Thursday, January 23, 2020

GAME CHANGERS: THE STORY OF VENUS AND SERENA WILLIAMS by Lesa Cline-Ransome. Illus. by James Ransome.  New Yrk: Simon & Schuster Books, 2018. 42p.  ISBN 978-148147684-3 hc. $17.99    Gr. 1-3    J 921

Venus and Serena Williams have taken the tennis world by storm.  However, their story began on the broken courts of Compton, California as youngsters.  This picture book relates the hard work and adversity the two sisters went through to win championships and reach the pinnacle of tennism while keeping their special bond as sisters and best friends as strong as ever.  The illustrations are beautiful and complement the story of the lives of the Williams sisters.
Jolene Hetherington, Advisory Board Member, Munising School Public Library

Sunday, January 19, 2020

J. MERRIAM SMITH'S RACE TO COMPLETE AMELIA EARHART'S QUEST by Aimee Bissonette.  Illus. by Doris Ettlinger.  Ann Arbor, MI:  Sleeping Bear Press, 2018. 32p. ISBN: 978-158363810 hc. $16.99    Gr. 1-4    J 629.13

Jerrie Mock decided to become a pilot after her first airplane ride at the age of 7.  Joan Merriam Smith was 15 years old when she made the same decision receiving her pilot's license before she could drive a car.  In later years, both ladies independently made the decision to fly around the world to complete Amelia Earhart's quest.  Neither of them knew about the other's plans.  Just a few weeks before they took off, the news broke.  They both had decided to take off at the same time and the news media turned it into a race.  This is a great story about the trials and tribulations they experienced as the first two women to fly around the world.
Jolene Hetherington, Advisory Board Member, Munising School Public Library

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

START HERE by Trish Doller. New York: Simon Pulse, 2019.  346p.
ISBN 978-1481479912 hc. $18.99     Gr. 9-12     YA FIC

After their mutual best friend, Finley, succumbed to cancer, Willa and Taylor decide to honor her memory by sailing to Key West the summer after graduation, just as the three of them had planned to do together.  Finley left them a list of clues as to the route they should sail for maximum adventure.  The trouble is that Willa and Taylor are definitely not best friends, although Finley was a best friend to both of them.  Each time their rocky relationship is beginning to gel, Willa and Taylor argue or say something offensive and end up angry all over again.  However, the close proximity of living on a sailboat together and adhering to the same plan for the journey is forcing them to talk out their differences and find similarities instead.  As they heal from the loss of Finley, Willa and Taylor form a new kind of friendship together. Doller, author of SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL and IN A PERFECT WORLD adds another heartwarming story about modern teens and the problems they encounter to her list of good books.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

BUGS IN DANGER : Our Vanishing Bees, Butterflies, and Beetles by Mark Kurlansky.  Illus. by Jia Liu. New York:  Bloomsbury, 2019. 164p. ISBN 978-154760085 hc. $19.99   Gr. 4-6   595.7 JUV

Introducing "The Insect World" in Part One, Kurlansky covers why insects are important to our ecosystem, and agriculture, and the reasons for changes in the insect population, such as insecticides, predators, and climate change.  Parts Two, Three, and Four are devoted to in-depth studies of bees, beetles, and butterflies.  The last part reveals theories about why Insect species fade in and out and sometimes disappear.  There's a short chapter named, "What Can I Do?" to motivate students to positive action.  Readers will find a complete bibliography and index at the back of the book.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

KILLER STYLE by Serah-Marie McMahon and Alison Matthews David.
Illus. by Gillian 
Wilson.  Berkeley, CA:  Owlkids Books, 2019.  48p. 
ISBN 978-177147-2531 hc.     Gr. 5-9   

Filled with gruesome topics, the subtitle "How Fashion has Injured, Maimed, 
& Murdered Through History," explains the concept of the book and the 
attraction for young readers.  Sixteen historic dangers to health that were 
driven by fashion include Lethal Lead Makeup, Risky Radium, and Fatal 
Footwear Fiascos.  Most fashion risks were due to toxic chemicals in makeup, 
hair dye, and color processing in clothing before scientists took more care in 
testing materials used and worn by humans.  Other fashion trend tragedies, 
such as too long scarves and too tall shoes, could have been avoided by public
refusal to wear them, but we humans are slaves to fashion.  Each two-page
spread is filled with photos and block prints that enhance the reading 
experience and keep the pages turning. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

THE UNDEFEATED by Kwame Alexander . Illus. by Kadir Nelson. New York:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019.
 32p.   ISBN 978-1328780966 hc. $17.99   Gr. 1-6    E PIC

Readers won't find text that is more meaningful than the poetic lines of Kwame Alexander 
as he briefly leads readers through years of black history.  His words have impact on readers 
of all ages.  He highlights the accomplishments of notable black people and doesn't forget 
the cruelty experienced by others with dark skin.  Three full-page spreads emphasize racial 
injustice with a single, repeated sentence, "This is for the unspeakable," combined with 
Kadir Nelson's brilliant oil illustrations depicting powerful images that complement the text.  
The words and images resonate with readers of all races.  An index of historical figures and 
events completes the emotional literary journey created by this award winning team of 
storyteller and artist.  
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

WITH THE FIRE ON HIGH by Elizabeth Acevedo. New York: HarperTeen, 2019. 400p.
ISBN-13: 978-0062662835 hc. $17.99    Gr. 9-12    YA

Acevedo follows up the poetry of THE POET X with a beautifully written novel about a teen mother with a flair for food.  Emoni Santiago, of Puerto Rican heritage, lives in Philadelphia with her grandmother (Buela), attends highschool, cares for her two-year-old daughter, and works part-time to help with expenses.  She cooks for fun and intuitively chooses spices that reflect her emotions into the food.  When a culinary arts curriculum becomes available at school, Emoni enrolls, but is soon disillusioned with the emphasis on following directions and the lack of creative freedom.  After almost dropping out, her best friend and grandmother convince her to stay with the program.  As a result, she takes a class trip to Spain and is immersed in amazing restaurant experiences, while being mentored by renowned chefs.  At the same time, one of Emoni's culinary classmates wants to date her, forcing her to think about her future with a child, college and career, and her family and friends.  Acevedo's writing skillfully conveys the emotions of a teenager trying to make good decisions the will affect the rest of her life.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI