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 December edition of BayViews. Not a member? Join, come to our monthly meetings, and hear about these Outstanding books in person!
Wild Colors of the West written and photographed by Bond, Elaine Miller; Heyday, 2019.
In the third entry in this informational board book series, color photographs of native Western U.S. (mainly California) plants and animals in their natural habitats are used to teach colors from the color prism. (Grades Baby/Toddler-3.)
The Wizard’s Tears written by Kumin, Maxine and Sexton, Anne, and illustrated by Katz, Keren; Triangle Square, 2019.
After initial successes, the inexperienced young wizard of the town of Drucknock misuses his powerful tears to end the drought, turning everyone into frogs. He has three days to solve a riddle to restore them to their human forms. A fun story that feels contemporary and classic at the same time. (PreK-3.)
Allies written by Gratz, Alan; Scholastic, 2019.
Centered on D-Day, the Allied invasion of occupied France, Alan Gratz gracefully weaves story lines together, following a U.S. soldier, a Canadian paratrooper, a member of the French resistance, an American medic, and a local girl as they struggle to survive in the violence and chaos of the invasion. (4-7.)
The Last True Poets of the Sea written by Drake, Julia; Hyperion/Disney, 2019.
Exiled to her family’s home town in Maine, the desire to explore a town myth regarding her ancestor’s ship-wrecked arrival and the other teens she encounters fill Violet’s summer with vibrant possibilities, as she desperately tries to block out the mental illness which her brother is battling. (9-12.)
The Other Half of Happy written by Balcarcel, Rebecca; Chronicle, 2019.
Featuring twelve-year-old Quijana, who must navigate her bi-cultural identity when meeting the Guatemalan side of her family for the first time, this novel treats Quijana’s travails with delicacy and honesty in delightful prose that will have a wide appeal for middle grades and up. (4-8.)
1919: The Year that Changed America written by Sandler, Martin W.; Bloomsbury, 2019.
Using many b&w photos, sidebars, timelines, and a “coffee table” book design, this expansive history delves deep into several impactful areas of U.S. history in 1919: the molasses explosion in Boston, Women’s Suffrage, Prohibition, anti-Communist activities, racial riots, and labor strikes. (6-12.)