This inspiring picture book by Sonia Manzano (aka Maria from SESAME STREET) is just what we need right now! The awesome National Geographic photos of kids from all parts of the globe complement her message of worldwide solidarity and friendship. Here's hoping we all will hang out together again soon—and without masks! — Barb (RBB Staff)
A beautifully illustrated catalog of many of the tiny, quotidian firsts that happen during a year. First waffles, first green in the gray, first sunburn, and so many more. Following a little girl and her brother as they make their way through the seasons, A Year of Everyday Wonders is as wonderful as the title suggests it might be—a little funny, a little poignant, and entirely charming.
—Lily (RBB Staff)
Chicken Little tells her own story in this hilarious and oh-so-real version of the classic tale of mass hysteria! Find out what really happened that day: Did Chicken Little start a mass panic? Was it a scientific investigation gone terribly awry? Did the sky actually fall?! A fantastic read aloud, especially for those feeling a touch dramatic! — Angela (RBB Staff)
Outside is too cold and dangerous (Turtle) and inside is too boring (Croc). This is a delightful new addition to the Croc & Turtle series created by Mike Wohnoutka. The two fast friends work together to find a creative (and surprising) solution. After all, being together is what's best. Wonderful illustrations and unique end papers complement the story. — Susan (RBB Staff)
Meowgnificent cat facts for fans of felines! Short biographies of thirty pawsome historical cats are interspersed with cat trivia of all kinds—anatomy, behavior, mentions in literature, etc. Pawrticularly purrfect tails include Tama: Japan's Furriest Stationmaster, Beerbohm: Scene-Stealing Theater Cat, Pitoutchi: The Kitty Who Fooled the German Army, and Humphrey: Chief Mouser of the British Isles. This book will whisker you off your feet! — Lily (RBB Staff)
Each page tells an empowering story about a different girl — and experiences from pimples to making friends. It is inspiring and poetic. Readers will love this book because it encourages them to be different, weird, and love themselves. — Stacy (RBB Staff)
This beautifully illustrated picture book features a plump orange kitty that takes the reader through a bookstore from A to Z. A very fun read for lovers of books, cats, and alphabets! — Cami (RBB Staff)
This lovely picture book opens with a riveting scene of a distinguished African American speaking before Congress, a group of all-white men who were not always respectful. But after ten minutes he had won them over by explaining how the lowly peanut could be used in over 300 hundred ways, and replenish the soil it was planted in to boot. Carver was initially self-taught, planting a secret garden as a boy where he harvested flowers and observed the seasons. He was eventually hired by the prestigious Tuskegee Institute where he conducted research on the peanut. He was an early environmentalist, proponent of racial harmony, and adviser to world leaders. And he lived by these words: "Regard Nature, Revere Nature, Respect Nature." A beautifully illustrated and inspiring true story . — Susan (RBB Staff)
Winner of the Caldecott Medal, the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, and a Newbery Honor.
Originally performed for ESPN's The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world's greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing stark attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present. Robust back matter at the end provides valuable historical context and additional detail for those wishing to learn more.
What a sweet, funny story full of hilariously wonderful illustrations! Up on Bob is a fantastic read-aloud for the youngest book lovers and a great picture book for any emerging reader to try on their own. (Or, do what I do and read it with the dogs and cats in your home—they'll find plenty to relate to!) — Angela (RBB Staff)
I cried such happy tears at the end. The women and dogs in this story are so wonderful, I want to live in their home, spend time with them, love them. This is a story of a young girl living with her aunt and her aunt's wife on a farm in Vermont. During the winter, with dogs and so much love. Perfect. — Julie (RBB Staff)
Red is waiting for her mom to get out of prison so they can be together again, but in the meantime, she's found a new home with the Grooves, who run a petting zoo. As she faces the realities of her mother's situation, Red must also figure out how to control her wind powers, which respond to her emotions. Beautiful story of love and family and the deep things that connect us to one another. — Joan (RBB Staff)
Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest of all time—but what was his life like before he became a professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist? Kwame Alexander and James Patterson give us a fun and fascinating story that shows this larger-than-life figure just being a kid. We see the challenges he faced at a young age, including struggling in school, being bullied, and dealing with racism in 1950s Louisville. We also see how the love and support of his friends and family along with his own focus and determination set 12-year-old Cassius Clay on his incredible path. Each chapter (called "rounds" in this book) alternates between Patterson’s prose and Alexander’s verse. A fast read and an uplifting story. — Holly (RBB Staff)
Stone takes on the ugly realities of the Jim Crow laws, family stories untold, and love so deep and powerful it’ll make you cry through your smile. Mind you, this is also a hilarious book. William ‘Scoob’ Lamar is on lockdown at home by a dad who refuses to hear his side of why he hit that kid at school, so when his G’ma invites him to her brand new mobile home, he’s all in, even leaving his phone behind so he doesn’t have to hear his dad yell. But when G’ma pulls out her ‘treasure box’ and the Traveler’s Green Book, Scoob realizes this trip may be more than he bargained for. Brilliant weaving of historical realities into a funny, heartbreaking coming-of-age. Welcome to middle grade, Nic! — Linda Sherman-Nurick, Cellar Door Books, Riverside, CA
Ember is one of the last of the fire dragons, disguised as a human girl for her protection. But the spell can't hide everything—especially not her occasional spontaneous combustion. To protect her adoptive father, Ember goes off to stay with her aunt in Antarctica, where the darkness will keep her fire calm. But when she learns about plans to hunt the ice dragons to extinction—just like her birth parents were hunted—Ember won't stand for it. Can Ember sabotage the hunt without revealing herself? Funny, clever, and fiercely loving, Ember is a wonder—and so is her story. — Lily (RBB Staff)
At age 13 (82 in dog years) Cosmo knows his life’s purpose is to love and protect the Walker family--especially 12-year-old tender-hearted Max. Now the family is facing challenges. The parents are arguing more and it seems that divorce is coming. Cosmo will do everything he can to make sure he and Max stay together, including learning to dance. Yes, this book has dogs who dance! Cosmo’s narration is completely charming --full of wit, wisdom, and heart. Warning, if you don’t already have a family dog--you will want one after meeting Cosmo! — Holly (RBB Staff)
I loved this very thoughtful new book by Sharon Creech, which explores questions of identity: "Who am I?" and "Who do I want to become?" These questions are top of mind for Gina, who is blessed with a very creative teacher, an intriguing new neighbor, and generous, accepting parents. The narrative is gentle and at times, humorous. Perfect for dinner table and classroom discussions. — Susan (RBB Staff)
This is a new view of pioneer life told through the eyes of a young adult woman who is of mixed race. Written by renowned author Linda Sue Park, the story is painful to read at times as we watch Hanna work as hard as she can to be accepted by the residents of the new Dakota town she and her father have left California for. At the same time, she is trying to please and connect with her father. Though her Chinese mother is no longer living, Hanna relies on memories of her Mama's presence and words of wisdom to shape the life she aspires to. A wonderful and much needed story that highlights what it means to be different on the outside despite being just the same as everyone else on the inside. And all while trying to create a life on the new, not-yet-fully settled Dakota prairie. — Susan (RBB Staff)
Foster kids Morgan and Eli are not settling in well to their new living situation: they struggle in school, they don't get along very well, and their white foster parents don't understand the complexities of their Indigenous background. After a disastrous dinner, they discover a doorway in the attic of their foster home that leads to a world that's been suffering from a never-ending winter, inhabited by bipedal and talking animals that need Morgan and Eli's help to bring back the seasons. Funny, thrilling, and thought-provoking, this book is great for those who loved Narnia and would like to explore a new and diverse fantasy series.
—Gigi (RBB Staff)
Noa Marchena lives in exile with her siblings on a magical, ever-moving island. They're safe there, protected by a not-very-loyal sea serpent and by big brother Julian's unmatched magical powers from the rebellious courtiers who chased them out of their kingdom after their mother, the queen, died. But rumors from their homeland suggest that those same courtiers are on a quest for something that could defeat even Julian—at least if the Marchena siblings don't find it first. A story about family, about the bad things good people sometimes do, and about different kinds of strength. A delightful, clever middle grade adventure. — Lily (RBB Staff)
Yadriel is tired of waiting for his family to let him become a brujo (NOT a bruja, like they think), so he completes the ritual himself. Armed with his new powers, Yadriel accidentally summons the ghost of chatty, slightly-delinquent Julian Diaz, his former classmate. Julian has unfinished business, and he won't go to his ghostly rest until it's dealt with. Stuck helping his new supernatural sidekick, Yadriel goes on a quest for answers, but the longer he spends with Julian the more he wishes could stay forever. Richly romantic, beautifully-written, and magical, Yadriel's story is one of family (found and biological) and of belonging. — Lily (RBB Staff)
If Lady Victoria Aston would like to save her family estate, she must marry quickly--whether she wants to or not. Unfortunately for Lady Victoria, Jane Austen's novels are her only guide for how to accomplish this successfully, and mysterious, often dangerous accidents keep cropping up around her. If you're looking for a delightful Regency romance and/or mystery, this is the one! — Angela (RBB Staff)
Maddie knows there is magic everywhere. There are different magical realms, and delegates from all meet during the summer at an inn called Havenfall. That is the only place Maddie wants to be. Some day she hopes to be the Innkeeper, in charge of peace among the realms. Her dream comes sooner than expected, and she must step up, because not everyone wants peace. There is action, romance,heartache, and mystery. I had a lot of fun reading this, and know that there are readers out there who will gobble this up, and ask for more! Perfect for 13 and up. — Julie (RBB Staff)
It's the end of the world as we know it- at least, that's what government officials are telling people. Apparently, Earth was created by Aliens as an experiment- one that the people of Earth have failed. They have one week before the aliens decide to keep Earth...or destroy it forever. With a possible apocalypse on the horizon, teens Jesse, Cate, and Adeem have one week left to live. For Jesse, this means making his mother proud and not (seriously, he's not going to do it) falling for the new boy in town. Meanwhile, Cate wants to complete her bucket list, including meeting her father for the first time. Adeem looks to the radio to also search for someone- his sister, who ran away from home after coming out. One week before Earth is set to be destroyed, Jesse, Cate, and Adeem must confront their greatest fears and desires and decide what is most important to them. — Kelsie (RBB Staff)
Wow! This book DID NOT stop! The pacing was excellent. I loved every second of it! This is a King Arthur reimagining for the 21st century with a Black girl front and center. The story kept me guessing and I was delightfully surprised by the direction some plot points went. I cheered for Bree, I cried with her, and I hoped for her—she's a wonderful main character, flawed and determined. To say I need book two now is a complete understatement. — Jaya (RBB Staff)
Lore draws you in, chews you up, and spits you out along with the Titans of old. I was immediately pulled into Lore's world, the harsh reality that she's faced with, and the tough decisions she needs to make for herself and her friends. Add together endless action peppered with flashbacks, venturing through NYC (which was like a character on its own), and a twist I didn't see coming and it equals a thrilling must-read for Greek mythology fans!
—Jaya (RBB Staff)
CW: sexual assault of a minor, violence involving children
Diz and her friends have been running a profitable maz (magic) smuggling ring for years. Now, with each of them heading their separate ways for college, it's time for their last ever heist...and then maybe one more after that? In a world where access to magic—and other resources—is highly controlled, Diz and co. sell their stolen maz on the black market to survive. But when a heist goes very, very wrong, the fallout twists their futures up in the workings of the very sketchy corporation that oversees maz distribution. A delightful adventure—very fun, very queer, and very smart. — Lily (RBB Staff)
The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi's National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited.
Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas--and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.
The Enigma Game is told from three different perspectives: Jamie Beaufort-Stuart, a RAF flight leader who is dealing the loss of many soldiers, Louisa Adair, a Jamaican-English orphan who lands a job taking care of a strong German woman, and Ellen McEwen, a volunteer and Traveller. They come together around the first Enigma decoding machine and a shared desire to help in a war that feels so hopeless. Weir does a great job relaying the horrors of war and the racial and sexist discrimination of the time period while simultaneously bringing in hope through the unlikely friendships. — Shannon (RBB Staff)
Candace Fleming has written another outstanding biography, this time about the American aviator hero, Charles Lindbergh. He was at the top of his game in 1927 when he flew across the Atlantic in a nonstop flight from New York to Paris. He later studied Eugenics, came to admire what he saw of Nazi Germany, invented an "artificial heart," was a leader in the America First Committee, wrote a Pulitzer Prize winning book, continued to grow his family after the kidnapping and death of his first son, and established three simultaneous other families in Europe. He was a fascinating and flawed person who was determined to live life on his own terms. Lots of topics for discussion in this book including the effect the press has on one's view of the world. Great for a personal read or a classroom discussion. — Susan (RBB Staff)
Cérulia, Princess of Weirandale, has been left with a family in the country, and soon realizes that she has the magic that flows through all the women in her family. She must master this magic, and fight her way into becoming the queen she is destined to be. But, of course, this isn't easy, and I can't wait to find out what happens in books 2-4! A great fantasy read for lovers of long, immersive books that pull you into another world. — Julie (RBB Staff)
On the surface this is a story of an elderly couple and how their lives happen to intersect with a young mother and her son. That intersection leads to so many more stories from each of the character’s lives—stories I couldn’t stop thinking about. Taken all together, this book becomes a moving and atmospheric reflection on memory and the role it plays in shaping the current experiences in our day to day lives. — Holly (RBB Staff)
In a year when cookbooks hogged the spotlight, this wonderful collection of homegrown recipes has been overlooked--until now! Need a new tater-tot hot dish recipe, or want to indulge a craving for hot fudge pudding cake? Dive into this entertaining cookbook for some yummy dishes and wonderful stories about life in this neck of the woods. Think of it as comfort-food therapy!
— Barb (RBB Staff)
So wonderful! A folktale that feels like coming home and going on an adventure all at the same time. A dash of The Wizard of Oz and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but told with A. Deborah Baker's (pseudonym for Seanan McGuire, author of The Wayward Children series) love of language. A fantasy book for grownups, but children (and the young at heart) as young as nine years old could read and enjoy. — Jaya (RBB Staff)
This creepy, atmospheric collection of short stories is the perfect seasonal read for the dark days of November. Each story is different from the next, the thrills coming one after the other in different horrifying forms. The writing is sharp and clear and there's just enough hope for humanity running through it we wanted to include it in our newsletter. — Angela (RBB Staff)
Holbrook’s easy, conversational tone belies the difficulties and challenges she has faced as a black woman in Minneapolis, establishing herself as a writer, arts activist, and teacher, while also being a single mother raising five children. Incarcerated as a pregnant 16 year-old, she went on to become a major voice in the Twin Cities literary community, providing opportunities and support for marginalized writers as she struggled with depression, the aftermath of an abusive relationship, and the racism of off-hand comments and closed doors. Through her story, we see what can be accomplished with passion, determination, and a deep, caring heart. — Joan (RBB Staff)
The Proposal is a smile in book form. When I realized it was about Carlos, the best friend from Guillory’sThe Wedding Date, I smiled. Carlos is fun, smart, and loves to cook — he’s also not perfect, not horrible, just the normal quirks. Nikole has some issues too. The two meet, enjoy each other’s company, and try to make their quirks fit together.Guillory writes these wonderful, engaging romance stories that are totally realistic and charming — think of the best cocktail party story you’ve heard about how a couple met, and this book will be better. Funny, uplifting, and lighthearted, The Proposal is a perfect Friday night date. — Julie Karaganis, Cabot Street Books & Cards, Beverly, MA
A gorgeous piece of writing, part memoir of the author's childhood as a refugee and part compassionate journalism about the current refugee crisis. Nayeri shows the unique emotional trauma of being a refugee—the waiting, the uncertainty, the displacement, the culture shock. And she leads us to question the things Western nations demand from refugees in exchange for asylum—a convincing story of danger narrowly escaped, boundless gratitude, and total assimilation. This book asks: What do we owe to refugees? And isn't it more than what we're offering now? — Lily (RBB Staff)
The Westing Game meets Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next books by way of Edgar Allan Poe and it's a delight! After eccentric billionaire Vincent Pryce dramatically and publicly dies, he invites the whole city to participate in a treasure hunt that will culminate at his funeral. Researcher extraordinaire Tuesday Mooney and her friends dive headfirst into the challenge, discovering morbid secrets, skeletons in closets, and a decades-old mystery on their way to an unnamed reward. A little spooky, a lot nerdy, and entirely fun. — Lily (RBB Staff)