The Latest In Progress
Naomi Howarth's simple and visually satisfying adaptation of this Lenni Lenape Native American legend is especially suited to being shared with young children—introducing them to lessons of bravery, determination, friendship, good deeds, and selflessness. Rainbow Crow sacrifices his colorful feathers and beautiful singing voice to save his animal friends from the freezing cold of winter. The rhyming text makes for an easy read-aloud, but the emotional power of the book comes through the illustrations when Rainbow Crow comes back to earth black and sooty, only able to croak. The story gives young children and their adults a lot to ponder and discuss. Strong debut for Howarth. Up to Seven. –Summer Rosswog
The stories of an old wolf and a young boy intertwine and linger in the reader's mind after the telling is done. Both have something to prove and both struggle with their own needs. What is true and what is necessary for each to survive is dramatic and intense as they come together in their separate quests. The pencil drawings are also hauntingly beautiful and add much to the tale. Nominated by Bridget Harvey. 7-10
A book-loving little girl who has lost all the words from a borrowed "magical" book imagines her own tales from each of its fantastic illustrations. A loving tribute to the power of imagining with a specific shout-out to Aesop's Fox and Grapes and connections to many others. This is a perfect vehicle for Zagarenski's surreal mixed-media paintings. Readers can see the girl reading the same pages they are and can follow the story she imagines or construct their own. As a read-aloud for the lower grades, this would be a grand starter for a discussion of wordless books, story, and imagination; as a read-alone it will invite many repetitions. (7-10. K. Isaacs)
Alex, Alexandra/Alexander, quits taking meds and all hell breaks loose. Alex is part male and part female, but people, society, parents demand one answer. One answer frees Alex, but leaves chaos for everyone else. Told from Alex's points of view with blog posts and responses from Alex's mom, Alex as Well draws us into the struggles, the pain, and Alex's hope. Fourteen and up. Ruth Compton
Originally published in French (Canadian), "Mr. Postmouse's Rounds" is a charmingly illustrated story that follows a "post-mouse" through his daily deliveries to a variety animals, each with their own unique homes and habitats. The delight of this book is in the detailed illustrations, a bit reminiscent of Richard Scarry's work. Children and adults will love pouring over each stop on Mr. Postmouse's route for humorous references of all sorts and aspects that will trigger discussion about the animal kingdom and much more! This book is one that children will read again and again, finding new surprises each time. Up to Seven. -Summer Rosswog.
Narrated by the author himself and Michael Braun, the story of the handful of Danish boys who challenged Hitler when the adults were willing to wait and see what would happen in Denmark after Nazi occupation is most inspirational. Even though we know they will survive their various acts of sabotage, incarceration, etc. this story of courageous teens is worth listening to. Great nonfiction staring real live determined teen boys is a story that is not well known. Ages 10+ Audio. Maria E. Gentle
In a matter of fact narration style we learn the story of Daniel Ellsberg, a one time government analyst who risked it all to expose the US government's involvement in the Vietnam War. He brought to life the existence of the 7,000 page documents which became known as the Pentagon Papers. Ray Porter's voice is nuanced in a you are there style but without undue hoopla, after all the story is sensationalistic enough as it is. For any teen unfamiliar with this chapter of history this is unforgettable non-fiction. Ages 14+ Maria E. Gentle