Tuesday, August 14, 2018

AMAL UNBOUND by Aisha Saeed.  New York: Nancy Paulsen Books, 2018.  240p.  ISBN 978-0399544682 hc. $ 17.99      Gr. 4-7     JUV

Although she lived in Pakistan, Amal led a normal life with the same dreams of children in all cultures.  She loved learning, reading books, talking with her friends and family, and she had hopes of becoming a teacher when she grew up.  Her life began to unravel when her mother had her fifth child and couldn't seem to return to her daily routine.  The chores and childcare fell to Amal as eldest child, causing her to drop out of school.  A fateful outing to the marketplace led to an unpleasant accident with the village's tyrannical landlord, Jawad Sahib, and resulted in Amal being sent to his house to live as a servant until her father's debt was paid off.  She soon discovered that the Khan family charged room and board to their servants and the debts were never paid off.  Amal would be a servant in the Khan household forever.  However, an overheard conversation and the courage to report it to outside authorities changed Amal's fortune once again and restored her faith in the justice system.  The story is inspired by the true story of Malala Yousafzai, who was shot while attending school in her Pakistan village, and now travels the world speaking out against violence while advocating for the  education of girls, as well as boys.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

ALFIE by Thyra Heder.  New York:  Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2017.  40p. ISBN 978-141972529-6 hc. $17.95    Gr. K-3     E PIC

Alfie, the turtle, left the pet store to live with Nia on her sixth birthday.  They were both six years old.  Nia fed Alfie, played with him, and told him stories every day, until her seventh birthday when he disappeared from his aquarium.  An artistic transition page leads readers to Alfie's side of the story.  Because he loved spending time with Nia, he wanted to get her an amazing present for their seventh birthday.  He left the aquarium, traveled through the house, and ventured out into town, only to return to the backyard pond for a well-deserved hibernation in the mud.  When he woke up in the spring, as turtles do, he was welcomed to Nia's birthday celebration - a year late.  The ink and watercolor illustrations are a visual treat and truly add to the story - especially the surprise ending.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

FAIRY SPELL: How Two Girls Convinced the World That Fairies Are Real by Marc Tyler Nobleman. Illus. by Eliza Wheeler.  New York:  Clarion Books, 2018. 40p.  ISBN 978-0-54469948-9 hc. $17.99      Gr. 2-5     JUV NF 999.999

Cousins Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths found themselves living in Cottingsley, England during the summer of 1917, while Frances' father was serving in World War I.  While spending many hours near a stream at the edge of the garden, they became obsessed with the idea of woodland fairies living there.  Elsie, who was sixteen, borrowed her father's camera and took several photos of Frances and herself with the fairies, as proof that they were real.  A newsman heard of the photos and started to investigate their authenticity.  The mystery persisted in the media for several more years and then died down in 1921.  In 1965, a journalist contacted Elsie and started the search for fairies all over again.  It took until 1981 for Elsie and Frances, now very old ladies, to admit they had faked the photos with paper cutouts of fairies pinned upright in the grass.  It's considered to be one of the greatest pranks of the century.  It seems that the Cottingsley fiaries are experiencing another revival, as F.R. Maher published THE SECRET OF THE COTTINGLEY FAIRIES: HIDDEN FOR 100 YEARS in 2017 and Ana Sender's THE COTTONGSLEY FAIRIES, which will be published early in 2019.  It's a fascinating story - even after a hundred years.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

I HAVE THE RIGHT TO and BECAUSE I WAS A GIRL are nonfiction YA books about empowering women. One is a memoir and the other is a collection of short personal stories with the same theme.

I HAVE THE RIGHT TO: A High School Survivor’s Story of Sexual Assault, Justice, and Hope by Chessy Prout with Jenn Abelson. New York: Simon & Schuster (2018) 416p. ISBN 9781534414433 hc. $18.99 Gr. 9-12 (362.883 PR YA)

15 year-old Chessy Prout tells about her experience as a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a senior student at St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire in 2014. She describes the assault , as well as the aftermath of shame, self-doubt, and being shunned by fellow students after reporting the incident. With the support of her family, she testified against her attacker in court in order to encourage other victims to speak out and to reveal the attitudes in our institutions that intimidate victims into silence. Readers will be inspired by Prout’s memoir of courage against a system that bullies rape victims.

BECAUSE I WAS A GIRL: True Stories for Girls of All Ages edited by Melissa de La Cruz. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 2017. 245p. ISBN 978125015446-0 hc. $18.99   Gr. 7-11  (305.4 BE YA)

Divided into decade-long time periods from 1920 to present day, notable women write about their journeys from childhood to productive adults.  These inspiring women made a difference in the world despite opportunities that favored men and attitudes of low expectation for females.  They kept their dreams in front of them and became respected for their talents.  Readers may recognize some of the names such as, Melissa de la Cruz, bestselling author; Delores Huerta, civil rights and labor leader; Zoey Luna, activist for transgender youth; and Gloria Molina, Hispanic politician.  The diversity and scope of the stories is impressive.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

POSTED by John David Anderson.  New York:  Walden Pond Press, 2017.  384p. ISBN 9780062338204 hc. $16.99.    Gr. 6-8      JUV FIC

Unpleasant remarks on a student's social media account causes cell phones at Branton Middle School to be banned.  The need to communicate is strong in this population, so they begin using the post-it notes they were required to buy at the beginning of each school year.  Frost, nicknamed after the poet Robert Frost after winning a fifth-grade writing contest, and his three middle school buddies make the perfect group.  Bench, DeeDee and Wolf all have nicknames derived from their talents and they depend on each other to get through school each day.  Most importantly, they eat lunch together at their own table - made for four people.  Life is good - until a brash new student, Rose, shows up at their lunch table.  As Rose quickly inserts herself into the group's after school activities,  she is accepted by some of the group, but not all.  At the same time, the post-it notes are beginning to voice negative and bullying messages.  Will this group of friends survive the peer pressure?  Readers will root for these approachable characters and their stories.
Lynette Suckow, Superorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

THERE'S A TIGER IN THE GARDEN by Lizzy Stewart.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018. 32p.  ISBN 978-132879183-2 hc. $17.99   PreS - Gr.2   E PIC

What happens when Nora tells her Grandmother that she and her stuffed giraffe, Jeff, are bored with indoor activities?  You guessed right - it's time to play outside in the garden where her grandmother swears she saw a tiger that morning.  Highly doubtful about the existence of a tiger, Nora follows a dragonfly down a path where she meets man-eating plants, a polar bear, and the elusive tiger.  Now that Nora's imagination has taken hold, Grandmother's house holds many more opportunities for adventure.  This book was written in England, where the backyard is traditionally more of a garden than a lawn, but a sense of adventure is universal.  The text alone tells a good tale, but the illustrations add another layer of story which will delight readers young and old.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

PHOTOGRAPHIC: The Life of Graciela Iturbide by Isabel Quintero.  Illus.by  Zeke Pena.  Los Angeles, CA:  Getty Publications, 2018.  96p.  ISBN 978-194744000-5 hc. $19.95  Gr. 7-12  YA NF

This creative biography is formatted as a graphic novel and will appeal to teens.  The book begins by introducing Graciela's philosophy about photography, which captures the stark reality of life in black and white.  Her interest in photography was encouraged by her father, an amateur photographer who bought her a Brownie camera.  After rejecting the traditional life of Mexican wife and mother in favor of her passion for photography, she became an apprentice to established photographer, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, and explored the Mexican countryside.  She became obsessed with photos of birds and with death, then moved on to document immigrant communities in the United States and pictorial studies of various villages in her native Mexico.  Her work resides in art galleries across the U.S.  Illustrator Zeke Pena incorporates 24 black and white photos from Graciela's collection with his black and white graphics, sometimes placing a line drawing next to the original photo for visual impact.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI