Readers of historical, regional fiction—like Faith, Hope, and Ivy June by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Child of the Mountains by Marilyn Sue Shank, and A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck—are liable to enjoy True Colors by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock. Rich with childhood pleasures like popsicles, swimming holes, and cotton candy but also replete with childhood fears like divorce, abandonment, and acceptance, Kinsey-Warnock’s book features Blue Sky, a ten year old girl living on a dairy farm near Shadow Lake, Vermont in 1952.  Blue, who at two days old was “found stuffed into the copper kettle Hannah Spooner grew her marigolds in” (1), longs to learn herRead More →

Many of us dream of making a difference in the world, of leaving a legacy or inspiring important change.  Mark Peter Hughes demonstrates the reality of such a possibility in his new book, Lemonade Mouth Puckers Up, a sequel to Lemonade Mouth. Set in Opequonsett, Rhode Island, Hughes’ story features an eclectic quintet of teens that have could be called philosophers, social activists, and visionaries: Stella Penn on ukulele, Wendel Gifford on trumpet, Mohini Banerjee on double bass, Charlie Hirsh on drums, and Olivia Whitehead as soulful vocalist.  Inspiring devotion and revolution, the fabulous five play music that is wild and quirky.  On their journey toRead More →

Young readers who wonder whether a pet is “just a dog” will discover Michael Gerard Bauer’s impression in Just a Dog, a chapter book featuring nine year old Corey Ingram and his mostly white Dalmatian cross, Mister Mosely. Mr. Mosely’s black markings—“a spot under his right eye that looked like a black tear coming out, and a few big black spots on his chest that all joined together an made a wonky heart shape” (20)—contribute to his almost human characteristics.  Mr. Mosely has a heart “too big for all of it to fit on the inside” (20), a truth readers will discover in Moe’s patience,Read More →