Tuesday, February 27, 2018

THE GREAT NEW YORK SUBWAY MAP by Emiliano Ponzi.  New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2017.  36p.  ISBN 978-163345-025 hc. $19.95      Gr. 3-5     JUV NF

If you ride the subway system in New York - or anywhere in America, you'll find your way from place to place by using a color coded map that displays all the available train routes.  People use it all the time, but how was it developed?  A graphic designer named Massimo Vignelli, an immigrant from Italy, was approached by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to simplify and improve the subway map.  After researching the problem for some time, Vignelli was inspired by a plate of spaghetti noodles to feature subway routes with colored lines, while reducing the sizes of landmarks and stations.  After some back and forth discussion with the transit administrators, the streamlined and easy-to-read maps were approved for use in 1972.  With some variation by region, the colored line map concept is still used today.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

FAR FROM THE TREE by Robin Benway.  New York:  HarperTeen, 2017.  374p.  ISBN: 978006-233062-8 hc. $17.99     Gr.9-12     YA FIC

Instead of attending the homecoming dance with her boyfriend, sixteen year-old Grace finds herself giving birth to a baby girl who will be up for adoption.  Grace chose the family, but questions how the baby will feel when she realizes her biological mom couldn't keep her.  Grace was adopted, and has those questions every day.  She needs to find the woman who gave her away.  Thus begins the tale of three adopted siblings, Grace, Maya, and Joaquin, who find each other with the help of their very supportive adoptive parents.  Maya's parents had a baby after adopting her, leaving her feeling like an outsider, even though she knows they love her.  Joaquin's parents want to adopt him, but he feels unworthy because of his childhood spent in foster homes.  All three have a missing piece in their lives, and decide to find their bio mom.  What they find is a way to leave their hurt behind and allow themselves to build new relationships with the people they love. Three vibrant characters tell the story through their own perspectives.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

YOU BRING THE DISTANT NEAR by Mitali Perkins.  New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2017.  303p.  ISBN 978-037430490-4 hc. $17.99    Gr. 8-12     Y.A. FIC

The story begins in the 1970's as two sisters who have lived in three different countries learn to become American.  Ethnically Bengali, they are upwardly mobile and defined by their father's job.  Tara, the older sister, is obedient and adheres to cultural tradition, but Sonia questions everything that makes her different from her American peers.  She crosses the line when she falls in love with a boy from Harlem who does not fit the mold that her traditional mother envisions.  Through their stories, the history of Ranee, their mother, unfolds to reveal a love story of her own.  Fast forward to the  third generation in America - the daughters of Tara and Sonia, who know their parents and grandmother very well, are totally modern American teens, and strive to blend the Bengali traditions of the past with their very American families.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

OLDER THAN DIRT by Don Brown & Dr. Mike Perfit.  New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.  104p.  ISBN 978-054480503-3 hc. $18.99   Gr. 4-6    J Graphic Novel

This self-described "kind-sorta biography of earth" is a conversation between a groundhog and a worm who meet up when groundhog digs a hole near worm's tunnel.  They begin to talk about dirt, the earth, and how the planet was formed 14 trillion years ago.  One thing leads to another, and they're soon discussing the earth's core, volcanos, tectonic formations, weather, and living organisms.  The "biography" follows a geologic timeline from the big bang to present day and ends with graphics of the Geologic Eras, a 24-Hour Earth Clock, and a map of tectonic plates which clarify the scientific information in the book.  Don Brown's unique style of pairing graphic illustration with nonfiction stories, such as GREAT AMERICAN DUST BOWL and DROWNED CITY, makes history (and now geology) come to life.  Dr. Perfit, a geologist from the University of Florida, served as technical writer on this project. 
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI  49855