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Noreen's Reviews

Between Shades of Grey: The Graphic Novel written by Ruta Sepetys, adapted by Andrew Donkin

How do people survive living under a fascist government? This beautiful graphic version of Ruth Septys’ historical novel is based on interviews with Lithuanian people who actually survived their teen years under Stalinist repression. The drawings bring to life 15-year-old Lina’s experience of fear, loss, and survival. Young readers of other popular historically based graphic novels (White Bird, When Stars Are Scattered) will love this story.—Noreen

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By Ruta Sepetys, Andrew Donkin (Adapted by), Dave Kopka (Illustrator), Brann Livesay (With), Chris Dickey (With)
ISBN: 9780593404850
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Philomel Books - October 12th, 2021

Playing the Cards You're Dealt by Varian Johnson

The game of life isn’t easy, and Joplin men are known for playing the hand they are dealt. Sometimes. What’s it like to try to meet your father’s expectations when he’s keeping a secret that can tear the family apart? 10-year-old Anthony (“Ant”) needs to win the card tournament, but he doesn't know how or who will help him get there. Can he find the courage and perseverance to be a good card player and a good young man?—Noreen

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ISBN: 9781338348538
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - October 5th, 2021

Kaleidoscope by Brian Selznick

This book is a puzzle. So is life. It’s like looking through the little colorful bits of glass in a kaleidoscope. There is imagination, love, grief, and hope. Each successive reading of this apparently simple book leads us to know more, go deeper, and ask more questions. Written during Covid lockdown, this story may help us even in the hardest times. Readers of Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret or Wonderstruck won’t be disappointed.—Noreen

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ISBN: 9781338777246
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Inc. - September 21st, 2021

Love in the Library written by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, illustrated by Yas Imamura

Can love grow anywhere? Here’s an intimate story about the author’s maternal grandparents who met and fell in love in a library in Minidoka, an internment center for Japanese people who were incarcerated because they were of Japanese descent. “It didn’t matter who you were, just what you were.” The beautiful yet stark watercolor illustrations show that despite the harshness of life in the camp, the miracle of love is still possible for all of us.—Noreen

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By Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Yas Imamura (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781536204308
Availability: Not Yet Published - Available for Pre-Order; Please See Publication Date Below Before Ordering
Published: Candlewick - January 11th, 2022

Nina written by Traci Todd, illustrated by Christian Robinson

This story about legendary singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone will captivate young readers. From her earliest years, Nina (aka Eunice) had “music on the inside” and “music on the outside.” There’s so much to think about in this story. Nina’s musical journey, which begins in North Carolina, is woven with her awareness of identity and her growing recognition of the injustice demonstrated against Black people. Christian Robinson’s whimsical illustrations make you want to sing, dance, and stand up for racial justice.—Noreen

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By Traci N. Todd, Christian Robinson (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781524737283
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - September 28th, 2021

What Will You Be? Written by Yamile Saied Méndez Illustrated by Kate Alizadeh

Available in English & Spanish

A child whimsically wonders what she will be when she grows up. Her abuela points to the child’s heart and says, “Listen.” With that, Abuela, a painter and storyteller, takes the child’s hand and leads her to herself. I want every child to have an abuela who hands them a paintbrush so they can “discover the way colors come alive on a blank canvas, just for me.” A simple but soulful story, with sparkling illustrations. Made me feel good. — Noreen

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What Will You Be? Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062839954
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: HarperCollins - May 4th, 2021

Agent 9: Flood-A-Geddon! by James Burks

Feline hero Agent 9 of the Super-Secret Spy Service is on a mission to keep the world safe from maniacal villains. King Crab has a diabolical plan to melt the polar ice cap and build a massive water park. Can Agent 9 save the day? Lots of fast action, humor, and suspense. Readers who like Baby Mouse or Mighty Robot should give this book a try. —Noreen

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ISBN: 9780593202968
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Razorbill - March 16th, 2021

The Land of the Cranes by Aida Salazar

Babita knew that one day she, Papi, and Mami would fly to El Norte like the cranes, then “bad men could not harm them, and Abuelita would not worry.” Years later in the US, Papi is swept up in an ICE raid. When Babita and Mami are held in detention, Babita uses her picture stories to help her family find one another. This powerful novel in verse is affirming for immigrant children and those wanting to grow their worldview.  — Noreen

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ISBN: 9781338343809
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Press - September 15th, 2020

Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel Written by Jason Reynolds Illustrated by Danica Novgorodoff

Fifteen-year-old Will gets on the elevator with a gun in his waistband. On his 60-second journey to the lobby, Will has “the Rules” in mind: No crying, no snitching, and get revenge. Who he meets on the elevator will help determine what Will does when he hits the lobby. This graphic novelization of the award-winning novel in verse chronicling one Black boy’s dilemma will grab you and not let go. A great choice for middle-grade to adult readers. — Noreen

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ISBN: 9781534444959
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books - October 13th, 2020

Becoming Muhammad Ali Written by James Patterson & Kwame Alexander Illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile

“Boxing was his way out and his way up.” This biographical novel focuses on the early years of the famous boxer Cassius Clay, later known as Muhammad Ali. The story is told in prose by Cassius’s “best friend” Lucky and supported by the boxer’s own voice in poetic form. Strong family values, Black pride, and the determination to never give up are all themes effectively displayed. Sensitive and fast-paced, this book is engaging for even the most reluctant reader. — Noreen

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ISBN: 9780316498166
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: jimmy patterson - October 5th, 2020


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