Posted in So Many Good Books, YA Novels

Outrun the Moon

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.

Posted in #Giveaway, PB, So Many Good Books

Powwow Day

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.

Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Star That Always Stays

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.

Posted in PB, So Many Good Books

When Your Daddy’s a Soldier

Perfect Picture Book Friday

National Veterans and Military Family Month

When Your Daddy’s a Soldier (Viking Books for Young Readers, October 2022) by Gretchen Brandenburg McLellan and illustrated by EG Keller is a wonderful picture book. I wish I’d had it when my grandsons were little and their dad was deployed.

This book is an honest look at what it’s like to be a military child. There’s the sweetness of a boy imitating his father and wanting to be just like him and the sadness when Dad has to go away for what might be “a maybe-forever long time.” I love the interactions between the family.

But don’t limit this book to military kid readers–this hopeful book will help all children with separations, or just to understand what it is like to worry about a parent being gone.

This is author Gretchen’s fifth picture book. You can read about her here–she was a military child herself–and see her other books here.

I love the warmth of EG Keller’s illustrations. And having a diverse family is lovely. See some of his other artwork here and read about him here. You can find Gerald’s other books here.

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

The Last Cuentista

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

The Last Cuentista (Levine Querido, 2021) by Donna Barba Higuera is a scary and compelling story of survival in the future and the power of storytelling.

Twelve-year-old Petra Peña and her family are leaving earth before it is destroyed. But first she has to say good-bye to her abuelita (grandmother), who tells her cuentos (tall tales), and isn’t going on the trip to a new planet. Petra expects to sleep in a stasis pod for 380 years, but something has gone wrong. She’s not sleeping. And then when Petra does awake, it’s to a nightmare of changed people, The Collective, who have renamed her Zeta-1 and expect that she’ll serve them, or be purged.

This book won the 2022 Newbery award and the 2022 Pura Belpré Medal. I think it’s great that this sci-fi story has so much recognition.

Read about Donna here and check out her other books here.