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    by Mary Voors | Jan 15, 2018
    Cover image of Stormy Seas
    Stormy Seas - Stories of Young Boat Refugees by Mary Beth Leatherdale
    Annick Press, 2017
    56 pages

    Immigration.

        Discrimination.

           Refugees.

             Hostility.

                 Asylum.

    Fear.

    These topics are increasingly in the news. Stormy Seas – Stories of Young Boat Refugees is a very powerful collection of five stories of young people who endured risking everything, including their lives, in order to seek refuge in a new land.These are true stories of leaving everything behind in search of safety and peace.

    • Ruth. An 18-year-old who set sail for Cuba to escape the Nazis in Germany
    • Phu. A 14-year-old who takes a risky voyage on the South China Sea in hopes of finding a better life in the United States
    • Jose. A 13-year-old Cuban boy who travels on a boat to the United States.
    • Najeeba. An 11-year-old who takes a risky voyage on the Pacific Ocean to attempt to escape the Taliban in Afghanistan
    • Mohamed. A 17-year-old who is crossing the Mediterranean Sea looking for a place he can live in peace after his parents were killed in a bombing

    Heart-wrenching and compelling, these true stories are important glimpses into a world which – through the luck of my birth – I was fortunate enough to escape. It is a difficult book to read. But it is an important one. And it left me wanting to know more.


    I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.

    Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

    by Erin | Jan 10, 2018

    Amina's Voice

    Amina’s Voice
    By Hena Khan

    Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster, 2017

    197 pages

     

    Amina has a beautiful singing voice, but she is too shy to use it in front of anyone other than close friends and family. To make matters worse, middle school is turning out to be tougher than what she originally expected: her best friend, Soojin, is both thinking about changing her name to something more Americanized and hanging out with one of the popular girls at school. How is Amina supposed to find her voice when everything around her is changing?

     

    While this book has all the basic components of other coming of age stories, it also deals with themes of religion, racism, and the idea of what it means to be American. Overall, this book is about a community that overcomes hurdles to join together in a time of need.

     


     

    I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.

     

    Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

    by Kris Lill | Jan 08, 2018
    cover image for her right foot 

    Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers with art by Shawn Harris
    Chronicle Books, 2017
    unpaged

    Wow. This book might just rank as one of my favorite books of 2017. And…..wait for it…..it’s NONFICTION! That means it’s a book with facts about something real and true.

    Now, I know what you might be thinking….BOOOOOORRRRRIIINNNNNGGGG.

    But, no. Not this one. This book reads like the author is sitting right next to you, telling you about his visit to the Statue of Liberty….and this really amazing thing that he noticed about her right foot! Have you ever noticed her right foot? Well, neither had I! I thought I knew a lot about the Statue of Liberty, and there were some things mentioned in this book that I already knew, but I also learned some new things and now I want to learn more. And guess what? The author included a nice list of other books about Lady Liberty at the end of this one, so I already have some great choices for further reading.  

    Seriously. You should read this book. It’s a quick, fun, and unique read with great illustrations. And I hope the members of the Newbery committee will read it too, and consider it for the award. I think it really deserves it! 

    I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.


    Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

    by Dori Graham | Jan 05, 2018

    Sensory Bottles

    Are you looking for something to do with your little ones in the coming weeks of (involuntary) indoor fun? Come to the Children's Services department at the Main Library for Toddler Fun: My Five Senses this coming Tuesday, January 9th, at 10:30 am for an hour of hands-on fun and a handful of great take-home projects and ideas. We’ll be making silly noises, spying fun things, smelling great scents, and touching all kinds of interesting textures. For example, kiddos will have the chance to play with a discovery tub full of chia water beads. This non-toxic bit of fun is free of choking hazards, and it's as simple as letting chia seeds (which you can get at most any grocery store) soak in food-colored water overnight. Not only is it perfectly safe for your little one to explore, but it’s squishy, beautiful and fun, too!

    But you don’t have to wait until Tuesday to enjoy some library sensory fun. Come in and check out some of these activity-filled books as you count down the days till Toddler Fun:

    Curious George Discovers the Senses by Natan Nuchi

    Mommy and Me Start Cooking by Denise Smart

    Senses by Jinny Johnson
    by Mary R. Voors | Jan 04, 2018
    Book cover of Vincent and Theo
    Vincent and Theo - The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman
    Godwin Books, 2017
    454 pages

    Earlier this week, Teresa reviewed two nonfiction titles which we are considering for the Mock Newbery this year. And I have yet another nonfiction title – this time a biography – to highlight. This is a story of unconditional love between two brothers.

    Everyone knows about Vincent Van Gogh, the esteemed post-impressionistic artist who made such a profound and lasting impact on Western Art. Perhaps not as well-known is his brother, Theo. An important art dealer of the time, Theo was also responsible for offering unflinching support – both emotional and financial – to Vincent, which allowed his brother to devote himself entirely to his art.

    The story of the love between these two brothers is beautifully written, and seems to measure itself very well when looking at the Newbery criteria, particularly in these areas:

    • Presentation of information including accuracy, clarity, and organization
    • Delineation of characters
    • Delineation of a setting
    • Appropriateness of style

    My biggest question when considering this as a Newbery contender is the intended age of the reader. The Newbery Award is designed as a children’s literature award. As stated in the criteria: “The book displays respect for children’s understandings, abilities, and appreciations. Children are defined as persons of ages up to and including fourteen, and books for this entire age range are to be considered.” Some of the issues (prostitution, self-harm, mental health issues) raised may be addressed in a manner more appropriate for an older audience.

    This story of brothers is well-researched with the back matter including a variety of additional resources for further study:

    • A list of people involved the brothers’ lives
    • A calendar of significant and relevant events starting with Vincent’s birth on March 30, 1853 and continuing through June 1973 when the Van Gogh Museum opens in Amsterdam
    • An extensive and illuminating author’s note
    • A bibliography including books, articles, and websites
    • End notes which detail the sources of quotes contained in the book
    • A comprehensive index

    I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.


    Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)


    by Teresa Walls | Jan 02, 2018

    Informational books are also under consideration for the Newbery Medal. Two of the informational books we will discuss for the Allen County Public Library’s Mock Newbery Discussion and Election are important yet difficult books about racism and violent, painful times in the United States.

    marchagainstfearbookcover

    The March Against Fear: The Last Great Walk of the Civil Rights Movement and the Emergence of Black Power by Ann Bausum
    National Geographic, 2017
    143 pages

    The March against Fear: The Last Great Walk of the Civil Rights Movement and the Emergence of Black Power by Ann Bausum details the last protest of the civil rights era. James Meredith, an African-American man, decided to walk through his home state of Mississippi and encourage African-Americans to register to vote. It was June 1966. African-Americans had the legal right to vote, but in many areas, especially in the American South, they were kept from that right. One day into the walk, Meredith was shot and wounded in a roadside ambush. Martin Luther King, Jr., and several other civil rights leaders of the time, decided to continue the walk and encourage voter registration.

    Bausum takes an unflinching look at the historical record and presents it without censorship. The photos and quotations throughout the book add to the telling. Following a confrontation with state troopers in Canton, Mississippi, Floyd McKissick of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) told marchers: "They don't call it white power. They just call it power. I'm committed to non-violence, but I say what we need is to get us some black power." (p.88)

    Power and freedom, two words that are the rallying cries during the March against Fear, were denied to Native Americans, too.

    Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin not only tells the story of super athlete Jim Thorpe and the beginnings of American football, but it also describes the school that was designed by the U.S. government to erase Native American cultures.

    book cover of Undefeated by Steve Sheinkin

    Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steven Sheinkin
    Roaring Brook Press, 2017
    280 pages

    The treatment of Native American children in an attempt to "civilize" them was terrible. Football and other sports were ways for these children to leave the day-to-day grind of the military-style school where they were punished for such things as speaking in their native languages. Sheinkin's writing is griping, even if you aren't knowledgeable of, or interested, for that matter, in American football. The Carlisle Indians were constantly up against stereotypes, dirty players, and unfair referees.

    When a ref's call went against Carlisle, Welch [the team's quarterback] knew how to ease the anger with bitter humor. "What's the use of crying about a few inches," he'd tell teammates in the huddle, "When the white man has taken the whole country?" (p. 146)

    The Newbery Medal age range is from birth up to age 14. Both of these titles lean toward the upper range of that spectrum. Both include extensive source notes and bibliographies.

    I can't wait to talk about these books at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of these titles.


    Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

    by Mary R. Voors | Dec 28, 2017
    Cover photo of Orphan Island

    Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder
    Walden Pond Press, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2017
    269 pages

    Imagine. An island with only 9 people on it, all kids. Enough food, shelter, and clothing is available for all. And each year, a boat arrives with a new child and the oldest child on the island is taken away. Why? Well, because, as the rhyme they all know says “Nine on an island, orphans all, / Any more, the sky might fall.”

    Fascinating premise, yes?

    But how did this island come to be? And where do the children come from? And where do they go to? And what’s up with the strange fog that surrounds the island? And what would happen if the rhyme was questioned? What if one year, the oldest child refuses to be taken away?

    The story opens with the arrival through a heavy mist of the green boat. Everyone knows the boat will contain a child and will take away Deen, the oldest of the current island inhabitants. This will leave Jinny, as the new oldest, the responsibility of teaching Ess, her new Care, everything she needs to know about the island… like how to swim, how to read, and how to eat. The characters—including the character of the island itself – are well-developed and grow throughout the story lending credibility to the plot even while (often unanswered) questions are raised.

    This is a book that would be even more fun to read if someone you know has also read it because it elicits so many questions which you NEED to discuss with someone. Go grab this book. And then grab another copy for a friend to read.

    I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.


    Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

    by Mary Voors | Dec 23, 2017
    Cover photo ofWhen my sister started kissing

    When My Sister Started Kissing by Helen Frost
    Margaret Ferguson Books, 2017
    193 pages

    Let me just start by saying I love the work of Helen Frost. I eagerly anticipate her newest works and always enjoy the craft of her novels in verse. At times her poetry begs to be read aloud; at other times it whispers the need to be devoured quietly and carefully considered. I love her work.

    When My Sister Started Kissing, a novel in verse, is a summer story of two sisters. Claire and Abi are 10 and 13, and they have always spent summers at their cabin on the lake with their family. But this summer is different. Dad has a new (pregnant) wife and Abi is suddenly more interested in boys than in her sister. This is a lovely family story about growing up, told from three different viewpoints, each using their own style of poems, as Claire, Abi, and the lake itself all share their feelings and their unique perspectives about a very special summer as a family relationship – and a relationship between sisters specifically – grows and changes and strengthens.

    I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.


    Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

    by Cindy H | Dec 21, 2017
    24831329_10155905718741465_5775336609956007186_o
    Ready to ring in the new year? Come celebrate a day early at the Aboite Branch's Noon Year's Eve Eve Party! The party is from 11am-1pm on Saturday, December 30th. We will have refreshments, a selfie station, and make-a-resolution cards. The party will culminate with a countdown to noon and sparkling juice toast. This event is open to all ages, so gather your friends and family and come to the Aboite Branch to get your 2018 started out right!
    by Dawn S | Dec 20, 2017
    picture of crayons

    All locations of the Allen County Public Library have fun activities planned the next few weeks. Here are just a few:

    Star Wars Fest at Tecumseh Branch Library
    --Try something Star Wars themed every day we're open during winter break.

    Winter Break Fun at Pontiac Branch Library
    --If you're bored on winter break, come hang out with friends at the library and do crafts, play board games, build with a variety of blocks and Legos, and more. If weather permits, we just might build a snowman! A different fun option each day.

    Can You Escape? at New Haven Branch Library
    --Can you escape the room before time runs out?


    For a complete list visit our online calendar, select the dates and locations you're interested in then click search.   

    Don't forget, all ACPL locations will be closed December 24, 25, 26 & January 1.
    by Dawn Stoops | Dec 18, 2017
    I'm going to blame myself.
    I have read to my kids since before they were born so my kids have heard a lot of stories. Now my first grader is learning to read on his own and most any time he comes to a word he doesn't know he just makes something up. He knows how stories work in general, and how a particular story is unfolding as he reads it, so he just says something that would go along with what he's just read.
    image of boy reading book

    As a former reading teacher I know he's using context cues as opposed to visual cues in reading when he gets stuck. If he were using visual cues then he'd look at the first letter of the mystery word and try to sound out the parts he sees. But nope, he just picks a word that makes sense in the story regardless of how it matches with the word on the page.

    There are lots of ways to help him pay closer attention to the words in a book. I'm working to teach him that he has to read what he sees. He can't just make stuff up.

    cover image for that is not a good idea
    This book by Mo Willems was a fun read last week because it helped direct his eyes to the words. The little chicks in That is Not a Good Idea warn the characters over and over about impending doom. Each time they are more urgent and each time the reader has to make sure to read the right number of really-s. It's a simple but spot-on practice tool for a 1st grader and it's an extra silly book. That's a win for me and a win for my new reader.

    Let your librarian know if you're looking for books for your new reader. We love helping find just the right books for fun and practice!
    by Erin | Dec 15, 2017

    Hello Universe

    Hello, Universe
    by Erin Entrada Kelly

    Greenwillow Books, 2017

    313 pages

     

    It’s not every day that a middle grade book tackles a concept as poignant as fate, but in Hello, Universe, four kids discover that fate has plans for them.

     

    Virgil: Virgil wants nothing more than to be the hero of his own story. He wants to stand up to bullies, be accepted by his family, and even just say hello to his crush. However, his shyness keeps getting in the way.

     

    Valencia: Valencia is convinced that she doesn’t need friends. All she needs is her zoological diary and the great outdoors. While she may not need friends, she would like someone to explain the weird dream that she’s been having.

     

    Kaori: Kaori is a psychic and a proud Gemini, she also runs a small business in which she reads other peoples’ fates. But when a friend goes missing, Kaori will need the universe’s help in finding him.

     

    Gen: Gen is Kaori’s little sister. She often helps with her older sister’s psychic readings and tends to carry around a pink jump rope.

     

    When a bully throws Virgil’s pet guinea pig into a dried up well, Virgil climbs down and ends up getting stuck. When he doesn’t show up to his scheduled psychic reading, Kaori enlists the help of Valencia and Gen to find him.

     

    Eloquent writing and strong themes of friendship and acceptance makes this book a page turner that is hard to put down. Is it good enough to win the Newbery? We’ll just have to wait and see.

     

    I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.


     

    Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

    by Teresa Walls | Dec 13, 2017
    Please don't worry; it is just for a few days. The Early Learning Center at the Main Library will be closed Monday, December 18, through Wednesday, December 20, so some maintenance can be done. Thanks for your understanding.
    Early Learning Center closed December 18 through 20, 2017
    by Dawn S | Dec 13, 2017
    Today is the day the Jewish Festival of Lights begins! Here are just some of the hundreds of Hanukkah items we have to borrow at the library. In addition to great print and audio items in our buildings we have hundreds of downloadable items on Hoopla and Overdrive and Freegal.

    cover image for CD the eight nights of chanukah
      music CD
    cover image for enjoy big note jewish holiday songs
      musical score
     cover image for happy hanukkah
      activity book
      cover image for hanukkah
    non-fiction book
    cover image for hanukkah
      non-fiction book
    cover image for hanukkah
      non-fiction book
    queen of the hanukah dosas
      story book
     cover imag for the missing letters
      story book
    cover image for hanukkah bear
      story book
    by Dori Graham | Dec 09, 2017

    Winter Solstice

    Did you know that the sun will set at 5:15 pm on December 21st making that day the darkest/shortest day of the entire year? On that day the sun will be so far away from the earth that its light can only reach us for a total of nine hours!

    That means we've all got an extra excuse to grab a blanket, a shiny flashlight, and a great book or two!

    Join us at the Main Library in the Children's Services department at 6:30 pm on December 21st as we settle in and celebrate the winter solstice with an especially cozy evening storytime. Who knows?! We might even build a blanket fort or two!

    In the meantime, check out some of these great wintry, solstice-y books from an ACPL library location near you!

    The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice
     by Wendy Pfeffer

    Winter Moon Song by Martha Brooks

    Winter Friends by Mary Quattlebaum

    A Solstice Tree for Jenny by Karen Shragg







    by Mary Voors | Dec 06, 2017

    Cover of Ethan I Was Before
     



















    The Ethan I Was Before by Ali Standish
    Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins, 2017
    352 pages

    The Ethan I was Before by Ali Standish is a story about a boy struggling to work through profound grief. It's also a book full of secrets and mysteries to be resolved. The biggest mystery is trying to figure out what exactly happened to Ethan’s best friend Kacey – the girl who was always ready to accept any dare Ethan offered. The reader knows it was something dramatic enough for the entire family to be uprooted from Boston to his grandfather’s home in a small town in Georgia but doesn’t know exactly what happened.

    When Ethan makes a new friend in Georgia, he begins to think that maybe, just maybe, he could start to become the boy he used to be… as long as the preponderance of secrets don't pull everyone under.

    My favorite line of the book resonated strongly with me and in many ways sums up this title’s theme:  “Trying to destroy hope is like trying to clean sand out of your beach bag…. There’s always going to be a grain or two left.”

    I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018 at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.


    Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

    by Cindy H | Dec 04, 2017
    9780545700306_mres
    For many, Santa is one of the most magical parts of childhood. As a parent, deciding whether or not to teach your children to believe in Santa, and how to handle the difficult conversations that often surround the subject, can be daunting. Martha Brockenbrough's sweet book, Love, Santa, is one way to help children understand the wonderment that surrounds Santa.

    The book is about a young girl named Lucy. Each year, she writes a letter to Santa. For example, when she was five, she wrote a letter asking Santa how he stays warm at the North Pole; Santa brings her a red coat that year. As Lucy gets older, she starts to question more and more how Santa works his magic. When Lucy is eight, instead of leaving the letter for Santa, she leaves it on her mother's pillow. She asks, "Dear Mom, Are you Santa?" The next morning she receives a letter from her mom, explaining that she isn't Santa, "Santa is a teacher who helps us believe...Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness, and now you know the secret of how he gets down the chimneys on Christmas eve...He has help from the people whose hearts he's filled with joy. I am on his team, and now you are, too. Love, Mom." Lucy feels better knowing the truth, and although she does have mixed feelings of happiness and sadness, ultimately she is ready and excited to go out and be on Santa's team.

    I found this story very sweet and uplifting. I have often struggled with the notion of telling children about Santa; I do not want to lie, but I also do not want to ruin the magic and hope that he brings. I think this story provides a wonderful way to explain the truth about Santa, and remind us that Santa stands for something special that we can hold onto all year long. The book has lovely illustrations and includes Lucy's actual letters in envelopes that can be taken out and perused. It is available in print at the library, click the picture of the book's cover to place on hold!
    by Dawn Stoops | Dec 01, 2017
    Helping kids grow and learn is such a joy, and sometimes just plain hard. When you're navigating real world stuff with kids it's nice to know that there's a book out there to help. Here are just some of the kinds of books available on real world topics.

     

    cover image for what if i need stiches 

    What If I Need Stitches
    written by Therese Shea
    There are a lot of books for preschoolers about going to the doctor, but this is a great book for older kids about a specific kind of injury. This series, called "Benched: dealing with sports injuries", includes books about breaking a bone, concussions, and other sports injuries. The photos and text give important facts in a reassuring way. If you're reading this together after an injury, it should help calm fears about what to expect during the healing process.

    cover image for poverty and hunger

    Poverty and Hunger
    by Louise Spilsbury
    This book is part of a series called "Children in Our World". It gets right to the point with gentle yet honest text about how some people lack basic things like food and shelter. It does a superb job of tackling the topic on a younger child's level. The second half of the book describes ways to help others and there are websites and resources listed on the last pages for more concrete action.


      cover image for going on an airplane
    Going on an Airplane
    written by Harold Rober
    Lots of firsts are exciting and nerve wracking. This book, written at a preschool / kindergarten level, is great for showing the basics of boarding a plane and riding with confidence. The colorful pictures are perfect for little ones!



     

    What other books might you find helpful for tough and new experiences? Our libraries have books about divorce, getting a pet, death of a loved one, moving, alcohol abuse, parents in jail, and many others. Librarians are always ready to help find books on just the topic you need. We've also made some great online book lists on difficult topics. Check out our children's book list page HERE.
    by Teresa Walls | Nov 29, 2017
    book cover Clayton Byrd Goes Underground





















    Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia
    HarperCollins, 2017
    166 pages

    Clayton Byrd thinks he's ready to play a solo, a blues harp (harmonica) solo during a set with his grandpa, Cool Papa Byrd; Cool Papa's guitar, Wah Wah Nita; and the rest of the Bluesmen.

          Cool Papa disagreed. "No, son," he said with a smile in his eyes. "Not yet."  
          Big Mike said, "You gotta bend that note like you bend the truth."
          Hector Santos said, "Like you bend backward, especially when you don't want to."
          "Yeah, man," Jack Rabbit Jones said. "Gotta get that round-the-corner, back-to-tell-the-tale blues bend."
          "Got to feel it deep down. In the gut," Papa Byrd said. He patted himself somewhere between his heart and belly. "That's when you know you're crying."
          "Just before you laugh," one said.
          "Sometimes after," another said.
          "But son," Cool Papa said, "a bluesman ain't a bluesman without that deep-down cry."
       
                                                                                                                                                      (p. 9-10)


    Clayton doesn't understand, but he dearly loves Cool Papa. Clayton and Cool Papa often sneak out when Clayton's mother is working a double-shift. They sneak away to meet up with the Bluesmen and play to the crowds who love that music called the blues. Clayton's mother, Juanita, does not love the blues. In Clayton's eyes, she also does not love Cool Papa Byrd, her father whom she feels left her and her mother too many times to go on tour.

    Williams-Garcia descriptions of music, both blues and hip-hop, are wonderfully clear. The complexity of this family's relationships is well-drawn. Clayton's interactions with his grandfather, his mother, and his father are realistic, sometimes painful.

    I can't wait to talk about this book at our Mock Newbery discussion which will be held on February 3rd, 2018, at the Main Library in downtown Fort Wayne, IN. Or add your comments below!  We'd love to know what YOU thought of this title.

    Each week, beginning the first week of November 2017 through the last week of January 2018, we will be discussing one (or more) of the titles on our 2018 Mock Newbery list. (The complete list of titles we'll be discussing can be found here.)

    by Dawn Stoops | Nov 24, 2017
    November has been a great month for new children's chapter books! Take a look at just a few of our newest titles.

    cover image for team bff race to the finish
     
    cover image for a skateboard cat-astrophe
     
     cover image for battle for the z-ring
      cover image for cowboy pug cover image for polaris
    cover image for magical misfits
     
    cover image for open if you dare
     
     cover image for me and mister p
    cover image for out of remote control