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A Look at Reviews by Book: Fall 2018

Review Abbreviations: BCCB—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books BL—Booklist CL—Children’s Literature Database K—Kirkus Reviews LJ—Library Journal PW—Publishers Weekly SLJ—School Library Journal V—Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) H—The Horn Book Magazine HG—The Horn Book Guide *indicates starred review ^ indicates outstanding or superior

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      Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix: Rise of the Empress #2

      by Julie C. Dao

      Mar 2019

      Fantasy/Science Fiction High Plus

      BL, SLJ, PW,
      In order to defeat her wicked stepmother and reclaim her rightful place as heir of Feng Lu, Princess Jade embarks on a quest to gather the artifacts of the empire's long-lost gods.

      Struttin’ with Some Barbecue: Lil Hardien Armstrong Becomes the First Lady of Jazz

      by Patricia Hruby Powell

      Mar 2019

      Biography Elementary Plus

      From the time she was a little girl in early 1900s Memphis, Lil Hardin was drawn to music. Her mother wanted Lil to be a proper lady and study classical music. But that was no life for Lil: music was no fun without the blues!

      Author’s note. Further information on Lil Hardin Armstrong. Note on jazz. Note on segregation. Note on Armstrong’s family and estate. Time line. Glossary. Further resources and selected bibliography. Quotation sources. Index. Black-and-white illustrations created in ink and graphite.

      The Stinky Truth: Lyttle Lies #2

      by Joe Berger

      Mar 2019

      Humor Elementary Plus

      Sam's mom challenges him to make it through summer vacation without telling a fib. The prize? A ticket to the new Wolfe Stone action movie. But as Sam discovers, the truth can lead to trouble, too.

      Black-and-white illustrations.

      That Night

      by Amy Giles

      Feb 2019

      City High School

      Jess and Lucas both lost their brothers in a Far Rockaway, Queens, mass shooting. The pair finds solace in each other, but falling in love resurfaces hidden trauma. Author's note with resources.

      Saving Winslow

      by Sharon Creech

      Feb 2019

      Intermediate Readers

      PW*, H*
      Louie doesn’t have the best luck when it comes to nurturing small creatures—not even lightning bugs, worms, or goldfish. So when his father brings him a sickly, newborn mini donkey, he’s determined to save him and gives him the name Winslow. And somehow, taking care of him helps Louie feel closer to his brother, Gus, who is far, far away in the army.
      Everyone worries that Winslow won’t survive, especially Louie’s quirky new friend, Nora, who has experienced loss of her own. But as Louie’s bond with Winslow grows, surprising and life-altering events prove that this fragile donkey is stronger than anyone could have imagined.

      Winter is Here

      by Kevin Henkes

      Feb 2019

      Pre-Kindergarten Plus

      H, BL*
      From award-winning husband-and-wife team Kevin Henkes and Laura Dronzek, >i>Winter Is Here is the companion to the acclaimed and best-selling When Spring Comes and In the Middle of Fall. Explore the sights, sounds, and smells of the season in this breathtaking ode to winter.
      Snow falls, animals burrow, and children prepare for the wonders winter brings. With a simple and poetic text, Kevin Henkes teaches basic concepts of language and the season while Laura Dronzek’s stunning paintings beautifully capture the joyful wonders of winter. This is an engaging companion to the best-selling When Spring Comes and In the Middle of Fall, which have received eight starred reviews between them. Winter Is Here is ideal for story time, seasonal curriculums, and bedtime reading.
      Full-color illustrations created with acrylic paints.

      Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel

      by Val Emmich

      Feb 2019

      High-Interest High Plus

      PW, BL
      In this novelization of the Tony Award–winning musical, Evan grows close to a family after their son, Connor, commits suicide—and they mistakenly believe Evan was his secret best friend. Author's note with resources.

      Attucks!: Oscar Robertson and the Basketball Team That Awakened a City

      by Phillip Hoose

      Feb 2019

      Sports High

      BL*, SLJ, H
      The 1955 Crispus Attucks Tigers were from an Indianapolis high school meant to be the centerpiece of racially segregated education in Indiana. They shattered the myth of their own inferiority, winning the state basketball boys' championship. Author's note. Biographical notes on the basketball players mentioned in the book. Sources. Endnotes. Index. Black-and-white photographs and reproductions.

      American Dialogue: The Founding Fathers and Us

      by Joseph J. Ellis

      Feb 2019

      Adult Crossover Nonfiction Plus

      K*, PW*
      “What would the Founding Fathers think?” A consideration of contemporary topics including racism, inequality, and imperialism, paired with in-depth looks at the relevant opinions of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Madison. Endnotes. Index.

      Carmela Full of Wishes

      by Matt de la Peña

      Feb 2019


      PW*, K*, SLJ*, BL
      When Carmela wakes up on her birthday, her wish has already come true—she’s finally old enough to join her big brother as he does the family errands. Together, they travel through their neighborhood, past the crowded bus stop, the fenced-off repair shop, and the panadería, until they arrive at the Laundromat, where Carmela finds a lone dandelion growing in the pavement. But before she can blow its white fluff away, her brother tells her she has to make a wish. If only she can think of just the right wish to make…
      With lyrical, stirring text and stunning, evocative artwork, Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson have crafted a moving ode to family, to dreamers, and to finding hope in the most unexpected places.
      Full-color illustrations created with acrylic paint and collage and then digitally manipulated.

      The Brilliant Death

      by Amy Rose Capetta

      Feb 2019

      Fantasy/Science Fiction High Plus


      Hey, Kiddo

      by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

      Feb 2019

      Graphic Novels High Plus

      K*, PW*, H, SLJ*
      In kindergarten, Jarrett Krosoczka's teacher asks him to draw his family, with a mommy and a daddy. But Jarrett's family is much more complicated than that. His mom is an addict, in and out of rehab, and in and out of Jarrett's life. His father is a mystery -- Jarrett doesn't know where to find him, or even what his name is. Jarrett lives with his grandparents -- two very loud, very loving, very opinionated people who had thought they were through with raising children until Jarrett came along.
      Jarrett goes through his childhood trying to make his non-normal life as normal as possible, finding a way to express himself through drawing even as so little is being said to him about what's going on. Only as a teenager can Jarrett begin to piece together the truth of his family, reckoning with his mother and tracking down his father.
      Hey, Kiddo is a profoundly important memoir about growing up in a family grappling with addiction, and finding the art that helps you survive.
      Author's note. Note on the art. Full-color illustrations.
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