Each 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 August edition of BayViews. Not a member? Join, come to our monthly meetings, and hear about these Outstanding books in person!
It Feels Good to Be Yourself: A Book About Gender Identity written by Thorn, Theresa and illustrated by Grigni, Noah; Henry Holt/Macmillan, 2019.
A gently informative picture book that introduces characters with different gender identities, with gorgeous, glowing illustrations and extensive back matter. This is a great book for families and classrooms alike. (Grades PreK-3.)
Aurora Rising written by Kaufman, Amie and Kristoff, Jay; Knopf/Penguin Random House, 2019.
The authors of The Illuminae Files kick off a thrilling new, action-packed sci-fi series in which a squad of teen “legionnaires” protect a girl recovered from a centuries old spacecraft, while discovering who she really is and what they are protecting her from. (7-12.)
The Downstairs Girl written by Lee, Stacey; G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Random House, 2019.
In 1890 Atlanta, Jo Kuan, a sharply intelligent 17-year-old Chinese American girl, writes an anonymous satirical newspaper column on contemporary topics affecting women and people of color. Lee braids historical information into a story that celebrates the voices of marginalized people. (8-12.)
The Line Tender written by Allen, Kate; Dutton/Penguin Random House, 2019.
Lucy was seven when her shark scientist mother died, and when a second tragedy hits Lucy, now thirteen, she finds solace in immersing herself in her mother’s final project of tagging great white sharks in Cape Cod. A quiet, emotionally resonant novel about dealing with grief and finding purpose. (6-8.)
Patron Saints of Nothing written by Ribay, Randy; Kokila/Penguin Random House, 2019.
High school senior Jay Reguero is shocked when his Filipino cousin Jun dies suddenly, and he’s determined to find out what happened. This compelling coming-of-age story explores themes of justice, grief, and identity, as Jay discovers the impact of President Duarte’s war on drugs in the Philippines. (9-12.)
They Called Us Enemy written by Takei, George and illustrated by Becker, Harmony; Top Shelf/IDW, 2019.
Actor George Takei, best known as Star Trek’s Sulu, offers this dramatic graphic novel that focuses on his youth as a boy in a Japanese American internment camp during World War II. The text is inviting, made up of captions and dialogue balloons; the B&W ink artwork is equally expressive. (7-Adult.)
Dark Sky Rising: Reconstruction and the Dawn of Jim Crow written by Gates, Jr., Henry Louis and Bolden, Tonya; Scholastic, 2019.
Gates and Bolden describe how Black soldiers helped win the Civil War, including stories of several men; discovering their fates in the chapters about Reconstruction and the rise of Jim Crow laws makes the events relatable and usually understandable to readers. (5-8.)
Wait, Rest, Pause: Dormancy in Nature written and illustrated by Atkins, Marcie Flinchum; Millbrook/Lerner, 2019.
Excellent nonfiction for older preschool-2nd graders about an unusual concept: dormancy in living things, illustrated with large, exquisitely clear photographs paired with carefully crafted text. It’s a whole package with a bibliography and definitions that support and expand the text. (PreK-2.)
Enemy Child: The Story of Norman Mineta, a Boy Imprisoned in a Japanese American Internment Camp During WWII written by Warren, Andrea; Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House, 2019.
Mineta is a Bay Area native and longtime Congressman who served as a Cabinet Secretary, but the majority of this focuses on his youth. Along with other Japanese Americans, he and his family were interned at a relocation camp during WWII when he was a child. There are abundant B&W photos. (7-Adult.)