The Latest In Progress
Maya, who desperately wants to move up the popularity scale, tells her own story of trying to follow Betty Cornell’s Teen-Age Popularity Guide from the 1950s during 8th grade. She gives voice to her own struggles as well as to universal truths she found along the way. Her fortitude during her year is admirable even more so because she’s in Middle School. Readers will laugh, cry and cringe while reading this memoir. Ten to Fourteen. Ruth Compton
Esther Ehrlich tells a powerful story of Chirp’s struggles with her mother’s MS and depression and the effect on the family with a beautiful and lyrical voice. Secondary characters are fleshed out with true voices and the descriptions of life and birds near the salt marsh will have the reader believing they are looking through Chirp’s binocs at the wild loons. Set in 1972, the story is timeless and tells universal truths that will appeal to kids. Ten to Fourteen. Ruth Compton
Told through the eyes of Siobhan the bard, we learn about Canada’s dragon problem, the training of dragon slayers, and the training of bards. With tongue-in-cheek humor and lyrical prose (after all Siobhan is Owen’s bard), readers get a sophisticated dragon tale grounded in all things music. The story could be a modern day version of Beowulf or A Song of Roland; either way it’s story that must be told. Fourteen and Up. Ruth Compton
Frank Morrison’s beautiful oil illustrations immediately draw readers into the beat and rhythm of Little Melba’s life in Kansas City. Her story, usually told as side notes to Duke Ellington, Quincy Jones, and Billie Holiday, comes alive through words that sing and dance and illustrations that slide between pages. As an African-American woman, we also get a taste of difficulties she faced in her life. A picture book biography that is truly deserved. Seven to Ten. Ruth Compton
A powerful historical fiction, we learn of the miserable conditions of war and the touching beauty of the Christmas Truce through the eyes of a young soldier writing home. The beautiful acrylic wash and gouache illustrations add depth and insight to the story. Back matter begs readers to ask the question, would wars end sooner if soldiers had a say? Seven to Ten. Ruth Compton
Initial sepia-toned illustrations with tiny bits of color humorously reveal Kid Sheriff’s naiveté and his ten-gallon hat as he rides into town on a tortoise. When hearing that the Terrible Toads have been dynamiting the bank, robbing the stagecoach, and stealing gold from the town prospector, the sheriff explains that the dinosaurs are responsible. His knowledge enables him to cleverly outsmart the antics of the visibly evil Toads. Up to Seven. Lynda Adamson
It’s been a few years since the events of Little Brother. Marcus Yallow has done his best to move on and has landed a job as the webmaster for a promising independent politician. But soon after he’s pulled back into his hacktivist past when he winds up with a trove of Wikileaks-style documents about everything from the financial crisis to Homeland Security. And Marcus has to figure out what to do before being arrested by the government or kidnapped by private mercenaries. The audio is skilfully narrated by Wil Wheaton. Part suspense and part instruction guide, Doctorow tells a story both relevant and thrilling. (Available on Overdrive and from Craphound.com) - C. Beaupre.