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Gā's Reviews

All Different Now written by Angela Johnson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis

June 19th, 1865, is the date slaves in Texas learned of their emancipation. In this picture book families are in the blistering fields picking cotton when “word spread/from the port,/to town,/through the countryside,/and into the fields/that a Union general had read from a balcony that we were all/now and forever free/and things/would be/all different now.” Change has been coming slowly all along but in this soft, stirring story, change comes swiftly—and the winds of change blow through the story. So lyrical is the exquisite text and so skillfully painted are the watercolor pictures that the reader can feel it ripple through their hair. Grades 2 and up.
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All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom Cover Image
By Angela Johnson, E.B. Lewis (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780689873768
Availability: Backordered
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - May 6th, 2014

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson (winner of the Newbery and Caldecott awards) has written a warm, elegant memoir. This was one of my favorite reading experiences this year—through some writing alchemy, her specific story seems like my own. This will probably happen to you as well. Grades 5 & up.

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Brown Girl Dreaming Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780399252518
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Nancy Paulsen Books - August 28th, 2014

Revolution by Deborah Wiles

I’ve often passed over the plethora of novels set in the 1960s because they did not feel right—they had the facts, but they lacked the truth. In Wiles’ Revolution, photos, newspaper clippings, and song lyrics join a fictional narrative in as perfect a work of historical fiction as I’ve ever encountered in children’s literature. Grades 6–12
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Revolution (The Sixties Trilogy #2) Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780545106078
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - May 27th, 2014

100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

Years earlier, Finn Easton’s mother was killed in a bizarre accident that left Finn with a broken back and seizures. After the accident, his father wrote a book, taking for his protagonist much of what made Finn uniquely Finn—his name, his heterochromatic eyes, his habit of viewing time in terms of miles rather than minutes, his epilepsy, the scar on his back. The book, The Lazarus Door, became a sci-fi cult classic known everywhere, and Finn is unsure if he is real. In balance, there are several very real, very good things in Finn’s life—his honest, tender relationship with his dad; his possibly insane but definitely charming, raunchy, best friend, Cade Hernandez; and—new girl in 11th grade—Julia, amusing and creative and completely first-love-worthy. Adventures ensue. 100 Sideways Miles is smart, funny, profane, quite odd, and warmly humanistic. Grades 9–12.
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100 Sideways Miles Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781442444959
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - September 2nd, 2014

Mama, Do You Love Me?

A young Inuit child tests her mother, something that children do not infrequently whether they live in Alaska or Santa Cruz. What if, she asks her mom, I behaved in a less-than-admirable fashion: Would you still love me? The mother’s answers are wise and, indeed, loving. Striking watercolors and a rhythmic text charm in this new-at-last-in-paperback edition. Ages 2–5.

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Mama, Do You Love Me? Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781452131498
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Chronicle Books - March 4th, 2014

The Thing about Luck

Twelve-year-old Summer and her Japanese-American family work every harvest season to earn money to pay their mortgage. But this last year, Summer has had malaria (she is now obsessed with learning everything to be known about mosquitoes and is both amazed and repelled); her parents have to travel to Japan to care for elderly relatives; her grandmother, now in charge of cooking for the combine crews, has intense spinal pain; and her grandfather is driving the giant harvesting machine all day and night and is getting very tired. Her brother, Jaz, amusing and puzzling, earnest and autistic, is, like Summer, attempting to maneuver within friendship and family ties. The Thing About Luck is heartfelt, perfect in structure and narrative, accessible, and very funny. Winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Grades 5–8.

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The Thing About Luck Cover Image
By Cynthia Kadohata, Julia Kuo (Illustrator)
$8.99
ISBN: 9781442474659
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - June 3rd, 2014

One Came Home

In all good westerns, place is palpable. Placid, Wisconsin, in 1871 was the site of the largest passenger pigeon nesting ever, a flock covering 850 square miles. The birds in flight darkened the sky, soiled the town like dirty snow, and made wild pigeon pie a staple in most homes. Thirteen-year-old Georgie, living in Placid, is content to help Ma and Grandfather Bolte run the general store. Her older sister, Agatha, on the other hand, yearning to be accepted into a college that would allow a woman student, leaves town. When a body wearing her clothing is found, but in such poor condition that its identity cannot be confirmed, Georgie refuses to believe that her sister is dead, and taking her Springfield rifle (she’s the best shot around), hits the road. One Came Home is a gritty, engrossing mystery/western with superb comic relief. Grades 6–9.

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One Came Home Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780375873454
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Yearling - January 7th, 2014

Aesop in California by Doug Hansen

A whole cast of native California animals (desert tortoise, jackrabbit, kangaroo rat), plants, and places (Napa Valley is the setting for “Fox and His Grapes”) are the colorful backdrop for this lavishly illustrated and bold retelling of Aesop’s fables. Kindergarten & up.

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Aesop in California Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781597142359
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Heyday Books - March 1st, 2013

The Dark by Lemony Snicket

Laszlo, a small boy in blue pajamas knows that the Dark lives, mostly in the basement, its voice “as smooth and cold as the windows.” But one evening, the nightlight in Laszlo’s bedroom burns out and the Dark leads him to the cellar and from the dark chest of drawers produces…a new light bulb. The elegant humor and interdependence of their relationship is outlined be the sharp triangle of Laszlo’s flashlight against the inky black of the Dark. Laszlo’s fear has dissolved in the new light. Ages 4–8.

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The Dark Cover Image
By Lemony Snicket, Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
$18.99
ISBN: 9780316187480
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - April 2nd, 2013

God Got a Dog by Cynthia Rylant

I spent some time and quite a lot of expletives attempting to write something very nice—something devout—in homage to God Got a Dog, Cynthia Rylant’s book of 16 poems, each one about God (the same God but different) trying on his or her humanity. Instead, I’ll give you a few parts of one poem. And a nod, no, a genuflection, to illustrator Marla Frazee, who knows it’s all in the details. I’d let her do God anytime.

God Got a Desk Job
Just to see what it
would be like.
Made Her back hurt.
...
She could feel the Light
inside Her grow
dimmer and dimmer
and She thought that
if She had to pick
up that phone
one more time
...
The only thing that got
Her through to the
end of the day was
Snickers bars.
She ate thirty-seven.
Plus thinking about the Eagle Nebula
in the constellation Serpens.
That helped.

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God Got a Dog Cover Image
By Cynthia Rylant, Marla Frazee (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781442465183
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Beach Lane Books - October 29th, 2013

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