Friday, March 15, 2019

March Book Picks


SMALL SPACES, by Katherine Arden, is top-notch creepy suspense. Sixth grader Ollie and the rest of her class go on a field trip to a local farm that’s got lots--and lots—of scarecrows. Things get especially spooky when the school bus breaks down, the mist comes up, and the weird bus driver issues a cryptic warning: "Avoid large places at night…keep to small." It’s beautifully crafted and kids should gobble it up. (MG)

ECHO NORTH, by Joanna Ruth Meyer, is a retelling of the East of the Sun, West of the Moon folktale, with shades of Beauty and the Beast. Echo Alkaev has had a nasty scar on her face ever since she was attacked by a great white wolf as a child. Years later, when her beloved father goes missing, she finds him in the woods with the same wolf and, in exchange for her father's freedom, agrees to live with the wolf in his enchanted home for one year. It’s a gorgeous, magically-told tale. (YA)

SPEAK, The Graphic Novel, by Laurie Halse Anderson, with art by Emily Carroll, is a terrific reworking of Anderson’s classic into the graphic novel format, making it accessible to an even wider audience. In this powerful story, an assault victim spends her freshman year of high school as an outcast, after she called the cops at a party the previous summer. Melinda's struggles to keep it together and find her voice are brought to life by Emily Carroll’s fine artwork—she won the Eisner award for her previous graphic novel, Through the Woods. (YA)

Picture Books:

In UP THE MOUNTAIN PATH, by Marianne Dubuc, Mrs. Badger is very old but, every Sunday, she hikes up the small mountain behind her house. She greets friends and helps out if she can. One day, she meets a cat named Lulu, who joins her. "Mrs. Badger shares with Lulu all the secrets of the mountain." Until a time comes when Mrs. Badger can’t make it up to the peak anymore, so Lulu brings her own discoveries to share with Mrs. Badger. Tender, moving, wise, and fun, with picture-perfect watercolor and colored pencil art.

Using only 32 words, GOOD BOY, by Sergio Ruzzier, tells a complete, satisfying, and increasingly fantastical story of a boy and his dog --or a dog and his boy??? From doing tricks around the house to a surprise journey to the moon, the action flows and ebbs with masterful timing. Ruzzier's color and line are unique and inspirational!

CARTER READS THE NEWSPAPER, written by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Don Tate, tells the story of Carter G. Woodson, who supplemented his meager education, and “got his first glimpse of the wider world," by reading the newspaper aloud to his father. Later, after working all day in the coal mines, Carter read the newspaper to other miners. Eventually, Carter finished high school and college, earned a PhD from Harvard, and made it his life’s work to celebrate a history of America “that includes all people.” It’s an excellent NF picture book bio about a “hero we sometimes forget.”


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