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Emmy loves handwritten letters and typewriters and Masterpiece Classic, and cameras that use 35 mm film. Basically, she's just taking the 21st century one day at a time. Reading helps — some of her favorites include memoirs and short stories and humorous essays — but her true passion is children's literature. She'll be thrilled to show you what the wonderful middle-grade section has to offer: especially stories about ordinary kids whose inner lives happen to be extraordinary. She counts Harriet the spy, Leo the late bloomer, Caddie Woodlawn, Winnie Foster, Cassandra, Holden, Matilda, and Anne Shirley among her kindred spirits.
The perfect baby shower gift for those members of your D&D group about to have their first child. Adorable illustrations punctuate the fun of playing tabletop games with friends and working as a team. What story will YOU create?
Benji wants a doll just like his friend Jenny's, so badly. And finally, he gets one! But then a boy at the playground grabs it away, and there's a terrible accident. This story isn't about Benji's choice of toy, or whether others approve, or (actually) even Benji himself. It's about the deep desire in all of us (regardless of gender or orientation) to be accepted and included, period. The illustrations are hilariously expressive and the ending's A , but it's the simplicity of the message that reads like a breath of fresh air.
Peek beyond the veil in this clever picture book ghost hunt! The perfect pacing gives kids time to spot the ghosties ahead of our clueless narrator, and they'll delight in being in on the joke.
Ten-year-old Bug is an ocean of surging emotions, roiling at a big brother whose sudden need for "space" leaves her summer plans in ruins. Then there's her new upstairs neighbor Frankie, in town for the season, a closed book who doesn't even want to be her best friend. Venice Beach in the 80's is lovely in its grittiness, seen through Bug's eyes. Roller skating, muscle beach, outdoor meals with her found family . . . watching Bug earn Frankie's trust, and witnessing his courage. This is a summer composed of tiny moments of understanding, each one tightening Bug's focus on truths she didn't see before, nudging her closer to growing up. When I finished the book, I felt like I'd grown along with her.
Bob the alligator is too lazy to catch his own lunch. What if he could get the birds to come to him? He opens a birdseed restaurant on his nose . . . and it's a HIT. Soon Bob's schedule is packed, catering to his flocks of fans. But what will happen when he finally gets the chance to do what he'd planned all along? Will he eat his newfound friends? Shea's technicolor illustrations are the perfect fit for this funny, silly, big-hearted story.
Gratz's account of 9/11 is a heart-thumping, mad-paced survival story that you can't put down. Nine-year-old Brandon encounters one unimaginable horror after another as he descends from the 107th floor of the World Trade Center. His perspective alternates with Reshmina's, whose life in present day, war-torn Afghanistan remains affected daily by the events of 20 years before. Her grief and fear demands answers: why are her people caught in the middle between American soldiers and the Taliban? The emotional scars for both sides run deep, and for good reason. An unexpected twist will leave you raw, puzzling over what the war accomplished, and desperately wishing we'd come further in our shared understanding.
Time has stopped for Sila ever since her mother was deported back to Turkey to fix her immigration paperwork. The longer her family is apart, the more Sila withdraws from life. When an equally lonely lottery winner strives to cheer her up, a serendipitous encounter with a circus owner presents a giant solution. Sloan shapes her imperfect, instantly-knowable characters with compassion. She shows the power of giving everyone (including yourself) a chance; and how the smallest connections can lead to magnificent, positive change. I loved the brief chapters offering a funny peek into the supporting characters' points of view, including those of Veda the elephant. Animal-lovers needn't worry—the just, joyful ending makes this one of the most hopeful books of 2021.
My favorite picture books give adults just as much enjoyment as the child they're sharing them with. Bonus points if it's funny and you won't mind reading it aloud over and over. This book checks all three boxes. Pokko's parents can't hear themselves think ever since they gave her a drum. They send her out into the world to be heard. What happens next is pretty wonderful. Perfect for fans of Mac Barnett or Lemony Snicket!