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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.

The Best Worst Thing

Best Worst ThingThe Best Worst Thing

By Kathleen Lane

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Family Life: Neighbors/Neighborhoods

Grades: 3rd-7th

 

[button link=”http://littlebrownlibrary.com/lb-school-podcast-kathleen-lane/”]Listen to Author Interview[/button]

Front door locked,
kitchen door locked,
living room windows closed.
Nobody in the closet,
nobody under the beds.

 

Still, Maggie is worried. Ever since she started middle school, she sees injustice and danger everywhere—on the news, in her textbooks, in her own neighborhood. Even her best friend seems to be changing.

 

Maggie believes it is up to her, and only her, to make everything all right. Can she come up with a plan to keep everyone safe?

 

The Best Worst Thing is a perceptive novel about learning the limits of what you can control, and the good—sometimes even best—things that can come of finally letting go.

 

PRAISE

★ “Though there are no tidy beginnings or endings in Maggie’s swirling first-person narrative, Lane crafts a powerful portrait of a girl wrangling with deeply relatable concerns, which will easily resonate with readers confronting a complex and uncertain world.” —Publishers Weekly

 

★ “The protagonist is able to use the strength she finds in a budding friendship to foster a positive change in her perspective of the world. Not only can this book serve as bibliotherapy for those with obsessive-compulsive disorder and high anxiety, but readers of all kinds will also find much here to ponder and discuss. VERDICT Thoughtful characterization and relatable themes make this a strong purchase.” —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

Wolfie the Bunny

wolfieWolfie the Bunny

By Ame Dyckman

Illustrated by Zachariah OHora

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Animals, Folk Tales/Fairy Tales/Classics: Humor, Family Life: Adoption/Multiple Births

Grades: PreK-1

 

[button link=”http://littlebrownlibrary.com/lb-school-podcast-ame-dyckman-zachariah-ohora/”]Listen to Author Interview[/button]

Families of all kinds will delight in this sweet tale of new babies, sibling rivalry, bravery, unconditional love…and veggies!

 

The Bunny family has adopted a wolf son, and daughter Dot is the only one who realizes Wolfie can–and might–eat them all up! Dot tries to get through to her parents, but they are too smitten to listen. A new brother takes getting used to, and when (in a twist of fate) it’s Wolfie who’s threatened, can Dot save the day?

 

PRAISE

★ “This gets all the elements of the successful picture book just right: a familiar scenario (sibling rivalry), a scary adversary, a display of courage, and a happy ending. And then there’s the art!…A crowd-pleaser for crowds big and small.” — Booklist

 

★ “Interspecies adoption puts a fresh spin on the new-baby theme…A treat of a picture book.” —The Horn Book

 

★ “More laughs come from the irresistible contrast between Dot’s sweet bunny countenance and her furious glares of rage… Wolfie proves he’s not only trustworthy but full of love.” —Kirkus Review

 

★ “The text is seamlessly integrated with the illustrations and uses various fonts to good effect. OHora’s acrylic paintings are the heart of this tale. They clearly show everyone’s feelings from fear to sadness to joy to anger to love and everything in between, and there are brilliant bits of humor and whimsy added to the mix. VERDICT: A great book for one-on-one sharing that’s also sure to be a storytime hit.” —School Library Journal

 

VIDEOS

Woundabout

WoundaboutWoundabout

By Lev Rosen

Illustrated by Ellis Rosen

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: General, Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies

Grades: 3-7

 

Read Author Interview Educator Guide

Welcome to Woundabout, where routine rules and change is feared. But transformation is in the wind….

 

In the wake of tragedy, siblings Connor and Cordelia and their pet capybara are sent to the precariously perched town of Woundabout to live with their eccentric aunt. Woundabout is a place where the mayor has declared that routine rules above all, and no one is allowed to as questions–because they should already know the answers.

 

But Connor and Cordelia can’t help their curiosity when they discover a mysterious crank that fits into certain parts of the town, and by winding the crank, places are transformed into something beautiful. When the townspeople see this transformation, they don’t see beauty–they only see change. And change, the mayor says, is something to fear. With the mayor hot on their trail, can Connor and Cordelia find a way to wind Woundabout back to life?

 

PRAISE & ACCOLADES

 

“This light mystery keeps itself on the right side of quirkiness, giving off a cozy charm.” – Booklist

 

“Lev Rosen sensitively addresses change, growth, and painful emotions like grief, while Ellis Rosen’s b&w illustrations are alternately haunting, comedic, and poignant, in keeping with the overall tone of the story.”– Publishers Weekly

 

“Original…  This is a touching story about the importance of change despite the hardships of life.” – School Library Journal

The Walled City

The Walled City

By Ryan Graudin

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subjects: Adventure: General, Social Studies: Europe/Asia/Africa, Teen Life: Gangs/Substance Abuse/Family/Relationships/Sexuality

Grade: 9-12

 

Educator Guide

 

There are three rules in the Walled City: Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife. Right now, my life depends completely on the first. Run, run, run.

 

DAI, trying to escape a haunting past, traffics drugs for the most ruthless kingpin in the Walled City. But in order to find the key to his freedom, he needs help from someone with the power to be invisible….

 

JIN hides under the radar, afraid the wild street gangs will discover her biggest secret: Jin passes as a boy to stay safe. Still, every chance she gets, she searches for her lost sister….

 

MEI YEE has been trapped in a brothel for the past two years, dreaming of getting out while watching the girls who try fail one by one. She’s about to give up, when one day she sees an unexpected face at her window….

 

In this innovative and adrenaline-fueled novel, they all come together in a desperate attempt to escape a lawless labyrinth before the clock runs out.

 

PRAISE & ACCOLADES

“Readers, rapt, will duck for cover until the very last page.”— Kirkus Reviews 

 

“Graudin is gifted at employing simile and other literary devices to describe the gritty surroundings and Hak Nam’s criminal inhabitants…The result is three stories deftly entwined into a fast-paced, striking tale….” — Publishers Weekly

 

“This dark and gritty thriller doesn’t pull any punches, taking readers into a world of fear, danger, and deprivation.”— School Library Journal

 

The Walled City grabbed me by the throat from page one. From the very first chapter to the last, my heart loved and feared for these characters. Brilliantly and beautifully written — a true triumph.” — Beth Revis, bestselling author of the Across the Universe series

 

The Walled City is dark and grim and intensely compelling. It is a book you cannot easily forget, a book you will want to read again and again.”— Ellen Oh, author of Prophecy

 

VIDEOS

Violet and Victor Write the Best-Ever Bookworm Book

Violet and Victor Write the Best-Ever Bookworm Book

By Alice Kuipers
Illustrated by Bethany Deeney Murguia

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subjects: Language Development and Reading: Storytelling, Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies

Grade: P-1

 

Educator Guide

 

Violet and Victor Small are twins on a mission: to write the best book in the whole, entire world–together! Victor is reluctant, but Violet is determined, and soon the ideas can’t come quickly enough. They begin to write a story about a hungry Bookworm who is eating all the books in the library. Thanks to Victor’s brilliant ideas, Violet is able to save the day (and the library).
This delightful story-within-a-story is filled with good-natured sibling rivalry, and focuses on the spirit of cooperation, the satisfaction of a job well-done, and the magic of storytelling.

Praise & Accolades

 

“Murguia creates extravagant visual representations of the possibilities that await readers (and writers) of stories…Entertaining, and likely to inspire readers to try putting their own stories together.” -Publishers Weekly
“Clever fare for aspiring bookworms (especially siblings).” -Kirkus

Rock On

Rock On

By Denise Vega

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subjects: Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Personal Development: Self-Discovery, Teen Life: Family

Grade: 10-17

 

Download Educator Guide

 

Ori Taylor is the lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter of the Band To Be Named Later, a garage band he started with his friends. After years of being known only as the kid brother of sports star Del, Ori is looking forward to stepping out of his older brother’s shadow, learning to perform in public, and rocking the Battle of the Bands contest. Oh, and maybe finally working up the nerve to talk to a girl in person instead of just over e-mail. But when Del suddenly returns from college, he expects Ori to step back into his role of little brother, just when Ori is starting to come into his own.With his confidence wavering, will Ori be able to overcome his stage fright and lead the band to rock glory? Will the Band To Be Named Later ever get a real name? Will their best performances remain in the garage?Denise Vega’s deft exploration of brothers, bands, friends, and crushes promises to have readers tuning in page after page, because among all the ups and downs of being a teen, one thing’s for sure: We all just want to rock on.

Praise & Accolades

“In this thoughtful tale, sibling rivalry is taken to the next level. Both Ori and Del prove to be likable characters in their own respective ways.” SLJ
“Vega has imbued her tale with well-developed characters…readers will appreciate Ori’s gently self-deprecating humor and the lively Web postings and texts woven throughout that help tell the story.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Ori’s honest voice will have readers caring about the outcome…Blog entries from the band’s Web site are interspersed, giving an amusing glimpse of the drama among the band’s budding groupies, while third-person flashbacks to Ori’s younger days take readers behind the music-and behind Ori and Del’s strained relationship.” – Publishers Weekly
“Readers will feel like they have insider information on what it is like to be in a band….This book will be enjoyed by teens who like music, poetry, or a good family story.” –VOYA
“A smart, absorbing read about music, relationship complexities, and reconciliation.” – Booklist
“Engaging and smartly paced….Vega has a way with details, creating a pattern of incidents and emotional beats that builds assuredly to the final face-offs between bands and brothers. Likable three-dimenstional characters and rock-solid friendships add considerable appeal to this feel-good tale.” – The Bulletin

The Darkest Part of the Forest

The Darkest Part of the Forest

By Holly Black

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Magic/Fantasy, Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies, Personal Development: Responsibility

Grades: 7-12

 

Listen to interview with author Watch Booklist Myth Masters webinar Educator Guide

 

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

 

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

 

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointy as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

 

Until one day, he does…

 

As the world turns upside down and a hero is needed to save them all, Hazel tries to remember her years spent pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

 

PRAISE

★ “Terrific…  Black is in fine form here.” –VOYA, starred review

 

★ “Black returns here to the dark faery realm that spurred her initial success, and if anything, she’s only gotten better, writing with an elegant, economical precision and wringing searing emotional resonance from the simplest of sentences…  [C]aptivating…” –The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review

 

“Expertly weaving fairy-tale magic into a contemporary setting, Black slowly reveals Hazel’s mysterious involvement with the fairy court and her heroic role in setting the prince free…  Black’s stark, eerie tone; propulsive pacing; and fulsome world building will certainly delight her legion of fans.” –Booklist

 

“Black blends magic with the ordinary world deftly and believably…  Her empathetic protagonists are familiar in their vulnerability but compelling in their bravery. Rich descriptions of beautiful but terrible creatures and the thorny briar circling a fairy mound draw readers in to the vividly conjured world.” – The Horn Book

 

VIDEO

Seven Wild Sisters

Seven Wild Sisters

By Charles de Lint

Genre: Juvenile Fiction

Curriculum Subject: Adventure: Magic/Fantasy
Folk Tales/Fairy Tales/Classics: Magic
Family Life: Parents/Siblings/Babies

Grades: 3-7

This captivating adventure from two masters of modern fantasy is a story of magic, family, and the power in believing in both. Sarah Jane has always wanted to meet a fairy, but she has no idea that the tiny wounded man she discovers in the Tanglewood Forest is about to ensnare her in a longtime war between rival magical clans. When her six sisters are kidnapped and split up by the opposing sides, she’ll need the help of several friends–from the reclusive Aunt Lillian to the mysterious Apple Tree Man–to bring them home. But if they don’t untangle themselves from the feud quickly, they could all be trapped in the fairy world forever. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly noted “the lyrical narrative blends a contemporary setting with a fairy tale that might have been plucked from a distinctly different time and place.”

 

Download Educator Guide

 

PRAISE

* “The lyrical narrative blends a contemporary setting with a fairy tale that might have been plucked from a distinctly different time and place.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review

 

* “Beautiful bookmaking, lovely storytelling, and wondrous illustrations….readers will be enchanted.” –Kirkus Reviews , starred review

 

* “[A] delicious companion novel.”
School Library Journal, starred review

 

“There is an elegance and thoughtfulness to both the text and accompanying illustrations that elevates the story…. Folktale and fairy tale fans who are seeking a longer adventure into which to settle will find this a perfect fit.” –The Bulletin