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QUEENIE JEAN IS IN TROUBLE AGAIN

Comedic fiction that celebrates strengths and reveals the challenges of living with neurodiversity.

Enter the world of a spirited, neurodiverse fifth grader with ADHD.

Queenie Jean Merriam, a precocious red-haired white girl, moved with her family to West Vancouver from a small town in Ontario. Her fresh start at her new private school starts off badly when her dad, trying to get stuck gum out of her hair, accidentally gives her a terrible haircut. Worse, Queenie keeps ending up in trouble, especially with the principal. Queenie impulsively talks out of turn, can’t control the volume of her voice, and struggles to fit in socially. Some wealthy mean girl classmates make things especially hard, but thankfully, two kind new friends help her navigate the school’s social dynamics and the upcoming mandatory speech competition. Queenie’s first-person voice, marked by rambling monologues and bursts of creative thinking, conveys her inner world and good intentions. Her narration includes misspelled emails and lists, which will be relatable to readers who have similar difficulties. Queenie’s parents support her patiently and with humor and help her navigate emotional outbursts, focus on her homework, and integrate herself into her new school. In the end, Queenie’s resilience is symbolized by her crossing a swinging bridge that she’s terrified of, foreshadowing her ability to overcome fear, stigma, and academic barriers. Short chapters and comedic moments make this an appealing read.

Comedic fiction that celebrates strengths and reveals the challenges of living with neurodiversity. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781772034790

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Heritage House Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2024

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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

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A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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GHOSTS

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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