Jasmine Toguchi is eight and she is SICK of having her big sister, Sophie, get to do everything first. As her family gathers together in Los Angeles to celebrate the Lunar New Year, Jasmine comes up with a plan: she’ll be the first girl in her family to pound the mochi rice into the powder that makes delicious mochi balls. Usually it’s the men and boys who do it, so Jasmine has a lot of persuading to do- also, she has to get very strong, very fast. For those who like a delicious funny treat of a story, Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen, is a sweet surprise. Readalikes: Clementine, Piper Reed, Ramona Quimby. –E.S.
Mysteries abound in this quiet, tense thriller about an island girl whose identity is a dangerous secret.
Crow washed up on her Atlantic island as a baby, in a boat with only a few scraps to give clues about who her parents were and where she came from. Her near-silent guardian, Osh, says to let mysteries lie; their friend Miss Maggie knows more than she is telling. When Crow, now 12, sees a light on a nearby island and begins to investigate, she unearths the secrets of a haunted, hidden place: the abandoned sanitarium of Penikese Island, a place where people with Hansen’s disease (once called leprosy) used to be sent to die. Could Crow have come from there? Is there anyone left? And what other secrets may have been buried with the patients on Penikese? Read-alikes: Under the Egg, Ink and Ashes, The Other Side of the Island. -E.S.
A realistic story about recovering from social disaster, being true to your family, and finding your inner diva.
Mango Delight Fuller has survived many challenges: her food-based name, the birth of her baby brother, and her parents’ refusal to get her a cell phone until she turns thirteen. But when she beats her best friend Brooklyn in track practice, Brooklyn dumps Mango and joins the Cell Belles, a gossipy clique of bullies who taunt Mango into getting herself suspended from the track team and then trick her into trying out for the school musical. Surprise- she gets the lead, and her strict mom won’t let her back out, even though Mango has never sung in front of an audience before. Worse, Brooklyn’s dad owns the restaurant where Mango’s dad is a chef, and might fire him because of their daughters’ fight. Mango must find a way to make up for her mistake and make a new place for herself at the school. Read-alikes: Ruby Reinvented; Fly, Blackbird; Stef Soto, Taco Queen. Published 2017. –E.S
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Gripping historical fiction about a Brahmin girl whose mother joins the fight for India’s independence.
When Anjali and her best friend, Irfaan, get caught painting a Q (for Quit India) on the British colonial headquarters in their town, Anjali’s mother loses her job as the secretary of the British commander. Anjali’s life is upended as her parents join Mahatma Gandhi in the struggle for freedom from British rule, working for the release of political prisoners and organizing against colonial economic exploitation by boycotting British goods and refusing to provide labor or raw materials. As the British stoke divisons in her community, Anjali finds herself struggling to keep a good relationship between her Hindu family and Irfaan’s Muslim family, as well as with her own beliefs about the Dalits, a caste of Hindus who are either pitied or despised by the other castes. Based on the life of the author’s great -grandmother, this fast-paced novel offers historical insights into the lives of Indians who joined Gandhi and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar to help free India from colonial rule, religious division, and social prejudice, as well as a thoughtful exploration of relative privilege and the importance of listening to the people you think need your help. Great for fans of Chains and The War That Saved My Life. Published 2017. –E.S.
A Newbery Medalist and a Caldecott Honoree offer a glorious, lyrical ode to poets who have sparked a sense of wonder.
Out of gratitude for the poet’s art form, Newbery Award-winning author and poet Kwame Alexander, along with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth, present original poems that pay homage to twenty famed poets who have made the authors’ hearts sing and their minds wonder. Stunning mixed-media images by Ekua Holmes, winner of a Caldecott Honor and a John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award, complete the celebration and invite the reader to listen, wonder, and perhaps even pick up a pen.
A heartwarming and charming debut novel about family, friends, and finding your voice all wrapped up in a warm tortilla.
This is a story of family, brotherhood, and a hero’s journey amid city streets and an uncertain future.
Troy is a kid with a passion. And dreams. And wanting to do the right thing. But after taking a wrong turn, he’s forced to endure something that’s worse than any juvenile detention he can imagine-he’s “sentenced” to the local city stables where he’s made to take care of horses. The greatest punishment has been trying to make sense of things since his mom died but, through his work with the horses, he discovers a sport totally unknown to him-polo.
Troy has to figure out which friends have his back, which kids to cut loose, and whether he and Alisha have a true connection. Laced with humor and beating with heartache, this novel will grip readers, pull them in quickly, and take them on an unforgettable ride.
Set in present day Christine Kendall’s stunning debut lets us come face-to-face with the challenges of a loving family that turn hardships into triumphs.