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Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Bestselling YA Authors Anthology: Up All Night


Up All Night: 13 Stories Between Sunset & Sunrise

Edited by Laura Silverman

Stories by Karen M. McManus, Nina LaCour, Maureen Goo, et al.



352 pages

ISBN: 9781643750415

What happens when a group of teen friends get together after dark? Is an amazing idea and Up All Night is a true winner. This is the best teen anthology published and a must have for every teen collection. 

This collection of diverse short stories and genres represents some of the best voices in Young Adult fiction. The stories feature cultural diversity, LGBT, and non-binary voices. Editor Laura Silverman crafted a volume of coming-of-age stories that will appeal to any YA reader. 

Stories include horror, romance, first love, high school woes, graduating high school, losing friends, a super-hero story and a haunted house. Readers will encounter characters with typical teen situations: siblings, blended families, first crush, the excitement leading up to the prom, pets,  a "Never Have a Ever" game that goes frightfully wrong. Every story takes place after dark and before dawn as teens navigate all-night "parties" and adventures. 

Warning: One story "Con Nights, Parallel Hearts" has abuse which some readers may find triggering. 

Stories by Karen M. McManus, Maurene Goo, Kayla Whaley, Marieke Nijkamp, Laura Silverman, Amanda Joy, Tiffany D. Jackson, Brandy Colbert, Kathleen Glasgow, Nina LaCour, Julian Winters, Francesca Zappa, Anna Meriano.

Highly, highly recommended. If you can only afford to buy one anthology, make it this one! Reluctant readers may find this a great choice as they can choose to read any or all the stories.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Vibrant and Musical: A Song of Frutas


A Song of Frutas

by Margarita Engle

Illustrations Sara Palacios

Antheneum Books for Young Readers


40 pages

ISBN: 9781534444898

Colorful, magical and musical, A Song of Frutas is a joy to read! 

Margarita Engle weaves English and Spanish text together she explains in her author's note, "...because that is the way people talk on both shores of the strip of sea that separates Cuban and Cuban American family members." A Song of Frutas is a love poem to Cuba and Engle's abuelo (grandfather) who sold fruit from his cart always singing the names of the fruit he has for sale: mångo, limæon, piña, coco and plæatano. Young Margarita would walk with him taking in the sights and sounds of a vibrant city scene. Women are hanging laundry out to dry, other vendors are singing their own songs to sell their wares. 

Every New Year's Eve there's a celebration where they eat twelve grapes and make a wish for each month of the coming year. Now that an ocean separates her from her abuelo she wishes for a day both countries can be friends and open up. She misses her abuelo and his songs of frutas, but she writes poems and verses in her letters to him and imagines birds carrying her letters to her beloved grandfather. 

Also in the author's note is information about travel restrictions between America and Cuba that made it hard for Cuban Americans to visit their homeland. Engle states that she began returning to see her family in 1991. This is an important book for all collections. Palacios' illustrations are wonderfully rendered capturing the heart and soul of Cuba. 

Highly, highly recommended. This book WILL win multiple awards for both Engle and Palacios. 

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Halloween Pick: Hardly Haunted


Hardly Haunted

by Jessie Sima

Illustrations by Jessie Sima 

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers


48 pages 

ISBN: 9781534441705

A lonely, empty house on a hill thinks she might be haunted. She wants someone to buy her and move in and make her a home, but no one does. Only the funny black cat hangs out with her. 

House decides to be very quiet and maybe no one will notice she's haunted. But here comes a powerful wind that makes her roof moan, her foundation groan, her pipes rattle. House is impressed because all that noise was fun! 

She decides she'll wait for the right family who doesn't mind the fact that she's haunted. And a family of ghosts decide to make House their home. The house on the hill is happy.

Adult readers will have fun reading the creepy noises out loud and young readers will giggle and help with the "reading" of the noises. 

The character of House is a brilliant storytelling decision to personify a haunted house as the main character. Creative and whimsical, outright fun and only a teensy bit spooky, this is a great pick for Halloween story time. 

Highly, highly recommended for all young readers. This book is likely to be in the mix for many awards.