Young Reader

There are scores of successful individual immigration stories—for example, Allen Say’s Grandfather’s Journey, Helen Recorvit’s My Name is Yoon, Eleanor Estes’ The Hundred Dresses, Francisco Jimenez’ The Circuit, and Shaun Tan’s The Arrival. But until now it has seemed almost impossible to write a composite immigration picture book essay without being reductive or marzipan, without coming off like “We Are the World.” Their Great Gift is clear, honest, and timely, and it belongs in all elementary school classrooms and home libraries. Grades K–4. —GA

 

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Their Great Gift: Courage, Sacrifice, and Hope in a New Land Cover Image
By John Coy, Wing Young Huie (Photographer)
$19.99
ISBN: 9781467780544
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Carolrhoda Books - March 1st, 2016

A series of overlapping stories circle, mesmerize, and change lives and the course of history in this cleverly framed tale by Evan Turk. With the power of story and a dash of mischief and cunning, a small boy just might have the key to defeating a terrifying djinn of the desert. Based on Moroccan traditional storytelling, this folktale bedazzles the mind, while its energetic, whirling art captures an entire world of desert and magic. Highly recommended. Ages 5–9.  —TERA

 

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The Storyteller Cover Image
By Evan Turk, Evan Turk (Illustrator)
$9.99
ISBN: 9781481435185
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - June 28th, 2016

Everything about this picture book is stunning, from the profound and tender story of renowned artist Louise Bourgeois, to the whimsical visual imaginings of illustrator Isabelle Arsenault that riff off Bourgeois’ art. Best known for her massive and enigmatic sculptures of spiders, Bourgeois’ life was heavily influenced by the threads of comfort and love and loss between her mother and her and by the textures of her childhood, which resulted in the experimental fabric art of her later years. A first-rate introduction for children and a treat for adults. Grades 2 & up. —TERA

 

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Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois Cover Image
By Amy Novesky, Isabelle Arsenault (Illustrator)
$18.95
ISBN: 9781419718816
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harry N. Abrams - March 1st, 2016

Snow days in Santa Cruz are few and far between (okay, I’ve never experienced one). Yet even one day of snuggling back in under the covers because school is cancelled can be a treasure chest of nostalgia. This book captures that feeling and adds the longing of a young child for her mother to curl up next to her, just this once, staying home from work too. Caldecott Award–winner Beth Krommes’ distinctive wood-engraving illustrations create the magically charged atmosphere of the winter holidays. This is a gorgeous book, sure to enchant every age. Ages 4–7.  —TERA

 

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Before Morning Cover Image
By Joyce Sidman, Beth Krommes (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780547979175
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Houghton Mifflin - October 4th, 2016

The sheer joy and exuberance of learning is revealed when Frank, a young boy, and Lucky, a black Lab pup from a shelter, are brought together. “Both had a lot to learn.” They learn about science—“Science is when you wonder about something, so you observe it and ask questions about it”—and specifically about botany, entomology, and chemistry because Lucky had “wondered about skunks.” They learn about math—“Let’s say a dog comes in from outside and gets one biscuit, but there are three people in the living room. How many more biscuits should the dog receive?”—and specifically about fractions. At night, how much of the bed belongs to Lucky or to Frank? The answer, as shown in multiple panels, changes during the course of the night. They learn about history and perspective when a cake vanishes—“Sometimes in history there are different versions of what really happened, depending on who is telling the story.” They learn about geography and languages—Frank learns Spanish; Lucky tries to learn Duck. Learning is all around us, and the love of it is celebrated in Perkins’ deadpan but exceedingly funny text and delightful pen-and-ink and watercolor paintings. This is my favorite picture book of the year. Grades 1 & up.    —GA

 

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Frank and Lucky Get Schooled Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062373458
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greenwillow Books - June 14th, 2016

Growing up black in the South was a dangerous thing to do. Some people are kind and welcoming to all, some people are not. Stella knows this, but she figures things are okay, as there hasn’t been any trouble in a while. Then one summer, that all changes. Her father wants to take the test to vote. The Klan is becoming active again. And Stella is there, watching, listening, learning, and writing it all down. This is a moving, uplifting story of family, community, and strength in the face of the worst kind of adversity.  --Flannery

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Stella by Starlight Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9781442494985
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum Books - March 29th, 2016

It’s the summer of 1968, and 11-year old Delphine and her two sisters have just been sent off to Oakland, California to live with their estranged mother. However, their mother is busy with her own things, and sends the kids off to a summer camp at the People’s Center, run by the Black Panther Party. Over the summer, Delphine and her sisters learn a lot about the world they live in, the mother who left them, and themselves. Not only does this have a great local setting, but it talks about the Civil Rights Movement on the West Coast, a little tackled subject.  --Flannery

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One Crazy Summer Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780060760908
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Amistad - December 27th, 2011

In the late 1880’s, a call went out across America: Free land in Oklahoma, for any who will settle it. Many of those who rushed to claim that land were newly freed slaves, eager for a fresh start in a new place, and filled with the fire and hope required to survive settling the frontier. Based on her family’s own history, Joyce Carol Thomas has written a beautiful book that tells of that call and the hope that came with it. This lovely, lyrical book is perfect for reading out loud.  --Flannery

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I Have Heard of a Land Cover Image
By Joyce Carol Thomas, Floyd Cooper (Illustrator)
$6.99
ISBN: 9780064436175
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins - January 5th, 2000

Long before the Civil Rights Movement, Ida B. Wells stood up and took a stand against discrimination. Growing up during Reconstruction, Wells saw what life could have been like for African Americans, and when it ended, she used the power of the printed press to advocate for change. In addition to fighting for black rights, Wells fought for the women’s right to vote. This wonderful picture book by noted author Walter Dean Myers is a fitting tribute to an incredible woman.  --Flannery

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Ida B. Wells: Let the Truth Be Told Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780060544683
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Amistad - January 27th, 2015

Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa, and she’s very happy there with her friends and family. But there’s one thing Africa can’t give her: Anna wants to see snow! This is a sweet, fun book about a charming, clever girl. If you’ve got a young reader who’s burned through Ivy & Bean, Judy Moody, or Junie B. Jones, give them the Anna Hibiscus series, and they’ll find a kindred spirit!  --Flannery

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Have Fun, Anna Hibiscus! Cover Image
By Atinuke, Lauren Tobia (Illustrator)
$5.99
ISBN: 9781610670081
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Kane/Miller Book Publishers - March 1st, 2011

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