Written by daughter of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, The Hero Two Doors Down by Sharon Robinson, recounts the historical fiction tale of tumultuous times of global, racial, cultural, and religious unrest in the late 1940s.  Because of its inspirational message about the need to depend on faith, family, and friends during the worst of times, contemporary readers will find this story of friendship and unity especially relevant as Martin Luther King, Junior’s 87th birthday approaches. In 1948, Steven Satlow is eight years old, and a train ride to Ebbets Field costs five cents each way.  Because Steve is the shortest kid in his class andRead More →

Francis Meredith is clever, funny, interesting, and creative, but he is too worried about the judgment of others to recognize his gifts.  Because he is chided at school for his interest in fashion, design, and sewing, he thinks it is impossible to be happy being himself. So, when he encounters Jessica Fry, he believes he has enough problems without adding an ability to see and hear dead people. Jessica, a ghost who can think herself into a wardrobe, becomes Francis’ friend in what he sees as an otherwise friendless world.  They have an interest in clothes in common and both can talk about synthetic fabricsRead More →

Readers of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid will likely enjoy The Boy Problem: Notes and Predictions of Tabitha Reddy by Kami Kinard. While it doesn’t have the plethora of pictures, it has relevance and ‘tween appeal in its plot.   Tabitha Reddy, who believes in signs and clues, thinks it’s possible to predict the future and that wishing on a star increases the likelihood of that wish’s coming true.  Her BFF, Kara McAllister disagrees, saying: “Nothing helps your wishes come true unless YOU do something yourself” (11).  She encourages Tabitha, who is in search of a boyfriend, to be proactive. The social scenes and peerRead More →

  Luc, orphaned when his mother dies from HIV, is in debt to Monsieur Tatagani, a moneylender and crook in Franceville, Gabon, who paid his mother’s medical bills.  For the tips and wages to repay Tatagani, Luc works at a hotel bar in the city, but he is always certain to be “home” before dark, recalling the days when his mother would tell tales of the “mock men,” chimpanzees whose screams foreshadowed violence in depths of the jungle, the “Inside.” These are the conditions and the setting as Eliot Schrefer’s book Threatened opens, and so it goes until Professor Abdul Mohammed arrives.  The Prof, who wishes to be Africa’s Jane Goodall, is anRead More →