Growing up and coming out are slightly scary but wonderfully magical in this appealing and optimistic tale.

LILLA THE ACCIDENTAL WITCH

Finding out she’s a witch isn’t the only revelation Lilla has about her identity while she’s away from home.

Thirteen-year-old Lilla and her older sister, Dani, fly to Italy to spend time with their aunt. For Dani, this means reuniting with the Italian boy she likes, but Lilla feels uncomfortable thinking about boys and love: She has always felt different, but she’s shocked when a mysterious book magically appears and reveals she’s a witch. The book helps her learn to use her new powers and teaches her about supernatural beings. What she doesn’t know is that something dangerous is lurking, and the only way to be safe will be to accept truths about herself and everything that encompasses who she is. This gentle yet somewhat spooky story deftly balances realistic plotlines of sisterhood, growing up, and sexual orientation with fantasy elements of magic and unusual creatures. The Italian setting, with bits of the language peppered in, is richly portrayed. Muted colors fill crisp, unlined panels on white pages that match the soft tone of the story, and minimalistic facial features highlight the characters’ emotions. The magical moments are particularly visually compelling with their glowy light. A hopeful, joyous ending makes this story one to savor. Main characters read as White; the sisters’ aunt’s boyfriend is Black.

Growing up and coming out are slightly scary but wonderfully magical in this appealing and optimistic tale. (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-53884-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2014

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner

  • National Book Award Winner

  • Newbery Honor Book

BROWN GIRL DREAMING

A multiaward–winning author recalls her childhood and the joy of becoming a writer.

Writing in free verse, Woodson starts with her 1963 birth in Ohio during the civil rights movement, when America is “a country caught / / between Black and White.” But while evoking names such as Malcolm, Martin, James, Rosa and Ruby, her story is also one of family: her father’s people in Ohio and her mother’s people in South Carolina. Moving south to live with her maternal grandmother, she is in a world of sweet peas and collards, getting her hair straightened and avoiding segregated stores with her grandmother. As the writer inside slowly grows, she listens to family stories and fills her days and evenings as a Jehovah’s Witness, activities that continue after a move to Brooklyn to reunite with her mother. The gift of a composition notebook, the experience of reading John Steptoe’s Stevie and Langston Hughes’ poetry, and seeing letters turn into words and words into thoughts all reinforce her conviction that “[W]ords are my brilliance.” Woodson cherishes her memories and shares them with a graceful lyricism; her lovingly wrought vignettes of country and city streets will linger long after the page is turned.

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25251-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE ONE AND ONLY BOB

Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

more