Page history last edited by RichiesPicks 1 week, 2 days ago

Richie's Picks


great new and upcoming books for children and young adults



All reviews (alphabetically by title):











Like Richie's Picks on Facebook

Richie's Facebook page


About Richie


Get the newest Richie's Picks emailed to you by joining the Richie's Picks group at 



You can contact me at richiepartington@gmail.com 


FTC NOTICE: Richie receives free books from lots of publishers who hope he will Pick their books. You can figure that any review here was written after reading and dog-earring a free copy received. Richie retains these review copies for his rereading pleasure and for use in his booktalks at schools and libraries.




Most Recent Picks

A HOUSE THAT ONCE WAS by Julie Fogliano and Lane Smith, ill., Roaring Brook, May 2018, 48p., ISBN: 978-1-62672-314-6
GONE TO DRIFT by Diana McCaulay, HarperCollins, April 2018 [Originally published in 2016 by Papillote Press], 272p., 0-06-267296-7

ROAR: A DINOSAUR TOUR by Michael Paul, Crown BFYR, April 2018, 40p., ISBN: 978-1-5247-6698-6 

PRICE OF DUTY by Todd Strasser, Simon & Schuster, July 2018, 192p., ISBN: 978-1-4814-9709-1
THE SKY AT OUR FEET by Nadia Hashimi, HarperCollins, March 2018, 304p., ISBN: 978-0-06-242193-7

UNPUNISHED MURDER: MASSACRE AT COLFAX AND THE QUEST FOR JUSTICE by Lawrence Goldstone, Scholastic Focus, September 2018, 288p., ISBN: 978-1-338-23945-4 

THE TRUTH AS TOLD BY MASON BUTTLE by Leslie Connor, HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen, January 2018, 336p., ISBN: 978-0-06-249143-5
THE NIGHT DIARY by Veera Hiranandani, Dial, March 2018, 272p., ISBN: 978-0-7352-2851-1
A LADY HAS THE FLOOR: BELVA LOCKWOOD SPEAKS OUT FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS by Kate Hannigan and Alison Jay, ill., Boyds Mills/Calkins Creek, January 2018, 32p., ISBN: 978-1-62979-453-2
ONE TRUE WAY by Shannon Hitchcock, Scholastic, February 2018, 224p., ISBN: 978-1-338-18172-2
ANDREW JACKSON: THE MAKING OF AMERICA by Teri Kanefield, Abrams, March 2018, 240p., ISBN: 978-1-4197-2840-2
THE 57 BUS: A TRUE STORY OF TWO TEENAGERS AND THE CRIME THAT CHANGED THEIR LIVES by Dashka Slater, FSG, October 2017, 320p., ISBN: 978-0-374-30323-1
I WALK WITH VANESSA: A STORY ABOUT A SIMPLE ACT OF KINDNESS by Kerascoët, Schwartz & Wade, April 2018, 978-1-5247-6955-0

THIS BRIDGE WILL NOT BE GRAY by Dave Eggers and Tucker Nichols, ill., Chronicle, March 2018 (revised edition), 112p., ISBN: 978-1-4521-6280-5

BIG TREE DOWN! by Laurie Lawlor and David Gordon, ill., Holiday House, February 2018, 32p., ISBN: 978-0-8234-3661-3

YOU GO FIRST by Erin Entrada Kelly, Greenwillow, April 2018, 304p., ISBN: 978-0-06-241-418-2

CHASING KING’S KILLER: THE HUNT FOR MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR’S ASSASSIN by James L. Swanson, Scholastic Press, January 2018, 384p., ISBN: 978-0-545-72333-6
NEW SHOES by Chris Raschka, Greenwillow, May 2018, 32p., ISBN: 978-0-06-265752-7
FAULT LINES IN THE CONSTITUTION: THE FRAMERS, THEIR FIGHTS, AND THE FLAWS THAT AFFECT US TODAY by Cynthia Levinson & Sanford Levinson, Peachtree, September 2017, 240p., ISBN: 978-1-56145-945-2
A DIFFERENT POND by Bao Phi and Thi Bui, ill., Capstone, August 2017, 32p., ISBN: 978-1-62370-803-0
WHEN JACKIE SAVED GRAND CENTRAL: THE TRUE STORY OF JACQUELINE KENNEDY”S FIGHT FOR AN AMERICAN ICON by Natasha Wing and Alexandra Boiger, ill., Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, March 2017, 48p., ISBN: 978-0-547-44921-0
FAR FROM THE TREE by Robin Benway, Harper Teen, October 2017, 384p., ISBN: 978-0-06-233062-8
BUMPETY, DUNKETY, THUMPETY-THUMP! by K.L. Going and Simone Shin, illustrator, Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster, September 2017, 48p., ISBN: 978-1-4424-3414-1
RUTH BADER GINSBURG: THE CASE OF R.B.G. VS. INEQUALITY by Jonah Winter and Stacy Innerst, ill. Abrams, August 2017, 48p., ISBN: 978-1-4197-2559-3 
MARCH FORWARD, GIRL: FROM YOUNG WARRIOR TO LITTLE ROCK NINE by Melba Pattillo Beals, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, January 2018, 224p., ISBN: 978-1-328-88212-7
BOOTS ON THE GROUND: AMERICA’S WAR IN VIETNAM by Elizabeth Partridge, Viking, April 2018, 224p., ISBN: 978-0-670-78506-3
HER RIGHT FOOT by Dave Eggers and Shawn Harris, Chronicle, September 2017, 104p., ISBN: 978-1-4521-6281-2
TRAIN I RIDE by Paul Mosier, Harper, January 2017, 192p., ISBN: 978-0-06-245573-4
TRAVELING THE BLUE ROAD: POEMS OF THE SEA collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Bob Hansman and Jovan Hansman, Seagrass Press, October 2017, 32p., ISBN: 978-1-63322-276-2
SOMEONE LIKE ME by Patricia MacLachlan and Chris Sheban, ill., Neal Porter/Roaring Brook, July 2017, 32p., ISBN: 978-1-62672-334-4
ALICE PAUL AND THE FIGHT FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS: FROM THE VOTE TO THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT by Deborah Kops, Calkins Creek, February 2017, 216p., ISBN: 978-1-62979-323-8
LIFE by Cynthia Rylant and Brendan Wenzel, ill., Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane Books, June 2017, 48p., ISBN; 978-1-4814-5162-8
WET by Carey Sookocheff, Henry Holt, June 2017, 32p., ISBN: 978-1-62779-775-7
CLAYTON BYRD GOES UNDERGROUND by Rita Williams-Garcia, HarperCollins/Amistad, May 2017, 176p., ISBN: 978-0-06-221591-8
WILD BIRD by Wendelin Van Draanen, Random House/Alfred A. Knopf, September 2017, 320p., ISBN: 978-1-101-94044-0

CROSSING EBENEZER CREEK by Tonya Bolden, Bloomsbury, May 2017. 240p., ISBN: 978-1- 59990-319-4

IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN by Anne Sibley O’Brien, Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, June 2017, 338p., ISBN: 978-0-545-90574-9
KEEP A POCKET IN YOUR POEM: CLASSIC POEMS AND PLAYFUL PARODIES written and selected by J. Patrick Lewis and Johanna Wright, ill., Wordsong, March 2017, 32p., ISBN: 978-1-59078-921-6
THE STARRY GIRAFFE by Andy Bergmann, Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, June 2017, 40p., ISBN: 978-1-4814-9100-6
VINCENT AND THEO: THE VAN GOGH BROTHERS by Deborah Heiligman, Henry Holt, April 2017, 464p., ISBN: 978-0-8050-9339-1
SAY ZOOP! by Hervé Tullet, Chronicle, August 2017, 64p., ISBN: 978-1-4521-6473-1
JOHN DEERE, THAT’S WHO! by Tracy Nelson Maurer and Tim Zeltner, ill., Henry Holt, March 2017, 40p., ISBN: 978-1-62779-129-8
WHERE ARE YOU? by Sarah Williamson, Knopf, June 2017, 32p., ISBN: 978-1-5247-0063-8 
SATURDAYS WITH HITCHCOCK by Ellen Wittlinger, Charlesbridge, October 2017, 272p., ISBN: 978-1-58089-775-4
THE EPIC FAIL OF ARTURO ZAMORA by Pablo Cartaya, Viking, May 2017, 256p., ISBN: 978-1-101-99723-9
ALL EARS, ALL EYES by Richard Jackson and Katherine Tillotson, ill., Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum, March 2017, 40p., ISBN: 978-1-4814-1571-2
ALEXANDER HAMILTON: THE MAKING OF AMERICA by Teri Kanefield, Amulet, March 2017, 176p., ISBN: 978-1-4197-2578-4
THE SECRET PROJECT by Jonah Winter and Jeanette Winter, Beach Lane/Simon and Schuster, February 2017, 40p., ISBN: 978-1-4814-6913-5

NOPE! by Drew Sheneman, Viking, January 2017, 40p., ISBN: 978-1-101-99731-4 

DEATH ON THE RIVER OF DOUBT: THEODORE ROOSEVELT’S AMAZON ADVENTURE by Samantha Seiple, Scholastic Press, January 2017, 224p., ISBN: 978-0-545-70916-3

LOVING VS. VIRGINIA: A DOCUMENTARY NOVEL OF THE LANDMARK CIVIL RIGHTS CASE by Patricia Hruby Powell and Shadra Strickland, ill., Chronicle, February 2017, 260p., ISBN: 978-1-4521-2590-9









Richie’s Picks: ONE TRUE WAY by Shannon Hitchcock, Scholastic, February 2018, 224p., ISBN: 978-1-338-18172-2

“There will come a time when everybody who is lonely

Will be free to sing and dance and love”

--Frank Zappa, March 1968

“On Monday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal law already prohibits anti-gay employment discrimination. Its 10-3 decision in Zarda v. Altitude Express is a landmark victory for gay rights, affirming the growing judicial consensus that sexual orientation discrimination constitutes discrimination ‘because of sex.’”

--Slate, February 2018

Do you remember your first crush?

“I was changing in all sorts of ways. The girl who had moved to North Carolina six weeks earlier would have never climbed on a horse’s back. That girl would have been too afraid. I felt like Wonder Woman’s kid sister!

I leaned against the fence while Sam turned Penny out to pasture. I watched while she closed the gate and walked toward me. Somehow in that moment, I understood why I was jealous of Phoebe and irritated by poor Webb. I knew why I had raced to answer the phone, and why I could hardly wait to see Sam each day. I liked her. I had a crush on her. It was, to borrow a word from Webb...stupendous!

‘Why do you look so serious?’ Sam asked.

I reached into my back pocket and handed her the gold yarn friendship bracelet. ‘I made it out of school colors for you. Phoebe showed me how.’

Sam slipped it onto her wrist. ‘See? A perfect fit.’

I reached out and touched her arm just above the bracelet. ‘Do you like Phoebe more than me?’

‘I like all my friends.’

But that wasn’t what I was asking.

Sam turned and stared directly into my eyes. ‘I don’t like anybody as much as you.’

My heart hammered so hard I could barely breathe.”

ONE TRUE WAY takes place during the fall of 1977, back in the Stone Age of LGBTQ rights. It’s narrated by twelve-year-old Allie Drake, whose big brother’s recent death in an auto accident has led to her parent’s breakup and, in turn, to her mother relocating with Allie to North Carolina. There, at Daniel Boone Middle School, Allie meets the popular and athletic Samantha (Sam) Johnson. Sam has known that she’s gay since experiencing a crush in second grade.

ONE TRUE WAY is framed around a trio of same-sex relationships:

Allie’s paternal uncle Jeffrey and his male partner, neither of whom we meet, live together up north.

Coach Murphy and English teacher Miss Holt, we learn, are secretly a lesbian couple.

And, potentially, Allie and Sam.

There is plenty of parental tension: Sam’s fundamentalist parents consider homosexuals to be perverts and abominations, and they already suspect the truth about their daughter. Allie’s parents are living a thousand miles apart and Allie is longing for a reconciliation.

Allie briefly experiments with trying to think and act heterosexual, but it’s clear that she can’t rewire herself to conform. Fortunately for Allie and Sam, there are a lot of enlightened and supportive adults in this otherwise backward, rural, 1970’s town. Unfortunately, two of those supporters are Coach Murphy and Miss Holt who are being forced out of their jobs, having been offered a good recommendation in exchange for going away.

Interestingly, in doing a bit of research on the subject, I learned that a few months after this story is set, President Jimmy Carter traveled to California and spoke out against the Briggs Initiative, which would have banned gays, lesbians, and anyone who spoke out in favor of gay rights from teaching in California public schools. Fortunately, it failed.

I can recall, at the end of sixth grade, feeling something special toward a girl for the first time. I’ve often wondered what it was like for my grown-up gay and lesbian friends to first realize that they were attracted to those of the same sex. There aren’t many age-appropriate stories for upper elementary and middle school students that explore this aspect of coming of age.

It’s fulfilling, in the wake of this week’s landmark judicial decision, to be able to read about the past, know that the law is henceforth on the side of fairness and inclusivity, and recognize that--at least in large swaths of America--middle school kids coming to know themselves today don’t have to face what high school friends of mine faced back in our day.

Nevertheless, in her Afterword, the author cites a source stating that “‘suicide is the leading cause of death among Gay and Lesbian youth nationally.’” Not only is it essential that young people have the opportunity to see themselves in books like this, but it is important for the rest of us to become enlightened about what they are experiencing.

Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com



Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.