Georgie loves throwing parties for his friends, but on this particular day his spontaneous plans fall apart when no one can come. Feta has to make pickles. Lester has lightbulbs to change. Shy Ferdinand would rather stay home. Every other friend has a reason, too (“My ears are itchy.” “I need to fold my socks.” “My shorts are too bright.”), and Georgie, who starts the day full of optimism, is eventually drooping with dejection. The humor and heartbreak of this story extends to the visual.
In 13th-century western Europe, the Inquisition is control through terror, as those whose beliefs or behaviors offend Church authorities face persecution as heretics. Dolssa is a young woman in Tolosa whose says Christ is her true love. Even the threat of death cannot make her deny that he speaks to her. But it is her mother who is burned by Inquisitors as Dolssa watches. When her bonds are cut and a voice tells her to run, Dolssa flees.
Living in San Francisco Chinatown in 1906, teenage Mercy Wong wants to become a business woman to support her family. Smart and spirited, she negotiates her way into a prestigious, whites-only girls’ school for the educational advantage she’s sure it will provide. The racism Mercy and her Chinatown community experience is an essential part of an insightful and engaging work that is part boarding school story, with Mercy navigating relationships as a social and cultural outsider, and part riveting account of the San Francisco earthquake.
A picture book homage to the love of collecting shared by many children is full of small treasures and small pleasures. Whenever Toshi and his grandma take a walk, Toshi collects things that interest him (e.g., a marble, a magnolia blossom, an acorn, a guitar pick, the tab from a soda can, a cricket casing). Expansive double-page spreads show each place they visit (river, town, forest, country, park, beach), with the many objects Toshi will eventually pick up scattered and labeled throughout the scene.
This arresting work doesn’t answer the question of whether Lizzie Borden killed her father and stepmother in Fall River, Massachusetts, in 1892, because there isn’t enough factual information to support a definitive response. Instead, it lays out the evidence and arguments used by both Lizzie’s prosecutors and her defense team.
ittle Red sets off through the forest to her Grandma’s house in a tale that will not be unfamiliar to some children, at least at its outset. In the forest, Little Red meets a wolf, who growls and asks where she’s going. “Which might have scared some little girls. But not this little girl.” Little Red, it turns out, is not only brave, but she’s smart—she’s not about to be fooled or eaten by a wolf in Grandma’s clothing.
Nora López is finishing high school uncertain about the future. Encouraged to apply to the New York City Community College trades program, she can’t imagine being able to go when her mom, Mima, struggles to pay the rent. When recent murders of young, dark-haired women in the city turn out to be the actions of a serial killer, who begins writing letters to the press signed “Son of Sam,” the growing tension and fear is tangible.
Raymie, 10, is determined to become Little Miss Florida Central Tire so her father, an insurance agent who recently ran off with a dental hygienist, will read about her in the paper and realize his mistake. At baton twirling lessons she meets Louisiana Elefante and Beverly Tapinski. This story set in a small Florida town in the 1970s moves quickly while capturing the hot, timeless feel of summer as the three girls form an unlikely, not always easy friendship.
“All of the Ellis children were allowed to eat at the table and ride in the van and sit on the couch and use the indoor bathroom. Except Ed.” Ed is prohibited from these activities because he’s a dog, not that Ed himself makes any distinction between himself and his human family. But because each of the other Ellis children excels at something—Elaine at soccer, Emily and Elmer at math, Edith at ballet, and Ernie at baking cupcakes—Ed goes in search of what he’s best at.
Zomorod and her parents are in the United States for her dad’s job as an engineer working at a California oil company. Zomorod, who has chosen the Brady Bunch-inspired name “Cindy” at school, narrates an often funny and always insightful account of her life as an Iranian immigrant in the late 1970s (an era that is vividly and often delightfully realized here). Her father is openhearted and upbeat but her mother finds it difficult acclimating to their life in America.