Tuesday, February 20, 2018

New Release Spotlight: February 20, 2018

Welcome to The Year of the Dog! We are super-excited about this year because our son was born at the "tail-end" of the last Year of the Dog. He was born on February 14, 2007, only three days before the cut-off date. He was nearly a Pig, but the Dog really suits his personality well! People born in the Year of the Dog are said to be loyal, sincere, good-natured, and intelligent. Luck is a big part of Chinese culture, but according to Chinese tradition, your 本命年 (ben ming nian, or your zodiac year) is actually unlucky! To increase their luck in 2018, people born in a Dog year can wear red clothing, especially underwear, as red is the luckiest color in China. Jade accessories are also said to ward off evil spirits and bad luck.

Of course, The Year of the Dog cannot go forward without at least one photo of our new 4-month old puppy, Cisco (my boys are fans of The Flash). He is a rescue pup and very happy to be off the mean streets of Shanghai. Isn't he adorable?

Last, I can't promise to do this every week (it took awhile to create), but I'm going to try...! For the first time ever, my new releases post includes a free, printable PDF of this week's booklist, minus the personal stuff I write at the beginning of each post. I designed it to be printed and shared with library patrons or staff members, so please feel free to do that. It's also useful if you want to keep the list beyond the 10-week expiration period for new release lists on my blog. I hate to delete the posts, but they take up a lot of virtual space and cause my blog to load more slowly. I will leave the lists up on Slideshare though, so you will be able to access them beyond the 10-weeks.

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Ink, Iron, and Glass (Gwendolyn Clare, Mike Heath)
First book in a planned duology. A certain pen, a certain book, and a certain person can craft entirely new worlds through a branch of science called scriptology. Elsa comes from one such world that was written into creation, where her mother―a noted scriptologist―constantly alters and expands their reality. But when her home is attacked and her mother kidnapped, Elsa is forced to cross into the real world and use her own scriptology gifts to find her. In an alternative Victorian Italy, Elsa finds a secret society of young scientists with a gift for mechanics, alchemy, or scriptology―and meets Leo, a gorgeous mechanist with a smart mouth and tragic past.Illustrated. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Kirkus and SLJ starred. Steampunk, historical fantasy.
Hooper (Geoff Herbach)
For Adam Reed, basketball is a passport. Adam's basketball skills have taken him from an orphanage in Poland to a loving adoptive mother in Minnesota. When he's tapped to play on a select AAU team along with some of the best players in the state, it just confirms that basketball is his ticket to the good life: to new friendships, to the girl of his dreams, to a better future. But life is more complicated off the court. When an incident with the police threatens to break apart the bonds Adam's finally formed after a lifetime of struggle, he must make an impossible choice between his new family and the sport that's given him everything. Recommended for Grades 8-12. Realistic fiction, basketball, adoption.
What the Night Sings (Vesper Stamper)
Liberated from Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp in 1945, sixteen-year-old Gerta tries to make a new life for herself, aided by Lev, a fellow survivor, and Michah, who helps Jews reach Palestine. Pair this with The Book Thief or The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Recommended for Grades 7-12. Multiple starred reviews. Historical fiction, Holocaust.
Mercy Rule (Tom Leveen)
Danny's parents yanked him from the art school that let him wear a kilt and listen to bands that no one's heard of. Now he's starting sophomore year at the public high school. Brady just wants to get out. Go to college, play football, maybe reach the NFL. He definitely wants to stop waiting for his deadbeat mother to come home, sleeping on park benches, and going to bed hungry. But first he has to lead the team to the championships. It all adds up to a lot of stress. So who can really blame him when he and the football team turn their aggressions on the new freak? I'm betting this is an easy-sell for reluctant male readers especially. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Realistic fiction, violence in schools, bullying.
Flight Season: A Novel (Marie Marquardt)
Back when they were still strangers, TJ Carvalho witnessed the only moment in Vivi Flannigan’s life when she lost control entirely. While Vivi doesn’t remember any of it, TJ can't stop thinking about it. When Vivi returns home from her first year away at college, her big plans and TJ’s ambition to become a nurse land them both on the heart ward of a university hospital, facing them with a long and painful summer together--three months of glorified babysitting for Ángel, the problem patient on the hall. Recommended for Grades 8-12. Romance, alternating POVs.
Pitch Dark (Courtney Alameda)
Tuck has been in stasis on the USS John Muir, a ship that houses Earth’s most valued artifacts—its natural resources. Parks and mountains are preserved in space. Laura belongs to a shipraiding family, who are funded by a group used to getting what they want. And they want what’s on the Muir. Tuck and Laura didn’t bargain on working together, or battling mutant aliens who use sound to kill. But their plan is the only hope for their crews, their families, and themselves. Give this to fans of 172 Hours on the Moon. Recommended for Grades 9-12. Science fiction, aliens, thriller, horror.

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The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian's Art Changed Science (Joyce Sidman)
I LOVE growing butterflies in the school library (do it--it's so cool!), and this book would make a great companion to that activity for spring. One of the first naturalists to observe live insects directly, Maria Sibylla Merian was also one of the first to document the metamorphosis of the butterfly. As one of the first female entomologists, flouted convention in the pursuit of knowledge and her passion for insects. Illustrated. 120 pages. Recommended for Grades 4-7. Multiple starred reviews. Nonfiction, biography, art.
R Is for Rebel (J. Anderson Coats)
With her parents in prison for their part in a failed resistance movement, the government wants to send Malley to a national school. After a chase, Malley is captured and carted off be reformed as a proper subject of the conquering empire, reeducated, and made suitable for domestic service. That’s the government’s plan, but Malley will not go down without a fight. Recommended for Grades 4-8. Historical fantasy.
Sticky Notes (Dianne Touchell)
Foster Sumner is ten years old. He likes toy soldiers, tadpole hunting, going to school, and the beach. Best of all, he likes listening to his dad’s stories. But then Foster’s dad starts forgetting things. No one is too worried at first. Foster and Dad giggle about it. Dad would go out for milk and come back with cat food, when the cat had been dead for five years. But then the forgetting gets worse. And suddenly no one is laughing anymore. Recommended for Grades 4-7. Realistic fiction, Alzheimer's Disease.
Lucy Castor Finds Her Sparkle (Natasha Lowe)
Lucy's life is perfect and she doesn't want to change a thing. With everyone growing up around her, Lucy just wants everything to just stay the way it is. Then she discovers her mother is having another baby and Lucy is sure that her parents don't want her anymore. Classic, heartwarming, and quirky, this cozy story is about holding onto the magic of childhood.
The Ostrich and Other Lost Things (Beth Hautala)
On the day her brother Jacob lost his toy ostrich, 11-year old Olivia really noticed how different he was. Jacob is autistic, and though she's his little sister, Olivia often feels like the older of the pair, his caretaker. With her parents so heavily focused on maintaining status quo for Jacob, it's Olivia who has stagnated in his shadow--unable to explore new opportunities, or to be her own person. So when the local community theater announces auditions for an all children's production of Peter Pan, Olivia jumps at the chance to claim something for herself. Recommended for Grades 4-7. Realistic fiction, autism.
Legends of the Lost Causes (Brad McLelland, Louis Sylvester)
A middle grade Western...with zombies? A band of orphan avengers. A cursed stone. A horde of zombie outlaws. This is Keech Blackwood's new life after Bad Whiskey Nelson descends upon the Home for Lost Causes and burns it to the ground. With his home destroyed and his family lost, Keech will have to use the lessons he learned from Pa Abner to hunt down the powerful Char Stone. Luckily, he has the help of a ragtag team of orphans. Together, they'll travel through treacherous forests, fight off the risen dead, and discover that they share mysterious bonds as they try to track down the legendary stone. Recommended for Grades 4-7. Western, zombies, orphans.

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A Chip Off the Old Block (Jody Jenson Shaffer, Daniel Miyares)
Teaching geology and rock formations with elementary students? Rocky, only a pebble, is determined to be as great as his famous relatives, so he travels from one family member to another until he finds the spot where he can make a big difference. Includes facts about types of rocks, the famous rocks mentioned, and Mount Rushmore.
My Best Friend (Gilles Tibo, Janice Nadeau)
I found zero reviews for this book; there aren't even any reviews on Goodreads or in a Google search. But that description gave me chills, so I am including it here. I don't know if it is uplifting or sad, but I very much want to find out. A mysterious shadow walks the corridors. It goes from room to room, and sometimes leaves with someone in its arms, taking them to the land of dreams. Until one day a patient at the hospital-a little boy-speaks to the shadow, offering it a drink of water. The boy is fearful at first, but as he gets to know the shadow through their conversations, he realises that she has feelings of her own. So begins a great friendship between an unlikely pair: a little boy, and Death. Has anyone out there read this title?

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Previous New Release Spotlights
(Reminder: New Release Spotlights get deleted after 10 weeks in order to save space. If you want to keep the list or share it in your library, you can print it here.)

This list also appears on my New Releases--Weekly Board on Pinterest:

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