Saturday, May 30, 2020

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:
Image: Candlewick Press
Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford. Illustrated by Michele Wood.  Unpgd. Candlewick Press, April, 2020. 9780763691561.

Publisher synopsis: 
What have I to fear?
My master broke every promise to me.
I lost my beloved wife and our dear children.
All, sold South. Neither my time nor my body is mine.
The breath of life is all I have to lose.
And bondage is suffocating me.

Henry Brown wrote that long before he came to be known as Box, he “entered the world a slave.” He was put to work as a child and passed down from one generation to the next — as property. When he was an adult, his wife and children were sold away from him out of spite. Henry Brown watched as his family left bound in chains, headed to the deeper South. What more could be taken from him? But then hope — and help — came in the form of the Underground Railroad. Escape!

In stanzas of six lines each, each line representing one side of a box, celebrated poet Carole Boston Weatherford powerfully narrates Henry Brown’s story of how he came to send himself in a box from slavery to freedom. Strikingly illustrated in rich hues and patterns by artist Michele Wood, Box is augmented with historical records and an introductory excerpt from Henry’s own writing as well as a time line, notes from the author and illustrator, and a bibliography.
In a moving, lyrical tale about the cost and fragility of freedom, a New York Times best-selling author and an acclaimed artist follow the life of a man who courageously shipped himself out of slavery.

Image: Candlewick Press
The Boy Who Dreamed of Infinity by Amy Alznauer. Illustrated by Daniel Myares. unpgd. Candlewick Press, April, 2020. 9780763690489.

Publisher synopsis: A mango . . . is just one thing. But if I chop it in two, then chop the half in two, and keep on chopping, I get more and more bits, on and on, endlessly, to an infinity I could never ever reach.

In 1887 in India, a boy named Ramanujan is born with a passion for numbers. He sees numbers in the squares of light pricking his thatched roof and in the beasts dancing on the temple tower. He writes mathematics with his finger in the sand, across the pages of his notebooks, and with chalk on the temple floor. “What is small?” he wonders. “What is big?” Head in the clouds, Ramanujan struggles in school — but his mother knows that her son and his ideas have a purpose. As he grows up, Ramanujan reinvents much of modern mathematics, but where in the world could he find someone to understand what he has conceived?

Author Amy Alznauer gently introduces young readers to math concepts while Daniel Miyares’s illustrations bring the wonder of Ramanujan’s world to life in the inspiring real-life story of a boy who changed mathematics and science forever. Back matter includes a bibliography and an author’s note recounting more of Ramanujan’s life and accomplishments, as well as the author’s father’s remarkable discovery of Ramanujan’s Lost Notebook.
A young mathematical genius from India searches for the secrets hidden inside numbers — and for someone who understands him — in this gorgeous picture-book biography.

I am really looking forward to reading these in the hopes of adding them to my Sixth Grade Picture Book Biography unit.

Purchased: My signed finished copy of Every Missing Piece arrived! I would've loved to have attended the launch for this one at Words in Maplewood, but alas. I reviewed an arc of this lovely book here.

If you leave a comment, leave the link to your stack. I will pop by and to check out your stack!

Friday, May 29, 2020

Fact Friday: You're Invited to a Moth Ball: a nighttime insect celebration by Loree Griffin Burns

Image: Charlesbridge
You're Invited to a Moth Ball: a nighttime insect celebration by Loree Griffin Burns. Photographed by Ellen Harasimowicz.  unpgd. Charlesbridge, April, 2020. 9781580896863. (Review of finished copy courtesy of publisher.)

Fact Friday features You're Invited to a Moth Ball: a nighttime insect celebration by Loree Griffin Burns. Who doesn't love receiving an invitation? This STEM title, while perfect anytime, is particularly apt during this time of quarantine. Most of the ingredients should be available in suburban and rural homes. 

Conversational text and spectacular photos walk the reader through all the preparations necessary for hosting a successful moth ball. It isn't only light that attracts moths. Some are less attracted to light but prefer nectar. Who knew? The photos portray six children working together to read and research, mixing bait, setting up their nighttime lab and enjoying the many moths their efforts attracted. 

Informative back matter includes more facts about moths, supplies, an author's note and most fascinating, a photographer's note, where readers learn how Ms. Harasimowicz took the amazing photos at night. A glossary and books and websites for further reading conclude the volume. 

This attractive volume belongs in all kinds of libraries and will inspire young citizen scientists. 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Arc Review: What Lane? by Torrey Maldonado

Image: Penguin Random House
What Lane? by Torrey Maldonado. 138 p. Nancy Paulson Books/ Penguin Random House, May 5, 2020. 9780525518433. (Review of arc courtesy of publisher.)

Sixth grader Stephen's friendship with his best bud, Dan is changing. Ever since Dan's cousin, Chad, moved to the neighborhood, Chad has done nothing but challenge and contradict Stephen. He has even gone so far to say that "They shoulda kept Spider-Man white." Stephen is biracial and Dan is white. Now Chad's casual racism and constant micro-aggressions are getting under Stephen's skin. He and his dad are close and have lots of heart-to-heart conversations about race, racism, and the Black Lives Matter movement. As Chad escalates his dares to do things such as trespassing or riding the top of a subway car, Stephen realizes that he will not be treated the same as his white friends if they are caught. 

Mr. Maldonado, a teacher born and raised in Brooklyn, vividly portrays the uncertainty of a young, bright boy navigating race in an unfair society. I love everything about this book from its cover through its short, tightly written chapters. I love the tween boy dynamics and that Stephen's parents were so in tuned-in and involved. The author lays out the issues, including white ally-ship in a thoughtful accessible way for tween readers and some clueless adults who may need to understand their white privilege. 

What Lane? belongs in all library collections.

#tbt: To Dance by Siena Gershon Siegal

Image: Simon & Schuster
To Dance: a ballerina's graphic memoir by Siena Cherson Siegal. Illustrated by Mark Siegal. 88 p. Atheneum Books for Young Readers/ Simon & Schuster, October, 2006. 9781416926870 (Own)

#tbt features To Dance: a ballerina's graphic memoir by Siena Cherson Siegal. Illustrated by Mark Siegal. To Dance is the author's memoir of her journey from six-year-old girl dancing on the beach in Puerto Rico through her acceptance to the School of American Ballet to her debut with the New York City Ballet. It was published in October of 2006 and was named to many "Best" lists, such as ALA Notables. It also won a Sibert Honor. You don't need to love or study ballet to enjoy this memoir. It is the story of dedication to an art and is beautifully illustrated by the author's husband.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Waiting on Wednesday: Tower of Nero by Rick Riordan

Photo: Disney
The Tower of Nero by Rick Riordan. 448 p. The Trials of Apollo # 5. Disney Books, October 6, 2020.

Publisher synopsis: At last, the breathtaking, action-packed finale of the #1 bestselling Trials of Apollo series is here! Will the Greek god Apollo, cast down to earth in the pathetic moral form of a teenager named Lester Papadopoulos, finally regain his place on Mount Olympus? Lester’s demigod friends at Camp Jupiter just helped him survive attacks from bloodthirsty ghouls, an evil Roman king and his army of the undead, and the lethal emperors Caligula and Commodus. Now the former god and his demigod master Meg must follow a prophecy uncovered by Ella the harpy. Lester’s final challenge will be at the Tower of Nero, back in New York. Will Meg have a last showdown with her father? Will this helpless form of Apollo have to face his arch nemesis, Python? Who will be on hand at Camp Half-Blood to assist? These questions and more will be answered in this book that all demigods are eagerly awaiting.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Teen Tuesday and Audiobook Review: The Patron Saint of Nothing by Randy Ribay

Image: Penguin Random House
The Patron Saint of Nothing by Randy Ribay. Unabridged e-audiobook, ~ 8 hours. Read by Ramón de Ocampo. Listening Library, 2019. (Review of e-audiobook downloaded from public library.)

Teen Tuesday features Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay. Jay Reguero is a bit at sea. He is a high school senior in Michigan and has been accepted to University of Michigan, but none of his preferred schools. He's not sure what he wants to study. Then he receives news that his cousin, Jun, died in the Philippines. HIs Filipino father is his usual terse self when Jay asked what happened. His white mother explains later that Jun was using drugs and was murdered because President Duterte's answer to the drug problem in the Philippines is to kill users and dealers without remorse. This wasn't the Jun that Jay came to admire when the family visited some years earlier. They felt like brothers and communicated via letters for years until Jay abruptly stopped writing. Now Jay wants to extend his spring break to travel to Manila to find out the truth. 

Part mystery, part coming-of-age story and totally intriguing, mature teen readers will explore what it means to belong to a culture, and learn about the brutal policies of a President with zero tolerance for drug use and citizens who speak out against his policies. Patron Saints of Nothing was a National Book Award Finalist. 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Middle Grade Monday and Audiobook Review: Home for Goddesses and Dogs by Lesley Connor

Image: HarperCollins Publishers
A Home for Goddesses and Dogs by Lesley Connor. Unabridged e-audiobook, ~8 hours. Read by Patricia Santomasso. HarperAudio, February, 2020/ 9780062971449. (Review of e-audiobook borrowed from public library.)

Middle Grade Monday features A Home for Goddesses and Dogs by Leslie Connor. Thirteen-year-old Lydia and her mother were very close. So close that her mother homeschooled Lydia in order to maximize the time they spent together before she died of a progressive heart condition. Arrangements had been made for Lydia to live with her Aunt Brat and her wife Eileen. The two live on a farm in rural Connecticut with Elleroy, their landlord. Lydia is grateful that this aunt, her "last of kin," is willing to take her in and resolves to be helpful and accommodating. When Aunt Brat and Eileen adopt a difficult dog a week after Lydia's arrival, Lydia can't help but wonder whether the two have a habit of rescuing lost things. Lydia's not a dog person and Guffer is a difficult dog to love. He runs off into the woods and has accidents in the house. She also needs to attend school for the first time in ages and make friends.

As with all of Ms. Connor's books, the pace is leisurely and the focus is on the characters. Each character is interesting and fully realized. Lydia is wise beyond her years, introspective and so kind and open. While animal abuse is a painful topic, I appreciated the detailed description of recovery and healing and how complicated it is. Lydia's road to recovery and healing was not without complications either. New-to-me narrator, Patricia Santomasso's performance was engaging and her pacing reflected the pace of the narrative. Readers looking for a sad book with a resilient narrator will love A Home for Goddesses and Dogs.