Tracey Fern is no stranger to well-crafted picture book biographies, having released a handful of well-reviewed ones in recent years. In her newest, Dare the Wind, she tells the true story of Eleanor “Ellen” Prentiss, born in Marblehead, Massachusetts, in 1814. Ellen, “born with saltwater in her veins,” spent her days at the shore and learned at a young age from her father how to navigate a ship and operate a sextant.
All aboard Brian Floca's Locomotive, winner of the 2014 Caldecott Medal! Young readers will love exploring the early days of America's transcontinental railroad through this detail-packed and gorgeously illustrated book. Floca shared with us what it's like to win the Caldecott.
The mystery at the heart of Marcus Sedgwick’s labyrinthine Midwinterblood is so well hidden, it’s not even initially clear what the mystery is at all. Seven stories—from a young journalist in 2027 to a vampire in the 10th century—unfold in reverse chronological order on this magical island, revealing a dark and complex tale that is expertly told. Our young adult literature expert Jill Ratzan predicted Midwinterblood would earn the 2014 Printz Award, and indeed it won. British author Sedgwick answered a few questions for us about what it’s like to win the Printz.
At the risk of jinxing it, Kate DiCamillo is on a lucky streak. After being named as the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature (2014-2015), Camillo snagged her second Newbery Medal, for her hilarious and heartwarming middle grade novel, Flora & Ulysses. It's the story of a cynical 10-year-old girl who learns a thing or two when she befriends a strange poetry-writing squirrel. Our reviewer loved it: "Like all of DiCamillo’s books, Flora & Ulysses is filled with adventure, but also plenty of humor and soul." We asked DiCamillo a few questions after she heard the news.
In Broken Tooth, Maine, there is the legend of the Grey Man, a spirit who haunts the old lighthouse on Jackson Rock. But the Grey Man is more than a ghost. He’s a cursed man who must gather the souls of those who die under his light. The Grey Man knows there’s a girl out there who might be his savior if only he can convince her to take his place.
Kristy Dempsey revisits a watershed moment in performing arts history in her sparkling new book, A Dance Like Starlight. The story’s spirited young heroine, an African-American girl who dreams of becoming a ballet dancer, lives with her mother in Harlem. The year is 1951.
Mr. and Mrs. Bunny are back, and so are Madeline and her ex-hippie parents, Flo and Mildred, in this sequel to Mr. and Mrs. Bunny―Detectives Extraordinare! Imagine if Tina Fey wrote a middle grade novel, and you’ll have a sense of the nonstop quips packed into these pages.
Sarah Rector was born on March 3, 1902, near Twine, I.T. (Indian Territory). Sarah and her family were “Creek freedmen”—black members of the Creek tribe. Like most Creek freedmen, Sarah, her parents and her three young siblings were extremely poor, living together in a ramshackle two-bedroom cabin. However, that would all soon change. In Searching for Sarah Rector: The Richest Black Girl in America (ages 10-14), Coretta Scott King Honor-winning author Tonya Bolden tells the story of Sarah’s meteoric rise to wealth, and the whirlwind of drama it created.
Cy Williams is not a slave, but his life is far from his own. Growing up in Georgia in the 1890s, he knows that the cruel white plantation owner his father works for could throw him in jail or even kill him in a second.
No part of Malcolm X’s life was free from conflict and contradiction, including his childhood. Raised in a spiritual and pacifist home, Malcolm grew up to espouse a more violent philosophy in pursuit of social justice and died violently himself. Malcolm Little tells the story of his early years as part of a large, loving family whose lives were torn apart by racial aggression. This lovely, inspiring book reveals how young Malcolm was able to draw on inner resources to find himself.