Recently in Award Winners Category

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

lifeofacactus.pngInsignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus (Sterling Children's Books, 2017) by Dusti Bowling was so good.

Thirteen-year-old Aven was born without arms, but loves making up stories about what happened to her arms. It's a fun joke with her friends, but when she and her family have to move because her dad lost his job and Aven has to go to a new school, she doesn't feel like joking. Or eating lunch in front of anyone. And the "looks" and stares are hard.

Her new home is a rundown Western theme park in Arizona which has some mysteries. Eventually she meets Connor who has his own struggles and they start investigating those mysteries plus create some excitement of their own. The two also ending up helping each other.

Aven is funny, interesting, and a good friend. I like her parents and how they've encouraged her.

This really is a sweet book, but not too sweet. ;-) Go here and read about all the awards and lists this book has been chosen for.

Dusti's second book, 24 Hours in Nowhere, comes out in September. Read about it here.

A Death-Struck Year

A_Death_Struck_Year.pngA Death-Struck Year (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014) by Makiia Lucier is a wonderful historical set 100 years ago.

Seventeen-year-old Cleo Berry is temporarily staying at her school in Portland, Oregon while her guardians are on a trip to San Francisco. But then the Spanish influenza, which has been devastating the East Coast, hits Portland. Cleo is supposed to stay at her school but she sneaks out and goes home where she is alone. She ends up volunteering for the Red Cross and risks her life helping those who are stricken with flu.

Cleo is a strong character who grows during the story to understand much more about life, and death, than she ever has before. I love how this wealthy girl who knows so little about practical things in the real world learns what's really important.

This was author Makiia Lucier's debut novel. The book was named an ABC Best Books for Children Selection by the American Booksellers Association. Oh, and a bonus on the author's site is pictures of what Portland was like in 1918. See them here.

Makiia's next book is a fantasy that came out in April. Read about it here.

The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse

Perfect Picture Book Friday

wolf-duck-mouse.jpgThe Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse (Candlewick Press, 2017) by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen is a humorous picture book (no surprise if you are familiar with the author or illustrator).

Mouse meets a wolf and gets swallowed. In the wolf's stomach he meets a duck who actually enjoys his life there. With advice from the duck, they live happily, but the wolf . . . not so much.

I like the classical feel of this story. The illustrations add to the humor.

Read about Mac and his other books on his website. While there you can see all the awards the book has won. Also check out Jon's illustrations on tumbler.


Lucky Broken Girl

luckybrokengirl.jpgI read Lucky Broken Girl (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2017) by Ruth Behar before the announcement that Ruth won the well deserved 2018 Pura Belpré Author Award. This historical novel is based on the author's own experience of being in a body cast for almost a year. One of the things this story set in the 60's did for me was make me grateful for medical advancements.

Fifth grader Ruthie Mizrahi and her family have emigrated from Cuba. Hear her voice in the opening two lines: "When we lived in Cuba, I was smart. But when we got to Queens, in New York City, in the United States of America, I became dumb, just because I couldn't speak English."

However, Ruthie is a fighter and an encourager. She makes friends with another student who is from India who is also "not dumb." She gets the teacher to agree to them both being promoted to the smart class. She's also the hopscotch queen in her neighborhood and has even talked her father into a pair of go go boots.

But then the family is in a terrible car accident and Ruthie is put in a body cast. She is pretty discouraged--she's alone so much and afraid. Surprisingly, in time her life improves. The question remains though: will she ever walk again?

Amazingly enough this is Ruth Behar's debut novel. Ruth is also a cultural anthropologist. Read more about her here. And read about the other honors and lists, etc. for this book here.

Strange the Dreamer

strangethedreamer.jpgStrange the Dreamer (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2017) by Laini Taylor is a fascinating book. And it just was named a 2018 Printz Honor Book. Woo hoo!

Lazlo Strange--foundling, loner, and now librarian--has always been fascinated by the Unseen City, or Weep as it is now called, the city that was cut off from the rest of the world 200 years ago. As a librarian Lazlo has made his own books about the Unseen City from every scrap of information he can find. He's even learned to speak the language. So when visitors from the Unseen City arrive in the Kingdom of Zosma asking for help, Lazlo must figure out a way to make the trek to the Unseen City and find out what their problem is.

As I neared the end of the book, I wondered how Laini was going to pull off a satisfying ending, and she did, but I was thrilled to find out there's going to be a sequel. Maybe even this year...

Read about author Laini Taylor and her books here.


Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

A Death-Struck Year

The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse

Lucky Broken Girl

Strange the Dreamer

Insignia

The Sun Is Also a Star

The PROBLEM with FOREVER

Leave Me Alone!

Wolfie the Bunny

The Only Road

The Wolf's Boy

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Mother Bruce

One for the Murphys

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Echo

All Four Stars

The Crossover

The Year We Sailed the Sun

Ship Breaker

Prisoner 88

El Deafo

On My Way to Buy Eggs

This Girl Is Different

Payback - Nickel Bay Nick

Quick and Cute - Number One Sam

Dory Fantasmagory

MG Adventure in Verse - May B.

Discoveries and Escapes - Rooftoppers

A Wow Adventure

Dangerous Adventure - Badger Knight

An Eggstraordinary Story - Under the Egg

MG Mystery - Three Times Lucky

A Boy and an Elephant - Chained

Secrets! - The Pledge

Hilariously Creepy - Creepy Carrots

Moving Story - The Stamp Collector

Cute Grandma Story - Silly Frilly Grandma Tilly

Heartbreaker - The One and Only Ivan

The amazing Laini Taylor - Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Eye-opening Historical - Jepp, Who Defied the Stars

Anything But Typical

Historical MG in Verse - Inside Out and Back Again

Amazing Historical - The Year We Were Famous

Fascinating problem - Flip

Whose life? - How to save a life

Another time and now - Blessing's Bead

Just love this kid! - Okay for Now

A book with heart - Heart of a Shepherd

Really good story - Grounded

One Strong Girl! - One Crazy Summer

Distinct voices - Blink & Caution

Great first line - Split

Very Very Good! - Crunch

Very Interesting - The Everafter

Real or not real? - The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

Funny pet story - Guinea Dog

Something a bit different - Ashes

Fearful stuff - Countdown

What a sweet winner! - Moon Over Manifest

Unputdownable Fantasy - The Demon King

Shortlisted? - Mockingbird

Facts just slip into your mind - The Red Umbrella

Book Felt SO Real - memoirs of a teenage amnesiac

Great First Line - How to Steal a Dog

Book 1 - glad more is coming - Shiver

Newbery honor book - The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

Great opening scene - The Middle of Somewhere

You thought you had it tough? - Sweetgrass Basket

Unforgettable - Unwind

Character Growth - Red Glass & Mexican WhiteBoy

Got voice? - Penny from Heaven & Elijah of Buxton

2009 Newbery Winner - The Graveyard Book

Fantasy to Love - Graceling

A 2009 Newbery honor book - Savvy