It's 1853 and Japan does not allow outsiders to enter the country. Even still, American boats have arrived in Edo Bay. Two young boys, Yoshi and Jack, are from very different cultures but they are still just regular boys seeking adventure and friendship. They are going to need each others help to outwit samurais and spies. Fans of Heart of a Samurai will be pleased to see an old friend, Manjiro. Meticulously researched, this historical fiction is filled with adventure and will be especially appealing to boys. The backmatter includes notes about Preus's research, glossaries of Japanese, shipboard, and military terms, and an extensive bibliography. Julie Dietzel-Glair
A visually pleasing mystery that incorporates the theory of fractions while telling a humorous story. Pizza, always a fun topic, and toppings, even more universal are the theme here and what has become of one pizza slice. Our hero Charlie uses a burb test on two likely thieves and it is a fart that finally solves the puzzle. lots of fraction opportunities here in kid friendly situations with kid friendly illustrations.
Newly arrived in New York City, and also newly orphaned, 12-yer old Sarah has to find a way to survive or risk being shipped back to her uncle in the Old Country. Taken in by a diverse cast of characters (a homeless newsboy, an old Chinese landlady, a Indian horse trainer and more!) Sarah's definition of home and family slowly changes. A riveting adventure story with a brave heroine. Ages 10-14. Anne Womack
Two years after her big-hearted father dies in a plane crash 16-year-old Eva is still trying to piece together her life without him, although her mother seems to have moved on. Then Eva faces more loss as she falls in love with Will shortly before he moves across the country. An eventful cross-country bus trip with her super-smart best friend Annie, a reunion with Will, the power of poetry, and the wisdom of her mom’s best friend, lead Eva to a deeper understanding of love and loss. A wide variety of diverse characters fill this story that is heart-wrenching, humorous and poetic. 14 and up. Lisa Cosgrove-Davies
An unusual and important story about the generosity of a family, the resilience of a small tree (bonsai) and a gift that signifies peaces. The subject, a bonsai tree was raised by one family over many years and many generations. It ultimately comes to the National Arboretum as a gift of the family and the Japanese government. Just enough facts tell us abut the tree's care and it's survival. The illustrations are lush and give a good sense of place. Back matter gives details about the family and bonsai. Lots to enjoy as one reads this book and then think about later. Seven to Ten. Edie Ching
This wordless, 105-page graphic novel presents the story of a young child left home alone when her mother leaves for work. It has its origins in an experience the author had as a child growing up in China. Her heroine tires of her toys and boards a bus for Grandma's house. After falling asleep, missing her stop, and running, terrified, into the woods, she is guided by a deer up a ladder to a cloud-filled paradise in the sky. The animal is a perfect playmate--attentive, playful...present. The soft pencil drawings depict a range of exquisite views and moods. Goujing has mastered the use of sequential panels to express time and emotional content. Seven to Ten. Wendy Lukehart. (This title will appear on the December agenda.)