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Little & Lion

Little & Lion cover

Little & Lion

By Brandy Colbert

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Mental Illness; LGBT; Alternative Family; Siblings; Girls & Women; Prejudice & Racism

Grades: 10 & up

 

When Suzette returns to Los Angeles from the boarding school where she was forced to spend the past semester, she’s uncertain of whether she wants to return to Massachusetts or stay in California. CA is where her friends and family are (as well as her crush, Emil); and her step-brother Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support. When Suzette and Lionel begin to fall in love with the same girl, however, Lionel’s disorder takes a turn for the worse and spirals out of control, forcing Suzette to confront her own demons. Having betrayed a secret girlfriend in her boarding school, allowing her to take the brunt of homophobic bullying, Suzette must face her own past mistakes, come to terms with her bisexuality, and find a way to help her brother, before he hurts himself–or worse.

When The Sea Turned to Silver

When the Sea Turned to Silver coverWhen the Sea Turned to Silver

By Grace Lin

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Magic/Fantasy, Folk Tales/Fairy Tales/Classics: Heroes/Heroines, Family Life: Grandparents and Extended Family

Grades: 3-7

 

Listen to Author Interview Activities Readers Theatre Educator Guide

Pinmei’s gentle, loving grandmother always has the most exciting tales for her granddaughter and the other villagers. However, the peace is shattered one night when soldiers of the Emperor arrive and kidnap the storyteller.

 

Everyone knows that the Emperor wants something called the Luminous Stone That Lights the Night. Determined to have her grandmother returned, Pinmei embarks on a journey to find the Luminous Stone alongside her friend Yishan, a mysterious boy who seems to have his own secrets to hide. Together, the two must face obstacles usually found only in legends to find the Luminous Stone and save Pinmei’s grandmother–before it’s too late.

 

A fast-paced adventure that is extraordinarily written and beautifully illustrated, When the Sea Turned to Silver is a masterpiece companion novel to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky.

 

PRAISE

A 2016 National Book Award Finalist

 

★ “Lin’s evocative language sweeps readers away, and the stories within the story are juicy and delicious.” —Booklist

 

★ “Lin’s stonecutter claims that storytellers ‘can make time disappear… bring us to places we have never dreamed of…feel sorrow and joy and peace’; the description is a fitting one for author-illustrator Lin herself, who has proven herself a master.” —The Horn Book

 

★ “The meticulous craft delivers what Lin’s fans have come to expect… This beautifully told companion to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and Starry River of the Sky offers lyrical storytelling, bringing ‘us to places we have never dreamed of.'” —Kirkus

 

★ “Lin’s fans will not be disappointed: she again delivers a rich interweaving of ancient tales with fast-paced adventure, fantasy, and slowly unfolding mysteries told through captivating language with beguiling similes.” —Publishers Weekly

 

★ “A stunning addition to a deservedly beloved set of novels; recommended for all middle grade collections.” —School Library Journal

 

VIDEO

Towers Falling

Towers FallingTowers Falling

By Jewell Parker Rhodes

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Personal Development: Diversity, Social Studies: America, Social Studies: Patriotism, Personal Development: Loss

Grades: 3 & up

 

Educator Guide

When her fifth-grade teacher hints that a series of lessons about home and community will culminate with one big answer about two tall towers once visible outside their classroom window, Deja can’t help but feel confused. She sets off on a journey of discovery, with new friends Ben and Sabeen by her side. But just as she gets closer to answering big questions about who she is, what America means, and how communities can grow (and heal), she uncovers new questions, too. Like, why does Pop get so angry when she brings up anything about the towers?

 

Award-winning author Jewell Parker Rhodes tells a powerful story about young people who weren’t alive to witness this defining moment in history, but begin to realize how much it colors their every day.

 

 

PRAISE

“History made personal—and what a person! Deja’s voice is real and memorable, her compelling story one of hope unmarred by sentimentality.” —Newbery Medalist Linda Sue Park

 

“Once again, Jewell Parker Rhodes uses the power of story to help young people make sense of their world, even among the most confusing of circumstances. Towers Falling is a great book for pairing with history/social studies, and a great book to help young readers untangle the knots of growing up in America. Jewell’s powerful fiction is almost magical.” —James Blasingame, Associate Professor of English, Arizona Sate University

 

“Extraordinary…  Every teacher of elementary and middle schoolers should read the book as they prepare to discuss the events of 9/11/01 with their students who have no memories of those events. It is a book that they will want to share with their students and that parents will want to share with their children. But Towers Falling is not only the story of Deja’s confusion about the towers that once stood in NYC. It is also a rich story of a family living in poverty and the importance of family. It is a story of friendships that cross cultural and racial boundaries. And it is a story of a classroom of students taught by a teacher who wants them to better understand community.” —Ann Neely, Associate Professor of the Practice of Education, Vanderbilt University

 

“In connecting a nation-changing event to the lives of today’s middle-graders, Rhodes makes a valuable contribution to the 9/11 canon.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

 

“This tender retelling of tragedy is a solid vessel to help young readers understand the gravity of 9/11 and how it touches all Americans, no matter where we come from.” —Kirkus Reviews

 

“Rhodes approaches a complex, painful topic with insight and grace, providing context to an event distant to the book’s audience.” —Publishers Weekly

 

“A welcome contribution to children’s literature.” —School Library Journal

 

“Rhodes has a talent for teaching kids to care about major events…her emphasis on critical thinking would make Towers Falling at home on a Common Core curriculum…Rhodes has created a curious, resilient character whose journey can help other children process the horrible events that shape the world into which they are born.” —TIME

 

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

NPR’s Here & Now Interview

The Horn Book‘s Talks with Roger Interview

OverDrive’s Professional Book Nerds Podcast Interview

• The Nerdy Bookcast Launch Special: Books Help Teach Us How to Live, Part 1-3 

• TeachingBook.net Meet the Author

 

 

VIDEO

Cloudwish

Cloudwish coverCloudwish

By Fiona Wood

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Teen Life: Personal Development, Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Personal Development: Self-Discovery, Teen Life: Relationships/Sexuality

Grades: 7 & up

 

For Vân Uoc, fantasies fall into two categories: nourishing or pointless. Daydreaming about attending her own art opening? Nourishing. Daydreaming about Billy Gardiner, star of the rowing team who doesn’t even know she’s alive? Pointless.

 

So Vân Uoc tries to stick to her reality-keeping a low profile as a scholarship student at her prestigious Melbourne private school, managing her mother’s PTSD from a traumatic emigration from Vietnam, and admiring Billy from afar. Until she makes a wish that inexplicably (possibly magically) comes true. Billy actually notices her. In fact, he seems to genuinely like her. But as they try to fit each other into their very different lives, confounding parents and confusing friends, Vân Uoc can’t help but wonder why Billy has suddenly fallen for her. Is it the magic of first love, or is it magic from a well-timed wish that will eventually, inevitably, come to an end?

 

PRAISE

“Offers insight into conflicts emerging from the clash of old and new values, the traumas refugees face, and the struggles of the children of first-generation immigrants. It’s an inspiring story with a sympathetic heroine, who will especially appeal to those who feel pressured to follow paths they don’t want to travel.” —Publishers Weekly

 

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

ŸLB School Podcast with author Fiona Wood

Bookish Friends Podcast about Cloudwish

Radio National interview

Sydney Morning Herald interview

Alpha Reader interview

Radiant Child

Radiant Child coverRadiant Child

The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

By Javaka Steptoe

Genre: Juvenile Non-Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Social Studies: African American Heritage, Social Studies: Biographies, Personal Development: Self-Discovery, Guidance/Health: Emotions

Grades: Pre-K-3rd

 

Educator Guide

Jean-Michael Basquiat and his unique, collage-style paintings rocked to fame in the 1980s as a cultural phenomenon unlike anything the art work had ever seen. But before that, he was a little boy who saw art everywhere: in poetry books and museums, in games and in the words that we speak, and in the pulsing energy of New York City. Now, award-winning illustrator Javaka Steptoe’s vivid text and bold artwork echoing Basquiat’s own introduce young readers to the powerful message and art doesn’t always have to be neat or clean–and definitely not inside the lines–to be beautiful.

 

 

PRAISE & ACCOLADES

Winner of the 2017 Randolph Caldecott Medal

Winner of the 2017 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award

 

★ “Javaka Steptoe is the perfect person to create this book: a tour de force that will introduce an important artist to a new generation.” —The Horn Book

 

★ “Vibrant colors and personal symbols channel the ‘sloppy, ugly, and sometimes weird, but somehow still BEAUTIFUL’ paintings, incorporating meticulously attributed collage elements and capturing the artist’s energy and mystery. Stellar bookmaking—a riveting portrait of a young artist.” —Kirkus

 

★ “Visually arresting and vibrantly narrated.” —Publishers Weekly

 

★ “One extraordinary artist illuminates another in this textured, heartfelt picture book biography of the 1980s cultural phenom. Employing signature features of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work—vibrant colors, found objects, repeated motifs—Steptoe allows his own emotionally rich style to shine through the artistic and biographical references dotting the illustrations…. Pairing simple text with expressive, encompassing illustrations, this excellent title offers a new generation a fittingly powerful introduction to an artistic luminary.” —School Library Journal

 

“It takes an artist to display another artist. Had Basquiat chosen to create his own picture book autobiography, I don’t think he could have done a better job that what Radiant Child has accomplished here. Timely. Telling. Overdue.” —A Fuse #8 Production, an SLJ blog

 

VIDEOS

 

Live Illustration: Javaka Steptoe

"Radiant Child," a biography for children about the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, just won the prestigious 2017 Caldecott Medal. The books author/illustrator, Javaka Steptoe, joins us to demonstrate his art and talk about Basquiat. Ask him questions in the comments, and Maria Russo will ask some too.

Posted by The New York Times Books on Tuesday, February 7, 2017

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

• School Library Journal‘s Author Interview

 TeachingBooks.net Meet the Author

• The Yarn Podcast

Nothing Up My Sleeve

Nothing Up My Sleeve coverNothing Up My Sleeve

By Diana Lopez

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Family: Alternative Family; Fantasy & Magic; Social Issues:Friendship

Grades: 3rd-7th

 

<a class=”lb-school-library-button” href=”https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/PR4783_NothingUpMySleeve_EG_Final.pdf” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Educator Guide</a>

Sixth graders Dominic, Loop, and Z stumble upon a new magic shop in town and can’t wait to spend their summer mastering cool tricks to gain access to the Vault, a key holders-only back room bound to hold all kinds of secrets. And once they get in, they set their sights even higher: a huge competition at the end of the summer. They work on their card tricks, sleights, and vanishing acts, trying to come up with the most awesome routines possible….Problem is, the trip is expensive, and it’s money that each guy’s family just doesn’t have.

 

To make things worse, the shop-owners’ daughter, Ariel (who just so happens to be last year’s competition winner), will do anything to make sure the boys don’t come out on top. Even pit them against one another. Will they make it to the competition? And if so, at what cost?

 

PRAISE

“The friends’ obstacles are realistic and the finale is satisfying. A clever reveal highlights this appealing, Latino cast.” —Kirkus

 

“An upbeat coming-of-age story. The boys’ easygoing banter is true to life, and details about their shared Latino background give the novel a strong sense of culture and place.” —Publishers Weekly

 

“Intriguing magic and authentic perspectives make this a strong addition for
middle grade collections.” —School Library Journal

The Sound of Silence

Sound of Silence cover The Sound of Silence

By Katrina Goldsaito

Illustrated by Julia Kuo

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Family Life: Daily Life and Play, Social Studies: Europe/Asia/Africa

Grades: Pre-K-3rd

 

Visit Website Listen to Soundscapes LB School Podcast

“Do you have a favorite sound?” little Yoshio asks.

 

The musician answers, “The most beautiful sound is the sound of ma, of silence.”

 

But Yoshio lives in Tokyo, Japan: a giant, noisy, busy city. He hears shoes squishing through puddles, trains whooshing, cars beeping, and families laughing. Tokyo is like a symphony hall!

 

Where is silence?

 

Join Yoshio on his journey through the hustle and bustle of the city to find the most beautiful sound of all.

 

PRAISE

★ “Like a Zen koan, this story draws readers’ attention to silence, that vanishingly rare attribute of modern family life…  Every detail of this book brings Japan vividly to life, from popular storefronts and cartoon characters to commuters wearing surgical masks and children removing their outside shoes at school. Japanese is rich in onomatopoeic sounds, and Goldsaito and Kuo convey this linguistic quirk to English readers both visually and verbally. The elegantly expressive text and illustrations together create an immersive sensory experience for readers. An inviting tale that will stretch inquisitive and observant young minds—and may even lead children to a greater appreciation of that golden commodity, silence.” —Kirkus

 

★ “The language in this picture book evokes the cacophony of sounds a person hears throughout daily life and the beautifully drawn images show where these sounds come from.” —School Library Connection

 

★ “This book will be especially welcome in settings that teach yoga or mindfulness, but its message and striking art will be appreciated anywhere the din of daily life can overwhelm.” —School Library Journal

 

VIDEO

 

City Shapes

city shapesCity Shapes

By Diana Murray

Illustrated by Bryan Collier

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Family Life: Daily Life and Play, Language Development and Reading: Concepts, Family Life: Neighbors/Neighborhoods

Grades: Pre-K-3rd

 

[button link=”https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/PR4665_CityShapes_EG_Final.pdf”]Educator Guide[/button][button link=”https://www.facebook.com/notes/little-brown-school/sidewalk-trails-by-diana-murray/10153568239181669″]Author Essay[/button]

From shimmering skyscrapers to fluttering kites to twinkling stars high in the sky, everyday scenes become extraordinary as a young girl walks through her neighborhood noticing exciting new shapes at every turn. Far more than a simple concept book, City Shapes is an explosion of life. Diana Murray’s richly crafted yet playful verse encourages readers to discover shapes in the most surprising places, and Bryan Collier’s dynamic collages add even more layers to each scene in this ode to city living.

 

PRAISE

★ “Rhyming text and brilliant multimedia collage combine to follow a girl’s journey through her beloved city. Part concept book, part love letter to urban beauty, Murray and Collier’s collaboration highlights an African-American girl’s observations about the many shapes she sees in and around her city…  Collier fills every page, allowing art to take up entire double-page spreads, and his distinctive collage technique is particularly well-suited to highlighting the shapes named by the text. He also pushes well beyond merely visually reiterating the items the text lists, and the result is a seamless interdependence of art and text that will allow readers to find the named items while also providing ample visual interest to reward poring over the illustrations. A visual feast of cityscape shapes. ” —Kirkus

 

★ “Readers are encouraged to view the city as a kaleidoscope of shape and color in this rhyming tour provided by a young girl on the sidewalk and a pigeon soaring above…  Youngsters will eagerly identify squares, rectangles, triangles, circles, ovals, diamonds, and stars in the busy spreads as well as complete each rhyme to reveal the targeted shape…  Children will enjoy studying the illustrations to identify the various shapes as well as the scattered collage photos of greenery, people, buildings, and cars.” —School Library Journal

Thunder Boy Jr.

TBJThunder Boy Jr.

By Sherman Alexie

Illustrated by Yuyi Morales

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Personal Development: Character Development, Personal Development: Friendship, Personal Development: Self-Discovery

Grades: Pre-K-3rd

 

Thunder Boy Jr. is named after his dad, but he wants a name that’s all his own. Just because people call his dad Big Thunder doesn’t mean he wants to be Little Thunder. He wants a name that celebrates something cool he’s done, like Touch the Clouds, Not Afraid of Ten Thousand Teeth, or Full of Wonder.

 

But just when Thunder Boy Jr. thinks all hope is lost, he and his dad pick the perfect name…a name that is sure to light up the sky.

 

National Book Award-winner Sherman Alexie’s lyrical text and Caldecott Honor-winner Yuyi Morales’s striking and beautiful illustrations celebrate the special relationship between father and son.

 

PRAISE & ACCOLADES

2016 Boston GlobeHorn Book Picture Book Honor Book

 

★ “While the effervescent illustrations and boisterous tone are dynamite on their own, Alexie and Morales’ story offers a breezy, matter-of-fact introduction to a tradition—replacing a child’s name—that will likely be new to many readers. Even if little ones don’t pick up on the cultural significance, they’ll be entranced by the brilliant illustrations and Thunder Boy’s rollicking determination to branch out on his own.” — Booklist

 

★ “Alexie demonstrates his familiar gift for storytelling, using seemingly uncomplicated language to tell a layered and emotional story that retains tension despite being full of love…  Plenty of kids will recognize the shared-name dilemma, and even those free of the anxiety of name influence will recognize Lightning’s jubilance at being recognized and understood by his father.”— The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

 

★ “It is Dad who comes up with just the right name, rather a diversion from the book’s theme of self-definition but unmistakable in its acknowledgment of the bond between father and son. Despite the dad-pleasing message, the book is too funny and real to veer into parental self-congratulation, and Morales’s illustrations (made from “the remains of an antique house”—you’ll have to read the note) give great life and specificity to Thunder Boy’s Lightning’s family.” — The Horn Book

 

★ “An expertly crafted, soulful, and humorous work that tenderly explores identity, culture, and the bond between father and son.” — Kirkus

 

★ “Alexie’s first picture book showcases his ear for dialogue and sideways sense of humor, and Morales uses voice balloons and other comics elements to complement the characters’ dynamic poses. Thunder Boy’s energy is irresistible, as is this expansive portrait of a Native American family.” — Publishers Weekly

 

★ “An enchanting and humorous picture book about a little boy frustrated with his name…  This has all of the qualities of a classic story like Goodnight Moon and is destined to be a modern classic, with youngsters wanting repeated readings.” — School Library Journal

 

VIDEOS

Dreamland Burning

dreamlandDreamland Burning

By Jennifer Latham

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Mystery & Detective Stories; Social Issues: Prejudice & Racism; Historical Fiction

Grades: 7 & up

 

[button link=”http://littlebrownlibrary.com/lb-school-podcast-jennifer-latham/”]LB School Podcast[/button][button link=”http://littlebrownlibrary.com/jennifer-latham-on-dreamland-burning/”]Author Essay[/button]

When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family’s property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the past… and the present.

 

Nearly one hundred years earlier, a misguided violent encounter propels seventeen-year-old Will Tillman into a racial firestorm. In a country rife with violence against blacks and a hometown segregated by Jim Crow, Will must make hard choices on a painful journey towards self discovery and face his inner demons in order to do what’s right the night Tulsa burns.

 

Through intricately interwoven alternating perspectives, Jennifer Latham’s lightning-paced page-turner brings the Tulsa race riot of 1921 to blazing life and raises important question about the complex state of US race relations – both yesterday and today.

 

PRAISE

★ ”This timely story gives readers an unflinching look at the problem of racism, both past and present, while simultaneously offering the hope of overcoming that hatred.” –Booklist

 

★ ”Latham presents a fast-paced historical novel brimming with unsparing detail and unshakeable truths about a shameful chapter in American history. For more than 50 years, Tulsa’s schoolchildren didn’t learn about the race riot, and many outside of Tulsa remain unaware today. This masterfully told story fills this void. An unflinching, superbly written story about family, friendship, and integrity, set during one of America’s deadliest race riots.” –Kirkus Review

★ ” Latham’s enthralling, expertly paced plot will keep readers engaged, and the detailed imagery creates a strong sense of place in both time periods… Mystery fans will enjoy this cleverly plotted, suspenseful work, while the broader social issues will draw a wide audience.” –School Library Journal