Leah’s parents are ghosts… but not the spooky kind of ghosts. Her parents are very much alive, but they’ve been distant and detached ever since that terrible day last summer when everything changed. Even her friends treat her differently since then, making her feel alone and lost.
Then she meets Jasper. Jasper is mysterious and strong-willed, unlike anyone Leah has ever met. Not only that, Jasper doesn’t know about that terrible day last summer. The two create a magical hideaway where they escape from their issues at home. However, they will soon find out that they can’t run from their problems forever. Will their friendship endure the secrets that they both hold?
My Jasper June is a wonderful tween book that tackles sensitive issues affecting children such as grief, homelessness, alcoholism, and abuse. This magical story of friendship will inspire its readers to befriend and be kind to others.
In this new picture book by Peter H. Reynolds, readers have the chance to explore why everyone’s voice matters. In ways big and small, with creativity or kindness, in compassion or in justice – the admonition to Say Something! is embraced and encouraged. Giving voice to an unfairness or just being willing to take a chance with one’s own inventiveness, we are reminded that saying something is the true way to make a big difference. When we are inspired to follow our inner voices, it is an opportunity to inspire others to do the same and to also inspire others to join us in making the world a better place. A voice can be artistic or a voice can be used to right a wrong – but most importantly, all voices matter. This is a perfect picture book to share with young readers who may need encouragement to speak their own truth.
Through Wilma’s Way Home: The Life of Wilma Mankiller, readers learn not just about the life of Wilma Mankiller, the first woman chief of the Cherokee Nation, but also about the recent history and culture of the Cherokee people and the indigenous peoples of the United States at large. Doreen Rappaport’s text, interspersed with quotes from Mankiller herself, beautifully brings to life a strong and effective leader dedicated to improving the everyday lives of her community members, while Linda Kukuk’s illustrations represent the Cherokee Nation as an independent people with a rich history of supporting one another through struggle. Since the text is lengthy and deals with difficult subjects such as the Trail of Tears, this biography is more appropriate for older children. Wilma’s Way Home: The Life of Wilma Mankiller is an excellent resource for learning about indigenous life and activism in the 20th Century.
Emma has been homeschooled her whole life. Since her brother Owen made the decision to go to public school and was enjoying it, Emma decided to follow suit. On the night before she embarks on her new adventure to start 5th grade, she joins her father on an animal rescue call. (Emma’s dad is a game warden in Maine). Together, they discover a rabbit that Emma names Monsieur Lapin (Lapi for short), an animal that becomes an important character in her new life and helps shapes her world. Worried about who Lapi really belongs to (as well as making new friends and a good first impression), Emma sets out to conquer her fears. Sharing rabbit stories with her classmates, Emma ends up in an unlikely friendship that teaches her kindness and compassion. With interesting rabbit facts included throughout, Because of the Rabbit shows readers just how wonderful friendship and acceptance can be.
Meet the woman who helped bring Puerto Rican folktales to the United States and shape children’s librarianship into what it is today! In Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre, Anika Aldamuy Denise tells the story of Pura Belpre’s life beginning with her visit to New York City in 1921. Through her career, she brought the Puerto Rican folk traditions of her ancestors alive for children and families throughout the United States. With the help of vibrant illustrations by Paola Escobar and the occasional Spanish phrase riddled throughout the text, readers get a sense of Pura’s life, work, culture and the incredible impact she had on so many. Today, an award in her honor recognizes exemplary Latino/Latina children’s literature. Become immersed in the world of this wonderful and important woman with this excellent picture book biography!
A beautifully illustrated picture book biography, Spring After Spring provides an overview of Rachel Carson’s childhood and the things that captivated her about the natural world. Rachel was inspired equally by bird and frog songs, by wonders large and small. Spring was her favorite season, and she marveled at the awakening flora and fauna – embracing the magic and beauty of the rhythm of nature. This biography follows Rachel into adulthood – and as she grew older, so did her fascination with the scientific world and the study of earth’s plant and animal creatures. Her zealous pursuit of knowledge and what she observed inspired Rachel to enlighten others about the very fragile world we live in, leading her to author Silent Spring. Her book has long been considered the start of the environmental movement, causing people to consider the impact of their own actions on our world and all living things. This book illustrates many lessons that are worth sharing with young readers, including following one’s passion for a cause and the fact that the actions of even one person can have a lasting legacy. This book is perfect to share with budding naturalists, in a classroom for Earth Day, or just a one-on-one read with a young enthusiast of the world around us. Don’t miss Spring After Spring, a thought-provoking and inspiring biography.
Charlotte, nicknamed Charlie, has to do a genealogy project for school. She decides to research the relative she’s named after: Charlotte nicknamed Lottie. Lottie was a young violin virtuoso who disappeared in Hungary during World War II. Charlie starts to uncover clues by talking to family members, translating old documents and doing a lot of research. But while Charlie uncovers the mystery of Lottie, she still faces the distractions of a 12 year old girl: boys, extra-curricular activities and current family drama. Searching for Lottie weaves together modern stresses of junior high with an approachable insight into adversity some families endured during WWII and the Holocaust. Charlie’s diligent and courageous quest to uncover answers to Lottie’s disappearance might just encourage readers to start researching their own families too!