If change must happen, Cody’s good company.

CODY AND THE HEART OF A CHAMPION

From the Cody series , Vol. 4

Spring is in the air—a change the energetic bug-fancier Cody’s so, so ready for that other, unheralded changes in her life take her by surprise.

Accepting that she’s outgrown her red spring jacket feels like abandoning a faithful friend. While Cody’s been trying to coax her ant colony into the sunshine, her friend Pearl has had two sleepovers with Madison, who’s persuaded Pearl to sign up for a combined boys-and-girls soccer league. Pearl wants Cody to sign up, too. Though Cody’s cautious friend and neighbor, Spencer, warns her soccer means getting bonked on the head and bossy Madison is not Cody’s favorite person, she signs up. Once coach Yazmin determines she’s left-footed, Cody proves adept at dribbling, unlike Pearl. Still, Madison is the team’s unquestioned star player, and Pearl’s her acolyte. Spencer’s family is changing, too; will there be room in his crowded house for a new baby? Why is he creating a museum under his front porch? Navigating tricky friendship ups and downs is a challenge, but Cody’s older brother, Wyatt, remains her stalwart supporter, and her long-distance-trucker dad offers timely, sage advice. Accepting the inevitable and powering through are the enjoyable lessons tucked into the fourth installment of this sturdy series set among a diverse collection of friends and neighbors. (Cody and Madison appear to be white, while Pearl is Asian, Spencer is black, and the affectionately nicknamed Coach Y! has dark skin.)

If change must happen, Cody’s good company. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7921-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape.

RAFI AND ROSI MUSIC!

From the Rafi and Rosi series

The fourth installment in Delacre’s early-reader series centers on the rich musical traditions of Puerto Rico, once again featuring sibling tree frogs Rafi and Rosi Coquí.

Readers learn along with Rafi and Rosi as they explore bomba, plena, and salsa in three chapters. A glossary at the beginning sets readers up well to understand the Spanish vocabulary, including accurate phoneticization for non-Spanish speakers. The stories focus on Rafi and Rosi’s relationship within a musical context. For example, in one chapter Rafi finds out that he attracts a larger audience playing his homemade güiro with Rosi’s help even though he initially excluded her: “Big brothers only.” Even when he makes mistakes, as the older brother, Rafi consoles Rosi when she is embarrassed or angry at him. In each instance, their shared joy for music and dance ultimately shines through any upsets—a valuable reflection of unity. Informational backmatter and author’s sources are extensive. Undoubtedly these will help teachers, librarians, and parents to develop Puerto Rican cultural programs, curriculum, or home activities to extend young readers’ learning. The inclusion of instructions to make one’s own homemade güiro is a thoughtful addition. The Spanish translation, also by Delacre and published simultaneously, will require a more advanced reader than the English one to recognize and comprehend contractions (“pa’bajo-pa-pa’rriba”) and relatively sophisticated vocabulary.

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape. (Early reader. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-89239-429-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A rallying cry for anyone looking for a strong example of perseverance.

MAYA AND THE BEAST

Brazilian surfer Gabeira offers a fictionalized version of her childhood with this story of an adventurous young girl who overcomes sexism and self-doubt to become a great athlete.

The inhabitants of the fishing village of Nazaré, Portugal, are in awe of a massive wave known as the Beast. A young villager named Maya has asthma and brings medicine with her wherever she goes; though shy, Maya finds fulfillment when moving her body during dancing, gymnastics, and swimming. Having grown up hearing about the Beast, she goes to see it for herself and is in awe of the massive wave, though she also notices boys surfing on it. Maya decides to try surfing, which her father encourages. The boys at the beach tell her surfing is no sport for girls, and she nearly believes them until a voice in a seashell tells her not to give up. Both text and illustrations offer a stirring account of Maya’s journey to surfing mastery. The Beast begins as a spectacle from afar, filling the page with its sheer scope. Maya is often framed within or beneath its crest, including a wonderful scene of her would-be hecklers watching dumbfounded as she joyously surfs ahead of them. Maya and her family are brown-skinned; for the most part, other residents of Nazaré range in skin color from tan to brown. In an author’s note, Gabeira describes growing up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and, in 2007, setting a Guinness record for the largest wave ever surfed at Praia de Norte in Nazaré. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A rallying cry for anyone looking for a strong example of perseverance. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4197-6000-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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