A compelling read about learning to work well with others.

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From the Horse Country series , Vol. 2

A sixth grader contends with both a stubborn horse and the reluctant first student in her ranch’s new scholarship program.

In this sequel to Can’t Be Tamed (2022), ranch manager’s daughter Carolina Aguasvivas continues adjusting to changes at their Idaho ranch. Her friendship with Chelsie, the new owner’s daughter, has cemented, and the two are excited about launching the scholarship program they initiated for kids who can’t afford riding lessons. Carolina is anxious, fearing that its success will hinge on its first recipient’s providing a rave review to the program’s sponsor; unfortunately, things get off to a rocky start when 10-year-old Gisella turns out to be afraid of horses. Originally from Venezuela and homesick after moving from Miami, Gisella also seems to prefer hanging out with Chelsie, who is patient with her nerves and whose Spanish is strong thanks to her Argentine dad. Though she knows some Spanish from her own father’s side of the family, Carolina feels left out of Chelsie and Gisella’s Spanish conversations. Making things worse, Shadow, the horse Carolina’s been assigned to ride, refuses to take direction from her. But nothing is as bad as it seems, and things look up when Carolina realizes she can communicate in more ways than simply by telling others what to do—including by paying close attention to unspoken signals and teaching by example. This heartwarming story thoughtfully presents tween relationships alongside appealing animal content.

A compelling read about learning to work well with others. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: June 28, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-74948-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

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THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

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    Best Books Of 2014

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Newbery Honor Book

  • Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner

  • National Book Award Winner

BROWN GIRL DREAMING

A multiaward–winning author recalls her childhood and the joy of becoming a writer.

Writing in free verse, Woodson starts with her 1963 birth in Ohio during the civil rights movement, when America is “a country caught / / between Black and White.” But while evoking names such as Malcolm, Martin, James, Rosa and Ruby, her story is also one of family: her father’s people in Ohio and her mother’s people in South Carolina. Moving south to live with her maternal grandmother, she is in a world of sweet peas and collards, getting her hair straightened and avoiding segregated stores with her grandmother. As the writer inside slowly grows, she listens to family stories and fills her days and evenings as a Jehovah’s Witness, activities that continue after a move to Brooklyn to reunite with her mother. The gift of a composition notebook, the experience of reading John Steptoe’s Stevie and Langston Hughes’ poetry, and seeing letters turn into words and words into thoughts all reinforce her conviction that “[W]ords are my brilliance.” Woodson cherishes her memories and shares them with a graceful lyricism; her lovingly wrought vignettes of country and city streets will linger long after the page is turned.

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25251-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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