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Stephanie's Reviews

Down Under the Pier Written by Nell Cross Beckerman Illustrated by Rachell Sumpter

Such a beautiful book! I felt the delight of the children exploring the enchanted watery world below the pier. Both the pastel color palette and the perfectly used gold accent highlight the magic of the sea and the natural world. Perfect for Santa Cruzans and sea lovers (like me).

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By Nell Beckerman (Text by), Rachell Sumpter (Illustrator)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781944903862
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Cameron - April 7th, 2020

Lift Written by Minh Lê Illustrated by Dan Santat

Poor harangued older sister Iris always finds joy in pushing elevator buttons, until one dark day when her role as elevator-button enthusiast is usurped by her toddler sibling. When the word “BETRAYAL” appears above Iris’s head in the illustration, I laughed out loud. And that wasn’t the last time I did so as I read this hilarious, fantastical story that highlights both the creativity of the illustrator/author team and the love/frustration of the sibling bond. A great choice for creative-minded readers who enjoy a good laugh.

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By Minh Lê, Dan Santat (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781368036924
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - May 5th, 2020

The Three Little Yogis and the Wolf Who Lost His Breath: A Fairy Tale to Help You Feel Better Written by Susan Verde Illustrated by Jay Fleck

I loved Susan Verde’s I Am Love (illustrated by Peter Reynolds), so I took a chance on this book, even though I’m not always a fan of picture book fairy tale retellings. I’m so glad I did! The Three Little Pigs framework is perfect for examining emotions, mindfulness, meditation, and breath. The poor angry little wolf is such a sympathetic character, and the three little pigs’ kindness in helping guide him to making peace with his emotions made me smile.

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By Susan Verde, Jay Fleck (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781419741036
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harry N. Abrams - May 5th, 2020

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award–Winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi

A comprehensive book that brings to light what some have tried to erase from our history. This is a must-read for all ages, powerfully honest and compelling from start to finish.—Shannon

This book should be required reading for everyone. Jason Reynolds is a genius: He takes a complex issue (the history and modern-day manifestations of anti-Black racism in the US) and makes it accessible for any reader. I love the emphasis on how to be actively antiracist. Also a great choice for adults daunted by the 608-page original! —Stephanie

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Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780316453691
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - March 10th, 2020

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

National Book Award winner Elizabeth Acevedo returns to verse in this meditation on the complexities of themes, including grief, betrayal, family, secrets, identity, class, and toxic masculinity. Acevedo’s characterizations (the two main characters—sisters—have very distinctive voices) are stellar. I was particularly struck by how the book highlights the way men’s choices have a profound impact on the lives of the women and girls around them.

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$18.99
ISBN: 9780062882769
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Quill Tree Books - May 5th, 2020

Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye

I loved this book! Protagonist Kai is utterly lovable, as is his love interest Bryson. What a wonderful thing: a queer coming-out love story free of trauma and full of good feelings. This sweet romance kept me happily reading from the first page to the last; chances are it’ll do the same for you.

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$17.99
ISBN: 9780593126035
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - May 19th, 2020

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

What a gem: a fully realized fantasy world with lots of contemporary relevance. Tarisai’s longing for family and connection make her an empathetic and relatable protagonist, while her strength and fortitude in standing up to corrupt power make her admirable. A great choice for fans of fantasy, stories with strong female leads, or anyone looking for a good book.

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$18.99
ISBN: 9781419739828
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Amulet Books - August 18th, 2020

A Phoenix First Must Burn: Sixteen Stories of Black Girl Magic, Resistance, and Hope Edited by Patrice Caldwell

This book is Black Girl Magic in written form! It includes sixteen #ownvoices fantasy and science fiction short stories that are as diverse as the Black experience. Established authors like Elizabeth Acevedo, Dhonielle Clayton, Justina Ireland, Rebecca Roanhorse, and Ibi Zoboi share space with up-and-coming and debut authors, creating a well-rounded collection. Magical and real, these well-spun stories run the gamut from lighthearted to intense and are a great choice for readers of any background!

 

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By Patrice Caldwell (Editor)
$18.99
ISBN: 9781984835659
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - March 10th, 2020

The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski

I was fascinated by this fantasy world where people accept the incredibly unjust caste system. Everyone says, “It is as it is,” but Nirrim starts questioning that after she falls in with the swoon-worthy, enigmatic Sid. I loved piecing together the mystery of the past with Nirrim and was shocked when the truth came to light. I’m already looking forward to the next installment! A great choice for Rutkoski fans and readers who enjoy mystery-driven fantasies with a historical feel.

 

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$18.99
ISBN: 9780374306380
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) - March 3rd, 2020

From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks

I loved watching Zoe’s transformation from someone who knows little about social justice to a person determined to help right a egregious wrong. I also appreciated how friendship was examined in this book: when Zoe catches her friend not standing up for her, she expects him not only to apologize but also to change his behavior—good modeling for all, especially girls. A great choice for fans of A Good Kind of Trouble and Lalani of the Distant Sea.

 

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From the Desk of Zoe Washington Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062875853
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - January 14th, 2020

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