At once magical and rooted in reality, an engaging story of life, love, family, and heart.

SECOND SLEEP

The second sleep of the night is often the sweetest.

Twelve-year-old Max’s mom has disappeared, leaving only a cryptic voicemail message saying that she’s OK and is going to help an old friend. He and his 8-year-old sister, Rosie, go with Mozelle, their maternal grandmother, to help clean out her family cabin and distract themselves. Expecting a boring week (no Wi-Fi!), Max is surprised to meet Lila, who is a fast and loyal friend, and her friends: Lenny, Dee, and shy, artistic Henry. But he realizes he only sees them when he falls into his second sleep, the period of rest after a middle-of-the-night spell of wakefulness, during which he enters into a magical dream world—or is it? Fun nights, but slow days, are interspersed with concern about his mother, as no new information comes to light about her whereabouts. Getting to know his new friends better, Max thinks he might see a link between them and his mother’s disappearance. Max’s attempts to solve his present tie directly to figuring out his mother’s past, something he cannot accomplish on his own. This is a book for those who love adventure, mystery, and journeys to self-realization. It’s a story with depth and heart, with fully fleshed out characters and, even though the opportunity is there, a delightful lack of cynicism. Characters present as White.

At once magical and rooted in reality, an engaging story of life, love, family, and heart. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-265803-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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A road trip to remember.

CLEAN GETAWAY

Using the Negro Travelers’ Green Book and her hidden past as a road map, a grandma takes her grandson on a cross country journey.

When G’ma pulls up to William “Scoob” Lamar’s house in a brand-new Winnebago and invites him on an adventure, Scoob leaves a note for his dad and jumps in. Despite not knowing where they are going, or why G’ma has traded in her Mini Cooper and house for the RV, Scoob is a willing wingman because he wants to save spring break and escape his strict single dad for a few days. Readers will appreciate the bond between Scoob and G’ma; Stone balances fun with emotion for a compelling read. After they cross from Georgia to Alabama and G’ma keeps avoiding Dad’s calls, Scoob begins to get suspicious. When G’ma lets him see the contents of her once off-limits treasure box, which includes a 1963 edition of the Travelers’ Green Book, Scoob understands this trip means much more than even he imagined. The complex role race plays in their family and on this trip—Scoob is mixed-race and presents black, and G’ma is white—is explored in a meaningful way that provides details about a period in time as well as present-day realities. Rich in history, Stone’s middle-grade debut entertains and informs young readers. The subdued ending may frustrate, but the journey, punctuated by Anyabwile’s grayscale cartoons, is well worth it.

A road trip to remember. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9297-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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A sympathetic, compelling introduction to wolves from the perspective of one wolf and his memorable journey.

A WOLF CALLED WANDER

Separated from his pack, Swift, a young wolf, embarks on a perilous search for a new home.

Swift’s mother impresses on him early that his “pack belongs to the mountains and the mountains belong to the pack.” His father teaches him to hunt elk, avoid skunks and porcupines, revere the life that gives them life, and “carry on” when their pack is devastated in an attack by enemy wolves. Alone and grieving, Swift reluctantly leaves his mountain home. Crossing into unfamiliar territory, he’s injured and nearly dies, but the need to run, hunt, and live drives him on. Following a routine of “walk-trot-eat-rest,” Swift traverses prairies, canyons, and deserts, encountering men with rifles, hunger, thirst, highways, wild horses, a cougar, and a forest fire. Never imagining the “world could be so big or that I could be so alone in it,” Swift renames himself Wander as he reaches new mountains and finds a new home. Rife with details of the myriad scents, sounds, tastes, touches, and sights in Swift/Wander’s primal existence, the immediacy of his intimate, first-person, present-tense narration proves deeply moving, especially his longing for companionship. Realistic black-and-white illustrations trace key events in this unique survival story, and extensive backmatter fills in further factual information about wolves and their habitat.

A sympathetic, compelling introduction to wolves from the perspective of one wolf and his memorable journey. (additional resources, map) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-289593-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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