Sarah Hoffman and Ian Hoffman’s “Jacob” Books (2014; 2019)

Jacob's Room to ChooseJacob’s Room to Choose (2019), by Sarah Hoffman and Ian Hoffman, reintroduces readers to Jacob, the protagonist of their 2014 children’s picture book Jacob’s New Dress.

In Jacob’s New Dress the protagonist shares his desire to wear a dress with his parents. They take a little convincing but are quite supportive; in fact, Jacob’s mom helps him sew a dress. Jacob does deal with bullying when he wears his new dress to school, but his best friend Sophie, a supportive girl who reappears in Jacob’s Room to Choose, stands up for him. Continue reading

ARCs

One of the best things about book blogging is having access to Advanced Reader Copies of amazing books through NetGalley and, more directly, from authors and publishers. I am currently reading two amazing books for middle-grade readers, but I think both will be enjoyed by audiences 12 and up.

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

The first, Kwame Mbalia’s Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky will spark curiosity and excitement about African and African American folklore. It needs to be in every 6th grade+ classroom.

Tristan is a well developed complex character who young readers are sure to admire. He is brave even when he is scared and loyal even when he is annoyed. Mbalia’s descriptions of settings and artifacts are cinematic. I’m a reader and rarely think a book must be made into a film but this book must be made into a film. I want to see this movie. I want to see Tristan and Gum Baby and Brer Rabbit.

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The second, Lindsay Lackey’s All the Impossible Things, uses subtle doses of magical realism to allow readers to access the protagonist, Red’s, inner thoughts. Red’s mom is in prison and she is bouncing around from foster home to foster home… so far. I’m only a few chapters in but felt compelled to declare my love!!

 

More on these books soon!

Perez Hilton’s The Boy with Pink Hair (2011)

The Boy with Pink Hair by Perez Hilton (September 1, 2011) Hardcover

Perez Hilton’s The Boy with Pink Hair (2011) is a bubblegum pink drenched story of an exceptional pink-haired boy who is loved and supported by his family but bullied at school because of his unique appearance. The Boy with Pink Hair isn’t given a proper name, instead he is identified by the one thing that sets him about from everyone else.

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Early Chapter Books feat. Girls & STEM

Getting girls excited about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) as well as recognizing structural barriers to the participation of women and girls in STEM fields, have been part of public discourse for awhile now. I’ve reviewed several children’s picture books that explore important contributions women have made to STEM fields, including books written by Julia Finley Mosca for Innovation Press’ Amazing Scientists series about Patricia Bath and Temple Grandin. Other available books seek to make STEM accessible and exciting to young readers while prompting them to imagine themselves as creators. Picture books that take that strategy include Josh Funk’s How to Code a Sandcastle and Laura Roettiger’s Aliana Reaches for the Moon.

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Erin Twamley and Joshua Sneideman’s Everyday Superheroes: Women in STEM Careers

Authors: Erin Twamley and Joshua Sneideman

Illustrator: A Collective

Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing

Published: 2019

Purchase

If asked to name STEM careers many of us will immediately form a mental image of an astronaut, maybe even a paleontologist or zoologist, but few of us are likely to imagine many of the careers explored in Everyday Superheroes Women in STEM Careers (2019). These careers include virtual-world creator, cartographer, environmental lawyer, and machine learning engineer. This book provides a much-needed look at a variety of science, technology, math, and engineering jobs as well as women’s contributions to them. Continue reading

Coming Soon: Dani Gabriel’s Sam!

Sam!

Sam!, Penny Candy Books’ upcoming release about a transgender boy’s decision to share his gender identity with his family, is thoughtfully written by Dani Gabriel and warmly illustrated by Robert Liu-Trujillo. The story centers on a racially ambiguous family, all with thick dark hair and tan skin warmed by yellow undertones. This makes it one of only a handful of queer children’s books to engage both racial and gender diversity through major characters. Continue reading

YA Coming Soon: Nicki Richard’s Demon in the White Lands

Image result for Nicki Richard’s Demon in the White LandsGuest Review by Sara Austin, PhD

Because there was so much apocalyptic YA fiction, it is rare to find something truly different, but Nicki Richard’s Demon in the White Lands delivers just that. Samuel, the main character of the novel, is not gifted with magic by birth or circumstance. This lack of “Chosen One” status is what sets Demon in the White Lands apart from many other entries into the genre. Samuel is relatable, a flawed character whose decisions seem realistic. Also, because Samuel is not special in a traditional YA sense, Richard relies on characters and relationships to drive her plot. Continue reading