Monday, February 17, 2020

THE PROUDEST BLUE: A STORY OF HIJAB AND FAMILY by Ibthihaj Muhammad and S.K. Ali. Illus. by Hatem Aly.  New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2019.  ISBN: 978-031651900-7 HC $17.00  PreS - Gr. 3   E PIC

THE PROUDEST BLUE begins with mother and daughters, Faizah and Asiya, purchasing a first-day hijab for Asiya.  It is blue like the ocean waving to the sky.  The next day, Asiya wears it to school.  Faizah is proud of her sister.  When she hears comments from school bullies, it puts a damper on her day.  Then she remembers her mother's words about the importance of tradition, and walks away from the negative comments.  The vivid illustrations complement the story of family, tradition, and love.  The author, Muhammad, is a fencer and the first Muslim American woman in hijab to compete in the Olympic Games for the United States.
Jolene Hetherington, Advisory Board Member, Munising School Public Library


Thursday, February 13, 2020

THE IMPORTANT THING ABOUT MARGARET WISE BROWN by Mac Barnett.  Illus. by Sarah Jacoby.  New York:  Balzer + Bray, 2019.  42p.  ISBN 978-0062393449 hc. $17.99     Gr. K-3    J 921

Barnett covers a lot of topics in this short (42 pages) biography of well-known children's author, Margaret Wise Brown.  He talks about children's books, authors in general, the quirky habits of Brown as a child, and her sometimes outlandish behavior as an adult.  Readers also learn about Anne Carroll Moore, a powerful librarian from the New York Public Library who created a children's room there, filled only with children's books.  However, if she didn't like a book, she censored it and wouldn't make it available to readers.  That is what she did to Brown's books.  Despite her conflict with the powerful librarian, Brown's books, such as GOODNIGHT MOON,  RUNAWAY BUNNY, and THE HAPPY DAY, were read and loved by children all over the country.  Brown died at the age of 42, during a trip to France.  The story ends as it begins, with a statement of purpose.  "The important thing about Margaret Wise Brown is that she wrote books."
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Sunday, February 9, 2020

SULWE by Lupita Nyong'o. Illus. by Vashti Harrison.  New York: Sinon & Schuster Books, 2019.  42p.  ISBN 978-1534425361 hc. $17.99     Gr. K-2      E PIC

Sulwe was very aware of her dark skin because the children at school called her names that made her feel ugly, while her lighter skinned sister was not singled out.  She tried to make her skin lighter by eating pale foods and by using cosmetics to lighten her look, but nothing worked  When she took the problem to her mother, she was treated to a story about mythical sisters - one who was light and one who was dark.  The two sisters learned to balance their relationship by appreciating the beauty and talents of each other.  Sulwe saw that she needed to accept herself inside and out.  Harrison's illustrations are vibrant with soft edges to convey the emotions of Sulwe.  The author's note gives readers a hint that Sulwe's story is partly biographical.  This book has the potential to help any child who is singled out because of appearance, no matter how light or dark their skin, the texture of their hair, or their physical structure.  Self acceptance is a life-long journey.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Thursday, February 6, 2020

NIXIE NESS: Cooking Star by Claudia Mills.  Illus. by Grace Zong.  After-School Superstars series.  New York:  Holiday House, 2019.  118p.  ISBN 978-0823440931 hc. $15.99   Gr. 2-4   E Reader

Best Friends since they were toddlers, third-graders Nixie Ness and Grace Kenny have spent their after-school hours at Nixie's house.  When Nixie's mom goes back to work, Nixie finds herself attending the after-school program.  Grace, however, finds after-school care at the house of another classmate, Elyse, and begns a friendship with her.  Although Nixie enjoys the cooking activities at the after-school program, and makes new friends here, she is definitely jealous of the friendship growing between Grace and Elyse.  When Nixie says something to hurt Grace's feelings, her classmates help her through the apology and reconciliation process.  This series has black and white illustrations and chapter markers that break up the text for struggling readers.  Other books in this series are VERA VANCE: Comic Book Star (2020) and LUCY LOPEZ: Coding Star (2020), which feature some of the other activities and characters in Nixie's after-school program.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Sunday, February 2, 2020

THE MAGNIFICENT MIGRATION: On Safari with Africa's Great Herds by Sy Montgomery. Photos by Roger and Logan Wood.  New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019.  176p. ISBN: 978-0544761131 hc. $24.99     Gr. 4-6    J 591.56

The MAGNIFICENT MIGRATION is an education, emotional and touching book about some of the largest migrations in the world, most of which take place in the Serengeti.  Montgomery travels with wildebeest expert, Dr. Richard Estes, and the photographers, to show how the migration of the wildebeest touches the lives and travel patterns of the other animals around them.  Throughout this book are beautiful photos of the animals encountered by the research team on safari.  It is highly recommended.
Riley R., Volunteer, Ontonagon Township Library, Ontonagon, MI

Thursday, January 30, 2020

I AM A FARMER: GROWING AN ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT IN CAMEROON by Baptiste Paul and Miranda Paul. Illus by Elizabeth Zunon.  Minneapolis, MN: Milbrook Press, 2019.  32p.  ISBN: 978-1512449143 hc. $19.99    Gr. 2-5    J 338.109

As a young boy, Farmer Tantoh Nforbo loved the dirt.  He first began  to learn the basics of gardening on his grandmother's farm, with her help.  As he grew up. he learned more about farming and how to produce crops without poisoning the soil or water wells.  He also produced ways for communities to have clean drinking water through a variety of ways.  His environmental work had two basic pieces: his knowledge of agriculture and working with people.  It showed the power of people working together and what they can accomplish.  The end pages have actual photos from the authors' time with Farmer Tantoh and his family.  The book also includes and Authors' Note, Limbum Glossary and Pronunciation Guide, as well as a map of Cameroon to round out this environmental story.
Jolene Hetherington, Advisory Board Member, Munising School Public Library

Sunday, January 26, 2020

PATRON SAINTS OF NOTHING by  Randy Ribay. New York: Kokila, 2019.
352p. ISBN 
978-0525554912 hc. $17.99   Gr. 9-12    YA FIC

Jay Reguero, Filipino-American high school senior from Michigan, is ready to
graduate high school, attend college, and begin his adult life. That's the plan -
until he gets news of his cousin Jun's death back in the the Phillipines.  The two
cousins used to be close and continued to write letters to each other.  Then Jay
wrote back less and less often; a fact that makes him feel guilty about his
cousin's death. It's hard to dig information from his Filipino father who considers the
family's honor above all else, but Jay refuses to believe that Jun was involved in
using and selling drugs leading to his execution by the government under President
Duterte's aggressive war on drugs which led to multiple deaths of people in the drug
trade.  Somehow, Jay convinces his parents to let him travel to the Phillipine
Islands to visit his extended family, although he secretly wants to uncover the
cause of Jun's death.  Jay remembers little of the country from his childhood visits, 
but does re-connect with family while he investigates the truth of his cousin's 
untimely death.  Readers will feel the cultural pull of living in the U.S., while 
having parents genetically connected to two different countries.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI