The feeling of belonging Hee Juan once felt in Korea vanishes as his family relocates to West Virginia. This story illuminates the language and cultural obstacles that immigrants face, but it is also a hopeful story of acceptance. Each character’s emotions are portrayed beautifully in Yum’s watercolor illustrations. M.McKeron. Seven to Ten.
Three generations of women come together in this British tale of family secrets and the uncertainty of memory. When Katie's gran, who she never before met, suddenly enters her life, the repercussions of the years of her absence come flooding back. Told in alternating chapters, this coming-of-age novel describes with clarity the ways family bonds can be both haunting and resilient. Fourteen and Up. -Todd Krueger
The legendary life of the most famous of the samurai, Minamoto Yoshitsune, is recounted in exciting and graphic detail. Turner's extensive research is obvious with the pages of bibliography and notes at the end. Hinds' strong illustrations and facility with culturally-appropriate brush and ink style add to the package. Ten to Fourteen. -Todd Krueger
With illustrations that give a sense of the heat and the dirt of life, a young girl dreams of water coming to her rather than making the long trek every day to bring home water for cooking, drinking, washing. The illustrations point out the girl's joie de vivre despite the hard task that lies before her and the book is am important look at what others need to do to have one of life's necessities, water. But it is not preachy, just gives us a peek at a young girl's life as she helps her family meet a basic need.
Archer is lucky to have three men to look up to; his grandfather, father and uncle. He navigates elementary school and middle school antics while observing the men in his life and getting gentle guidance. Things get interesting when he discovers his uncle and student teacher Mr. McLeod are a couple. A timely story about growing up and the definition of boundless love.
Perry has had an unusual childhood, he's grown up in a minimum security prison where his mother is an inmate. The inmates are his friends and family and he loves them. When he enters middle school the local assistant district attorney learns of his unusual living situation and Perry is forced to move into foster care. Tensions mount when an school project is assigned and a momentous parole hearing come up. A well written book about family, prison reform and the powerlessness of children in the judicial system.
A modern cumulative tale of a boy swallowed by a snake. This clever brown-skinned boy "with a whirly-twirly toy" saves himself by encouraging the snake to eat too much. The lively language is rhythmical and full of internal rhyme and alliteration, a joy to read aloud. An improbable assortment of stuffed animals partially inspired this fanciful tale, and the artist used "everything imaginable" to make his digital art which will show well, too. A natural for story time. K Isaacs. Up to 7.