A true treasure from a very young author.

The Dragon Carousel

Written and illustrated by an 11-year-old girl, this children’s book tells the wonderful tale of a little girl in San Francisco who must attend a new school and leave old friends behind.

Motherless Lily Chen lives in San Francisco near the wharf, and her father operates the Dragon Carousel in Golden Gate Park. When her father’s work schedule changes, it necessitates Lily attending a new school, Oakpark Elementary, and leaving her old friends behind. Feeling isolated and alone, she’s having a hard time adjusting, until her grandmother gives her a good-luck token: a beautiful silver dragon charm on a sparkling silver chain. The charm works its magic, and soon Lily enters a “golden time” in her life, bringing a new friend to ride the Dragon Carousel. Before the age of 12, the author—now a grown-up and an employee of this book’s publishing house—created dozens of short stories, several novels and numerous cartoons. Scans of the original colored-pencil illustrations accompany young Genelza’s honest, endearing original text. It’ll be easy for most children to relate to Lily’s dilemma. Her background, the description of the Dragon Carousel, the problems encountered in the new school and the denouement are all beautifully detailed, resulting in a magical, powerful message for young readers. In addition to the recently drawn new cover, the charming original cover and interior pages are also included. The artwork displays the author’s natural talent and terrific eye for detail, like cracks in a bowl or the springs of a mattress. An especially enchanting illustration depicts Lily standing with a lunch tray surrounded by three new girls, each dressed with delicious details, including platform shoes and sunglasses dangling from a handbag.

A true treasure from a very young author.

Pub Date: July 28, 2011

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lekha Publishers

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2012

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Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this...

HOLES

Sentenced to a brutal juvenile detention camp for a crime he didn't commit, a wimpy teenager turns four generations of bad family luck around in this sunburnt tale of courage, obsession, and buried treasure from Sachar (Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, 1995, etc.).

Driven mad by the murder of her black beau, a schoolteacher turns on the once-friendly, verdant town of Green Lake, Texas, becomes feared bandit Kissin' Kate Barlow, and dies, laughing, without revealing where she buried her stash. A century of rainless years later, lake and town are memories—but, with the involuntary help of gangs of juvenile offenders, the last descendant of the last residents is still digging. Enter Stanley Yelnats IV, great-grandson of one of Kissin' Kate's victims and the latest to fall to the family curse of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; under the direction of The Warden, a woman with rattlesnake venom polish on her long nails, Stanley and each of his fellow inmates dig a hole a day in the rock-hard lake bed. Weeks of punishing labor later, Stanley digs up a clue, but is canny enough to conceal the information of which hole it came from. Through flashbacks, Sachar weaves a complex net of hidden relationships and well-timed revelations as he puts his slightly larger-than-life characters under a sun so punishing that readers will be reaching for water bottles.

Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this rugged, engrossing adventure. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 978-0-374-33265-5

Page Count: 233

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2000

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Essential.

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THIS BOOK IS ANTI-RACIST

20 LESSONS ON HOW TO WAKE UP, TAKE ACTION, AND DO THE WORK

A guidebook for taking action against racism.

The clear title and bold, colorful illustrations will immediately draw attention to this book, designed to guide each reader on a personal journey to work to dismantle racism. In the author’s note, Jewell begins with explanations about word choice, including the use of the terms “folx,” because it is gender neutral, and “global majority,” noting that marginalized communities of color are actually the majority in the world. She also chooses to capitalize Black, Brown, and Indigenous as a way of centering these communities’ voices; "white" is not capitalized. Organized in four sections—identity, history, taking action, and working in solidarity—each chapter builds on the lessons of the previous section. Underlined words are defined in the glossary, but Jewell unpacks concepts around race in an accessible way, bringing attention to common misunderstandings. Activities are included at the end of each chapter; they are effective, prompting both self-reflection and action steps from readers. The activities are designed to not be written inside the actual book; instead Jewell invites readers to find a special notebook and favorite pen and use that throughout. Combining the disruption of common fallacies, spotlights on change makers, the author’s personal reflections, and a call to action, this powerful book has something for all young people no matter what stage they are at in terms of awareness or activism.

Essential. (author’s note, further reading, glossary, select bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4521-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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