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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Storytime: New & Notable Picture Books (41)



This week's Storytime features aerial ABCs, a town's new bridge, the invention of a new alphabet, a curious young scientist, and the inspiring Jane Goodall!

ABC: The Alphabet from the Sky
By Benedikt GroB & Joey Lee
Ages 3-5, Available Now




Buy It
Goodreads
Geographer and designer duo Benedikt Gross and Joey Lee have taken the alphabet to new heights—literally! Using satellite imagery and computer technology, the pair has discovered "accidental letters" all over the world: in roads, rivers, buildings, lakes, and more. Take a journey around the Earth in 26 letters with this special book.

From a young age, seeing the world from above has never ceased to fascinate me. Maybe it was the fact that my family never flew or that everything looked so very different - and orderly! - from above. This ABC book invites kids to search bird's-eye images of cities and towns across the United States, searching for buildings, roads, and bodies of water that are shaped like letters of the alphabet. A fun introduction to the alphabet and technology; it'd be fun to look up Google Earth pictures of familiar places after reading!


 
From ABC: The Alphabet from the Sky. Penguin, 2016.

Tinyville Town Gets to Work!
Written & Illustrated by Brian Biggs
Ages 3-5, Available Now



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Goodreads
Tinyville Town is a growing, thriving city full of interesting people. The townsfolk can’t wait to show readers around!

In Tinyville Town Gets to Work!, we see the evolution of a construction project to solve a problem. When there is a traffic jam on the Tinyville Town bridge, the residents decide to work together to build a new one. By following the hard work of the engineers and construction workers, readers will get to meet many different people in the town while watching the exciting new bridge take shape. The large picture book format and Biggs’s bright art brilliantly show the bridge, which was extensively researched to make it authentic for readers.

Every town has a bridge, and a trip over Tinyville’s new one will be fun for kids time and time again.

The new Tinyville Town series feels a lot like a Richard Scarry for a new generation (though, Scarry's books are still, from what I can tell, well-loved). In this first hardcover picture book, which released simultaneously with two board books, each about a different community helper profession, the mayor of Tinyville must enlist the help of an engineer and city planner to provide a new, safer bridge for the town. I appreciated the diversity of the characters and roles represented in this first Tinyville Town book.


From Tinyville Town Gets to Work! Abrams, 2016.

Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille
Written by Jen Bryant; Illustrated by Boris Kulikov
Ages 6-8, Available Now


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Goodreads
An inspiring picture-book biography of Louis Braille—a blind boy so determined to read that he invented his own alphabet.

Louis Braille was just five years old when he lost his sight. He was a clever boy, determined to live like everyone else, and what he wanted more than anything was to be able to read.

Even at the school for the blind in Paris, there were no books for him.

And so he invented his own alphabet—a whole new system for writing that could be read by touch. A system so ingenious that it is still used by the blind community today.

Having been completely ignorant to the story of Louis Braille before reading this picture book, I must say that his story is remarkable. The amount of persistence it must have taken from someone so young to defy expectations and remain determined with so little support is truly inspiring. Kulikov's illustrations are beautifully done; I especially enjoyed his take on how Braille experienced the world once his vision was lost.



From Six Dots. Knopf, 2016.

Ada Twist, Scientist
Written by Andrea Beaty; Illustrated by David Roberts
Ages 5-7, Available Now


  

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Like her classmates, builder Iggy and inventor Rosie, scientist Ada, a character of color, has a boundless imagination and has always been hopelessly curious. Why are there pointy things stuck to a rose? Why are there hairs growing inside your nose? When her house fills with a horrific, toe-curling smell, Ada knows it’s up to her to find the source. What would you do with a problem like this? Not afraid of failure, Ada embarks on a fact-finding mission and conducts scientific experiments, all in the name of discovery. But, this time, her experiments lead to even more stink and get her into trouble!


Ada Twist is such a smart, curious, determined character - I adore her! A scientist from the start, Ada is constantly wondering about and questioning the world around her. Who? What? Why? Where? When? Her sense of wonder is infectious. A fantastic addition to Beaty & Roberts' growing series. 
From Ada Twist, Scientist. Abrams, 2016.

I Am Jane Goodall
Written by Brad Meltzer; Illustrated by Chris Eliopoulos
Ages 5-8, Available Now




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We can all be heroes. That’s the inspiring message of this New York Times bestselling picture book biography series from historian and author Brad Meltzer. Learn all about Jane Goodall, the chimpanzee scientist.
 
Each picture book in this series is a biography of a significant historical figure, told in a simple, conversational, vivacious way, and always focusing on a character trait that makes the person a role model for kids. The heroes are depicted as children throughout, telling their life stories in first-person present tense, which keeps the books playful and accessible to young children. And each book ends with a line of encouragement, a direct quote, photos, a timeline, and a source list. This tenth book in the series features Jane Goodall, the scientist and conservationist who is famous for her work with chimpanzees.


I think this is my favorite in the Ordinary People Change the World series (so far!). A beautiful reminder of the power of passion and persistence. I love that Goodall pursued her goals, never backing down from the challenges she faced, including gender prejudice and lack of support for her methods. Also, it is seriously awesome that, because she could not travel to Africa without a female companion, her mother accompanied her!


From I Am Jane Goodall. Penguin, 2016.


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Love any of the books featured this week? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Cover Reveals - Young Adult (84)



The Wish Granter by C.J. Redwine
Goodreads
The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of SĂșndraille’s king. Their mother was murdered. The royal family died mysteriously. And now Thad sits on the throne of a kingdom whose streets are suddenly overrun with violence that he can’t stop.

Growing up ignored by the nobility, Ari never wanted to be a proper princess. And when Thad suddenly starts training Ari to take his place, she realizes that her brother’s ascension to the throne wasn’t fate. It was the work of a Wish Granter named Alistair Teague, who tricked Thad into wishing away both the safety of his people and his soul in exchange for the crown.

So Ari recruits the help of Thad’s enigmatic new weapons master, Sebastian Vaughn, to teach her how to fight Teague. With secret ties to Teague’s criminal empire, Sebastian might just hold the key to discovering Alistair’s weaknesses, saving Ari’s brother—and herself.

Noteworthy by Riley Redgate
Goodreads
It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight. But then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped . . . revered . . . all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.
The Sky Between You and Me by Catherine Alene
Goodreads
Lighter. Leaner. Faster.

Raesha will do whatever it takes to win Nationals. For her, competing isn't just about the speed of her horse or the thrill of the win. It's about honoring her mother's memory and holding on to a dream they once shared.

Lighter. Leaner. Faster.

For an athlete. Every second counts. Raesha knows minus five on the scale will let her sit deeper in the saddle, make her horse lighter on her feet. And lighter, leaner, faster gives her the edge she needs over the new girl on the team, a girl who keeps flirting with Raesha's boyfriend and making plans with her best friend.

So Raesha focuses on minus five. But if she isn't careful, she will lose more than just the people she loves. She will lose herself to Lighter. Leaner. Faster.

City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson
Goodreads
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl in this enthralling YA murder mystery set in Kenya.

In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn't exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill's personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.

With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.

Ten Miles One Way by Patrick Downes
Goodreads

The powerful story of a mind at the edge of unraveling, held together by love and acceptance.

Nest and Q walk through the city. Nest speaks and Q listens. Mile by mile, Nest tells Q about her life, her family, her past . . . and her Chimaera, the beast that preys on her mind and causes her to lose herself. Q knows only that his love for Nest runs deeper than the demon that plagues her thoughts, that he loves her in spite of—or perhaps because of—the personal battle she fights every day.

A beautifully-written, haunting story.

Well, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail
Goodreads



Gracie has never felt like this before. One day, she suddenly can’t breathe, can’t walk, can’t "anything" and the reason is standing right there in front of her, all tall and weirdly good-looking: A.J.

But it turns out A.J. likes not Gracie but Gracie s beautiful best friend, Sienna. Obviously Gracie is happy for Sienna. Super happy! She helps Sienna compose the best texts, responding to A.J. s surprisingly funny and appealing texts, just as if "she "were Sienna. Because Gracie is fine. Always! She’s had lots of practice being the sidekick, second-best.

It’s all good. Well, almost all. She’s trying.

Funny and tender, Well, That Was Awkward goes deep into the heart of middle school, and finds that even with all the heartbreak, there can be explosions of hope and moments of perfect happiness.

Grace and the Fever by Zan Romanoff
Goodreads
Flash.
Click.
“Hey, who are you?"

For years, Grace Thomas has had an easy answer to that question: no one. Not in real life, anyway. Online, in Fever Dream fandom, she’s Gigi, who writes daily posts about Jes, Kendrick, Land, and Solly. But IRL? She’s as impossibly ordinary as the boys in the band are outrageously, emphatically not.

When a paparazzo captures a chance, late-night encounter between her and Jes, Grace finds herself suddenly inside of the photographs she’s been looking at all her life. She's drawn into the complicated world of the Fever Dream boys, and starts to see the stark divide between their highly public image and carefully guarded private lives— and how desperate they are to keep certain things out of the spotlight.

As she turns from unwitting accomplice to de-facto partner-in-crime, Grace has to learn to navigate their high-stakes world alongside her own private, personal reckoning: If the boys she’s built her life around for so many years are just a facade, who is she, really? And even if life with Fever Dream is nothing like she’d imagined it, is she really ready to wake up yet?

Kill All Happies by Rachel Cohn
Goodreads

Last Call at Happies! Tonight, 8 P.M. Senior Class Only! Please with the Shhhh….

This is it. Graduation. And Vic Navarro is throwing the most epic party Rancho Soldado has ever seen. She’s going to pull off the most memorable good-bye ever for her best friends, give Happies—the kitschy restaurant that is her desert town’s claim to fame—a proper send-off into bankruptcy, and oh yes, hook up with her delicious crush, Jake Zavala-Kim. She only needs to keep the whole thing a secret so that her archnemesis, Miss Ann Thrope, Rancho Soldado’s nightmare Town Councilwoman and high school Economics teacher, doesn’t get Vic tossed in jail.

With the music thumping, alcohol flowing, bodies mashing, and Thrope nowhere to be seen, Vic’s party is a raging success. That is, until Happies fans start arriving in droves to say good-bye, and storm the deserted theme park behind the restaurant. Suddenly what was a small graduation bash is more like Coachella on steroids with a side of RASmatazz pie. The night is so not going as planned. And maybe that’s the best plan of all.

How to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore
Goodreads

Keep your enemies close, but your friends closer.

Olivia Clayton has mastered the art of tearing others down to stay on top. She and her best friend, Adrienne, rule their small southern town like all good mean girls do--through intimidation and manipulation.

After Olivia suffers a family tragedy and catches Adrienne sleeping with her boyfriend, Olivia is over it. She decides to make a change--but it's impossible to resist taking Adrienne down one last time. Up to her old tricks, Olivia convinces golden boy Whit DuRant to be her SAT tutor and her fake boyfriend. But when it starts to feel real, Whit gets caught up in Olivia and Adrienne's war.

Olivia may ruin everything she touches, but this time she won't go down without a fight--not if it means losing Whit.

And definitely not if it means losing what's left of herself.

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Goodreads
From the multi-award-winning author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe comes a gorgeous new story about love, identity, and families lost and found.

Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican-American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he? This humor-infused, warmly humane look at universal questions of belonging is a triumph.

A Psalm for Lost Girls by Katie Bayerl
Goodreads
I'll Give You the Sun meets True Detective in this brilliant YA debut about saints, sisters, and learning to let go.

Tess da Costa is a saint — a hand-to-god, miracle-producing saint. At least that's what the people in her hometown of New Avon, Massachusetts, seem to believe. And when Tess suddenly and tragically passes away, her small city begins feverishly petitioning the Pope to make Tess's sainthood official. Tess's mother is ecstatic over the fervor, while her sister Callie, the one who knew Tess best, is disgusted overcome with the feeling that her sister is being stolen from her all over again.

The fervor for Tess's sainthood only grows when Ana Langone, a local girl who s been missing for six months, is found alive at the foot of one of Tess's shrines. It's the final straw for Callie.

With the help of Tess's secret boyfriend Danny, Callie's determined to prove that Tess was something far more important than a saint; she was her sister, her best friend and a girl in love with a boy. But Callie's investigation uncovers much more than she bargained for: a hidden diary, old family secrets, and even the disturbing truth behind Ana's kidnapping.

Told in alternating perspectives, A Psalm for Lost Girls is at once funny, creepy and soulful; an impressive debut from a rising literary star.
Cold Summer by Gwen Cole

Goodreads
Today, he’s a high school dropout with no future.
Tomorrow, he’s a soldier in World War II.

Kale Jackson has spent years trying to control his time-traveling ability but hasn’t had much luck. One day he lives in 1945, fighting in the war as a sharpshooter and helplessly watching soldiers—friends—die. Then the next day, he’s back in the present, where WWII has bled into his modern life in the form of PTSD, straining his relationship with his father and the few friends he has left. Every day it becomes harder to hide his battle wounds, both physical and mental, from the past.

When the ex-girl-next-door, Harper, moves back to town, thoughts of what could be if only he had a normal life begin to haunt him. Harper reminds him of the person he was before the PTSD, which helps anchor him to the present. With practice, maybe Kale could remain in the present permanently and never step foot on a battlefield again. Maybe he can have the normal life he craves.

But then Harper finds Kale’s name in a historical article—and he’s listed as a casualty of the war. Kale knows now that he must learn to control his time-traveling ability to save himself and his chance at a life with Harper. Otherwise, he’ll be killed in a time where he doesn’t belong by a bullet that was never meant for him.

Definitions of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor
Goodreads

This heartbreaking, humorous novel is about three teens whose lives intersect in ways they never expected.

Reggie Mason is all too familiar with "the Three Stages of Depression." She believes she’s unlocked the secret to keeping herself safe: Nobody can hurt you if you never let them in.

Reggie encounters an unexpected challenge to her misanthropy: a Twizzler-chomping, indie film-making narcissist named Snake. Snake’s presence, while reassuring, is not exactly stable—especially since his ex-girlfriend is seven months pregnant. As Reggie falls for Snake, she must decide whether it’s time to rewrite the rules that have defined her.

Meg & Linus by Hanna Nowinski
Goodreads

Meg is newly single since Sophia went off to college, and she doesn’t particularly like it. When her best friend Linus refuses to approach Danny, the boy he likes, she finds the perfect project to distract herself from her own heartbreak. And Danny seems interested enough, but Linus continues to be oblivious, and maybe Sophia isn’t quite as out of the picture as Meg thought she was…
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Do you have a favorite recent new cover? Or a favorite from this list? Let me know in the comments!