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February 2016


News and reviews from Red Balloon Bookshop! February 2016
Visit Red Balloon Bookshop's Pop-Up Store at the
University of St. Thomas 24th Annual
Hubbs Children's Literature Conference
Saturday, Feb 20, 8:30am - 3pm
University of St. Thomas, Terrance Murphy Hall
Featuring award-winning authors Kwame Alexander and Catherine Thimmesh. Reserve your tickets »
2016 Minnesota Book Awards Finalists Announced
View all finalists and get tickets to the award ceremony on April 16th »
Award Season is Here
Book-award season, that is! Take a look at who won top honors in the 2016 American Library Association Youth Media Awards: 
   Caldecott Medal         Newbery Medal         Printz Medal
Finding Winnie illustrated by Sophie Blackall    Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena       Bone Gap by Laura Ruby 
Books are available now at Red Balloon Bookshop! See all winners »
Upcoming Eventsback to top
Not-So YA Book Club2/1 - The (Not-So) Young Adult Book Club  Adult readers: embrace your love of YA and join us! Feb's book: Dumplin' by Julie Murphy.  More » Children's Theatre
2/6 - The Snowy Day Storytime with Children's Theatre Company  Celebrate the wonder of winter and the amazing work of Ezra Jack Keats with a storyteller from CTC! More »
Spanish Storytime
2/8 - Kids Read Book Club  A book club for kids in 3rd-4th grade (or equivalent reading level). Feb's selection: The Hero's Guide to Saving the Kingdom by Christopher Healy.  More »
Girls Read 2/8 - Girls Read Book Club  A book club for girls in 5th-7th grade and their moms! Feb's book selection is Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar.  More » Punk Skunks
2/13 - Trisha Speed Shaskan & Stephen Shaskan, Punk Skunks  The raddest party around is with these two local favorites and their first collaborative picture book, Punk Skunks!   More »
Teens Read 2/15 - Teens Read Book Club  Each month, teens select an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) to read and review. Email to join the waiting list.   More »
Bob Shea 2/17 - Storytime with Bob Shea    A night of silliness and dancing awaits with Bob Shea and his new Ballet Cat book, Dance! Dance! Underpants!  More » Guys Read
2/18 - Guys Read Book Club    Attention, boys in 5th-7th grade! Bring along a male adult to discuss this month's selection.   More »
spanish Storytime 2/20 - Saturday Spanish Storytime  Join us for a special Saturday storytime...en Español! Brought to you by Language Sprout Learning Centers.  More »
Recommended Readsback to top
Be a Friend Be a Friend by Salina Yoon
Published: Bloomsbury, Jan 2016; Recommended Age: 3-6
Dennis is a boy who doesn't talk. He expresses himself as a mime. He loves this silent way of showing the world who he is. But he feels disconnected, walled off from the rest of the world...until he tosses an imaginary ball that is caught by a little girl named Joy. This is a great book for showing that it's okay to be different, that there are others who feel the same, and that friendship can occur unexpectedly. Because Dennis feels an invisible wall between himself and the world, this might be a wonderful book for kids and families affected by autism spectrum disorders. Salina Yoon's illustrations are absolutely charming. -- Susan (RBB Staff)
Bear is Not Tired Bear is Not Tired by Ciara Gavin
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers, Jan 2016; Recommended Age: 3+
Bear loves being part of his adopted family, but what will he do now that winter is coming? Try as he might, he just can't keep his eyes open, but Mama Duck and the siblings reassure him they will keep him in the loop (even though he'll be fast asleep). This is the perfect read-aloud for little ones who tend to fight the urge to go to bed! The illustrations are sweet and funny--and who can resist bears in flotation devices and tap-dancing ducklings? Our resident storyteller, Miss Angela, also gives this book her seal of approval! -- Barb (RBB Staff)
Arctic White Arctic White by Danna Smith, Lee White (illus.)
Published: Henry Holt, Jan 2016; Recommended Age: 4-8
In this beautiful picture book,a young Inuit girl sees only the different shades of white in her world, but her beloved grandfather shows her that one can find color, even in the dead of winter! I was drawn to the mostly blue and white illustrations of the seemingly-unending Arctic night, and I loved the great relationship between the granddaughter and grandfather. This would make a wonderful bedtime read on those cold, cold nights! -- Barb (RBB Staff)
Worm Loves Worm Worm Loves Worm by J.J. Austrian, Mike Curato (illus.)
Published: HarperCollins, Jan 2016; Recommended Age: 4-8
This is the story of Worm and Worm who want to be married. Their friends Cricket, Beetle, the Bees, and even Spider, aim to show them the traditions of marriage and "how it's always been done." When Worm and Worm declare each is capable of being both bride and groom, Cricket stops them because... that's NOT how it's always been done. In the end, they are married for the simplest and best reason: "because Worm loves Worm." Mike Curato's (Little Elliot series) illustrations bring the story to life, illuminating its humorous and profound message. -- Susan (RBB Staff)
The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Horde by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale, LeUyen Pham (illus.)
Published: Candlewick, Jan 2016; Recommended Age: 4+
In the third installment of the adventures of the Princess in Black, the PIB and her trusty steed, Blacky, must forgo a delicious brunch with Princess Sneezewort to battle an adorable horde of pasture-devouring bunnies! Reminiscent of The Trouble with Tribbles, this silly super-hero adventure is sure to please monsters, princesses, and goat boys alike. Another Twinkle-Twinkle Little Smash! -- Angela (RBB Staff)
To the Stars!: The First American Woman to Walk in Space To the Stars!: The First American Woman to Walk in Space by Carmella Van Fleet and Dr. Kathy Sullivan
Published: Charlesbridge, Jan 2016; Recommended Age: 5-8
When Kathy was young, everyone told her she should become a teacher or a nurse because she was a girl. But she knew what she loved, and decided to follow her own compass, becoming one of America's first women astronauts, and the first American woman to walk in space. This picture book alternates between Kathy's young desires and how she achieved them as an adult, in a story that inspires us to work toward our dreams. -- Joan (RBB Staff)
Unicorn vs. Goblins Unicorn vs. Goblins by Dana Simpson (Available Feb 23)
Published: Andrews McMeel/Amp Comics, Feb 2016; Recommended Age: 8+
Join Phoebe and her best friend, Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, as they make new friends at summer camp, encounter goblins, and discover the magic of sparkles! Dana Simpson returns with the third book in the Phoebe and Her Unicorn series. Set up as a newspaper strip, Unicorns vs. Goblins is a hilarious romp through summer vacation, with humor for readers of all ages. Fans of Calvin and Hobbes and Zita the Space Girl will enjoy adventuring Phoebe! -- Katy (RBB Staff)
Been There, Done That Been There, Done That: Writing Stories from Real Life by Mike Winchell (ed.), Eglantine Ceulemans (illus.)
Published: Grosset & Dunlap, Nov 2015; Recommended Age: 10+
How do writers get their ideas? For these twenty authors, sometimes stories spring from real life experiences. Grouped by theme, such as peer pressure, regret, or change, each author relates something that really happened to them, and then tells a story inspired by that event. Some of the stories, like Julia Alvarez’s, stick pretty closely to the actual event, while others, like Adam Rex’s, take a longer imaginative leap. With short stories, poems, and graphic stories by many favorite authors, there is something here to please any reader! -- Joan (RBB Staff)
The Love That Split The World The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry
Published: Penguin, Jan 2016; Recommended Age: 12+
Ever since she was a child, Natalie Cleary has been visited by a strange apparition she calls "Grandmother." On Grandmother's final visit, she tells Natalie, “You have three months to save him.” The next night, Natalie meets a boy she has never seen before, and begins to see glimpses of a world that is not her own. There are some books that you read you know are going to stick with you for a while.This is one of those books. It weaves mythological stories and fantastical mysteries with tales of contemporary high school romances in an effortless way that creates one of the most unique stories I have ever read. The Love That Split the World is beautiful and strange and lovely, filled with many important ideas about love, life, and leaving home. I highly recommend it. -- Tamara (Teens Read Book Club)
Salt to the Sea Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Published: Philomel, Feb 2016; Recommended Age: 12+
This is historical fiction at its best. Set in East Prussia during WWII, Salt to the Sea tells the story of four young refugees and their journey to what they hope will be a better life. It is also the story of the biggest, yet mostly unheard of, maritime disaster--the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff. A beautifully written and powerful story about a fascinating and tragic moment in history. -- Holly (RBB Staff)
This Raging Light This Raging Light by Estelle Laure
Published: Harcourt Brace and Company, Dec 2015; Recommended Age: 14+
Lucille has fallen desperately in love with her best friend's unavailable twin brother, but that's not her biggest problem. Her dad went crazy and doesn't want to see the family, her mom left town and hasn’t come back, she has a little sister to care for, and she needs to keep it all secret so social services doesn’t separate them. Told in simple prose that counts time relative to the awful things that keep happening, This Raging Light captures Lucille's desperation and hope as life throws everything it has at her all at once, and she must find a way to rage against it. -- Angela (RBB Staff)
Assassin's Heart Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers
Published: HarperTeen, Feb 2016; Recommended Age: 14+
In Lovero, a country that worships a goddess of bloody deaths, the assassin Families are the most powerful people around, and they are always at war. When Lea's entirely family is murdered by the Da Vias, she has only one goal on her mind and in her heart: revenge. Assassin's Heart is truly a masterpiece of world-building. From the society of assassins and their god to the winding streets and dim lights of the city itself, Sarah Ahiers has brought Lovero to life. Lea is a heartbreakingly sincere character, with real motivations and emotions. Fans of fantasy, action, and romance will love Assassin's Heart. -- Amanda W. (Teens Read Book Club)
The Arrangement The Arrangement by Ashley Warlick
Published: Viking, Feb 2016; Recommended Age: Adult
What would you do if you realized your husband's best friend was your soulmate and the love of your life? If you were Mary Frances Fisher (later known as the food writer M.F.K. Fisher), you would fall into "arrangements"--whatever it took to preserve both a failing marriage and a life-changing friendship. This fictional account of Fisher's unconventional life was fascinating and heart-breaking. I want to read more about this woman of many appetites who would do anything for those she loved (or once loved). -- Barb (RBB Staff)
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