BookPage Teen Top Pick, April 2014
When 16-year-old Travis Coates, dying from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, donated his head (the only part of his body not ravaged by cancer) to be cryogenically stored at the Saranson Center for Life Preservation, he imagined being reinstated in 100 years, alongside jet packs and other futuristic gadgets.
No one can ever have too many picture books about smart girls who love science—or too many stories about big, loyal dogs. Still, a book with these elements needs other features to stand out, and Maggi and Milo delivers.
Before she became a Newbery Honor-winning author, Margi Preus spent 25 years as the artistic director of Duluth’s Colder by the Lake Comedy Theatre, where she wrote, produced and directed sketches, operas, plays and adaptations. So why the switch to children’s books? “I had kids!” she says with a laugh.
Near Albuquerque, New Mexico, a teenager struggles to define herself in the aftermath of her parents’ divorce, the harsh newness of high school life and the recent death of her sister.
Prenna James was born in the 2080s, during a time of disease and environmental catastrophe. She and her mother escape a blood plague by traveling to the present day with a group of time travelers. Forced to assimilate, Prenna attends high school with kids who must never know she’s from the future—except for Ethan Jarves, who makes her feel special and safe.
Lantern Sam is a rare male calico cat who lives aboard a train called the Lake Erie Shoreliner (New York to Chicago in under 20 hours!) in the 1940s. Ostensibly in the care of conductor Clarence Nockwood, Sam is an intelligent and independent cat who has the ability to share his thoughts with some humans. Clarence is one of them, but when 10-year-old Henry Shipley comes aboard, Sam finds he can “talk” to him, too.
In her searing new novel, National Book Award finalist Beth Kephart paints a vivid picture of a divided Berlin and the wall that separates friends, lovers and families.
National Poetry Month begins with April Fools’ Day. Coincidence? Perhaps not. These three books for young readers goof, spoof and are rarely, if ever, aloof. They make poetry and reading as easy as breathing, and also a lot of fun.
In Aaron Meshon’s Tools Rule!, the tools in a very messy yard need to get organized, but how? By building a tool shed, of course! From the obscure awl to the ubiquitous drill, all the tools pitch in and, in turn, teach the reader about what they do.
“Tap TAP, dark clouds. Tap TAP, damp air.” Better run for cover. There’s a storm coming, and author Elizabeth Bluemle brings it to us with style. Using short, rhyming sentences, we readers are right there in the burgeoning storm with a cast of characters about to get drenched.