A timely, entertaining, unforgettable story about family, friendship, and finding your voice.

SOMETHING TO SAY

A new friend brings Jenae new challenges that move her out of her comfort zone.

On the first day of junior high, Jenae doesn’t have any friends, and she feels invisible. Then she meets redhead Aubrey, who is also Black, and he’s a huge fan of “Astrid Dane,” Jenae’s favorite YouTube show. Aubrey is loud and un–self-conscious while Jenae just wants to fade into the background. A class debate assignment is Jenae’s worst nightmare but a dream come true for Aubrey, who aspires to join the debate team. When they partner up, can Jenae face her fear of public speaking—and will her friendship with Aubrey survive? Jenae’s funny, candid voice makes her instantly endearing. Readers will also relate to her relationships with her tough-but-loving mother, her big brother, and her grandpa, who encourages Jenae to speak up. Fans of Ramée’s A Good Kind of Trouble (2019) will appreciate the subplot involving a controversial proposal to change the name of Jenae’s school, from John Wayne Junior High to Sylvia Mendez Junior High, to honor the Mexican American girl who integrated a California school years before Brown v. Board of Education. Indigo’s grayscale illustrations punctuate the generously leaded text.

A timely, entertaining, unforgettable story about family, friendship, and finding your voice. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-283671-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Plays to Rowling’s fan base; equally suited for gifting and reading aloud or alone.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE CHRISTMAS PIG

A 7-year-old descends into the Land of the Lost in search of his beloved comfort object.

Jack has loved Dur Pig long enough to wear the beanbag toy into tattered shapelessness—which is why, when his angry older stepsister chucks it out the car window on Christmas Eve, he not only throws a titanic tantrum and viciously rejects the titular replacement pig, but resolves to sneak out to find DP. To his amazement, the Christmas Pig offers to guide him to the place where all lost Things go. Whiffs of childhood classics, assembled with admirable professionalism into a jolly adventure story that plays all the right chords, hang about this tale of loss and love. Along with family drama, Rowling stirs in fantasy, allegory, and generous measures of social and political commentary. Pursued by the Land’s cruel and monstrous Loser, Jack and the Christmas Pig pass through territories from the Wastes of the Unlamented, where booger-throwing Bad Habits roam, to the luxurious City of the Missed for encounters with Hope, Happiness, and Power (a choleric king who rejects a vote that doesn’t go his way). A joyful reunion on the Island of the Beloved turns poignant, but Christmas Eve being “a night for miracles and lost causes,” perhaps there’s still a chance (with a little help from Santa) for everything to come right? In both the narrative and Field’s accomplished, soft-focus illustrations, the cast presents White.

Plays to Rowling’s fan base; equally suited for gifting and reading aloud or alone. (Fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-79023-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

GHOSTS

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

more