Posted in PB, So Many Good Books

Grandma’s Purse

Perfect Picture Book Friday
grandmas-purse.jpgGrandma’s Purse (Alfred A. Knopf, 2018) by Vanessa Brantley-Newton just makes me smile. Not only while reading it, but whenever I think about it.
Told from the viewpoint of a little girl who is excited “Mimi is coming for a visit,” the book shows us treasures from Grandma’s purse. And those magical things make her grandma Mimi. Items are explained and the little girl gets to use them.
I love how she calls her grandmother’s perfume “smell-good” and how Mimi explains that her coin purse “also holds memories.”
At the bottom of the purse, there’s a surprise, but you’ll have to read the book yourself to find out what it is.
This is one of Vanessa’s three authored books. To see the other two, and all the books she’s illustrated for other authors, go here.

Posted in Award Winners, So Many Good Books, YA Novels

Strange the Dreamer

strangethedreamer.jpgStrange the Dreamer (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2017) by Laini Taylor is a fascinating book. And it just was named a 2018 Printz Honor Book. Woo hoo!
Lazlo Strange–foundling, loner, and now librarian–has always been fascinated by the Unseen City, or Weep as it is now called, the city that was cut off from the rest of the world 200 years ago. As a librarian Lazlo has made his own books about the Unseen City from every scrap of information he can find. He’s even learned to speak the language. So when visitors from the Unseen City arrive in the Kingdom of Zosma asking for help, Lazlo must figure out a way to make the trek to the Unseen City and find out what their problem is.
As I neared the end of the book, I wondered how Laini was going to pull off a satisfying ending, and she did, but I was thrilled to find out there’s going to be a sequel. Maybe even this year…
Read about author Laini Taylor and her books here.

Posted in So Many Good Books, YA Novels

The Black Witch

blackwitch.jpgThe Black Witch (Harlequin Teen, 2017) by Laurie Forest is a new fantasy by a debut author and I can hardly wait for the sequel to come out. It’s expected out in 2018. (Meanwhile I just bought the prequel Wandfasted on Kindle.)
Elloren is seventeen and lives with her uncle in an isolated small village. There no one takes notice that she looks exactly like her grandmother, The Black Witch who saved all of Gardenria during the Real War. Nor does anyone worry she doesn’t have any magical power. But when Aunt Vyvian comes to visit, she’s demanding why Elloren is not wandfasted (engaged). Aunt Vyvian wants to take Elloren under her guidance and introduce her to eligible young men. Instead, Uncle Edwin decides to send Elloren to University where she can learn the apothecary trade. But since Elloren won’t commit to being wandfasted to the young man Aunt Vyvian has chosen for her, she won’t pay for the girl’s schooling and Elloren has to earn her way by working in the kitchen–with other races. To make matters worse, her new roommates at University are dreaded Icarals.
In this magical story of prejudice, lies, and secrets, Elloren has to decide who to believe and what is right and wrong.
On her website, author Laurie Forest shares what she is reading here.

Posted in PB, Read-aloud, So Many Good Books

Mrs. McBee Leaves Room 3

Perfect Picture Book Friday
Mrs. McBeeMrs. McBee Leaves Room 3 (Peachtree Publishers, 2017) by Gretchen Brandenburg McLellan and Illustrated by Grace Zong is coming out in April and you won’t want to miss it. (I’m holding a borrowed ARC* in my hands.)
It’s the end of the year and Mrs. McBee has just told her class she won’t be returning after summer vacation. The kids are disappointed, but Mrs. McBee wisely prepares the students for their “time together to end.” You’ll enjoy bossy Jamaika, William who’s “not helping,” and all the teams preparing the room for the last day.
This sweet book is one teacher’s and parents can use to help children with change and good-byes, but I think kids will enjoy the book simply for the enjoyable story of a fun classroom. And the illustrations are absolutely adorable!
Here’s Gretchen’s author spotlight on her publisher’s site. In it, you can read why Gretchen wrote the book. Also visit her website where you can find out about other books Gretchen has coming and about all the school good-byes she’s had to make.
See more of Grace’s illustrations here. There’s also a link to see her other books.
*Advanced Reader Copy

Posted in So Many Good Books, YA Novels

Written in the Stars

Written_in_the_StarsWritten in the Stars (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2015) by Aisha Saeed is a heartbreaking story that needs to be told (and read). It’s natural for teens and parents to be in strife at some level, but in this story author Aisha Saeed casts the light on parent/daughter strife that has crossed into abuse when girls are forced into marriage.
Here’s a brief introduction to the novel:
Naila in some ways is a typical American high school girl. In other ways she’s living the culture her Pakistani immigrant parents order. She thinks her parents will understand her love for Saif if they just meet him. But she can’t tell them about him as she isn’t supposed to be dating. And now that’s she’s gotten an acceptance letter to college her parents are debating about whether she can even go. Disaster strikes when she and her best friend Carla cook up a plan that lets Naila go to prom with Saif . . . and her parents find out. Not only is Naila not allowed to graduate with her peers, her parents whisk the family to Pakistan for a “visit.” Well, they’ll be visiting. Naila will be forced to marry a Pakistani man and make it her home.
The book was listed as a best book of 2015 by Bank Street Books, a 2016 YALSA Quick Pick For Reluctant Readers, and was named one of the top ten books all Young Georgians Should Read 2016. (I’d like to see every teen read it!)
Aisha Saeed is a founding member of the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books™. She’s also an example of a happy arranged marriage. Read more about her on her website.