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JLG Selections Take Home 63 ALA Awards & Honors

Every year, JLG's esteemed editorial team reviews thousands of manuscripts long before publication to choose the best of the best for our categories--and 95% of their selections go on to win awards, honors and starred reviews! That's why our members trust JLG to bring first-edition, hardcover, award-worthy books to their shelves all year long!

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      Soldier for Equality: José de la Luz Sáenz and the Great War

      by Duncan Tonatiuh

      Dec 2019

      Biography Elementary Plus

      José de la Luz Sáenz believed in fighting for what was right. Although he was born in the United States, he and his family experienced prejudice because of their Mexican heritage. When World War I broke out, Luz volunteered to join the fight. Because of his ability to quickly learn languages, he became part of the Intelligence Office in Europe. However, despite his hard work and intellect, Luz often didn’t receive credit for his contributions. Upon his return to the US, he joined other Mexican-Americans whom he had met in the army to fight for equality. His contribution, along with others, ultimately led to the creation of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), which is the oldest Latino civil rights organization.

      Author’s note. Source for quotations. Time lines. Select bibliography. Glossary. Photograph of José de la Luz Saenz. Index. Full-color illustrations were hand drawn, then collaged digitally.

      Frankly in Love

      by David Yoon

      Dec 2019

      High-Interest High Plus

      High school senior Frank Li is a Limbo—his term for Korean-American kids who find themselves caught between their parents’ traditional expectations and their own Southern California upbringing. His parents have one rule when it comes to romance—“Date Korean”—which proves complicated when Frank falls for Brit Means, who is smart, beautiful—and white. Fellow Limbo Joy Song is in a similar predicament, and so they make a pact: they’ll pretend to date each other in order to gain their freedom. Frank thinks it’s the perfect plan, but in the end, Frank and Joy’s fake-dating maneuver leaves him wondering if he ever really understood love—or himself—at all.

      A Light in the Darkness: Janusz Korczak, His Orphans, and the Holocaust

      by Albert Marrin

      Dec 2019

      History High

      Janusz Korczak was more than a good doctor. He was a hero. The Dr. Spock of his day, he established orphanages run on his principle of honoring children and shared his ideas with the public in books and on the radio. He famously said that “children are not the people of tomorrow, but people today.” Korczak was a man ahead of his time, whose work ultimately became the basis for the U.N. Declaration of the Rights of the Child. Korczak was also a Polish Jew on the eve of World War II. He turned down multiple opportunities for escape, standing by the children in his orphanage as they became confined to the Warsaw Ghetto. Dressing them in their Sabbath finest, he led their march to the trains and ultimately perished with his children in Treblinka.

      But this book is much more than a biography. Filled with black-and-white photographs, this is an unforgettable portrait of a man whose compassion in even the darkest hours reminds us what is possible.

      Notes. Selected sources. Index. Black-and-white photographs and reproductions.

      Scary Stories for Young Foxes

      by Christian McKay Heidicker

      Nov 2019

      Mystery/Adventure Elementary Plus

      When fox kits Mia and Uly are separated from their litters, they quickly learn that the world is a dangerous place filled with monsters. As the young foxes travel across field and forest in search of a home, they’ll face a zombie who hungers for their tender flesh, a witch who wants to wear their skins, a ghost who haunts and hunts them, and so much more.

      Featuring eight interconnected stories and sixteen shockingly cool illustrations, Scary Stories for Young Foxes has the chills of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and the heart of Pax.

      Black-and-white illustrations.

      The Stars and the Blackness Between Them

      by Junauda Petrus

      Nov 2019

      City High School

      Trinidad. Sixteen-year-old Audre is despondent, having just found out she’s going to be sent to live in America with her father because her strictly religious mother caught her with her secret girlfriend, the pastor’s daughter. Audre’s grandmother Queenie (a former dancer who drives a white convertible Cadillac and who has a few secrets of her own) tries to reassure her granddaughter that she won’t lose her roots, not even in some place called Minneapolis. “America have dey spirits too, believe me,” she tells Audre.

      Minneapolis. Sixteen-year-old Mabel is lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling and trying to figure out why she feels the way she feels—about her ex Terrell, about her girl Jada and that moment they had in the woods, and about the vague feeling of illness that’s plagued her all summer. Mabel’s reverie is cut short when her father announces that his best friend and his just-arrived-from-Trinidad daughter are coming for dinner.

      Mabel quickly falls hard for Audre and is determined to take care of her as she tries to navigate an American high school. But their romance takes a turn when test results reveal exactly why Mabel has been feeling low-key sick all summer, and suddenly it’s Audre who is caring for Mabel as she faces a deeply uncertain future.

      Music playlist inspired by the events of the novel.

      Do You Dream of Terra-Two?

      by Temi Oh

      Nov 2019

      Paperbacks High

      Have you ever hoped you could leave everything behind?
      Have you ever dreamt of a better world?
      Can a dream sustain a lifetime?


      A century ago, an astronomer discovered an Earth-like planet orbiting a nearby star. She predicted that one day, humans would travel there to build a utopia. Today, ten astronauts are leaving everything behind to find it. Four are veterans of the twentieth century’s space-race. And six are teenagers who’ve trained for this mission most of their lives. It will take the team twenty-three years to reach Terra-Two. Twenty-three years locked in close quarters. Twenty-three years with no one to rely on but each other. Twenty-three years with no rescue possible, should something go wrong. And something always goes wrong.

      Pet

      by Akwaeke Emezi

      Nov 2019

      Advanced Readers

      There are no monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. Jam and her best friend, Redemption, have grown up with this lesson all their life. But when Jam meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question—How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist?

      In their riveting and timely young adult debut, acclaimed novelist Akwaeke Emezi asks difficult questions about what choices you can make when the society around you is in denial.

      Smell My Foot!: Chick and Brain

      by Cece Bell

      Nov 2019

      Easy Reading

      ’Maybe your foot smells good.
      Maybe your foot smells great.
      But I will not smell your foot until you say PLEASE. ’


      Meet Chick and Brain. And their friend Spot. Chick likes to follow the rules. Brain might not be as smart as he looks. And Spot just wants to eat lunch.

      In a graphic reader loaded with verbal and visual humor, Cece Bell offers a comical primer on good manners gone awry. Simple, silly, and perfectly suited for its audience, this tale of Chick and Brain’s constant misunderstandings and miscommunications proves once again that Cece Bell is a master at meeting kids where they are.

      Full-color illustrations created with watercolor and ink.

      The Book Rescuer: How a Mensch from Massachusetts Saved Yiddish Literature for Generations to Come

      by Sue Macy

      Nov 2019

      Nonfiction Elementary Plus

      Over the last forty years, Aaron Lansky has jumped into dumpsters, rummaged around musty basements, and crawled through cramped attics. He did all of this in pursuit of a particular kind of treasure, and he’s found plenty. Lansky’s treasure was any book written Yiddish, the language of generations of European Jews. When he started looking for Yiddish books, experts estimated there might be about 70,000 still in existence. Since then, the MacArthur Genius Grant recipient has collected close to 1.5 million books, and he’s finding more every day.

      Told in a folkloric voice reminiscent of Patricia Polacco, this story celebrates the power of an individual to preserve history and culture, while exploring timely themes of identity and immigration.

      Author’s note. Illustrator’s note. Yiddish glossary. Suggestions for further information. Source notes. Full-color illustrations rendered in acrylic and gouache, with fabric textures added digitally.

      In Waves

      by AJ Dungo

      Oct 2019

      Graphic Novels High Plus

      In this visually arresting graphic novel, surfer and illustrator AJ Dungo remembers his late partner, her battle with cancer, and their shared love of surfing that brought them strength throughout their time together. With his passion for surfing uniting many narratives, he intertwines his own story with those of some of the great heroes of surf in a rare work of nonfiction that is as moving as it is fascinating.

      Bibliography. Two-color illustrations.

      Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln

      by Margarita Engle

      Oct 2019

      Nonfiction Early Elementary Plus

      As a little girl, Teresa Carreño loved to let her hands dance across the beautiful keys of the piano. If she felt sad, music cheered her up, and when she was happy, the piano helped her share that joy. Soon she was writing her own songs and performing in grand cathedrals. Then a revolution in Venezuela forced her family to flee to the United States. Teresa felt lonely in this unfamiliar place, where few of the people she met spoke Spanish. Worst of all, there was fighting in her new home, too—the Civil War.

      Still, Teresa kept playing, and soon she grew famous as the talented Piano Girl who could play anything from a folk song to a sonata. So famous, in fact, that President Abraham Lincoln wanted her to play at the White House! Yet with the country torn apart by war, could Teresa’s music bring comfort to those who needed it most?

      Historical note. Full-color mixed-media illustrations.

      All in a Drop: How Antony van Leeuwenhoek Discovered an Invisible World

      by Lori Alexander

      Oct 2019

      Science Nonfiction Elementary Plus

      Microbes are everywhere: in the soil and oceans, in snow, and inside our bodies. But in Antony van Leeuwenhoek’s time, people believed that what they saw with their own eyes was all that existed in the world. How did a simple tradesman—who didn’t go to college or speak English or Latin like all the other scientists—change everyone’s minds?
      Proving that remarkable discoveries can come from the most unexpected people and places, this eye-opening chapter book, illustrated with lively full-color art, celebrates the power of curiosity, ingenuity, and persistence.

      Author’s note. Time line of events. Glossary. Source notes. Selected bibliography. Index. Full-color illustrations were created using pastel, colored pencil, and watercolor.
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