Less Than Half, More Than Whole

Less Than Half, More Than WholeLess Than Half, More Than Whole
by Kathleen Lacapa
Grades 2 & up

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tony feels bad when he is told that he is less than half Native American. It makes him feel that he is not quite a whole person. After talking to other family members, he feels better, and learns to appreciate all of the pieces of himself. This book is an excellent conversation starter, especially for children with mixed backgrounds. Grades 2 & up.

2015 Sydney Taylor Book Award Winners

The Association of Jewish Libraries announced the 2015 Sydney Taylor Book Award winners today.

Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Younger Reader category

My Grandfather’s Coat by Jim Aylesworth and Barbara McClintock

Honor Books: 
Goldie Takes a Stand by Barbara Krasner and Kelsey Garrity-Riley
Never Say a Mean Word Again: A Tale from Medieval Spain by Jacqueline Jules and Durga Yael Bernhard

Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Older Reader category

Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier, Marc Lizano and Greg Salsedo

Honor Books:
Death by Toilet Paper by Donna Gephart
Whispering Town by Jennifer Elvgren, illustrated by Fabio Santomauro

Sydney Taylor Book Award’s Teen category

Storm by Donna Jo Napoli

Honor Books:
Isabel’s War by Lila Perl
Like No Other by Una LaMarche

Mix It Up!

Mix It Up!Mix It Up!
by Hervé Tullet
Grades PreK & up

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A fun follow-up book by the author of Press Here, Mix It Up looks at the relationships between different colors and how they can be made and changed, encouraging children to experiment with their own art. A fun interactive read for preK and up.

Niño Wrestles the World

Niño Wrestles the WorldNiño Wrestles the World
by Yuyi Morales
Grades PreK-2

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While his sisters are sleeping, Niño imagines himself wrestling with a cast of characters from some of the fiercest legends in the world. The vibrant illustrations and action-packed text will keep children interested, all the way through his most difficult opponent at the ended. Highly recommend for grades PreK-2.

Call Me Oklahoma!

Call Me Oklahoma!Call Me Oklahoma!
by Miriam Glassman
Grades 2-4

Paige is tired of being scared at school. Scared of heights, scared of being on stage, scared of trying new things, and especially scared of Viveca, the meanest girl in her class. In order to become the new fearless fourth grader that she hopes to be, Paige asks everyone to call her Oklahoma at the start of the school. With a brave name like Oklahoma, she figures she can put the Paige of the past behind her. As the school year begins, she finds it much harder to act differently than just changing her name. Readers will cheer for Oklahoma as she struggles to take charge of her life and be the person that she really wants to be.

Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band

Acoustic Rooster and His BarnyAcoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band
by Kwame Alexander
Grades K-2

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This fun, rhyming story about a rooster and his band is a great introduction to jazz musicians. With plays on names that will make the adults chuckle (Mules Davis, Duck Ellington), it also contains information on each of these musicians in the back, as well as a timeline of jazz history. Recommended for grades K-2.

Zebra Forest

Zebra ForestZebra Forest
by Adina Rishe Gewirtz
Grades 5-8

Set during the Iran Hostage crisis, Annie and Rew are living at the outskirts of a small town, at the edge of the forest. They live with their grandmother, though they are increasingly taking more and more care of her than she is of them. Their mother left them when they were babies, and their grandmother told them that father died long ago. One stormy summer night, there is a mass break-out from the prison down the road, and one of the convicts finds his way to their house. Now hostages in their own home, how will Annie begin to put the pieces of their lives back together when they find out who he really is?

Beholding Bee

 Beholding BeeBeholding Bee
by Kimberly Newton Fusco
Grades 5-8

Bee was born with a large, diamond shaped birthmark covering half her face. She deals with constant teasing and ridicule because of it. She is part of a traveling show, living with Pauline since the her parents died in an accident when she was four. But when Pauline must leave the show without her, and Bobby (her only other friend) goes to work in an aircraft factory, Bee finds the courage to take control of her life and leave in search of the home she has always wanted. She is helped by her two aunts, although no one else can see them. Set during World War II, this is a timeless story of building the life you want, instead of settling for the life you have.

A Song for Bijou

A Song for BijouA Song for Bijou
by Josh Farrar
Grades 5-7

Alex has lived in Brooklyn his whole life, and spent most of it with the same boys at St. Christopher’s. The first time he sees Bijou, his world literally tilts on its axis. Bijou has just moved to New York, three years after the earthquake that devastated Haiti. She is staying with her aunt and uncle, and going to St. Catherine’s, the sister school to St. Christopher’s. Told in alternating voices, this is the story of young love against the odds. It is sweet and innocent, as they navigate the waters of their cultural differences and the expectations placed on them by their families.

Ice Dogs

Ice DogsIce Dogs
by Terry Lynn Johnson
Grades 5 & up

What a suspenseful and exciting survival adventure! If you are looking for the female version of Hatchet, this is it!

Victoria is a 14-year-old dog musher. She has taken over from her father, who died in an accident the previous year. On a regular run with her dogs, she finds Chris after he had wrecked his snowmobile. After following his directions to get home, they find themselves lost in the Alaskan wilderness. It is up to Victoria, who must rely on everything her father taught her about bush survival, to make sure that she, Chris, and all of her dogs make it back before it is too late.