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Class Act
Written & illustrated by Jerry Craft
Starred Review
"Lightning strikes twice as Craft again produces a funny and appealing yet sensitive and nuanced middle grade tale of inequity and microaggressions."
Oct 1, 2020
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

New York Times bestselling author Jerry Craft returns with a companion book to New Kid, winner of the 2020 Newbery Medal, the Coretta Scott King Author Award, and the Kirkus Prize. This time, it's Jordan's friend Drew who takes center stage in another laugh-out-loud funny, powerful, and important story about being one of the few kids of color in a prestigious private school.

Eighth grader Drew Ellis is no stranger to the saying "You have to work twice as hard to be just as good." His grandmother has reminded him his entire life. But what if he works ten times as hard and still isn't afforded the same opportunities that his privileged classmates at the Riverdale Academy Day School take for granted?

To make matters worse, Drew begins to feel as if his good friend Liam might be one of those privileged kids. He wants to pretend like everything is fine, but it's hard not to withdraw, and even their mutual friend Jordan doesn't know how to keep the group together.

As the pressures mount, will Drew find a way to bridge the divide so he and his friends can truly accept each other? And most important, will he finally be able to accept himself?

New Kid, the first graphic novel to win the Newbery Medal, is now joined by Jerry Craft's powerful Class Act.

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Pearl Goes to Preschool
Written & illustrated by Julie Fortenberry
VERDICT A recommended purchase for back-to-school collections.
Sep 1, 2020
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Pearl loves to dance! But will she love preschool, too?
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Joey: The Story of Joe Biden
Written by Jill Biden and Kathleen Krull & illustrated by Amy June Bates
"Young readers are likely to find inspiration and aspiration in young Joey as a relatable, athletic, and tenacious kid who grew into a civic leader."
Aug 1, 2020
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Joey is the first ever picture book about the young life of Joe Biden, the 47th Vice President of the United States, and includes never before told family stories about the presidential candidate and former vice president’s childhood–written by Jill Biden, his spouse.

Joe Biden grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the oldest of four children. His parents always encouraged him and his siblings to be independent and strong. The family moved to Wilmington, Delaware, where at twenty-nine, Biden was elected one the youngest United States Senators ever elected. This is his story.

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Max and Marla Are Going on a Trip
Written & illustrated by Alexandra Boiger
“Tender and humorous . . . The underlying message to adjust some of our screen-centric habits in order to appreciate the natural world with open eyes and reverence is a plain truth with value for readers of all ages.”
Jun 16, 2020
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

From the #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator of She Persisted comes a Max and Marla story about being present and appreciating the world around us.

School is out for the summer, and Max and Marla are off to Australia! Max has always wanted to see koalas, after all. He makes sure to pack his camera for the trip, so that he can capture every moment and remember this vacation. Off they head by air and by sea, with Max looking for just the perfect shot along the way. But when he keeps missing the amazing sights while focusing his lens, Marla knows that she needs to step in.

In this final story in the Max and Marla quartet, the two friends learn that being together and enjoying their trip makes for the best memories after all!

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Our Favorite Day of the Year
Written by A. E. Ali & illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell
Starred Review
"VERDICT A comforting story that will help build bridges among children of different backgrounds and faiths." - School Library Journal
May 1, 2020
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A heartwarming picture book following a group of boys from different backgrounds throughout the school year as they become the best of friends.

Musa’s feeling nervous about his first day of school. He’s not used to being away from home and he doesn’t know any of the other kids in his class. And when he meets classmates Moisés, Mo, and Kevin, Musa isn’t sure they’ll have much in common. But over the course of the year, the four boys learn more about each other, the holidays they celebrate, their favorite foods, and what they like about school. The more they share with each other, the closer they become, until Musa can’t imagine any better friends.

In this charming story of friendship and celebrating differences, young readers can discover how entering a new friendship with an open mind and sharing parts of yourself brings people together. And the calendar of holidays at the end of the book will delight children as they identify special events they can celebrate with friends throughout the year.

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Sand Elephant
Written by Rinna Hermann & illustrated by Sanne Dufft
An uplifting story about resiliency and creativity.
May 1, 2020
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Paul has no one to play with. The sandbox is empty. Or is it?

As he digs and pats the sand, a shape appears: an elephant. Curling up under the elephant’s warm, sandy trunk, Paul drifts off to sleep. But then something amazing happens. The sand elephant stands up, and lifts Paul onto its back!

The sand elephant takes Paul to a wonderful land where incredible sand animals and their children are laughing and playing together. But what will happen when the wind starts to blow and the rain starts to fall?

In this delightful celebration of the power of childhood imagination, Rinna Herman’s story combines with pictures full of vibrancy and charm by acclaimed illustrator Sanne Dufft. This gentle story reassures children that friends from our imagination stay with us forever, so we need never feel alone.

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Construction People
Written by Lee Bennett Hopkins and Matt Forrest Esenwine & illustrated by Ellen Shi
"This compilation of 14 poems, assembled by the late Hopkins, is an ode to the diverse types of people that are needed to erect a building. Fittingly, the poems feature many different poets’ voices. Readers...move through the stages of construction, from the architect’s musings to the backhoe operator that digs the foundation, to the glaziers that add the windows. Shi’s design and artwork employ a muted color scheme (browns and blues) to capture the dirt and sky. Pops of color (a red bucket, a welder’s orange uniform) encourage the eye to dance across the page as the skyscraper grows. The depictions of the workers include a variety of genders and races, which makes the book feel warm and inclusive. Recommended."
Mar 1, 2020
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Fourteen poems compiled by award-winning poet and anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins introduce readers to the various construction people who collaborate to create a high-rise hotel building, from architect to crane operator to glaziers and more.

This anthology begins with a busy construction site and an architect’s (and her daughter’s) dreams drawn on blueprint paper. Next, workers with huge machines–backhoes, dump trucks, cement mixers, etc.–roll in. Poems full of noise and action describe every step of the construction process. From welders and carpenters building the skeleton of the building to plumbers and electricians making its insides work, this book celebrates people and equipment working together to build something magnificent.

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Free for You and Me: What Our First Amendment Means
Written by Christy Mihaly & illustrated by Manu Montoya
VERDICT A nice addition to library collections that target second and third graders.
Feb 1, 2020
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It’s a free country! But what does that mean? Find out the five liberties protected by the First Amendment. Vivid examples from history and everyday life demonstrate the meaning of freedom of religion, speech, and the press, and the rights to assemble peacefully and to petition the government.

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The Boy Who Thought Outside the Box: The Story of Video Game Inventor Ralph Baer
Written by Marcie Wessels & illustrated by Beatriz Castro
"A gentle introduction to a passionate inventor’s incredible impact on our culture. Young gamers will get a kick out of their beloved systems’ humble beginnings."
Feb 1, 2020
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

Crazy about Wii, Nintendo, X-Box, and PlayStation? Meet the inventor whose work made them all possible: Ralph Baer, creator of the first home video game system!

Today, the video game industry keeps growing, with ever more platforms available to fans. But how did the very first system come about? This picture-book biography of Ralph Baer, whose family fled Nazi Germany for the US, introduces kids to a great inventor AND the birth of the first home console. Using wartime technology, Baer thought outside the box and transformed the television into a vehicle for gaming; Baer’s invention, the Odyssey, is a precursor to the Atari gaming system. Today, interactive systems like Wii and PlayStation are descendants of Ralph’s innovative “Brown Box,” making this award-winning inventor the true “Father of Video Games.”

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Alice Across America: The Story of the First Women's Cross-Country Road Trip
Written by Sarah Glenn Marsh & illustrated by Gilbert Ford
Starred Review
"Historical details about cars, roadways, and gender bias are incorporated throughout the story and enhance the plot . . . A fun and fascinating story that includes many favorites: cars, strong women, and little-known historical facts. A must-have for a school or public library collection."
Feb 1, 2020
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

Writer Sarah Glenn Marsh and illustrator Gilbert Ford’s Alice Across America is a nonfiction picture book account of maverick Alice Ramsey, the first woman to drive a car across America in 1909.

When Alice Ramsey was little, she loved to ride horses. As she grew up, more people were driving cars. From the moment Alice slid behind the wheel, she was crazy about cars. So when the Maxwell-Briscoe Company challenged her to drive one of their new cars across the country as a promotional ploy to prove that even a lady could do it, Alice daringly accepted. With several women by her side, these brazen drivers sustained many hardships over the course of a remarkable two-month journey and far surpassed all expectations.

With a clever blend of women’s history, technological history, and American roading geography, this is a celebration of unstoppable women making strides in twentieth-century America.

Christy Ottaviano Books

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