The Sword of Summer
By:
Rick Riordan
January 6, 2016
Reviewed by: Desi

Magnus Chase is a homeless teenager doing his best to avoid law enforcement or any other state agency. The difficulties of being homeless only intensify when he finds that someone else is looking for him. This person has the ability to answer the questions that have long been in Magnus's mind. Magnus's Uncle Randolph claims to know the reason for his mother's death, the identity of his father, and how his magical abilities can prevent a war between the Gods. Magnus must decide if he can trust his estranged uncle, or will he alone unravel the puzzle of his own destiny.

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die
By:
April Henry
December 28, 2015
Reviewed by: Desi

Imagine you wake up in pain, not knowing where you are, what day it is, or even what your name is. There is a coppery taste filling your mouth, your hands are sore, nails broken and caked with dirt. You hear can hear people talking about disposing of a body, but you don't know whose. And so begins The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die. This a quick paced read definitely suited to readers who like CSI/Criminal Minds types of stories.

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer
By:
Carole Boston Weatherford
November 27, 2015
Reviewed by: Desi

This lushly illustrated book chronicles the life of Fannie Lou Hamer. Readers are introduced to the harsh realities of southern life for many African Americans during the civil rights era. The topics of share cropping, Jim Crow laws, and the sterilization program are covered as readers learn about Fannie Lou Hamer's quest for equal rights.

Bubble Trouble
By:
Tom Percival
November 7, 2015
Reviewed by: Desi

Bubble Trouble is the tale of a great friendship that took a wrong turn. Ruben and Felix were the best of friends that had everything in common. They lived next door to each other, were the same age, same height, and liked the same things. Their love of blowing bubbles united them until a competition separated them. As their contest got bigger and more intense, their friendship wore thin. Ruben and Felix ultimately come to realize that their friendship enhanced their love of bubbles and all they really needed was each other.

Poems in the Attic
By:
Nikki Grimes
October 5, 2015
Reviewed by: Desi

Nikki Grimes has penned an excellent book of poetry that explores military life through the eyes of the children of enlisted men and women. The narrator of the story is the daughter of a "military brat" who finds a collection of her mother's childhood poems. The past is brought into sharper focus as this daughter attempts to mimic some of the experiences her mother had as a child. This book also contains an author's note and a brief primer on the different types of poetry used in the book.

When I Was Eight
By:
Christy Jordan-Fenton
September 4, 2015
Reviewed by: Desi

Olemaun is a young Inuit girl who longs to learn to read like her big sister. Her father resists taking her to school until she wears him down. At her new school she receives a new name and a haircut. While she still longs to read, her chores and the treatment she receives at the hands of her classmates and the nun teacher blunts her zeal for words. Olemaun must harness the strength and tenacity that got her into to school to master the English language. This is a wonderful book that highlights the difficulties experienced by some Inuit students immigrating to American schools.

This Side of Home
By:
Renee Watson
August 10, 2015
Reviewed by: Desi

Twin sisters find different ways to deal with the gentrification of their neighborhood in this novel that explores the black diaspora that exist in different areas of the black community. Great read for teens who are tuned into the challenges that exist within the melting pot of our society. This novel also deals with effective means of challenging authority and learning about the past as you move into a new future.

Mama Miti: Wangari Maathi and the Trees of Kenya
By:
Donna Jo Napoli
July 18, 2015
Reviewed by: Desi

Mama Miti is a gorgeous picture book that tells the story of Wangari Maathi the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Wangari developed a love of trees at an early age. As a woman she was respected for her knack for growing things. Village women would come to her for advice and help. Wangari’s advice always leads to the planting of more trees.

A Fine Dessert
By:
Emily Jenkins
June 20, 2015
Reviewed by: Desi

A Fine Dessert by Emily Jenkins follows a dessert's transition over centuries. Not only does the method of preparing the dessert change, but also the tools used to prepare the dessert. The final tableau features a father and son making the dessert and sharing it with a diverse group of friends. This picture book mixes non-fiction topics with a good narrative. This would be a great book for older children, maybe 2nd and 3rd graders.

Walter and the No Need to Worry Suit
By:
Rachel Bright
May 20, 2015
Reviewed by: Desi

Walter is the consummate worrier. His best friend Winnie devises an ingenious way to help Walter solve his worry problems. Thus the No-Need-to-Worry suit is born. While the suit does help Walter feel safe, it also acts as a barrier to fun he might be having if he could only relax. This is a great book for discussing worry and its effect on the lives of children.