A solid next installment to this detective series centered on friendship.

SHIRLEY & JAMILA'S BIG FALL

The start of school ushers in new friends and a new case in this follow-up to Shirley & Jamila Save Their Summer(2020).

Ten-year-old Jamila Waheed is attending a new school, but luckily her best friend, Shirley Bones, is right by her side. After being inseparable over the summer, school-year busyness brings in a change of routine: homework, lessons, practices, and more. Jamila might have even made herself a second friend, Seena, through her community basketball team. Meanwhile, Shirley’s still on the detective beat. The latest case has the pair pitted against a formidable opponent: notorious sixth grader Chuck Milton. The school bully trades in secrets and wields them against fellow students he extorts, including their client. Can he be stopped? Is breaking and entering ever OK? How about faking a friendship? Goerz’s detailed and expressive art pairs with dynamic dialogue to create a strong cast of characters and plotting. Emotional tension from new and developing friendships and suspense stemming from the case keep the pacing taut. Readers will especially empathize with Jamila as she worries and works to balance friendships with very different people. The neighborhood school setting is diverse: Shirley is White, Jamila is Pakistani Canadian, and Seena is Afghan and Pakistani Canadian.

A solid next installment to this detective series centered on friendship. (Graphic mystery. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-55288-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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Remarkable.

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  • Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Honor Book

PRAIRIE LOTUS

A “half-Chinese and half-white” girl finds her place in a Little House–inspired fictional settler town.

After the death of her Chinese mother, Hanna, an aspiring dressmaker, and her White father seek a fresh start in Dakota Territory. It’s 1880, and they endure challenges similar to those faced by the Ingallses and so many others: dreary travel through unfamiliar lands, the struggle to protect food stores from nature, and the risky uncertainty of establishing a livelihood in a new place. Fans of the Little House books will find many of the small satisfactions of Laura’s stories—the mouthwatering descriptions of victuals, the attention to smart building construction, the glorious details of pleats and poplins—here in abundance. Park brings new depth to these well-trodden tales, though, as she renders visible both the xenophobia of the town’s White residents, which ranges in expression from microaggressions to full-out assault, and Hanna’s fight to overcome it with empathy and dignity. Hanna’s encounters with women of the nearby Ihanktonwan community are a treat; they hint at the whole world beyond a White settler perspective, a world all children deserve to learn about. A deeply personal author’s note about the story’s inspiration may leave readers wishing for additional resources for further study and more clarity about her use of Lakota/Dakota. While the cover art unfortunately evokes none of the richness of the text and instead insinuates insidious stereotypes, readers who sink into the pages behind it will be rewarded.

Remarkable. (Historical fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-78150-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Japanese-American Aki and her family operate an asparagus farm in Westminster, Calif., until they are summarily uprooted and...

SYLVIA & AKI

Two third-grade girls in California suffer the dehumanizing effects of racial segregation after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor in 1942 in this moving story based on true events in the lives of Sylvia Mendez and Aki Munemitsu.

Japanese-American Aki and her family operate an asparagus farm in Westminster, Calif., until they are summarily uprooted and dispatched to an internment camp in Poston, Ariz., for the duration of World War II. As Aki endures the humiliation and deprivation of the hot, cramped barracks, she wonders if there’s “something wrong with being Japanese.” Sylvia’s Mexican-American family leases the Munemitsu farm. She expects to attend the local school but faces disappointment when authorities assign her to a separate, second-rate school for Mexican kids. In response, Sylvia’s father brings a legal action against the school district arguing against segregation in what eventually becomes a successful landmark case. Their lives intersect after Sylvia finds Aki’s doll, meets her in Poston and sends her letters. Working with material from interviews, Conkling alternates between Aki and Sylvia’s stories, telling them in the third person from the war’s start in 1942 through its end in 1945, with an epilogue updating Sylvia’s story to 1955.

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-337-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

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