Shelf Awareness for Readers for Friday, June 29, 2018
From My Shelf
Curious Origins of Common Phrases
"Called on the carpet," for example. Mental Floss shared "the curious origins of 16 common phrases."
Author Laura Bates recommended "five books on how to achieve gender equality" for the Guardian.
Pop quiz: "How good of a rhymer are you?" Buzzfeed challenged.
"This choose-your-path fairy tale justifies the existence of Twitter," Electric Lit promised.
Mental Floss shared "14 freaky facts about R.L. Stine's Fear Street books."
In England, the "red letters in the literary pavement" leading to the Liverpool Central Library "form a mysterious code."
Rediscover: Donald Hall
Poet Donald Hall died on June 23 at Eagle Pond Farm in Wilmot, N.H. He was 89. Hall was appointed U.S. poet laureate in 2006 and awarded the National Medal of the Arts in 2010. He wrote almost to the end of a career that spanned more than 60 years, beginning with the publication at age 26 of Exiles and Marriages and continuing through Essays After Eighty (2014). His most recent poetry collection, The Selected Poems of Donald Hall, was released in 2015.
In 1972, Hall married Jane Kenyon, his former student at the University of Michigan. They eventually moved to the New Hampshire farm his family had owned for a century, which revolutionized his poetry, beginning with Kicking the Leaves, in 1978. Hall turned his poem "The Ox-Cart Man" into a bestselling children's book, and his book-length poem, The One Day, won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. After Kenyon died of leukemia in 1995 at age 47, the rest of Hall's life was marked by grief, and he produced works like Without (1999), The Painted Bed (2003) and the memoir The Best Day the Worst Day: Life with Jane Kenyon (2006). Hall's final book, A Carnival of Losses: Notes Nearing Ninety, will be published on July 10 (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25, 9781328826343).
Proud All Year Round
Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders, illus. by Steven Salerno (Random House, $17.99, 48p., ages 5-8, 9780399555312)
The life of Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay people to hold political office in the United States, ended tragically. Older kids may be ready for the whole story, but Sanders offers little ones an age-appropriate introduction through one of his overlooked contributions to the gay rights movement: the rainbow flag.
In Pride, Milk is first shown mulling over his "extraordinary dream": that "everyone--even gay people--would have equality." Then it's on to the campaign trail in 1977: Milk has determined that "the best way to change laws was to help make laws." While organizing a march in opposition to laws that discriminate against gay people, Milk seizes on the idea of "a symbol that shows who we are and how we feel. Something to carry during the march." Milk asks artist Gilbert Baker to come up with the symbol, and Baker creates the majestic rainbow flag that makes its debut on June 25, 1978, at San Francisco's gay pride march.
Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love (Candlewick Press, $16.99, 40p., ages 4-8, 9780763690458)
Riding the subway with his grandmother, young Julián notices three glamorous passengers he's convinced are mermaids. "Julián LOVES mermaids." On the stroll home, he asks, "Abuela, did you see the mermaids?" She replies, "I saw them, mijo." "Abuela," Julián says, "I am also a mermaid."
Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender (Scholastic Press, $17.99, 224p., ages 9-13, 9781338129304)
Caroline Murphy has always heard that her birth during a hurricane cursed her with bad luck, and the story seems true. At the Catholic school she attends in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Caroline has no friends and teacher Missus Wilhelmina loathes Caroline because her skin is "darker than even the paintings of African queens hanging in the tourist shops." At home on Water Island, Caroline lives with her father, her mother's absence and the spirits. Then she meets Kalinda Francis, a new classmate from Barbados. Caroline is shocked to realize Kalinda can see spirits, too, but even more shocked when the popular girl becomes her close friend. However, Caroline will never feel whole unless she finds her mother, and her growing romantic feelings for Kalinda threaten their bond.
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang (First Second, $16.99, paperback, 288p., ages 10-up, 9781626723634)
Prince Sebastian has a secret. Sixteen and heir to the throne, Sebastian knows he must marry soon and take on the responsibilities of the monarchy. He also knows that "[i]f anybody found out the prince wore dresses, it would ruin the whole family," but he feels the most comfortable when he's wearing "women's" clothing. At a ball in his honor, he sees an extraordinary gown and immediately hires the creator--a young seamstress named Frances--to be his secret personal designer.
And so, Frances begins covertly designing for Prince Sebastian. The more she works, the more she develops her own style, while Prince Sebastian grows more confident and begins to step out in Frances's gowns under the pseudonym Lady Crystallia. Sebastian/Crystallia becomes a trendsetter with her avant-garde couture but Sebastian insists that Frances's connection to him be kept secret at all costs.
Meet Cute by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99, 320p., 9781328759870)
The world is filled with unexpected connections of the heart, and in Meet Cute, 14 YA authors shine their light on how extraordinary and unexpected those moments can be. This anthology, encompassing contemporary realism, fantasy and science fiction tales, features a diverse set of characters, situations and storytellers. The stories range in both genre and style, including themes of love and loss, racial prejudices, sweet first looks, unexpected attraction and missed connections, and each author has created a distinctive character pairing and chance romantic meeting.
Anger Is a Gift by Mark Oshiro (Tor Teen, $17.99, hardcover, 464p., ages 12-up, 9781250167026)
Moss's father was shot by the Oakland police six years ago. The shooting sparked rallies and protests, giving Moss a kind of "weird celebrity status." Now a teenager, Moss suffers from the long-term effects of trauma. He doesn't want to be famous or to be an activist--he simply wants to be able to exist safely as a black teen. It's the beginning of Moss's junior year and he and his diverse group of friends realize that the school's lack of funds is hindering their studies, while implicit racism and classicism are influencing their lives. Students face random locker searches and, eventually, metal detectors at the school's entrance. When a freak accident with one of those metal detectors injures one of Moss's friends, he moves beyond thinking--"caring is all I can do"--and steps into activism. A bright spot in "all of it" is Javier, a Latinx teen who boldly asks Moss out. Both are inexperienced when it comes to dating, and they happily stumble into first love together.
The Shepherd's Hut
by Tim Winton
Discover: Tim Winton's 12th novel features two flawed exiles healing each other in the remote Western Australia outback.
Queen for a Day
by Maxine Rosaler
Discover: This story collection follows parents with special-needs children who struggle to improve the lives of their kids.
The High Season
by Judy Blundell
Discover: The High Season captures the conflict of class between full-time residents and "summer people" in a thoughtful yet comedic novel.
All the Ever Afters: the Untold Story of Cinderella's Stepmother
by Danielle Teller
Discover: In the vein of Gregory Maguire's Wicked, Agnes--Cinderella's evil stepmother--narrates her version of the classic fairy tale.
Mystery & Thriller
The Cabin at the End of the World
by Paul Tremblay
Discover: The Cabin at the End of the World combines a home invasion thriller with apocalyptic fears, following one family's terrible ordeal at the hands of a bizarre group of strangers.
The Death of Mrs. Westaway
by Ruth Ware
Discover: In Ruth Ware's highly anticipated fourth novel, a young tarot reader may be the heiress to a large fortune, if she survives long enough to claim it.
Energy: A Human History
by Richard Rhodes
Discover: Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Rhodes traces the modern history of energy and technology.
Current Events & Issues
Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration
by Alfredo Corchado
Discover: A journalist with close ties to Mexico and the U.S. tells of the Mexican American migration experience over 30 years in this affectionate memoir/history.
Body, Mind & Spirit
Alone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities, and the Pleasures of Solitude
by Stephanie Rosenbloom
Discover: Stephanie Rosenbloom's first book recounts her adventures traveling solo and provides practical tips for readers who want to do the same.
by Nicole Cooley
Discover: This raw and sensuous poetry collection vividly plumbs the vicissitudes of marriage.
Children's & Young Adult
Best Frints at Skrool
by Antoinette Portis
Discover: Yelfred and Omek of Borborp make a new frint at skrool in this sharp and silly sequel to Best Frints in the Whole Universe.
The Legend of Greg
by Chris Rylander
Discover: In this middle grade series opener, Greg Belmont learns that he's not unlucky because he's a Belmont--he's unlucky because he's a Dwarf.
Brick: Who Found Herself in Architecture
by Joshua David Stein, illus. by Julia Rothman
Discover: Young Brick travels to famous brick buildings all over the world in a quest to find out where she belongs.
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NOW WHAT?: A Math Tale
by Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Chris Chatterton
The Bone Charmer
by Breeana Shields