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  • American Indian Youth Literature Awards Honor

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JO JO MAKOONS

THE USED-TO-BE BEST FRIEND

From the Jo Jo Makoons series , Vol. 1

A joyful book about growing up Native in a loving community—not to be missed.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2021


  • American Indian Youth Literature Awards Honor

This silly chapter book features a funny Ojibwe girl protagonist.

Set on a fictional reservation known as the Pembina Ojibwe, this story introduces Jo Jo, an intelligent and charismatic first grader who is fretting over two big problems in this series opener. Her first worry concerns her home best friend, Mimi the cat, who she fears may deflate when she gets vaccinated. Her second concern is that her school best friend, Fern, has begun to ignore her at lunchtime. From Jo Jo’s difficulties with language arts to her attempts to save Mimi, hijinks emerge. Through it all, cultural information about Jo Jo’s Ojibwe way of life is shared in a way that suggests her pride for her people, traditions, and family. Young readers will revel in the humor this chapter book offers: the wordplay, the nicknames, and Jo Jo’s irrepressible narrative voice. But it is the friendships at her school, where her teacher is White and her classmates are multicultural, that will linger with readers. Even though it is in a border town, the school Jo Jo attends respects her cultural traditions, and the effect is heartwarming. Quigley (Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe) provides a glossary of Ojibwe and Michif words that enhances the experience. Audibert (of Wolastoqey and French heritage) supplies plentiful grayscale illustrations that depict Jo Jo and her friends with big, pretty eyes and expressive faces.

A joyful book about growing up Native in a loving community—not to be missed. (Fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-301537-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Heartdrum

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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LITTLE DAYMOND LEARNS TO EARN

It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists.

How to raise money for a coveted poster: put your friends to work!

John, founder of the FUBU fashion line and a Shark Tank venture capitalist, offers a self-referential blueprint for financial success. Having only half of the $10 he needs for a Minka J poster, Daymond forks over $1 to buy a plain T-shirt, paints a picture of the pop star on it, sells it for $5, and uses all of his cash to buy nine more shirts. Then he recruits three friends to decorate them with his design and help sell them for an unspecified amount (from a conveniently free and empty street-fair booth) until they’re gone. The enterprising entrepreneur reimburses himself for the shirts and splits the remaining proceeds, which leaves him with enough for that poster as well as a “brand-new business book,” while his friends express other fiscal strategies: saving their share, spending it all on new art supplies, or donating part and buying a (math) book with the rest. (In a closing summation, the author also suggests investing in stocks, bonds, or cryptocurrency.) Though Miles cranks up the visual energy in her sparsely detailed illustrations by incorporating bright colors and lots of greenbacks, the actual advice feels a bit vague. Daymond is Black; most of the cast are people of color. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-56727-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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STELLA DÍAZ HAS SOMETHING TO SAY

From the Stella Díaz series , Vol. 1

A nice and timely depiction of an immigrant child experience.

Speaking up is hard when you’re shy, and it can be even harder if you’ve got two languages in your head.

Third-grader Estrella “Stella” Díaz, is a shy, Mexican-American girl who draws pictures and loves fish, and she lives in Chicago with her mother and older brother, Nick. Jenny, Stella’s best friend, isn’t in her class this year, and Stella feels lonely—especially when she sees that Vietnamese-American Jenny is making new friends. When a new student, Stanley Mason, arrives in her class, Stella introduces herself in Spanish to the white former Texan without realizing it and becomes embarrassed. Surely Stanley won’t want to befriend her after that—but he seems to anyway. Stella often confuses the pronunciation between English and Spanish sounds and takes speech classes. As an immigrant with a green card—a “legal alien,” according to her teacher—Stella feels that she doesn’t fully belong to either American culture or Mexican culture, and this is nicely reflected in her not being fully comfortable in either language, an experience familiar to many immigrant and first-generation children. This early-middle-grade book features italicized Spanish words and phrases with direct translations right after. There is a small subplot about bullying from Stella’s classmate, and readers will cheer as they see how, with the help of her friends and family, Stella overcomes her shyness and gives a presentation on Jacques Cousteau. Dominguez’s friendly black-and-white drawings grace most pages.

A nice and timely depiction of an immigrant child experience. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-858-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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