Archive for ‘Books by Type’

February 9, 2018

Be Kind

I’m so excited to share this lovely book. It seemed like the perfect choice since Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) week is coming up February 11-17, 2018.   

Title: Be Kind

Author: Pat Zietlow Miller
Illustrator: Jenn Hill
Publisher:  Roaring Brook Press, 2018
Editor: Connie Hsu
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 4-8
Theme: Kindness

Excerpt:

What does it mean to be kind anyway?
Maybe it’s giving.
Making cookies for Mr. Rinaldi, who lives alone.
Letting someone with smaller feet have my too-tight shoes.
(He might win races in them, too.)

Synopsis (from Amazon website):

When Tanisha spills grape juice all over her new dress, her classmate contemplates how to make her feel better and what it means to be kind. From asking the new girl to play to standing up for someone being bullied, this moving and thoughtful story explores what a child can do to be kind, and how each act, big or small, can make a difference―or at least help a friend.

Activites:

  • Kindness lesson plan
  • Have kids do a Random Act of Kindness. Here is a link to my past blog post to get some ideas.
  • There are tons of other resources on the Internet. I recommend searching Pinterest. Here is a link to get you started.

Why I Like This Book:

What’s not to love. The succinct text, the musings of a young child, cheery illustrations, with a message of empathy and compassion. A charming book which shows that kindness can be done in the simplest ways with the potential to grow. The book can be used as a springboard for discussions at home and school about kindness and can be extended with a kindness activity.

Also, check out this adorable trailer where kids answer questions about kindness.

Find Be Kind at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound Goodreads
ISBN-10: 1626723214
ISBN-13: 978-1626723214

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January 16, 2018

South Asian Kidlit 2018 – Part 1

I am so excited to bring you this year’s crop of South Asian Kidlit books. There are so many books coming out this year that I will be breaking it down into three posts over the course of this year. And for the first time ever we have over 10+ picture books coming out in 2018!!! The publishing gods have been listening.

Today I bring you 11 titles (3 PB, 3 MG, 5 YA) that are being released from January thru March 2018. These books are traditionally published and are either by a South Asian author, contains a South Asian Main Character, or involves South Asian culture. The books are organized by Category and then Publication Date. Come back in April for Part 2.

For an abbreviated pdf version of this list click here. Feel free to share with librarians, booksellers, teachers, and book lovers everywhere.

 

Title: Festival of Colors
Author: Surishtha Sehgal and Kabir Sehgal
Illustrator: Vashti Harrison
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane Books
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Category-Genre: Picture Book

Synopsis: Spring is here, and it’s almost time for Holi, the Indian Festival of Colors. Siblings Mintoo and Chintoo are busy gathering flowers to make into colorful powders to toss during the festival. And when at last the big day comes, they gather with their friends, family, and neighbors for a vibrant celebration of fresh starts, friendship, forgiveness, and, of course, fun!

Bio:
Surishtha Sehgal was a university professor for many years and now enjoys reading to children during story time. She is the founder of a nonprofit organization that promotes social responsibility among students, and she serves on the boards of two universities and a national arts center. She lives in Atlanta.

Kabir Sehgal started his class newspaper in second grade and has been writing ever since. A bestselling author of several books, he is also a jazz bassist and Grammy Award–winning producer. He lives in New York City.

Vashti Harrison is an artist and filmmaker from Onley, Virginia. She earned her MFA in Film/Video from CalArts and BA from the University of Virginia. Festival of Colors by Surishtha Sehgal and Kabir Sehgal is her first picture book.

Title: Holi Colors
Author: Rina Singh
Publisher: Orca Books
Publication Date: February 13th, 2018
Category-Genre: Board Book – Concept Book

Synopsis: People in India welcome the arrival of spring by tossing colored powders known as gulal on friends, family and strangers.
Holi, the spectacular Festival of Colors celebrates the legendary love of Lord Krishna for his beloved, Radha. Amid the clouds of reds, blues, yellows and every color imaginable, the festival of colors and love has everyone singing and dancing in the streets. Happy Holi!

Bio: Rina Singh has published several critically acclaimed books for children inspired by her
Indo-Canadian heritage. Her book – A Forest of Stories has been translated into many
languages. Her book – Diwali: A Festival of Lights was nominated for the Red Cedar
Award. This is her third book with Orca. She lives in a blue house in Toronto. Surrounded
by tall trees, birds, squirrels, and a fish pond in her garden, she hopes to write many more books for children.

Twitter: @rinasingh25
Instagram: rinasingh25

Title: Tales of India – Folktales from Bengal, Punjab & Tamil Nadu
Illustrations: Viplov Singh & Svabhu Kohli
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: February 27, 2018
Category-Genre: Folktales

Synopsis: This collection of 16 traditional tales transports readers to the beguiling world of Indian folklore. Transcribed by Indian and English folklorists in the nineteenth century, these stories brim with wit and magic. Fans of fairy tales will encounter familiar favorites—epic quests and talking animals—alongside delightful surprises—an irreverent sense of humor and an array of bold, inspiring heroines. Each tale in this book comes alive alongside exquisite artwork by a pair of contemporary Indian artists.

Bio: Viplov Singh and Svabhu Kohli are an independent artist duo who frequently collaborate to create stories in animation, film and illustration. Inspired by the earth’s ecology and myths, they create impressions intertwined with hints of fantasy. Located in the forests of Southern India they spend their days reading, exploring terrains and growing a forest in their front yard.

Instagram: viplov.singh & svabhu.kholi

Title: The Serpent’s Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond – Book 1)
Author: Sayantani DasGupta
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: February 27, 2018
Category-Genre: Middle-Grade – Fantasy Adventure

Synopsis: On the morning of her twelfth birthday, Kiranmala is just a regular sixth grader living in Parsippany, New Jersey . . . until her parents mysteriously vanish and a drooling rakkhosh demon slams through her kitchen, determined to eat her alive. Turns out there might be some truth to her parents’ fantastical stories-like how Kiranmala is a real Indian princess and how she comes from a secret place not of this world.

To complicate matters, two crush-worthy princes ring her doorbell, insisting they’ve come to rescue her. Suddenly, Kiran is swept into another dimension full of magic, winged horses, moving maps, and annoying, talking birds. There she must solve riddles and battle demons all while avoiding the Serpent King of the underworld and the Rakkhoshi Queen in order to find her parents and basically save New Jersey, her entire world, and everything beyond it . . .

Bio: Sayantani DasGupta grew up hearing stories about brave princesses, bloodthirsty rakkhosh and flying pakkhiraj horses. She is a pediatrician by training, but now teaches at Columbia University. When she’s not writing or reading, Sayantani spends time watching cooking shows with her trilingual children and protecting her black Labrador Retriever Khushi from the many things that scare him, including plastic bags. She is a team member of We Need Diverse books.

Website: www.sayantanidasgupta.com 
Twitter: @sayantani16
Facebook: Sayantani DasGupta
Instagram: princesskiranmala

Title: The Night Diary
Author: Veera Hiranandani
Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Category- Genre: Middle-Grade – Historical Fiction

Synopsis: It’s 1947, and India, newly freed from British rule, has been divided into two countries, Pakistan and India. When her father decides it’s too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family embark on a harrowing journey. Told through Nisha’s letters to her deceased mother, The Night Diary, is an intimate tale of India’s partition, and one girl’s search for home, for her own identity, and for a hopeful future.

Bio: Veera Hiranandani is the author of the upcoming The Night Diary, The Whole Story of Half a Girl, which was named a Sydney Taylor Notable Book and a South Asian Book Award Finalist, and the chapter book series, Phoebe G. Green. She teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College’s Writing Institute.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VeeraHira
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/veera.hiranandani
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/veerawrites/

Title: Aru Shah and the End of Time 
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents / Disney Publishing Worldwide
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
Category-Genre: Middle Grade – Fantasy

Synopsis: The first in an accessible, funny, and fast-paced fantasy adventure series based on Hindu mythology, about a twelve-year-old girl who sets a cosmic showdown in motion when she lights an ancient lamp on a dare. Best-selling author Rick Riordan introduces this adventure by Roshani Chokshi about twelve-year-old Aru Shah, who has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school.

Bio: Roshani Chokshi (www.roshanichokshi.com) is the author of the instant New York Times bestselling novel, The Star-Touched Queen, and its companion, A Crown of Wishes. Aru Shah and the End of Time, her middle-grade debut, was inspired by the stories her grandmother told her as well as Roshani’s all-consuming love for Sailor Moon.

Website: https://roshanichokshi.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/roshanichokshi/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/roshani_chokshi

Title: Escape From Aleppo
Author: N.H. Senzai
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Realistic Fiction

Synopsis: Nadia’s family is forced to flee their home in Aleppo, Syria, when the Arab Spring sparks a civil war in this timely coming-of-age novel.

Bio: N.H. Senzai is the author of Shooting Kabul, which was critically acclaimed and on numerous award lists. Publishers Weekly called it “hard hitting, emotionally wrenching.” Her second book, Saving Kabul Corner, was nominated for an Edgar Award. She is also the author of Ticket to India and Escape from Aleppo. Ms. Senzai lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

Website: http://www.NHSenzai.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NHSenzaiAuthor/
Twitter: @NHasnatSenzai

Title: Love, Hate, & Other Filters
Author: Samira Ahmed
Publisher: Soho Teen
Publication Date: January 18, 2018
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary

Synopsis: American-born seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There’s the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter and then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe (just maybe) pursuing a boy she’s known from afar since grade school. There’s also the real world, beyond Maya’s control. In the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down. The community she’s known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates alike are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs.

Bio: Samira Ahmed was born in Bombay, India, and grew up in Batavia, Illinois, in a house that smelled like fried onions, spices, and potpourri. A graduate of the University of Chicago, she taught high school English for seven years, worked to create over 70 small high schools in New York City, and fought to secure billions of additional dollars to fairly fund public schools throughout New York State. She currently resides in the Midwest. She’s lived in Vermont, New York City, and Kauai, where she spent a year searching for the perfect mango.

Website: http://www.samiraahmed.com
Twitter: @sam_aye_ahm
Instagram: @sam_aye_ahm
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SamiraAhmedAuthor/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8345582.Samira_Ahmed

Title: Dark Goddess
Author: Amalie Howard
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
Category-Genre: Yong Adult – Fantasy

Synopsis: After a fierce struggle that unseated the Azura Lord of Death and elevated Serjana Caelum’s best friend, Kyle, to his role, the realms of existence appear peaceful, and the balance between good and evil—which Sera is sworn to protect—has been restored. But a new threat to humankind has already begun: a scourge of demons has been invading the Mortal Realm, and Kira, the living incarnation of Kali, the goddess of destruction, plans to protect the heavens at all cost, even if it means destroying all of humanity to do so. But when an even more sinister threat arises—putting not just the human world but all planes of existence in jeopardy—they must all learn to work together or lose everything they sacrificed so much to save.

Bio: Amalie Howard is the award-winning author of several young adult novels critically acclaimed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, School Library Journal, and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Kid’s INDIE NEXT selection. Her debut novel, Bloodspell, was a #1 bestseller in gothic fiction, and the sequel, Bloodcraft, was a national IPPY silver medalist and Children’s Moonbeam Award winner. She is also the co-author of the #1 bestseller in Regency Romance, My Rogue, My Ruin, in the Lords of Essex historical romance series.

Website: http://www.amaliehoward.com
Twitter: @AmalieHoward
Facebook: @AmalieHowardAuthor
Instagram: @AmalieHoward

Title: A Girl Like That
Author: Tanaz Bhathena
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux BYR
Publication Date: February 27, 2018
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a risk-taker. She’s also a troublemaker whose romantic entanglements are the subject of endless gossip among her classmates. You don’t want to get involved with a girl like that, they say. So how is it that eighteen-year-old Porus Dumasia has only ever had eyes for her? And how did Zarin and Porus end up dead in a car together, crashed on the side of a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? When the religious police arrive on the scene, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned. And as her story is pieced together, told through multiple perspectives, it becomes clear that she was far more than just a girl like that.

Bio: Tanaz Bhathena was born in Mumbai and raised in Riyadh, Jeddah and Toronto. Her short stories have appeared in various journals, including Blackbird, Witness, and Room Magazine. A Girl Like That is her first novel.

Website: http://www.tanazbhathena.com/

Title: Ramayana: An Illustrated Retelling
Author: Arshia Sattar
Illustrator: Sonali Zohra
Publisher: Restless Books
Publication Date: March 20, 2018
Category-Genre: Young Adult – Classics / Hindu Epics

Synopsis: Ramayana—an unforgettable tale of love, adventure, flying monkeys and god acting in the world of humans—has been treasured by readers around the world for thousands of years. Now in an authoritative, gripping retelling by the renowned Ramayana scholar Arshia Sattar, readers have a new chance to explore this classic’s riches.

Bio:
Arshia Sattar has a PhD in classical Indian literature from the University of Chicago. Her translations from Sanskrit, The Ramayana of Valmiki and Tales from the Kathasaritsagara, have been published as Penguin Classics. She has also written books for children, including The Adventures of Hanuman.

Sonali Zohra studied fine art and photography and applies the principles of both to her work. From murals to illustration on ceramic, communication design, photography and illustration for books, whatever the medium, she tries to strike a balance between color, form and light.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/danger.cat/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dangercatstudio/

October 31, 2017

Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years

Title: Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years

Author: Stacy McAnulty
Illustrator: David Litchfield
Publisher: Henry Holt, 2018
Editor: Sally Doherty
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 4-8
Theme: Earth, Space

Opening Lines:

Hi! My name is Earth.
Some people call me Gaia, the World, the blue marble, or the third planet from the sun.
You can call me Planet Awesome.

Synopsis (from Amazon website):

Prepare to learn all about Earth from the point-of-view of Earth herself! In this funny yet informative book, filled to the brim with kid-friendly facts, readers will discover key moments in Earth’s life, from her childhood more than four billion years ago all the way up to present day. Beloved children’s book author Stacy McAnulty helps Earth tell her story, and award-winning illustrator David Litchfield brings the words to life. The book includes back matter with even more interesting tidbits.

Activites:

Why I Like This Book:

A brilliant approach to a topic that has been written about many, many times. The author cleverly portrays Earth with a child-like persona which is warm and inviting and most importantly relatable for young readers. The reader learns about Earth’s siblings (other planets in the solar system), friends (Moon), favorite activities (spinning and circling the Sun).

Not to worry there is also something for the adult reader too. Check out this funny pun which is a nod to parenting.

“I don’t remember what it was like to be a baby. Who does? But I’ve been told I was a hot mess.
Explosive. Gassy! Very cranky.”

There is a wonderful timeline with major events (presence of air, insects, dinosaurs, flowers, homo sapiens) shown against a ruler to help the reader get a grasp of the massive time scale.

The book does touch on the rough times Earth has had with asteroids, volcanoes, and ice ages. While it can seem scary, the author does a good job of reassuring the young reader that Earth is still the same on the inside and continues on. The book ends on a note of environmentalism.

The art is cute and inviting with bold colors. It is rendered through a combination of pencils, ink, watercolor paints, and digital art tools.

There is additional backmatter regarding the continents, the location of Earth in space, and the five major extinctions and a bibliography.

A great book for a preschool, lower elementary, or home library.

Find Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Goodreads
ISBN-10: 125010808X
ISBN-13: 978-1250108081

Disclosure: I received my copy of this book from the publisher. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

September 8, 2017

It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk

Title: It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk

Author: Josh Funk
Illustrator: Edwardian Taylor
Publisher: Two Lions, 2017
Editor: Marilyn Brigham
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 4-8
Theme: Fractured Fairytale

Synopsis (from Amazon website):

Jack is not fond of the bossy narrator of his fairy tale! When Jack is told to trade his beloved cow Bessie for some magic beans, throw the beans out the window, climb the ENORMOUS beanstalk that sprouts overnight, and steal from a GIANT, he decides this fairy tale is getting out of control. In fact, he doesn’t want to follow the story line at all. Who says Jack needs to enter a life of daring, thievery, and giant trickery? He takes his story into his own hands—and you’ll never guess what happens next!

With laugh-out-loud dialogue and bold, playful art (including hidden fairy tale creatures for kids to find), this Jack and the Beanstalk retelling will have children rolling with laughter till Bessie the cow comes home.

Activities:

  • Pinterest board full of Jack and Beanstalk related crafts and activities.

Why I Like This Book:

A hilarious fusion of a modern boy in a classic fairytale. The use of meta makes this a stand-out book in a saturated genre. Brilliantly clever!

The smart book design clearly depicts the three voices.

  • Narrator’s story voice in old font.
  • Narrator to Jack in bold font.
  • Jack’s dialogue – to the narrator, to himself, to other characters in the story – in bubbles.

Jack is a boy with modern sensibilities and complaints. I loved Jack’s dialogue since in some ways it voices the thoughts and feelings of today’s young reader. From Jack’s adoration to his pet cow Bessie to his attempt to negotiate with the narrator regarding the size of the beanstalk.

While Jack’s attitude is whiny in the first half, it serves him well in his dealings with the giant leading to a revamped ending that is wonderfully unexpected and satisfying. Be on the lookout for cameos from Cinderella and other popular fairytale characters.

A fun read for all ages!

Find It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Goodreads
ISBN-10: 1542045657
ISBN-13: 978-1542045650

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

Disclosure: I received my copy of this book from the publisher. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

August 17, 2017

Far Apart, Close in Heart

Book Review: Far Apart, Close in HeartTitle: Far Apart, Close in Heart

Author: Becky Birtha
Illustrator: Maja Kastelic
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company, 2017
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 4-8
Theme: Coping, Prisoner Families’

Synopsis (from Amazon website):

Children can experience many emotions when a parent is in jail or prison. They may be angry, sad, lonely, or scared. Sometimes friends act differently toward them. Sometimes the children begin acting differently too. In this important book, young readers will learn that even when it feels like nothing can get better again, there are ways they can improve their circumstances. Sending letters, talking to a trusted grown-up about their feelings, and even visiting a parent in jail or prison can help keep a parent close in their hearts. Use this title as a helpful tool to start a conversation with any child in this situation and to remind them they are not alone.

Why I Like This Book:

A good book is one that moves you. One where you come out knowing more, having a greater understanding and more empathy than from before. This is one of those books.

This book covers a topic that isn’t widely discussed but is deeply important to those affected – the feelings and experiences of children of incarcerated parents. According to the backmatter there are more than 2.7 million children in the United States that have a parent in prison. This book is a mirror for them to know that they are not alone.

After reading this book, I became aware of the confusing feelings a child with an incarcerated parent might have. On one hand the child loves the parent that has cared for them, but on the other hand, the child hears messages that bad people go to jail. This book thoughtfully comes from the viewpoint that the issue isn’t about whether the parent is good or bad, but rather that the parent broke the law.

The book started off a bit too direct for my taste, but as I read I got pulled and moved to the point of tears by the end. As I read the different vignettes, my heart hurt a little more for the things these children could not take for granted that so many us can. The vignettes start by exploring the confusion, loneliness of having a parent in prison, to how that could affect the child outside the home, to showing a child how they can get help.

I love that the author used different ethnicities and genders for the children and incarcerated parents giving it a broader audience but more importantly not stereotyping any particular ethnicity.

This book is a great tool to use as a conversation starter. The backmatter is helpful for the adult caregivers and educators by providing additional resources and tips.

Find Far Apart, Close at Heart at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Goodreads
ISBN-10: 0807512753
ISBN-13: 978-0807512753

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