Each month we post an annotated bibliography of books that were rated ‘Outstanding’ at our previous month’s meeting and nominated for our year-end Distinguished List. Members can see full reviews of these books and many more in the September edition of BayViews. Not a member? Join, come to our (currently virtual) monthly meetings, and hear about these Outstanding books “in person”!
Atticus Caticus written by Maizes, Sarah and illustrated by Kramer, Kara; Candlewick, 2021.
The bright and straightforward digital pictures in this tongue twister of a picture book stand out with a playful blue cat, Atticus, doing all the actions the rhymes implore. The drum beat rhythm is asking to be read aloud and the illustrations create a sense of movement. (Grades PreK-2.)
The Box in the Woods written by Johnson, Maureen; Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins, 2021.
Amateur teen sleuth Stevie and her friends are hired to work at a summer camp in order to solve the decades-old Box in the Woods murders. An enjoyable, engrossing mystery with a clever balance of detective work and relatable teenage dilemmas. (9-12.)
Last Night at the Telegraph Club written by Lo, Malinda; Dutton/Penguin Random House, 2021.
Malinda Lo skilfully blends historical fiction, coming-of-age, coming out and ethnic heritage in this beautifully-written novel about first love in San Francisco. Deft cultural and historical context of the 1950s and personal relationships of characters trying to navigate a changing world. (9-12.)
Root Magic written by Royce, Eden; Walden Pond/HarperCollins, 2021.
With the death of their beloved grandmother, twins Jezebel and Jay Turner begin their supernatural education in the traditions of folk magic which have been a part of their Gullah family’s legacy, while also battling threats from racist police and witchcraft-fearing peers in 1963 South Carolina. (3-7)
Six Crimson Cranes written by Lim, Elizabeth; Alfred A. Knopf/Penguin Random House, 2021.
Elizabeth Lim uses East Asian folklore to create a unique retelling of a folk tale where a princess whose brothers are enchanted into cranes not only has to keep silent to save their lives, but who also finds alliances in the undersea world of the dragons and the real world of her father’s kingdom. (7-Adult.)
Yolk written by Choi, Mary H.K.; Simon & Schuster, 2021.
Jayne Baek is an underachieving fashion student at a university in New York where her older sister June is an overachieving Columbia graduate. When June needs Jayne to help her navigate a cancer diagnosis, they are forced to confront their own – and their immigrant parents’ – pasts. (9-12.)