A warm, unforgettable story about following your passions and being yourself.

MAYA AND THE ROBOT

Maya hopes that a new robot friend can help her salvage her fifth grade year.

Since kindergarten, Maya’s been in the same class as her best friends, MJ and Jada—but not this year. And the thought of making new friends offers little comfort. One day, while helping out at Mr. Mac’s neighborhood store, Maya discovers an unfinished robot named Ralph that was designed by Christopher, Mr. Mac’s son. Maya is smart and dreams about universities like Stanford (which Christopher attended) that have big robotics labs. When Mr. Mac allows Maya to take the robot home, she hopes that finishing Ralph for her school science fair project will bring her one step closer to showing everyone her science prowess and maybe even solving her friendship problem. Of course, life with a robot is anything but simple, and along the way Maya learns important things about robotics as well as friendship, grief, and loss. In Maya, Ewing has created an instantly sympathetic character who shares a special bond with a really cool robot. Maya’s parents aren’t together, and while she lives primarily with her mother, her relationship with her father is loving and close. The dialogue in the novel is especially authentic, funny, and moving. Almeda’s illustrations are exuberant and expressive, adding to the emotional texture of the story. Maya and most major characters are Black, and they live in a close-knit, multicultural neighborhood.

A warm, unforgettable story about following your passions and being yourself. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984814-63-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2021

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale.

A TRUE HOME

From the Heartwood Hotel series , Vol. 1

An orphan mouse unexpectedly arrives at Heartwood Hotel, which she hopes will become the home she’s seeking.

Mona’s never had a home for long. After a storm forces her to flee her latest forest shelter, she discovers an enormous tree with a heart carved into its trunk. When Mona presses the heart, a door opens, and she enters the lobby of Heartwood Hotel, where small forest critters hibernate, eat, and celebrate in safety. The kindhearted badger proprietor, Mr. Heartwood, takes pity on homeless Mona, allowing her to stay for the fall to assist the maid, Tilly, a red squirrel. Grateful to be at Heartwood, Mona strives to prove herself despite Tilly’s unfriendly attitude. Mona’s clever approaches with a wounded songbird, an anxious skunk, and a wayward bear win Mr. Heartwood’s approval. But when Mona accidentally breaks a rule, Tilly convinces her she will be fired. As Mona secretly leaves Heartwood, she discovers marauding wolves planning to crash Heartwood’s Snow Festival and devises a daring plan to save the place she regards as home. Charming anthropomorphic characters, humorous mishaps, and outside threats add to the drama. Delicate pencil illustrations reinforce Heartwood’s cozy home theme. A sequel, The Greatest Gift, publishes simultaneously.

A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale. (Animal fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-3161-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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