A good book on empathy and friendship, with some Hawaiian culture mixed in.

WISH UPON A SLEEPOVER

Five kids go on a scavenger hunt to make a sleepover soup that will grant their wishes.

Seattleite Leilani is hapa haole, part white and part Hawaiian. Her goal for the sixth grade is to become one of the Haileys, the popular group in school. To show the Haileys she is fun, Leilani throws a Hawaiian luau sleepover. Unfortunately, the invitations actually go to the “DO NOT invite” list: her cousin who farts, Manga Girl (aka Tanisha), and the new boy who has selective mutism. At least her best friend, Autumn, comes too. Bored and hungry, the group decides to make great-grandmother Tutu’s recipe for sleepover soup, a magic soup that requires each of them to add a special ingredient. The scavenger hunt unveils unexpected truths about each of them. Selfors’ novel springs from the classic folktale “Stone Soup” and incorporates tidbits of Hawaiian culture and cosmology, often introduced in Tutu’s sometimes clunkily expository dialogue. Since mainlander Leilani is largely ignorant of her own culture, this didacticism works within the plot, though coverage of cosmology is relatively slight. Overall, the story models not judging others, showing empathy, and friendship. The characters are all very different—an athlete, an artist, a book lover, a child with anxiety, and a girl desperate to be included—appealing to a broad audience. Tanisha is depicted as black on the cover; the other sleepover guests seem to be white.

A good book on empathy and friendship, with some Hawaiian culture mixed in. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-10974-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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?

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often...

CHARLOTTE'S WEB

A successful juvenile by the beloved New Yorker writer portrays a farm episode with an imaginative twist that makes a poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl.

Young Fern Arable pleads for the life of runt piglet Wilbur and gets her father to sell him to a neighbor, Mr. Zuckerman. Daily, Fern visits the Zuckermans to sit and muse with Wilbur and with the clever pen spider Charlotte, who befriends him when he is lonely and downcast. At the news of Wilbur's forthcoming slaughter, campaigning Charlotte, to the astonishment of people for miles around, spins words in her web. "Some Pig" comes first. Then "Terrific"—then "Radiant". The last word, when Wilbur is about to win a show prize and Charlotte is about to die from building her egg sac, is "Humble". And as the wonderful Charlotte does die, the sadness is tempered by the promise of more spiders next spring.

The three way chats, in which they are joined by other animals, about web spinning, themselves, other humans—are as often informative as amusing, and the whole tenor of appealing wit and pathos will make fine entertainment for reading aloud, too.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1952

ISBN: 978-0-06-026385-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1952

Did you like this book?

more