Wow! Outrun the Moon (G.P Putnam’s Sons, 2016) by Stacey Lee is an outstanding read. Set in San Francisco during the 1906 earthquake, it’s hard to put down. (And such a gorgeous cover.)
Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to go to high school at St. Clare’s School for Girls, but who would ever let a Chinese girl in? The Chinese have their own school–never mind that it ends at 8th grade. Her ingenuity and resourcefulness gets Mercy in, but she’s not accepted by her classmates and even many of the staff. Then the whole community is stricken by the earthquake. Mercy, not only survives, but with the help of some classmates makes a difference to many involved in the disaster.
Stacey Lee is a founding member of the We Need Diverse Books movement. Here’s her website. Check out all her books here.
Previously I recommended her The Secret of a Heart Note and I should have recommended the wonderful The Downstairs Girl.
Perfect Picture Book Friday
Powwow Day (Charlesbridge, 2022) by Traci Sorell and illustrated by Madelyn Goodnight is a great book to celebrate the upcoming 10th Anniversary of Multicultural Children’s Book Day on January 26th.
River is usually excited about Powwow Day, but this year she can’t dance like she did before she got sick. She doesn’t even enjoy the scents of sage and sweetgrass when they arrive on the grounds. Everyone dances except River and she can’t even feel the drumbeat. She’s too tired. But when her friends and family do the girls’ jingle dance, a healing dance, River can feel the drums and knows she’ll dance again.
This is a sweet story of hope. It also has good backmatter that explains powwows, talks about the tribes, the drums, and the dances. I really enjoyed the information of how the jingle dance originated with the 100 year ago flu pandemic.
Author Traci Sorell is a member of the Cherokee Nation. Visit Traci’s website to learn more about her and read about her other current and forthcoming books.
I loved the illustrations by Madelyn Goodnight, who is a member of the Chickasaw Nation. On Madelyn’s website, you can read about her, look at some of her art, and check out her books.
I was given one copy for review from Charlesbridge and will pass it on to one lucky commenter drawn at random. (USA only) Comment by January 27th for a chance to win.
I expected to like The Left-Handed Booksellers of London (Katherine Tegen Books, 2020) by Garth Nix, and I wasn’t wrong. What’s better than fantasy mixed with booksellers? I’m so happy it is a series and that book two is already out.
Set in an alternative 1983, eighteen-year-old Susan Arkshaw goes to London early for college, but also plans to find out more about her father–a man she’s never met. She doesn’t expect to run into magic. But then she meets Merlin, a left-handed bookseller, in the very upsetting occasion of him killing “Uncle Frank” with a prick of a pin. When he protects her from a horse-sized bug, and says “we’ll both be dead if we stay,” she follows him out the window. It turns out her quest and his overlap. Will they both get the answers they are searching for?
I like the humor, mysteries, and of course the magical parts of this adventure. More than any of the author’s other books, I’d love to see this one made into a movie.
This bestselling author has a number of fantasy titles plus some stand alone books–check them out on his website. Read about Garth Nix here. And, yes, as his FAQ answers, Garth Nix is his real name.
Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
The Star That Always Stays (Holiday House, 2022) by Anna Rose Johnson is a fascinating historical novel set after the turn of the twentieth century. It’s based on the author’s ancestors and the book includes their photographs at the end.
Norvia Nelson had to leave her home on Beaver Island and move to the city. And now with her mother remarrying she must not tell anyone she’s part Indian. Her dream is to go to high school. Will she fit in? Especially when people discover her parents are divorced? But more importantly, will she ever be happy?
What an interesting look at the culture of the times. I love the stories Grand-père and the two Marys tell of Norvia’s Obijwe heritage, and how the Ward family encourages Norvia in her Christian faith. There are great themes in this story–adapting to a blending family, prejudice, friendship, love. The novel has chapters set in previous times in Norvia’s life to show what has happened in the past.
This is the author’s first book–Wow! Anna Rose Johnson is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Learn more about her here and check out the awards, lists, etc. for Anna’s debut book here.
Perfect Picture Book Friday
I’m Not Scared, YOU’RE Scared! (Flamingo Books, 2022) by Seth Meyers and illustrated by Rob Sayegh is funny, absurd, and sweet. I think kids will find it very relatable.
Bear is easily scared. He’s even scared of his own reflection, which is why he won’t brush his teeth. Fortunately, his friend Rabbit challenges him with an adventure. When Rabbit asks, “Bear, are you scared?” He replies with “I’m not scared, you’re scared!” and steps forward into whatever frightens him. But when Rabbit is in trouble Bear’s fear for Rabbit is stronger than his fears of everything else and he acts to save his friend.
Seth Meyers is an Emmy Award-winning writer and comedian known for his work on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” Often, celebrity books only work because of who wrote them. So nice to find an exception.
Rob Sayegh is an author and illustrator. On Rob’s website, you can read about him, see his books, and see samples of his varied styles of art.