Read

Cub

Seventh grader, Cindy Copeland does not fit in with the other kids in her class. Several kids bully her because her clothes are old fashioned and unlike the other kids, she loves school! Cindy’s favorite thing to do is writing, so when her teacher offers to pair her with a local newspaper journalist, she jumps at the chance to become a cub reporter! As Cindy experiences life as a young reporter, she makes new friends and learns that she is in charge of writing her own story!

Cub is a graphic novel memoir, telling the true story of author Cynthia Copeland’s as she discovered how to be herself and own her story. I loved seeing Cindy’s writing grow as she gained new experiences and seeing the elements of life in the early-mid 1970s! While so many elements are different (fashion, slang, etc), there are other things that remain similar to our life today (struggles growing up, making friends, and dealing with bullies).

A Boy Called Bat

Bixby Alexander Tam (Bat, for short) loves all kinds of animals. When Bat's veterinarian mom brings home an orphaned newborn skunk, his focus and goal is to convince her that a skunk might just be a perfect pet. The only trouble is, she insists that the skunk can only stay with them for one short month, just long enough for the baby skunk to grow up enough to transition to a wildlife rehab center. Can Bat convince her to change her mind?  

A sweet and understanding portrayal of a boy on the spectrum, Bat's supportive family and teacher bring to life how it can be difficult to communicate with someone whose mind works differently, and yet, the story never mentions autism at all. When it comes to making friends, and making eye contact, Bat isn't made fun of or judged, and his full focus on his interests is as appreciated as he is. Recommended for ages 8+

Reviewed by Claire C.

Black Brother, Black Brother

Donte and his brother Trey go to a private middle school where most of their classmates are white. They are biracial; their mother is black and their father is white. Trey is very light-skinned and can pass as white whereas Donte has darker skin and is known as “Black Brother.” Because of Donte’s skin color, he is bullied at his middle school by a white kid named Alan. Alan sets Donte up and gets him in trouble involving the police.

Donte eventually finds the sport of fencing, which is Alan’s sport too, and this brings him to a place of understanding of where he fits in the world. By the time Donte faces off with Alan in a fencing match, Donte is confident in who he is and where he is going in his life.

This book deals with racism and bullying in middle school in a real and relatable way. Readers will learn a lot about fencing and how sports can give people confidence in who they are.

Brood X

Hoopla Cicada Titles

 

Brood X, the Great Eastern Brood of cicadas, has made the summer of 2021 a very loud and interesting season in Indiana. Dogs and birds alike have loved these natural protein snacks, but there is more to these weird insects than meets the eye (or ear).

According to National Geographic Kids, there are over 3,000 species of cicadas (Shaw, 2021). These 3,000 species are divided into 2 distinct groupings: annual and perennial. Only 7 species of cicadas fall into the perennial category, meaning they emerge en masse like Brood X (Shaw, 2021).

While I was Away

When 12 year-old Waka's parents think she needs to brush up on her Japanese, they send her to Japan to live with her Obaasama, her grandmother, who lives in Tokyo. Five long months in a Japanese only school, giving up her summer vacation and her best friends back home in Kansas! In addition to dealing with the pressure of reading and writing in only Japanese, and making friends at school as a gaijin, an "outsider," Waka also learns how to connect with her complicated and distant grandmother.

A memoir of her time in a Japanese school, Waka T. Brown's story of growing up in two worlds and sometimes feeling like an outsider in both, is a compelling glimpse into life in Japan in the 80s. I loved learning right along with Waka, and her insights in how the past can sometimes haunt those we love, and knowing that can help us know them better.

Reviewed by Senior Information Assistant, Claire C.

The Last Last-Day-of-Summer

The small town of Fry in Logan County is a weird place. Strange, unexplainable, dangerous stuff happens all the time, threatening the townsfolk. Thankfully, the town is also home to cousins Otto and Sheed - the Legendary Alston Boys. They've solved mysteries and saved the day countless times, but when they encounter an unusual man with a magical camera on the last day of summer, they embark on what may be their toughest challenge yet... The setting is reminiscent of Gravity Falls or Stranger Things (but more kid-friendly of course) - Logan County is full of supernatural surprises. Otto and Sheed are extremely likable characters, and the story is filled with humor, action, imagination, and delivers a heartwarming and inspiring message on top. Recommended for ages 9-12, but could be enjoyed by younger kids as well.

Reviewed by Paul D.

American As Paneer Pie

Eleven year old Lekha is the only Indian American girl in her school and definitely feels like an outcast in the mostly-white Detroit neighborhood she calls home. Her classmates make ignorant remarks about her family’s culture, language, and tease her about her birthmark (that just so happens to be on her forehead, just like a Bindi).

Lekha has learned to suppress everything that makes her different from everyone else - she never brings her favorite Indian foods to lunch, covers her birthmark with her hair, and stays silent when she, or anyone else, is teased. When a new Desi kid, Avantika, moves in across the street everything begins to change. Avantika speaks up about her culture and celebrates it when all Lekha has done is hide it. Lekha is impressed and embarrassed by Avantika’s ability to lean into her culture and heritage. But when a local political election spawns a hate crime against Lekha’s family, she knows she can’t stay silent and complacent any longer.

Measuring Up

Cici loves cooking with her A-ma (grandmother) in Taiwan; it makes her feel like she belongs. But when Cici’s family moves to America and away from A-ma, Cici suddenly feels out of place. She misses Taiwan, but especially misses her A-ma. Cici wants A-ma to visit, but A-ma cannot afford the plane ticket to America. When Cici sees a cooking contest for kids offered at a local store for a cash prize, she enters right away. But will the judges be interested in her Taiwanese cooking?

Measuring Up is a delightful graphic novel about family, friendship, and identity. The story is fast paced and compelling. There are so many beautiful and delicious looking foods prepared throughout the book – expect your tummy to grumble! This book is recommended for ages 9-12.

Scritch Scratch

This spooky novel follows Claire, an interested-in-science-doesn’t-believe-in-the-paranormal-thank-you-very-much middle schooler who has a pretty typical life. She doesn’t always get along with her brother and her friend group is having some growing pains since her best friend is now hanging out with a new girl. Her parents would be normal if it wasn’t for her dad’s job which is a tour guide for a Chicago Ghost bus touring company. Claire can usually ignore that, but one night she gets pulled into helping her dad on the tour and a ghost follows her home, haunting her. Claire has to figure out what the ghost wants, and quickly, before it gets angrier.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Read