Eleven-year-old Ari Hazard is living in the shadow of her mother’s dying wishes: She must get into the prestigious Carter middle school and stick by older brother Gage no matter what. When Gage has a falling out with their guardian, he takes to the streets with Ari in tow. Staying with friends and occasionally at a juvenile shelter, they do the best they can, but the stress is overwhelming.
It’s hard to know what to do about Black History Month. On one hand, it might be the only time of year that schoolchildren will learn about the important moments and people in black history that shaped our country and world. On the other hand, one month seems paltry when there are so many stories. This year, when the news of Ferguson, Missouri, #WeNeedDiverseBooks and #BlackLivesMatter were trending issues that only the most out-of-touch could ignore, we need books about Black History more than ever. Lucky for us, there are some wonderful books out this month.
Young Elmore Green’s life seems perfect and orderly until one day when “somebody else came along,” and that someone happens to be The New Small Person. This new creature, whom Elmore refers to as “it,” squawks during Elmore’s favorite cartoons and once “actually licked Elmore’s jelly-bean collection, including the orange ones.”
When I was in third grade, my parents gave me a bright red book that still sits on my bookshelf today: Great Stories for Young Readers. Here are some of our favorite new gift books geared toward all sorts of young readers. With luck, your present to a special someone will become a cherished favorite for decades to come.
Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year—especially for book lovers! We’ve selected a stack of seasonal goodies that the little angels and elves on your gift list will love.
It’s 1861, and the men of Keokuk, Iowa, have finally been called to war. Unfortunately for 11-year-old Ike Button, he’ll have to stay behind with the women while his older brothers, father and uncles all serve in the Union Army. Ike doesn’t want to care for his baby cousins when he could be off fighting like the men. Determined to forge his own destiny, Ike conjures up a scheme to go to Missouri and slip into the regiment. But before those ill-conceived plans come to fruition, Ike discovers that the war is happening in Keokuk, too, and he doesn’t need to be a soldier to fight for the cause.
Is There a Dog in This Book? had me hooked right from the start, when three adorable, hip cats (Andre, Moonpie and Tiny) welcome readers with a warm greeting on the title page. The trio continues to chat with readers as they notice with alarm that someone has drunk their milk and played with their toy.
If the picture book world has celebrities, Mac Barnett (author of Oh No!) and Jon Klassen (author-illustrator of I Want My Hat Back) are two of the biggest. So when the two of them team up, it’s kind of a big deal. The last time it happened, the result was Extra Yarn, which received a Caldecott Honor, among many other accolades. Now the two have paired up again with Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, another wryly subtle, unexpectedly funny picture book about two brothers in search of something extraordinary.
These days it seems dogs are everywhere. We have dog detectives (Spencer Quinn’s delightful Chet and Bernie mystery series for adults), lost dogs (Chris Raschka’s Caldecott-winning A Ball for Daisy) and even, apparently, dogs with blogs. So, do kids (and adults) need another dog book? The answer, as any dog lover will tell you, is a resounding yes, especially when the book is created by the talented David Ezra Stein, who won a Caldecott Honor for Interrupting Chicken.