The Cool Code by Deirdre Langeland, illustrated by Sarah Mai (Clarion Books, 2022), is an amusing graphic novel about a formerly homeschooled eighth-grader who creates an app to help her be “cool” in her new school. Zoey enters school worried about how to make friends, and in the end, she finds the true meaning of
In Nothing is Little by Carmella Van Vleet (Holiday House, 2022), middle schooler Felix begins to come to terms with himself, his place in his family, and his identity as a person. His story is driven by his own search for the identity of his absent father, with “detective work” he hides from his mother
The twin sisters Clara and Hailey in Gemini by Sonya Mukherjee (Simon & Schuster, 2016) are not your average 17-year-old twins. As conjoined twins, they are attached at the base of the spinal cord, and as such have never been apart. Their personalities could not be more different, though. And although their life has been
Ava XOX by Carol Weston (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2016) continues 11-year-old Ava’s story over the course of her fifth-grade year. I was a bit nervous going into this book because the premise is that Ava begins to have a crush on a boy in her class, and I certainly don’t want my soon-to-be 11-year-old daughter to
Harry and Walter by Kathy Stinson is about two unlikely friends, one 4 and three-quarters years old and the other ninety-two and a half. I loved how this was a story about how friendships evolve and change. I love how the two friends, although very different in age, found things they liked to do together.
OCDaniel by Wesley King is a much needed added addition to Young Adult collections, as it puts a frequently taboo subject (mental illness) at the center of the story. OCDaniel is about a middle school boy suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but he does not quite know what it is. He feels progressively frustrated with
Detective Gordon: The First Case by Ulf Nilsson is part a mystery story but also part a story of friendship in a friendly forest. Detective Gordon, a toad, is the only officer in the forest, and he sits alone at his desk. When a hungry and lonely forest mouse is caught stealing nuts from squirrel’s winter
I studied American Sign Language when I was in high school with some friends, and I also studied sign language for a year when I got to the university. I love sign language! I love the beauty of the motion. I love the grammar! And I always talk with my hands as I’m speaking. Sign
Elephant Man by Mariangela Di Fiore and Hilde Hodnefjeld (Annick Press 2015) is a difficult picture book meant for older children to read. It is about an obscure deformed man in history, one that was famous in his own way but tragically alone.
Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens (published serially from 1838-1839) meets the Dickensian stereotype of a very long book. I began reading it when my daughter was newborn and I finally finished it, now that she’s three and half. Nicholas Nickleby is definitely not my favorite Dickens novel. In some respects it’s obvious that its a early
The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman is a clever chapter book written from the perspective of four different preteens who have been caught cheating on their homework with a “homework machine.” The book is also fun as the students overcome their own prejudices and judgments of one another in order to unite in using the
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan is a powerful story about a rich and spoiled Mexican girl whose sudden impoverishment in the 1930s takes her into the migrant worker camps of California. It teaches much about the Great Depression as well as discrimination during that period. At the beginning of the novel, Esperanza lives a
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