Books for Young Readers from the 2014 Winter Newsletter

 These titles were featured in our 2014 Winter Newsletter.
 

 

One day Hannah wakes in the early hours of the morning. Everyone is fast asleep, so Hannah does a few things she’s never done before. She gives the cat a saucer of milk to lap. She eats cold cherries from the fridge without asking. She borrows her sister’s doll…and her music box…and her colored pencils. In the dim night light, everything is just a little different from before, as if Hannah has stepped into another world. Sakai evokes the hush of night with loose, expressive brushstrokes and muted blues, punctuated by the occasional vibrant cherry or electric pink stripes of pajamas. Perfectly capturing the private world of discovery of a little girl, Hannah’s Night is a quiet treasure that gets better with each rereading. Grades Pre-K–1.
Reviewed by: 
Tera
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Hannah's Night Cover Image
$10.95
ISBN: 9781877579547
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gecko Press - February 1st, 2014

Noi lives with his father and six cats in a cottage by the sea. His father, a fisher, is gone all day, coming home in the evening. Noi, often accompanied by a kitten, is lonely. Until (with a light touch of magical realism) he finds a baby whale in distress on the beach, puts it in his wagon, trundles it home, establishes it in the bath, feeds the whale a pale of fish, and regales his guest with stories of life on the island. Noi’s dad returns from a long day’s work, finds his son with his new friend, comforts Noi with a hug, and then father and son row out in the night sea to return the young whale to its element. In the following pages we see Noi and his father together: painting, cooking, enjoying a beach picnic, and whale watching. The book’s endpapers are of an adult whale and baby whale moving through a depth of blue. The illustrations are rich, round, and reminiscent of Leonard Weisgard’s Caldecott winner Little Island. Grades Pre-K–K.
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The Storm Whale Cover Image
By Benji Davies, Benji Davies (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780805099676
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Henry Holt & Company - September 30th, 2014

This is a powerhouse of a picture book not unlike Chris Van Allsburg’s The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. There are inexplicable, eponymous Rules of Summer, dictated by an older brother to his younger sibling. The rules are simple, straightforward, and, as in familiar sibling territory, arbitrary. The art is magnificent. Thickly textured paint creates haunting, luminous landscapes that the younger brother must navigate until the older boy suddenly, impulsively, forgives all (all what?) and forgets his dictatorial edicts. In the final scenes, he lovingly rescues and befriends his brother. Here, the colors of joy in the double-page spread are palpable. Shaun Tan, author of The Arrival—my favorite wordless book and a Hugo Award winner—is superb again.
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Rules of Summer Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780545639125
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Arthur A. Levine Books - April 29th, 2014

Organized by the seasons, beginning with spring, this collection of 36 impeccably chosen short poems demonstrates that significant emotional power can reside in just a few lines. In obvious contrast with such small bites of poetry, the large-format design explodes with bright and expressive watercolor, gouache, and mixed-media collages. Colors and shapes with willowy details expertly blur or bring bits of the images into focus to create a magical sense of place, time, and beauty. Grades K–4. —School Library Journal
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Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems Cover Image
By Paul B. Janeczko, Melissa Sweet (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780763648428
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - March 11th, 2014

June 19th, 1865, is the date slaves in Texas learned of their emancipation. In this picture book families are in the blistering fields picking cotton when “word spread/from the port,/to town,/through the countryside,/and into the fields/that a Union general had read from a balcony that we were all/now and forever free/and things/would be/all different now.” Change has been coming slowly all along but in this soft, stirring story, change comes swiftly—and the winds of change blow through the story. So lyrical is the exquisite text and so skillfully painted are the watercolor pictures that the reader can feel it ripple through their hair. Grades 2 and up.
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All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom Cover Image
By Angela Johnson, E. B. Lewis (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9780689873768
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - May 6th, 2014

Maggie has been cautioned not to fall for the first horse she sees. Bramble (a horse) is fed up with giving riding lessons and bored with walking very slowly in a circle. She needs a change of pace. Maggie sees the “Horse for Free” sign while out driving with her mom and dad and, even though Bramble “has her little ways,” Maggie does fall in love. Maggie and Bramble take challenges in stride as they grow to understand each other a bit more each day. Lively watercolor illustrations accompany each short chapter in this inviting easy-reader series. Grades K–2. --Michelle
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Bramble and Maggie: Horse Meets Girl (Candlewick Sparks) Cover Image
By Jessie Haas, Alison Friend (Illustrator)
$3.99
ISBN: 9780763662516
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - April 9th, 2013

Albie is starting a new school for his fifth grade year. Maybe he can do better this time—at least not get an email home alerting his parents that he has an “achievement gap.” Albie knows his parents wish they had a son who shined at something, but Albie doesn’t seem to be much good at anything, except maybe finding the best donuts in Manhattan and entertaining Calista, his new babysitter. (He’s too old for a babysitter, but she’s actually kind of cool.) As if his parents’ disapproval weren’t enough, a kid at Albie’s new school starts picking on him, calling him a dummy, especially when Albie sticks up for Betty, the shy girl in class who stutters. What will it take for Albie to realize he has something special? As Calista puts it, he’s a hero with the superpower of kindness. Perfectly crafted short chapters with lots of humor make this a fun and very touching read. Grades 3 to 5.
Reviewed by: 
Tera
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Absolutely Almost Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780399164057
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Philomel Books - June 12th, 2014

Twelve-year-old Karn is a master gamer when it comes to playing Thrones and Bones. He’s not so good at striking hard bargains for the sake of his father’s tribe. If only there wasn’t so much pressure on him to be the next leader! Likewise, Thianna is a disappointment to her clan of ice giants, standing at only 7 feet tall, half the size of her peers. The two unlikely friends meet when their different tribes converge on an icy mountain for a tense round of trading. When unexpected enemies attack, they find themselves on the run, outracing wyverns and avoiding avalanches. Pulling on little-known Norse mythology, this brilliantly accessible fantasy really is for all those Percy Jackson fans clamoring for a new series. Grades 4–6.
Reviewed by: 
Tera
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Frostborn Cover Image
By Lou Anders, Justin Gerard (Illustrator)
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ISBN: 9780385387781
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Crown Books for Young Readers - August 5th, 2014

A warm, rollicking, and beautifully written mystery from Newbery Award winner Sheila Turnage. Spunky Mo LoBeau is back as the unforgettable self-appointed detective of all things strange in Tupelo Landing. This time she goes after a ghost in this witty page-turner that has heaps of Southern charm. Grades 4–6.
Reviewed by: 
Tera
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The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780803736719
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Kathy Dawson Books - February 4th, 2014

Wilhelmina’s father calls her “wildcat” and wouldn’t change a hair on the unkempt mane of her head. Will has a life she loves: a best friend in Si, a neighbor boy with a hand for horses; her own horse and a monkey for companions; and the entire mud-baked countryside surrounding Captain Browne’s Zimbabwean farm to explore. The farmhands respect her even though she’s white and a girl. But when her life is shaken up and she’s shipped off to an English boarding school, Will’s gorgeous freedom is threatened. Rundell’s eloquent and perceptive prose keeps you rooting not just for Will’s survival, but for the return of her bright joy. A truly wild ride of a book and the children’s books staff’s favorite of the year. Grades 4–6.
Reviewed by: 
Tera
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Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781442490611
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - August 26th, 2014

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