September 2006 Archives

And you think you're getting heat?  Take a look at Heat by Mike Lupica (Philomel, 2006)
Main character Michael Arroyo is so good at pitching in Little League that some coaches don't believe he is only 12.  Add to that is the fact that he and his 17 year old brother Carlos are hiding the fact that their father died (all are recent immigrants from Cuba) and these boys are in trouble.  This is a good story with appealing characters.


"Every man has his secret sorrows, which the world knows not..." -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Read more about author and sports columnist Mike Lupica at

"Young readers are asking for substance. They are asking for respect. They are asking for books that challenge, and confirm, and console. They are asking for us to listen to their questions and to help them find their own answers," Karen Hesse said in her 1998 Newbery acceptance speech. Except that this book wasn't published yet, she could have been talking about the novel Why Does the Coqui Sing? (Holiday House, Inc., 2004).

Author Barbara Garland Polikoff drew me in with her first two sentences. Luz's relationships with each of the people in her life all feel so real.  This story about adapting and accepting change takes Luz, her mother, brother, little sister, and stepfather from Chicago to Puerto Rico. Through the new friends she makes and the things she learns to like about Puerto Rico and her stepfather, and the importance of being in Puerto Rico to care for her grandfather, Luz learns that it's not so important to go back to Chicago.  She also heals from the hurt of her father's abandonment.

Delightful book - Sylvia Jean, Drama Queen

Sylvia Jean, Drama Queen written and illustrated by Lisa Campbell Ernst is a delight.   In this picture book (Dutton Children's Books, 2005) Sylvia has a costume and persona for every event, and everyone, including Sylvia, expects her to have the best costume for the costume party. Coming up with the ideal costume isn't so easy, however.  The reader doesn't get to see her surprising costume until near the end of the story and indeed Sylvia wins the prize.   The solution is summed up with this quote:   "The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterward." -Arthur Koestler