With a charming cast of characters that readers will be eager to follow, this is a welcome addition to what should become a...

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THE WALL OF FAME GAME

From the Magnificent Mya Tibbs series , Vol. 2

Following series opener Spirit Week Showdown (2016), the magnificent Mya Tibbs is back, and so is her competitive spirit!

The little black cowgirl’s plans to watch the Annie Oakley marathon with her mother are ruined when her former BFF challenges Mya to enter the Wall of Fame Game. The other fourth-graders have honorable reasons for entering the academic game, but Mya just wants to win the bet. This alone would have been a fine catalyst for a lesson in hard work and determination, but Allen layers on the drama for Mya. Mya’s pride leads her to also compete in the Bluebonnet Chili Cook-Off—and for her expectant mother’s attention. Mya quickly overextends herself and starts using shortcuts to finish faster, with hilarious results. As in the previous book, the author lets Mya and her friends make mistakes and express their feelings in a natural rather than pedantic way. Mya and her brother, Nugget, know their parents love them but still worry they’ll be ignored when the baby is born. Mya knows winning isn’t everything, but it’s still important to her, and she draws on all her creativity and some help from her peers to do her best.

With a charming cast of characters that readers will be eager to follow, this is a welcome addition to what should become a long-running middle-grade series. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-234236-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

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Move over Ramona Quimby, Portland has another neighbor you have to meet! (Fiction. 8-10)

WAYS TO MAKE SUNSHINE

Ryan Hart is navigating the fourth grade and all its challenges with determination.

Her mom named her Ryan because it means “king,” and she wanted Ryan to feel powerful every time she heard her name; Ryan knows it means she is a leader. So when changes occur or disaster strikes, budding chef Ryan does her best to find the positive and “make sunshine.” When her dad is laid off from the post office, the family must make adjustments that include moving into a smaller house, selling their car, and changing how they shop for groceries. But Ryan gets to stay at Vernon Elementary, and her mom still finds a way to get her the ingredients she needs to practice new recipes. Her older brother, Ray, can be bossy, but he finds little ways to support her, especially when she is down—as does the whole family. Each episodic chapter confronts Ryan with a situation; intermittently funny, frustrating, and touching, they should be familiar and accessible to readers, as when Ryan fumbles her Easter speech despite careful practice. Ryan, her family, and friends are black, and Watson continues to bring visibility to both Portland, Oregon, generally and its black community specifically, making another wonderful contribution that allows black readers to see themselves and all readers to find a character they can love.

Move over Ramona Quimby, Portland has another neighbor you have to meet! (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0056-4

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A must-have book for libraries, schools, and churches.

QUEERFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE

A GUIDE FOR LGBTQ+ CHRISTIAN TEENS

A must-read guide for all queer and questioning Christians (and their allies, too)!

Queer youth still face a multitude of challenges while growing up, and these have the potential to be amplified by religious beliefs. Addressing that issue head-on, this guide for Christians seeks to provide counsel, understanding, and gentle guidance across a series of 40-plus chapters that address everything from coming out in a variety of contexts, positive ways to deal with haters, and helping start the conversation about gender-neutral bathrooms at school, to living authentically. The book acknowledges that the advice is sometimes vague, but that’s because the spectrum of queer life is so broad. In this regard, the book excels by speaking to a range of genders and sexual identities; asexuals, nonbinary people, bisexuals, pansexuals, etc., are all addressed with respect and will find useful tips for navigating their early years. The book works better for hunt-and-peck readers as opposed to those reading from cover to cover because some of the information is repetitious, but that repetition may be necessary to counterbalance years of incorrect, inaccurate, or purposely hateful misinformation. The contributors to this fabulous read include mental health experts and religious leaders. Text boxes, pie charts, graphs, and grayscale illustrations support and enhance the main narrative.

A must-have book for libraries, schools, and churches. (note on language, glossary, additional resources, sources) (Self-help. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2020

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 260

Publisher: Beaming Books

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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An endlessly endearing story of three girls’ pursuit of friendship and the beauty and challenge of what it means to be 10

LIKE MAGIC

Grace, Jada, and Malia overcome fear and loneliness with the help of a mysterious treasure box.

Being 10 isn’t easy, especially when you’re painfully shy and your best friend moves away, a new baby sister is on the way, or your mom left your family when you were little. For Grace, Malia, and Jade, respectively, these challenges cloud the summer before the start of fifth grade. But when they each discover a treasure box at the local library, their lives begin to fill with bright, new possibilities for creating art and making friends. As the girls fill the special boxes with treasures of their own, they are drawn closer to one another and to finding their places in the world, at a new school, and within their own families. Alternating chapters reveal each girl’s personal struggles and the pivotal role of art—painting, music, poetry—in her growth and healing. Their stories are told in intimate detail, illuminating all that’s beautiful and tough about being 10. Based on the cover art and details from the narrative, Grace is white, Jada is black, and Malia is brown. Their differences are woven into the fabric of this touching, engrossing story about dealing with change and working through fears. The Salt Lake City, Utah, setting is fresh, the city’s landmarks and landscape adding another layer of richness to the novel.

An endlessly endearing story of three girls’ pursuit of friendship and the beauty and challenge of what it means to be 10 . (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-241431-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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