by Amy Krause Rosenthal
(Scholastic Press, August 2015)
Using bright shapes and clever expressions, Rosenthal and Lichtenheld (Duck Rabbit and Exclamation Point!) explore friendship. Each two-page spread features familiar shapes forming a combined shape with a friendship truism. In “Friends make you feel at home,” the shapes combine into a house. Perfect for back to school and making new friends, this is a wonderful picture book for all ages.
It’s Tough To Lose Your Balloon
by Jarrett Krosoczka
(Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers,
In gentle tones, Krosoczka helps explain that things don’t always go our way. We try to teach our children resilience, and this book is just the conversation starter. You may lose a balloon, a sandwich, or even more. A new reader can ponder it alone, or you can share it with a group. His illustrations help guide the reader through each situation.
Dear Santa, Love, Rachel Rosenstein
by Michelle Peet
(Delacorte Books for Young Readers,
Although Rachel Rosenstein appreciates and enjoys celebrating her family’s Jewish holidays and traditions throughout the year, all she wants for Hannukkah is to celebrate Christmas. She pens a letter to Santa, decorates the family living room, sets out a glass of milk and a chocolate chip studded latke for Santa, and falls asleep with visions of sugarplum fairies dancing in her head, only to be disappointed the following morning. Her mother consoles her, explaining gently that sometimes, no matter how badly we want something, we just have to accept reality. Later, dining at the Chinese restaurant—the only restaurant open on Christmas Day—Rachel is cheered to meet up with friends who don’t celebrate Christmas either, realizing that there are so many great holidays in the world.
Mother Bruce by Ryan Higgins
(Disney-Hyperion, November 2015)
Grumpy Bruce the bear does not like anything except for eggs. He loves eggs so much that he spends all his time finding new recipes on the internet. Then one day, his eggs accidentally “hatch,” leaving him with four adorable goslings. They believe Bruce is their mother, and they instantly bond to him. It’s not so instant for Bruce. The blocky illustrations compel the story along, telling us more than what is told by the narrator. It’s funny and completely worth reading many, many times.
Welcome To The Symphony by Carolyn Sloan
(Workman Publishing, October 2015)
The symphony can be overwhelming to children (and some adults!). This beautiful picture book is a wonderful introduction to all the sights and sounds as three cute mice narrate the story of going to the symphony for the first time. You also have the opportunity to listen to parts of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 through the high quality sound chips imbedded in the book.
Oskar & the Eight Blessings by Tanya Simon
(Roaring Brook Press, September 2015)
Having survived Kristallnacht, Oskar’s parents put him on a ship bound for New York City, with a photo of his Aunt Esther, her address, and the memory of his father’s last words, “Oskar, even in bad times, people can be good. You have to look for the blessings.” Oskar arrives on the seventh day of Hanukkah, also Christmas Eve, and sets out to walk the hundred blocks from Battery Park to his aunt’s home in uptown Manhattan. Tired, hungry, cold, and a long way from home, Oskar is introduced to the sights, sounds, and inhabitants of his new home. Along the way, he encounters random acts of kindness: the sharing of bread, a gift of the first Superman comic, a helping hand, reminding him of his father’s words. Both historical events and the atmosphere of 1938 New York are illustrated in this beautifully rendered graphic novel inspired picture book.
Appleblossom The Possum
by Holly Goldberg Sloan
(Dial Books, August 2015)
In this rollicking adventure from the author who brought you Counting by 7’s, Appleblossom the Possum must use her acting skills in order to survive in a world of humans and machines. When Appleblossom’s audacious spirit takes her into the hands of a possum’s worst enemy, will her family care enough to save her?–guest reviewer Antonella Grade 7.
Nora Notebooks: The Trouble With Ants
by Claudia Mills
(Alfred A Knopf Books For Young Readers,
Nora wants to be a scientist like her parents. Her main interest is ants. All the other kids in her 4th grade class think ants are boring and prefer Emma’s cat videos instead. Can Nora use the new assignment their teacher gives them to convince her classmates that ants are really cool? And can she achieve her other goal – to become the youngest author published in a scientific journal? A fun new series for 2nd graders and up!
Bridget Wilder by Jonathan Bernstein
(Katherine Tegen Books, September 2015)
Adopted Bridget Wilder feels invisible, especially since her family has forgotten her 13th birthday. When she receives a mysterious package she thinks is from her friend, Joanna, her luck begins to change. She is recruited into a shadowy spy organization and given all sorts of cool gadgets. She even gets to hang out with the cool girls. Best of all, she meets her real dad, Super Agent Carter Strike! But all is not as it appears, and though it’s cool to be a spy, it’s getting harder to tell who the good guys are.
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristof
(Alfred A Knopf Books for Young Readers, October 2015)
Kady knew it was going to be a bad day — she was going to break up with Ezra. But then, her planet was invaded, and things have gotten a whole lot worse. Two megacorporations are fighting over her planet, and both she and Ezra make it onto the evacuating fleet. When a plague breaks out and the computer controlling the ship goes rogue, Kady and Ezra have to work together to find out the truth. Told through interviews, emails and schematic drawings, this story has something for everyone in grades 8 and up.
School For Brides: A Story of Maidens, Mysteries, & Matrimony by Patrice Kindl (Viking Books For Young Readers, July 2015)
Winthrop Hopkins Female Academy is a school in Lesser Hoo for young ladies aspiring to marry. These young ladies practice posture, French, the piano and decorating lamp shades in order to prepare for marriage. When an eligible gentleman breaks his leg and must stay at the Academy, a prospective husband is in their midst. And when some of his friends come to visit, the village becomes crowded with suitors! This clever, quirky Regency tale will appeal to fans of Jane Austen or anyone looking for a light, funny read.
Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom
(Poppy Books, December 2015)
Parker Grant is a junior in high school. She loves to run, has great friends, and never minds telling them how stupid people can be around blind people like her. She’s got rules and you’d better follow them, because that’s how she handles her life. But when her father dies suddenly and the boy who broke her heart transfers back into her school, life isn’t so simple anymore. Parker has a voice you will root for long after her story is done!