An eye-opening, inspiring story of growing up, facing obstacles, and chasing your dreams anyway.

DREAM, ANNIE, DREAM

A Japanese American girl pursues her dreams amid the racism of middle school in 1987 Kansas.

Twelve-year-old Aoi Inoue has big dreams. She dreams of playing basketball in the NBA. She dreams of becoming an actress and winning an Oscar. Being one of the only Asian kids isn’t easy, however, and facing endless hassles with her name, she reinvents herself as Annie Enoway. An exciting opportunity arises when the local theater puts on the play Annie—but is it realistic to hope to be cast as the famous redhead? When seventh grade starts, Annie makes the basketball team and gets a more prominent role than she expected in the school play, The King and I, but that in turn brings accusations from peers of an unfair advantage based on race. As Annie takes part in all these activities, she keeps encountering people with opinions and biases about who she is and what she can do as an Asian girl. Navigating middle school also includes the complications of a first crush, strict teachers, and changing friendships. This is a captivating coming-of-age story of determination, as bilingual Annie begins to understand the racism she, her brother, and her immigrant parents face daily. Brown eloquently addresses the history of Asian immigration, microaggressions, the model minority myth, stereotyping, and the impact of the lack of representation.

An eye-opening, inspiring story of growing up, facing obstacles, and chasing your dreams anyway. (author's note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-301716-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

NIGHTBIRD

There’s a monster in Sidwell, Massachusetts, that can only be seen at night or, as Twig reveals, if passersby are near her house.

It’s her older brother, James, born with wings just like every male in the Fowler line for the last 200 years. They were cursed by the Witch of Sidwell, left brokenhearted by their forebear Lowell Fowler. Twig and James are tired of the secret and self-imposed isolation. Lonely Twig narrates, bringing the small town and its characters to life, intertwining events present and past, and describing the effects of the spell on her fractured family’s daily life. Longing for some normalcy and companionship, she befriends new-neighbor Julia while James falls in love with Julia’s sister, Agate—only to learn they are descendants of the Witch. James and Agate seem as star-crossed as their ancestors, especially when the townspeople attribute a spate of petty thefts and graffiti protesting the development of the woods to the monster and launch a hunt. The mix of romance and magic is irresistible and the tension, compelling. With the help of friends and through a series of self-realizations and discoveries, Twig grows more self-assured. She is certain she knows how to change the curse. In so doing, Twig not only changes James’ fate, but her own, for the first time feeling the fullness of family, friends and hope for the future.

Enchanting. (Magical realism. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-38958-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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