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

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

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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

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

Barry Wittenstein’s Sonny’s Bridge: Jazz Legend Sony Rollins Finds His Groove

Barry Wittenstein’s Sonny’s Bridge: Jazz Legend Sonny Rollins Finds His Groove (2019) takes readers on a stroll through New York City that begins at the height of the Harlem Renaissance. The picture book manages to be both intimate and expansive. Although a biography of jazz great Sonny Rollins, his story is deeply contextualized within cultural and political history. Keith Mallett’s illustrations capture mood and motion, each a work of art that brings the story to life. Continue reading

Sophie Labelle’s A Girl Like Any Other (2013)

A Girl Like Any Other

Like most children’s picture books that feature transgender children, Sophie Labelle’s 2013 publication, A Girl Like Any Other, was self-published with the help of crowdfunding. Readers are introduced to a quirky young girl who shares what it is like being transgender in this first-person-narrative which is sure to reflect many young children’s experiences. Continue reading