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Children’s Books for the Holidays

Hi Kid Lit Friends,

I love the holidays. New York City is at its best during December with all the beautiful lights, the huge Rockefeller tree, and the brisk weather and holiday cheer. Since I’m in the holiday mood, I thought I would share some favorite picture books for the season.

Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story by Angela Shelf Medearis, illustrated by Daniel Minter

I adore Daniel Minter’s illustrative style (Going Down Home with Daddy, a book he illustrated, won a Caldecott Honor a couple of years ago), and this book is beautifully created with linoleum block prints. In this story, seven brothers are constantly fighting, but when their father dies, the brothers are tasked with creating gold out of seven spools of thread. If they can’t accomplish this by sundown, they will live the rest of their life as beggars. Using the Nguzo Saba, or “seven principles” of Kwanzaa, the author has created an unforgettable story that shows how family members can pull together, for their own good and the good of the entire community.

Miracle on 133rd Street by Sonia Manzano, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

Sonia Manzano from Sesame Street writes this sweet tale about the joys of an urban Christmas. On the day before Christmas, Mami brings home a delicious roast for a Christmas feast. When they discover it’s too big to fit in their oven, Jose and Papa need to find an oven big enough to cook Mami’s roast. They visit their neighbors to find a bigger oven, bringing Christmas cheer with them along the way.

Red and Green and Blue and White by Lee Wind, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky

It’s December, and the houses on Isaac and Teresa’s block are getting ready for the holidays. Isaac and his family decorate their big window for Chanukah, and across the street, his best friend Teresa and her family trim their Christmas tree. When it gets dark, Teresa’s house glows red and green and Isaac’s decorative menorah glows blue and white. But when someone throws a rock through Isaac’s window late at night, the celebratory spirit is extinguished until the whole community joins together to support Isaac and his family and celebrate the true spirit of the holidays.

The Real Santa by Nancy Redd, illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow

This sweet picture book answers the age old question: What does Santa look like? A family celebrates the Christmas season with family, representation, and holiday spirit.

The Legend of the Christmas Witch by Dan Murphy and Aubrey Plaza, illustrated by Julia Iredale (November 16, 2021, Penguin)

There are many sides to every story, and this story is about Kristoffer and Kristtorn. They lived alone in the woods until one day, Kristoffer was found by a couple and taken away to live with them while Kristtorn was left alone. She ends up finding a home with a witch who recognized her powers and tried to protect her from the world. But Kristtorn grew up and her powers grew, and she learned that the world was afraid of her. Beautiful illustrations accompany this Christmas tale.


What are you reading these days? Let me know! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at KarinaBookRiot@gmail.com.

Until next time!
Karina

Lalo and I had a great time watching the NYC marathon!

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New Graphic Novels!

Dear Kid Lit Friends,

Graphic novels have had such explosive growth in the last few years, and it’s been really amazing to see all the new books coming out. Check out these new ones and let me know what you think!

When Pigs Fly by Rob Harrell (Dial, November 9, 2021)

I really loved Rob Harrell’s middle grade novel, Wink, so I was thrilled to discover he was working on a graphic novel. His first Batpig book, When Pigs Fly, is no disappointment. If you haven’t seen it yet, let me tell you what the dedication is: “For all the kids out there writing stories and drawing whenever you can: Keep going! I mean, look at this – it’s a whole book about a pig in a cape. If I can do it, you can too!” Basically his humor and kindness radiate in that one dedication, and this graphic novel is sweet, funny, and goofy. Check out this book!

Pawcasso by Remy Lai

You might remember that I recently revealed the covers to Remy Lai’s new nonfiction graphic novels. Her first graphic novel, Pawcasso, is such a wonderful one. Every Saturday, Pawcasso trots into town with a basket, a shopping list, and cash in paw to buy groceries for his family. When Jo sees him, she follows Pawcasso and gets mistaken as his owner. Excited to make new friends, Jo reluctantly hides the truth and agrees to let “her” dog model for an art class the kids attend. What could go wrong?

City of Dragons: The Awakening Storm by Jaimal Yogis and Vivian Trong

I love this graphic novel because it’s set in my parent’s home town of Hong Kong. In this story, Grace moves to Hong Kong with her mom and stepdad, and when she’s on a school field trip, she runs into a woman who gifts her a dragon egg. Grace discovers that the wonderful stories of dragons she heard when she was a young girl might actually be real— especially when the egg hatches overnight. This book has beautiful illustrations and is full of action, humor, and mystery.

Manu: A Graphic Novel by Kelly Fernández

This sweet graphic novel is about Manu and her best friend, Josefina. They live at a magical school for girls where they are up to all sorts of mischief. When a prank goes seriously wrong, Josefina wishes for Manu’s magic to disappear… and it does. But then Manu performs a dangerous spell to restore her powers, and her magic becomes uncontrollable.

Kitty Quest by Phil Corbett

Meet two adorable kittens, Woolfrik and Perigold, who decide that the best way to make money is to become professional monster slayers. The only thing is, they know nothing about monsters, especially slaying them. Then they meet a ghost named Earl Mortimore, who is the last not-so-living member of an ancient guild of warriors, and he’s going to teach them everything he knows. Do these kittens have what it takes to save the day and prove they’ve got what it takes to be heroes?


What are you reading these days? Let me know! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at KarinaBookRiot@gmail.com.

Until next time!
Karina

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Children’s Books for the Spooky Season

Hi Kid Lit Friends!

I have to admit that Halloween is not one of my favorite holidays. I am not a huge fan of scary books or scary movies or horror. So around this time, I always open packages of review books from publishers with one eye closed. Some of the covers of spooky books really scare me! But I know so many kids love to be scared or love the holiday, so here are some book picks for Halloween!

Hardly Haunted by Jessie Sima (picture book)

I am a huge fan of Jessie Sima’s work (Not Quite Narwhal is adorable!), so I was thrilled to see Jessie’s new book come out. The story centers around this house you see on the cover. She is a little spooky, a little cobwebby, her hinges creak, and her pipes bang. She thinks she might be haunted, which is not a good thing because nice families don’t want to live in haunted houses! Is House destined to be alone forever?

Looking for a Jumbie by Tracey Baptiste, illustrated by Amber Ren

Tracey Baptiste’s wonderfully scary middle grade series The Jumbies is now for the picture book crowd! Inspired by traditional Caribbean tails, most people think that jumbies exist only in stories. But Naya sets out on a nighttime adventure to find out for herself, sure that jumbies are real. Some have big mouths. Or thick fur. Or glowing skin. Or sharp teeth. Kind of like her new friends.…

Gustavo the Shy Ghost by Flavia Z. Drago (picture book)

This darling book by Mexican artist Flavia Z. Drago is about Gustavo, who is very good at all the ghostly things. But making friends is a whole different skill, one that he has never mastered because no one can see him! Now that the Day of the Dead is fast approaching, what can he do to make them notice him and to share with them something he loves?

The Last Kids on Earth and the Doomsday Race by Max Brallier (middle grade book)

I love so much about Max Brallier’s hugely popular The Last Kids on Earth series. He creates fun and fantastic worlds, his characters are believable as they face very dangerous situations, and there is plenty of humor. I can see why so many readers are drawn to these stories. I actually gifted a whole set to a fifth grade class I was mentoring a couple of years ago, and I got a lot of mail from them telling me that they loved the books. This is the seventh book in the series, so if you’re new to it, start from the first one (The Last Kids on Earth) and read them all.

Charlie Hernández & the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo (middle grade book)

Charlie Hernández loves his Latin American heritage: the culture, the art, and especially the myths. His abuela has shared stories with him since he was young, and Charlie knows them all, every monster and ghoul who have spent the last five hundred years haunting the imaginations of children all across the Iberian Peninsula, as well as Central and South America. But when the myths become real, Charlie finds himself in the middle of an ancient battle between La Liga, a secret society of legendary mythological beings sworn to protect the Land of the Living, and La Mano Negra (a.k.a. the Black Hand), a cabal of evil spirits determined to rule mankind.


What are you reading these days? Let me know! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at KarinaBookRiot@gmail.com.

Until next time!
Karina

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Picture Books Set in the Sea

Hi Kid Lit Friends!

Today let’s head to the ocean and explore the gorgeous picture books set in the sea! I just love how each of these illustrators depict the water in their own unique way.

The Old Boat by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey

I adore this book by brothers Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey. Their debut picture book, The Old Truck, was one of my favorite picture books of 2020. The illustrations, created with hundreds of hand carved stamps, are the inspiration for a gorgeous new collection of kids bedding and decor for West Elm. In The Old Boat, a young boy and his boat set off on adventures, but as he gets older he sees more and more trash and pollution in the ocean and the man and his old boat find a new purpose.

Pirate Queen: A Story of Zheng Yi Sao by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Liz Wong

This wonderful book follows one of the most powerful pirates in history: a woman who was born into poverty in Guangzhou, China, in the late 1700s. When pirates attacked her town, Zheng Yi Sao agreed to marry the captain if she got an equal share of his business. He agreed, and she took command of his fleet when he died six years later. Over the next decade, the pirate queen built a fleet of over 1,800 ships and 70,000 men. I thought this book was fascinating!

Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

This gorgeous book won the Caldecott Medal, and I love everything about this story. The story of a lighthouse keeper and his family is one that is sure to enchant all readers. We watch the seasons pass and supplies come in and icebergs float by. We observe them living in all types of weather. The end is filled with two pages of information about the research for the book. This book is a true treasure!

Hope at Sea by Daniel Miyares (November 9, 2021, Anne Schwartz Books)

This book is a feast for the eyes and filled with so many wonderful and beautiful details. The story begins with Hope, a young girl who loves her father’s stories about his voyages at sea. When her father sets off on his 19th-century merchant vessel, Hope can’t help but get on board as a stowaway and faces the truth about the ocean: it is both irresistible AND terrifying!

Sail Away by Langston Hughes, illustrated by Ashley Bryan

This gorgeous compilation of poems from the great Langston Hughes is paired with stunning cut-paper collage illustrations by Ashley Bryan. I loved reading more of Hughes’s poems inspired by the sea, and there is no better illustrator to accompany those poems than Mr. Bryan, who has lived more than half his life on a small island in Maine. (I’ve visited him there!) This book is a treasure!


What are you reading these days? Let me know! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at KarinaBookRiot@gmail.com.

Until next time!
Karina

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Picture Books About Growing Pains

Hi Kid Lit Friends,

Before we get to the books, did you know it’s Book Riot’s tenth anniversary? Go to bookriot.com/merch to check out some great new merchandise, available only this month!


Childhood is filled with ups and downs and so many feelings! The world can be a confusing place, and I’m so thankful there are so many beautiful picture books that talk about feelings and what it’s like to live in a complicated world.

Jenny Mei is Sad by Tracy Subisak

Jenny Mei is sad, and her best friend watches Jenny as she makes people laugh and shares her orange and gives compliments. When Jenny is sad and having a bad day, her friend knows that she needs to wait and be a good listener so they can kick a rock together and buy popsicles to share. Sometimes, when a friend is sad, the best thing to do is to be there “for fun and not-fun and everything in between.”

The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh by Supriya Kelkar, illustrated by Alea Marley

Harpreet Singh likes to match his patkas to his mood: red when he needs courage, yellow when he feels sunny, and pink when there’s something to celebrate. But when Harpreet and his family move across the country, he only wears white patkas, a sign that he felt shy, and doesn’t want to be seen. Will Harpreet be able to adjust his new life, make new friends, and start wearing his colorful patkas again?

Milo Imagines the World by Matt de la Pena, illustrated by Christian Robinson

Every month, Milo gets on the subway with his big sister. He always has a notebook in hand, and he likes to imagine and draw what the lives of his fellow passenger riders are like. He imagines that the man doing a crossword is going home to his mewing cats and burrowing rats. He imagines a boy in a suit with brand new sneakers lives in a castle with a butler, two maids, and a gourmet chef. But when Milo finds the boy getting off at the same stop he is getting off of, and heading to the same place he’s heading to, Milo reimagines all the pictures he made on the train.

If You Miss Me by Jocelyn Li Langrano (10/19/21, Scholastic)

Charlie loves her grandma and they spend all of their time together, but when Charlie’s family moves out of the city, she sees Grandma less and less. Her grandma tells her that when Charlie misses her, to look at the moon and Grandma will do the same. But when Grandma passes away, Charlie is too sad to do anything, until the spring concert when she sees a sign that Grandma is always with her.

Little Messy Marcy Su by Cherie Fu, illustrated by Julie Kwon (11/30/21, Little Brown)

In this funny picture book, Marcy Su can’t help but make a mess— it’s just how she rolls. But when her mom asks her to make her proud by cleaning up the mess, Marcy Su goes into action. She does the laundry and vacuums and takes a bath, but while her room is getting clean, the rest of the house is only getting messier as Marcy knocks down flower vases and leaves the bathtub water running in her haste to clean up her space.


I need to correct an error on my part in the last newsletter. In my blurb of The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate diCamillo, I incorrectly stated that a baby was dropped off on the stoop of the monastery the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing. In actuality, the girl is found in a stall by one of the brothers in the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing. Please accept my apologies for the error!

What are you reading these days? Let me know! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at KarinaBookRiot@gmail.com.

Until next time!
Karina

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Great New Middle Grade Books!

Hi Kid Lit Friends,

Before I dive into today’s topic, did you know that it’s Book Riot’s ten year anniversary! Woohoo! To celebrate, we’re running a limited-edition merchandise line that includes hoodies, sweatshirts, totes and more. Go to bookriot.com/merch to check it out!

Whenever I open my book mail, I’m astonished by how many excellent new books come out each week. You would think that beautifully written, engaging books would cease to exist after awhile, but in my opinion books just keep getting better and better. Here are five new middle grade books I think you should definitely put on your TBR!

Playing the Cards You’re Dealt by Varian Johnson

I read this book in one day, beginning it on the subway on the way to pick up my kids from school and not going to bed until I read the last page. This story, about a young boy who is determined to carry on his family’s legacy and winning the annual Spades tournament, is filled with growing pains and family trouble and friend complications. It is a wonderful coming of age story that is beautifully written as only Varian Johnson can do.

Concealed by Christina Diaz Gonzalez (October 19, 2021, Scholastic)

Fans of Spy School, City Spies, and Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls rejoice! Here is a brand new mystery book that is a real page turner. Katrina and her parents are in the Witness Protection Program, and whenever her parents have to move Katrina has to take up a new identity. When her parents disappear, Katrina knows it’s up to her to rescue them. But as she dives deeper into their disappearance, she realizes that now everything she knows has been true and that her parents were actually the ones keeping the biggest secret of all…

The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo

The Beatryce Prophecy is classic Kate DiCamillo. The writing is gorgeous, the story is thought provoking, and the characters are unique and utterly human. The story begins in a time of war when a baby is dropped on the stoop of the monastery the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing. She is holding the ear of Answelica, a bad tempered goat who loves no one but her. As time goes by, Beatryce discovers that the king of the land seeks to kill her, and she sets out in search of the castle to find out why. This book is beautifully illustrated by Sophie Blackall!

What Lane by Torrey Maldonado

I just moderated a panel with Torrey Maldonado, and I loved hearing about his most recent book What Lane. In this book, Stephen is confronted by big issues. As a biracial boy, he has both white friends and black friends. But when the cousin of his best white friend starts egging him on, Stephen’s eyes open to how he’s treated differently from his white friends. He starts learning more about the Black Lives Matter movement as he tries to swerves in and out of various lanes, trying to figure out which one he belongs in. This is a terrific book that captures the highs and lows of growing up.

Paradise on Fire by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Jewell Parker Rhodes always does a wonderful job of writing timely stories and never shies away from the big problems of our time. In this book, she writes about Addy, a young girl haunted by the fire that killed her parents. Now living with her grandmother, she heads off to a summer wilderness program. Together with five other Black kids, they head deep into the forest to learn how to camp, hike, rock climb, and safely put out fires. But when they are faced with a devastating forest fire, Addy must confront her worst fears.


What are you reading these days? Let me know! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at KarinaBookRiot@gmail.com.

Until next time!
Karina

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Children’s Books about Rescue Animals!

Hi Kid Lit Friends,

Many of you know that I am a huge fan of adopting pets from rescues. Our three cats and one of our dogs are from shelters, and I always love children’s books that touch on this topic! Here are some good ones, and yes, they will definitely pull on your heartstrings. (Read with tissues!)

Stormy: A Story About Finding a Forever Home by Guojing (picture book)

This wordless picture book is so sweet and beautiful and adorable. It tells the story of a friendship between a girl and a dog. At first they are tentative around each other, but as trust builds they get closer and closer. When a ferocious rainstorm sweeps the area, will they be able to find their way to each other?

Roo the Rabbit: My Furry Foster Family by Debbi Michiko Florence (chapter book)

As someone who has adopted a rabbit in the past, I really relate to this fun chapter book by Debbi Michiko Florence. When eight-year-old Kaita and her family foster a rabbit, Kaita is over the moon! But Roo is a little different from the other animals she’s fostered in the past, and she can’t be sure if Roo is happy or not. Roo doesn’t lick her face or run in circles when Kaita comes home from school. Will Kaita find a way to make friends with this new foster friend?

Bad Bella by Ali Standish (early middle grade)

Bella loves her family, but the McBrides find her a nuisance, especially when Mrs. McBride becomes pregnant. She is abandoned at the pound after an unfortunate accident with the Christmas tree, and Bella is left wondering what she did wrong. When a new couple adopts her, Bella is thrilled. But then she starts worrying again – will her new family keep her forever, or will she end up in the pound again? This sweet, adorable book is sure to win your heart.

Wish by Barbara O’Connor (middle grade)

I love every book that Barbara O’Connor writes, but Wish might be one of my favorites. When Eleven-year-old Charlie Reese is sent to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to live with family she barely knows, it seems unlikely that her one and only wish will ever come true. But then she meets Wishbone, a skinny stray dog who captures her heart, and Howard, a neighbor boy who proves to be surprising in lots of ways. Suddenly Charlie is in serious danger of discovering that what she thought she wanted may not be what she needs at all. 

When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin (middle grade)

Oh how I adore this book! It is one of my absolute favorites. Ben Coffin is a former foster kid and has never really made a real, true friend. But when he rescues an abandoned mutt from the alley next-door to the Coney Island Library, Flip the dog leads Ben to befriend a fellow book-lover named Halley. Ben and Halley are friends until the unthinkable happens. Ben knows that Flip pointed him toward friendship, but can Flip also point him toward home?


What are you reading these days? Let me know! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at KarinaBookRiot@gmail.com.

Until next time!
Karina

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Chapter Books for Newly Independent Readers!

Hi Kid Lit Friends!

This morning I was going through my upcoming and new release bookshelf, and I realized there are quite a few new chapter books that would be great for newly independent readers. This is a genre that I get very excited about because it’s when kids start getting really into reading! I know it can be tricky to find books for this age group, so I’m so happy to see some new releases that young readers will love.

Sona Sharma, Very Best Big Sister by Chitra Soundar, illustrated by Jen Khatun

This is such a sweet chapter book filled with charming illustrations on each page. It’s about a young girl named Sona who is used to having lots of people around: Amma, Appa, Thatha, Paatti, and so many others. When Amma tells Sona that she will be a big sister, Sona isn’t so sure about having to share all the special people in her life with a new baby. Can Sona learn how to be a good big sister?

Jada Jones, Dancing Queen by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Nneka Myers

When the student council announces that their next fundraiser will involve a school dance, Jada isn’t so excited. She has no idea how to dance! Can Jada figure out how to not embarrass herself at the dance while also raising awareness for the fundraiser and making a difference in her community?

Audrey L and Audrey W, Best Friends-ish by Carter Higgins, illustrated by Jennifer K. Mann (October 5, 2021, Chronicle)

This delightful book is perfect for early elementary readers who are trying to figure out a confusing a complicated world. Audrey enters second grade with lots of optimism, but then second grade doesn’t turn out to be as great as she thought it was going to be. To make matters worse, a new student enters the class and Audrey isn’t Audrey anymore. She’s Audrey L, because the new student is also named Audrey! Is Audrey doomed to be second best at everything?

Blackberry Farm, All Pets Allowed (book 2 in a series) by Adele Griffin, illustrated by LeUyen Pham

The second book in the Blackberry Farm series is as sweet as the first one. Becket Branch’s birthday wish is a dog and his twin brother Nicholas’s birthday wish is for a cat. They head to the shelter, but the dog Becket chooses isn’t the outgoing and friendly like he wanted. The dog turns out to be scared and shy. And while Nicholas wants a cat that is quiet and loves to be indoors like him, the cat he takes home ends up being outgoing and loves being the farm greeter. Was getting these pets a mistake?

Bad Nana: Older Not Wiser by Sophy Henn

Fans of Dory Fantasmagory will love Bad Nana! Filled with quirky illustrations with pops of neon pink, this book is funny, goofy, and silly. Seven year old Jeanie had two grandmothers. One is sort of normal, but the other one is bad. And Jeanie quite likes Bad Nana even though Bad Nana sometimes gets them into bad scrapes! This is such a fun book!


What are you reading these days? Let me know! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at KarinaBookRiot@gmail.com.

Also, did you know that the fifth book is the Vanderbeekers series is out now? The Vanderbeekers Make a Wish is about family mysteries, unexpected guests, and a found letter. I hope you enjoy it!

Until next time!
Karina

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Picture Books About Journeys

Hi Kid Lit Friends!

It’s back to school in New York City, and the sidewalks are filled with young people reconnecting with friends and commiserating over homework. It’s so nice to see the city busy again, filled with life and hope. My mind has been thinking a lot about journeys – where we’ve been, where we’re going, and the adventures that are still before us. I think that’s why I decided to make journey the theme of today’s newsletters.

My First Day by Phung Nguyen Quang and Huynh Kim Lien

I’ve shared this book a couple of times before, but I really thought it so embodied the theme of journey that I had to incorporate it in today’s newsletter. The book begins with a child setting out on a boat, traveling through both calm and rocky waters in hopes of arriving to his destination safely. Set in the waters of the Mekong Delta, this book brims with beauty on every page spread.

The People Remember by Ibi Zoboi, illustrated by Loveis Wise

This beautiful picture book is a wonderful read aloud to deepen understanding of African American history and how it relates to our lives and the social justice movements today. The book begins with the journey of African descendants in America by connecting their history to the seven principles of Kwanzaa. While they spoke different languages and had different customs, when they were stolen from their homes they had to learn one common language and create a culture that combined their memories of home with new traditions that enabled them to thrive in a new land. 

The Most Beautiful Thing by Kao Kalia Yang, illustrated by Khoa Le

I love this book because it interweaves two stories: the life of a young girl who is unhappy with having to do without, and that of her grandmother who journeyed through Laos and ended up in the United States as a Hmong refugee. Together they discover what true beauty is and how sometimes it’s found in the most unexpected places.

What is Love? by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Carson Ellis (November 9, 2021, Chronicle)

I really love the illustration style of this fable-like book where a young boy explores the age old question: What is love? When his grandmother can’t give him an answer, he sets out as a young boy asking the people he meets along the way. The gouache paintings evoked in me a feeling of nostalgia and paired so beautifully with the story.

Gladys the Magic Chicken by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Adam Rex (October 26, 2021, G.P. Putnam and Sons)

Just the title of this book and the illustration on the cover makes me smile. This is not your typical journey book. For one, Gladys the chicken is the one doing the traveling, and not by choice. Seen as a lucky chicken who grants people’s deepest wishes, she gets passed from person to person. But is she really magic? Let the reader decide!


What are you reading these days? Let me know! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at KarinaBookRiot@gmail.com.

Until next time!
Karina

*If this e-mail was forwarded to you, follow this link to subscribe to “The Kids Are All Right” newsletter and other fabulous Book Riot newsletters for your own customized e-mail delivery. Thank you!*

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Wonderful Middle Grade Historical Fiction Books

Hi Kid Lit Friends,

I love a good historical fiction book, and there are so many fantastic ones for middle grade readers. There is nothing like historical fiction to ground young people in what life might have been like in a different time period.

cover image of Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park

Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park

What I love about Prairie Lotus is the setting. It’s 1880, and Hanna, a half-Chinese, half-White girl is living in America’s heartland. Determined to fit into her new town, she has to face discrimination towards Chinese people while also working as a dressmaker in her father’s shop. This beautifully told tale is a must read especially for those looking for more literature set in the prairie during the 1880s.

cover image of Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Sometimes I forget that 9/11 is twenty years past. I still remember that day so clearly. I had just gotten off the subway and was walking across 4th Street on my way to work when I got to the intersection of 5th Avenue and everyone was staring at the fire that had just started in the first World Trade Center Tower. Moments later, I saw the second plane hit the second tower. I was a mile away from Ground Zero. Towers Falling, set fifteen years after the 9/11 attacks in a classroom of students who cannot remember the event, is a book that students who weren’t alive during 9/11 can read to understand the impact of that terrible day.

cover image of Pony by R.J. Palacio

Pony by R.J. Palacio (9/28/21, Knopf Books for Young Readers)

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I heard that R.J. Palacio was writing a book outside of the Wonder world (R.J. Palacio’s books have sold 17 million copies, by the way), and when the galley for Pony came in I dived in immediately. Although much different from Wonder, this one demonstrated the breadth of Palacio’s beautiful writing. Set in the American Midwest, twelve-year-old Silas is awoken in the middle of the night to find three strangers outside his door, looking for his dad. What follows is an epic quest to find his father and bring him home.

cover image of Two Roads by Joseph Bruchac

Two Roads by Joseph Bruchac

This incredible book is set in 1932, and twelve-year-old Cal Black and his father have been riding the rails for years after losing their farm in the Great Depression. When Pop has to go to Washington, D.C., he tells Cal that they are actually Creek Indian, and Pop has just enrolled Cal in a government boarding school for Native Americans in Oklahoma called the Challagi School. At school, the other Creek boys quickly take Cal under their wings. Even in the harsh, miserable conditions of the Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school, he begins to learn about his people’s history and heritage. He learns their language and customs. And most of all, he learns how to find strength in a group of friends who have nothing beyond each other.

cover image of Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk

Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk

After the Depression, Ellie’s family is forced to leave town and move to Echo Mountain. While Ellie’s mom and sister hate their new rugged and wild life, Ellie embraces it and discovers a love of the natural world. When Ellie’s father is seriously injured, though, Ellie is blamed for it and suddenly life becomes much more fragile. As their home falls apart, Ellie sets out to find the one person on the mountain that can help.


What are you reading these days? Let me know! Find me on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser, on Instagram at @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting, or email me at KarinaBookRiot@gmail.com.

Until next time!
Karina

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