The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano by Sonia Manzano

Sonia Manzano’s initial claim to fame was her starring role on “Sesame Street” as Maria. Two picture books later, Manzano has written her first novel inspired by events in her own life. Loosely following what transpired in 1969 when a Puerto Rican activist group called the Young Lords attempted to take over a church in order to […]

Three YA Anthologies Featuring Stories About Bullying and More

Featuring stories written by more than 35 of the biggest and best names in YA fiction, these three themed anthologies are an invaluable resource for the classroom and home library. While one collection focuses mainly on the effects of bullying on today’s teens, and another contains meditations on fate and the unknown, the third presents […]

Rebecca Rupp’s After Eli – A Novel About Death and Moving Forward

Oh, brother. Literally. It always amazes me when an author writes about a sensitive subject with aplomb—and in a way that kids can easily grasp, no less. Not by being overly dramatic. Not by tiptoeing around the issue. But by simply telling it like it is, how it actually happens. Rebecca Rupp (The Dragon of Lonely Island; Sarah […]

Pre-Pub Alert: Newbery Medal Winner Rebecca Stead’s New Book!

You devoured First Light. You jumped for joy when When You Reach Me won the Newbery. If both A and B are true, you’re bound to adore Liar & Spy. Why? Because Rebecca Stead knows how to pen a sweet-ish yarn with just the right mixture of middle-school angst, smarts, and yearning without all the heavy baggage found in titles geared toward […]

Red Heart Tattoo – A Timely Read by Lurlene McDaniel

I don’t know what’s happening in your neck of the woods, but in mine every conversation seems to be about some aspect of the shooting at the midnight showing of the latest Batman flick in Aurora, Colorado. Questions are flying. What kind of lunatic could do a thing like this? Why aren’t there stricter gun-control […]

5 YA Beach Reads

Wanderlove by Kristen Hubbard. Eighteen-year-old Bria Sandoval is in a snit. Her boyfriend Toby broke up with her and she is blue as can be—but not heartbroken enough to miss a chance-of-a-lifetime post-graduation trip to Central America to see the sights and forget about her worries. Plus, Central America means Central American boys: “I’d only hook up […]

An Anthology of the Best Teen Writers and Artists in America

Earlier this week, I attended my nephew’s high school graduation ceremony. Needless to say, it has been many moons since I’ve seen the long yawn of a football field and it felt a bit bizarre to be packed like (yes) sardines into a set of entirely too uncomfortable bleachers for too long of a duration. […]

The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng

Every once in a while, I come across a book that I can’t wait to recommend. It doesn’t have any bells and whistles. The plot doesn’t involve some grandiose theme or solve a devastating problem. It’s just a simple story with the potential to touch a wide variety of readers for different reasons. The Year […]

Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s Debut Novel Discusses Foster Care

As you can probably tell by now, I’m a big fan of middle-grade and YA novels that deal with social issues, emotional conflicts, sticky situations. When done right, these books tell an engaging story while presenting possible solutions to actual real-world problems. For better or for worse, reading this type of material helps kids feel […]