Every month, we post an annotated bibliography of books that were rated ‘Outstanding’ and nominated for our Distinguished List at our previous month’s meeting. Members can see full reviews of these books and many more in the May edition of BayViews.
Have You Seen My Dragon? Written and illustrated by Steve Light
A little boy looks for his dragon and ends up touring New York City, counting everything from hot dogs to manhole covers. Light’s wonderfully intricate black and white ink drawings use spot color effectively to highlight each item being counted (numbers 1-20). (Preschool – Grade 1)
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
16 year-old Austin Szerba is the self-appointed historian of the end of the world, in this YA science fiction horror story that is a wacky mix of teen mundanity and Armageddon. (Grade 10 – Adult)
Nest by Esther Ehrlich
Wendy Lamb/Random, 2014.
Chirp’s happy life in Cape Cod is torn apart with her mother’s serious illness and the devastation it leaves behind. Ms. Ehrlich’s writing is thoughtful, genuine and grabs the reader and squeezes tight. (Grades 5 – 9)
The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
Two plucky and resilient orphans confront the nocturnal horrors of an isolated house, in this superbly constructed middle-grade gothic mystery chiller. Auxier (Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes, 2011) has created a wonderfully paced and flowing narrative that is both a horror story and a meditation on the murky difference between stories and lies, and on the psychic damage of greed. (Grades 6 – 9)
Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems by Paul B. Janeczko; illustrated by Melissa Sweet
This anthology celebrates the four seasons with a delightful variety of free verse that serve to enhance children’s natural curiosity and expand their universe at the same time. Sweet’s highly decorative mixed media illustrations seep across every inch of the page in kaleidoscopic texture, vibrant colors and delicious details. A must-have addition for any juvenile poetry collection. (Preschool – Grade 4)
Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin
Roaring Brook, 2014.
Using primary sources, Sheinkin has put together a very readable account of the events leading up to the 1944 Port Chicago disaster, and the court martial of fifty young African American sailors who refused to continue to load bombs after the explosion that killed 320 people including 202 black dockworkers. (Grades 5 -10)
Pure Grit: How American World War II Nurses Survived Battle and Prison Camp in the Pacific by Mary Cronk Farrell
Farrell tells the harrowing story of nurses who were stationed in the Philippines during World War II. At first, their days were relaxed, but that changed after the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor and the Philippines. The nurses, most of whom were not combat trained, were suddenly in a combat zone. This gripping story is a must-read for anyone interested in World War II, especially the Pacific region. (Grades 7 – 11)