Friday, July 20, 2018

ROCKIN' READS: Heartseeker

By: Melinda Beatty
G.P. Putnam's sons, 2018. Fiction 327p.

Only Fallows has a special gift, or cunning as she calls it. She can see lies. They are beautiful but what it looks like depends on the lie being told. If you mean to do harm its an ugly black, if you want to hide shame its blues and purples. An exaggeration is pink, fear is green and kindness is like a twinkling fire. Along with being able to see lies or untruths Only can't tell a lie. It causes her so much pain that she becomes sick.

The kingdom where Only Fallows lives is in need of her gift or cunning. The King hears about her cunning and she is taken from her beloved orchard and forced to live in the castle and serve the King. She discovers while living at the castle that there are traitors who live in the kingdom that would cause harm to the kingdom and herself. She must use not only her gifts and cleverness to help the kingdom but her heart as well.

This was a delightful book that teaches that truth is always going to want to come forward no matter what.

ROCKIN' READS: Look at the Weather


Look at the Weather 

By Britta Teckentrup
Translated and adapted by Shelley Tanaka
Owlkid Books, 2018. Informational. 150 p.

"Look at the Weather" is a basic but comprehensive exploration of different stages of weather and how it works. Through these beautiful illustrations, Britta Teckentrup has explored different stages of weather; sun, rain, snow and extreme weather, in countryside, city and seaside landscapes. 

I can't get enough of this book. It made me want to go outside. I was immediately entranced by these simplistic and beautiful images and the feelings it emoted of having been caught in a similar summer storm or seeing fog settling on the water. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

ROCKIN' READS: The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in this Game Called Life

The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in this Game Called Life
by Kwame Alexander
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017. informational. 169 p.
To Shakespeare, all the world's a stage, but to Alexander, all the world is a playing field. This nonfiction companion to Alexander's Newbery winning book, The Crossover, is a collection of advice about basketball and life. Each of the 52 "rules" is supported by examples and quotes from famous people, mostly athletes, but including some non-athletes like Michelle Obama and Sonia Sotomayor. The advise is solid, cool, and is couched in accessible sports terminology to appeal to a young athlete.  Alexander's examples from the lives of famous people are well chosen and inspirational. This would be a great book to give to a reluctant reader  who is a sports lover.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

ROCKIN’ READS: Dad by My Side

Dad by My Side
By Soosh
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2018. Picture book.

“With Dad by my side, there’s nothing we can’t do.” Soft watercolor illustrations depict a larger-than-life father and his young daughter as they bond, play, learn, and help each other. Begun as a series of illustrations posted on Instagram, this debut picture book is a sweet and gentle celebration of the love between father and daughter.

Monday, July 16, 2018

ROCKIN' READS: Islandborn

By Junot Díaz
Illustrated by Leo Espinosa
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2018. Picture Book.

For a school assignment Lola and her class are asked to draw a picture based on the country where they came from—since “every kid in Lola’s school was from somewhere else.” Many of the kids were excited about drawing pictures of things that they remember; however, Lola is worried because she left the Island before she could remember anything. Ms. Obi her teacher tells Lola that she can ask others (such as her family and friends) what they remember about the Island and then draw a picture based on what she learns. Lola then works on trying to figure out just what the Island is like. This rockin’ read is a good story to introduce children to the fact that many people come from different places—and that many places have both good and bad things about them. Díaz and Espinosa’s text and illustrations are sensitive and honest all while presenting big thoughts to a young audience. All around, this is a great new picture book. A bonus is that this book was also published in Spanish as Lola.

Friday, July 13, 2018

ROCKIN' READS: Be Prepared

Written and Illustrated by Vera Brosgol
First Second, 2018. Graphic Novel. 244 p.

Vera is a nine year old girl who feels "too poor," "too Russian" and "too different" to fit in with her wealthy, suburban classmates in Albany. When Vera hears about a Russian summer camp she's eager to sign up, hopeful to be around kids who are a little more like her for once. It turns out that Orthodox Russian camp is an alienating place to be, with all the hazards of summer camp (mean older girls, a gross outhouse, bugs) combined with Russian history classes, uniforms, and church services in the pouring rain. For the most part, Vera has a hard, lonely summer in the middle of the woods. This makes her eventual successes even more triumphant.

This semi-autobiographical graphic novel is very funny and very honest. It can be really difficult to make friends and Brosgol does not shy away from this fact. Well paced, beautifully illustrated, emotional, poignant, and hilarious, Be Prepared is a great choice for older readers, especially fans of Raina Telgemeier's graphic novels. But it is sure to resonate with anyone who has ever had trouble fitting in. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

ROCKIN' READS: Amal Unbound

Amal Unbound
By Aisha Saeed
Nancy Paulsen Books, 2018. Fiction 226 p.

Amal loves school and wants to learn everything! She goes to an all-girl school in Pakistan. She is the oldest of four daughters and her mother gives birth the fifth child, also a daughter, but doesn't bounce back very quickly afterwards. Amal is required to stay home from school to care for her younger sisters and the house. As the days turn into weeks Amal's frustration grows. One day in town, she stands-up to an evil, powerful man whose family, the Khans, rule the area. He requires Amal to become a servant at his home, since her father is already indebted to him. Missing her family and struggling to fit in with the other servants, Amal is able to find opportunities, despite her unfavorable circumstances. Will she be able to stand-up against the Khans or will her indentured servitude go on forever?

This rockin' read is especially to inspire strong girls, no matter their circumstances, to continue in the fight toward change and being true to yourself.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Display : Matthew Kirby

Matthew J. Kirby is the critically acclaimed and award-winning author of the middle grade novels The Clockwork ThreeIcefallThe Lost KingdomInfinity Ring Book 5: Cave of Wonders, and The Quantum League series, the Dark Gravity Sequence, and the Assassin’s Creed series, Last Descendants. He was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start, he has won the Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery, the PEN Center USA award for Children’s Literature, and the Judy Lopez Memorial Award, and has been named to the New York Public Library’s 100 Books for Reading and Sharing, and the ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults lists. He is also a school psychologist, and currently lives in Utah with his wife and three step-kids.

A Taste For Monsters
By: Matthew J. Kirby
In 1888, seventeen-year-old Evelyn Fallow, herself disfigured by the phosphorus in the match factory where she worked, has been hired as a maid to Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man-- but when Jack the Ripper murders begin she and Merrick find themselves haunted by the ghosts of the slain women, and Evelyn is caught up in the mystery of Jack's identity.
By Matthew J. Kirby
Princess Solveig and her siblings are trapped in a hidden fortress tucked between towering mountains and a frozen fjord, along with her best friend and an army of restless soldiers all awaiting news of the king's victory in battle, but as they wait for winter's end and the all-encompassing ice to break, acts of treachery make it clear that a traitor lurks in their midst.
By Matthew J. Kirby
Ben Warner is invited to join a "science camp" led by a quantum physicist Dr. Madeleine Hughes, and with his new friend Peter he discovers the secret art of Actuation--the ability to change reality by imagining it differently--but he also finds that there are people willing to kill for that secret.
By Matthew J. Kirby
Desperately searching for the other Concentrators that are fatally disrupting Earth's orbit, Eleanor and her companions are labeled as terrorists by G.E.T. forces that would eliminate all but a few select people.
By Matthew J. Kirby
Eleanor and her mother Samantha are working seperately and preparing for a journey to find the Master Concentrator when an alien spacecraft lands on Earth and throws the globe into a crisis that Eleanor works to control.
By Matthew J. Kirby
Nothing in Owen's life has been right since his father died in prison, accused of a crime Owen is certain he didn't commit. Monroe, the IT guy at school, might finally bring Owen the means to clear his father's name by letting him use an Animus-a device that lets users explore genetic memories buried within their own DNA. During a simulation, Owen uncovers the existence of a powerful relic long considered a legend-the Trident of Eden. Now two secret organizations will stop at nothing to take possession of this artifact-the Brotherhood of Assassins and the Templar Order. It becomes clear the only way to save himself is to find the Trident first.--Provided by publisher.
By Matthew J. Kirby
There are still two pieces of the Trident of Eden to find, and both groups are determined to not repeat their mistakes. The next piece is said to have been buried with Mongol Warlord Genghis Khan, whose tomb has never been found. Now the teens on either side of the conflict will have to go deep into simulations in war-torn Mongolian China in a race against time to discover the next piece-- and ensure their safety--before the others.
By Matthew J. Kirby
Isaiah, a rogue Templar agent, has discovered both the faith prong and the fear prong of the powerful Trident of Eden relic. Should he posses the devotion prong there is little that can stop him from destroying the world. Owen and his fellow teens have established an uneasy alliance across Assassin and Templar lines in order to stop Isaiah while they still can. They discover that it is on Viking battlefields that the secrets of the devotion prong lie. The actions they take will change the world of Assassin's Creed forever.

ROCKIN' READS:The Parker Inheritance

The Parker Inheritance 
by Varian Johnson
Arthur A. Levine, 2018. Fiction, 331 p.
Candice has moved in to what used to be her grandmother's home for the summer. There she meets the neighbor boy, Brandon, and together they start to investigate the circumstances surrounding an event many years ago that had brought disgrace on her grandmother. Candice finds a letter among her grandmother's things that tells of a hidden treasure and contains clues to how it could be recovered. As Brandon and Candice follow the clues, they learn about the town's past which is steeped in prejudice and injustice.

Here is a book that is going to be on a lot of potential Newbery lists this fall. Johnson brilliantly unfolds multiple stories from different generations. One deals with the people in the town during the 1950's and their struggles with racial prejudice and segregation. Another deals with the problems of LGBT prejudice today. Johnson works in a great mystery and a sweet friendship. Give this to confident readers who liked Holes or When Your Reach Me.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

ROCKIN' READS: The Magic is in You

The Magic is in You
By Colin Hosten and Brooke Vitale
Illustrated by Grace Lee
Disney Press, 2018. Informational.

This short and simple new book is very sweetly inspiring, and as a big Disney fan I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little choked up by the end. This book features favorite Disney and Pixar characters from new and older films and reminds readers that despite hardships, they can succeed. For me, reading this book reminded me exactly of why I continue to love Disney films - there are inspiring messages to be found for kids and adults. As an added bonus, this book is filled with beautiful watercolor illustrations that play a big role in helping the text flow from vignette to vignette.

This is a rockin read for Disney fans who may be needing some extra inspiration.