Friday, April 08, 2011

Awesome April Reads, Part II

More great books this way.....


Nora's father has promised that he will return to their Mexican village in time for her quinceaƱera (a girl's 15th birthday is an important milestone in several Latino cultures); that was three years ago. Nora is now fourteen, the village school has closed, families have moved away, and her father's money back from the States has stopped arriving. Nora and her mother decide to spend their savings in order to be smuggled across the border so that they can search for her father; they end up in a Houston barrio, where they must learn how to survive and fit in. I'm really looking forward to reading this. Kirkus Reviews calls this a "memorable coming of age story," and VOYA recommends this "thoroughly engaging and thought-provoking" novel.

Little Chicken's Big Day

Oh, this sounds so sweet: Little Chicken's Big Day chronicles a day in the life of Little Chicken. Like all big chickens, Big Chicken has to continually remind Little Chicken to wash his face, brush his teeth, follow close behind, etc; like all little chickens, Little Chicken sometimes feels that Big Chicken is always nagging him! Momentarily distracted by a pretty butterfly, Little Chicken loses sight of Big Chicken, but they are happily and quickly reunited. Awww. What a great cover, too.

The Loud Book

Deborah Underwood's companion to The Quiet Book is an homage to all things loud, from alarm clocks in the morning to chirping crickets at night.

The Mask Wearer

Here's a rare sight: a fantasy novel with fewer than 200 pages. Amos Dragon and his animal friends must find four masks that harness nature's powers and the sixteen stones that bestow magic upon the mask.

Meet the Dogs of Bedlam Farm

We are a community of dog lovers, so I just know that this book will fly off the shelves. Jon Katz has written about his farm dogs for many years; this is his first book, I believe, for children. Katz introduces us to his dogs, who all have important jobs: Border collie Rose herds the sheep, Border collie Izzy visits hospital patients, and Frieda (mixed breed) guards the farm. What does Lenore, the black lab, do? Well, her job isn't as sharply defined, but it's just as important as the other jobs, reminding us that everyone has talents that he/she can contribute.

Monday Is One Day

A boy and his father count down the work week days until it's time to enjoy the weekend together. Although it stars a boy and his father, the illustrations feature a wide variety of modern family life. Reviews have been excellent.

My Side of the Car

Sadie and her father have been planning a big day at the zoo, but something always gets in the way. When they finally get on the road, what do they run into? Raindrops...but Sadie insists that there aren't any raindrops on her side of the car! Nice to see another parent-child partnership in children's literature. We have Kate Feiffer and her father, Jules Feiffer, Heidi Yolen Stemple and her mother, Jane Yolen, Christopher Myers and his father, Walter Dean Myers, Emily MacLachlan Charest and her mother, Patricia MacLachlan, the Emberley family...who am I missing? Kate Feiffer based this book on a childhood memory. Lovely.

Mythbusters Science Fair Book

Oh, how cool is this? Science experiments from the popular Discovery Channel show, Mythbusters. I need new science experiment ideas, so I will definitely check this one out.

Okay For Now

I love, love, love The Wednesday Wars, so I'm super thrilled about this companion novel. I've read rave reviews (except for Publishers Weekly, which seemed rather mixed) about it (however, I've been left cold by quite a few books that received stellar reviews). Okay For Now tells the tale of Doug, Holling's best friend from The Wednesday Wars. Doug's brother is still in Vietnam; not only that, the family has to move after his father loses his job. From all accounts, this is a rather dark novel for Schmidt.

Queen of the Falls

Chris van Allsburg's latest picture book retells the story of daredevil (and retired charm school teacher!) Annie Edson Taylor's barrel feat over Niagara Falls. I am anxiously awaiting it; it seems a bit deeper than just a wild story about an unusual woman.

The Queen of Water

I'm not sure how widely this will be read, but it offers such a unique perspective for YA literature that I wanted to add it to the collection. Maria Virginia is a Quechua Indian girl working as an indentured servant for an upperclass Ecuadorean family. Maria Virginia is able to receive an education, and as she matures, she must decide whether or not to pass as a mestizo or to stay true to her native Ecuadorean heritage. This is based on the true story of Maria Virginia Farinango, who collaborated with Laura Resau to tell her story.

Raymond and Graham Rule the School

I'm not quite sure where I read about this book; the premise and reviews sounded so appealing that I had to get it for our young readers. Raymond and Graham are stoked to be fourth graders, but things just seem to go haywire. This is the first in a series that began in 2008. Children flock to series (comfort reading), so I hope this will be a success.

The Trouble With May Amelia

*happy dance*

*continues to do happy dance*

About a year ago, I exchanged tweets (oh, I hate that word) with Jennifer Holm about something....I think it was Babymouse. Anyway, I happened to mention my love for Our Only May Amelia, to which she replied that she was finishing a sequel to the book. Get. Out. And, here it is. Three time Newbery Honor recipient (wonderful honors, but can she get the actual medal one day?) Jennifer Holm's latest novel updates us on the going-ons of May Amelia, the only girl in a Finnish-American family of seven brothers living in 19th century Washington state. Now thirteen years old and the best English speaker in her family, May Amelia acts as the translator between her father and a man interested in buying their land. Unfortunately, the family becomes the victim of a land swindle; although they face several tragedies along the way, reviews have pointed out that there is much warmth and joy in the story. Surprise, surprise; this is getting terrific reviews.

Hope you find something that piques your interest!


Ms. Yingling said...

Could not get into Okay for Now; have The Queen of Water in my backpack to read this weekend; Illegal looks good, so I'll have to request that! Thanks for the suggestions.

Jennifer Schultz said...

I'm looking forward to The Queen of Water; I won't get to it for a while. Looking forward to reading about it on your blog!