are derailed when someone vandalizes the construction site. The two story lines come together when Roy discovers that the runaway boy is disrupting the construction to save a group of burrowing owls. Roy must help his new friend, nicknamed Mullet Fingers, as well as fend off the bully and adapt to life in Florida. The story is silly at times but rarely laugh-out-loud funny, and there are several highly unlikely scenes. Also, it wraps up a little too neatly-Roy's classmates join him to protest the construction project, his father finds the missing environmental impact report, and the owls are saved. While Roy is a sympathetic protagonist, few of the other characters are well developed. Students looking for humorous, offbeat characters and situations will probably prefer Louis Sachar's Holes (Farrar, 1998) or books by Daniel Pinkwater.-Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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