Gā's Reviews

Nick and his cats, Vern and Stevenson, “spent summers doing everything together.” But when Nick sits down quietly with a book, the cats are not pleased. In order to spend time reading, Nick will clearly have to teach his cats to read. Ages 3–7.     —GA

Staff Pick Logo
The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read Cover Image
By Curtis Manley, Kate Berube (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781481435697
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books - July 5th, 2016

During the Second World War, the Russians torpedoed and sunk the Wilhelm Gustloff with 10,582 passengers on board. More than 9400 died in the cold Baltic Sea, including 5000 children. This little-known maritime disaster is impeccably researched and viscerally conveyed through the stories of four adults, slowly revealed in alternating chapters in Sepetys’ haunting historical fiction. Why do we read about disasters? Perhaps to illumine our character—our most base and our best tendencies. And because it is important here, as well, to not forget. Ages 14 & up.  —GA

Staff Pick Logo
Salt to the Sea Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780399160301
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Philomel Books - February 2nd, 2016

Set in the 11th century, at a time when a 12-year-old girl is almost an adult, Neen Marrey lives with her stoic but not unloving auntie Ushags on Carrick Island. Neen is always asking her aunt for stories about her long-dead mother, Ushags’ sister, who perhaps was a merrow, a selkie. This is a fairy tale woven into a novel—the language is glittery with precision, yet warm and lyrical as song. Ages 13 & up.  —GA

Staff Pick Logo
Merrow Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780763679248
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - November 8th, 2016

Like Zusak’s stunning Book Thief, this is a complicated and rewarding World War II novel about a young girl’s survival. When Anna’s father, a linguistics professor, is rounded up by the Gestapo with Krakow’s intellectuals, she finds the Swallow Man. Seven-year-old Anna trusts him because he knows many languages, just as she does, and appears to speak with birds. The Swallow Man reluctantly becomes her guardian over the next four years as they roam war-broken Poland. Both Anna and the Swallow Man are broken as well, but heal somewhat in each other’s company, though they are broken a second time as love and its limits are made apparent. This is an adult fairy tale, graceful and economical, with its moral/immoral compass swinging toward the conclusion that human relationships, however flawed, have the possibility of saving us all. A deeply moving debut novel for at least 8th grade and up.                 —GA

Staff Pick Logo
Anna and the Swallow Man Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780553513349
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - January 26th, 2016

A score of poetic vignettes provide the setup for Esquire writer Art Kane’s iconic 1958 photograph of jazz greats, posed for an unpaid photo shoot at the outlandish (for jazz musicians) hour of 10 am on the steps of a brownstone at 126th Street in Harlem. Roxane Orgill’s text is accompanied by Francis Vallejo’s evocative acrylic and pastel paintings, leading up to a fold-out spread of the actual photo, indicated by a black page with the word “click” in white print. This is the second picture book—the other being Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell, about Jane Goodall—to make perfectly exquisite use of an iconic photograph. Grades 4 & up. —GĀ

Staff Pick Logo
Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph Cover Image
By Roxane Orgill, Francis Vallejo (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9780763669546
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - March 8th, 2016

When a children’s picture book biography contains primary source materials (letters, photos, manuscript pages); when it has drawings, whimsical collages, and watercolor; and, most importantly, has a clear and nimble text, I get happy. What Melissa Sweet’s book conveys about E. B. White’s writing (through excerpts), and what she herself conveys through her own writing, is joy—the sense of how lucky we are to live this life. Some Writer! is just what a biography should be, leaving you both satisfied and curious. Ages 8 & up. —GĀ

Staff Pick Logo
Some Writer!: The Story of E.B. White Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780544319592
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Houghton Mifflin - October 4th, 2016

Here is a wilderness survival story, told in alternating chapters by 12-year-old Peter and by Pax, the orphaned fox kit he raised, as they attempt to reunite in a warring countryside that feels a little like our own neighborhoods in the near future. This is a startling and viscerally moving antiwar novel that will appeal to several age groups. We have some signed first editions in stock. Grades 5–8.—GĀ

Staff Pick Logo
Pax Cover Image
By Sara Pennypacker, Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062377012
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen - February 2nd, 2016

This is not what we’ve come to expect from a Kate DiCamillo novel—no clever razzle-dazzle of poet-squirrels and brave mice that steal your heart. Instead, as in her very first novel, we have a young girl in trouble. Ten-year-old Raymie’s dad has run away with a dental hygienist. She can’t make him return unless, she reasons, he sees her photo in the paper as the baton-twirling winner (she’s never twirled a baton) of the Miss Central Florida Tire Competition of 1975. Two other girls covet this prize, each for their own similarly unreasoned reasons, but the three girls become loyal friends and (sans adults) rescue each other. Droll, heartbreaking, and oh so nice. Grades 4–7. —GĀ

 

Staff Pick Logo
Raymie Nightingale Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780763681173
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - April 12th, 2016

Booked is a riveting sports story about a smart, reading-averse, soccer-obsessed, 12-year-old boy. Like his Newbery Award–winning Crossover, the novel is told in verse and Kwame Alexander is just the writer to pull this off and make it absolutely appealing to a reluctant reader like his protagonist Nick (or to a seasoned reader like me). Grades 5–8. —GĀ

 

Staff Pick Logo
Booked Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780544570986
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Houghton Mifflin - April 5th, 2016

There are scores of successful individual immigration stories—for example, Allen Say’s Grandfather’s Journey, Helen Recorvit’s My Name is Yoon, Eleanor Estes’ The Hundred Dresses, Francisco Jimenez’ The Circuit, and Shaun Tan’s The Arrival. But until now it has seemed almost impossible to write a composite immigration picture book essay without being reductive or marzipan, without coming off like “We Are the World.” Their Great Gift is clear, honest, and timely, and it belongs in all elementary school classrooms and home libraries. Grades K–4. —GA

 

Staff Pick Logo
Their Great Gift: Courage, Sacrifice, and Hope in a New Land Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781467780544
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Carolrhoda Books - March 2016

Pages

 

Other Services:

 

 
 
 
 
All titles are subject to availability. Prices subject to change. Please call 831-423-0900 to confirm.
Copyright © Bookshop Santa Cruz
(831) 423-0900 · 1520 Pacific Ave · Downtown Santa Cruz · Santa Cruz, CA · 95060