Soupy Leaves Home by Cecil Castellucci
A perfectly executed graphic historical fiction. This text seamlessly weaves color, layout and text to tell the story of Pearl/Soupy as she hits the rails and meets her hobo mentor Ramshackle. As she runs from her troubles she learns the ways of the hobo community and finds her place in the world.
The hobo signs sprinkled throughout the book are guaranteed to make readers attentive and curious. The story itself is a bit of history that often goes unnoticed. Grades 6-8 should find great appeal.
Click here for a book trailer created by the author.
Source: paperback from the public library
Audience: grade 6 and up
The Astounding Broccoli Boy
by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Sometimes you just need to laugh. And when you do, this is the perfect kind of book. It’s just silly enough to entertain with just enough depth to keep the reader engaged.
Poor Rory is always looking over his should for the evil Tommy-Lee. When the two boys suddenly turn bright green they are locked into a hospital ward – together. Hilarity, danger, and friendship ensue.
Get ready for some British humor and slang. You might even add some expressions to your vocabulary!
Source: Public Library ebook
Audience: middle school grades 6-8
All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook
by Leslie Connor
A book about a child born in raised in a prison. And it’s not a downer, not at all. Filled with quirky characters and so much love, it is sure to be a favorite for many readers.
The action plot is exciting – what will happen if people find out? How will Perry’s life change? How will his mom endure without him by her side?
A thoughtful emotional plot really focuses on how we define home and family. The title permeates the entire text: rise up. Get out of bed. Take a class. Do your chores. Make a plan. Rise yourself up from where you are.
Source: Public Library ebook
I highly recommend this book for all readers grade 6 and up
In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph M. Marshall III
This book is going to need a little help finding and audience, but when it does they are going to love it. Coming of age, road trips, history, culture all work so well in this slim text.
This is an important book to share with kids. I found myself stopping to look up the memorials and historical sites as I was reading. This is not the history I was taught in school. It’s so much more personal and authentic.
Please read the excellent review published on the American Indians in Children’s Literature site.
Drowned City: Huricane Katrina and New Orleans
Written and illustrated by Don Brown
Winner of the 2016 Orbis PICTUS award, given to outstanding nonfiction for children.
The devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina was shown on live TV and it was stunning. I think that a graphic novel is a good way to show the despair and hope that followed the flooding. It’s good to note that some things I thought were true were shown by this text to be only rumors. I don’t think it reads too much like a textbook, it’s more like good journalism.
You can take a peek at some of the text on the NOLA.com website. While you’re there, you can see how NOLA feels about the text. The book is the
This book gets high marks from me because of funny lines and realistic teenage characters who just happen to have superpowers. The true strength of the books lies in the telling of how they get the powers, how they use the powers and how they work through their stereotyped roles.
It’s part one of a series, and readers of this blog know how much I hate a series. I do appreciate that the author ended this episode and left me interested in reading more – not irritated by a cliffhanger.
Richard Peck has captivated me with this book. I enjoyed the humor, the characters and the plot. I especially liked the family relationships, dads and moms and sons and daughters and brothers all figuring out how to b happy. Mix in the deadpan humor and social ineptness of the main character and you have a winner for sure.
Source: Public Library
Audience: Grade 5 and up
The author deftly weaves the concepts of home, family, and community in this kind-hearted book. I love that Deja allows herself to be happy and that the kids in the book choose kindness over judgement time and again. For many kids literature will be the best way for them to learn about this tragic day.
Readers may like this video featuring visual elements of the book
Source: Ebook from the public library
Audience: 5th-7th grade
You’re Welcome Universe
by Whitney Gardner
I really like a book that teaches me something new. I love a book that teaches me something without hitting me over the head with it. This debut novel immerses the reader in the Deaf community while exploring love, friendship and family. Oh, and graffiti art. I’m completely fascinated by this and now I’m looking at trains and walls in a new way.
When Julia is expelled from her private school for vandalism/protecting a friend she is plunged into the hearing world without much preparation. Despite her wish to stay disconnected she does make a friend and an enemy.
When her graffiti is defaced by another artist a war begins that challenges Julia to redefine herself as an artist and community member.
I read this as a digital ARC. I’m planning to pick it up in print so that I can see the illustrations more clearly – although the final ebook copy may be better than the ARC.
Expected Publication: March 7, 2017
Source: ARC from publisher
Audience: High school – could be 8th grade but for one mature scene