by Vicky Smith

Over the past several months I’ve become a connoisseur of character descriptions in kids’ books. The main character of Patrice Kindl’s Don’t You Trust Me? describes herself as “white-bread-white,” which I found winningly forthright. Less forthright are the many, many books that still assume a white default and give white characters elaborate descriptions of everything but their skin—long, curly ...

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by Laurie Muchnick

What better way to start a new year than by reading new writers? Here are excerpts from our reviews of some of the most exciting debuts being published this month, two first novels and a book of short stories:

Foreign Soil by Maxine Beneba Clarke: “In this aptly named story collection by an Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean heritage, people living ...

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by Poornima Apte

King Grossman had just returned from participating in the Dakota Access Pipeline protests when Kirkus caught up with him. His desire to become an active citizen informs the backbone of his debut indie venture, Letters to Alice. The novel has a feel for the zeitgeist of our times with Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring woven into its threads ...

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by Gregory McNamee

In the winter of 1941, nine members of an Inuit community in a remote corner of the Hudson Bay died at the hands of three neighbors, one of whom proclaimed himself to be Jesus Christ returning at the end of days. The victims were presumed to be safe harbors for the devil, and one of the killers, a teenage girl ...

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by Julie Danielson

There is just a small number of things in life that I know for sure, and one of them is that children are way more resilient than a lot of adults often given them credit for. As Maurice Sendak once told Selma G. Lanes:

You must tell the truth about a subject to a child as well as you are ...

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by Ana Grilo

2017 might already be here but I am still catching up with a few 2016 reads that I – sadly – was not able to get to last year.  I recently read two lovely YA Fantasy novels with LGBTQ characters and romance – and both had a fairy tale feel to them.

Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O’Neill ...

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by St. John Karp

In 2002, a Russian mathematician solved a 100-year-old problem in topology. He won the Fields Medal and $1 million in prize money—both of which he turned down. I’ve always loved the response he gave when journalists asked him why: “You are disturbing me. I am picking mushrooms.” You can’t argue with that—he knew exactly what he wanted, and it ...

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