Books by Karen English

THE NEW KID by Karen English
Released: Dec. 5, 2017

"Combining inviting storytelling with a warm message of friendship and accountability, this entry is a welcome addition to a pretty near perfect series for independent readers. (Fiction. 6-9)"
English and Freeman's Carver Chronicles kids make the acquaintance of a mysterious and self-assured new kid in town. All goes awry when a prized bike goes missing. Read full book review >
Released: July 11, 2017

"A slice of African-American life seldom explored in stories for young people and a must for readers of middle-grade fiction. (Historical fiction. 10-12)"
Twelve-year-old Sophie is the younger of two sisters in an upper-middle-class African-American family in 1965 Los Angeles. Read full book review >
TROUBLE NEXT DOOR by Karen English
Released: Dec. 6, 2016

"Chronicling the importance of empathy and openness, this fourth in the Carver Chronicles is a pleasing addition to a series in which diverse readers can recognize themselves in starring roles. (Fiction. 6-10)"
Young Calvin Vickers must come to terms with an all-too-familiar new neighbor, the biggest bully at Carver Elementary. Read full book review >
DON'T FEED THE GECKOS! by Karen English
Released: Dec. 1, 2015

"The series continues to present appealing and likable characters gently exploring the moral dilemmas of childhood. (Fiction. 6-9)"
Bernardo, Carlos' cousin whom he hasn't seen in years, is temporarily moving in with Carlos and his family. Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 2, 2014

"A welcome series addition that emphasizes familiarity instead of difference and treats its message with an affectionately light hand. (Fiction. 6-10)"
Richard dreams of landing the perfect flat-ground Ollie, but before he can attempt the daring skateboard feat, he must recover from an earlier trick that he played on his parents by concealing a teacher's note informing his parents of lackluster effort. Read full book review >
DOG DAYS by Karen English
Released: Dec. 17, 2013

"This outing lacks the sophistication of such category standards as Clementine; here's hoping English amps things up for subsequent volumes. (Fiction. 6-9)"
A gentle voice and familiar pitfalls characterize this tale of a boy navigating the risky road to responsibility. Read full book review >
WEDDING DRAMA by Karen English
Released: March 20, 2012

"Readers of this series will long for some character development; it would be nice to see the girls grow more empathetic along the way. (Fiction. 7-10)"
Third grade continues to be a series of ups and downs for best friends Nikki and Deja. Read full book review >
NIKKI & DEJA by Karen English
Released: July 4, 2011

"While beginning chapter books with African-American characters are rare and usually welcome, this particular installment in a usually sunny series falls flat. (Fiction. 6-9)"
Best friends Nikki and Deja are back in a tale of school elections and friendship. Read full book review >
NIKKI AND DEJA by Karen English
Released: Jan. 1, 2010

"A solid addition to a welcome series for new readers, especially for children who want to read realistic stories about kids of color. (Fiction. 7-10)"
Third graders Nikki and Deja have a lot to learn about journalism. Read full book review >
NIKKI & DEJA by Karen English
Released: Jan. 19, 2009

"Likable and independent African-American girls are a rare find in early chapter books—let's hope these two can start a trend. (Fiction. 6-10)"
Little girls, little girls…they can be mean sometimes. Read full book review >
NIKKI & DEJA by Karen English
Released: Jan. 21, 2008

"English nicely fills an underdeveloped area—this is a first-chapter book featuring African-American girls, and race is presented as an attribute of the characters rather than as an issue. (Fiction. 7-10)"
Nikki and Deja are best friends, next-door neighbors and schoolmates. Read full book review >
THE BABY ON THE WAY by Karen English
Released: Oct. 6, 2005

"In the end, suggesting that Jamal may one day himself be asked the same question, Grandma offers to tell him about when he was the baby on the way—and what young listeners won't want to hear their own versions of that story? (Picture book. 5-8)"
A child's question to his grandma opens a window to another time and place in this intimate, intergenerational conversation. Read full book review >
SPEAK TO ME by Karen English
Released: Aug. 13, 2004

"Just wonderful. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)"
English captures the voices of six African-American children as they chronicle one school day. Read full book review >
Released: May 24, 2004

"So good!' (Picture book. 5-8)"
It's a hot day—it's also a "best-friend-breakup day." Read full book review >
STRAWBERRY MOON by Karen English
Released: Oct. 11, 2001

"Although The Emperor's Egg, by Martin Jenkins (1999), covers similar territory, school and public libraries will find this title useful for elementary school science reports and nature lovers will love the pictures. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-9)"
Pity the poor papa penguin as he perseveres in protecting his precious progeny. Read full book review >
FRANCIE by Karen English
Released: Oct. 13, 1999

"This inexplicable ending mars an otherwise compelling story about the sheer exhaustion, fear, and frustration suffered by many poor African-Americans in the rural south. (Fiction. 10-12)"
In pre-Civil Rights rural Alabama, Francie goes to school and works, helping her mother as a maid for white families in town. Read full book review >
NADIA'S HANDS by Karen English
Released: Feb. 1, 1999

"When she comes to terms with those fears, her smile is radiant. (glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)"
Nadia, a Pakistani-American girl, has been chosen to be the flower girl for Auntie Laila's traditional wedding. Read full book review >
JUST RIGHT STEW by Karen English
Released: Feb. 1, 1998

"Rich's illustrations add immeasurably to the mix, vividly depicting the gathering of big, bold personalities as the family converges on the pot of stew. (Picture book. 5-9)"
This charmer of a story revolves around the construction of an oxtail stew as witnessed by Victoria, a loving granddaughter who knows how to keep a secret. Read full book review >
BIG WIND COMING! by Karen English
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

"A beautiful book. (Picture book. 5-8)"
A hurricane is coming: Grandpa knows it because something about the air feels strange, Grandma knows it because her cake falls, and the animals know it, too. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1996

"The shapes and forms of island life appear in minimalist blocks of primary color by Saint James that add pure sparkle to an already affecting, bittersweet text; it will encourage readers to recollect their own family members who have been, come, and gone. (Picture book. 5-9)"
English's first book employs a seamless blend of American and West African language and custom in a story about the pull of family, set in the 1950s on Daufuskie Island, off the coast of South Carolina. Read full book review >