Tag Archives: Families

When Morning Comes

It is Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1976, and there is a secret movement of students plotting against the apartheid government.  This compelling account is written from the points of view of four young people in Soweto, the black township.  Zanele is the black female student organizer.  She works as a nightclub singer.  Meena is a South Asian girl who works in her father’s shop.  Jack is an affluent white student, who is about to go to Oxford and Thabo is a teen gang member.  The Soweto Uprising was the beginning of the end of apartheid.  A historical note and a glossary are very helpful. mjw
Title: When Morning Comes
Author: Arushi Raina
Publisher
: Tradewind Books, Vancouver
Copyright
: 2017
Original Language
: English 
Original Publisher
: Tradewind Books
Original Copyright
: 2016
ISBN
: 978-1-926890-14-2
Paperback pages
: 232
Age range
: 14 up
Genre
: Historical Fiction
Book setting
: Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa
Author’s ethnicity
: Grew up in Johannesburg
Author’s residence
: Canada
Awards
: 2018 Children’s Africana Book Award for Older Readers
Subjects
: Ant-apartheid movements, High school students, Race relations, Resistance to government

40 Things I Want To Tell You

Amy (a.k.a. Bird) writes an online advice column full of top tips for teens.  She has trouble taking her own advice.  She seems to have the perfect boyfriend, best friend, parents, and future at Oxford University.  But after one mistake, everything falls apart and her life changes forever. The book is beautifully written and hard to put down. mjw
Title: 40 Things I Want To Tell You
Author: Alice Kuipers
Publisher
: Harper Trophy, Canada
Copyright
: 2017
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-44340-588-1
Paperback pages
: 304
Age range
: 14 up
Genre
: Fiction
Book setting
: London, England
Author’s ethnicity
: Canadian
Author’s residence
: Saskatoon
Awards
: Saskatchewan Book Award for Young Adult Literature 
Subjects
: Blogs, Teenagers, Teen pregnancy

The True Tale Of A Giantess: The Story Of Anna Swan

This historical non-fiction children’s book follows the rich life of acclaimed Nova Scotia Giantess Anna Swan. Anna grows up feeling (figuratively and physically) out-of-place in her hometown and yearns for  a life of travel and adventure. She decides to join P.T. Barnum’s Gallery of Wonders and meets other people who are unique like she is. Being a part of the Gallery opens up doors for Anna and she is able to have all the adventures she dreamed about as a little girl. She meets and befriends Queen Victoria and falls in love with fellow giant Martin Van Buren Bates. Her life story emphasizes the value of individuality and creating one’s own world to fit into if such an environment is not provided. The illustrations in mixed media and Photoshop include a spectrum of shaded grey, blue, and olive-green pastels and feature soft round-faced characters with blush faces.    mm
Title: The True Tale of a Giantess: The Story of Anna Swan
Author: Anne Renaud
Illustrator
: Marie Lafrance
Publisher
: Kids Can Press, Toronto
Copyright
: 2018
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-1-77138-376-9
Hardcover pages
:  32
Age range
: 4-8
Genre
: Biography, Picture Book
Book setting
: Nova Scotia, New York, England
Author’s ethnicity
: Canadian
Author’s residence
: Westmount, Quebec
Illustrator’s ethnicity
:  Canadian
Illustrator’s residence
: Montreal, Quebec
Subjects
: Biography, Circus, Giants, Nova Scotia, Performing arts, Women

Elephant Secret

Thirteen-year-old Samantha Gray lives with her dad on an elephant sanctuary with eleven elephants. She understands the elephants’ behavior and has a special relationship with each one.  When one of the elephants, named Daisy Mae, dies while giving birth to a very unusual baby, Sam’s world is turned upside down.  She names the baby elephant Woolly and she becomes the mother, feeding her bottles of formula and protecting her.  Sam meets the billionaire genius who funded the impregnated elephant and he explains that the birth was a cloning experiment and that Woolly is a woolly mammoth.  This is a captivating family story of love and our responsibility to all living things on earth. mjw
Title: Elephant Secret
Author:  Eric Walters
Publisher
: Clarion Books, New York
Copyright
: 2018
Original Language:
English
ISBN
: 978-1-328796172
Hardcover pages
: 352
Age range
: 10-12
Genre
: Fiction
Book setting
: North America
Author’s ethnicity
: Canadian
Author’s residence
: Ontario, Canada
Awards
: Author has won the Children’s Africana Book Award
Subjects
: Animal sanctuaries, Cloning, Elephants, Human/animal relationships, Orphaned animals, Woolly mammoths

Island Born

Lola goes to a school where all the students are from faraway places.  Lola is from the Dominican Republic.  Her teacher wants the class to draw pictures of where their families immigrated from, but Lola can’t remember.  She was just a baby when she came here.  With the help of family and friends and their memories, she draws a lively picture of La Isla.  She also discovers a lot about her culture and heritage.  The digitally created illustrations are vibrant and bold. There is a Spanish edition called Lolamjw
Title: Island Born
Author: Junot Diaz
Illustrator
: Leo Espinosa
Publisher
: Dial Books for Young Readers, NY
Copyright
: 2018
Original Language
: English
Spanish Title
: Lola
ISBN
: 978-0735-2298-60
Hardcover pages
: 48 
Age range
: 5-8
Genre
: Picture Book
Author’s ethnicity
: Born in the Dominican Republic
Author’s residence
: U.S.
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Bogota, Colombia
Illustrator’s residence
: U.S.
Awards
: Author has won a Pulitzer Prize
Subjects
: Central and South America, Hispanic and Latino, Multigenerational, School

The Truth Commission

Normandy Pale is a high school junior at the Green Pastures Academy of Art and Applied Design.  This is the year she is supposed to come into her own and come out from under the shadow of her brilliant older sister Keira, who as a teen became a best-selling graphic novelist.  Normandy turns to her writing, her needlework, and the “truth commission.”  Her friends have started the project because they believe the theory that the truth can heal.  So they begin asking people truths about things that other people already suspect. Things go well until it leads straight back to Keira and her dysfunctional family.  The book is Normandy’s “narrative nonfiction” project at school, complete with footnotes, drawings, and notes to her creative writing teacher.  The characters are real and the language is witty. mjw
Title: The Truth Commission
Author: Susan Juby
Illustrator
: Trevor Cooper
Publisher
: Penguin Teen, Canada Books, Inc.
Copyright
: 2017
Original Language
: English
Original Publisher
: Razorbill.  Toronto, Canada
Original Copyright
: 2105
ISBN
: 978-0-14-318916-9
Paperback pages
: 320
Age range
: 14 up
Genre
: Narrative Nonfiction
Book setting
: Vancouver Island
Author’s ethnicity
: Canadian
Author’s residence
: Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Canadian
Illustrator’s residence
: Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada
Awards
: Sheila A. Egoff Award for Children’s Literature, Amy Mothers Teen Book Award
Subjects
: Art students, High school, Humor, Siblings, Values and virtues, Writing

Alma And How She Got Her Name

This is the story of Alma Sofia Esperanza Jose Pura Candela and how she got such a long name.  Daddy tells that Sofia was her grandmother who loved books, poetry, jasmine, and flowers.  Esperanza was her great-grandmother who hoped to travel, but never did.  He continues that Jose was his father who was an artist.  Pura was Alma’s great-aunt who believed that the spirits of their ancestors always watched over them.  Candela was her other grandmother who always stood for what was right.  And Alma’s name was picked just for her so she could make her own story.  The softly colored illustrations were done with graphite, colored pencils, and print transfers on handmade textured paper.  The book is also published in Spanish. mjw
Title: Alma And How She Got Her Name
Author: Juana Martinez-Neal
Illustrator
: Juana Martinez-Neal
Publisher
: Candlewick Press
Copyright
: 2018
Original Language
: English
ISBN
: 978-0-7636-9355-8
Hardcover pages
: 32
Age range
: 4-8
Genre
: Picture Book
Author’s ethnicity
: Peruvian
Author’s residence
: U.S.
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: Peruvian
Illustrator’s residence
: U.S.
Subjects
: Belonging, Identity, Multigenerational, Self-esteem and self-respect, South America