The Truth About Twinkie Pie

The Truth About Twinkie PieThe Truth About Twinkie Pie
by Kat Yeh
Grades 4-6

When GiGi’s older sister DiDi wins a million dollars in a cooking contest, she moves them out of their small-town trailer park in South Carolina and up to New York. She enrolls GiGi in a prestigious private school while continuing to work as a hair dresser in the salon below their apartment. GiGi takes this opportunity to reinvent herself at school and make friends for the first time. Happy with how things are going, GiGi embarks on a quest to find Revlon’s Cherries in the Snow lipstick as a surprise for DiDi. While doing so, she discovers a family secret that changes everything. Complete with Mama’s recipes, this is a great story about family loyalty and friendship that will appeal to grades 4-6.

The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage

The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial MarriageThe Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage
by Selina Alko
Grades 2 & up

This non-fiction picture book introduces the historic prejudice against interracial marriage and the fight to make it legal in a clear way that will engage elementary school students. It is an important addition to other books on the history of civil rights in this country and one that students may not be aware of. The author’s note at the end makes the connection between the Lovings’ court case and the continued battle for same-sex marriage today. Add this to your collection for Black History Month and all year round. Recommended for grades 2 & up.

All the Answers

All the AnswersAll the Answers
by Kate Messner
Grades 4-7

Ava is a worrier. Whatever the situation, she always assumes the worst will happen, and “What ifs” herself into a state of panic. She freezes up on tests even when she knows the information. When she finds a magic pencil that will answer almost any question she asks, she thinks that she has found the solution to her problem. Her best friend Sophie can’t wait to use it to find out fun facts about their classmates, but Ava wants to use it to set her mind at ease about all of her constant worries. This works for a while, until the questions lead to more and more questions, some of which cannot be answered. Forced to face the unknown, Ava learns that having all the answers is not always what it seems. An excellent book, both humorous and poignant in turn, about facing your fears, and taking life’s ups and downs in stride.

eARC received from publisher via NetGalley

Last Stop on Market Street

Last Stop on Market StreetLast Stop on Market Street
by Matt de la Peña
Grades 1-4

As CJ and his grandmother ride the bus after church, he has many questions comparing his life to those he sees around him. Nana gives him patient answers full of wisdom and empathy as they come across both those who have more and those who have less than they do. The illustrations are gorgeous and fit the text perfectly. An excellent discussion starter or as part of a service learning discussion. Recommended for grades 1-4.

Ranger in Time #1: Rescue on the Oregon Trail

Ranger in Time #1: Rescue on the Oregon TrailRanger in Time #1: Rescue on the Oregon Trail
by Kate Messner

When Ranger, a squirrel-chasing golden retriever, digs up an old-fashioned first aid kit in his family’s garden, he is transported back in time to Independence, Missouri (the start of the Oregon Trail) in 1850. Sam’s younger sister Amelia has disappeared and Ranger’s search-and-rescue training kicks in. He finds Amelia and then joins Sam and his family on their journey along the Oregon Trail. This is a fantastic time-travel adventure with a solid historical fiction component for young readers. It presents the challenges and celebrations in a realistic and age-appropriate manner. There is enough adventure to readers on the edges of their seats. After all, who wouldn’t love a time-traveling golden retriever? Highly recommended for grades 2-4.

Brown Girl Dreaming

Brown Girl DreamingBrown Girl Dreaming
by Jacqueline Woodson

This collection of free verse poetry traces award-winning author Jaqueline Woodson’s journey as she became the writer that she is today. Starting with her birth and family roots in Ohio to her mother’s return to South Carolina to spending most of her school years in New York, these powerful poems bring to life the imagery and feelings of each of these places. It is an insightful look into her childhood and how she made her place in her family and in the world, growing into the phenomenal writer that she is today. A spectacular novel, one that will show children the power of their dreams as well as the power of words. Highly recommended for grades 4 and up.

2015 Newbery Honor Book. National Book Award Winner. Coretta Scott King Author Award Winner. Sibert Honor Book.

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El Deafo

El DeafoEl Deafo
by Cece Bell

Cece Bell looks back at her childhood in this graphic novel about growing up deaf. She had normal hearing until a virus at the age of four, and her parents choose to keep her in a hearing world through the use of lip-reading and hearing aids. Cece chronicles her elementary school years and the variety of friendship ups and downs that come with it, compounded by her profound hearing loss. This is a fun-to-read, yet moving, graphic novel that students of all hearing abilities will be able to relate to. Recommended for grades 3-6.

2015 Newbery Honor Book

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The Crossover

The CrossoverThe Crossover
by Kwame Alexander

This powerful novel is written in free verse poetry told from the point of view of twelve year old Josh Bell. Josh and his twin brother JB are the stars of their middle school basketball team, thanks in part to the coaching by their former professional basketball playing father. Josh is happy with they way things are, and resents JB for starting to date a girl. When JB cuts off Josh’s dreadlocks, it only makes things worse. Josh is already in a tailspin when a new situation develops with their father. Told in an authentic voice, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat. Highly recommended for grades 5-9.

2015 Newbery Award Medal Winner.

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2015 ALA Youth Media Award Winners

The 2015 ALA Youth Media Awards were announced this morning in Chicago. I couldn’t be more proud and honored to have served on the 2015 Newbery committee! I have listed some of the awards and their winners below. You can find the complete list here.

John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:

The Crossover  written by Kwame Alexander.

Honor Books:

Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat

 Honor Books:

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished beginning reader book:

You Are (Not) Small written by Anna Kang and illustrated by Christopher Weyant

Honor Books:

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults:

Brown Girl Dreaming written by Jacqueline Woodson

Honor Books:

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award:

Firebird illustrated by Christopher Myers, written by Misty Copeland

Honor Books:

Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award:

 When I Was the Greatest written and illustrated by Jason Alexander

Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience:

 Ages 0-10
A Boy and a Jaguar written by Alan Rabinowitz, illustrated by Catia Chien

 Ages 11-13
Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

 Ages 13-18
Girls Like Us by Gail Giles

Mildred L. Batchelder Award for an outstanding children’s book translated from a foreign language and subsequently published in the United States:

Mikis and the Donkey written by Bibi Dumon Tak, illustrated by Philip Hopman, translated by Laura Watkinson

Honor Books:

Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award honoring a Latino writer and illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience:

Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales

Honor Books:

Pura Belpré (Author) Award honoring Latino authors whose work best portrays, affirms and celebrates the Latino cultural experience:

I Lived on Butterfly Hill written by Marjorie Agosín, illustrated by Lee White

Honor Book:

Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes written by Juan Felipe Herrera, illustrated by Raúl Colón

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children:

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus written by Jen Bryant

Honor Books:  

 Stonewall Book Award – Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award given annually to English-language children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience:

This Day in June written by Gayle E. Pitman, Ph.D., illustrated by Kristyna Litten

Honor Books:


Miss Brooks Loves Books!

Miss Brooks Loves Books! (And I Don't)Miss Brooks Loves Books!
by Barbara Bottner
Grades K-2

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

To every book its reader, and to every reader his/her book. There is nothing more that most elementary school librarians want (myself included) than to help a child find the one perfect book that makes reading click. This great story lets children know that there is a book for them, and their librarian will not stop until they find it. Highly recommended for grades K-2.