I picked up an ARC of Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan at the ALA Midwinter. I was thrilled to finally share it with my class.
Publisher’s Summary: A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community in this sweet and moving middle grade novel from the award-winning author of It’s Ramadan, Curious George and Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns.
Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.
Amina’s Voice brings to life the joys and challenges of a young Pakistani American and highlights the many ways in which one girl’s voice can help bring a diverse community together to love and support each other.
Night Witches by Kathryn Lasky is a nice bit of historical fiction with a strong female lead.
Publisher’s Summary:16-year-old Valya knows what it feels like to fly.
She’s a pilot who’s always felt more at home soaring through the sky than down on earth. But since the Germans surrounded Stalingrad, Valya’s been forced to stay on the ground and watch her city crumble.
When her mother is killed during the siege, Valya is left with one burning desire: to join up with her older sister, a member of the famous and feared Night Witches-a regiment of young female pilots. Using all her wits, Valya manages to get past the German blockade and find the Night Witches’ hidden base … and that’s when the real danger starts. The pilots have been assigned a critical mission, one with the· power to inflict serious damage on the Nazis. Valya will give anything to fight for her country, but when the person she loves most goes missing, she must make a choice between duty and the deepest desires of her heart.
With her signature blend of lyrical writing and heart-racing action, historical fiction master Kathryn Lasky sheds light on the war’s unsung heroes – daredevil girls who took to the skies to take on the Nazis … and won.
My students were excited to know that they could read Jason Reynolds’ Miles Morales before it gets published in August.
Publisher’s Summary: Miles Morales is just your average teenager. Dinner every Sunday with his parents, chilling out playing old-school video games with his best friend, Ganke, crushing on brainy, beautiful poet Alicia. He’s even got a scholarship spot at the prestigious Brooklyn Visions Academy. Oh yeah, and he’s Spider Man.
I have a few readers who LOVE funny books, so, even though I don;t, I keep an eye out for laugh aloud books they might enjoy. I had a lot of kids laughing out loud when I read a bit from Pottymouth and Stoopid by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein.
Publisher’s Summary: David and his best friend Michael were tagged with awful nicknames way back in preschool when everyone did silly things. Fast-forward to seventh grade: “Pottymouth” and “Stoopid” are still stuck with the names–and everyone in school, including the teachers and their principal, believe the labels are true.
So how do they go about changing everyone’s minds? By turning their misery into megastardom on TV, of course! And this important story delivers more than just laughs–it shows that the worst bullying doesn’t have to be physical…and that things will get better.
It has felt like a really long week. Fortunately, I’ve been reading the book I shared today: The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue. It made me laugh and think deeply about what it means to be a family.
Publisher’s Summary:Meet the Lotterys: a unique and diverse family featuring four parents, seven kids and five pets – all living happily together in their big old house, Camelottery. Nine-year-old Sumac is the organizer of the family and is looking forward to a long summer of fun.
But when their grumpy and intolerant grandad comes to stay, everything is turned upside down. How will Sumac and her family manage with another person to add to their hectic lives?
The Lotterys Plus One, internationally bestselling author Emma Donoghue’s first novel for children, features black-and-white illustrations throughout, and is funny, charming and full of heart.
This one felt a little young for some of my students but I liked it a lot, so added it to my classroom library.