Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Hop on over there to ogle what other bloggers got this week.
Big book week this week. I think my summer reading is set.
So I went to SLJ Day of Dialog on Wednesday. I talked about the day here. This is what I brought home:
|Image: G.P. Putnam's Sons|
Publisher synopsis: Two friends. One fake dating scheme. What could possibly go wrong?
Frank Li has two names. There’s Frank Li, his American name. Then there’s Sung-Min Li, his Korean name. No one uses his Korean name, not even his parents. Frank barely speaks any Korean. He was born and raised in Southern California.
Even so, his parents still expect him to end up with a nice Korean girl–which is a problem, since Frank is finally dating the girl of his dreams: Brit Means. Brit, who is funny and nerdy just like him. Brit, who makes him laugh like no one else. Brit . . . who is white.
As Frank falls in love for the very first time, he’s forced to confront the fact that while his parents sacrificed everything to raise him in the land of opportunity, their traditional expectations don’t leave a lot of room for him to be a regular American teen. Desperate to be with Brit without his parents finding out, Frank turns to family friend Joy Song, who is in a similar bind. Together, they come up with a plan to help each other and keep their parents off their backs. Frank thinks he’s found the solution to all his problems, but when life throws him a curveball, he’s left wondering whether he ever really knew anything about love—or himself—at all.
|Image: Delacorte Press|
Who Put This Song On? by Morgan Parker. 336 p. Delacorte Press/ Random House Children's Books, September 24, 2019. 9780525707523.
Publisher synopsis: Trapped in sunny, stifling, small-town suburbia, seventeen-year-old Morgan knows why she's in therapy. She can't count the number of times she's been the only non-white person at the sleepover, been teased for her "weird" outfits, and been told she's not "really" black. Also, she's spent most of her summer crying in bed. So there's that, too.
Lately, it feels like the whole world is listening to the same terrible track on repeat—and it's telling them how to feel, who to vote for, what to believe. Morgan wonders, when can she turn this song off and begin living for herself?
Life may be a never-ending hamster wheel of agony, but Morgan finds her crew of fellow outcasts, blasts music like there's no tomorrow, discovers what being black means to her, and finally puts her mental health first. She decides that, no matter what, she will always be intense, ridiculous, passionate, and sometimes hilarious. After all, darkness doesn't have to be a bad thing. Darkness is just real.
Loosely based on her own teenage life and diaries, this incredible debut by award-winning poet Morgan Parker will make readers stand up and cheer for a girl brave enough to live life on her own terms—and for themselves.
|Image: Balzer + Bray|
Publisher synopsis: Patricia “Sweet Pea” DiMarco wasn’t sure what to expect when her parents announced they were getting a divorce. She never could have imagined that they would have the “brilliant” idea of living in nearly identical houses on the same street. In the one house between them lives their eccentric neighbor Miss Flora Mae, the famed local advice columnist behind “Miss Flora Mae I?”
Dividing her time between two homes is not easy. And it doesn’t help that at school, Sweet Pea is now sitting right next to her ex–best friend, Kiera, a daily reminder of the friendship that once was. Things might be unbearable if Sweet Pea didn’t have Oscar—her new best friend—and her fifteen-pound cat, Cheese.
Then one day Flora leaves for a trip and asks Sweet Pea to forward her the letters for the column. And Sweet Pea happens to recognize the handwriting on one of the envelopes.
What she decides to do with that letter sets off a chain of events that will forever change the lives of Sweet Pea DiMarco, her family, and many of the readers of “Miss Flora Mae I?”
Doc and the Detective by Tim Tingle. 256 p. Scholastic Inc., October 15, 2019. 9781338236477.
Publisher synopsis: A Choctaw boy with a taste for detective work teams up with a lonely old professor in this charming middle-grade mystery from a two-time winner of the American Indian Youth Literature Award.
Timmy loves reading stories about great detectives, and soon he begins to spy mysteries all around his small Oklahoma town.
Why was his next-door neighbor, the distinguished Dr. Moore, standing outside with a knife at midnight? Who's sneaking around their house, shining flashlights in the windows? And where did Mrs. Newberry's diamond necklace go? As Timmy and Doc work together to unmask the thief, Timmy also comes to understand the challenges Doc and his family face with his developing dementia, and discovers that a real detective needs a good heart as well as a sharp brain.
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Publisher synopsis: Amid the constant rain of German bombs and the escalating violence of World War II, British parents by the thousands chose to send their children out of the country: the wealthy, independently; the poor, through a government relocation program called CORB. In September 1940, passenger liner SS City of Benares set out in a convoy of nineteen ships sailing for Canada. On board were ninety CORB children, chaperones, and crew, along with paying passengers.
When the war ships escorting the Benares to safe waters peeled off and the way forward seemed certain, a German submarine attacked and torpedoed the Benares. What followed is an amazing example of all that people are capable of—the worst, and the best.
|Image: Groundswood Books|
Publisher synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there is the perfect tune for you.
It’s almost the end of middle school, and Charlie has to find her perfect song for a music class assignment. The class learns about a different style of music each day, from hip-hop to metal to disco, but it’s hard for Charlie to concentrate when she can’t stop noticing her classmate Emile, or wondering about Luka, who hasn’t been to school in weeks. On top of everything, she has been talked into participating in an end-of-year performance with her best friends.
Then, the class learns about opera, and Charlie discovers the music of Maria Callas. The more she learns about Maria’s life, the more Charlie admires her passion for singing and her ability to express herself fully through her music. Can Charlie follow the example of the ultimate diva, Maria Callas, when it comes to her own life?
This evocatively illustrated graphic novel brilliantly captures the high drama of middle school by focusing on the desire of its finely drawn characters to sing and be heard.
|Image: Candlewick Press|
Publisher synopsis: Why is the ocean blue? What is the rain? What happened to the dinosaurs? It might be time for bed, but one child is too full of questions about the world to go to sleep just yet. Little ones and their parents will be charmed and delighted as a patient father offers up increasingly creative responses to his child’s nighttime wonderings. Any child who has ever asked “Why?” — and any parent who has attempted an explanation — will recognize themselves in this sweet storybook for dreamers who are looking for answers beyond “Just because.”
Arsenault appeared on the picture book panel at DoD and Barnett followed to deliver the final keynote. He spoke humorously and passionately about the relevance of picture books and ended by reading Just Because. So lovely. The two autographed fng's at the signing.
Publisher synopsis: In January of 1963, Sharon Robinson turned 13 the night before George Wallace declared on national television "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever" in his inauguration for governor of Alabama. That was the start of a year that would become one of the most pivotal years in the history of America.
As the daughter of Jackie Robinson, Sharon had incredible access to some of the most important events of the era, including her family hosting several fundraisers for Martin Luther King Jr. at their home in Connecticut, other civil rights heroes of the day calling Jackie Robinson for advice and support, and even attending the March on Washington for Freedom and Jobs.
But Sharon was also dealing with her own personal problems, like going through puberty, being one of the only black children in her wealthy Connecticut neighborhood, and figuring out her own role in the fight for equality. This memoir follows Sharon as she goes through that incredible year of her life.
Robinson delivered a talk just before lunch at DoD.
|Image: Random House|
Publisher synopsis: This witty, warm-hearted retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac is a love letter to female friendship. Perfect for Stephanie Perkins fans, and anyone who’s ever thought of trying on a new identity to impress a guy.
Aphra Brown is bold and outgoing. Her best friend, Bethany, is achingly beautiful. Individually, they could both do a little better in the self-esteem department, but together? Together, they have what it takes to win over Greg D’Agostino, a proverbial “ten,” who happens to be fluent in six languages–seven if you count the language of smoldering gazes . . .
What begins as an honest mistake turns into an elaborate deception, wherein Bethany goes on dates with Greg while Aphra coaches her on what to say, and texts him in the guise of Bethany, trying and failing, all the while, to tamp down her own hopeless crush. It’s only a matter of time before things come crashing down. The question is: What will happen when Greg finds out? And can Aphra and Bethany’s friendship survive the fallout?
From the author of We Regret to Inform You comes a witty, warm-hearted exploration of love in all its forms, and a cris-de-coeur for self-acceptance when the pressure to be perfect is overwhelming.
|Image: Inkyard Press|
Publisher synopsis: For generations, the princes of Ilara have married the most beautiful maidens from the ocean village of Varenia. But though every girl longs to be chosen as the next princess, the cost of becoming royalty is higher than any of them could ever imagine…
Nor once dreamed of seeing the wondrous wealth and beauty of Ilara, the kingdom that’s ruled her village for as long as anyone can remember. But when a childhood accident left her with a permanent scar, it became clear that her identical twin sister, Zadie, would likely be chosen to marry the Crown Prince—while Nor remained behind, unable to ever set foot on land.
Then Zadie is gravely injured, and Nor is sent to Ilara in her place. To Nor’s dismay, her future husband, Prince Ceren, is as forbidding and cold as his home—a castle carved into a mountain and devoid of sunlight. And as she grows closer to Ceren’s brother, the charming Prince Talin, Nor uncovers startling truths about a failing royal bloodline, a murdered queen…and a plot to destroy the home she was once so eager to leave.
|Image: Wendy Lamb Books|
Publisher synopsis: A heartrending and hopeful debut novel about a nonverbal girl and her passion for space exploration, for fans of See You in the Cosmos, Mockingbird, and The Thing About Jellyfish.
Twelve-year-old Nova is eagerly awaiting the launch of the space shuttle Challenger—it's the first time a teacher is going into space, and kids across America will watch the event on live TV in their classrooms. Nova and her big sister, Bridget, share a love of astronomy and the space program. They planned to watch the launch together. But Bridget has disappeared, and Nova is in a new foster home.
While foster families and teachers dismiss Nova as severely autistic and nonverbal, Bridget understands how intelligent and special Nova is, and all that she can't express. As the liftoff draws closer, Nova's new foster family and teachers begin to see her potential, and for the first time, she is making friends without Bridget. But every day, she's counting down to the launch, and to the moment when she'll see Bridget again. Because Bridget said, "No matter what, I'll be there. I promise."
|Image: HarperCollins Publishers|
Publisher synopsis: In the final days of the Việt Nam War, Hằng takes her little brother, Linh, to the airport, determined to find a way to safety in America. In a split second, Linh is ripped from her arms—and Hằng is left behind in the war-torn country.
Six years later, Hằng has made the brutal journey from Việt Nam and is now in Texas as a refugee. She doesn’t know how she will find the little brother who was taken from her until she meets LeeRoy, a city boy with big rodeo dreams, who decides to help her.
Hằng is overjoyed when she reunites with Linh. But when she realizes he doesn’t remember her, their family, or Việt Nam, her heart is crushed. Though the distance between them feels greater than ever, Hằng has come so far that she will do anything to bridge the gap.
|Image: Delacorte Press|
Publisher synopsis: Sometimes looking to the past helps you find your future.
Abbi Hope Goldstein is like every other teenager, with a few smallish exceptions: her famous alter ego, Baby Hope, is the subject of internet memes, she has asthma, and sometimes people spontaneously burst into tears when they recognize her. Abbi has lived almost her entire life in the shadow of the terrorist attacks of September 11. On that fateful day, she was captured in what became an iconic photograph: in the picture, Abbi (aka "Baby Hope") wears a birthday crown and grasps a red balloon; just behind her, the South Tower of the World Trade Center is collapsing.
Now, fifteen years later, Abbi is desperate for anonymity and decides to spend the summer before her seventeenth birthday incognito as a counselor at Knights Day Camp two towns away. She's psyched for eight weeks in the company of four-year-olds, none of whom have ever heard of Baby Hope.
Too bad Noah Stern, whose own world was irrevocably shattered on that terrible day, has a similar summer plan. Noah believes his meeting Baby Hope is fate. Abbi is sure it's a disaster. Soon, though, the two team up to ask difficult questions about the history behind the Baby Hope photo. But is either of them ready to hear the answers?
Publisher synopsis: Moving halfway across the country to Colorado right before senior year isn’t Maya’s idea of a good time. Leaving behind Pratt School for the Deaf where she’s been a student for years only to attend a hearing school is even worse. Maya has dreams of breaking into the medical field and is determined to get the grades and a college degree to match, and she’s never considered being Deaf a disability. But her teachers and classmates at Engelmann High don’t seem to share her optimism.
And then there’s Beau Watson, Engelmann’s student body president and overachiever. Maya suspects Beau’s got a hidden agenda when he starts learning ASL to converse with her, but she also can’t deny it’s nice to sign with someone amongst all the lip reading she has to do with her hearing teachers and classmates. Maya has always been told that Deaf/hearing relationships never work, and yet she can’t help but be drawn to Beau as they spend more and more time together.
But as much Maya and Beau genuinely start to feel for one another, there are unmistakable differences in their worlds. When Maya passes up a chance to receive a cochlear implant, Beau doesn’t understand why Maya wouldn’t want to hear again. Maya is hurt Beau would want her to be anything but who she is—she’s always been proud to be Deaf, something Beau won’t ever be able to understand. Maya has to figure out whether bridging that gap between the Deaf and hearing worlds will be worth it, or if staying true to herself matters more.
Publisher synopsis: Watch out, mice! This cat is a sumo champion!
A stray kitty gets a job in a sumo stable, chasing mice in exchange for food. But when eating like a sumo wrestler slows our feline hero down, he realizes he must train like a wrestler, too. Through hard work and perseverance—and with a little help from a big buddy—SumoKitty is born! A funny and heartwarming story inspired by the Japanese saying "Fall down seven times, stand up eight."
Publisher synopsis: Freddy Melcher is Santa's #1 Fan. He has Santa posters, Santa action figures, and even Santa underwear. But there is one prize Freddy desperately wants: A photograph taken with Santa, fresh out of the chimney.
Oh, is it risky! It's awfully hard to sneak anything by someone who can see you when you're sleeping and knows when you're awake. That's why Freddy has been extra good this year . . . at hiding his plans.
Will Freddy get away with his delightfully devious scheme to outwit Santa Claus himself and capture the ultimate selfie?
Publisher synopsis:A breathtaking adventure as a traveler and her canoe begin their trek down the Hudson River. In a mountain lake, the canoe gently enters the water's edge, paddling toward the river. The nautical journey begins.
She is alone, far from home.
Three hundred miles stretch in front of her.
A faraway destination, a wild plan. And the question: can she do this?
In Cooper's flowing prose and stunning watercolor scenes, readers can follow along the trek as the woman and her canoe explore the wildlife, flora and fauna, and urban landscape at the river's edge. Through perilous weather and river rushes, the canoe and her captain survive and maneuver their way down the river back home.
River is an outstanding introduction to seeing the world through the eyes of a young explorer and a great picture book for the STEAM curriculum.
Maps and information about the Hudson River and famous landmarks are included in the back of the book.
Publisher synopsis: Raina wakes up one night with a terrible upset stomach. Her mom has one, too, so it's probably just a bug. Raina eventually returns to school, where she's dealing with the usual highs and lows: friends, not-friends, and classmates who think the school year is just one long gross-out session. It soon becomes clear that Raina's tummy trouble isn't going away... and it coincides with her worries about food, school, and changing friendships. What's going on?
Raina Telgemeier once again brings us a thoughtful, charming, and funny true story about growing up and gathering the courage to face — and conquer — her fears.
This sampler was a crowdpleaser at school on Friday. I featured it as a "Waiting on Wednesday" post and had quite a few students come into the library asking to check the book out. I guess they didn't hear the "waiting" part. Anyway, Telegemeier is a TMS favorite. When I asked in the first class who was interested in reading the sampler, I was swarmed by five students who all read it together, alternately turning pages and jumping up and down. I wish I thought to take a picture. In the next class, nearly every hand went up but no one jumped out of their seat, so I handed it to one girl and she reverently perused each page before passing it on. It was so cute! I hope there are full arcs at Annual. I have to buy multiple copies of each of her books to keep up with demand. I love how they appeal to both boys and girls.
|Image: Holiday House|
Publisher synopsis:Much has been written about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the 1963 March on Washington. But there's little on his legendary speech and how he came to write it. Find out more in this gripping book with illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Jerry Pinkney.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was once asked if the hardest part of preaching was knowing where to begin. No, he said. The hardest part is knowing where to end. "It's terrible to be circling up there without a place to land."
Finding this place to land was what Martin Luther King, Jr. struggled with, alongside advisors and fellow speech writers, in the Willard Hotel the night before the March on Washington, where he gave his historic "I Have a Dream" speech. But those famous words were never intended to be heard on that day, not even written down for that day, not even once.
Barry Wittenstein teams up with legendary illustrator Jerry Pinkney to tell the story of how, against all odds, Martin found his place to land.
I have been a fan of Pinkney's forever and discovered Wittenstein with this and loved this and recently reviewed this. I am so psyched for A Place to Land. We need this book and others like it now more than ever.
I also got to choose some books for my library at the PTO Scholastic Book Fair! The fair director kept asking me to choose more books to spend her Scholastic dollars, but I already had the other hardcover choices in my library. Thanks PTO!
If you leave a comment, I will definitely stop by and try to comment back - unless commenters have to sign onto Discus or Wordpress or FB or anything that makes commenting difficult and gives my data to miners. But, I will definitely check your stack!