The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud (2017)

The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud (2017)

This is the 5th & final book in the terrific Lockwood & Co series written by Jonathan Stroud. Lockwood & Co. is about an alternate Britain in which ghosts have been entering the world of the living. Whomever they touch dies; only kids & teens can see them. So all the ghost removal agencies are […]


The Night Garden by Polly Horvath (2017)

The Night Garden by Polly Horvath (2017)

Franny, 12, and her parents, Sina and Old Tom, live a peaceful life on a farm on Vancouver Island during WW2. Their troubles revolve around the creative process (Sina is a sculptor and Franny writes.) and the seasonal work of the farm — until Crying Alice, their neighbor, arrives with an unusual request. She wants […]


Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell

Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell

This poignant, near wordless tale depicts the bond that quickly develops between a brave young girl wearing a Little Red Riding Hood style jacket and a scared wolf cub separated from its pack on a cold, snowy day. With his striking pen and ink with watercolor art, Cordell serves up two linked storylines that merge as we […]


The Antlered Ship, written by Dashka Slater, illustrated by The Fan Brothers

The Antlered Ship, written by Dashka Slater, illustrated by The Fan Brothers

Do you want to see a beautifully illustrated picture book? Open up The Antlered Ship and examine those panoramic illustrations rendered in graphite and ballpoint pen (and then colored digitally) by the gloriously talented Fan Brothers. In this high seas adventure, an inquisitive fox joins a crew of deer and pigeons on a ship bearing enormous antlers. Together […]


All the Way to Havana, written by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Mike Curato

All the Way to Havana, written by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Mike Curato

Packed with vibrant illustrations, this engaging road trip of a picture book shows how many of the cars driven in Cuba are pre-1959. Cinematic in nature, Mike Curato’s art feels like a wide-screen movie as a boy travels with his family from his small town to Havana in order to see his newborn baby cousin. They […]


This Is Just a Test by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang

This Is Just a Test by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang

Set in 1983, this funny yet poignant middle grade novel (good for Grades 5 and up) stars David Da-Wei Horowitz, a Jewish-Chinese boy about to celebrate his bar mitzvah. After he and his buddy Scott watch the terrifying TV movie The Day After (about the aftermath of a nuclear missile strike), they decide to build […]


I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda (2015)

I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda (2015)

This book is a Rebecca Caudill nominee for 2018. The two teens in this true story make really compelling reading. Caitlin in Hatfield and Martin in Mutare begin a pen pal correspondence in 1997. The two of them connect in fits and starts but grow slowly into best friends and finally into brother & sister. Liz […]


The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez

The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez

In this fast-paced and entertaining middle grade coming of age novel, funny but with touches of bittersweet sadness, author Celia C. Pérez introduces readers to Malú, a punk rock loving girl who has just moved to Chicago where she starts at a brand new school. She also makes zines, and in a cool touch, we see her artistic […]


Professional Crocodile by Giovanna Zoboli, illustrated by Mariachiara di Giorgio

Professional Crocodile by Giovanna Zoboli, illustrated by Mariachiara di Giorgio

This hilarious nearly wordless picture book import from Italy has a twist ending so surprising I could not stop laughing.  I will not spoil this surprise, but will attempt to describe what makes this delightful creation work.  Presented in a graphic novel format and possessing longish dimensions perfect for a book about crocodiles, this title […]


Gorilla Dawn by Gill Lewis (2017 US) (2015 UK)

Gorilla Dawn by Gill Lewis (2017 US) (2015 UK)

Terrific book about a girl caught up with a violent militia that is mining coltan in gorilla territory in the Democratic Republic of Congo and a boy whose father was a ranger. Respectful, empowering, with no stock characters, not only is Gorilla Dawn the best book I have read for young people about the DRC […]