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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Like a Love Story
by Abdi Nazemian

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 ?Vamos! Let?s Go to the Market.
by Raul Gonzalez

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 Double Bass Blues
by Andrea J. Loney

Book list Young Nic plays an epic bass solo with his school orchestra and then travels across town to jam with a band made up of older musicians in this briefly worded tale of a boy who loves making music. A growling dog, a couple of teasing kids, a crowded bus, a cloudburst, and a broken elevator are not enough to discourage the boy from reaching his destination. Onomatopoeia and dialogue make up the few words used in the text. Gutierrez's acrylic paintings in rich colors exude movement and energy while delineating the sounds of the child's day, which he plays on his bass. Musical notes and measures decorate some pictures, while others show Nic in the background as he trudges along the street, carrying his huge bass. One intriguing double spread reveals an M. C. Escher-like staircase that seems endless to Nic as he lugs his instrument to his destination. The dreamy look on Nic's face clearly reveals the ""zone"" he enters when playing music, and readers will understand that Nic's talent brings him great joy.--Maryann Owen Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Kirkus A young musician is inspired by the beat and rhythm of his commute.Nic's journey begins with an enthusiastic "Ziiiiiiiiiiip!" and a contemplative "Hummmmm" as he's applauded in orchestra. Then, with his double bass strapped to his back, he trades the trees and space of his suburban school for towering buildings and city buses. He dodges dogs, bullies, and rain, hustling home to warm hugs and a jazz jam session replete with onomatopoeic improvisations taken from his commute. The, "whoosh" of the bus's windshield wipers pairs with the "plunk" of rain and the "clap" of his classmates as Nic releases the sounds and sights of the afternoon through his music. Acrylic-paint illustrations include geometric squiggles and swirls that outline and emphasize musical vibrations and the spare, expressive text. Defined shapes are rendered in a vibrant palette that brings out the range of colors present in the characters' skin tones. Nic, who presents black, is a blend of blues, blacks, golds, and reds, with his boxy, spiked hair a muted mixture of oranges, browns, pinks, and greens. One exceptional double-page spread uses interlocking triangles to separate scenes that capture Nic's movement from the suburbs to the city. This journey is also expressed in the stenciled endpapers, the front showing Nic in his orchestra and the back, at home, jamming.Simple language complements complex paintings to create the perfect literary melody. (Picture book. 4-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 1–3—In an explosion of vibrant color (thanks to Rudy Gutierrez's liquid acrylics), young Nic wins kudos for his double bass solo with the school orchestra, but faces a tough journey home. Lugging his beloved (but bulky) bull fiddle, the boy is harassed and taunted on his long trip, and is finally faced with an out-of-service elevator and multiple flights of stairs. Happily, he finds not only his loving grandfather waiting for him, but some of granddaddy's jazz-playing buddies sitting with their instruments at the ready, sorely in need of that boy and his bull fiddle. Colorful, full of movement, limited in text but loaded with emotion, this is an ode to the diversity of music and the determination of a talented kid. VERDICT A dramatic and emotional selection for older readers than the usual picture book audience, particularly kids who love music and have had their own tough journeys home. —Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY

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

Publishers Weekly A young double bass player faces obstacles en route to his grandfather’s house in this visual ode to the blues. Resting his cheek alongside melodic vibrations emanating from the instrument, Nic, who is black, seems harmoniously connected to his music. After a teacher applauds the performance, the diverse band packs up (“Epic solo, Nic!”) and heads out (“Catch you later!”). But Nic faces quite a commute outside the band room’s peace. With silent determination, he scales a suburban fence (“Ooof!”), faces a growling dog (“Grrrrrrrr!”), and navigates a bustling cityscape that drips with inclement weather (“Plunk, plunk, plunk”) and public commentary (“It’s bigger than him!” two children laugh, pointing at the bass). Persisting through storm and ridicule, Nic finally arrives at his grandfather’s city building—only to find the elevator out. But his celebrated arrival, at a loving, musical oasis not dissimilar from the practice room, offers him the space to make music based on his journey’s travails. Sparse, onomatopoeic text by Loney (Bunnybear) and vibrant, cubist-style art by Gutierrez (Mama and Me) combine to create a harmony of sound and emotion through a child’s journey, his family’s warmth, and music’s restorative powers. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Young Nic plays an epic bass solo with his school orchestra and then travels across town to jam with a band made up of older musicians in this briefly worded tale of a boy who loves making music. A growling dog, a couple of teasing kids, a crowded bus, a cloudburst, and a broken elevator are not enough to discourage the boy from reaching his destination. Onomatopoeia and dialogue make up the few words used in the text. Gutierrez's acrylic paintings in rich colors exude movement and energy while delineating the sounds of the child's day, which he plays on his bass. Musical notes and measures decorate some pictures, while others show Nic in the background as he trudges along the street, carrying his huge bass. One intriguing double spread reveals an M. C. Escher-like staircase that seems endless to Nic as he lugs his instrument to his destination. The dreamy look on Nic's face clearly reveals the ""zone"" he enters when playing music, and readers will understand that Nic's talent brings him great joy.--Maryann Owen Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Kirkus A young musician is inspired by the beat and rhythm of his commute.Nic's journey begins with an enthusiastic "Ziiiiiiiiiiip!" and a contemplative "Hummmmm" as he's applauded in orchestra. Then, with his double bass strapped to his back, he trades the trees and space of his suburban school for towering buildings and city buses. He dodges dogs, bullies, and rain, hustling home to warm hugs and a jazz jam session replete with onomatopoeic improvisations taken from his commute. The, "whoosh" of the bus's windshield wipers pairs with the "plunk" of rain and the "clap" of his classmates as Nic releases the sounds and sights of the afternoon through his music. Acrylic-paint illustrations include geometric squiggles and swirls that outline and emphasize musical vibrations and the spare, expressive text. Defined shapes are rendered in a vibrant palette that brings out the range of colors present in the characters' skin tones. Nic, who presents black, is a blend of blues, blacks, golds, and reds, with his boxy, spiked hair a muted mixture of oranges, browns, pinks, and greens. One exceptional double-page spread uses interlocking triangles to separate scenes that capture Nic's movement from the suburbs to the city. This journey is also expressed in the stenciled endpapers, the front showing Nic in his orchestra and the back, at home, jamming.Simple language complements complex paintings to create the perfect literary melody. (Picture book. 4-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 1–3—In an explosion of vibrant color (thanks to Rudy Gutierrez's liquid acrylics), young Nic wins kudos for his double bass solo with the school orchestra, but faces a tough journey home. Lugging his beloved (but bulky) bull fiddle, the boy is harassed and taunted on his long trip, and is finally faced with an out-of-service elevator and multiple flights of stairs. Happily, he finds not only his loving grandfather waiting for him, but some of granddaddy's jazz-playing buddies sitting with their instruments at the ready, sorely in need of that boy and his bull fiddle. Colorful, full of movement, limited in text but loaded with emotion, this is an ode to the diversity of music and the determination of a talented kid. VERDICT A dramatic and emotional selection for older readers than the usual picture book audience, particularly kids who love music and have had their own tough journeys home. —Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY

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

Publishers Weekly A young double bass player faces obstacles en route to his grandfather’s house in this visual ode to the blues. Resting his cheek alongside melodic vibrations emanating from the instrument, Nic, who is black, seems harmoniously connected to his music. After a teacher applauds the performance, the diverse band packs up (“Epic solo, Nic!”) and heads out (“Catch you later!”). But Nic faces quite a commute outside the band room’s peace. With silent determination, he scales a suburban fence (“Ooof!”), faces a growling dog (“Grrrrrrrr!”), and navigates a bustling cityscape that drips with inclement weather (“Plunk, plunk, plunk”) and public commentary (“It’s bigger than him!” two children laugh, pointing at the bass). Persisting through storm and ridicule, Nic finally arrives at his grandfather’s city building—only to find the elevator out. But his celebrated arrival, at a loving, musical oasis not dissimilar from the practice room, offers him the space to make music based on his journey’s travails. Sparse, onomatopoeic text by Loney (Bunnybear) and vibrant, cubist-style art by Gutierrez (Mama and Me) combine to create a harmony of sound and emotion through a child’s journey, his family’s warmth, and music’s restorative powers. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Mercy
by David Baldacci

Library Journal FBI Agent Atlee Pine is back in her fourth sojourn, and as the title suggests she is continuing her search for information regarding her twin sister, Mercy, abducted as a child. No plot details yet, but the one-million-copy first printing speaks volumes.

(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 The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman

Publishers Weekly : Starred Review. A lavish middle-grade novel, Gaiman's first since Coraline, this gothic fantasy almost lives up to its extravagant advance billing. The opening is enthralling: There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife. Evading the murderer who kills the rest of his family, a child roughly 18 months old climbs out of his crib, bumps his bottom down a steep stairway, walks out the open door and crosses the street into the cemetery opposite, where ghosts take him in. What mystery/horror/suspense reader could stop here, especially with Gaiman's talent for storytelling? The author riffs on the Jungle Book, folklore, nursery rhymes and history; he tosses in werewolves and hints at vampires—and he makes these figures seem like metaphors for transitions in childhood and youth. As the boy, called Nobody or Bod, grows up, the killer still stalking him, there are slack moments and some repetition—not enough to spoil a reader's pleasure, but noticeable all the same. When the chilling moments do come, they are as genuinely frightening as only Gaiman can make them, and redeem any shortcomings. Ages 10–up. (Oct.)

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

School Library Journal : Gr 5–8—Somewhere in contemporary Britain, "the man Jack" uses his razor-sharp knife to murder a family, but the youngest, a toddler, slips away. The boy ends up in a graveyard, where the ghostly inhabitants adopt him to keep him safe. Nobody Owens, so named because he "looks like nobody but himself," grows up among a multigenerational cast of characters from different historical periods that includes matronly Mistress Owens; ancient Roman Caius Pompeius; an opinionated young witch; a melodramatic hack poet; and Bod's beloved mentor and guardian, Silas, who is neither living nor dead and has secrets of his own. As he grows up, Bod has a series of adventures, both in and out of the graveyard, and the threat of the man Jack who continues to hunt for him is ever present. Bod's love for his graveyard family and vice versa provide the emotional center, amid suspense, spot-on humor, and delightful scene-setting. The child Bod's behavior is occasionally too precocious to be believed, and a series of puns on the name Jack render the villain a bit less frightening than he should be, though only momentarily. Aside from these small flaws, however, Gaiman has created a rich, surprising, and sometimes disturbing tale of dreams, ghouls, murderers, trickery, and family.—Megan Honig, New York Public Library

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

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog House of Sand and Fog
by Andre Dubus

Library Journal: In his second novel (after Bluesman, LJ 5/15/93), the son of noted writer Andre Dubus manages to get deep inside the heads of two very different characters who clash over a modest house in the San Francisco suburbs. Kathy is a recovering alcoholic and cokehead who loses her inherited bungalow for alleged nonpayment of taxes. Behmini, an Iranian who was an officer in the Shah's air force before fleeing the revolution, is now struggling to succeed in the United States. He buys the house at auction, planning to make a profit on the resale. Kathy skulks around the neighborhood and eventually confronts the family. When she becomes sexually involved with the policeman she met at her eviction, a married man with bad judgment and a drinking problem of his own, he takes up her cause with explosive results. Dubus's attention to detail and realistic prose style give the narrative a hard-edged, cinematic quality, but unlike many movies, its outcome is unexpected. Recommended for all fiction collections.

Reba Leiding, James Madison Univ., Harrisonburg, VA Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly: This powerfully written but bleak narrative is a mesmerizing tale of the American Dream gone terribly awry. Massoud Amir Behrani, a former colonel in the Iranian Air Force under the Shah, now lives in exile with his wife and teenage son near San Francisco. Working on a road crew as a "garbage soldier" by day and as a deli clerk by night, Behrani is obsessed with restoring his family to the position of glittering wealth and prestige it once enjoyed. At a county auction, he sinks his savings into a bungalow seized for non-payment of taxes, and quickly moves his family into it, planning to resell the house at a sizable profit. But when the house's previous occupant, recovering coke addict Kathy Lazaro, resurfaces with valid claims for repossession, Behrani's plan begins to unravel, and with it his tightly controlled facade of composure. Tensions between Lazaro and Behrani quickly escalate into violence, as Lazaro's lover, a married police officer with a weak spot for lost causes, decides to take matters into his own hands. The book's horrifying denouement offers readers a searing study in the wages of pride. Dubus (Bluesman) writes with an authority regarding the American lower middle class that is reminiscent of Russell Banks and Richard Ford, and his limber imagination is capable of drawing the inner lives of three very different main characters with such compassion that readers will find their sympathies hopelessly divided. If the tragedy that he so skillfully orchestrates cries out to be leavened with a little less desperation and some quiet glimpse of hope, the keenly perceptive and moving narrative is proof that the son and namesake of one of our most talented writers has embarked on a dazzling career in his own right.

Copyright 1998 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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