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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog The Reader G.P. Putnams Sons Books for Young Readers
by Chee, Traci

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.

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog My Footprints
by Bao Phi

Book list Thuy is bullied at school. Whether it's her Vietnamese heritage, the fact of her two mothers, or for no reason at all, it makes her angry. On her way home, she imagines herself differently. Should she be a bird and fly away or a deer moving silently in the snow? Her imagination grows about what kind of creature she can become, and she informs her moms she wants to be a big, scary monster. Learning what has provoked Thuy, they support and encourage her until finally she settles on the most powerful creature of all: ""It can fly, and swim, and run . . . it's both a boy and girl and its skin color keeps changing and it never makes fun of anyone."" Using her mothers' names and her own, she declares it an ""Arti-Thuy-Ngoc-osaurus!"" As in his Caldecott Honor Book A Different Pond (2017), Phi deeply understands both differences and family bonds. Tran's soft, rounded artwork adds an unexpected flavor to a story that goes deep into the power of imagination and empathy.--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 1–3—The story opens with a young Vietnamese-American girl named Thuy being laughed at again by two kids as she's leaving school alone on a winter day. It's clear in Thuy's expressions how upsetting the bullies' taunts are. Walking through the crunchy snow, she looks behind her and notices her footprints. Thuy continues on her way home "dipping the tips of her boots deep into the snow…, wanting to feel peaceful, quiet, left alone." She reaches home to find her moms outside shoveling snow. When Thuy doesn't want to talk about her day she storms off, making tracks in the snow like a snake. Thuy works through her emotions of anger and sadness by mimicking different animals' footprints in the snow—a spotted leopard "that can blend into its surroundings and disappear if it's threatened," then a grizzly bear—"strong and brave, a bear stands up for itself. Other animals are afraid to make fun of it." When Momma Arti and Momma Ngoc join Thuy in the backyard she asks them what the strongest animal is. When Momma Arti suggest an elephant, Thuy declares: "I want to be the biggest and strongest and scariest monster…so that if kids at school make fun of me for having two moms, or tell me to go back to where I come from, or call me names. Or bother me because I'm a girl, I can make them stop." There it is. So begins a game with the three making footprints of their favorite animals Thuy makes up her own creature—"one that never hurts or makes fun of anyone"—an "Arti-Thuy-Ngoc-osaurus!" The story ends with the three holding hands, chanting "our footprints", making heart shapes in the snow. Back matter includes a deeply personal author's note mentioning his own history of being bullied. Basia Tran's illustrations are pitch perfect and make the story all the more poignant. VERDICT A timeless and important book that deals with the fallout of bullying and the power of a child's imagination to overcome with the strength and support of a loving family.—Megan Kilgallen, Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn

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

Kirkus Thuy wants to overcome the bullies that taunt her. Graphite-and-digital color illustrations show Thuy sadly walking home from menacing bullies at school. Thuy is Asian and wears an adorable cat hat over her straight, shoulder-length black hair. Tran's bubbly cartoon style excels at Thuy's many facial expressions. In "the crisp, white blanket of new snow," Thuy's footprints begin to embody animals that she admires: "V" shapes for a cardinal that can fly from danger, deep stomps for a towering grizzly bear, and others. When her two loving parents, Momma Ngoc and Momma Arti (the former likely Vietnamese, like Thuy, and the latter South Asian), join her in this therapeutic imaginary play, together all three become a phoenix, then the Hindu Sarabha, and then a whole new creaturecomplete with heart-shaped footprints. By including colorful double-page spreads of the phoenix and Sarabha and further information about these ancient creatures in the backmatter, the book sends a powerful message about the strength children can draw from their own cultural heritage. With this story about two moms joining their daughter through child-centered play to face adversity as one, Phi explains in his author's note, he hopes to nurture the marginalized and challenge "systems of harm." Even though Thuy's repetition of the titular phrase stilts the story's rhythm at times, this doesn't overshadow the underlying message: It's good to open up to the people who love you.Both a meaningful effort toward inclusion and a solid conversation starter about bullying. (Picture book. 5-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Independent Booksellers List
Click to search this book in our catalog Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn

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.

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog No Plan B
by Lee Child and Andrew Child

Kirkus In the latest volume from Child, Inc., in which the retiring Lee's younger brother, Andrew, will soon take over the Jack Reacher franchise, the colossal ex-Army cop traces the killing of a woman in a Colorado town to a gruesome prison conspiracy in Mississippi. The death is ruled a suicide, but Reacher saw a man push the woman under a bus and steal her purse. After tracking down and disposing of the culprit, he learns that the woman worked for a private prison in Mississippi and had returned to Colorado to run troubling statistics about the prison's operation past her former boss. He died of a supposed heart attack 12 hours before her death. Teaming up with the man's tough-skinned ex-wife, Reacher heads South to sort things out, "wired to move toward danger." Fearing Reacher will interfere with their deadly schemes, prison officials set up a network of roadblocks outside of town to pick him off. Meanwhile, a vulnerable 15-year-old boy, escaping his abusive foster mother in Los Angeles, travels to Mississippi after his birth mother tells him life-changing truths about his father. He, too, is targeted by bad guys. Most of the ingredients of classic Reacher are here. Our sadistic hero delivers bone-crushing blows to his hopeless foes with sadistic satisfaction ("Would you care if you stepped on a cockroach?"). He eludes the traps set for him and penetrates the high-security prison. He drinks a lot of coffee and beds a local woman. What's missing in this follow-up to the collaborative Better Off Dead (2021) is Lee Child's elegant writing, for which he hasn't received enough credit. The sentences here are short and metronomically flat, and the early sections are uncharacteristically disjointed. But fans who come for the action and the traveling tips—a folding toothbrush is best, he advises—will not be disappointed. A grimly efficient addition to the Reacher canon. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list In the new Jack Reacher novel, the former military cop witnesses a homicide: a man pushes a woman under a bus. The police seem content to write it off as an accident, but the detective in charge of the case isn’t happy about that and asks Reacher (unofficially, of course) to find out what happened and why. This is the twenty-seventh installment in the Reacher series, and the third cowritten by Lee Child and his younger brother, Andrew, before Andrew takes over when Lee’s retirement kicks in; but the writing is as crisp as it was in the very first novel, 1997’s Killing Floor. Reacher continues to be one of thrillerdom’s most compelling characters, a big man with an unswerving sense of justice who prefers to use his mind to get out of a jam, but who’s also perfectly comfortable using his fists as required. Reacher fans may have been worried about how the baton pass between brothers would affect the delicate chemistry of the series—particularly the tone and the balance between action and reflection—but so far, so good. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Reacher still rules, even with two names on the title page.

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

Library Journal Though an eyewitness concurs that a woman leaped before a bus to her death, Jack Reacher knows she was pushed by a hooded purse snatcher, whom he follows into a major conspiracy. After two Child brothers collaborations, both No. 1 New York Times best sellers.

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

Publishers Weekly At the start of the relentlessly paced 27th Jack Reacher novel—the third collaboration between the Child brothers (after 2021’s Better Off Dead)—six men meet at Minerva, a Mississippi prison, to decide if someone who witnessed the murder of Minerva employee Angela St. Vrain in Gerrardsville, Colo., poses a threat to their illegal sources of profit. That someone is Reacher, who, when a police officer urges him not to get involved, says: “A woman was murdered. Someone has to do something about it.” The Minerva team’s justifiable fears and Reacher’s quest for justice propel the plot, which charts Reacher’s long journey from Colorado to Mississippi. Most Reacher stories focus on Reacher, the victims, and the bad guys, but this one has two additional narrative threads: a 15-year-old boy runs away from his foster home in L.A. to reunite with his imprisoned father; and a successful arsonist wants vengeance for his son’s mysterious death. The authors sacrifice some narrative momentum with these subplots, but they also provide all the familiar elements Reacher fans expect: the slow reveal of Minerva’s massive secret, plenty of violence, Reacher’s unique approach to dispensing justice, and a thrilling denouement. Who could ask for more? Agent: Darley Anderson, Darley Anderson Literary (U.K.). (Oct.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog When You Reach Me
by Rebecca Stead

Book list *Starred Review* If this book makes your head hurt, you're not alone. Sixth-grader Miranda admits that the events she relates make her head hurt, too. Time travel will do that to you. The story takes place in 1979, though time frames, as readers learn, are relative. Miranda and Sal have been best friends since way before that. They both live in a tired Manhattan apartment building and walk home together from school. One day everything changes. Sal is kicked and punched by a schoolmate and afterward barely acknowledges Miranda. Which leaves her to make new friends, even as she continues to reread her ratty copy of A Wrinkle in Time and tutor her mother for a chance to compete on The $20,000 Pyramid. She also ponders a puzzling, even alarming series of events that begins with a note: I am coming to save your friend's life, and my own . . . you must write me a letter. Miranda's first-person narrative is the letter she is sending to the future. Or is it the past? It's hard to know if the key events ultimately make sense (head hurting!), and it seems the whys, if not the hows, of a pivotal character's actions are not truly explained. Yet everything else is quite wonderful. The '70s New York setting is an honest reverberation of the era; the mental gymnastics required of readers are invigorating; and the characters, children and adults, are honest bits of humanity no matter in what place or time their souls rest. Just as Miranda rereads L'Engle, children will return to this.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2009 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 5-8-Sixth-grader Miranda lives in 1978 New York City with her mother, and her life compass is Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. When she receives a series of enigmatic notes that claim to want to save her life, she comes to believe that they are from someone who knows the future. Miranda spends considerable time observing a raving vagrant who her mother calls "the laughing man" and trying to find the connection between the notes and her everyday life. Discerning readers will realize the ties between Miranda's mystery and L'Engle's plot, but will enjoy hints of fantasy and descriptions of middle school dynamics. Stead's novel is as much about character as story. Miranda's voice rings true with its faltering attempts at maturity and observation. The story builds slowly, emerging naturally from a sturdy premise. As Miranda reminisces, the time sequencing is somewhat challenging, but in an intriguing way. The setting is consistently strong. The stores and even the streets-in Miranda's neighborhood act as physical entities and impact the plot in tangible ways. This unusual, thought-provoking mystery will appeal to several types of readers.-Caitlin Augusta, The Darien Library, CT (c) Copyright 2010. 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 Twelve-year-old Miranda, a latchkey kid whose single mother is a law school dropout, narrates this complex novel, a work of science fiction grounded in the nitty-gritty of Manhattan life in the late 1970s. Miranda's story is set in motion by the appearance of cryptic notes that suggest that someone is watching her and that they know things about her life that have not yet happened. She's especially freaked out by one that reads: "I'm coming to save your friend's life, and my own." Over the course of her sixth-grade year, Miranda details three distinct plot threads: her mother's upcoming appearance on The $20,000 Pyramid; the sudden rupture of Miranda's lifelong friendship with neighbor Sal; and the unsettling appearance of a deranged homeless person dubbed "the laughing man." Eventually and improbably, these strands converge to form a thought-provoking whole. Stead (First Light) accomplishes this by making every detail count, including Miranda's name, her hobby of knot tying and her favorite book, Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. It's easy to imagine readers studying Miranda's story as many times as she's read L'Engle's, and spending hours pondering the provocative questions it raises. Ages 9-14. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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