TBR Pile: Aug 2017

Image credit: Yo Soy Muslim: A Father’s Letter to His Daughters by Mark Gonzales, illus. Mehrdokht Amini (Salaam Reads/S&S, 2017)

Happy August—AKA Eclipse Month here in Oregon and elsewhere. Surely you’ve heard by now (and maybe even purchased a pair or two of eclipse glasses) but on August 21 the moon’s shadow is passing through the continental US for the first time in 40 years. There are also some really exciting books passing through the continental US this month, including The Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution. Read on and share your must-reads in the comments!

Picture Books:

DaCosta, Barbara & Ed Young. Mighty Moby. illus. Ed Young. (8/1/17)

2 stars. THIS. COVER. IS. STUNNING. And this book is so clearly Caldecott material that I can’t help but wonder if Young will take away his 4th gold medal next February.

Gonzales, Mark. Yo Soy Muslim: A Father’s Letter to His Daughters. illus. Mehrdokht Amini. (8/29/17)

0 stars. Is this the first picture book to depict Latinx Muslims? Whether it is or isn’t, this book is surely a treasure. Amini’s illustrations capture the relationship between light and dark so beautifully.

Jackson, Richard. This Beautiful Day. illus. Suzy Lee. (8/1/17)

3 stars. I first fell in love with Lee’s art after reading Wave (2008). Here, Lee continues to portray water—albeit in a different way. If the two titles bear any other resemblances, this new one’s going to be a real treat indeed.

John, Jory. The Bad Seed. illus. Pete Oswald. (8/1/17)

1 star. OK. I wasn’t sure about this book at all until I saw some spreads in Edelweiss. I love Jory John (I Will Chomp You!, 2015) but there’s something about the idea of a “bad seed” that I don’t really love. I worry about heavy-handedness. I’ll give it a chance, though, because of the the visuals.

Tullet, Hervé. Say Zoop! (8/1/17)

1 star. I got to preview this title at ALA and, let me tell you, it is BRILLIANT. Never before have I seen music so beautifully captured in a picture book. Tullet always seems to one-up himself. This is no exception.

Juvenile Fiction:

Clements, Andrew. The Losers Club. (8/1/17)

0 stars. This book is about a white sixth grader named Alec (!) who loves to read more than he loves school. Am I looking into a wormhole into the past? Sixth-grade me would have loved this book!

Delacre, Lulu. Us in Progress: Short Stories about Young Latinos. (8/29/17)

1 star. A collection of short stories about Latinx youth is exactly what publishing needs right now. I can’t wait to delve into this! As I’ve reflected on Cynthia Letitch Smith’s essay “100 Books” in the most recent issue of Kirkus, I’ve decided to heed the call and start my own learning process with books about Latinx individuals.

Pérez, Celia C. The First Rule of Punk. (8/22/17)

2 stars. Malú loves punk rock, zines, and indie record stores. I’m 100% sold. Middle grade can always use more punk rock. Not to mention more kickass Latina narrators.

Warner, Sally. Absolutely Alfie & the Furry, Purry Secret. illus. Shearry Malone. (8/29/17)

0 stars. Just read EllRay Jakes for the first time because it is an OBOB book this year and I loved it. This new series is about EllRay’s endearing little sister Alfie and I’m all about it. Plus, there are furry, purry cats. Yes, please!

Juvenile Nonfiction:

Guglielmo, Amy & Jacqueline Tourville. Pocket Full of Colors: The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire. illus. Brigette Barrager. (8/29/17)

0 stars. I honestly didn’t know who Mary Blair was until The Eric Carle Museum’s exhibition (which I was so sad to miss). But “It’s a Small Word,” a ride Blair designed, was my favorite a kid. As an adult, I’ve become aware of the ride’s troubling racism. The book looks lovely but, according to Kirkus, it skips this crucial piece. I’ll read it nonetheless.

Young Adult Fiction & Nonfiction:

Aldredge, Betsy & DuBois-Shaw, Carrie. Sasquatch, Love, and Other Imaginary Things. (8/8/17)

0 stars. I don’t even really know if this book is going to be any good but I can tell you that the word “sasquatch” carries lots of weight with this cryptid-loving reader.

Bardugo, Leigh. Wonder Woman: Warbringer. (8/29/17)

1 star. I, like so many other viewers, couldn’t get enough of Wonder Woman in the latest movie. But I’m sincerely hoping this tale drops the love story. And maybe we can spend more time on Themyscira?

Kuehn, Stephanie. When I Am Through With You. (8/1/17)

0 stars. I really, really loved Kuehn’s debut, Charm & Strange, and I’m really, really looking forward to this. I feel like she just gets adolescent psychology. This thriller will no doubt surpass its predecessor.

Reynolds, Jason. Miles Morales. (8/1/17)

1 star. Second superhero book on the list but I can’t help it. I’m so ready for a diverse re-envisioning of Spider-Man. Plus, I will literally read anything Jason Reynolds writes. Anything.

Graphic Novels:

Hinds, Gareth. Poe: Stories and Poems. (8/1/17)

0 stars. I still remember 7th grade when Mr. Holmberg read Poe’s work aloud in class. I fell in love that day, and I’m not really a betting man but I think I’m going to fall in love all over again when I read this. Hinds is a master of adaptation and I really think he’ll do Poe justice.

NOTE: The star ratings here do not reflect my own assessment of the titles. Rather, the number indicates the total number of stars earned from the Big Six review journals.

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