The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson

December 24th, 2016 by

Mark of the Dragonfly_Jaleigh-JohnsonSubmitted by Olivia, Age 11 from West Virginia

Rating: ★★★★★

Truly a magical book. The detail in every page keeps you reading until you realize you’ve been reading for hours. I love fantasy so this book definitely caught my attention. The story of it all really takes you by the heart strings as it explains piper’s past. It’s pretty funny to imagine the parts of anna blabbering on and on at points in the book. And since throughout the book piper seems pretty bull-headed, pretty hot-headed too to be honest. I read over so many of her lines multiple times beause she had such a harsh way of saying things sometimes that i had to just imagine how she said it. It’s kind of a weird thing i do. Whenever some character yells or strongly uses some kind of emotion really harshly, i will stop right then and there and read over it over and over untill i think I’ve nailed how i think it should sound. I don’t know why i just always seem to do it. It really brings out the emotion and makes the book seem a bit more realistic when they do small parts like that. Now I’m not saying they should have put nearly half the book in outbursts with characters like that (Although it would be kind of funny to imagine) it’s those kinds of books that discuss serious matters like being an orphan with no parents to care for you. Or barely having any money and having to resort to nearly getting yourself hurt just to afford to eat and get money. Although the main characters are a bit underaged they definitely seem to act older than they really are. And that is why i rate this magical and incredible book 5 stars.

The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson

December 27th, 2014 by

Mark of the Dragonfly_Jaleigh-JohnsonFor fans of The City of Ember and The School of Good and Evil, The Mark of the Dragonfly is a fast-paced adventure story about a mysterious girl and a fearless boy, set in a magical world that is both exciting and dangerous.
Piper has never seen the Mark of the Dragonfly until she finds the girl amid the wreckage of a caravan in the Meteor Fields.

The girl doesn’t remember a thing about her life, but the intricate tattoo on her arm is proof that she’s from the Dragonfly Territories and that she’s protected by the king. Which means a reward for Piper if she can get the girl home.

The one sure way to the Territories is the 401, a great old beauty of a train. But a ticket costs more coin than Piper could make in a year. And stowing away is a difficult prospect—everyone knows that getting past the peculiar green-eyed boy who stands guard is nearly impossible.

Life for Piper just turned dangerous. A little bit magical. And very exciting, if she can manage to survive the journey.

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    The Mark of the Dragonfly: Book Review

    April 30th, 2014 by

    I recently went on vacation and spent a gorgeous day at the beach… reading, of course! Here’s an excerpt from the book I was reading, The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson:

    Mark-of-the-Dragonfly_Beach

    Which pretty much took up all of my attention. You can kind of see in the right corner of the photo (above my pasty white knees) a little bit of the beach, which actually looked like this:

    Cancun-Beach

    But I was SO into this book that I barely looked at the beach that day! I couldn’t put it down because this book fulfilled plenty of fun beach read requirements, such as:

    • Not just one, but TWO strong heroines, Piper and Anna (no relation to Piper McLean and Annabeth Chase, but interesting co-wing-ca-dink!)
    • A fantastical but believable world that could be set in the future. Or maybe another planet?
    • Adventures involving trains, stowaways, kidnappings, fights, and flying (but not necessarily in a plane!)
    • A mysterious but beautiful tattoo
    • And of course, a little bit of romance 😉

    Mark of the Dragonfly_Jaleigh-JohnsonThirteen-year-old orphaned Piper lives in Scrap Town Number 16 as a scrapper: she salvages artifacts left behind by meteor storms that spew dangerous toxic clouds. Piper has an uncanny, possibly supernatural knack at fixing mechanical objects.

    One day after a meteor storm, she rescues a mysterious girl, Anna, who sports a dragonfly tattoo, meaning Anna is under the protection of the powerful king of the Dragonfly territories. Unfortunately, Anna can’t remember where she’s from and who her parents are — she can barely remember who she is.

    Piper doesn’t want to get too involved with Anna’s complicated problems, but the two must board the 401 — an old but powerful steam train — to escape the menacing man who’s hunting Anna. And on the 401 is where they meet quite a few more interesting characters, including a teenage boy who has a secret of his own.

    I don’t want to spill any more spoilers, but if any of this description has caught your eye, you should definitely check it out. If I had to label this book with ONE genre, it’d be action-adventure. But it’s also steampunk. And it’s about friendship… and there’s magic, and a splash of romance… all in a crazy setting that seems like the future and the past! So… something for everyone!

    — Nancy

    icon_nancyNancy was very pleased to find out this book has very little, in fact, nothing, to do with real dragonflies. Those things are creeeeeeeeeepy.

    More about Nancy »

    New Summer, New Books: June 2017 New Releases

    June 4th, 2017 by

    If the sun blasting into my window has anything to say about it, it’s SUMMER! Do you have your summer reading book list all set? If not, you’ve come to the right place: Here’s a list of new books releasing in June.

    You might be indignantly waving your summer reading list at your screen… Well, get ready to make room for some additions! My personal top picks are noted with a ❤️ … but everything on this list is bookshelf worthy!

    Note: This list features stand-alone novels and does not include any sequels in well-known series. I would love to go on and on and on about my excitement over Jaleigh Johnson’s The Quest to the Uncharted Lands (second companion book to The Mark of the Dragonfly) and others, but then you’d be reading this blog post until July.

    Click on the plus signs next to the book titles to read the full descriptions from the publishers:

    Don’t Drink and Read: Laughing Causes Milk Out the Nose

      

    ❤️ Lint Boy by Aileen Leijten
     Lint Boy and Lint Bear live in their cozy dryer home, carefree and happy — until the day Lint Bear is snatched away by a cruel woman with a vendetta against dolls! Can Lint Boy unite a group of lost dolls to vanquish the villain and save his brother?

    This magical story is showcased in the stunning full-color art of this young graphic novel. A gently gothic, age-appropriate blend of Roald Dahl and Tim Burton, Lint Boy is a compelling tale of good vs. evil that will leave readers spellbound.

    Pottymouth and Stoopid by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

    David and his best friend Michael were tagged with awful nicknames way back in preschool when everyone did silly things. Fast-forward to 7th 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.

    Official Notice to Parents:
    There is no actual pottymouthing or stupidity in this entire book!
    (Psst, kids: That second part might not be entirely true.)

    The Strongest Man in the World: The Legend of Louis Cyr by Lucie Papineau and Caroline Hamel

    North America, late 19th century: A little boy is born whose destiny will prove exceptional. Traveling across the Northeast, he will show extraordinary physical strength. Soon, his exploits will spread around the North American continent, then Europe, making him truly the strongest man in the world!

    Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, open this book and be amazed by this incredible story!

    These Main Characters Could Be Your BFFs

      

    ❤️ Let’s Pretend We Never Met by Melissa Walker

    If it were up to Mattie Markham, there would be a law that said your family wasn’t allowed to move in the middle of the school year. After all, 6th grade is hard enough without wondering if you’ll be able to make new friends or worrying that the kids in Pennsylvania won’t like your North Carolina accent.

    But when Mattie meets her next-door neighbor and classmate, she begins to think maybe she was silly to fear being the “new girl.” Agnes is like no one Mattie has ever met — she’s curious, hilarious, smart, and makes up the best games. If winter break is anything to go by, the rest of the school year should be a breeze.

    Only it isn’t, because when vacation ends and school starts, Mattie realizes something: At school Agnes is known as the weird girl who no one likes. All Mattie wants is to fit in (okay, and maybe be a little popular too), but is that worth ending her friendship with Agnes?

    Superstar by Mandy Davis

    Lester’s first days as a 5th grader at Quarry Elementary School are not even a little bit like he thought they would be — the cafeteria is too loud for Lester’s ears, there are too many kids, and then there’s the bully.

    Lester was always home-schooled, and now he’s shocked to be stuck in a school where everything just seems wrong. That’s until he hears about the science fair, which goes really well for Lester! This is it. The moment where I find out for 100% sure that I won.

    But then things go a bit sideways, and Lester has to find his way back. A touching peek into the life of a sensitive autism-spectrum boy facing the everydayness of elementary school, Superstar testifies that what you can do isn’t nearly as important as who you are.

    This Is Just a Test by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang

    David Da-Wei Horowitz has a lot on his plate. Preparing for his upcoming bar mitzvah would be enough work even if it didn’t involve trying to please his Jewish and Chinese grandmothers, who argue about everything. But David just wants everyone to be happy.

    That includes his friend Scott, who is determined to win their upcoming trivia tournament but doesn’t like their teammate — and David’s best friend — Hector. Scott and David begin digging a fallout shelter just in case this Cold War stuff with the Soviets turns south… but David’s not so convinced he wants to spend forever in an underground bunker with Scott. Maybe it would be better if Hector and Kelli Ann came with them. But that would mean David has to figure out how to stand up for Hector and talk to Kelli Ann. Some days, surviving nuclear war feels like the least of David’s problems.

    The Last Page Might May You Say, “Whoa.”

      

    Felix Yz by Lisa Bunker

    When Felix Yz was 3 years old, a hyperintelligent 4th-dimensional being became fused inside him after one of his father’s science experiments went terribly wrong. The creature is friendly, but Felix — now 13 — won’t be able to grow to adulthood while they’re still melded together. So a risky Procedure is planned to separate them… but it may end up killing them both instead.

    This book is Felix’s secret blog, a chronicle of the days leading up to the Procedure. Some days it’s business as usual — time with his close-knit family, run-ins with a bully at school, anxiety about his crush. But life becomes more out of the ordinary with the arrival of an Estonian chess Grandmaster, the revelation of family secrets, and a train-hopping journey. When it all might be over in a few days, what matters most?

    Told in an unforgettable voice full of heart and humor, Felix Yz is a groundbreaking story about how we are all separate, but all connected too.

    ❤️ The Someday Suitcase by Corey Ann Haydu

    Clover and Danny are the kind of best friends who make each other even better. They’re so important to each other that Clover believes they’re symbiotic: her favorite science word, which describes two beings who can’t function without the other. But when Danny comes down with a mysterious illness that won’t go away, the doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong with him. So Clover decides to take matters into her own hands by making lists — list of Danny’s symptoms, his good days, his bad days.

    As the evidence piles up, only one thing becomes clear: Danny is only better when Clover is around.

    Suddenly it feels like time is running out for Clover and Danny to do everything they’ve planned together — to finally see snow, to go on a trip with the suitcase they picked out together. Will science be able to save Danny, or is this the one time when magic can overcome the unthinkable?

    Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce

    Prez knows that the best way to keep track of things is to make a list. That’s important when you have a grandfather who is constantly forgetting. And it’s even more important when your grandfather can’t care for you anymore and you have to go live with a foster family out in the country.

    Prez is still learning to fit in at his new home when he answers the door to meet Sputnik — a kid who is more than a little strange. First, he can hear what Prez is thinking. Second, he looks like a dog to everyone except Prez. Third, he can manipulate the laws of space and time. Sputnik, it turns out, is an alien, and he’s got a mission that requires Prez’s help: The Earth has been marked for destruction, and the only way they can stop it is to come up with ten reasons why the planet should be saved.

    Thus begins one of the most fun and eventful summers of Prez’s life, as he and Sputnik set out on a journey to compile the most important list Prez has ever made — and discover just what makes our world so remarkable.

    My Summer Vacation: (Vicarious) Heart-Pounding Adventures

      

    Hell and High Water by Tanya Landman

    Mystery turns to mortal danger as one young man’s quest to clear his father’s name ensnares him in a net of deceit, conspiracy, and intrigue in 1750s England.

    Caleb has spent his life roaming southern England with his Pa, little to their names but his father’s signet ring and a puppet theater for popular, raunchy Punch and Judy shows — until the day Pa is convicted of a theft he didn’t commit and sentenced to transportation to the colonies in America. From prison, Caleb’s father sends him to the coast to find an aunt Caleb never knew he had. His aunt welcomes him into her home, but her neighbors see only Caleb’s dark skin. Still, Caleb slowly falls into a strange rhythm in his new life… until one morning he finds a body washed up on the shore. The face is unrecognizable after its time at sea, but the signet ring is unmistakable: It can only be Caleb’s father. Mystery piles on mystery as both church and state deny what Caleb knows. From award-winning British author Tanya Landman comes a heart-stopping story of race, class, family, and corruption so deep it can kill.

    ❤️ Joplin, Wishing by Diane Stanley

    While cleaning out her reclusive grandfather’s house, Joplin discovers pieces of a broken platter in a cookie tin. After having the platter repaired, Joplin wishes that she could both find a friend at school, and befriend the girl pictured in the platter. The next day, Joplin befriends a boy named Barrett, and also notices a girl outside her apartment. A girl who looks remarkably like the girl in the platter…

    The girl introduces herself as Sofie, and she has a terrible secret. Cursed to grant wishes for the owner of the platter for all of time, she has been trapped for centuries. Joplin and Barrett vow to help her, but freeing Sofie is more complicated than they could have imagined, and the three friends end up against a sinister foe who could put them all in terrible danger.

    The Quest for Z: The True Story of Explorer Percy Fawcett and a Lost City in the Amazon by Greg Pizzoli

    British explorer Percy Fawcett believed that hidden deep within the Amazon rainforest was an ancient city, lost for the ages. Most people didn’t even believe this city existed. But if Fawcett could find it, he would be rich and famous forever. This is the true story of one man’s thrilling, dangerous journey into the jungle, and what he found on his quest for the lost city of Z.

    What books are on your summer reading list? Did any of my awesome recommendations get added? Let me know in the comments below!

    — Nancy

    As the last category suggests, the most thrilling activity Nancy partakes in during the summer is turning on the air conditioner and curling up with a good book.

    Best Books of 2014

    December 28th, 2014 by

    There are technically a few days left in 2014, but I think it’s safe to call it, right? I’ve scoured the Interwebs, polled a few fellow readers, studied the You(th) reviews, and dug deep into my heart… so without further ado, here is a list (in no particular order) of the Best Books of 2014!

    (Click on each cover for the official book description from the publisher, and in some cases a Kidsmomo review!)

    Rain Reign_Ann M Martin  Brown Girl Dreaming_ Jacqueline Woodson ophelia-and-the-marvelous-boy

    Mark of the Dragonfly_Jaleigh-Johnson The Crossover_Kwame Alexander Greenglass-House_Kate-Milford

    El Deafo Cece Bell  Absolutely Almost_Lisa Graff Glass Sentence_SE Grove

    Revolution_Deborah Wiles Fourteenth Goldfish_Jennifer L Holm sisters

    Honorable Mention:
    Blood of Olympus 260x420 Rick RiordanThe Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan — because it was an action-packed finale to a fantastic series!

    Do you agree or disagree with this list? Was your favorite new book of 2014 on this list, or is there a big, gaping book-shaped hole on this page where your pick should be? Either way, leave a review below and let us know!

      Please don't send us any personal information such as your last name, address, or phone number. Read our Terms of Submission below before you submit your article.

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      * All fields are required

      Your First Name ONLY:

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      Your Book Review:

      Rate the Book!

      Terms of Submission

      Before being published, your submission will be reviewed. It will be checked to see that it does not contain any inappropriate language or personal information. By sending us your submission, you are giving Kidsmomo permission to edit, promote, and put it up on our site and/or read it in its entirety in our podcast. However, because lots of kids send us submissions, we won't be able to publish all of the submissions that we receive. Also, it's really important to send us only your own writing and not anything that you copied from somewhere else. Thank you.

      — Nancy

      icon_nancyNancy’s personal pick from this list is The Mark of the Dragonfly, but books are like adopted children or pets — how could she possibly pick her favorite?!

      Best of 2020 Books

      January 5th, 2021 by

      For us, 2020 seems like it went by really quickly — at the same time that it seems like it dragged on forever. How could so much history happen in a single year, and yet almost every day from mid-March to December felt the same? It was certainly a challenging period for everyone, and a time of loss and grief for many. We hope that you and your families, friends, and communities are ringing in 2021 with good health — and the hope that things must get better.

      Now that we’ve reached the new year, here at Kidsmomo we thought it would be fitting to revisit the best books of 2020. So we went through a bunch of “Best of 2020” lists from our favorite sources around the internet, and we compiled a list of the best of the best. See below for the top 12 titles that came up over and over again — at least four times each!

      Our compiled list: Top 12 of 2020

      Listed in alphabetical order. Official descriptions from the publishers.

      Chance: Escape from the Holocaust by Uri Shulevitz

      From a beloved voice in children’s literature comes this landmark memoir of hope amid harrowing times and an engaging and unusual Holocaust story. … Uri Shulevitz … details the eight-year odyssey of how he and his Jewish family escaped the terrors of the Nazis by fleeing Warsaw for the Soviet Union in Chance. It was during those years, with threats at every turn, that the young Uri experienced his awakening as an artist, an experience that played a key role during this difficult time.

      Class Act by Jerry Craft

      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?

      Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk

      After losing almost everything in the Great Depression, Ellie’s family is forced to leave their home in town and start over in the untamed wilderness of nearby Echo Mountain. Ellie has found a welcome freedom, and a love of the natural world, in her new life on the mountain. But there is little joy after a terrible accident leaves her father in a coma. An accident unfairly blamed on Ellie. Ellie is a girl who takes matters into her own hands, and determined to help her father she will make her way to the top of the mountain in search of the healing secrets of a woman known only as “the hag.” But the hag, and the mountain, still have many untold stories left to reveal.

      Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

      Ten-year-old Della has always had her older sister, Suki: When their mom went to prison, Della had Suki. When their mom’s boyfriend took them in, Della had Suki. When that same boyfriend did something so awful they had to run fast, Della had Suki. Suki is Della’s own wolf–her protector. But who has been protecting Suki? Della might get told off for swearing at school, but she has always known how to keep quiet where it counts. Then Suki tries to kill herself, and Della’s world turns so far upside down, it feels like it’s shaking her by the ankles. Maybe she’s been quiet about the wrong things. Maybe it’s time to be loud.

      From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks

      Zoe Washington isn’t sure what to write. What does a girl say to the father she’s never met, hadn’t heard from until his letter arrived on her twelfth birthday, and who’s been in prison for a terrible crime? A crime he says he never committed. Could Marcus really be innocent? Zoe is determined to uncover the truth. Even if it means hiding his letters and her investigation from the rest of her family. Everyone else thinks Zoe’s worrying about doing a good job at her bakery internship and proving to her parents that she’s worthy of auditioning for Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge. But with bakery confections on one part of her mind, and Marcus’s conviction weighing heavily on the other, this is one recipe Zoe doesn’t know how to balance. The only thing she knows to be true: Everyone lies.

      King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender

      Twelve-year-old Kingston James is sure his brother Khalid has turned into a dragonfly. When Khalid unexpectedly passed away, he shed what was his first skin for another to live down by the bayou in their small Louisiana town. Khalid still visits in dreams, and King must keep these secrets to himself as he watches grief transform his family. It would be easier if King could talk with his best friend, Sandy Sanders. But just days before he died, Khalid told King to end their friendship, after overhearing a secret about Sandy — that he thinks he might be gay. “You don’t want anyone to think you’re gay too, do you?” But when Sandy goes missing, sparking a town-wide search, and King finds his former best friend hiding in a tent in his backyard, he agrees to help Sandy escape from his abusive father, and the two begin an adventure as they build their own private paradise down by the bayou and among the dragonflies. As King’s friendship with Sandy is reignited, he’s forced to confront questions about himself and the reality of his brother’s death.

      Loretta Little Looks Back: Three Voices Go Tell It by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney

      Loretta, Roly, and Aggie B., members of the Little family, each present the vivid story of their young lives, spanning three generations. Their separate stories — beginning in a cotton field in 1927 and ending at the presidential election of 1968 — come together to create one unforgettable journey. Through an evocative mix of fictional first-person narratives, spoken-word poems, folk myths, gospel rhythms and blues influences, Loretta Little Looks Back weaves an immersive tapestry that illuminates the dignity of sharecroppers in the rural South. Inspired by storytelling’s oral tradition, stirring vignettes are presented in a series of theatrical monologues that paint a gripping, multidimensional portrait of America’s struggle for civil rights as seen through the eyes of the children who lived it. The novel’s unique format invites us to walk in their shoes. Each encounters an unexpected mystical gift, passed down from one family member to the next, that ignites their experience what it means to reach for freedom.

      Mañanaland by Pam Muñoz Ryan

      Maximiliano Córdoba loves stories, especially the fantastical tale Buelo tells him about a mystical gatekeeper who can guide brave travellers on a journey into tomorrow. If Max could see tomorrow, he would know if he’d make Santa Maria’s celebrated fútbol team, and whether he’d ever find his mother, who left when he was a baby. Papa refuses to talk about her, so Max has learned to stop asking. But when Papa is forced to reveal his involvement in an underground network of guardians that led people fleeing a neighboring country to safety, and the surprising reason Max’s spot on the fútbol team may be threatened, everything he knew about himself and his family is upended. A treasured compass, a haunted tower, a mysterious stone rubbing, and a peregrine falcon propel Max on a dangerous search for clues about who he is and what the future holds.

      only-black-girls-in-town-book-coverThe Only Black Girls in Town by Brandy Colbert

      Beach-loving surfer Alberta has been the only Black girl in town for years. Alberta’s best friend, Laramie, is the closest thing she has to a sister, but there are some things even Laramie can’t understand. When the bed and breakfast across the street finds new owners, Alberta is ecstatic to learn the family is black-and they have a 12-year-old daughter just like her. Alberta is positive she and the new girl, Edie, will be fast friends. But while Alberta loves being a California girl, Edie misses her native Brooklyn and finds it hard to adapt to small-town living. When the girls discover a box of old journals in Edie’s attic, they team up to figure out exactly who’s behind them and why they got left behind. Soon they discover shocking and painful secrets of the past and learn that nothing is quite what it seems.

      Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte

      Mary Lambert has always felt safe and protected on her beloved island of Martha’s Vineyard. Her great-great-grandfather was an early English settler and the first deaf islander. Now, over a hundred years later, many people there, including Mary are deaf, and nearly everyone can communicate in sign language. Mary has never felt isolated. She is proud of her lineage. But recent events have delivered winds of change. Mary’s brother died, leaving her family shattered. Tensions over land disputes are mounting between English settlers and the Wampanoag people. And a cunning young scientist has arrived, hoping to discover the origin of the island’s prevalent deafness. His maniacal drive to find answers soon renders Mary a live specimen in a cruel experiment. Deaf author and librarian Ann Clare LeZotte weaves a riveting story inspired by the true history of a thriving deaf community on Martha’s Vineyard in the early 19th century making readers question their own ideas about what is normal.

      Twins by Varian Johnson and Shannon Wright

      Maureen and Francine Carter are twins and best friends. They participate in the same clubs, enjoy the same foods, and are partners on all their school projects. But just before the girls start sixth grade, Francine becomes Fran — a girl who wants to join the chorus, run for class president, and dress in fashionable outfits that set her apart from Maureen. A girl who seems happy to share only two classes with her sister!

      Ways To Make Sunshine by Renée Watson

      Ryan Hart has a lot on her mind — school, self-image, and especially family. Her dad finally has a new job, but money is tight. That means some changes, like selling their second car and moving into a new (old) house. But Ryan is a girl who knows how to make sunshine out of setbacks. As her brother says when he raps about her, she’s got the talent that matters most: it’s a talent that can’t be seen, she’s nice, not mean! Ryan is all about trying to see the best in people, to be a good daughter, a good sister, a good friend. But even if her life isn’t everything she would wish for, when her big brother is infuriating, her parents don’t quite understand, and the unexpected happens, she always finds a way forward, with grace and wit. And plenty of sunshine.

      When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed

      Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future … but it would also mean leaving his brother, the only family member he has left, every day. Heartbreak, hope, and gentle humor exist together in this graphic novel about a childhood spent waiting, and a young man who is able to create a sense of family and home in the most difficult of settings. It’s an intimate, important, unforgettable look at the day-to-day life of a refugee, as told to New York Times Bestselling author/artist Victoria Jamieson by Omar Mohamed, the Somali man who lived the story.

      Happy reading, and here’s to a better new year!


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