Saturday, February 17, 2018

What's New? Stacking the Shelves


Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Hop on over there to ogle what other bloggers got this week.

For review:

Ella Queen of Jazz by Helen Hancocks. upgd. Frances Lincoln Children's Books/ Quarto, February, 2018. 9781847809186.

Publisher synopsis: Ella Fitzgerald sang the blues and she sang them good. Ella and her fellas were on the way up!It seems like nothing could stop her, until the biggest club in town refused to let her play... and all because of her color. But when all hope seemed lost, little did Ella imagine that a Hollywood star would step in to help.

The inspiring, true story of how a remarkable friendship between Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe was born-and how they worked together to overcome prejudice and adversity.



Blue Grass Boy: the story of Bill Monroe, father of bluegrass music by Barb Rosenstock. Illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham. 40 p. Calkins Creek/ Highlights, March 6, 2018. 9781629794396.

Publisher synopsis: Here is the story of Bill Monroe, whose deep Kentucky roots helped him to create the unique American music called bluegrass.



Everything Else in the Universe by Tracy Holczer. 253 p. G.P. Putnam's Sons, June 12, 2018. 978-399163944.

Publisher synopsis: In the midst of the Vietnam War, a young girl struggles to embrace change in this tender family story for fans of Cynthia Lord and Wendy Maas
Lucy is a practical, orderly person—just like her dad. He taught her to appreciate reason and good sense, instilling in her the same values he learned at medical school. But when he's sent to Vietnam to serve as an Army doctor, Lucy and her mother are forced to move to San Jose, California, to be near their relatives—the Rossis—people known for their superstitions and all around quirky ways. 

     Lucy can't wait for life to go back to normal, so she's over the moon when she learns her father is coming home early. It doesn't even matter that he's coming back "different." That she can't ask too many questions or use the word "amputation." It just matters that he'll be home. But Lucy quickly realizes there's something very wrong when her mother sends her to spend the summer with the Rossis to give her father some space. Lucy's beside herself, but what's a twelve-year-old to do? 

     It's a curious boy named Milo, a mysterious packet of photographs and an eye-opening mission that makes Lucy see there's more to life than schedules and plans, and helps to heal her broken family. The latest from critically-acclaimed author Tracy Holczer is a pitch-perfect middle grade tale of family and friendship that's sure to delight fans of One for the Murphys and Rules.


When Paul Met Artie: the story of Simon & Garfunkel by G. Neri. Illustrated by David Litchfield. Candlewick Press, March20, 2018. 9780763681746. 

Publisher synopsis: From childhood friendship to brief teenage stardom, from early failures to musical greatness — the incredible story of how Simon & Garfunkel became a cherished voice of their generation.

Long before they became one of the most beloved and successful duos of all time, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were just two kids growing up in Queens, New York — best friends who met in a sixth-grade production of Alice in Wonderland and bonded over girls, baseball, and rock ’n’ roll. As teens, they practiced singing into a tape recorder, building harmonies that blended their now-famous voices until they sounded just right. They wrote songs together, pursued big-time music producers, and dreamed of becoming stars, never imagining how far their music would take them. Against a backdrop of street-corner doo-wop gangs, the electrifying beginnings of rock ’n’ roll, and the rise of the counterculture folk music scene, G. Neri and David Litchfield chronicle the path that led two young boys from Queens to teenage stardom and back to obscurity, before finding their own true voices and captivating the world with their talent. Back matter includes an afterword, a discography, a bibliography, and a fascinating list of song influences.

(I am so-o happy about receiving this! I've been looking forward to this since featuring it here.)

Purchased: Nothing, so frugal!

That's what's new with me. What's new with you? Leave your link and I will definitely visit and comment. 

Graphic Novel Review: Time Shifters by Chris Grine


Time Shifters by Chris Grine. 266 p. Graphix/ Scholastic, May, 2017. 978054592657. (Review of finished ppb copy courtesy of publisher.)

This graphic novel adventure begins on a somber note with the accidental death of Luke's brother, Kyle. Months later, Luke is still grieving when his mom suggests that he get some fresh air. A flash of light in the woods behind his house makes Luke curious so he leaves his porch to check it out. He stumbles upon a hapless trio of henchmen who also happen to be dead. They've dropped a device in the snow and Luke accidentally picks it up not realizing that it is a time travel device. It becomes locked on his arm and the henchmen are about to kidnap him but he's rescued in the nick of time by a crew of time-travelers that include a robot named Abraham Lincoln, a shape-shifting dinosaur and a smart-mouthed teenaged ghost girl. They are led by the scientist who invented the device. 

Readers may suffer from a bit of whiplash trying to keep up with the random but often laugh-out-loud predicaments. The crew ends up on a wild-west-styled planet peopled with giant hungry spiders. The art is colorful and adds to the energy. Panels are easy to follow. There is thought and depth here as Kyle makes a poignant choice at the end leaving open the possibility for more adventures.


Friday, February 16, 2018

Fact Friday: 28 Days: moments in Black History that changed the world by Charles R. Smith


28 Days: moments in Black History that changed the world by Charles R. Smith. Illustrated by Shane Evans. 56 p. Roaring Brook Press, January, 2015. 9781596438200. (Own.)

This beautifully illustrated collective biography highlights 29 notable African-Americans. Most are fairly well-known, though there are a few lesser known figures. Some figures receive a double-page spread, others single-pages and one pair of astronauts share a page. There are eulogies and poems and even quotations from Supreme Court decisions to convey the importance of people and events chosen.

The illustrations are the stars here. Evans' brilliantly colored art bursts with energy and emotion. Backmatter consists of a bibliography of books for young readers who may be interested in further exploring Black History Month.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

#tbt: Romiette and Julio by Sharon Draper


Romiette and Julio by Sharon Draper. 320 p. Simon & Schuster, May, 2001. 9780756916299. (Own)

#tbt features Romiette and Julio by Sharon Draper. This retelling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliette is set in the present day Cincinnati, Ohio and was published in 2001. New student Julio catches Romi's eye after he moves to Cincinnati from Texas. The two start a romance even though Romi is African American and Julio is hispanic and there is racial tension between the two groups. Readers familiar with the Shakespeare play will get a kick out of the many parallels. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday (arc review): Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes


Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes. 224 p. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, April 17, 2018. 9780316262286.

The cover on the right is the cover on my arc. The cover on the left looks to be the finished cover. I think both covers are powerful but the red one does pack a wallop.

I'll put this out there right now - no library collection is complete if it is missing any of Ms. Rhodes' books. She is a masterful middle grade writer whose superpower is making tough subjects accessible to tender young readers. 

Twelve-year-old Jerome is the narrator of this timely yet heartbreaking tale. We meet him as he realizes he is dead and views his own dead body bleeding onto the playground dirt. A white police officer has mistaken his toy gun for a real gun and fatally shot him. 

Jerome isn't even allowed to play with guns but his new friend, Carlos gave it to him to play with. He witnesses his family's grief and his father's anger and wants to comfort them. He realizes, with a start that his grandmother is aware of his presence but unable to see him. No one can see him until he crosses paths with the daughter of his shooter. Why is it she can see him when no one he cares about can? Jerome isn't alone in this limbo, he is soon joined by another victim of a racial killing - Emmett Till.

As Jerome tries to navigate this new reality, he confronts hard truths and feels myriad emotions from sadness to anger. Through Jerome, thoughtful readers might come to reflect on their own biases as well as society's and work toward overcoming them.






Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Teen Tuesday: How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon


How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon. 352 p. Henry Holt & Company BYR, October, 2014. 9780805098693.

Our Teen Tuesday feature, How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon is un-put-downable! Fact: twelve-year-old Tariq is sho dead by a white man who witnesses him running from a store and the store owner yelling for him to stop. What the shooter doesn't know is that Tariq left the store without his change and the storeowner was calling after him to give it to him. The shooter jumped to a deadly conclusion based on Tariq's race and the fact that he was wearing a hoodie. This book explores the aftermath from multiple points-of-view and is as timely as it is important. 

Middle Grade Monday (arc review): The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson


The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson. 352 p. Scholastic Inc., March 27, 2018. 9780545946179. (Review of arc courtesy of book seller.)

Middle Grade Monday features The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson. If you loved The Westing Game or the Mr. Lemoncello books, you will love The Parker Inheritance

Twelve-year-old Candace is not happy having to move into her deceased grandmother's house after her parents' divorce. But she makes a friend in next door neighbor, Brandon, whose favorite book is The Westing Game. When she finds a cryptic note from her grandmother, the two embark on a quest to solve the puzzle of "the Parker Inheritance." This is no lighthearted lark as their research uncovers some town secrets and its painful history of racism. As readers bounce from the present day to the 1950s south and back, clues are slowly uncovered leading to a satisfying conclusions. The Parker Inheritance is due out in late March.