Friday, January 29, 2010

Bleeding Violet Dia Reeves

Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves

This story is beautifully strange, I couldn't put down. 16 yr Hanna is half American half Finnish, half Black half White and 100% out there, I loved her. To honor her dad's memory Hanna wears only purple. When Hanna doesn't take her pills, she can still speak to her dad.

The story opens with Hanna arriving in her mom's home town of Portero, Texas for the first time. The two have never meet. After an incident with her aunt Hanna needs a new place to call home. She has her mind set on Portero. Hanna's mother, Rosalee does her best to discourage her daughter, it doesn't work. Hanna quickly learns Portero is a far from normal town. Students are turned into statues, and monsters can take people right off the streets. She fits right in.

Hanna has her eye on Wyatt. He is a member of Mortmaine, they protect the town from creatures. Some girls would turned off by what Wyatt can do, not Hanna. She wants to go on a midnight hunt to get the full experience. She also wants to prove to her mother she's strong enough to handle life in Portero

Reeves quickly established Hanna's voice and writes wonderful dialogue. One of the things I loved about this book, the author doesn't depend on the unexplainable in Portero to carry the story. Reeves writing is strong from beginning and only gets better.

This novel is out there from page one, as it continues it dances around the line of over top. I loved that dance and all the weirdness that was Portero. Ages 16up

I didn't do Bleeding Violet justice, so just read the excerpt

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Top Ten + Predictions

Betsy Bird is running a poll over at her SJL blog Fuse#8 Production. Everyone was asked to send in their top ten chapter books by Jan. 31

I'd thought I'd share my top 10 and two predictions.

1. Money Hungry by Sharon Flake
2. Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
3. I Wanna Be Your Shoebox by Cristina Gracia
4. Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee
5 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor
6 To Be a Slave by Julius Lester
7 Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
8 Yankee Girl by Mary Ann Rodman
9 Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez
10. The Prince of Fenway Park by Julianna Baggott

My predictions for the poll

1. There will not be more then five authors of color on the list.

2.Though it's only been out since 2008 Laurie Halse Anderson's Chains will make the list.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thanks Simon and Schuster

There has been a lot of focus on publishers Whitewashing books this past week. I think this is a very good thing if publishers realize people are paying attention, things will change. At the same time I think publishers who are getting it right should be talked up. The first publisher I said thank you for recognizing kids of color was Candlewick

Today its Simon & Schuster. I've been thinking about doing this post for awhile now. Though I knew it was time when realized Bleeding Violet - Dia Reeves debut novel is published by an S&S imprint. I just finished the novel and really enjoyed it. (review to come) I loved the main character Hanna. Its very rare to see a YA fantasy novel with a main character of color written by an author of color. If that's not shout out worthy I don't know what is.

I don't know when I started paying attention to who publishers what, but I do especially when it comes to diversity.

1Two of a Kind by Jacqui Robbins Illus by Matt Phelan

2Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx by Jonah Winter Illus. by Edel Rodriguez

3 Long Shot: Never Too Small to Dream Big by Chris Paul Illus by Frank Morrison

4 Little Cloud and Lady Wind by Toni Morrison and Slade Morrison Illus by Sean Qualls

5Night of the Living Lawn Ornaments by Emily Ecton

6Olivion's Favorites by Troy Cle

7Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

8Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai

9The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon

10Perfect Shot by Debbie Rigaud

11The World Is Mine by Lyah B. LeFlore

12Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger

13Sweet, Hereafter by Angela Johnson

14 Good Fortune by Noni Carter

15Keep Sweet by Michele Dominguez Greene

16Dark Dude by Oscar Hijuelos

17He Forgot to Say Goodbye by Benjamin Alire Saenz

18 Voices in First Person: Reflections on Latino Identity by Lori Marie Carlson

All of these titles are 2009 and 2010 releases with the exception of three. Of these 18 titles at least seven are about kids of color or in the case of author Emily Ecton's book feature a kid of color and have nothing to do with race.

Robbins Two of a Kind is a wonderful story featuring two kids of color that has nothing to do with race (and would make a great read aloud)

I love Morrison's cover for Long Shot. Its a wonderful picture book but I really wish it was an early chapter book . There are not enough early readers that feature boys of color. If Long Shot was such a book it would sell it like candy. A lot of young kids love the NBA, and its so hard to find good sports books for early readers.

I love that not only is there a Black protagonist (Ty) in Ecton's series but he is also on the cover. I haven't read not read Night of the Living Lawn Ornaments yet, but I enjoyed the first book in and loved the second one The Curse of Cuddles McGee. Ty is on the cover of all three books. Buy this book - support cover diversity and get a very good laugh all for the low low price of $6.00

Magoon's Rock and the River cover stands out for me, because its rare to see a male protagonist of Color on the cover of middle grade novel. Magoon won the 2010 John Steptoe award for new talent

Perfect Shot is a part of S&S romantic comedy series. Rigaud is the first Black author to be published under this line. To me this is huge. Author's of color aren't given the opportunity to tell more stories. Perfect Shot is another story and a very good one. When and if you buy this book (only $7.00) you're saying three things. 1) YA with kids of color on the cover can sell 2) You want new stories with kids of color 3) You want to laugh

Laflore's The World is Mine is a great page turner. I love the cover I think it speaks to its intended audience and the Black male protagonist is front and center.

I like Meminger's Shine Coconut Moon cover but I do wish we could see the models face. Though I am very happy the cover has a model and not sun rays or something Shine Coconut Moon was a Smithsonian Notable Book for Children 2009

There is really nothing to say about Johnson's Sweet HereAfter cover but love it, especially when kids of color seem to be dissappearing from covers even when they are the main character.
Good Fortune is Carter's YA debut. Its also a story about slavery. Yes, another story about slavery but I will happily read this one because Simon & Schuster is giving so much more.

Thanks Simon & Schuster, please keep the diversity coming. Also it would be very nice if you invested more money in getting the word out on these books. People can't buy want they don't know about. I am sure somewhere someone is wondering where they can find a middle grade fantasy book that features a kid of color. If only they new about Troy Cle's Olivion's Favorites the second book in a series that stars Louis Proof, a Black protagonist

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Order of the Odd Fish Inspires Fans

Order of the Odd Fish by James Kennedy

This book will be coming out in paperback on Feb. 9. I read it when it first came out in hardcover and absolutely loved it. My review It was just the right about of strange for me, beginning with the eye catching cover.

The author James Kennedy recieves Fan Art based off the novel. It takes a special book to inspire creativity. I love the Stained Glass Sefino.

Kennedy is currently calling for submissions for art inspired by the Order of the Odd Fish for a gallery show in Chicago next spring. The deadline is March 15

The author sent me an email asking if I could mention this. My initial thought was of course because I loved Order of the Odd Fish. So I am more than happy to especially since Kennedy doesn't have to do this.

He could simply show the fan art on this blog, send out a few thanks and be done with it. Though Kennedy is as committed to his fans as his fans are to his book.

Artists like these deserve broader recognition. So this spring I’m planning an extravaganza of Odd-Fish fan art in Chicago! It'll be not only an art show, but also a costumed dance party and theatrical extravaganza. I'm working with a Chicago theater group called Collaboraction to do this. They're going to decorate their cavernous space to portray scenes from the book (the fantastical tropical metropolis of Eldritch City, the digestive system of the All-Devouring Mother goddess, the Dome of Doom, etc.).

Opening night will be a dance party where people dress up as gods and do battle-dancing in the Dome of Doom. In the weeks afterward, we'll bring in field trips from schools. They'll browse the fan art galleries, be wowed by the elaborately decorated environment we've created, take in some performances from the book, and participate in an energetic writing workshop.The whole shebang will open next April

Order of the Odd Fish is well worth the read, art or no art but do spread the word.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz

The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz
This was one of those stories I wish I had a fireplace to read it by. I lent the arc to a co-coworker, when I got it back there was a post it on it that said, " Amazing, I want to be Flory."

There is a simple beauty to this story. Flory is are night fairy born a little after midnight. Not yet three months old Flory must make her way into the world alone. On her first solo flight a bat accidentally breaks Flory's wings. She must make a home of a nearby garden and become a day fairy for safety.

Flory must learn to adjust to her new surroundings. She is a very resourceful fairy. Her first friendship with an always hungry squirrel named Skuggle came about because of necessity.
Flory has an easy time of getting Skuggle to do her bidding, though she learns not all the animals can be controlled.

There is a simple beauty to this story. Each day brings something new for Flory. It was a pleasure to watch Flory navigate her new world and learn how to interact with others. The Night Fairy is an illustrated story just under 120 pages. The author took great care with every word. From beginning to end The Night Fairy was a pure joy to read, I loved it. Angela Barrett's illustrations will be in full color. In the arc the artwork is unfinished. Though from The Night Fairy page and sample of full color illustrations on back flap of the arc, Barrett's illus. are going to be gorgeous and warm. Flory looks Black to me, check out the excerpt and tell me what you think. Ages 7 up. This would be a wonderful story to read at bedtime. Scheduled released date is Feb. 23

Read an excerpt

A Fuse#8 review

Ten Things I Hate About Me Randa Abdel Fattah

Ten Things I Hate About Me by Randa Abdel Fattah
This is Abdel Fattah's second YA novel. I loved the first one Does My Head Look Big In This? At home she's Jamilah, a Lebanese Muslim, at school she's Jamie an Aussie - blonde. In middle school Jamilah decided to hide her true idenitity at school to avoid the verbal abuse. Now, a sophomore in high school, Jamie can't get too close to her friends, for fear they'll find out the truth.

The author quickly establishes Jamilah/Jamie, as well as the hate based on ethnicity and religion at the school and in Australia. At home Jamilah constantly fight for a little more freedom from her strict dad. I liked Jamilah the most when she was playing in her Arabic school band. She seemed happiest there.

"My darabuka is balanced under my arm and I drum down on the leather top with the palms of my hands, creating a deep, strong rhythm that echoes and reverberates in my chest. I feel a strange sense of calm and exhilaration. The sounds trigger memories of colorful weddings and Lebanese parties and dance floors and live bands and belly dancers. I get lost in the best of the drum. This is where I belong. I think to myself I think to myself. This is who I am."

One day while working in the school computer lab, Jamie befriends another teenager, who goes by Rage Against the Machine. Ten Things I Hate About Me is Jamie online tag. The two slowly become online friends. Jamie feels free to confess her two identities. As the book continues it's pretty easy to guess who Rage Against the Machine is, though knowing didn't take away from this part of the story.

In hiding her identity Jamie's has become a passive, mute girl in school. This attracts the attention of Peter the popular boy, who is quick to put down other students because of their race or religion.

Jamilah/Jamie's worlds collide when her Arabic band is asked to play at a school dance. It was a very strong ending to an enjoyable read. I think with novel's about identity an author must strive for a balance between telling the story and imparting knowledge with a lesson. Sometimes a good story is lesson enough.

There were moments where the authors writing shined through.

"From the moment of her birth God had her heading for that armchair. Some guy in a factory manufactured it with professional care. He put it together, nail-gunned the upholstery over it, wrapped it in plastic and shipped it off for sale. Nobody knew it would land in our living room and hold my mother in her dying moments. It tore her from our lives. I slashed it with a knife when we returned from the funeral."

While reading Ten Things I Hate About Me, I couldn't help but think of Meminger's Shine, Coconut Moon The main character Samar - has not hidden her Indian background though now she is learning about it and embracing it. The two books have the underlining theme of identity.

Check out Ah Yuan's review of Shine Coconut Moon @ Gal Novelty Its worth a look just to read about her crush on Uncle Sandeep.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Color It Up and 28 Days Later

I did a recent post over at Color Online
Here's the first part.

Children's blogger, Betsy Bird of Fuse #8 Production, over at School Library Journal recently announced a new poll. The Top 100 Children's Fictional Chapter Books. Everyone has until January 31, send along there 10 top middle grade choices of all time. When I saw the announcement, I knew that the majority of my selections would feature kids of color. I would love to be to able to vote for Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth , Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia, Konigsurg's The View from Saturday or any number of middle grade novels with White protagonists that I love and deserve to be on the list. But I can't. With my picks I am striving for a little color balance. I don't feel bad or guilty about the way I will vote. I love color in fiction but I am not blinded by it. I don't lower my standards or exceptions simply because a book has characters of color.

I decided it was best to post it over at Color Online, since that blog gets more traffic. I figured more people would see it.

I have not sent in my top 10 MG choices yet. I know what 6 of my choices will be, though I am actually waiting until I read a few more MG titles like Naming Maya by Umi Krishnaswami before I fill the final spots.

TheBrownBookshelf has announced the author's and illustrators who will be interviewed for their annual 28 Days Later It's wonderful list of artist as always.


On Monday morning the American Library Association announced the children's literary award winners

Jerry Pinkney was the Caldecott award winner for The Lion & the Mouse . He is the first Black illustrator to win this award. Much Congrats Mr. Pinkney its well deserved.

Overall I am very happy with the results. I've read and loved all the Newbery books expect The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick , which I am looking forward to reading.

I was very exicited to see that Julia Alvarez, won the Belpre author award for Return to Sender
It was one of my favorite books of 09, and its well deserving of some attention. I had it down as one of my Newbery sleepers but Belpre sticker is excelente

Though, its the Corretta Scott King award winners that I am most happy with. Its nice to see a few new names get recongized for great work.

Vaunda Micheaux Nelson won the CSK author Award for Bad News For Outlaws . This is a wonderful biography about Bass Reeves. R. Gregory Chrisitie's illus are as beautiful as the author's text. I had this down as winning the illustrator award, but it was a coin toss. I am very happy to see it on the list.

I think CSK award were created to help get the words out on books, like Bad News For Outlaws. It got a lot of star reviews but its published by a smaller publishing house. So many people may not know about or may not think it's worth seeking out, until now.

Tantia Davis was a CSK author honor for Mare's War This is such a beautiful read. Its hard not to love it and Mare. If there was an award for best cover this book would be in the running. The people at Random House know how to make a great cover. For everyone who has already read and loved Mare's War do check out Davis first novel A la Carte

Charles R Smith Jr is the CSK illus. award winner for My People

E.B. Lewis was a CSK illus honor winner for The Negro Speaks of Rivers

I have not read either of the books recognized for illus. (yet) but I am a fan of both artist and one can never go wrong with Langston Hughes.

Kekla Magoon was the recipient of the John Steptoe Award for new talent for The Rock and the River It's a wonderful middle grade historical fiction novel.

Congratulations to all the winners.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dear Bloomsbury:

Dear Bloomsbury:

By the time you read this I'll be gone. I will be off reading, selling and promoting books by any other house. It pains me to have to write this letter, but you left me no choice. After the Liar cover controversy, I thought we understood each other better. Obviously I was wrong. I will spell out for you now. I will give you a little customer insight, so maybe you'll find a way to win a few of us back. I am not the only one who has decided to say no to Bloomsbury, nor am I the first and I won't be the last. It wasn't the lack of a Brown face on the Liar cover that caused the outrage. It was the whitewashing.

How long did you think it would take before people started take notice of this new cover lie? When did you realize that you couldn't get away with putting a White girl on the cover of Dolamore's YA debut Magic Under Glass where the main character is clearly a person of color. When did you start to sweat, Bloomsbury? Was it here or here, or how about here.

Yes, it took a moment but people are talking and no one is shutting up anytime soon. We may disagree about how change should come about but we all agree it's necessary. Bloomsbury, when you decided to whitewash yet another YA cover, you left me no choice. Boycott it is. I hate that I must do this but its pretty clear the only thing you care about, is your bottom line.

I had a few Bloomsbury titles in my hand selling repertoire, no more. I refuse to go on business as usual like nothing is wrong. We've come to a very ugly place and we didn't even have to be here. There is no law that requires all YA books have cover faces. Bloomsbury, you don't want to put Brown faces on your covers, fine. But, that doesn't give you the right to insult and disrespect me with whitewashed covers.

I can't promote or sell books by a publishing house that regularly enforces the idea that Brown isn't good enough. Bloomsbury, I won't help you profit while you willingly let teens of color doubt their self worth.

Boycotting was not an easy decision for me. It still makes me sick to think what I am doing will hurt authors, who have done nothing wrong. Isn't that what you want Bloomsbury, potential boycotters to worry how their actions will impact authors careers and livelihoods . Bloomsbury, I wouldn't put it past you, to bank on this well placed concern for authors as protection against a finical hit.

It was this last bit of thinking that sold me on the idea that boycotting was the right thing (for me ) to do. Bloomsbury, if you cared about your authors and readers, you would not have put us in this situation. There will be more booksellers and even book buyers who will decide to say no to Bloomsbury.

The only Bloomsbury title I will actively sell is Larbalestier's Liar to prove Brown can sell. I know it doesn't sell as well as White but who's fault is that. Publishers deemed White girls the only worthy girls on YA covers a long time ago. It will take time to correct the brainwashing.

There is one title I am on the fence about saying goodbye to Cook's Our Children Can Soar Bloomsbury please, tell me why you decided to publish Our Children Can Soar, when you routinely step on the wings of many young people with your only White is right cover complex.

The Montgomery Bus Boycott lasted 382 days. That took love, faith, strength and determination. Many people risked so much to bring about change. This in comparison is nothing. I will do what I deem necessary for change and say no to Bloomsbury.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Leaving Gee's Bend Irene Latham

Leaving Gee's Bend by Irene Latham
When I saw this advertised in a catalog I got very excited. A novel set in Gee's Bend, I couldn't wait to read it. I wish I could say I liked it.
When I started Leaving Gee's Bend, I had high hopes. My initial thoughts the Southern dialect is good and I liked 10 yr old Ludelphia. Lu,with only one working eye but still took to quilting. I was ready to follow Lu on a great adventure. I was ready to listen as Lu talked about the quilt she was making her mother and the stories that came with each stitch.

Lu's mom is sick. She thinks the only way to save her it to get a doctor. This means crossing the river and leaving Gee's Bend for the first time. When Leaving Gee's Bend begins Lu's mom already has a hard cough. A few pages in she's too sick to get out of bed.

I thought the mom getting sick early would lead to Lu leaving Gee's Bend earlier, meaning more adventure. Lu's mom took to the bed around page 24, Lu didn't leave until page 74. That may seem like a small amount of time but nothing happened between those pages. After awhile I was like leave already, Lu. ( you know a book isn't going well when you start screaming at it)

While I was impatiently waiting for Lu to leave, I was able to put my finger on a large part of the story, that was missing for me. The author never made me feel like I was in Gee's Bend. I have no idea what Gee's Bend would look or feel like. Though I think its the author's job to place me there. Gee's Bend, Al. is famous for it's quilting. A book set there I expected it to be more visual. Leaving Gee's Bend is clearly a southern tale with passage like this

"Ain't noplace in Gee's Bend you can't get to by setting one foot after another in to that orange dirt that likes to settle right between your toes. I reckon the hard part is how once you're in Gee's Bend, it ain't all that easy to get out."

Generally Southern is not specifically Gee's Bend. When Lu finally crosses to the river she runs into Mrs. Cobb. Her husband owns much of the land over at Gee's Bend. Many of the families are sharecroppers. Mrs. Cobb is a little unhinged since her husband died.

I was very disappointed with Leaving Gee Bend. Even after Lu left nothing seemed to happen. Lu ran into Mrs. Cobb, ran away than ran into Mrs. Nelson and Doc Nelson.

The doctor tells Lu what can be done for her mom on page 142. My first thought was that's it, second thought why are there 10 chapters left?

Mrs. Cobb blames her husband's death on the people of Gee's Bend. So she plans on collecting on all Gee's Bend's debts. Lu must get home to warn everyone Mrs. Cobb is coming.
One of my biggest problems with this storyline, the author never explains how unjust sharecropping was. It shouldn't be assumed that a 10 yr old would know.

"You're right about that son. It was mighty kind of Mr. Cobb to bring us that seed." Daddy gazed at the embers in the fireplace. "But there's something you got to always remember. Mr. Cobb's the boss man, and we ain't nothing but sharecroppers. Can't be bothering him with our troubles. Wouldn't want him thinking we can't do our work."

That's from early on in the novel. I had a problem with it when I read it but I let it got since this wasn't novel about sharecropping. But once Mrs. Cobb went to collect on all debts I had to revisit it.

If I knew nothing about sharecropping, after I read that passage I would think it was just people working the someone else's land for a fair price. I have a difficult time believing that a father would not tell his family the truth about it. Let's say the father is passive and too scared to speak out. What about the 16 yr old son? It's even harder for me to believe that a son wouldn't speak out against it.

"Please, Mrs Cobb. Me and my boy here, we'll work extra hard. I promise we'll make it up to you next planting season. Just give us some time, Mrs Cobb. All we need is time. When Mrs. Cobb spoke again, her voice was all business get me every single one of them chickens. Get the tools too. The ax, the shovel the pitchfork. And whatever feed you can find in the barn. "Please, Mrs. Cobb" I knew it was my daddy, but I ain't never heard him beg before. It didn't sound nothing like him.

That has been edited, though it still in context (pg 194). While I was reading it, I was pretty much done with it when Mrs. Cobb started taking the chickens. When Lu said it sounded like her daddy was begging I was really done.

Sleepers and More

Tomorrow morning all of the Children's and Young Adult awards will be given out and announced by the American Library Association . At first I wasn't put out my guesses than I though why not. So this is very late but still in time.

Pinkney's The Lion & the Mouse It's favored by many to win. It's a lovely book. Pinkney's work is beautiful as always. I hope it wins but I have my doubts.

Pinkney has two strikes against him. One its favored to win and that's never a good thing. Two, a Black illustrator has yet to win this award. Than again the U.S has its for Black president.

I will think very good thoughts for Jerry Pinkney had hope for the best.

Newbery -

Winner - Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
why - This novel is in the running at many mock newbery list but not favored. Lin , weaves stories within the story beautifully. It's not often that girls go on an adventures alone and by choice. Usually they are running away from a bad engagement, marriage, sacrifice etc. Also the parents hardly ever chase after the adventurer. The parents chase after their daugther (notice I said parents) Lin avoids the ever popular orphan protagonist.

Honors -
Love, Aubrey - by Suzanne Lafleur
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice Phillip Hoose

And my sleepers
The Brooklyn Nine by Alan M Gratz
Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez

Coretta Scott King Award

Author award - Flygirl by Sherri L Smith

Sweethearts of Rhythm by Marilyn Nelson Mare's War Tanita S. Davis

Illustrator award -Bad News for Outlaws by Vaunda Miche Nelson illus by R. Gregory Christie

We Troubled the Waters by Ntozake Shange drawings by Rod Brown
The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes and E. B. Lewis

John Steptoe Award for new talent
The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon

Belpre - Like the Caldecott I am out of the Belpre loop

Story winner - Confetti Girl by Diana Lopez

Honor Leaving Glorytown: One Boy's Struggle Under Castro by Eduardo Calcines

Illus. Winner Pele, King of Soccer/Pele, El Rey del Futbol by Monica Brown illus. by Rudy

Printz Winner Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco Stork

Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford
After by Amy Efaw
Liar by Justine Larbalestier
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Jumped by Williams -Garcia

I have too many printz honors but don't know what to take off, so they all stay.

There are many more awards but those are all guesses. In a few hours, I will either look very smart or this post may magically disappear.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mark Your Calendars

Initially I had planned to look a few months ahead. Every time I found a new book by a author of color or with characters of color, it got extended another month. I have noted a few paperback releases . I have reviewed a few of the books in January, and will link to those. So I don't look vein, I've decided to link to other early reviews or excerpts. Like my blog this list isn't exclusively books featuring characters of color. It's simply books I think I will enjoy and in many cases know that to be the truth.

I debated a long time about whether I should make the books with characters of color or by authors of color stand out in anyway. I was leaning towards no for the longest, (stories are stories it shouldn't matter) but it does because authors of color and stories with characters of color are at and unfair disadvantage.

Plus, maybe someone finds this list and is in the mood to read a book with characters of color. So I made it as easy as possible to find The books in bold, either feature characters of color or are written by author color.

My easy to follow key -
NF - Non fiction QP - Paperback
S - Series Book
D - Debut author

Before I get to January, I want to point out a recent release (November) for a small publishing house Holiday House that looks really good Celia's Robot by Margaret Chang. Celia is in the fifth. She is half Chinese and half White. Her dad builds her robot to keep on task I read the excerpt and loved it. Celia is a protagonist that I can get behind.

Also check out a wonderful recent Library Journal list by Martha Cornog of 24 Graphic Novels for children and teens with African American characters.


Picture Books

The Little Piano Girl : The Story of Mary Lou Williams by Ann Ingalls & Mary Mcdonald illus. by Giselle Potter (NF)
Back of the Bus by Aaron Reynolds illus by Floyd Cooper (NF)
The Hallelujah Flight by Phil Bildner illus by John Holyfield (NF)
Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya By Donna Jo Napoli illus. by Kadir Nelson
All Things Bright and Beautiful by Cecil F. Alexander Illus. by Ashley Bryan
Henry Aaron's Dream by Matt Tavares my review
Little Cloud and Lady Wind
by Toni Morrison and Slade Morrison illus. by Sean Qualls

Early Chapter Books

Nikki and Deja: The Newsy News Newsletter by Karen English illus. by Laura Freeman (S)
Sugar Plum Ballerinas #3 Perfectly Prima by Whoopi Goldberg illus. by Maryn Roos (S)

Middle Grade

Eighth-Grade Superzero by Olugbemisola Rhuday Perkovich (D) my review
The Chestnut King: Book 3 of the 100 Cupboards
by N. D. Wilson
Leaving Gee's Bend by Irene Latham (D)
The Wish Stealers by Tracy Trivas (D)
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia my review @ color online
Boys without Names by Kashmira Sheth
Shooting the Moon by Frances O'Roark Dowell (QP)
The Underneath by Kathi Appelt (QP)
Spies of Mississippi: by Rick Bowers (NF, D)

Young Adult

Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves (D)
By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters
13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison (D)
Sweet, Hereafter by Angela Johnson (S)
Freefall by Ariela Anhalt (D)
Good Fortune by Noni Carter (D)
The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Kidnapped by Yxta Maya Murray
Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets under 25 by Naomi Shihab Nye
Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
Night Road by A. M. Jenkins (QP)
The Missing Girl by Norma Fox Mazer (QP)
Mexican WhiteBoy by Matt de la Pena (QP)
Standing Against the Wind by Traci L. Jones (QP)


Picture Books

The Boys by Jeff Newman

A Nest for Celeste byHenry Cole

Cloud Tea Monkeys by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham illus. by Juan Wijngaard
My Shoes and I by Rene Colato Lainez illus. by Fabricio Vanden
No Easy Way: The Story of Ted Williams and the Last .400 Season by Fred Bowen

Early Chapter Books

Calvin Coconut: Dog Heaven by Graham Salisbury illus. by Jacqueline Rogers
Dragonbreath: Attack of the Ninja Frogs by Ursula Vernon (S) my review
Franie Pickle and the Pine Run 3000 by Eric Wright (S)

Middle Grade

Lucky: Maris, Mantle, and My Best Summer Ever by Wes Tooke (D)
Love Puppies and Corner Kicks by Bob Krech
Escaping the Tiger by Laura Manivong (D)
The Lost Children by Carolyn Cohagan (D)
The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz and Angela Barrett
The Brooklyn Nine by Alan M. Gratz (QP)
Liberty or Death: by Margaret Whitman Blair (NF)

Young Adult

A Wish After Midnight by Zetta Elliott reviews the cover looks even better in person
Finnkin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson (S) A booksheleves of doom review
You Don't Even Know Me: Stories and Poems About Boys by Sharon Flake
Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers
Heist Society by Ally Carter
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin (S, D) This is fantasy fiction but the protagonist is 19. I think it will work will for older teens. my reivew @ color online


Picture Books

The Tooth Fairy Meets El Ratón Pérez by Rene Colato Lainez illus. by Tom Lintern
Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan illus. by Sophie Blackall
Dear Primo by Duncan Tonatiuh (D)
My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete and Ryan Elizabeth Peete
She Sang Promise: The Story of Betty Mae Jumper by J.G. Annino and Lisa Desimini illus. by Moses Jumper (NF)
All Star!: Honus Wagner and the Most Famous Baseball Card Ever by Jane Yolen illus by James Burke (NF)

Early Reader

Ling and Ting by Grace Lin

Middle Grade

Roy Morelli Steps Up to the Plate by Thatcher Heldring
Take Me with You by Carolyn Marsden
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
Falling In by Frances O'Roark Dowell
The Celestial Globe by Marie Rutkoski (S)
Six Innings by James Preller (QP)

Young Adult

Saving Maddie by Varian Johnson
The Last Summer Of The Death Warriors by Francisco Stork
Keep Sweet by Michele Dominguez Greene
Finding My Place by Traci L Jones
Center Field by Robert Lipsyte

The Heart Is Not a Size by Beth Kephart Em's review @ Em's Bookshelf
House of Dance
by Beth Kephart (QP)
He Forgot To Say Goodbye by Benjamin Alire Saenz (QP)


The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag: A Flavia de Luce Mystery by Alan Bradley (S) This is classified as an adult mystery. Flavia de Luce is 11 with a passion for chemistry. Its perfectly fine (and so much fun) for middle grade up. no review found but read an excerpt


Goal! by Mina Javaherbin (D) illus. by A.G. Ford
My Friend Maya Loves to Dance by Cheryl Willis Hudson illus. by Eric Velasquez
Orange Peel's Pocket by Rose Lewis illus. by Grace Zong
Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus by R. L. LaFevers an excerpt Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots by Abby McDonald
Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr
Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush - by Luis Alberto Urrea illus. by Christopher Cardinale

Around Our Way by Tameka Fryer Brown (D)
Chavela and the Magic Bubble by Monica Brown and Magaly Morales
Clemente by Willie Perdomo illus. by Bryan Collier

Middle Grade

The Red Umbrella by Christina Gonzalez
Tortilla Sun by Jennifer Cervantes
I So Don't Do Makeup by Barrie Summy
The Magic Thief: Lost by Sarah Prineas
A Most Improper Magick by Stephanie Burgis
The Boneshaker by Kate Milford illus. by Andrea Offermann
Blimpo: The Third Circle of Heck by Dale Bayse (S)
Saltypie: A Choctaw Journey from Darkness into Light by Tim Tingle


Picture Books

A Place Where Hurricanes Happen by Renee Watson illus. by Shadra Strickland
A Perfect Season for Dreaming by Benjamin Alire Sáenz illus. by Esau Andrade Valencia (QP)

Middle Grade

The Basilisk's Lair Nathaniel Fludd by R. L. LaFevers (S)
Nice and Mean by Jessica Leader

Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai (D)
The Other Half of My Heart by Sundee T. Frazier
Tall Story by Candy Gourlay (D) author interview @ Asia in the Heart, World on my Mind
They Called Themselves the K.K.K.:
by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (NF)

Young Adult

Can't Hold Me Down (Come Up) by Lyah B. LeFlore (S)
Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger (QP) Ah Yuan review @ Gal Novelty


Picture Books

A Pirates Guide to First Grade by James Preller illus. by Greg Ruth
Mali Under the Night Sky: A Lao Story of Home by Youme Landowne
Black Jack: The Ballad of Jack Johnson by Charles R. Smith Jr. illus. by Shane W. Evans (NF)


My Havana: Memories of a Cuban Boyhood by Rosemary Wells and Secundino Fernandez illus. by Peter Ferguso

The Wonder of Charlie Anne by Kimberly Fusco

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins