News & Reviews (Week of June 10, 2019)


Dead Air Radio
Interview with Daniel Bukszpan
May 28, 2019

Like Vanessa is a 2018 Foreword INDIES Silver Winner in Juvenile Fiction!
June 14, 2019

Perhaps a bit late as this was meant to run during BookCon, but finally

The Quivering Pen
Essay from Karol Ruth Silverstein
June 10, 2019

Author Spotlight: Karol Ruth Silverstein
June 14, 2019

The Silvan Reverie
Favorite Bird Books for Children roundup: includes Beaks!, Wings!, Feathers: Not Just for Flying and The Barn Owls
June 14, 2019

The Jones Library
The 6th Annual Samuel Minot Jones Awards for Literary Achievement
April 25th, 2019
Rich Michelson, Winner for Local Literary Achievement


Follow Chester!
Kirkus Reviews
July 1, 2019
It takes tremendous courage to make history. At 8, Chester Pierce saved his younger brother when he fell in a well, becoming a hero in his small New York town. He grew up loving football, basketball, and music. He learned to play multiple instruments and even became the first black senior-class president of his high school. Despite his principal's doubts, Chester applied to Harvard and was accepted, growing his confidence. While there, Chester played varsity football. In 1947, his team was scheduled to play the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where Jim Crow forbade Chester to play. But the coach knew a change was coming, so he told Chester to "get ready." Chester knew "that being the first black person to do something was never easy" but that the challenge would be worth it. Despite on-campus racism, Chester's teammates believed Jim Crow laws were wrong. They devised an off-the-field play they called "Follow Chester!" and determined that they would stick with him as a team, bolstering his confidence. Chester and his team faced a record-breaking crowd and played as hard as they could. Telling the tale simply, Respress-Churchwell does not shy away from direct statements about Chester's emotions and challenges. In Freeman's illustrations, Chester's facial expressions are pensive early in the story, but as he gains confidence, they become more determined.This straightforward sports tale will encourage readers to face adversity head-on.


Woodstock: 50 Years of Peace and Music
LA Weekly
Book of the Month - June
"We knew so much about Woodstock but, after reading Bukszpan's book, we know so much more."


Becoming Beatriz
Kirkus Reviews STARRED REVIEW!
July 15, 2019
In a city where "cocaine is king," can a teenage gang leader dare to dream of another life? Newark, New Jersey. 1984. Beatriz Mendez and her older brother, Junito, lead the powerful Latin Diablos gang. Everything changes on Beatriz's 15th birthday when a Haitian gang leaves Junito for dead and Beatriz badly injured. A Like Vanessa (2018) spinoff, this page-turner opens dramatically with a visceral fight scene that introduces a fierce protagonist. Beatriz is a Spanglish-speaking Puerto Rican badass with "a blade tucked inside [her] cheek…to use on anybody who tries to step." In the aftermath of Junito's death, Beatriz struggles to maintain her standing as a Diabla, raise her grades (mostly D's and F's), and support her grief-stricken zombie of a mother. Though "dancing ain't gonna pay the bills," she allows her childhood dream of becoming a dancer to glimmer through her tough exterior each week when watching her favorite TV show, Fame. Told in the first person, this narrative is full of passion and humor, with flashbacks rooted in Beatriz's beloved salsa music. Realistic newsprint clips effectively add context. A friendship/romance with a new boy contributes depth while avoiding predictability. As Beatriz transcends her trauma and self-doubt—"No such thing as a gangbanger turned famous dancer"—readers experience a necessary portrayal of a young Afro Latina woman who makes her own path, one that isn't straightforward, told in an extremely realistic voice. Inspiring and fresh.


Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Trees
Vermont Country Sampler
June 2019
This fascinating story is about how one village girl founded a movement to save the forests, engaged in politics, and challenged the corrupt Kenyan president. For her efforts she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, and through her efforts millions of trees (including popular and beneficial fig tree) were planted where before the forests were being destroyed to make room for tea plantations and to raise cattle for the British colonists in power. Lush drawings capture the essence and natural world of Africa and its people.