Thursday, January 31, 2019

HEY KIDDO: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction by Jarrett Krosoczka. New York: Graphix, 2018. 305p. ISBN 978-054590248-9 pbk. $14.99.    Gr. 7-12     921KR    Y.A.

Some kids are saved by music; some by reading or caring for animals. Jarrett was saved by drawing. His attachment to art could explain why his autobiography is also a graphic novel. As the subtitle implies, Jarrett's childhood experience is commonplace today, but still needs to be told. Jarrett was born to a single mom with a drug problem that led to stealing, dealing, and inability to hold down a job. Within a few years, it became apparent that the grandparents needed to take custody of Jarrett, with help from his aunts who were still in high school. Although Jarrett didn't find out all the facts of his parentage until he was also in high school, or that his mom had been in and out of jail for years on drug charges, he felt the  absence of his biological parents. He was very aware of the generational differences between his grandparents and his friends' parents. While his mother popped in and out of his life, his grandparents were always there for him, encouraging his ambitions with art classes and good schools. In spite of the angst that accompanies teenage years, Jarrett finally tracked down his father and tried to accept a new relationship with the man who denied his existence from birth. Jarrett's artwork effectively conveys his emotional journey through the first 18 years of his life with a balanced color palette of sepia and gray panels laid out in readable order. It's a game-changer!
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

Friday, January 25, 2019

MUDDY: THE STORY OF BLUES LEGEND MUDDY WATERS by Michael Mahin.  Illus. by Evan Turk. New York: Atheneum Books For Young Readers, 2017.  48p. ISBN: 978-1-4814-4349-4 hc. $17.99.     Gr. K-2     JUV 921

This book of inspiration and determination follows the challenges placed in the path of American blues legend, Muddy Waters, during his climb to fame. Raised by his grandmother Della, McKinley Morganfield, loved blues music from the time he was a small child.  He earned his nickname, Muddy, by playing in the mud of the Mississippi Delta.  He realized that sharecropping wasn't the life for him and left the South to play music in Chicago, where he blended the local jazz sound with the Delta blues to create his signature style of "Chicago Blues."  Evan Turk's bold, colorful collage illustrations supplement the text and bring music to the vibrant pages.   
Charlotte Dugas, Retired Director, Munising School Public Library

Saturday, January 19, 2019

QUIET WYATT: SUPER SHY - OR SUPERHERO? by Tammi Sauer. Illus. by Arthur Howard. New York: Clarion Books, 2018. 32p. ISBN: 978-0-544-11330-5 hc. $17.99 Gr. K-3 E PIC

Wyatt likes quiet! He prefers museums, non-speaking parts in the school play, and is a master at ninja camp. But when he is paired with noisy Noreen on a school field trip, he is pushed to the limit, breaking out of his shell to save the day. Despite all their differences, these opposites attract and become friends in the end. The illustrations enhance the story line and will keep early elementary listeners engaged in this fun story.
Charlotte Dugas, Retired Director, Munising School Public Library

Sunday, January 13, 2019

LIBBA: THE MAGNIFICENT MUSICAL LIFE OF ELIZABETH COTTEN by Laura Viers. Illus. by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 2018. ISBN: 978-1-4521-4857-1 hc. $17.99 Gr. 1-3 JUV NF 921

Elizabeth Cotten was one of America's gifted folk musicians, but her story followed an unconventional and sometimes bumpy road. Learning to play guitar at a young age, self taught on a backwards and upside-down guitar, Libba (short for Elizabeth) also learned the banjo and wrote her most famous song, Freight Train, at age 11. She was not truly discovered until later in life when she came to work for the famous musical Seeger family. This story follows the life of an African American woman through the early 1900's and the challenges they faced because of their darker skin color. Though there were few opportunities for a young black female musician in her early years, Elizabeth put down the guitar until her 40's when she was finally able to spend the next forty years writing, touring and sharing her joy of music with the world.
Charlotte Dugas, Retired Director, Munising School Public Library

Monday, January 7, 2019

BRILLIANT DEEP: REBUILDING THE WORLD'S CORAL REEF by Kate Messner. Illus. by Matthew Forsythe. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 2018.  ISBN: 978-1-4521-3350-8 hb. $17.99 Gr. 1-3 JUV 921

The story follows Ken Nedimyer's curiosity and love for the ocean. After watching his beloved coral reefs slow death in the Florida Keys, his determination spawned an idea for their rebirth. He now travels the world to help other countries rebuild their dying reefs. One good idea can spark and encourage another and then another... There is information on more books to read on the oceans and coral reefs, how kids can help, and where inquisitive readers can explore online. A vocabulary page is also included to help children understand some of the scientific language used.
Charlotte Dugas, Retired Director, Munising School Public Library

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

THE SECRETS OF NINJA SCHOOL by Deb Pilutti. Henry Holt and Company, 2018.  32p.  ISBN 978-1-62779-649-1 hc. $17.99    Gr. 1-2   E PIC

Ruby looked forward to attending Master Willow's School for Ninjas to discover her own secret skill, as well as ninja jumps, kicks, patience, and stealth.  She practiced the ways of the ninja and tried to be patient while the other students found their secret skills.  Ruby did not find hers...until one night when everyone confided that they were all homesick. Ruby wanted to help the other students feel better, so she made them all a stuffed dragon to sleep with and told them stories - just her father did for her when she couldn't sleep. She found that her skills were there the whole time. The author shares Ruby's Dragon Softie pattern with readers who also want to develop a new skill.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI