Friday, April 08, 2011

Awesome April Reads...Part I

We just sent off another order filled with terrific children's and young adult books. As always, I'm excited about all of them, but here are the ones that have caught my eye. I'm not commenting on the ones I know will be super hits (new book by Meg Cabot, latest entry in Ranger's Apprentice, etc); no need for that! There's a lot to talk about, so I'm once again dividing this into two posts.

The Accidental Genius of Weasel High

The success of Diary of a Wimpy Kid with preteen boys shows that boy readers are looking for stories other than overstuffed high adrenaline stories, which is why Random House is advertising this as "A book for the Wimpy Kid who has grown into a Wimpy Teen." Larkin Pace, an aspiring filmmaker, documents his life for an English class assignment.

The Betrayal of Maggie Blair

This wasn't on my radar until I read this month's School Library Journal reviews; happily, I've discovered that the other review publications have strongly praised it as well. Set in 17th century Scotland (oooh), The Betrayal of Maggie Blair tells the story of 17 year old Maggie, who escapes the Isle of Bute after being imprisoned with her grandmother, who was falsely accused of witchcraft.

Bird in a Box

I've been looking forward to reading this novel set at a 1930s African-American orphanage for months. This era is very underrepresented in African-American historical fiction, and for it to be told by such a gifted author makes it extra special.

Can We Save the Tiger?

Can We Save the Tiger? is not just about endangered tigers; readers learn about the thousands of species that are threatened and success stories of species that have been kept alive. Yay for success stories; I think they're important in conservation education. Sounds like a winner; its collection of four starred reviews (The Horn Book, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly) confirm it.


Another YA retelling of a classic story? As long as it's good, I'm all for it. And with Walter Dean Myers at the helm, I'm confident that it will be awesome. As you can guess, this is a retelling of Bizet's classic opera, set in present-day Spanish Harlem. I haven't read The Fortune of Carmen Navarro yet (a YA retelling of Carmen published last year), but it's on my list.

Cars Galore

This tribute to cars will undoubtedly be beloved by young autoaficionados.

Cheesie Mack Is Not a Genius or Anything

Cheesie is an 11 year old boy with a knack for adventure. The summer after fifth grade is full of high jiinks for Cheesie and his best friend after they discover a coin that may belong to a mysterious and reclusive neighbor.

Cinnamon Baby

I am really excited about this book; it's rare to see a picture book featuring a biracial family. Cinnamon Baby is the story of Miriam and Sebastian, who meet at Miriam's bakery, fall in love, marry, and have a baby. After several futile attempts to calm the crying baby, Miriam takes the baby to the bakery and begins to make cinnamon bread, the smell of which soothes the baby. The illustrations sound lovely as well. Cannot wait.

Dinkin Dings and the Frightening Things

Dinkin Dings is afraid of most things--except for the ghost, monster, and skeleton living under his bed. He's cool with them. He's also convinced that the new neighbors next door are zombies. He and his creepy posse are determined to prove it. Sounds like fun. Thank goodness for a new short chapter book; they don't all have to be 500-600 pages, people!

A Dog's Way Home

Oh, no! A cute doggy on the cover! Doesn't that mean that the dog usually gets it in the end? Fear not, dog fans. I received an advance reader copy, and I can tell you that it is a lovely, though at times nail-biting, girl-and-her-dog story. It's also set in and around the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is cool. A car accident separates Abby and her beloved dog, Tam; A Dog's Way Home chronicles their search for each other.

The Emerald Atlas

Within the span of several days, I saw this featured in Amazon's new and future releases section and received a promotional email advertisement; I have a feeling we'll hear a lot about The Emerald Atlas. Three orphaned siblings seek to fulfill an ancient prophecy that will change the course of history; sounds like a ripping good read.

Energy Island: How One Community Harnessed the Wind and Changed Their World

The true story of a Danish island powered by renewable energy (including its successes and mishaps) has received terrific reviews, including several starred reviews.

More awesome books in the next post!

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