Books by Ken Condon

TIRE MOUNTAIN by Andrea Cheng
Released: Aug. 1, 2007

Aaron's dad owns a tire-service shop next door to their house. To Aaron, the odors emanating from the shop are the ambient aromas of home, but his mother complains and wants to move, "someplace clean and beautiful." Aaron, though, loves to play on his ever-growing mountain of tires on which, come evening, he and his dad perch. As his mother begins looking for a new house, Aaron grows increasingly distraught and tensions rise at home. Meanwhile, a couple of bullies are cruising the blocks, making Aaron uneasy. Then he notices the tree on a patch of grass across the street—perfect for a tire swing. Soon he adds a tire tunnel and creates a tire garden from which flowers burst. Mom still wants to move, but with the new neighborhood gathering place of recycled tires, urgency and tension have eased. This text-heavy and multifaceted story is somewhat fraught with anxiety and will exclude the younger picture-book set, but the depth of emotion will attract early readers. The detailed illustrations are realistically depictive of the city and done in subtle chalky hues. (Picture book. 5-9)Read full book review >
AMERICA, MY NEW HOME by Monica Gunning
Released: Nov. 1, 2004

Jamaica-born Gunning turns from her previous offerings of Caribbean poems to these free-verse and rhyming poems about the immigrant experience. They are told from the point of view of a young girl, who, after arriving in a large city, pronounces, "I'm one more unknown face." Referencing New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C., she finds that neon lights, hustle and bustle and strangers replace moonlight, a slow pace and a friendly greeting. Her loneliness and fear turn to wonder when she experiences her first symphony, cathedral, library, circus, museum and snowfall. Complemented by colorful chalk-and-oil pastels, the poems speak to anyone new to this country, or, as in "Alone at Night," in which the girl must stay home alone while her mother goes to school at night, to children who have ever felt afraid or helpless. They also offer hope and show that change is okay and even welcomed. An attractive, thoughtful addition to poetry collections. (Poetry. 8-12)Read full book review >