Monday, July 6, 2020

FIGHTING WORDS by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley.  New York: Dial Books, 2020. ISBN 978-1984815682 hc. $17.99    Gr. 5-8     JUV

Della is just ten, but she’s experienced more than any child should in a lifetime.  She and her teenage sister, Suki, have been living with her mom’s boyfriend, Clifton, ever since her mom was sent to prison for cooking meth.  Their living situation went from bad to worse when a drunk Clifton tried to abuse Della before Suki got home and used her phone to document the situation.  Then they ran!  That’s where this story begins.  Della is back in school, where she’s always in trouble because she has a limited vocabulary of curse words, but those are the ones she likes to use.  Suki is still trying to protect Della from harm and the foster care system, but she’s also trying to hold down a job and go to school.  The sisters don’t trust anyone, especially Francine, their by-the-book foster parent, who will turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to them.  As Della makes progress navigating the classroom and school routines, Suki is beginning to crumble emotionally and attempts suicide.  Della begins to realize what kind of sacrifices Suki made to keep her safe from Clifton.  Will they be able to trust Francine enough to get the help they both need to recover from unspeakable trauma?  Although the author tackles the issues of sexual abuse and suicide, the story ends in a place of hope and is appropriate for middle school readers.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

PRAIRIE LOTUS by Linda Sue Park.  New York: Clarion Books, 2020.  261p.  ISBN 978-132878150-5 hc. $16.99     Gr. 6-8    JUV FIC

After a three-year wagon ride from California, Hanna and her father arrived in LaForge, a small railroad town in the Dakota Territory, to build a dry goods store.   Hanna’s Chinese/Korean mother was a seamstress before she died, and instilled the same dreams in her daughter.   But before she tries to convince her father that she’s capable of making dresses for the townswomen, Hanna wants to go to school.  The teacher accepts her ethnicity well, but the parents begin to keep their children home, rather than have them exposed to a non-white student.  Luckily, the Harris family has already befriended Hanna and her father, and continue to support them with schooling and building the business.  Hanna also has interactions with Ihanktowan women, who teach her how to harvest and cook prairie turnips.  Racism runs deep in this historical fiction from 1880, that reminds readers of Laura Ingalls’ “Little House on the Prairie” books.  The author leaves a personal note that recognizes discrimination in the original books, but also acknowledges the historical value of the stories.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, June 23, 2020


MAE AMONG THE STARS by Roda Ahmed.  Illus by Stasia Burrington. New York:  Harper, 2018. 38p. ISBBN: 978-006265173-0 hc. $17.99    PreS-Gr. 3    E PIC

This historical fiction relates Mae's dream, as a young child, to become an astronaut.  She wants to see Earth from outer space.  With her parents; encouragement, she learns all she can about space and astronauts.  Mae shares her dream with everyone she meets.  However, her teacher devastates Mae by telling her she would be a good nurse instead of an astronaut.  Only in the end notes does the reader learn that Nae is Dr. Mae Jemison, the first Afican American female astronaut.  A wonderful read about big dreams and pursuing them.

Jolene Hetherington, Advisory Board Member, Munising School Public Library

N 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: 978-158536381-0 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 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

Monday, June 15, 2020

HAVENFALL by Sara Holland. New York: Bloomsbury YA, 2020. 305p. ISBN 978-154760579-2 hc. $18.99    Gr. 9-12    YA FIC

As Maddie Morrow leaves the bus depot in Denver, Colorado, she heads for Havenfall, a remote resort in the mountains that her family has visited each summer as long as she can remember.  The innkeeper is her uncle Marcus, and Maddie is next-in-line to learn the role of innkeeper, hopefully this summer.   Havenfall is draped in magic, with underground tunnels acting as crossroads between the realms of Byrn, Fiordenkill and Solaria.  Once at war with each other, the worlds come together for a peace summit each summer – except for Solaria.  Their door has been sealed to keep shape-shifting Solarians away from Havenfall.  Maddie arrives to find her uncle injured, thrusting her into the role of interim innkeeper.  Now it’s time to find out who she can trust among a long list of Havenfall guests, including Graylin, her uncle’s partner; the Heiress from Fiordenkill; Willow, chief of staff at Havenfall; and the Silver Prince of Byrn.  Adding to the list of characters, Maddie is intrigued by Taya, a mysterious new employee at the inn, who keeps turning up where she shouldn’t be.  After a long-awaited romantic evening with Brekken, her childhood friend who has become more intimate, Maddie questions why he seems to have disappeared with her set of keys to the inn.  As her contemporary world blends with the realms of fantasy, the story deepens with twists and turns and more questions than answers.  Holland has crafted a complex story that could easily (and hopefully) become a series.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, June 8, 2020

WHERE LILY ISN’T by Julie Paschkis.  Illus. by Margaret Chodos-Irvine.  New York:  Henry Holt & Co., 2020.  32p.  ISBN 978-125018425-2 hc. $17.99     PreS – Gr. 2     E PIC

A simple story of loss is told through the eyes of a young girl who misses her dog, Lily.  The relationship between an active dog and loving owner is established early on, before readers experience the loss of Lily.  Lily doesn’t sleep by the bed, bark at the mailman, or go for walks anymore.  The sense of loss is deeply felt on every page.  However, Lily’s memory lives on in the hearts of those who lived with her, as all pet owners know.  The illustrations are stark and colorful, focusing on Lily’s absence by placing text where she would be in the picture.  Page design also includes sentences broken up into individual words superimposed on elements of the illustration for emphasis. This eye-catching book is a must for any child experiencing the loss of a pet. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, June 1, 2020

BOXITECTS by Kim Smith. New York: Clarion Books, 2020. 32p. ISBN 978-132847720-0 hc. $17.99     PreS-Gr. 2     E PIC

Meg was a builder.  She used cardboard boxes and her imagination to construct things large and small.  Her whole classroom was filled with builders who used other kinds of construction materials, such as egg cartons, tin foil, paper, and pasta.  Meg found a niche in her classroom as a boxitect and strived to be a better builder each day.  Her world began to crack when Simone, who was also a talented boxitect, joined the classroom.  Instead of working together, they argued and competed with each other, which ultimately resulted in failure for both.  After ruining their projects, they had a change of heart and decided to work together, learn from each other, and let their imaginations run free.  The final four pages provide step-by-step directions on making playtime structures from cardboard boxes. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, May 25, 2020

ALMOST TIME by Gary D. Schmidt & Elizabeth Stickney. Illus. by G. Brian Karas. New York: Clarion Books, 2020. 32p.  ISBN 978-0544785816 hc. $17.99    Gr. K-2    E PIC

Where there are sugar maple trees, there's potential for maple syrup!  Ethan noticed that his family's supply of syrup was gone because his Sunday breakfast of pancakes with maple syrup had been abruptly switched to alternate breakfast foods.  He also knew the routine for making maple syrup.  When spring days are warm and the nights are still cold, sap runs through the trees and it's time to tap them.  Then the sap is boiled down into sweet maple syrup, a process which is brilliantly illustrated in two pages of panels.  But this story is really about waiting for the weather to warm up; waiting for longer days and shorter nights; and waiting for the reward of maple syrup.  During this long period of waiting, Ethan noticed that he had a loose tooth - another process not to be rushed.  Young readers will relate to the experience of waiting for good things to happen.  Ethan found that his patience paid off when he finally lost his tooth and once again enjoyed his favorite breakfast.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, May 18, 2020

THE GRACE YEAR by Kim Liggett. New York: St. Martin's Publishing Group, 2019. 404p. ISBN 978-1250145444 hc, $16.99     Gr. 9-12     YA FIC

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden to discuss what happens to those sixteen year old girls who live in an isolated encampment deep in the forest for exactly one year.  Other than survival, their focus is to dispel the magic essence attributed to the sexual allure of teenage girls before returning to an archaic and repressed society that treats women as property.  Tierney makes the journey with her classmates, some of whom disappear along the way, stolen by poachers who sell their essence and body parts as aphrodisiacs on the black market.  At the encampment, Tierney tries to use her common sense to make the stay a cooperative and comfortable experience for the whole group, but Kiersten, the dominant female, begins her reign of terror over the girls.  Eventually Tierney is exiled and ends up living with and falling in love with Ryker, one of the poachers who is a contradiction of values; both kind and predatory at the same time.  Alliances are made and broken along the way, as themes of female relationships and survival psychology are examined.  Just when readers think they know where the story is leading, the page unfolds in new and unexpected directions.  The unpredictable ending will give readers a lot to think about.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

PLANTING STORIES: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre' by Anika Aldamuy Denise. Illus. by Paola Escobar. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2019. 32p.  ISBN 978-00627486803 hc. $17.99     Gr. K-3        J 921

The story opens in New York City in 1921 with the arrival of Pura Belpre' who came to visit her sister.  The native of Puerto Rico was enchanted by the bustling city, and decided to stay awhile.  She worked in a garment factory until the public library advertised for a bilingual assistant.  It was a perfect fit for Pura, who spoke Spanish, French, and English. Her favorite part of the library was the children's room, where she could be found retelling the folktales handed down from her grandmother. She soon made puppets to repeat those stories visually and bilingually. Through her community work, she met her musician husband and traveled with him for almost forty years, writing down the stories her grandmother told. The books, written in Spanish, were her gift to the immigrant children of New York.  Pura's first book was "Martina & Perez," a love story about a cockroach and mouse.  The illustrator incorporates images of the literary pair throughout the book, which extends to the end papers.  Pura died in 1982, but each year the American Library Association recognizes Latinx authors and illustrators in her name with the Pura Belpre' Award. Her advocacy for diverse children's books lives on today.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

MY HEART by Corinna Luyken. New York:  Dial Books for Young Reader, 2019.  32p. ISBN
978-0735227934 hc. $17.99    PreS-Gr.2     E PIC

Using the contrast of color in gray, white, and yellow tones, Luyken visually depicts the same feelings voiced by her words.  She enlists drawings of windows to graphically show, "My heart can be closed or opened up wide."  Hearts can be found on every page - drawn as leaves, flowers, constellations and the wings or birds.  The illustrations truly enhance the sparse text.  This is a contemplative book that everyone can relate to.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Friday, May 1, 2020

LOOK AGAIN: SECRETS OF ANIMAL CAMOUFLAGE by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page.  New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co., 2019. 34p.  ISBN 978-132885094-2 hc. $17.99     Gr. K-3    JNF 591.47

Jenkins and Page take readers under the sea, into a tree, and down to the forest floor to learn how animals hide in plain sight.  By using their shape and skin color, animals blend in with their surroundings in order to hunt their prey or hide from their predators.  The authors even isolate polar animals from their environment, along with hard-to-spot rock dwellers.  Readers may challenge themselves to see camouflaged animals in their natural environment before turning the page to see those same creatures revealed, along with information about how they hide.  The book concludes with vignettes on each animal featured in print.  As always, Jenkins and Page create interesting text and unparalleled collage illustrations by looking at nature from varied perspectives.  They have written eighteen books together, including THE FROG BOOK (2019), CREATURE FEATURES (2014), MOVE! (2006), and WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A TAIL LIKE THIS? (2003).
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Saturday, April 25, 2020

WHITE BIRD by R. J. Palacio.  New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2019.  220p.  ISBN 978-0525645535 hc. $24.99    Gr. 5-10    JUV

In graphic novel format, Palacio frames a heart-wrenching Holocaust story, passed down from a World War II survivor to her grandson, told via video chat for a Humanities project at school.  Sara Blum lived a fairy tale existence in 1930's France with parents who were college educated and gainfully employed.  However, her town began to change in 1940, as Nazi guards began to appear in the village and Jewish families routinely disappeared.  On a regular school day, guards rounded up the Jewish students at the school, but Sara saved herself by hiding in a deserted tower.  Through the kindness of a classmate and his family, Sara was safely hidden in a barn for four long years.  That classmate was Julien, who had  crippled legs from polio, making him a Nazi target because of his imperfection.  Shortly before the war ended, the Nazis guards caught up with Julien and shot him.  Sara, who had been separated from her parents, became part of Julien's family, remaining close to them even after she found her father who had also been in hiding for years.  In honor of her brave friend Julien, Sara passed on his name to her son and grandson.  Revealing that she hadn't told her story to anyone else, she asked her grandson to keep her story and use it to fight injustice in the world.  Following the suspenseful main story, readers will find ten additional pages of historical information about World War II and the role of the French Resistance.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Sunday, April 19, 2020

OTHER WORDS FOR HOME by Jasmine Warga.  New York: Balzer + Bray, 2019.  342p.  ISBN 978-0062747808 hc. $16.99     Gr. 5-8     JUV

Jude, a young Syrian teen who loves American movies, wants to be a movie star someday, along with her best friend, Fatima.  Her older brother, Issa, is a university student who actively participates in student protests against the government, making the family a target for political retaliation.  After a raid on their home, Jude and her mother are sent to Cincinnati, Ohio to live with her uncle and his American wife.  Now Jude will have to use the English she learned while watching movies, in order to improve her language skills and survive in a new country.  Although Jude extends the hand of friendship to her very American cousin, Sarah is clearly not interested is having relatives that eat and dress ethnically.  The cousins’ relationship is strained to breaking point when Jude and Sarah try out for the same part in the school play.  A good deal of cultural information about Islamic religion, Syrian food, and women covering their hair when they reach puberty is included in the text.  It’s also a story about being a part of two countries at the same time, making new routines while, at the same time, retaining the old.  By writing in verse, Warga emphasizes human ideals and minimizes descriptive geography, sending the message that people everywhere want to be understood and valued.

Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Monday, April 13, 2020

THE FOUNTAINS OF SILENCE by Ruta Sepetys.  New York: Penguin Young Readers, 2019.  512p.  ISBN 978-0593115251 hc. $18.99    Gr. 9-12  YA FIC

A master of historic fiction, Sepetys, writes for young adults who have enough life experience to tackle the philosophical, political, and ethical issues found in her well-researched books. Readers are taken back to Madrid, Spain in 1957, when General Francisco Franco ruled the country through an oppressive dictatorship.  Daniel Matheson, an oil-rich Texan with aspirations to become a photojournalist, visits Madrid with his parents to share a cultural experience of Spain, the birthplace of his mother.  He soon meets Ana, a housekeeper in the luxurious Hotel Castellana Hilton, where she hopes to work her way up the career ladder – at least as far as women can go in a fascist regime.  Even though a relationship between Ana and Daniel would mean termination from her job, Daniel persists and meets her in her neighborhood, where he also meets her brother, Rafael, a butcher who dreams of being a bullfighter.  After listening to Rafael’s history, including his early years in a boy’s home after the Spanish revolution, Daniel has many questions about why the guards prevent him from taking photos of certain places and events in the city.  Rafael’s story intertwines with that of his cousin, Puri, who cares for babies at an adoption facility.  There a mystery about the babies dropped off anonymously, and later adopted out to families “in favor” of government policies.  In contrast to the pull of passion between Ana and Daniel, readers will be shocked by the level of corruption found in Spain during Franco's control of the government.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

TO NIGHT OWL FROM DOGFISH by Holly Goldberg Sloan & Meg Wolitzer.  New York:  Dial Books, 2019.  310p.  ISBN 978-052555323-6 hc. $17.99    Gr. 5-8    JUV

Sloan and Wolitzer formulate a humorous middle-grade story about the families we're born into and the friendships we create on our own.  Written as an epistolary novel, this tale is told entirely through e-mail messages  between two 12 year-old girls.  Book-loving Avery from New York City and sports-loving Bett from California, secretly known to each other as Night Owl and Dogfish, couldn't be more different.  After routinely looking through her dad's e-mails, Bett discovers that her father met someone at a conference and has been dating online.  She also learns that the two fathers plan to visit China together, while sending both daughters to a summer camp in Michigan.  Bett's subject line to Avery is "You don't know me," which ends up with 62 replies back and forth while the girls learn about each other and think about the possibility of becoming sisters.  Bett's gregarious grandmother enters the story, along with Avery's surrogate mother, to provide family histories while introducing discussion on sexual orientation, race, becoming a teen, and reinventing families.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

MAPPING SAM by Joyce Hesselberth. New York: Greenwillow Books, 2018. 32p.  ISBN 978-006274122-6 hc. $17.99     Gr. K-3    E PIC

Sam the cat’s nightly trips around the neighborhood show “what is where and how to get from here to there.”  The author engages Sam’s help to highlight different maps and ways of mapping.  Sam shows readers several ways to explore the outdoors in order to get a new perspective on the world and understand it better.  In addition to a geographic map tracing Sam’s movements around the neighborhood, readers are introduced to a transportation map, two biological diagrams, a cutaway view of the pond, a diagram of a water molecule, a world map, a constellation chart that maps the stars, a map of the solar system, and a blueprint of a building.  The clear, colorful illustrations convey a whole new way of thinking about the power of maps and their importance for recording new discoveries.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Sunday, March 29, 2020

THE PRINCESS AND THE PIT STOP by Tom Angelberger.  Illus. by Dan Santat.  New York: Abrams Books, 2018.  32p.  ISBN 978-14197-28488 hc. $16.99    Gr. K-2    E PIC

The Princess is in a car race against notable fairy tale characters.  When her Fairy Govmother tells her she's in last place in the car race, all the Princess does is step on the gas.  This story is told in a quasi-graphic novel style with colorful illustrations that show the action of the race.  A great book to show the results of not giving up.
Jolene Hetherington, Advisory Board Member, Munising School Public Library

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

MATCHY MATCHY by Erin McGill.  Petaluma, CA: Cameron Kids. 32p  ISBN 978-194490372-5 hc. $16.95     PreS - Gr. 2     E PIC

     Maria lives in a house where everything matches.  Her mom makes sure Maria's outfits match, along with all her hair accessories, socks, and shoes.  Even the house is decorated to match..  Since her Mom has a list of rules for coordinating patterns and colors, Maria makes her own rules and happily makes new combinations of patterns to wear.  Her mom concedes and lets Maria style herself.  The author/illustrator uses stark white backgrounds with eye-popping images that make readers smile, especially the  collage illustrations.
     My daughter developed her own style by the age of 8, beginning with un-matched socks and expanded her sense of fashion from there.  The world has never been the same.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

MY PAPI HAS A MOTORCYCLE by Isabel Quintero.  Illus by Zeke Pena.  New York:  Kokila, 2019. 32p.  ISBN: 978-052555341-0 hc. $17.99   Gr. PreS - 3    E PIC

Daisy Ramona waits for her hardworking dad to come home for their nightly motorcycle ride around their town.  The two tour the town greeting the people they know.  Although changes are occurring in their immigrant town, Daisy knows that the love of their neighbors is everlasting as she heads for home with her dad.  This is great story to read when talking about family traditions, as it is a homage to the author and her father's relationship when she was a child.  The illustrations are done in muted colors to signify the past.
Jolene Hetherington, Library Advisory Board, Munising School Public Library

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

FIX THAT CLOCK by Kurt Cyrus.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019.  32p. ISBN978-132890408-9 hc. $17.99     PreS - Gr. 2     E PIC

If you want a book that ties into early elementary curriculum, incorporate FIX THAT CLOCK into your math and poetry units.  The story, about fixing an old, dilapidated clock tower, begins with a short poem that will remind readers of "Hickory Dickory Dock."  Poems with similar meter continue throughout the story as the building project progresses.  The remaining text is composed of double line rhymes.  The mathematical elements in the story consist of using an analog clock face to tell time, and finding geometry in the shapes of the building.  Teachers can throw in some physics for good measure, with the science of gear wheels and inclined planes.  As always, Cyrus tells most of the story with vibrant illustrations that show the happy carpenters working their way to the top of the clock tower.  This book is pure fun.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Friday, March 13, 2020

IT'S NOT HANSEL AND GRETEL by Josh Funk.  Illus. by Edwardian Taylor.  New York: Two Lions, 2019.  32p.  ISBN: 978-1503902947 hc. $17.99.     Gr. K-3    E PIC

Funk starts with the typical "Hansel and Gretel" story, but then fractures this fairy tale when Hansel and Gretel take over the book with their hilarious banter with the narrator.  The author brings the story into the 21st century when Gretel complains that Hansel is always first and he's the one in the cage, while she has to clean for the witch.  Gretel's complaints change the tenor of the story.  Children and adults with both find humor in changes made to the original writing.  The bold illustrations and conversation bubbles add to the frantic pace of the story.
Jolene Hetherington, Advisory Board Member, Munising School Public Library

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

I WILL BE FIERCE! by Bea Birdsong.  Illus. by Nidhi Chanani. New ork: Roaring Brook Press, 2019.  32p.  ISBN: 978-125029508-8 hc. $17.99   PreS - Gr. 2    E PIC

A young girl starts a new day with the positive attitude of "I will be fience!"  Her affirmations show her to be brave, adventurous, face fears, learn knowledge, solve problems, stand up for her beliefs and find new ways of doing things.  The illustrations allow the reader to interpret the back story for each affirmation.  A wonderful book to encourage students to find their own way and stand up for what they believe in.
Jolene Hetherington, Advisory Board Member, Munising School Public Library

Friday, March 6, 2020

YUMMY YOGA: Playful Poses and Tasty Treats by Joy Bauer. Photos by Bonnie Stephens.  New York: Abrams Books, 2019. 32p.  ISBN 978-141973824-1 hc. $14.99     Gr. K-4   JUV NF

This is a combination nutrition/activity book that includes recipes and yoga poses easily executed by young children.  Parents will definitely be needed to make the recipes that accompany each pose, although the kids can help!  Each two-page spread features a child in yoga pose with a vegetable doing yoga on the opposite page.  When readers lift the flap, a delicious, nutritious dish is revealed, along with its recipe.  Readers are treated to eight poses and recipes that are easily achievable by all audiences.  Have fun with this very visual book.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 

Monday, March 2, 2020

A BABY LIKE YOU by Catherine Thimmesh. New York:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019. 32p.  ISBN 978-132855312-6 bb. $14.99    Ages 0-3   E PIC

Using photos of baby animals (including humans) from many sources around the world, Thimmesh works magic with the short text that tells about the universally caring relationship between each mother and baby.  At the same time, it compares how animals eat, take baths, play, sleep, and move around in contrast to babies doing the same things.  Animal facts are included at the bottom of every page, allowing readers to grow with the book and continue to learn from it.  This book sends the cuteness meter off the charts!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Friday, February 28, 2020

HER FEARLESS RUN: KATHRINE SWITZER'S HISTORIC BOSTON MARATHON by Kim Chaffee.  Illus. by Ellen Rooney.  Salen, MA:  Page Street Publishing, 2019. 40p.  ISBN: 978-162414654-1 hc. $17.99      Gr. 3-5     J 921

In 1959, girls weren't supposed to sweat or compete in sports because they were viewed as fragile.  But that didn't stop Kathrine Switzer.  She ran as a child.  In college, she practiced with the men's teams because there weren't any women's teams.  There she learned about the Boston Marathon.  At this point in history, only men had officially run the 26 mile course.  Again, that didn't stop Kathrine.  She signed up as the only woman with an official number.  Kathrine's determination to compete in a marathon proved that girls are just as capable as boys.  This wonderful book sows that if you persevere, you can accomplish great things.  The author's note shares background info on the historic 1967 race.
Jolene Hetherington, Advisory Board Member, Munising School Public Library

Monday, February 24, 2020

THEY CALLED US ENEMY by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott. Illus. by Harmony Becker.  San Diego: IDW Publishing, 2019. 203p.  ISBN 978-160309450-4 pbk. $19.99   Gr. 6-12     YA GRAPHIC  940.53

This autobiographical piece by Takei, famous for his role of Sulu on the "Star Trek" television series and movies, tells of the time his family spent in World War II internment camps for Japanese-Americans when he was just a small child.  Although the graphic novel format contains many fewer words than a written memoir, a picture is truly worth a thousand words. The artwork conveys the emotion of a heartbreaking time for Japanese-American citizens whose wealth was claimed by the government, as they were being sent to segregated camps throughout the country.  The Santa Anita Raceway in California, one of the more well-known camps, is where the Takei family began their incarceration.  Not only does the story tell of the family's humiliation by being stripped of decent housing and their rights to live in their own homes, it reviews the political legislation (Franklin D. Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066) that was responsible for the displacement of families in 1940. Takei describes highs and lows within the camps during his years living there.  In 1988, President Ronald Reagan formally apologized for the previous actions of the federal government.  The story continues on to document Takei's successful career and his activism in the area of gay rights.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Friday, February 21, 2020

A DAY SO GRAY by Marie Lamba.  Illus. by Alea Marley.  New York: Clarion Books, 2019. 32p.  ISBN 978-132869599-4 hc. $17.99     PreS - Gr. 2    E PIC

The contrast between the pessimistic view of any situation is offset with the optimistic outlook on the same things  "This day is so gray," deserves a second look by the optimist who sees browns, blues, silvers, and yellows in the gray landscape.  The black cat has black fur, in addition to green eyes and pink pads on its paws.  Flames in the warm fireplace are not only orange, but change colors to yellow to red, making everyone warm and cozy.  This story encourages readers to look beyond the first thing they see, especially if their first impression is negative.  The world is a colorful and complex place.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

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.  She took the problem to her mother, who treated Sulwe 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 a young girl who has a lot to learn about the world.  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 for most everyone.
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

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