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 […]


The Magnificent Mya Tibbs: Spirit Week Showdown by Crystal Allen

The Magnificent Mya Tibbs: Spirit Week Showdown by Crystal Allen

School is about to get even better for spunky, fourth grade Texan, Mya Tibbs. Along with being in the same class as her new best friend, popular, beauty pageant-winning, Naomi Jackson, the school is about to have its annual Spirit Week! And the prize is a pair of VIP tickets to the town’s Fall Festival, […]


Princess Truly is I Am Truly by Kelly Greenawalt, illustrated by Amariah Rauscher

Princess Truly is I Am Truly by Kelly Greenawalt, illustrated by Amariah Rauscher

In this delightful and inspirational picture book, young readers meet Truly, a multifaceted girl with interests galore.  She loves playing rock music, can build tall towers, imagines that she has magical superhero powers, and that is just the first few pages.  Truly loves art, science, sports, and adventure, and emerges as a versatile character kids […]


Boo!, written and illustrated by Ben Newman

Boo!, written and illustrated by Ben Newman

Those seeking a great interactive story to share with young children will find one with Ben Newman’s rollicking Boo!.  Wow, what a triumph of book design this is.  With bold shapes and sharp colors and striking typography, Ben Newman’s Boo! is an artfully conceived romp in which, one by one, an animal brags about being […]


Rooting for Rafael Rosales by Kurtis Scaletta

Rooting for Rafael Rosales by Kurtis Scaletta

I loved this story with its dual parts: one about Rafael Rosales growing up in the Dominican Republic and the other about Maya living in the Twin cities caring about bees and native grasses. I loved how their lives were never supposed to intersect but then — they did, in an amazing, charming, challenging way! […]


Early Sunday Morning by Denene Millner, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Early Sunday Morning by Denene Millner, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

This inspirational picture book beautifully addresses something most everyone can relate to:  the fear of performing in public.  The girl at the center of the story will be singing her very first solo in the Sunday church choir, and to say she has butterflies in her stomach is an understatement.  After she overhears two mean […]


I’m a Big Brother Now by Katura J. Hudson, illustrated by Sylvia L. Walker

I’m a Big Brother Now by Katura J. Hudson, illustrated by Sylvia L. Walker

In this loving, emotionally direct new sibling book, Sylvia L. Walker’s warm watercolors introduce young readers to a charming boy who cannot wait to take on his exciting new role as big brother.  This helpful, resourceful little guy helps even before the baby is born:  talking to his mommy’s tummy, painting the baby’s room, and […]