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FLORA LA FRESCA & THE ART OF FRIENDSHIP

Funny, heartwarming, and sweet.

Ten-year-old Flora struggles after her best friend moves away.

Flora LeFevre would rate her best friend, Clara Londra, full marks on the BFF-ometer the girls programmed in Scratch. Clara makes Saturday Spanish school bearable, and she’s down for any adventure. They both have parents from far away—Flora’s are from Panama, and Clara’s are from Argentina. So, when Clara’s mother announces that they are leaving Rhode Island to move to California, Flora feels lost even though the girls resolve to remain best friends no matter what. Maylin, Flora’s older sister, is too obsessed with planning her quinceañera to pay attention to her. Worse, Clara quickly finds a new friend in California. Flora thinks no one can hold a candle to Clara until a new student arrives in class: Hailing from Paris, Lebanese Zaidee Khal seems too sophisticated for fifth grade. As Flora slowly warms up to Zaidee, they begin to form a new friendship. But can Flora have two besties? Chambers places universal friendship trials within the specific joy and beauty of an Afro-Panamanian family, capturing the deep, intense emotions of childhood bonds. Rim’s delightful illustrations punctuate the text and capture the mood of the characters’ journeys. The dialogue is peppered with Spanish in the natural cadence of bilingual families, with each member possessing varying degrees of proficiency. Non-Spanish–speaking readers won’t miss a beat and may even pick up a phrase or two.

Funny, heartwarming, and sweet. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 18, 2023

ISBN: 9780525556299

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2023

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CHARLOTTE'S WEB

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

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GHOSTS

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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