With so many fabulous books coming out in early 2018, it was hard to narrow down my choices, but these are a few I’m especially excited about.
An account of the deadliest outbreak in human history, Very, Very, Very Dreadful: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918 by Albert Marrin is a riveting tale that puts a human face on this medical catastrophe. In page-turning prose he provides the historical and scientific context for this devastating event as well as a sober warning about the likelihood of a recurrence.
Winterfolk by Janel Kolby shows the darker side of Seattle: in stark contrast to Pike Place Market and hipster coffee shops are the many homeless encampments, the most notorious of which was the Jungle. The story focuses on two teenage residents of this violent community, a white girl named Rain, and her friend King, a brown-skinned boy of unspecified heritage, who embark on an ill-fated tour of the city the day before the Jungle is scheduled for demolition.
Today, Tehran-born Sara Saedi is a TV writer and novelist, but in her memoir, Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card, we learn the astonishing story of her childhood as an undocumented immigrant in 1990s California. Saedi writes with verve about simultaneously grappling with ordinary teenage concerns and the constant anxiety of discovery, offering us a timely twist on the usual immigrant memoir.
Naomi Shihab Nye’s latest volume of poetry, Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners, is a glorious tribute to a variety of people who have inspired her to contemplate life in the margins of society. The daughter of a Palestinian refugee, Nye asks, “With so much vying for our attention, how do we listen better?” Each poem in this collection offers a diverting answer to that question.
Laura Simeon is the young adult editor.