Reviews

111 Trees: How One Village Celebrates the Birth of Every Girl

Growing up as a young boy in the Indian state of Rajasthan, Sundar Paliwal experienced several difficult things such as hunger, poverty and the loss of his mother at a young age. He continues to look at his community as he grows up, gets married and eventually has his own two daughters and one son. He teaches his children about the beauty and importance of all living things. But Sundar’s community and land is being destroyed by mining companies, where he works.

Sundar knows he must make change in his community and for the land around them. He quits his mining job and becomes an activist and local leader. However, when tragedy strikes yet again in Sundar’s life, he imagines an inspiring plan that will not only replenish the environment but also highlight the need for equality amongst girls and boys in his village. In honor of every girl born in the village, 111 trees will be planted!

Snapdragon

Snapdragon, who goes by Snap, is kind of a loner who doesn't believe in witches and magic like other kids in town. But even she's slightly nervous when she visits the Town Witch to rescue her dog. It turns out that the grumpy Town Witch, whose name is actually Jacks, isn't so bad at all and has actually fixed up Snap's dog. Snap is instantly taken with Jacks' mysterious and strange ways and decides to enter into a deal with her. She'll help Jacks in her "work" if Jacks will help Snap care for some baby possums she found. As they spend time together, Snap starts rethinking the possibility of witches and learns that she and Jacks have more in common than she ever could have imagined.

Doodleville

There’s something special about the doodles Drew and her art club pals create - they come to life! The art club crew usually draft friendly characters, though Drew’s doodles are known to get into trouble, like the time they stole a hat out of a painting in the museum. But that was nothing compared to real trouble her newest doodle, Levi, created in Doodleville! With her monster on the loose destroying all of her friends’ creations, Drew feels hopeless. How will Drew ever be able to stop Levi from destroying everything in sight and hold onto her friendships!

With such an imaginative story and a wonderfully racially diverse group whose members display a variety of gender presentations, there's a lot to love about this book. It is the perfect read for fans of Chad Sell’s The Cardboard Kingdom, or Kirsten Gudsnuk’s Making Friends. Recommended ages 8+

Birdie and Me

Jack and her gender fluid brother, Birdie, are siblings who have to move in with their stoic and no-nonsense uncle after their eccentric uncle proves that he is not a good caretaker after their mother's sudden death. The constant upheaval, new scenery, school, and bullying in their new life throw them through a loop. Through grieving, confronting bullies, and confronting comfort zones -- Birdie, Jack, and both their uncles learn to love and accept each other for who they are. Together, the family creates a new sense of home together. 

Staff Pick: The Camping Trip

In this picture book, a Black family explores the wonders and challenges of camping! Ernestine lives with her single dad in the city. When her aunt Jackie and cousin Samantha invite her to go camping with them she eagerly accepts. With dad's help, Ernestine gathers and packs all the essentials needed for an outdoor adventure. She imagines what camping will be like and can't wait!

But we all know that things don't always turn out the way we imagine... like the difficulty in putting up a tent, or that swimming in a lake - and not at the YMCA pool means - fish!

Race to the Sun

Nizhoni Begay is a young Navajo girl. Her mom left their family when she was just a toddler, leaving Nizhoni, her dad, and her younger brother Mac on their own. Though she has aspirations to become famous and make something of herself, Nizhoni considers herself to be a pretty standard kid—until she begins to see monsters, that is. Things become more dire when Nizhoni sees her dad's new boss for what he truly is—a monster. When her dad disappears suddenly, she, her best friend Davery, and brother Mac must make a run for it. Through their journey to recover their father, Nizhoni and Mac discover their true identity as Monster Slayers.

New Kid

Jordan is disappointed to start a new school. Instead of the art school he wanted to go to, his parents are making him go to Riverdale Academy Day School - the best school in town. Jordan’s new school is very different: he doesn't know his way around, the kids all dress differently, and the biggest difference of all is that nearly everyone at his new school is white, which isn’t really a problem except that Jordan keeps experiencing microaggressions and some more direct racial bullying which the teachers tend to ignore. How will Jordan navigate life at his new school while remaining true to himself?

All's Faire in Middle School

Reviewed by Kim B., Librarian

Imogene has always felt sure of herself and happy with her life as the daughter of Renaissance Faire workers. But when it’s time for her to stop homeschooling and attend middle school with other kids Imogene is suddenly not so sure. To Imogene, fitting in in a world of dragons, sword fighting, Queens and knights seemed like a piece of cake, but fitting in in middle school? It seemed impossible. All’s Faire in Middle School is a unique coming-of-age story filled with great lessons about being yourself, finding your true friends, and realizing that fitting in is just a matter of being confident in who you are. This book would be well fit with anyone starting middle school, starting school after homeschooling, or anyone looking for how they can fit in. Appropriate for ages 9+

 

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