Lupe Wong Won't Dance - by Donna Barbra Higuera
Lupe Wong, bona fide jock, is horrified that square dancing is the next unit in her seventh grade phys ed class. Dead set on meeting her sports idol, Fu Li Hernandez, the first Asian/Latino pitcher for the Seattle Mariners, Lupe needs to get straight A's to cash in on Uncle Hector's promise. Fu Li is Chinacan—just like Lupe, whose mom is Mexican and late dad was Chinese. Determined to put a halt to square dancing, Lupe brings everyone into her cause: her authentically diverse group of friends, her interracial family, her wise principal, and even her endearing PE teacher. As Lupe doggedly challenges school tradition, readers will connect to her strong internal voice, empathize with her setbacks, and celebrate her victories. Higuera creates a very real multicultural middle school community complete with wisecracking humor, mean girls, and a realistic friendship fallout. Lupe has a wonderfully diverse group of friends with a wide range of interests, from Star Trek to soccer, deftly avoiding "diversity quota" pitfalls. Lupe's own mixed-heritage family is refreshingly representative of families today. Principal Singh is Indian; Lupe's best friend, Andy, is Guinean; and all other primary characters are presumed white. Grab your partners and do-si-do—this one is simply delightful. (Fiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
The Word for Friend by Aidan Cassie
Kindness is a universal language. Kemala, an optimistic, talkative pangolin, has moved to "her new town" and anticipates meeting new friends. Her curiosity and interest in her new environment are tinged with anxiety and ambivalence about joining a new school because of "a language Kemala didn't know." With trepidation, humor, and help from anteater classmate Ana, Kemala discovers a connection through puppetry. Meanwhile, her hide thickens as she tackles Esperanto, the "foreign" language used among this assemblage of animal characters drawn from different continents. The focus on a fundamentally global language spoken by creatures from diverse habitats conveys a utopian-yet-accessible vision in which no one is an outsider. In featuring an echidna, a red fox, an owl, a raccoon, a skunk, and a numbat sharing the classroom with a pangolin, for example, while crafting Indonesian-style shadow puppets of other animals (tiger, elephant, giraffe, hippopotamus, and penguin), the illustrations emphasize the power of ima ginative role play. With everyone's exuberant encouragement, Kemala overcomes her shyness and stage fright to find her new voice. A concluding note explains Esperanto and provides translations of the dialogue as well as offering further information on pangolins. Readers with familiarity with Southeast Asia may recognize Kemala's name as Indonesian or Malaysian. Delightful and heartwarming, this read-aloud performs like a welcoming embrace. Brava, amiko! (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
Five Worlds 4, The Amber Anthem - by Mark and Alexis Siegel
If you've read the first three books in this series, you won't want to miss the fourth!
While Oona Lee and her friends search for the Amber Anthem on Salassandra to protect the Five Worlds from the evil Mimic, Stan Moon dispatches an evil Jax robot to assassinate the team while he tracks down a Vanishing Illness-infected An Tzu.
I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark - by Debbie Levy and Elizabeth Baddeley
Speak purposefully and carry a big legal pad.Ruth Bader Ginsburg's 1940s Brooklyn neighborhood was filled with the traditional sights and aromas of many different immigrant cultures alongside her Jewish background, but in one respect her life was different. Her mother believed women should pursue opportunities outside the traditional ones. Ruth read voraciously in her neighborhood library, but it was on car trips with her family that she was exposed to racial and religious prejudices, effectively communicated with signage in the illustrations. Rebelling against writing with her right hand, the left-handed Ruth went on to earn a law degree—rare for women at that time—and teach law. She made it her mission to fight in the courts for equal rights for women and people of color. In 1993, President Bill Clinton appointed her to the Supreme Court, the first Jewish woman to sit. In her many opinions, she "sings out for equality." Levy's breezy text highlights Ginsburg's c hildhood, schooling, family (with a husband as the cook), and career. Baddeley's mixed-media art is colorful, lively, and retro in feel. The judicious use of large and varied display types throughout the pages emphasizes Ginsburg's thoughts and actions, often evoking picket signs of protest. Read this and be inspired to work for justice through the legal system. (author's note, photographs, notes on Supreme Court cases, bibliography, quotation sources) (Picture book/biography. 7-10) Copyright Kirkus 2016 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.