Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Waiting on Wednesday: Home Away from Home by Cynthia Lord

Home Away from Home by Cynthia Lord. 224 p. Scholastic Inc., April 18, 2023. 9781338726114. 

Waiting on Wednesday features Home Away from Home by Cynthia Lord. I'm a huge fan of Ms. Lord's and she's an automatic purchase for me because her books are always so gentle and thoughtful. Rules is a real favorite around here. Home Away from Home will release on April 18, 2023. Here's the publisher synopsis: From Newbery Honor Winner Cynthia Lord, a brilliant story about how to find home when everything around us is changing.

Mia and her mom visit Grandma in Maine every summer, but this year Mia is going alone. Her mom will stay behind to get their house ready to sell. It’ll be a new start, she says, after the divorce.

Mia doesn’t want a new start. She’d rather everything just stayed the same! At least things will be the same at Grandma’s, though. Mia will walk to town for ice cream, and wait by the water, watching for birds, just like always.

Then Mia meets Grandma’s know-it-all new neighbor, who’s just her age. Cayman acts like he belongs at Grandma’s house. He acts like he’s the expert on everything. And when he and Mia spot an unusual white bird of prey, he acts like it’s his job to find out what it is.

Unless, that is, Mia finds out first. And, in her effort to prove herself to him, she makes a decision that will change things for the town, for the bird, for Cayman, and even for herself. Can Mia stop what she’s put into motion?

Acclaimed author Cynthia Lord, with her trademark sensitivity, weaves her love of nature with a profound reflection on what it means to be at home in a changing world.

Teen Tuesday and Audiobook Review: A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger

Image for HC/ Levine Querido 

A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger. Unabridged e-audiobook, ~11 hours. Read by Shaun Taylor-Corbett and Kindle Hueston. Recorded Books, November, 2021. 9781705045039. (Review of e-audio borrowed from public library.)

As Indigenous Peoples Month winds down, Teen Tuesday features A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger. This immersive dual-narrative shifts point of view between sixteen-year-old Nina here on Earth and fifteen-year-old Olli who resides in the Reflecting World. The two worlds were once joined thousands of years ago. Nina's family is linked to it through her grandmother, who is a healer. Nina is intent on figuring out a story that her great, great grandmother Rosita told her and also intent on saving her grandmother from a man who may be poisoning her land. Olli is a cotton mouth snake person who reluctantly leaves his mother's home to make his own way in the world. Eventually, he settles down close to two coyote sisters and a frog named Ami and the four become friends. When Ami falls ill, it is up to Olli and the sisters to save him. That's when the two stories converge.

The narrators' performances were  well-paced and beautifully inflected. As always, I appreciate hearing the proper pronunciation of unfamiliar names and words.  

This genre-blender won the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy, a Newbery Honor and was longlisted for the National Book Award. It also appeared on many Best Books of the Year lists including the Chicago Public Library and the New York Public Library. Readers looking for a layered, nuanced adventure will enjoy A Snake Falls to Earth.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Middle Grade Monday: Jessi's Secret Language adapted by Chan Chau

Image: Scholastic

Jessi's Secret Language adapted by Chan Chau. Babysitters Club Graphic Novel series #12. 144 p. Graphix/ Scholastic, September, 2022. 9781338616088. (Review of finished purchased copy.)

Happy Monday! I hope your Thanksgiving break was exactly what you wanted it to be. Middle Grade Monday features Jessi's Secret Language. This Babysitters Club graphic novel was adapted Chan Chau and is the twelfth novel in Ann M. Martin's iconic Babysitter's Club series to be adapted by Graphix.

Jessi is the newest member of the babysitters club. She's also a dedicated ballet dancer and the only African American student at school. When she agrees to babysit Matt and his sister, Jessi needs a bit of special training. Matt was born deaf and communicates through sign language and his mom wants to introduce Jessi to it. As Jessi learns how to sign, she gets an idea for a surprise for Matt and his friends at the school for the deaf he attends.

This series is quite popular at my school. I'm sure this installment won't spend too much time on the shelf.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Waiting on Wednesday: Nick & Charlie by Alice Oseman

Nick & Charlie by Alice Oseman. 176 p. Heartstopper series. Graphix/ Scholastic Inc., January 3, 2023. 9781338885101.


Waiting on Wednesday features Nick & Charlie by Alice Oseman. The Heartstopper series is quite popular at my school, so I'm sure this news will thrill my students!

Publisher synopsis: Absence makes the heart grow fonder... right?

Everyone knows that Nick and Charlie love their nearly inseparable life together. But soon Nick will be leaving for university, and Charlie, a year younger, will be left behind. Everyone's asking if they're staying together, which is a stupid question... or at least that's what Nick and Charlie assume at first.

As the time to say goodbye gets inevitably closer, both Nick and Charlie start to question whether their love is strong enough to survive being apart. Charlie is sure he's holding Nick back... and Nick can't tell what Charlie's thinking.

Things spiral from there.

Everyone knows that first loves rarely last forever. What will it take for Nick and Charlie to defy the odds?

Monday, November 21, 2022

Teen Tuesday: The Heartstopper Yearbook by Alice Oseman

The Heartstopper Yearbook by Alice Oseman. 154 p. Graphix/ Scholastic Inc., October, 2022. 9781338853896. (Review of finished copy borrowed from public library.)

Teen Tuesday features The Heartstopper Yearbook by Alice Oseman. I wasn't sure what to expect when I learned this was due out, but knew I had to get it for my library because the series is in demand in my library. It's a bit of a memoir of the journey Ms. Oseman took while creating Nick and Charlie's story from the earliest sketches to its eventual Netflix series. There are profiles of most of the characters that include their preferred pronouns and favorite song. There's also a quiz where you can discover if you are a Nick or a Charlie. Once my order comes in, I don't expect The Heartstopper Yearbook will spend much time on the shelf.

Happy reading!

Middle Grade Monday: A Rover's Story by Jasmine Warga


A Rover's Story by Jasmine Warga. 308 p. Balzar + Bray/ HarperCollins Publishers, October, 2022. 9780063113929. (Review of finished purchased copy.)

Middle Grade Monday features A Rover's Story by Jasmine Warga. This story is told from two points of view. Resilient, aka Res, is a rover that comes to consciousness in a NASA laboratory. It is his first-person narration that comprises the bulk of the narrative. Interspersed throughout, are letters written to Res from Sophie, the daughter of one of the scientists responsible for Res' programming. Sophie misses her mom because she works very long hours preparing Res to be launched into space and eventually explore Mars.

Even though Rovers are programmed to be precise and logical, Res develops a growing awareness of feelings, particularly toward Xander and Raina, the two primary scientists, who talk to Res and play music for him. Res' voice is at turns child-like, poignant and hilarious. Short chapters in the form of journal entries keep the story moving even though it takes place over seventeen years. Hey! It takes a long time to get to Mars! Once Res lands on Mars, with Fly, his trusty drone, they deal with Guardian, an imperious and logical satillite and the rough terrain and terrible dust storms on Mars as they collect specimens and search for a missing rover.

This book is my absolute favorite book of 2022. It's tender, engaging, hilarious and I never wanted it to end.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

#tbt: The Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda

The Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda. 292 p. Ash Mistry Chronicles #1. Arthur A. Levine Books/ Scholastic Inc., October, 2012. 9780545385169. (Own)

#tbt features The Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda. This is book one of a trilogy called the Ash Mistry Chronicles and was published in 2012. Ash Mistry is spending the summer in India with his archeologist uncle and he'd much rather be at home in London playing video games with his mates. His uncle is conducting a dig for Lord Savage, who will pay a million dollars to find a mysterious relic. When Ash picks up a golden arrowhead and gets a splinter, he becomes able to channel the power of Kali. This fast-paced, plot-driven adventure is perfect for fans of mythology-based fantasy like Percy Jackson.