Outstanding Books of the Month – April 2023
Each month we post an annotated bibliography of books that were rated ‘Outstanding’ at our previous meeting and nominated for our year-end Distinguished List. You can see full reviews of these books and many more in our BayViews blog. Interested in becoming a member? Join, come to our monthly meetings, and hear about these Outstanding books in person!
Just Jerry: How Drawing Shaped My Life, by Jerry Pinkney, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, Little, Brown, 2023.
This warm memoir by Caldecott Medalist Jerry Pinkney describes his youth, growing up in Philadelphia where he always seemed to be drawing. He had a large, loving family and supportive teachers and mentors, even though he struggled with a learning disability. (Grades 4 – 8)
Promise Boys, by Nick Brooks, Holt, 2023.
When the principal of their school is shot, three students become the prime suspects and must team up to clear their names. A succinct and hard-hitting YA murder mystery which illuminates the systemic racism facing Black and Brown young men from impoverished backgrounds. (Grades 9 – 12)
I Kick and I Fly, by Ruchira Gupta, Scholastic, 2023.
Heera, in Bihar, India, lives in extreme poverty and the threat of sex trafficking is nearly upon her, but a few women help her turn her life around via schooling and karate. (Grades 7 – 12)
Ruby Lost and Found, by Christina Li, Quill Tree, 2023.
Grounded and exiled to her grandmother’s, Chinese-American Ruby retraces the paths of her dead grandfather’s epic scavenger hunts. Vibrant characters, pertinent issues and a powerful sense of place come together in a coming-of-age story set in San Francisco. (Grades 5 – 7)
The Many Assassinations of Samir, the Seller of Dreams, by Daniel Nayeri, illustrated by Daniel Miyares, Levine Querido, 2023.
A wild adventure of life in a caravan on the Silk Road in ancient times, The Many Assassinations of Samir, the Seller of Dreams tells the story of young Omar (aka Monkey) who is bemused by his unlikely benefactor, the wily and unreliable Samir. Lyrical language, humor and complexly-entwined stories. (Grades 4 – 8)
What Happened to Rachel Riley, by Claire Swinarski, Quill Tree, 2023.
This book will engage readers with its slowly unfurling middle school mystery creatively written in a combination of text, audio interviews, emails, messages, chat and other ephemera. (Grades 4 – 7)
A First Time for Everything, by Dan Santat, illustrated by Dan Santat, First Second, 2023.
The summer before high school, a European adventure produces a host of firsts that change the Asian-American, author/illustrator’s understanding of himself and what the world has to offer. Personality-filled characterizations and specific details bring the story, and the late 1980s, to life. (Grades 5 – 8)
Caves, by Nell Cross Beckerman, illustrated by Kalen Chock, Orchard, 2022.
An inviting look into the world of caving, with profiles of several caves around the world and advice for aspiring spelunkers. Gorgeous and immersive digital illustrations evoke the mystery of these underground spaces. This well-presented, informative book is sure to inspire an interest in caves. (Grades 2 – 4)
All About Nothing, by Elizabeth Rusch, illustrated by Elizabeth Goss, Charlesbridge, 2023.
All About Nothing describes and vibrantly illustrates the nothingness and empty spaces that surround us in daily life. (Grades Preschool – 3)
Elena Rides, by Juana Medina, illustrated by Juana Medina, Candlewick, 2023.
Elena is a purple elephant who learns to ride a bike, demonstrating that it takes practice and perseverance to learn to ride. The brief text with just one or two sentences per page contains rhyming words, repetition, dialogue balloons, and onomatopoeia that will help young children learn to read. (Grades K – 1)