Charming and funny proof that friendship is the key to any hairy situation.

BEDHEAD TED

Ted might have a terrible nickname, but he’ll need to get over it to take on a bully, a beast, and a bad case of bedhead.

A giant raccoon is rumored to be running amok in small-town Brookside, but as fourth grade starts, Ted has bigger concerns on his mind. His best friend, Stacy, doesn’t seem to have a problem with it, but Ted’s hair is notoriously unwieldy—always has been—and one bully in particular seems to be leading the charge to make sure Ted never feels normal. The nickname Bedhead Ted catches on, and despite Stacy’s insistence that things will get better, Ted resents every strand, tress, and lock that makes him special. In this graphic novel with full-color, mixed media illustrations, Ted’s big, bright orange hair often takes center stage, but the cast of characters featuring diverse skin tones, hair, and facial features is also noteworthy. When Ted discovers surprising abilities that come with his unique hair—abilities secretly shared by his maternal grandfather and multiple generations of his family—the heroics and hijinks are both silly and exciting, breezily leading readers through both a superhero origin story and a mystery. Elastic hair with superstrength aside, Stacy and Ted’s support of one another through relatable obstacles powers this whole adventure and finally leads to answers regarding the Brookside Beast.

Charming and funny proof that friendship is the key to any hairy situation. (map) (Graphic fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-294130-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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The second installment in this spirited series is a hit.

WAYS TO GROW LOVE

From the Ryan Hart series , Vol. 2

A new baby coming means Ryan has lots of opportunities to grow love.

Ryan has so much to look forward to this summer—she is going to be a big sister, and she finally gets to go to church camp! But new adventures bring challenges, too. Ryan feels like the baby is taking forever to arrive, and with Mom on bed rest, she isn’t able to participate in the family’s typical summer activities. Ryan’s Dad is still working the late shift, which means he gets home and goes to bed when she and her older brother, Ray, are waking up, so their quality daddy-daughter time is limited to one day a week. When the time for camp finally arrives, Ryan is so worried about bugs, ghosts, and sharing a cabin that she wonders if she should go at all. Watson’s heroine is smart and courageous, bringing her optimistic attitude to any challenge she faces. Hard topics like family finances and complex relationships with friends are discussed in an age-appropriate way. Watson continues to excel at crafting a sense of place; she transports readers to Portland, Oregon, with an attention to detail that can only come from someone who has loved that city. Ryan, her family, and friends are Black, and occasional illustrations by Mata spotlight their joy and make this book shine.

The second installment in this spirited series is a hit. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0058-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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A nice and timely depiction of an immigrant child experience.

STELLA DÍAZ HAS SOMETHING TO SAY

From the Stella Díaz series , Vol. 1

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. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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