Category Archives: Articles

Animals Aplenty: New Books for Younger Readers

Los Pollitos by Susie Jaramillo
Los-PollitosIn this adorable book, the famous Spanish nursery rhyme “Los Pollitos Dicen” comes to life with the help of three very expressive baby chicks. The simple story shows the love and care that a mother hen has for her babies. From the moment the chicks hatch she is kept very busy tending to their every need. The unique accordion style book allows readers to enjoy the story in English on one side and Spanish on the other, while the interactive elements featured on each page add yet another dimension to please the very youngest of readers. Canticos will release its second bilingual book this fall titled Elefantitos (Little Elephants). (ages 1-4)

Splashdance by Liz Starin
splashdancethumb_500Ursula the bear and all of the other bears get kicked out of the swimming pool (for being too hairy) right before the big water ballet championship. To make matters worse, Ursula’s partner in the competition ditches her for a giraffe! She heads down to the pond to continue training by herself and much to her surprise she finds a new team to join who is committed to standing up for its teammates. Serious topics of inequality and social justice are made accessible for a young audience thanks to the goofy interspecies cast in this silly tale that’s perfect for summer. Pay close attention to the illustrations, humorous details abound! (ages 4-7)

Treat by Mary Sullivan
treatWhen a hungry pup wakes up to the smell of food, all hilarity ensues! Racing out of his bed to find a treat leads to utter disappointment time and again as none of his family will give him a single bite of anything. Exhausted by his begging efforts, the pup finally returns to bed where his dreams of treats turn into a nightmare of being the treat. Using only one word in the book, Sullivan fills the story with energy and emotion through the character’s expressions, creative font choices, and constant movement. This determined and irresistible little round pup will have readers rooting for him the whole time and delighted by the happy ending. (ages 4-7)

Frankie the Blankie by Jennifer Sattler
frankie blankieDoris loves her blankie, Frankie. In fact she loves him so much she never does anything without him: napping, snacking, dancing. That is, until she is told that “only babies play with blankies, you know.” Doris decides to give Frankie up, but life is too miserable without him. She comes up with the brilliant idea of disguising him, which almost goes terribly wrong until she turns him into a puppet and wins the hearts of the other jungle animals. While most books about transitional objects focus on letting go of the object, such as Owen by Kevin Henkes or Geraldine’s Blanket by Holly Keller, the story of Doris and Frankie shows that children don’t have to give up their comfort object until they are ready.

-Sarah Beth

Great Podcasts for Librarians and Lovers of Children’s Literature!

How do children’s librarians keep up with the rapid publishing of children’s books? We read on the bus, listen to audiobooks while we clean, keep track of starred reviews in journals, and talk to each other. Podcasts are another exciting avenue for learning about buzzing titles, getting to know authors, and understanding the creative writing process. Here are seven of my favorites:

Publisher’s Weekly PW KidsCast
Esteemed book reviewer Publisher’s Weekly interviews contemporary authors of youth and young adult materials to talk about their upcoming and well anticipated book. In 20 minutes or less, each author talks about their latest work, weaving in tales from their own lives, and the events that led to their books. Out of all of the podcasts listed here, PW KidsCast is especially great because they publish new material frequently, almost weekly. Guests have included Maggie Stiefvater, Rick Riordan, and Brian Selznick.

cover170x170The Guardian’s Children’s Books Podcast
The Guardian is a British daily newspaper that also produces fun programs and podcasts, such as this one that focuses on current kids’ and teen books. The creators of buzzing juvenile books often make an appearance, talking about their latest work and inspirations, sometimes diving deeper into their own childhoods, issues with society, causes that they are fighting for, and more. On occasion, the creators will read passages from their book. Celebrated authors and illustrators Jacqueline Wilson, Sally Gardner, Jeff Kinney, and David Leviathan have made appearances.

The Yarn
The-Yarn-logo-500-300x300Ranging from picture books to teen titles, The Yarn goes behind the scenes to interview authors and illustrators, unraveling their creative processes and inspirations in this short podcast. Most titles are contemporary, or to be released! Authors that they have talked with include Jennifer Holm, Raina Telgemeier, Salina Yoon, Chris Grabenstein, and Rebecca Stead.

The Picturebooking Podcast
picturebookingFocusing on picture books, this podcast mostly interviews creators, discussing their latest book, their artistic techniques, their career, culture, and more. This podcast also dives into the publishing process, giving amateur writers guidance. Author-illustrators Molly Idle, Dan Santat, and Peter Brown have spoken here.

 Scholastic Reads
ScholasticReads_Podcast_LogoScholastic, a well-known publishing company of books for children and teens, launched this podcast in 2015 to talk about the world of children’s books, literacy, and libraries. Episodes have ranged from talks with literacy experts about enhancing summer reading programs, to prestigious art and writing awards, to literary campaigns. This is a great podcast to learn about emerging trends in culture and activism concerning books and youth.

Kids on Comics: Father and Son Comic Book Talk
kids on comicsA father and son discuss kids’ comics and graphic novels in this endearing podcast. The duo prefers superheroes and popular graphic novels, and together they give listeners a synopsis of their chosen read, sharing their likes and dislikes. The father asks his son questions to help him develop his critical thinking skills, and it’s always fun to hear a kid’s perspective in an atmosphere where we heavily rely on professional reviewers for our selections. Father and son have talked about titles such as Dogs of War, Cardboard, X-Men, and Zita the Spacegirl.  

the splitThe Split: A Young Adult Book Review Podcast for Readers and Writers
For readers who love young adult books, this podcast passionately reviews the new, popular, and buzzing titles to be released of teen literature. Creators talk about their new work in 30 to 60 minutes, with an interviewer asking thought provoking questions. I only hope that this podcast will come out with new episodes, since it was last updated in December 2015.

-Courtney

Fantastic New Nonfiction

Masterpieces Up Close by Claire d’Harcourt
masterpieces-up-close
This amazing oversized art book looks at 21 paintings, magnifying important aspects in each one. Not only does this book examine detailed theory and technique, it also makes it fun to find the highlighted area within the painting itself. So often in famous masterpieces there is so much going on, it is hard to focus on key elements of the great work.  Looking at color, composition, brush stroke and imagery, the young artist is given a better understanding of art appreciation. When examining Marilyn by Andy Warhol, I myself discovered a more complex meaning in his work.  Each repeated image evokes a powerful facet of the talented and troubled Marilyn. This very interactive book is perfect for any budding young artist. (ages 9-14)

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
boys in the boatIn a text adapted for young readers, read about the United States 1939 Olympic crew team who through hard work, perseverance, and amazing odds won gold in Hitler’s Germany. Written like a novel, The Boys in the Boat takes you on a great adventure through the eyes of Joe Rantz. Rowing requires physical endurance, mental toughness and training the mind and body to endure the natural elements and great pain. Growing up in the great depression with an extremely challenging childhood, paved the way for Joe Rantz to endure great challenges and become an Olympic champion. (ages 9-13)

Children Growing up with War by Jenny Matthews
children growing up with warTake a journey through the eyes of a photo journalist into the lives of children in war. With stunning photographs and heart-wrenching text, Matthews examines the everyday life of children living in war-torn environments. One particularly wonderful section in the book shows children playing, illustrating how resourceful and creative the power of play is to a child. (ages 10 and up)

NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe by Terence Dickinson
nightwatch
This guide has it all, from choosing your telescope, sky measurements using your hand, a start brightness meter, and a pronunciation guide, to photographic charts (including a chart of the names of each crater on the moon) and traditional star charts, this book has it all. NightWatch will delight even the most amateur astronomer. Not only does this guide offer everything you need to know about star gazing, it also houses a wealth of information on galaxies, stars, planets, comets, nebulas, black holes, asteroids and more in the night sky. With a spiral binding that allows the book to lie flat while you’re star gazing on Mount Tam, NightWatch deserves its high recommendation from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. (ages 11 and up)

The Science of a Bridge Collapse by Nikole Brooks Bethea
science of a bridge collapseAfter reading The Science of a Bridge Collapse you may think twice about crossing any bridge in the Bay Area. Taking a scientific approach to bridge design, this book examines the causes of bridge failure. On a good note, engineers analyze data collected from these collapses improving the rebuilding of these important structures. (ages 11-14)

Fantastic Fugitives Criminals, Cutthroats, and Rebels who Changed History While on the Run! by Brianna DeMont
fantastic fugitives
Learn about an eclectic group of famous runaways who changed the course of history. Did you ever think of the Pilgrims as fugitives? When Europe’s fashion craze killed off its beaver population, investors supported the Pilgrims’ passage to the New World to access the beaver population in there. Learn about Harriet Tubman, whose course to freedom on the Underground Railroad entailed running the equivalent of four marathons while being tracked by slave catchers and bloodhounds; encountering snakes, thick brush, and swamps; and countless other dangerous obstacles. This is a fantastic mix of obscure facts and action-packed adventure. (ages 9-13)

-Toni

Live Your Imagination! New Books for Younger Readers

Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Yuyi Morales
Alexie_ThunderBoyJr
Thunder Boy Jr. hates his name because it is not his own. He is named after Thunder Boy Senior, his dad! Why couldn’t he be Touch the Clouds for that time he climbed a mountain, or Not Afraid of Ten Thousand Teeth for that time he touched an orca? Can Thunder Boy Jr. and Thunder Boy Sr. find their own ways to fill up the sky together? Sherman Alexie has won several awards for his adult and teen novels, including the National Book Award, California Young Reader Medal, and American Book Award. Alexie grew up on a Spokane Indian Reservation and much of his work explores contemporary Native American identity. This is his first picture book. (ages 3-6)

The Typewriter by Bill Thomson
typewriter
A thrill-seeking trio find a mysterious typewriter hidden in plain view. Do they dare type and discover its magic? One of the friends takes the plunge and types “Beach,” and the children look up to find sand between their toes and the ocean breeze kissing them. A metaphor for the wonder that words bring us, in a book that contains seven words, The Typewriter is a wild adventure into imagination. The illustrations in this picture book are so lifelike, it is hard to believe that Bill Thomson abstained from digital tools. He uses acrylic paints and colored pencils to create his art by hand, and the detail is jaw dropping. (ages 5-8)

The Cow Who Climbed a Tree by Gemma Merino
The Cow Who Climbed a TreeCows are supposed to sit around on the farm and eat grass, right? Meet Tina, the curious cow who explores and dreams of space travel. Impossible! Ridiculous! Nonsense! chime her sisters. But their chides do not discourage Tina, for the following day, she climbs a tree and meets a… dragon?! In this case curiosity does not kill the cow, but liberates her! With sweet illustrations adorned with watercolor, Merino delivers a charming story about individuality, resilience, and faith. This can be enjoyed as a read-a-loud together, or as material for beginning readers. (ages 4-8)

There is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith
there is a tribe of kids
Either lost, in mourning, or upset, a lonely child clings to a goat. When the goat departs up a cliff, the child starts walking, unsuspecting of the adventure to be. The child meets friends, foes, and the strange, usually in pods, piles, and families. Sometimes connecting with the miracle and brutality of nature is the only way to remember connecting with one’s own tribe. Using mixed media, Lane Smith’s latest picture book will dazzle readers and remind them of the old adage, “No man is an island.” Lane Smith is an award-winning writer and illustrator, most notably for his children’s books. (ages 5-8)

-Courtney

Summer Reading : Explore!

EXPLORE_Web_Square_ArtSummer Reading is your ticket to explore all summer long! Whether you’re reading to yourself or listening to stories read aloud, you can pick up a summer reading log beginning June 16th and start off with your first prize and stamp. Participants promise to read (or be read to) for three hours a week and keep track of their reading all summer long. Come back every week for a new stamp and a new prize. Prizes include adorable sea turtle erasers, pencils, books, Pacifics and Giants baseball game tickets, and more!

Click this link to download a pdf of our Summer flyer: Explore!

We have different programs for all ages Monday through Friday. Some require advance registrations, but many do not. We are partnering with the Marin Theatre Company, the Bay Area Discovery Museum, Golden Gate National Park Conservancy, and WildCare Associates to bring your kids some amazing programs that will stretch their minds and imaginations. We have authors, artists, musicians, magicians, storytellers, and circus performers coming to share their amazing talents with us. We hope that every child can find something they like in our program offerings. So download the flyer if you haven’t already, and mark your calendars for the events you and your kids don’t want to miss. Please pay attention to age restrictions and registration requirements. Beginning June 13, register on-line at millvalleylibrary.org/kids, call us or come in and speak to a librarian. All the events at the Library are free thanks to generous funding from The Mill Valley Library Foundation and the Friends.

You can see the library’s summer programs for middle schoolers here or download a pdf of our middle school summer flyer

 

Middle School: Explore!

middle_school_explore_web_square_artWe are excited about the library’s third annual Summer Reading Program for middle schoolers: Explore! This year, we have even more in store for you! It’s time to Explore summer reading. With all new programs like a henna art workshop and a chance to join the circus, we’re looking ahead to a fantastic summer. Come kick things off with us on Friday, June 17 for our Middle School Mash-Up Concert. We have a terrific lineup of teens and tweens who can’t wait to perform. There will be refreshments to eat and door prizes to win. Bring your friends – it’s going to be a blast!

Of course, it’s about more than just Summer Nights @ the Library. We want to encourage kids to read, Read, READ. This year you can participate online or with a paper reading log. Either way, for every book you read this summer you can earn an entry in our end-of-summer raffle. Register here and read to win gift certificates to local businesses, iTunes gift cards, Giants tickets or even a GoPro. The more books you read, the better your chances to win!

Want to earn more raffle tickets? Come in to the library and complete an Explore Challenge, or volunteer to help out at a children’s event or with program prep. Come on in and fill out an application, or give us a call at (415) 389-4292 x4.

Throughout the summer we’ll have fantastic programs just for middle schoolers. You can learn to make (and eat!) vegetarian sushi, get a fabulous henna tattoo, craft a wallet or wristband out of an old bicycle tire, program Lego Mindstorms robots, and dine and discuss Masterminds by Gordon Korman at our Pizza & Pages Book Club. Finally, we’ll draw raffle winners at our Star Wars Trivia Night and End of Summer Party.

We can’t wait to see you this summer! Download full the brochure here (pdf).

Volunteers, download an application here (pdf).

-Lauren

A Thief, a Prankster, and a Class Clown: New Books for Older Readers

A Bandit’s Tale: The Muddled Misadventures of a Pickpocket by Deborah Hopkinson
bandit's taleFrom the author of A Great Trouble comes another fascinating historical novel set in 1880s New York City. A Bandit’s Tale follows Rocco, a clever young boy who has been sent to America in order to earn money for his family back in Italy. Little did Rocco or his parents know what kind of life was in store for him on the streets of New York; hunger, cold, and appalling living conditions lead Rocco to make very difficult decisions in order to survive. The presence of famous historical figures such as Jacob Wiis and Henry Bergh, vintage photos, and background information bring a authenticity to the novel. Even though child labor, cruelty to animals, and immigration are major themes in this story, Rocco’s unbreakable spirit lends an optimistic light to his narrative. (ages 9-12)

The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste
jumbiesMost people in Corinne’s village do not go near the forest, for terrible creatures called jumbies are said to live there. Corinne is not scared, but when she sees a strange pair of yellow eyes watching her one night she begins to suspect some of the old stories she has heard are real. When she uncovers the truth about herself and her island’s history she must make a terrible decision: risk her own life for her that of her village or join the jumbies in their quest to take back their island. Loosely based on a Caribbean folktale from the author’s childhood growing up in Trinidad, this story adds new flavor to the fairy tale/folklore genre dominated by Grimm’s Brothers and Andersen’s tales. The Jumbies is a fast-paced, action packed story great for any reader breaking into middle grade fiction who enjoys magic, adventure, and scary creatures. (ages 10-14)

The Last Boy at St. Edith’s by Lee Malone
last boyOne by one, 24 of the 25 boys that attended St. Edith’s transfer to other schools, leaving Jeremy stuck with more than 400 girls and no hope of escape since he receives free tuition through his mom’s job. While Jeremy wasn’t particularly good friends with any of the other boys, he desperately wishes to go to a school where he is not the minority. He and his best friend Claudia concoct a plan to pull “harmless” pranks until Jeremy is expelled. The humor throughout the first half of the book gives way to a more thoughtful, emotional story as Jeremy’s pranks start to go wrong and he realizes the consequences of his actions are further reaching than anticipated. Practical jokers who have enjoyed Frindle or The Tapper Twins Go To War should like reading about Jeremy’s escapades in this solid coming-of-age story. (ages 8-12)

Jacky Ha Ha by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein
jacky hahaClass clown Jacky Ha Ha Hart loves to crack jokes at all the wrong times, maybe to distract others from her stutter or distract herself from the crummy stuff going on at home. With a mom deployed to Saudi Arabia and a father that is never home, Jacky channels her frustration into acting out at school, gaining her many, many detentions. The new English teacher recognizes Jacky’s potential and comes up with a plan for Jacky to get rid of her detentions while channeling her creative energy into joining the school play. Fans of Patterson and Grabenstein should enjoy this humorous story, but it isn’t either one’s best work. While Jacky is a relatable character just trying to navigate through the ups and downs of pre-pubescent life, the references to 90’s pop culture will not register with most readers and some of the humor falls flat. (ages 8-12)

-Sarah Beth

Beautiful Birds and Dynamic Dogs: New Books for Younger Readers

Bilby: Secrets of an Australian Marsupial by Edna Wignell
bilbySet in the dry and unforgiving Australian desert, a mother bilby gives birth to a baby. Nestled in a burrow deep underground, she cares for her little one. Soon he must grow up and learn to survive in this harsh environment. Nature-loving readers can follow the story of this elusive marsupial, learning its secrets even as it burrows out of sight. (ages 5-9)

Get Out of My Bath! by Britta Teckentrup
get out of my bathEllie the elephant loves to have fun in the bath, but she’s not the only one. Her fun is interrupted when a crocodile decides to join her, followed by a flamingo, then a mouse and even a tiger! Poor Ellie’s bath is ruined. What can she do? This boldly illustrated and textured book is designed to encourage readers to get involved in the story through tilting and shaking the book itself. (ages 3-7)

Monkey: Not Ready for Kindergarten by Marc Brown
monkey kindergartenKindergarten is only a week away, but Monkey is not ready! What if he gets on the wrong bus? What if they don’t have any red crayons? What if he doesn’t like the snacks? What if he doesn’t make new friends? So many things could go wrong! With the help of his family, his worries are eased, and he gets ready and excited for the big day. (ages 3-7)

Sweep Up the Sun by Helen Frost, photographs by Rick Lieder
Sweep Up the SunRobins, mallards, chickadees, sparrows and more are all featured in this book as they are in their tranquil natural settings. Through the use of photographs and lyrical storytelling, this book evokes images of play and flight, perseverance and trust. At the end, readers will find descriptions of the featured species. This stunning book is ideal for bird lovers of all ages, or anyone looking to embark on an adventure. (ages 2-5)

My Dog Bob by Richard Torrey
My Dog BobLike all dogs, Bob likes breakfast, riding in the family car, and digging for bones. But unlike other dogs, Bob cooks breakfast for himself and his family, drives the family car, and digs for dinosaur bones with a paleontologist. One day, the girl next door challenges Bob’s owner to a contest to see whose dog is best. What could go wrong? Readers will enjoy the silly storyline and dry humored text alongside the understated illustrations. (ages 4-7)

-Rebecca

 

 

Mindfulness for Children

In this world of constant motion, over scheduling, homework, organized activities and media overload, it is hard to stop your mind from racing. “Monkey mind” is a term we use for thoughts rushing in and out, keeping us either in the past or the future. With so many distractions, it is very hard to stay present and appreciate the moment. We need to bring back into focus what young children do naturally, being aware of the moment by calming the mind and connecting with our five senses, inner thoughts and feelings. By teaching your children these skills, they will have a heightened awareness to their surroundings. Everything is fresh as a young child experiencing a new sensation for the first time. Here are some books that will help your child bring mindfulness into their life.

Meditation Is an Open Sky: Mindfulness for Kids by Whitney Stewart, illustrated by Sally Rippin
open skyMeditation is an Open Sky defines a bad day as “wobbly” and offers creative, sweetly illustrated meditations to assist children in quieting their mind and redirecting the wobbly day they are having into a thoughtful joyous day. Protection Circle for Security is one meditation that this book offers to your scared or anxious child a meditation for building a protective circle of colored light around their bodies using their imagination.

A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles by Thich Nhat Hanh
handful of quietThis book takes a different approach to teaching children the art of being mindful. By using four pebbles to hold in your hand, each representing an element in nature, the child has a concrete tool as a focal point for bringing the mind and body into the moment. Using something like a pebble, bell or any small object can aid your child in bringing the wondering mind back to the moment.

Anh’s Anger by Gail Silver, illustrated by Christiane Komer
anh's angerA boy becomes angry with his grandfather, and that anger reaches deep into his belly, eventually appearing to him as a bright and beautifully illustrated creature. Anh sits with Anger and begins to breath deeply. Eventually, Anger dissipates and it and the boy exchane smiles. Anh is now able to use kind words to express his feelings of frustration to his grandfather.

Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents) by Eline Snel
eline-snel-sitting-still-like-a-frog-mindfulness-eThis in-depth look introduces children to bringing the mind and body into the moment. With a companion CD, this is a “must have” tool in the teaching of mindfulness. Activities like Laughing is the Best Medicine, Accepting the Weather and a How Do I Feel Thermometer will set your child on a pat to mindfulness creatively.

Take the Time Mindfulness for Kids by Maud Roegiers
take the timeThis lovely tale can help children move away from feeling “Topsy Turvy” by using their senses to experience the present world immediately around them. Though written for the young child, this book offers an universal message of being in the moment for children of all ages. “Take the time to listen to silence.” How beautiful!

 

Moody Cow Meditates by Kerry Lee MacLean
moody cowThis charming tail of a very naughty cow is called Moody because of his disruptive behavior. His grandfather takes a fist full of glitter and adds it to water creating a mind jar. Spinning around he names the sparkles his anger thoughts. As Moody Cow sits and begins to meditate, the spinning sparkles begin to settle as well. What a lovely analogy of changing your thoughts. In the back of this book are directions for making your own Mind Jar.

-Toni

Robots and Foxes and Girls, Oh My! New Books for Older Readers

The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd
keytoextraordinaryIf you travel to Blackbird Hollow, Tennessee, listen closely to the telling vines that whisper old messages on windy days. Go to the local bakery and savor a cup of boneyard brew to mend your broken heart. You’ll likely meet 12-year old Emma Casey there, the graveyard docent, who happens to have an extraordinary destiny. For centuries, the women in Emma’s family dream a clue to their destiny. Emma has had the dream, just in time for the money grubbing Warren Steele to cast hungry eyes over her family’s land. Is she destined to defeat Warren Steele? Or is her family meant to move on? Natalie Lloyd’s follow up book will suit fans of her Snicker of Magic. With a great cast of small town heroes, this book celebrates the magic of family roots and land. This is an ideal book for transitional readers and kids who favor magical realism. (ages 8-12)

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
wild robotThe otters are the first to notice the shattered crates wash ashore. Only one crate remains intact. When a shiny monster unfurls, otters scurry for their lives! The shiny monster is Roz the robot, who opens her eyes for the first time on a wild island. Will a robot designed for domestic tasks find purpose among animals? With a little help from a newborn gosling, she just might. Known for his award winning picture books, Peter Brown makes his debut into middle grade fiction, and he is sure to sweep readers away! Peppered with his signature illustrations, The Wild Robot is a fantastic mix between science fiction and animal fiction. (ages 8-12)

Pax by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Jon Klassen
paxPeter must find his fox, and Pax must find his boy. A looming war and a half hearted father force their separation. But that is not enough to keep them apart. Boy and fox enlist in the mighty adventure to reunite, and it is not without injury or casualty. Shifting perspectives between boy and fox, this novel documents their struggle to find each other, in the midst of wilderness, conflict, and survival. The somber tone will suit fans of Dicamillo’s Because of Winn Dixie and Appelt’s The One and Only Ivan. Jon Klassen’s illustrations make this story especially wonderful. (ages 8-12)

The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly
land of forgotten girlsIf you were uprooted from the serene Philippine islands to a junky apartment complex in Louisiana, you would naturally be upset. Meet Sol, a 12-year old girl with a younger sister to look after, in a world where fathers leave you in America with evil stepmothers. Sol may bully rich kids and get into mischief, but she preserves her tender side for her sister Ming. In this land of forgotten girls, they will need each other to survive childhood. Authentically told, Kelly does not sugarcoat the effects of poverty on children’s behavior. Because Sol is a victim of circumstance and abuse, she can be cruel to others too. The character development is so well done, readers will be rooting for these flawed kids. It is exciting to see a middle grade novel starring a Filipino protagonist, written by a Filipino author. (ages 8-12)

-Courtney