Header

High School March 2019

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 High School | High School | March - (Comments Off on High School March 2019)

book cover
Mathieu, Jennifer. Moxie. Roaring Brook Press, 2017. 330 pages (978–1–62672–635–2)

Age 13 and older

Vivvy loves the Riot Grrrl bands and zines of her mother’s youth, but unlike her mom at 16, Vivvy is not a wave-maker or rule-breaker in her small east Texas town, until anger at the rampant sexism at her school spurs her to action. Vivvy creates an anonymous zine, Moxie, calling out the sexism—some of it verbal, some of it physical, some of it psychological, all of it an assault. New student Lucy, an avowed feminist, loves Moxie, while Vivvy’s best friend Claudia finds the word “feminist” too much and the Moxie calls to action useless. New boy Seth, on whom Vivvy has a crush, sees Vivvy placing copies of Moxie in the bathrooms, but he keeps her secret and romance blossoms. Moxie begins to illuminate and then bridge divides of race and class as many different girls begin to embrace the anonymous zine and the Moxie movement slowly grows. The sexism at Vivvy’s school—insidious and infuriating—is both believable in the context of this story and also symbolic of the sexism in our society as a whole: It is systemic in scope; takes myriad forms; is too rarely acknowledged or challenged; has an impact that is achingly personal; those who fight back face repercussions; and every additional voice adds power to the call for change. Mathieu’s narrative is fierce and inspiring, while her nuanced characters and the complexity of their relationships ground the story.  ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

High School February 2019

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 High School | High School | February - (Comments Off on High School February 2019)

book cover
Dimaline, Cherie.
The Marrow Thieves. DCB, 2017. 234 pages (pbk  978–1–77086–486–3)

Age 12 and older

“It began as a rumor, that they had found a way to siphon dreams right out of our bones.” In a not-too-distant future when environmental devastation has killed millions, many people no longer dream when they sleep. At the Canadian government’s new residential “schools,” the dreams of Indigenous people are distilled from their marrow for later use by the wealthy and privileged. Sixteen-year-old Frenchie escaped school Recruiters at 11 and has been with his found family ever since. One elder, one middle-aged adult, four teens, and four children from several Nations, they are constantly on the move evading Recruiters as new schools are built farther and farther north. Although they’re skilled at survival, safety is an unknown destination, and when tragedy strikes at the heart of their group Frenchie decides it’s time to stop running and take a stand. This riveting work confronts the reality of genocide but never loses sight of hope. It’s the breath of those who survive. It’s the love, the solidarity with others, cultural traditions, and the power of languages kept alive. Métis author Dimaline’s plot is fast-paced and unyielding while her finely drawn main characters, although marked by pain, are full of intelligence, compassion, and grace. Dimaline’s exquisite writing offers beautiful turns of phrase and lines that sting with their sharpness and honesty, while Frenchie’s teen voice and feelings, often surprisingly funny, are, like the story itself, at once of his time and our own. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

High School January 2019 (2)

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 High School | High School | January - (Comments Off on High School January 2019 (2))

book cover
Heiligman, Deborah.
Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers. Godwin Books / Henry Holt, 2017. 454 pages  (978–0–8050–9339–1)

Age 14 and older

As a young man, Vincent Van Gogh worked at an art auction house but was neither happy nor successful. He turned to God and ministered to the poor with great humility and an unsettling passion for self-denial until he was asked to leave his post. At 27, he returned home and began to draw and paint with purpose, relentless in the desire to improve. His brother Theo, two years younger and a successful art dealer, was his greatest critic and staunchest supporter financially and emotionally. Excited by the new style called Impressionism, Theo encouraged Vincent to use more and more color in his work. There had been signs for years that Vincent could be unstable, sometimes subject to deep sadness and withdrawal, sometimes frenzied. Theo, too, battled despair. A narrative that quotes liberally from their prolific correspondence details their individual struggles, while the devotion between them is its heart and soul. This exquisite, remarkable book told in the present tense positions readers as intimate observers of Vincent’s and Theo’s lives. Two portraits emerge in rich detail: a deep-thinking, gifted artist who was a troubled, gentle, compassionate man; and an insightful critic who recognized his brother’s brilliant mind and work, devoting incredible energy and resources to nurturing and supporting him. Uplifting, poignant, and tragic by turns, the brothers’ lives unfold in a work of exceptional literary nonfiction weaving scholarly research (further detailed in ample end matter) into a vivid, immersive account. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

High School January 2019 (1)

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 High School | High School | January - (Comments Off on High School January 2019 (1))

book cover
Zarr, Sara. Gem & Dixie. Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins, 2017. 282 pages (978–0–06–243459–3)

Age 12 and older

Gem took care of her sister Dixie when they were younger and their parents were addicts. Now both in high school Dixie makes friends easily, whereas Gem is lonely, an outcast. Although their mom got sober and kicked their dad out years ago, she struggles to pay the rent and buy food, and sometimes slips back into dangerous habits, oblivious to her daughters’ physical and emotional needs. When the girls’ dad shows up out of the blue with money to burn, Dixie is thrilled, Gem suspicious, their mom furious. She dumps out all the food he buys, appalling Gem, who is often hungry, and tells him to go. He leaves behind a hidden backpack full of money. When Gem finds it, she sees it as a chance for her and Dixie to escape. For Dixie, their journey is an adventure. For Gem, it’s survival. On the road, Gem and Dixie are often at odds, but also gradually finding their way back to a small bit of common ground. Gem’s determination, a well-meaning if fallible guidance counselor, and the kindness of strangers are threads of genuine hope leaving a lasting impression in a story that doesn’t minimize poverty or despair. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

High School December 2018 (2)

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 High School | December | High School - (Comments Off on High School December 2018 (2))

book cover
Lu, Marie. Warcross. Putnam, 2017. 353 pages (978–0–399–54796–6)

Age 11 and older

Teen bounty hunter Emika Chen is down to her last few dollars and about to be evicted from her New York City apartment when she hacks into a promotional round for the Warcross championship, a popular worldwide virtual reality game. Within hours she is jetting off to Tokyo on the private plane of the game’s creator, 21-year-old Hideo Tanaka. The longtime focus of Emika’s private crush, Hideo not only invites her to participate as a wild card in the draft for the official Warcross teams, he also asks her to secretly investigate and unveil Zero, another hacker who is able to move through the game anonymously. Emika is the first pick of the draft, and as she trains with her fellow Phoenix Riders teammates and they enter into the games, she spies on her own teammates and members of other teams. Her meetings with Hideo to report her findings evolve from business to romance, while uncertainty about whom she can trust becomes a critical issue when she realizes Hideo’s life is in danger, and so, too, is her own. A novel set in the not-too-distant future creates an immersive experience in both the “real” and virtual worlds the characters move between. With plenty to offer readers interested in action as well as technology, it features a strong, smart female protagonist and offers ethical questions to ponder as it sets up the next book in the series. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

High School December 2018 (1)

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 High School | December | High School - (Comments Off on High School December 2018 (1))

book cover
Anderson, M. T.
Landscape with Invisible Hand. Candlewick Press, 2017. 149  pages (978–0–7636–8789–2)

Age 13 and older

When the vuvv first arrived to conquer Earth they promised great technology, cures for all disease, and freedom from work. The truth, as teenage Adam knows, looks very different. Great technology and medical care are only for those who can afford it. Work is hard to come by thanks to all that tech, while food and housing still cost money. Adam’s attraction to Chloe was the impetus to earn money for both their families by live streaming their romance to the vuvv, who think Hollywood romances of the 40s and 50s, when they first tapped into human transmissions, are the ways all humans interact. Adam and Chloe’s dates were a hit and the money started rolling in. Now they’ve fallen out of love and seethe beneath their live-streamed smiles. Meanwhile, Adam longs to be a serious artist. When some of his paintings garner positive attention and he’s invited to enter a prestigious vuvv contest, he faces a dilemma: enter a piece that expresses the idealized human world they imagine, or a piece that reflects the truth of his grimmer outlook and experience. The decision has potential life or death implications when Adam’s chronic illness, an intestinal condition that impacts his daily life and for which his family cannot afford vuvv treatment, worsens. A slim volume packed full of big ideas that resonate with the world today, delivered with humor and poignancy. Each vignette-like chapter is named for one of Adam’s paintings. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

High School November 2018

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 High School | November | High School - (Comments Off on High School November 2018)

book cover
Slater, Dashka. The 57 Bus. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2017. 305 pages (978–0–374–30323–5)

Age 12 and older

Despite recently losing a friend to gun violence, African American Richard is focused on improving his grades and graduating from his Oakland high school. Sasha, who attends private school, is agender and brilliant, the type of person who invents languages for fun. On November 4, 2013, as Richard and Sasha ride the bus home from their respective schools, Richard holds a lighter to Sasha’s skirt, which erupts into flames. This event sets in motion a long, painful process of court appearances for Richard, and healing for both. The two teens are treated with respect and empathy in this nonfiction account that begins with an exploration of their backgrounds, including Sasha’s gradual understanding that they don’t identify as either male or female, and continues through Sasha’s recovery and Richard’s sentencing. Accessible descriptions of aspects of the U.S. and California justice systems—the practice of restorative justice and California’s Proposition 21, which allows juvenile offenders to be charged as adults—in addition to information about Richard’s personality and adolescent brains and behavior, suggest that, as Richard’s friend attests, the crime “was like a funny prank-joke turns to something that ends your whole life.” Although a grim event begins this narrative, the humanity of both teens and their families is palpable throughout. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

High School October 2018

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 High School | October | High School - (Comments Off on High School October 2018)

book cover
Sáenz, Benjamin Alire.
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life. Clarion, 2017. 445 pages (978–0–544–58650–5)

Age 13 and older

High school senior Sal(vador) Silva was 3 when his mom died. Adopted by Vicente, his mom’s best friend, the love between father and son is palpable. Sal’s best friend, Sam(antha) Diaz, has a single mom so wrapped up in her own life that Sam feels like an afterthought. Sal’s friend Fito works two jobs to save money for college and to escape his family of addicts. Sal knows he has a good life. So why is he suddenly full of rage? He lashes out even before he learns that Mima, his grandmother, is dying. Mima means the world to Sal, his dad, and their extended Mexican American family, in which it’s never mattered that Sal is white. Sal worries his instinct to respond with his fists—to a whispered slur about his dad, who is gay, or to a boy who treats Sam badly—is a trait from the birth father he’s never known or cared to find out about. Several explosive events disrupt the shifting currents of daily life in a deeply felt story graced with moments of humor. Exquisitely realized and genuine, it’s about living and struggling and loss and regret. It’s about changing relationships and growing up and friendship. It’s about the power of language. Above all, it’s about the expansiveness of the words “love” and “family.” ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

High School September 2018

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 High School | September | High School - (Comments Off on High School September 2018)

book cover
Watson, Renée.
Piecing Me Together. Bloomsbury, 2017. 264 pages (978–1–68119–105–8)

Age 13 and older

Jade misses going to school with neighborhood friends but the private school she attends on scholarship offers an international volunteer opportunity. This year she hopes to be chosen. In the meantime, Jade’s school counselor encourages her to participate in a community-based mentoring program for African American girls. Jade is paired with Maxine, an African American alum of her school. Meanwhile Jade’s classmate Sam—whom she gets to know because they both ride the bus, a rarity—has never stepped foot in Jade’s neighborhood. It all has Jade thinking about how people perceive her, and her community. Then she isn’t chosen for the volunteer trip to Costa Rica, despite tutoring fellow students in Spanish. The reason? Jade already participates in the mentoring program and her teacher feels other students deserve opportunities, too. Jade’s frustration is further fueled by the assault of a young Black woman by police in a nearby community. For Jade, the beating is too close, too personal, intensifying her sense of disquiet and disconnect with her school community, including Sam. Why, she finally challenges her teacher, her counselor, her mentor, does everyone assume because she is poor and Black that she needs help and “opportunities” but has nothing to offer, something to give? This vivid, poignant novel features singular characters; complex, authentic relationships; and a young woman voicing a critical truth. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Middle School Summer 2019 (3)

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 Middle School | Middle School | Summer - (Comments Off on Middle School Summer 2019 (3))

book cover
Thimmesh, Catherine. Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on th Moon. 
Houghton Mifflin, 2006. 80 pages (0-618-50757-4)

Ages 10-15

A vast army of workers comprised the team that sent astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins to the moon in 1969. The accomplishments of the individuals behind the scenes, from engineers to space suit seamstresses, were integral components in the Apollo 11 mission, yet their stories are rarely told. Author Catherine Thimmesh describes the vital and varied work of many, while outlining the chronology of the space mission from conception through splash-down. Despite knowing the outcome of these historic events, readers will be on the edge of their seats as potential disasters loom and are conquered by the team, sometimes with mere seconds to spare. Powerful photographs and frequent quotes from the many individuals involved add to the depth of this fascinating work. (MVL) ©2006 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

 

Middle School Summer 2019 (2)

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 Middle School | Middle School | Summer - (Comments Off on Middle School Summer 2019 (2))

book cover
Moore, David Barclay.
The Stars Beneath Our Feet. Alfred A. Knopf, 2017.  294 pages (978–1–5247–0124–6)

Ages 9-13

On the edge of young adulthood, Lolly has the support of his hardworking, no nonsense mom and her girlfriend; his dad, who isn’t a daily presence in his life but whose love is never in doubt; staff at the community center; and his best friend, Vega. He’s also keenly aware that the freedom with which he moved through Harlem when he was young has changed now that he’s 12; now that he’s eyed by various crews of older boys and young men as being either with them or against them. The threat feels all the more real since his big brother Jermaine was recently shot and killed, and Lolly’s grief is complicated by the fact his brother, so often his protector, was mad at him for refusing to get involved in Jermaine’s dubious business. But Lolly’s sense of himself and the world and possibilities begins expanding after receiving an architecture book as a gift. Inspired to begin constructing an elaborate city out of Lego bricks, his efforts lead to a surprising new friendship with Rose, a girl most kids shun, who is navigating struggles of her own, and to exploring the real places pictured in the book. Lolly and his family, friends, and neighbors are vivid and alive in a story featuring exceptional characterizations and dialogue. The complexities of family and friendships come into full relief in a story celebrating the power of creativity and community in a child’s life. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Middle School Summer 2019 (1)

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 Middle School | Middle School | Summer - (Comments Off on Middle School Summer 2019 (1))

book cover
Anderson, Jodi Lynn.
Midnight at the Electric. HarperTeen, 2017. 257  pages (978–0–06–239354–8)

Age 12 and older

In 2065, Adri moves in with her newly discovered cousin, Lily, while she trains for her future life as a settler on Mars. Loner Adri worries living with elderly, open-hearted Lily will be hard, but Lily is respectful of Adri’s privacy and Galapagos, a giant tortoise on Lily’s Kansas farm, is a peaceful companion. In 1934 Catherine lives with her mother, little sister, and a tortoise named Galapagos on their Kansas farm, where the dust storms ravaging the Plains threaten her little sister’s health. Learning the boy she loves also loves her is bittersweet when Catherine, debating something drastic to save her sister, discovers a secret about the past that raises huge questions about her family. In 1919, Lenore lives in England, mourning the loss of a beloved brother in the Great War. Lenore wants to visit her best friend, Beth, in America. In the meantime, she forges a friendship with James, a disfigured young man who tests her understanding of compassion and acceptance while spinning impossible stories about his life. For Adri, who’s never relied on anyone but herself and is struggling to connect with others on her team, the old letters and journals in Lily’s house leading her to Catherine’s and Lenore’s stories hold surprising fascination. Family, friendship, and the family that friendship can be are the gifts Catherine, Lenore, and especially Lily give Adri as she prepares for her journey in this singular novel graced by complex, poignant characters and relationships. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial