A fitting farewell to a memorable character.

HOW TÍA LOLA ENDED UP STARTING OVER

From the Tía Lola Stories series , Vol. 4

Alvarez’s series of Tía Lola Stories ends with a mystery sure to please fans and attract new readers.

The new school year is underway, as the action picks up shortly after the end of How Tía Lola Saved the Summer (2011). Victor Espada and his daughters, Victoria, Essie and Cari, have now moved to Vermont, where they share a large house with the crotchety but lovable Colonel Charlebois. Linda, Miguel and Juanita Guzman are still living out in the country with Tía Lola, but all five children get together with Tía Lola to find a way to help the unemployed Victor. Soon, the group has convinced the others that the solution is turning the Colonel’s house into a weekend bed and breakfast. Unfortunately, someone in town isn’t thrilled with their plan, and strange things start happening around the house. Sleuthing, party planning and other shenanigans ensue. Once again, the author manages to weave Spanish words and phrases throughout the text in such a way that a glossary is not required. Believable details about the individual children’s lives bring further depth to the plot, while themes of xenophobia, blended families and acceptance make the novel relevant to Latino, immigrant and general audiences. The book’s touching final chapter references the first three books in the series as well as the magic of libraries and reading.

A fitting farewell to a memorable character. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-86914-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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A road trip to remember.

CLEAN GETAWAY

Using the Negro Travelers’ Green Book and her hidden past as a road map, a grandma takes her grandson on a cross country journey.

When G’ma pulls up to William “Scoob” Lamar’s house in a brand-new Winnebago and invites him on an adventure, Scoob leaves a note for his dad and jumps in. Despite not knowing where they are going, or why G’ma has traded in her Mini Cooper and house for the RV, Scoob is a willing wingman because he wants to save spring break and escape his strict single dad for a few days. Readers will appreciate the bond between Scoob and G’ma; Stone balances fun with emotion for a compelling read. After they cross from Georgia to Alabama and G’ma keeps avoiding Dad’s calls, Scoob begins to get suspicious. When G’ma lets him see the contents of her once off-limits treasure box, which includes a 1963 edition of the Travelers’ Green Book, Scoob understands this trip means much more than even he imagined. The complex role race plays in their family and on this trip—Scoob is mixed-race and presents black, and G’ma is white—is explored in a meaningful way that provides details about a period in time as well as present-day realities. Rich in history, Stone’s middle-grade debut entertains and informs young readers. The subdued ending may frustrate, but the journey, punctuated by Anyabwile’s grayscale cartoons, is well worth it.

A road trip to remember. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9297-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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A sympathetic, compelling introduction to wolves from the perspective of one wolf and his memorable journey.

A WOLF CALLED WANDER

Separated from his pack, Swift, a young wolf, embarks on a perilous search for a new home.

Swift’s mother impresses on him early that his “pack belongs to the mountains and the mountains belong to the pack.” His father teaches him to hunt elk, avoid skunks and porcupines, revere the life that gives them life, and “carry on” when their pack is devastated in an attack by enemy wolves. Alone and grieving, Swift reluctantly leaves his mountain home. Crossing into unfamiliar territory, he’s injured and nearly dies, but the need to run, hunt, and live drives him on. Following a routine of “walk-trot-eat-rest,” Swift traverses prairies, canyons, and deserts, encountering men with rifles, hunger, thirst, highways, wild horses, a cougar, and a forest fire. Never imagining the “world could be so big or that I could be so alone in it,” Swift renames himself Wander as he reaches new mountains and finds a new home. Rife with details of the myriad scents, sounds, tastes, touches, and sights in Swift/Wander’s primal existence, the immediacy of his intimate, first-person, present-tense narration proves deeply moving, especially his longing for companionship. Realistic black-and-white illustrations trace key events in this unique survival story, and extensive backmatter fills in further factual information about wolves and their habitat.

A sympathetic, compelling introduction to wolves from the perspective of one wolf and his memorable journey. (additional resources, map) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-289593-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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