I walked between classes in slow motion,
seeing the ancient intertribal wars
still being fought, in the smallest gestures.
Little things I hadn’t noticed before:
the subtle put-downs, silent revenges.
—American Ace, by Marilyn Nelson
Marilyn Nelson’s American Ace came out last month, and it is lovely. It’s about a boy discovering that his Italian-American grandfather—his father’s father—wasn’t actually his biological grandfather, and that his biological grandfather was actually an American who met his grandmother in Italy during World ...
Overnight, our tales about the swamp swung from complete fantasy to an infectious reality. Folks are just as likely to talk about the ghosts that their sister/cousin/uncle saw as they are anything else. As much as I’d like to disavow all of it, there are still some things I can’t explain. And far be it from me to discount a thing because I don’t understand it. I wasn’t blessed with a staggering intellect for nothing.
—Behold the ...
First day of a new month—let’s take a look at some of the new books we’ve got to look forward to!
The Girl From Everywhere, by Heidi Heilig
I’ve already read and written about this one. It’s great fun and fast-paced, feels fresh and original, and is (mostly) set during a period of Hawaii’s history that I’d never read about before. Even better, it’s thoughtful—in my column about it, I talk about how Heilig highlights “the importance of perspective, to ...
“What kind of mother tries to plunge a knife into your chest?” she says.
I chew on that for a second. There are other ways to kill your kid, a little bit every day. I think of the days Mima loses her cool. “Son el demónio,” Mima says about me and Hector, just loud enough for us to hear. We’re devils. “There are little knives,” I say.
“You look fat today. That tight dress ...
“The age of exploration is long over, amira. Now it’s the age of globalization. And once everyone agrees something is one way, all the other ways it could have been disappear.”
—The Girl From Everywhere, by Heidi Heilig
Sixteen-year-old Nix has lived most of her life on the Temptation, the time-traveling caravel captained by her father, Slate. For years, her work as the ship’s navigator has made her indispensable to him, but achieving his ultimate goal may actually ...
Admittedly, she also fell short of her uncle’s ideal of female virtue— it was so hard to be that irreprochable mix of innocence, modesty, and unquestioning obedience— but such a failure did not make her an instrument of Hell.
—The Dark Days Club, Alison Goodman
Was this what growing up, becoming a woman, meant? To show only certain, acceptable sides of yourself to others, even to those you love?
—Serpentine, Cindy Pon
On the surface, The Dark Days ...
The only things that give us purpose are the stories that tie us together. We all have so many secrets to keep. And I hold mine close.
—This Is Where It Ends, by Marieke Nijkamp
It’s the first day of spring semester in Opportunity, Alabama. Except for a few students—some at an early morning track practice, others up to not-so-school-sanctioned activities—the entirety of the student and faculty body is in the auditorium for the principal’s annual speech. When the ...
Here I am—and possibly here you are?—at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Conference in Boston. By the time this column runs, the Youth Media Awards—including the Printz, the Morris, the Newbery, and the Caldecott—will have been announced, and it’ll be about time for everyone to be getting packed up and ready to head home.
I don’t have far to travel this year, but here are a few of the books I picked up on the exhibit floor that I’ll ...