Posted in PB, So Many Good Books

American Desi

Perfect Picture Book Friday

I loved American Desi (Little, Brown and Company, 2022) by Jyoti Rajan Gopal and illustrated by Supriya Kelkar. And whether one is dealing with multiple cultures or not, we all wonder where we fit in and could find this story reassuring.

In the picture book, the main character wonders “which is the color of me?” Does she fit on the Indian side or the American side? As we go through the story we realize with her she doesn’t have to pick one or the other–she can just be who she is.

Told in subtle rhyme, the left page shows Desi events and the right page American ones. My favorite spread says,

“One foot here, one foot there
Straddling, bridging worlds apart.
Searching deep within my heart
The different colors of me.”

The art is fabric, paper, mixed media, and digital collage which I think is perfect to represent this story.

The book has garnered attention:

Read about the author Jyoti here. Her next book is ready for pre-order here. And she’s sold four more, which you can read more about here. She’s been busy! Jyoti also has a lovely page of inspiration.

Supriya illustrated this book, but is also an author–see more here. You can find all her books here and see all the notice about them here. And finally check out Supriya’s wonderful portfolio.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Nerviest Girl in the World

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

If you like historical fiction and humor, you’ll love The Nerviest Girl in the World (Alfred A. Knopf, 2020) by Melissa Wiley.

When Pearl’s three big brothers get hired to be “real cowboys” in Mr. Corrigan’s moving picture reels, she is fascinated. After hanging on to a runaway horse herself, Pearl is hired, too. But if her mother finds out, her dangerous career as a stunt girl will be over.

I love Pearl’s conversations with the ostriches–yes, they raise those too on their cattle and sheep ranch. I love Pearl’s conflicts with her nemesis. And I love her bravery. It’s great getting a look at what people thought about this new form of entertainment, too.

This book is a Junior Library Guild selection and Brave Writer Arrow book.

Melissa Wiley is also the author of a number of easy readers and the Martha and Charlotte books about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s great-grandmother and grandmother. Read about Melissa here and see her books here.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Elephant’s Girl

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Celesta Rimington‘s novel, The Elephant’s Girl (Crown Books for Young Readers, 2020), is such an amazing book. I love the first line: “The wind and I have a complicated relationship.” But it’s not only the wind that talks to Lex.

Twelve-year-old Lexington literally lives at the zoo. She was brought there by a tornado; sheltered by an elephant, Nyah; found by a ghost, and taken in and named by the zoo’s train engineer, Roger Marsh. She doesn’t know her actual birthday, who her parents were, or where she came from. And now after seven years, Lex is finally old enough to help with the elephant training sessions. What she doesn’t expect is that Nyah will communicate with her through images. How is she supposed to figure out what they mean?

Celesta has another novel out called Tips for Magicians. I’ll have to check it out. If you want to know more about the author, go to her website where you can read some fun facts.

Posted in PB, So Many Good Books

Escape Goat

Often celebrity books irritate me. Many are published because of WHO the author is–not the quality of the writing. Some break basic rules that would normally get a picture book rejected. But celebrity names sell, so editors often don’t get much editorial control. That said, I recently enjoyed a book published by a celebrity. Probably helps she’s a writer. *smiles*

Escape Goat (Harper, 2020) by Ann Patchett and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser is definitely more than a book with a punny title.

A little goat decide to escape to the see the great world. He samples a cabbage from the garden, and then starts getting blamed for all kinds of mishaps on the farm. Mr. Farmer raises the fence on the goat pen. Goat still escapes and is blamed again. Mr. Farmer raises the fence more so goat can’t jump over. But he can scoot under. Again, he’s blamed. Until the farmer’s daughter speaks up.

At first, I was taken aback by all the lying in this book, but then I realized how it could create such great discussions between adults and children reading the book. Probably most of us have at one point tried to blame our actions on someone else–this story takes it to the ridiculous. That makes it easy to talk about the subject.

Ann Patchett is a well-published author of many adult books. This is her second children’s book. Read more about her here.

Robin Glasser may be a familiar name as she illustrated the Fancy Nancy books. Before she was an illustrator she was a ballet dancer and you can see influence from dance in some of the illustrations in this story. Read more about her here.

Posted in PB, So Many Good Books

People Are Wild

Perfect Picture Book Friday

I love a story that turns a concept upside down. And that’s what People Are Wild (Alfred A. Knopf, 2022) by Margaux Meganck does. Instead of the story being told from a child looking at animals, the animals are looking at people.

Words and art are a great match. It’s hard to choose a favorite spread because I loved them so much. I also like the variety of animals and how there is more information about them after the story ends. It’s nice to see diversity in the human characters too.

This is Margaux’s first picture book she has illustrated and written. Previously, she illustrated Kathy Wolff’s All We Need.

Read more about the author/illustrator here.