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Happy Pride! This Day in June

This Day in June, by Gayle E. Pitman/Illustrated by Kristyna Litten, (May 2014, Magination Press), $14.95, ISBN: 978-1-4338-1658-1

Recommended for readers 3-7

It’s a parade, and you’re invited! This rhyming story about a Pride Parade taking place in June is vibrant, fun, and loaded with visuals to delight readers of all ages. It’s a celebration of equality, community, and love. Everyone is represented here: the artwork reflects a truly multicultural crowd of all genders, and children play alongside the bikers, sailors, mermaids, and out and proud marchers. Kids hold onto their proud parents; moms lovingly hug their sons and sons-in-law; everyone is happy and full of joy on this beautiful day.

Image courtesy of School Library Journal

The artwork and accompanying text reflect the excitement and lively atmosphere of the Pride Parade, and couples and singles alike dance and demonstrate affection. Weaving families, children, and pets into the action really communicates a loving community feel. A reading guide at the end provides a couplet by couplet explanation of the images – there’s so much to discover! – and a note to parents and caregivers provides a way to discuss sexual orientation and gender identity with kids for age groups 3-5, 6-12, and 13-18.

Image courtesy of The Baby Book Worm Blog

Author Dr. Gayle E. Pitman is a professor of psychology and women’s studies; her teaching and writing focus on gender and sexual orientation, and she has worked extensively with the LGBTQIA community. She received the American Library Association’s Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Book Award for This Day in June in 2015.

There is so much to love about This Day in June. Put this at the top of your Pride Storytime list!

Image courtesy of Electric Literature

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Peeking in, catching up

Hi, all. I’m sorry it’s been a few days since I’ve checked in – believe me, it’s not for lack of books. I’ve still got another BookExpo wrapup, and lots of new books to gush over, but the truth is, I’ve been a little overwhelmed. I had a bit of a crash after the high of two days at BookExpo; add to that, the wackiness of being out of the library for two days, and you have a bit of an idea.

Current events from this week have also thrown me for a little bit of a loop, so please allow me to soapbox for a moment. You are important. You are necessary. If you feel sad, depressed, anxious, or are thinking about things that may scare you, you don’t have to feel alone. Someone is always a phone call or a text away. The Samaritans are a wonderful group of volunteers, available in the US, the UK, and Ireland; and there’s a list of international hotlines here. Here in the U.S., there’s also the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Be well. Be safe. And, to lighten things up just a little bit, here’s some important words from The Eleventh Doctor :

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BookExpo Day!

It’s like my Christmas and birthday rolled into one. I’ve got my comfy Doc Martens on, and hitting the floors of the Jacob Javits Center, in search of the best upcoming kidlit. So far, I met Brian Selznick, who’s done the art for the updated covers fornthe Harry Potter series, and I only fangirled a little bit.

I dropped by Capstone’s booth to say hello to Saadia Faruqi, author of Here’s Yasmin!, which I adore and will gush over in a separate review. She was away, but I’ll be back, because I’m dying to tell her how much I love her book.

Jen Calonita signed her new Misfits book; she’s interested in coming back to my library, so I need to start nudging my program department ASAP. Squee!

There are great books coming our way in the Summer and Fall. More as I go!

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Just an update and a coming soon…

Hi all, I know it’s been six whole days since I’ve updated. I haven’t run out of books – exactly the opposite; I’ve got tons of them to get to. Life’s gotten a little hectic – it’s that time of year – and I’ve got BookExpo tomorrow and Friday, so expect some posts about all the great new books we’re going to be seeing over the next few months.



I have so much I want to write, and so little time for the next few days. Bear with me!



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Books for Pride: Julian is a Mermaid

June is coming up quickly (yikes!), so let’s get our Pride collections ready to read and booktalk! I’ll be spotlighting a few new books, and some favorites, this month. Let’s start with a relatively new book: Julian is a Mermaid.

Julián is a Mermaid, by Jessica Love, (Apr. 2018, Candlewick Press), $16.99, ISBN: 9780763690458

Recommended for readers 4-8

I love this gorgeously illustrated story of a little boy who embraces his inner mermaid. As Julián rides the subway home with his abuela, he spies three women, dressed and gorgeous, and pronounces them mermaids. He daydreams about his own transformation into a mermaid; shedding his tank top and shorts (he keeps his undies on); letting his hair grow wild and free, and develops a fabulous pink and yellow mermaid tail as he heads off to swim with a group of fish. When he and Abuela arrive home, he tells her that he’s a mermaid, too. When she goes to take a bath, Julián transforms himself: he sheds his clothes (keeping those tidy whities on), gives himself a fierce head of hair using Abuela’s fern and some flowers, gets into her makeup, and wraps a curtain tail around himself. Voila! Abuela takes one look at him, hands him a necklace, and takes her fabulous and fierce mermaid to the Mermaid Parade at Coney Island, telling him, “Like you, mijo. Let’s join them.” And they do, following right behind the trio of mermaids the two met earlier on the subway.

What an empowering, fantastic story. I love the New York flavor: the street scenes are pure New York, from the green subway entrances to the faces and body language of every character in this book. A group of girls plays at an open fire hydrant; a seagull hangs out on the street by an older man, sitting out on his chair, with his dog in his lap. The Mermaid Parade is full of fanfare, and the colors pulse off the page. Abuela accepts Julián and takes her grandson to be with his fellow mermaids, but most importantly, Julián accepts himself. The endpapers give us a little more of the story, too: Abuela, Julián, and four older woman enjoy themselves at the public pool; at the end, the same group are all mermaids, enjoying themselves in the sea. Put this on your Pride reading lists, and read this in your storytimes and to your kids often.

Julián is a Mermaid has five starred reviews and is a Junior Library Guild Selection.

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White Rabbit: A YA Whodunit

White Rabbit, by Caleb Roehrig, (Apr. 2018, Feiwel & Friends), $17.99, ISBN: 9781250085658

Recommended for readers 13+

Rufus Holt started out having a great evening at his best friend’s birthday party, but things have gone downhill pretty quickly. His ex-boyfriend, Sebastian – who ghosted him after Rufus told him he loved him – showed up at the party, looking for him, and his younger half-sister, April, called him and begged for his help. When Rufus and Sebastian head over to Fox Whitney’s place, where his sister was partying with the other rich, in-crowd teens, they find April holding a bloody knife, and Fox, laying dead in a pool of blood. Thus starts White Rabbit, a first-person narrated whodunit.

Rufus is the bastard son of a wealthy lawyer who refuses to acknowledge him. Unfortunately for Rufus, his half-siblings notice him just fine. He’s the school outcast, bullied and harassed by his borderline sociopath half-brother and his friends, and their rich kid crowd. When he came out, the abuse ratcheted up several notches, but Rufus refuses to break. He starts seeing Sebastian – one of the rich kid in-crowd – on the down-low, but Sebastian broke things off in a panic, afraid of how his parents would react. But Sebastian is back, and wants to try to patch things up with Rufus, so he rides along  as Rufus spends the night frantically trying to clear April’s name so he can get a payoff from her mother. The killer is still lurking, and systematically killing off anyone who can tie him – or her – to the night’s events, and Rufus is asking way too many questions.

White Rabbit is similar to Natasha Preston’s The Cabin: a group of awful teens with too much money get into trouble and the outcast has to save the day. The pace is fast, and the subplot surrounding Rufus and Sebastian’s relationship will pull readers in and keep them turning pages. Rufus can be a frustrating hero at points; his motivation to help April before the money came into play still makes me scratch my head, but Sebastian emerges as the deeper, more interesting character to follow here. Give this book to your thriller fans.

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Wild Swans is a colorful, empowered adaptation of the Grimm fairy tale

Wild Swans, retold by Xanthe Gresham Knight/Illustrated by Charlotte Gastaut, (March 2018, Barefoot Books), $9.99, ISBN: 9781782853626

Recommended for readers 7-11

The latest adaptation of Grimm’s Wild Swans is a beautifully illustrated, empowering retelling where a young woman breaks a spell to save her brothers, and assumes her place as queen of her kingdom. Young Eliza and her eleven brothers live with their father, the king, and their stepmother, the queen, who also has a gift with magic. When a plague devastates the land, Eliza’s stepmother turns the 11 brother sinto swans, so they can fly away from the plague, and sends Eliza to a remote village, untouched by the disease. Years later, Eliza receives word that the queen was able to discover a cure, but it was too late to save herself or the king. The kingdom is in chaos, and it’s up to Eliza to cure the plague and assume the throne, bringing peace back to the land. Throughout her adventure, she’ll befriend a young king, work her fingers raw to knit special shirts for her brothers to break the spell, and hold her own against a mob of villagers who think she’s a witch. All in a day’s work for a fairy tale heroine!

The artwork is stunning. There’s vibrant and angular artwork throughout the book, with gold and black drawings pacing the text between color panels. Eliza is a brave and focused heroine who doesn’t rely on a prince or king to marry her to gain her throne – she and the young king are dear friends, committed to one another as companions. She even declines an offer to serve as his new advisor, because she’s got a kingdom of her own to run. This is a nice addition to fairy tale collections, and great for a nice, empowering read.