Staff Book Reviews

Invisible: A Graphic Novel By Christina Diaz Gonzalez, Gabriela Epstein (Illustrator) Cover Image
Reviewed by: Chris
Posted: January 27, 2023

A wonderful graphic novel about five middle-school students in detention--many with LatinX backgrounds or connections to the LatinX community--struggling against their teachers' biases against them and their own superficial views of each other. Great artwork, complex characters, and a heart-warming story!

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Corner By Zo-O (Pen Name) Cover Image
Reviewed by: Tildy
Posted: January 27, 2023

Nearly wordless, this book is about making a space your own, with love, and time, and imagination, but also moving beyond  your space into the world. It's warm colors and soft illustrations are engaging and lift any feeling of loneliness that might creep in. The use of the centerfold to create a corner is clever, and this sweet book you'll want to keep turning to see how the space changes and grows and what happens next.

How to Sell a Haunted House By Grady Hendrix Cover Image
Reviewed by: Christian
Posted: January 27, 2023

There aren't a lot of writers than can terrify you and make you cry on the same page - Grady Hendrix does that with ease.  This is a supernatural horror novel, but it's also an intensely human story about generational trauma.  I absolutely loved it.

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My Powerful Hair By Carole Lindstrom, Steph Littlebird (Illustrator) Cover Image
Reviewed by: Tildy
Posted: January 27, 2023

A moving story of one indigenous girl's journey with her hair. Inspired  by the Lindstrom's own history, this is a reverent ode to the love, care and power of hair woven into indigenous cultures, highlighted by Littlebird's stunning illustrations reminiscent of stained glass windows.  This beautiful book of empowerment and pride is sure to strike a chord with readers everywhere.

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Naming Ceremony By Seina Wedlick, Jenin Mohammed (Illustrator) Cover Image
Reviewed by: Tildy
Posted: January 27, 2023

So cute! A young girl isn't sure what name to give to her baby sister in her naming ceremony, so she curiously asks arriving family and friends what gift-names they bring.  I loved this story of an older sibling's shyness and nerves around a new baby, and the joy and excitement of a naming ceremony. The backmatter touches on West African cultures this Naming Ceremony comes from, a great window for readers who may not be familiar. The dynamic illustrations filled with bright colors and patterns perfectly encapsulate Amira's energy and happiness of the day.  This one had me smiling the whole way through.

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Summer Is for Cousins By Rajani LaRocca, Abhi Alwar (Illustrator) Cover Image
Reviewed by: Tildy
Posted: January 27, 2023

LaRocca perfectly captures summer in this joyful book about a family, summer vacation, and most importantly, ice cream! Ravi (who used to be the youngest cousin before baby Leela) feels a little shy around his eldest cousin Dhruv, who is more of a teenager this summer. But Dhruv still has time for Ravi, encouraging him and they still have the same favorite ice cream flavor. With Alwar's warm and lively illustrations, this book is pure fun and heart.

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Pa, Me, and Our Sidewalk Pantry By Toni Buzzeo, Zara González Hoang (Illustrator) Cover Image
Reviewed by: Tildy
Posted: January 27, 2023

A story of a kindness as boy and his grandpa who work together to bring a Little Free Pantry to their neighborhood. Jelly Bean's thoughtfulness about how the food should be placed, his willingness to donate his favorite snack, and his dedication to helping his neighbors are a sweet inspiration to young readers who may want to start their own Little Free Pantries. Buzzeo's attentive writing with Hoang's soft illustrations invite young readers into the story that will spark community love.

Very Good Hats By Emma Straub, Blanca Gomez (Illustrator) Cover Image
Reviewed by: Ilana
Posted: January 27, 2023

Best selling novelist Emma Straub has turned her talents of both imagination and language to the world of hats. And what a world it is! Everything has "hat potential," and did you ever consider that you've been allowing all your fingers and both thumbs to go hatless!?! Blanca Gomez's totally adorable illustrations are a perfect match for this charming read-aloud.

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The Faraway World: Stories By Patricia Engel Cover Image
Reviewed by: Crissy
Posted: January 26, 2023

Engel writes about her characters with such tenderness that it is impossible not to become emotionally invested in each story. With roots in Columbia or Cuba, these characters navigate the boundaries and bonds of their closest relationships. Each story has a weight and a depth that resonates long after the book ends. 

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Sea Change: A Novel By Gina Chung Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: January 26, 2023

This read was both heartbreaking and a bit hopeful. Ro's loneliness and isolation was palatable and she was just stuck. Stuck in the past, stuck in her present, stuck in her grief, and really doesn't want to unstick for her future. Her one glimmer of happiness is Delores, this amazing octopus at the aquarium she works at, and a direct link to her missing/presumed dead, father. The book flashes back in time so the slow progression of Ro's relationships deteriorates with the passage of time. But there is something about this read, that just moved me, as Ro reconciles her grief and tries to break her family's pattern of silence.

The Partition By Don Lee Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: January 23, 2023

A stellar collection of short stories that touches upon so many different aspects of being an Asian American. Each story goes down easy and is satisfying by itself.

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A Living Remedy: A Memoir By Nicole Chung Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: January 23, 2023

This book is just beautiful, sad and poignant. It's an exercise in grief as well as a love letter to her parents. Seriously, this book moved me in ways I hadn't expected.

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