JUKEBOX

Shaheen’s dad is missing. Music, which bonded them over the years, now seems to be the cause of their separation.

Twelve-year-old Shahi and her journalist father, an avid record collector, have connected through music for as long as she can remember, although lately he seems to pay attention to it more than he does to her. Until the day Shahi’s dad gets lost in music—literally. Shahi and her cousin, Tannaz, set out to find him by sleuthing after hours inside the local record store, where he and Earl, the store’s owner, were last seen. They discover a massive jukebox, which they come to realize is magical, as it transports them back in time whenever it plays a record. Hopping in and out of time to attend legendary concerts seems to have led to both men’s disappearance. Now Shahi and Naz need to figure out if there is a way to bring them back. The story highlights the eras and contributions of notable Black musicians including Bessie Smith, Nina Simone, James Brown, and Marvin Gaye. Chanani’s illustrations of the family’s San Francisco neighborhood as well as the historical settings are delightfully colorful and vibrant, and her attention to detail is impeccable. She weaves musicality into her exploration of personal relationships, creating a world where music connects us all. Shahi has Italian and Bangladeshi heritage; Naz is Bangladeshi American and bisexual, and Earl is Black.

Captivating and lyrical. (playlist, author's note) (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: June 22, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-15636-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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This winning paranormal uses witchcraft to explore adolescent rebellion.

THE OKAY WITCH

From the Okay Witch series , Vol. 1

It is Halloween when Moth Hush finds out she is descended from a line of witches.

Her mother reveals the story of their witch origins going back to 17th-century Europe, which Moth’s maternal grandmother, Sarah, fled along with her order for supposed safety in Founder’s Bluff, Massachusetts, only to find persecution there. Led by Sarah, the witches escaped the wrath of the Puritans through a blood ritual that opened a portal to Hecate, a spiritual realm that provided safety. Moth’s mother rebelled and broke away from the coven to live in the real world, ultimately as a single parent to Moth in the 21st century. After a talking black cat (the spirit of a deceased neighbor) appears and befriends Moth, Moth peeks at her mother’s diary—which opens a portal to Hecate, and Moth secretly begins to practice spells unsupervised and to connect with her family there. Moth and family sort through a complicated lineage whose legacy reveals itself to be very much alive in present-day Founder’s Bluff. In Steinkellner’s graphic panels, Moth and her family have brown skin and puffy dark hair, and the 17th-century coven is shown to be multiracial. The complex history provides a mechanism through which Moth sorts through her own coming-of-age as a modern girl of color, and it’s the loving, oftentimes humorous rapport among the Hush women that grounds this graphic novel.

This winning paranormal uses witchcraft to explore adolescent rebellion. (Graphic fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3146-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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Brilliantly enchanting.

THIS WAS OUR PACT

Two reluctant friends—and a talking bear—journey deep into the night in search of answers.

The night of the annual Autumn Equinox Festival unfolds as the villagers cast hundreds of lanterns down the river in honor of a local folk legend. For Ben, this year will be different from the rest. He and his friends make a pact to follow the lanterns until the unknown end of their voyage. One by one Ben’s friends give up and return home, all except for Nathaniel, whose love for the cosmos and nerdy ways ostracize him from the group. In spite of his misgivings, Ben decides to uphold the pact with Nathaniel. A third, unexpected member joins the adventure when the boys come across a talking fisherbear who’s on a quest to fish as his ancestors did. The trio eventually loses track of the path, and an unplanned encounter with the feisty Madam Majestic leads to even greater escapades. To shed more light on the story risks spoiling Andrews’ marvelously melancholic, earnest graphic novel, at its core an exercise in whimsical self-reflection. This story’s a quiet one in which danger flickers and hope flares at odd but fruitful moments. The core relationship between Ben (a dark-haired, light-skinned, bespectacled boy) and Nathaniel (a dark-skinned boy with puffs of hair) never veers into pure mawkishness. Likewise, the primarily blue and red mixed-media pictures underscore how nighttime sometimes promises transformation.

Brilliantly enchanting. (Graphic fabulism. 10-14)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-19695-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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