Thursday, February 25, 2021

Review: Maybe He Just Likes You

Maybe He Just Likes You Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A bit of a flashback; I read this a few years ago.

If anyone was wondering about how to write a book for middle schoolers about consent -- this is it. This book does a terrific job.

It's unsettling. Mila and her friends are in seventh grade and the beginning description shows them as typical seventh graders, some still interested in tag, others beginning to notice each other as more than friends.

Mila begins getting unwanted attention from a group of boys. It's mainly unwanted hugs, a hand brushing against a shoulder, that type of thing. Things she doesn't want; things that maker her uncomfortable; things that escalate. Things that some of her friends don't get ("it's because he likes you, you're just immature not to realize that") and that teachers don't see or understand ("ignore it, and it will stop.")

Mila handles it -- or doesn't handle it -- as best as she can. As an adult reading this? Yes it was upsetting but the resolution was great and I liked where Mila, and her friends, ended. Yes, this is a book where the reader can learn a thing or two (about empathy; about what not to do; about what to d0) but also can just enjoy a good book about a group of friends, and the changes in friendships and dynamics.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2021

2021 Newbery Committee

A big thanks to my fellow 2021 Newbery Committee members!

Chair Dr. Jonda C. McNair, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; 

Sarah Bean Thompson, Springfield-Greene County Library, Springfield, Missouri; 

Elizabeth A. Burns, New Jersey State Library, Talking Book & Braille Center, Trenton, New Jersey;

Timothy D. Capehart, Beavercreek Community Library, Greene County, Ohio; 

Arika J. Dickens, Sunset Elementary School, Bellevue, Washington; 

Joanna K. Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, California; 

Hyunjin Han, Mandel Public Library, West Palm Beach, Florida; 

Susan Dove Lempke, Niles-Maine District Library, Niles, Illinois; 

Maren C. Ostergard, King County Library System, Issaquah, Washington; 

Dr. Linda M. Pavonetti, Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan; 

David C. Saia, Heim Middle School, Williamsville, New York; 

Jo Phillips Schofield, Stark County District Library, Canton, Ohio; 

Eva Thaler-Sroussi, Wellesley Free Library, Wellesley, Massachusetts; 

Lisa M. Thomas, Pikes Peak Library District, Colorado Springs, Colorado; 

Alicia S.Q. Yao, San Diego Public Library, San Diego, California; 

and Award Administrative Assistant Gretchen Schulz, Schaumburg Township District Library, Schaumburg, Illinois.

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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

Monday, February 01, 2021

Newbery 2021

This time last year, I was starting the year of reading for Newbery with certain expectations.

As with everything in 2020, things didn't go exactly as planned. In-person meetings became Zoom meetings. Who knows what the planned celebration in June will look like?

But some things were exactly as planned: reading and rereading a ton of books. Rereading the rules and figuring out what "distinguished" means. Persuading, and being open to being persuaded. Becoming friends with the people on my committee.

And one big, unexpected bonus: being on the Newbery gave me a focus during this year. Now that it's over, I guess it's time to make a sourdough starter.

Oh, what did we pick?  

2021 Medal Winner

When You Trap a Tiger, written by Tae Keller, published by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House.  "This masterpiece of magical realism is an evocative story of love, loss, and hope that brings Korean folklore to life. Through her halmoni’s tales, Lily learns that with stories we can share our past and shape our future."
“Keller’s riveting tale about the power of stories can help readers embrace the tiger within themselves—by displaying their strength and courage when necessary,” said Newbery Medal Committee Chair Dr. Jonda C. McNair. 

2021 Honor Books

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team, written by Christina Soontornvat, published by Candlewick Press.

Soontornvat skillfully describes the dramatic real-life rescue of the Thai Boys’ soccer team in 2018 by highlighting the teamwork of the cave divers and the drilling and medical teams which were crucial for the survival of the coach and the twelve boys. All Thirteen exemplifies superb narrative nonfiction writing.

BOX: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom, written by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Michele Wood, and published by Candlewick Press. 

Weatherford masterfully recounts the true story of Henry “Box” Brown, who shipped himself to freedom in a box. All 51 poems, with the exception of one, are sixains—representing the six sides of a box. The poems are filled with emotional intensity and have implications for the present day. 

Fighting Words, written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, published by Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Random House. 

Della depends on her fierce older sister Suki, especially after escaping an abusive home. In foster care, though, Suki begins to unravel. Bradley creates a survival story that transcends—addressing the toughest of topics with honesty, hope, and humor. Della’s powerful voice lingers long after the last page is turned. 

We Dream of Space, written by Erin Entrada Kelly, illustrated by Erin Entrada Kelly and Celia Krampien, and published by Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

In the days before the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, the Thomas siblings navigate the dangerous space of middle school and the fractured constellation of their family.  With a deftly constructed 80’s backdrop, Kelly’s realistically imperfect characters struggle to connect, only finding success when they abandon their own lonely orbits. 

A Wish in the Dark, written by Christina Soontornvat, published by Candlewick Press.  

Told in the alternating perspectives of two memorable characters, Pong and Nok, Soontornvat sets this story in the Thai-inspired world of Chattana, where light and dark symbolize contrasts between the rich and the poor. A timeless, yet timely, fantasy that highlights social disparities and the value of friendship and justice.

Link to the ALSC webpage with the announcements, where I got the descriptions from: Welcome to the Newbery Medal Home Page.

The ALA Press Release for the 2021 Youth Media Awards

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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy