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Richie's Picks


great new and upcoming books for children and young adults



All reviews (alphabetically by title):











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You can contact me at richiepartington@gmail.com or 707-293-0012  






DEER RUN HOME by Ann Clare LeZotte, Scholastic Press, October 2024, 224p., ISBN: 978-1-339-02190-4
BROS by Carole Boston Weatherford and Reggie Brown, ill., Candlewick, March 2024, 32p., ISBN: 978-1-5362-2041-4
MAX IN THE HOUSE OF SPIES by Adam Gidwitz, Penguin Random House/Dutton, February 2024, 336p., ISBN: 978-0-593-11208-3
GRACE NOTES: POEMS ABOUT FAMILIES by Naomi Shihab Nye, HarperCollins/Greenwillow, May 2024, 240p., ISBN: 978-0-06-269187-3
THE QUIET FOREST by Charlotte Offsay and Abi Cushman, ill., Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman, March 2024, 40p., ISBN: 978-1-6659-2642-3
MADE IN ASIAN AMERICA: A HISTORY FOR YOUNG PEOPLE by Erika Lee and Christina Soontornvat, HarperCollins/Quill Tree, April 2024, 320p., ISBN: 978-0-06-324293-7
THE NIGHT WAR by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Penguin Random House/Dial, March 2024, 288p., ISBN: 978-0-7352-2856-6 
LOUDER THAN HUNGER by John Schu, Candlewick, March 2024, 526p., ISBN: 978-1-5362-2909-7
FERRIS by Kate DiCamillo, Candlewick, March 2024, 240p., ISBN: 978-1-5362-3105-2
FAKER by Gordon Korman, Scholastic Press, July 2024, 224p., ISBN: 978-1-338-82675-3
BLACK GIRL YOU ARE ATLAS by Renée Watson and Ekua Holmes, ill., Penguin Random House/Kokila, February 2024, 96p., ISBN: 978-0-593-46170-9
FOREST by Christie Matheson, Chronicle/Princeton Architectural Press, April 2024, 44p., ISBN: 978-1-7972-2849-5
CONNOR KISSED ME by Zehava and Sarah K. Turner, ill., Lee & Low, September 2023, 40p., ISBN: 978-1-64379-118-0
TOMORROW’S LILY by Chris Raschka, HarperCollins/Greenwillow, February 2024, 32p., ISBN: 978-0-06-304937-6
SHACKLED: A TALE OF WRONGED KIDS, ROGUE JUDGES, AND A TOWN THAT LOOKED AWAY by Candy J. Cooper, Astra/Calkins Creek, April 2024, 192p., ISBN: 978-1-6626-2013-3
WHY? A STORY FOR KIDS WHO HAVE LOST A PARENT TO SUICIDE by Melissa Allen Heath, PhD and Frances Ives, ill., American Psychological Association/Magination Press, September 2023, 32p., ISBN: 978-1-4338-4196-5
THE MISFITS: A ROYAL CONUNDRUM by Lisa Yee and Dan Santat, ill., Random House, 288p., ISBN: 978-1-9848-3029-6
ULTRAVIOLET by Aida Salazar, Scholastic/Scholastic Press April 2024, 304p., ISBN: 978-1-338-77565-5
PEDAL BALANCE,STEER:ANNIE LONDONDERRY by Vivian Kirkfield and Alison Jay, ill., Astra/Calkins Creek, February 2024, 40p., ISBN: 978-1-63592-682-8  
THE WALK by Winsome Bingham and E.B. Lewis, ill., Abrams, September 2023, 40p., ISBN: 978-1-4197-4772-4
SHUT UP, THIS IS SERIOUS by Carolina Ixta, HarperCollins/Quill Tree, January 2024, 368p., ISBN: 978-0-06-328786-0
 JIMMY’S RHYTHM & BLUES:THE EXTRAORDINARY LIFE OF JAMES BALDWIN by Michelle Meadows and Jamiel Law, ill., HarperCollins/Harper, January 2024, 48p., ISBN: 978-0-06-327347-4
LIKE SO by Ruth Forman and Raissa Figueroa, Simon & Schuster/Little Simon, January 2024, 40p., ISBN: 978-1-6659-1754-4
THE GIRL WHO FOUGHT BACK: VLADKA MEED AND THE WARSAW GHETTO UPRISING by Joshua M. Greene, Scholastic/Scholastic Focus, April 2024, 160p., ISBN: 978-1-338-88051-9
THE ENIGMA GIRLS: HOW TEN TEENAGERS BROKE CIPHERS, KEPT SECRETS, AND HELPED WIN WORLD WAR II by Candace Fleming, Scholastic Focus, March 2024, 384p., ISBN: 978-1-338-74957-1
COLOSSAL WORDS FOR KIDS by Colette Miller and Tor Freeman, ill., Quarto/Frances Lincoln, May 2024, 80p., ISBN: 978-0-7112-7875-2

FIGHTING WITH LOVE: THE LEGACY OF JOHN LEWIS by Lesa Cline-Ransome and James E. Ransome, ill., Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman, January 2024, 48p., ISBN: 978-1-5344-9662-0 

REMEMBER US by Jacqueline Woodson, Penguin Random House/Nancy Paulsen, October 2023, 192p., ISBN: 978-0-399-54546-7
AMERICA REDUX: VISUAL STORIES FROM OUR DYNAMIC HISTORY by Ariel Aberg-Riger, HarperCollins/Balzer and Bray, May 2023, 304p., ISBN: 978-0-06-305753-1
THE PUPPETS OF SPELHORST by Kate DiCamillo and Julie Morstad, ill., Candlewick, October 2023, 160p., ISBN: 978-1-5362-1675-2
WISHING SEASON by Anica Mrose Rissi, HarperCollins/Quill Tree, June 2023, 240p., ISBN: 978-0-06-325890-7
THE MONA LISA VANISHES: A LEGENDARY PAINTER, A SHOCKING HEIST, AND THE BIRTH OF A GLOBAL CELEBRITY by Nicholas Day and Brett Helquist, ill., Penguin Random House/Random House Studio, September 2023, 288p., ISBN: 978-0-593-64384-6

A WORK IN PROGRESS by Jarrett Lerner, Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, May 2023, 368p., ISBN: 978-1-6659-0515-2

YOU ARE HERE: CONNECTING FLIGHTS edited by Ellen Oh, HarperCollins/Allida, March 2023, 272p., ISBN: 978-0-06-323908-1

RUN AND HIDE: HOW JEWISH YOUTH ESCAPED THE HOLOCAUST by Don Brown, HarperCollins/Clarion, October 2023, 192p., ISBN: 978-0-35-853816-5

GATHER by Kenneth M. Cadow, Candlewick, October 2023, 336p., ISBN: 978-1-5362-3111-3

HOW TO WRITE A POEM by Kwame Alexander, Deanna Nikaido, and Melissa Sweet, ill., HarperCollins/Quill Tree, April 2023, 32p., ISBN: 978-0-06-306090-6
FROM HERE by Luma Mufleh, Penguin Random House/Nancy Paulsen, May 2023, 320p., ISBN: 978-0-593-35445-2
FOUR EYES by Rex Ogle and Dave Valeza, ill., Scholastic Graphix, May 2023, 224p., ISBN: 978-1-338-57497-5
PENNY AND PIP by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann, ill., S&S/Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, June 2023, 40p., ISBN: 978-1-6659-1331-7
DOWN THE HOLE by Scott Slater and Adam Ming, ill., HarperCollins/Clarion, October 2023, 40p., ISBN: 978-0-35-868334-6
PARACHUTE KIDS by Betty C. Tang, Scholastic Graphix, April 2023, 288p., ISBN: 978-1-338-83268-6
PIZZA, PICKLES, AND APPLE PIE by David Rickert, Astra/Kane, October 2023, 128p., ISBN: 978-1-6626-7013-8
A WAY TO THE STARS by David Almond and Gill Smith, Candlewick, November 2023, 32p., ISBN: 978-1-5362-3125-0
THE BLOOD YEARS by Elana K. Arnold, HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, October 2023, 400p., ISBN: 978-0-06-299085-3
KOZO THE SPARROW by Allen Say, HarperCollins/Clarion, October 2023, 40p., ISBN: 978-0-06-324846-5
TETHERED TO OTHER STARS by Elisa Stone Leahy, HarperCollins/Quill Tree, October 2023, 320p., ISBN: 978-0-06-325548-7
WATER DAY by Margarita Engle and Olivia Sua, ill., Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, August 2023, 40p., ISBN: 978-1-6659-1871-8
SMALL PLACES CLOSE TO HOME: A CHILDREN’S DECLARATION OF RIGHTS by Deborah Hopkinson and Kate Gardiner, ill., HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, October 2023, 40p., ISBN: 978-0-06-309258-7
STOMP AND CHOMP: MY FIRST BOOK OF DINOSAURS by Simon Mole and Matt Hunt, ill,, Candlewick, October 2023, 80p., ISBN: 978-1-5362-324-3
I AM STUCK by Julia Mills, HarperCollins/Clarion, September 2023, 48p., ISBN: 978-0-35-869533-2 
ACCOUNTABLE: THE TRUE STORY OF A RACIST SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT AND THE TEENAGERS WHOSE LIVES IT CHANGED by Dashka Slater, Macmillan/Farrar Straus & Giroux, August 2023, 496p., ISBN: 978-0-374-31434-7 
MORE THAN A DREAM: THE RADICAL MARCH ON WASHINGTON FOR JOBS AND FREEDOM by Yohuru Williams and Michael G. Long, Macmillan/Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers, August 2023, 272p., ISBN: 978-0-374-39174-4 
GRANDPA IS HERE! by Tanya Rosie and Chuck Groenink, ill., Candlewick, August 2023, 40p., ISBN: 978-1-5362-3126-7
THE PROBABILITY OF EVERYTHING by Sara Everett, HarperCollins/Clarion, June 2023, 336p., ISBN: 978-0-06-325655-2
UPS AND DOWNS: A BOOK OF EMOTIONS by Mike Wohnoutka, Candlewick, September 2023, 32p., ISVN: 978-1-5362-2737-6
HOW DOES SANTA GO DOWN THE CHIMNEY? by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, ill., Candlewick, September 2023, 32p., ISBN: 978-1-5362-2376-7
THE FIRE, THE WATER, AND MAUDIE MCGINN by Sally J. Pla, HarperCollins/Quill Tree, July 2023, 336p., ISBN: 978-0-06-326879-1

IN THE BLUE by Erin Hourigan, Little Brown, May 2022, 40p., ISBN: 978-0-316-49762-6 

FISH AND WORM (I Can Read! Comics, Level 1) by Sergio Ruzzier, Harper Alley, May 2023, 48p., ISBN: 978-0-06-329035-8
SIMON AND THE BETTER BONE by Corey R. Tabor, HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, May 2023, 40p., ISBN: 978-0-06-327555-3
WHAT MY DADDY LOVES by Raissa Figueroa, HarperCollins/Clarion, May 2023, 32p., ISBN: 978-0-35-858877-1
I AM NOT ALONE by Francisco X. Stork, Scholastic Press, July 2023, 320p., ISBN: 978-1-338-73626-7
THE LABORS OF HERCULES BEAL by Gary D. Schmidt, HarperCollins/Clarion, May 2023, 352p., ISBN: 978-0-358-65963-1
A LONG TIME COMING: A LYRICAL BIOGRAPHY OF RACE IN AMERICA FROM ONA JUDGE TO BARACK OBAMA by Ray Anthony Shepard and R. Gregory Christie, ill., Astra/Calkins Creek, August 2023, 336p., ISBN: 978-1-6626-8066-3
IMPOSSIBLE ESCAPE: A TRUE STORY OF SURVIVAL AND HEROISM IN NAZI EUROPE by Steve Sheinkin, Roaring Brook, August 2023, 256p., ISBN: 978-1-250-26572-2
BIG TREE by Brian Selznick, Scholastic Press, April 2023, 528p., ISBN: 978-1-338-18063-3
THE GREATEST KID IN THE WORLD by John David Anderson, HarperCollins/Walden Pond Press, May 2023, 368p., ISBN: 978-0-06-298603-0
A LIBRARY by Nikki Giovanni and Erin K. Robinson, ill., HarperCollins/Versify, September 2023, 32p., ISBN: 978-0-35-838765-7

resources: fish in the sea; trees in the forests; coal and petroleum deposits; and fresh water. In a succinct picture book text, she shows how decisions made today regarding these essential resources will significantly impact the quality of life in the present time as well as the condition of the planet that we will leave for future generations.

COMMON GROUND has been around for 23 years, and I still haven't found a book that does a better job of explaining so clearly what is at stake. 

The author concludes by pointing out that, unlike the long-ago villagers who could just move on, “Now we don’t have anyplace else to go.”

Richie Partington, MLIS

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



BEST DAY EVER! by Marilyn Singer and Leah Nixon, ill., Clarion, May 2021, 32p., ISBN: 978-1-328-98783-9


THE MONKEY TRIAL: JOHN SCOPES AND THE BATTLE OVER TEACHING EVOLUTION by Anita Sanchez, Clarion, March 2023, 192p., ISBN: 978-0-35-845769-5

Richie’s Picks: SMALL PLACES CLOSE TO HOME: A CHILDREN’S DECLARATION OF RIGHTS by Deborah Hopkinson and Kate Gardiner, ill., HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray, October 2023, 40p., ISBN: 978-0-06-309258-7

“You've got to try a little kindness

Yes, show a little kindness

Just shine your light for everyone to see

And if you try a little kindness

Then you'll overlook the blindness

Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets”

– Glen Campbell (1970)

SMALL PLACES CLOSE TO HOME by Deborah Hopkinson is rich in history and incredibly significant for today’s young readers:

“I am part of my family 

and the human family.

I was born free and equal, 

like each and every person 

in the world.

I deserve to live in freedom, 

in a just and peaceful place, 

and to be treated equally and fairly 

no matter what I look like, 

how I speak, dress, 

or wear my hair, 

who I love, 

or where I live. 

And it’s up to me to respect the rights 

of others to do the same.

I have the right to my own 

private thoughts. 

I am free to choose what I 

think and believe. 

And it’s up to me to listen 

and respect how others think 

and believe too”

This excellent piece of illustrated nonfiction is inspired by–and depicts the power and sanctity of–the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Back in 1948, in the aftermath of the Holocaust and WWII, this Declaration was a potent document. Its crafting and adoption by the General Assembly of the then-brand-new United Nations, was overseen by Eleanor Roosevelt. Ms. Roosevelt, the recently-widowed former First Lady, was one of America’s first delegates to the international body.

SMALL PLACES CLOSE TO HOME focuses visually on a young child of color from a mixed-race household. In illustrating the rights of the universal child, the book is organized into sections of “Me,” “My School and Community,” “My Country and World.”

“I have the right to peace,

in a world where all human beings,

as well as animals, birds,

insects, fish, plants,

and trees are treasured.

I have the right to live on Earth

and to work with others to 

restore and care for our planet

and its wondrous mountains,

wildlands, rivers, and seas.

I have the right to dream

of what I want to do in this world

to make life better for all living things.”

Kate Gardiner’s muted gouache and colored-pencil illustrations depict a broad diversity of people and critters on the planet.

Seventy-five years after its adoption, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights remains far more an aspirational dream, rather than reality, for far too many of our fellow humans. Hopefully, teachers, librarians, and parents will share this book and point out how these rights can and should, indeed, begin at home, in the classroom, and in the community. Learning to express respect for and kindness toward the diverse people and creatures in our own spaces–as opposed to bullying, name-calling, and scorning differences–is great practice for growing up to empathize with those whose appearances, cultures, and beliefs are foreign to us.

This all makes SMALL PLACES CLOSE TO HOME an essential purchase and read.

Richie Partington, MLIS

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




Richie’s Picks: TOMORROW’S LILY by Chris Raschka, HarperCollins/Greenwillow, February 2024, 32p., ISBN: 978-0-06-304937-6

“Half a mile from the county fair

And the rain came pourin' down

Me and Billy standin' there

With a silver half a crown

Hands are full of a fishin' rod

And the tackle on our backs

We just stood there gettin' wet

With our backs against the fence”

– Van Morrison (1970)

Fifty-plus years ago, back in high school, Jamie, a dear friend, sadly now long-gone from this world, turned me on to Van Morrison. I can still see myself riding shotgun in his parent’s maroon Pontiac 442, as we cruised around suburbia listening to the Moondance album on the cassette player. Since then, it has always made me happy (sometimes with a real touch of wistfulness), to hear Van the Man’s distinctive pipes on the radio, or Pandora, or pouring out of a shop doorway down on Haight Street. 

“Monday’s lily blooms for the baby.

Tuesday’s lily blooms for the cat.

Wednesday’s lily blooms for Mommy.

Thursday’s lily blooms just like that.”

And that’s how it feels for me to discover a beautiful, new, Chris Raschka picture book in the mailbox. Raschka’s style is as distinctive and recognizable as Mr. Morrison’s.  My fond memories of Chris’s work date back a generation-plus to my life and times at the childcare center. 

Nowadays, after two Caldecott Medals and a Caldecott Honor, Raschka is at least as well-known in our children’s lit world as Van Morrison is in his. And the evocative, just-published TOMORROW’S LILY is a classic in the making. 

“We’re all like lilies.

We bloom for others.

Just like lilies,

we come and we go.

But the memories of lilies lasts forever,

like the memory of friends we know.

Pretty lily, a joy to see.

Precious lily, 

bloom for me.”

In TOMORROW’S LILY, Raschka’s lovingly familiar animal, slug, and bug buddies populate a yard in which a colorful septet of daylilies each bloom, in turn, for a day. 

So, you have the concept of the seven days of the week. And you have the complex concept of impermanence, and how it relates to us, our friends, our family members, and others who come and go over the course of our journeys through life.

And that is just right. Beautiful enough visually to keep everyone watching the page-turns. Just enough abstraction to fire up those chemical and electrical signals in the minds of pre-Ks and kindergarteners at circle time, and cause them to subsequently mull over these concepts as they move on with their days to art projects, wooden blocks, dramatic play, and the jungle gym. 

TOMORROW’S LILY is a perfect, lyrical read, and a stunning work of art that the kids will delight in paging through it individually, and close up. What more can one ask for?

And for whom will you bloom today?

Richie Partington, MLIS

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



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