Book of the Month:
Tangerine, by Edward Bloor
YA novel that defies description: It’s a sports book, a mystery, a problem novel, and a school story, with a little multiculturalism thrown in as well. All elements deftly handled, with a great protagonist in sixth-grader Paul Fisher.
- Sunset in a Spider Web, by Virginia Olsen Baron. Translations of sijo, a traditional Korean verse form.
- On My Honor, by Marion Dane Bauer. MG/YA about a boy who gets into terrible trouble through disobedience.
- Morning Girl, by Michael Dorris. MG historical fiction: a sister and brother alternate first-person chapters in an account of their lives as Tainos just before Columbus’ arrival.
- Fiddle Fever, by Sharon Arms Doucet. MG period fiction: A boy in Louisiana’s bayou country dreams of becoming a fiddler.
- All is Well, by Kristine Litchman. MG historical: A girl comes of age in turn of the century Utah. Presents the old Mormon practice of polygamy without sensationalizing.
- Margaret Wise Brown: Awakened by the Moon, by Leonard Marcus. Adult book. Fascinating biography of the acclaimed picture-book author.
- Yang the Second and her Secret Admirers, by Lensey Namioka. Younger MG: The second in the series about a Chinese-American family.
- A Child’s Delight, by Noel Perrin. Adult book. Brief essays about the author’s favorite children’s books, some famous, some not, a delight indeed. The companion to Reader’s Delight, by the same author, about adult titles.
- The Amber Spyglass, by Philip Pullman. YA fantasy, third in the “His Dark Materials” trilogy. Imaginative and compelling.
- At the Sign of the Star, by Katherine Sturtevant. MG historical fiction set in medieval England–a girl who wants to become a bookseller. If you like Karen Cushman’s books, try this title.
- Miracle’s Boys, by Jacqueline Woodson. MG/YA, this year’s Coretta Scott King Medal winner for fiction. Three brothers in present-day Harlem. A slim volume that packs a big punch.
The announcement of the annual ALA awards always kicks me into high gear reading-wise. Starting this month, I’ll choose a “book of the month,” and add brief notes to my titles list.
My book of the month:
The Sterkarm Handshake, by Susan Price
A YA time-travel adventure story, set in 16th- and 21st-century England, with a vulnerable and interesting heroine. Winner of a Guardian prize for fiction in the UK.
- When Jeff Comes Home, by Catherine Atkins (contemporary YA, the harrowing story of a kidnapped and returned teen)
- A String in the Harp, by Nancy Bond (MG fantasy–time travel set in Wales)
- The Quiltmaker’s Gift, by Jeff Brumbeau, illustrated by Gail de Marcken (PB, an original fairy tale a little heavy on sentimentality but lushly illustrated)
- Martha Graham: A Dancer’s Life, by Russell Freedman (MG biography by a master)
- Shizuko’s Daughter, by Kyoko Mori (YA coming-of-age set in contemporary Japan–a young girl deals with the aftermath of her mother’s suicide)
- Ties that Bind, Ties that Break, by Lensey Namioka (early 20th-c. period fiction, set mostly in China and centered around the traditional practice of footbinding)
- Yang the Youngest and his Terrible Ear, by Lensey Namioka (younger MG, contemporary family story)
- A Year Down Yonder, by Richard Peck (2001 Newbery Medal, Depression-era in a small town in Southern Illinois)
- Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli (contemporary YA about teen peer pressure)
- Ballet Shoes, by Noel Streatfeild (classic MG, three orphan girls who train in the theatrical arts)
- The Queen of Attolia, by Megan Whalen Turner (MG adventure set in ancient Greece, sequel to the Newbery Honor title The Thief)
- Go and Come Back, by Joan Abelove (MG/YA)
- On a Wintry Morning, by Dori Chaconas (picture book)
- What Jamie Saw, by Caroline Coman (YA)
- The Ballad of Lucy Whipple, by Karen Cushman (MG)
- The Everything Book, by Denise Fleming (picture book)
- Snowdrops for Cousin Ruth, by Susan Katz (MG)
- Anastasia Krupnik, by Lois Lowry (MG)
- The Ruby in the Smoke, by Phillip Pullman (YA)
- The Thief, by Megan Whalen Turner (MG/YA)
- Kit’s Wilderness, by David Almond (MG/YA)
- Matilda Bone, by Karen Cushman (MG)
- Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo (MG)
- Eleanor Roosevelt, by Russell Freedman (MG)
- Silent to the Bone, by E.L. Konigsburg (YA)
- John Riley’s Daughter, by Kezi Matthews (MG)
- Silverwing, by Kenneth Oppel (MG)
- Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen (MG/YA)
- Freak the Mighty, by Rod Philbrick (MG)
- Never Trust a Dead Man, by Vivian VandeVelde (MG/YA)