Teenager Janna Yusuf loves photography, the stories of Flannery O’Connor, and hanging out with friends. She willingly helps her Uncle Ali, the Imam at her mosque, with his thoughtful, engaging advice column. She’s less enthused about giving up her room when her older brother, Muhammad, moves back into the small apartment she shares with their mother.
A late Cold War, made-for-television movie called The Day After, which imagines what happens in a small U.S. town after a nuclear bomb is dropped, leaves 7th grader David Horowitzw upset and unsettled the fall of 1983. Until the movie, his greatest worry was his upcoming bar mitzvah. Now it’s the end of the world.
Eight-year-old Japanese American Jasmine Toguchi makes her debut in two engaging and lively books for newly independent readers. In Jamsmine Toguchi: Mochi Queen, Jasmine is determined to help make mochi for the New Year, even though she’s only eight and family tradition says girls start when they’re 10. In Jasmine Toguchi: Super Sleuth, Jasmine is excited to have her best friend Lizzie joining her family’s Girls’ Day celebration, although it can’t make up for the fact that her big sister Sophie, at 10, doesn’t want to participate.
On her sixth birthday, Nia welcomes her new pet turtle, Alfie, into her home. She introduces him to her stuffed animals, sings songs she wrote just for him, and tells him stories each night about her school day. Alfie, though, is not the most enthusiastic companion, and Nia gradually loses interest in him—until he disappears as her seventh birthday approaches.
The snow is falling lightly as a red-hooded girl leaves her home and heads to school, walking across a winter-brown landscape. Elsewhere, there are wolves howling as the first flakes descend. When school lets out, the girl, in her pointy, slightly comical red parka, heads toward home in the thickening white, moving left to right across the landscape of the page. Elsewhere, the wolves are on the move, ominous and wild, moving right to left. But one small wolf pup falls behind.
“It began as a rumor, that they had found a way to siphon dreams right out of our bones.” In a not-too-distant future when environmental devastation has killed millions, many people no longer dream when they sleep. At the Canadian government’s new residential “schools,” the dreams of Indigenous people are distilled from their marrow for later use by the wealthy and privileged. Sixteen-year-old Frenchie escaped school Recruiters at 11 and has been with his found family ever since.
A Vietnamese American boy’s predawn fishing outing with his dad is the subject of a narrative shaped by an exquisite accounting of details. So much beyond the action is conveyed through beautifully weighted sentences. At volume’s end, both the author and illustrator share memories of growing up in Vietnamese families that came to the United States when they were children.
Will learned “The Rules” from his older brother, Shawn. No. 1: No crying. No. 2: No snitching. No. 3: Get revenge. When Shawn is shot and killed, Will’s grief is trapped behind a wall of unshed tears. He’s sure he knows who did it: Riggs. And of course he won’t tell the police.
“Flight! / I’m the first woman pilot, but I won’t be the last — / every little girl who sees me up here in blue sky / will surely grow up with dreams / of flying too!” (from “The World’s First Woman Pilot,” Aída de Acosta, 1884-1962, Cuba) Biographical poems introduce 18 Hispanics whose lives, notes author Margarita Engle, range from those “celebrated in their lifetimes but have been forgotten by history,” to others who “achieved lasting fame.”
Little Wolf is eager to go out at night with his father, Big Wolf, to learn how to howl. As the moon begins to rise, Big Wolf demonstrates a howl that ends with a lengthy “ooooooooooo.” Little Wolf’s first attempt starts strong but his enthusiasm gets the better of him as he brings it to a close: “I’m hoooowling, ‘oooowling, ‘ooooowling!” Which isn’t, Big Wolf notes, “proper howling form.” Big Wolf demonstrates. Little Wolf tries again.