Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New fall books for young readers

Reading about the arts is a great way to inspire younger kids. Here from the Athens (Georgia) Regional Library is a selection of new books coming this fall about jazz, dance, and street theater -- and some non-fiction, too, with a book about the ocean floor and a real French artist with a very unique talent kids will find hilarious ... or ickky! Use the World Catalog search box to find library copies, or buy them using the box on BookBag.

New books about music, dance and theater

Stompin' at the Savoy
, by Bebe Moore Campbell (Philomel Books) Fiction. Mindy is so nervous about her jazz dance recital that she's thinking about skipping it. But when a magical talking drum appears outside her window, she follows it--and is transported back in time to "the hoppingest dance club of them all," the Savoy Ballroom in 1920s Harlem. Everyone is on their feet dancing to the music of Chick Webb, Ella Fitzgerald, and Benny Goodman, and Mindy spots three dancers who look an awful lot like younger versions of her dance-crazy great aunts. This fantastical introduction to the Savoy jazz-club scene gives readers a sense of the energy and joy of jazz.

Disappearing Act, by Sid Fleischman (Greenwillow Books) Fiction. After their archaeologist mother fails to return from an expedition and they discover that a mysterious stranger is stalking them, 12-year-old Kevin and his older sister Holly flee to Venice, California. There they hope to "hide in plain sight" by joining the oddball assortment of street performers on the boardwalk, including a watermelon juggler, a fortune teller, a human mannequin, and more. (Luckily, Holly is a talented opera singer.) This quick and unusual read will satisfy fans of colorful characters and plots filled with suspense and surprises.

A Young Dancer: The Life of an Ailey Student,
by Valerie Gladstone (Henry Holt) Nonfiction. Renowned African-American dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey founded the American Dance Theater in 1958 and established a school of dance 11 years later. Narrated by 13-year-old Iman Bright, this book shows what it's like to be a student at the Ailey School--where students learn African and Latin dance in addition to ballet and modern styles--today. Packed with photos and in-studio details, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in the art of movement.

Fartiste, by Kathlee
n Krull (Simon & Schuster) Fiction. Talk about an unusual talent: real-life Frenchman Joseph Pujol entertained late 19th-century audiences with his musical (and otherwise impressively controlled) farts. Pujol discovered his unique ability to bend his wind to his will when he was just a kid, and later turned to performing in order to support his large family. He could use his rear end to shoot fireworks, blow out a candle, play a tune, or make animal noises (please, kids, don't try this at school). This uproariously funny picture book sticks mostly to the true story of "the man who made his pants dance" and provides further facts about the "fartiste" at the end.

Oye, Celia! by Katie Sciurba (Henry Holt) Fiction. Cuban-born singer Celia Cruz, who died in 2003 at the age of 77, was internationally known as the "Queen of Salsa" (the style of music and dance, not the food!). In this poetic and gorgeously illustrated tribute to the beloved performer, a young girl explains how Celia's music makes her feel. For kids who want to learn more about Celia's life, Booklist magazine recommends Victoria Chambers' Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa or, if you know Spanish, iAzucar! by Ivar Da Coll.

Other new books for kids

Surviving the Applewhites, by Stephanie S. Tolan (HarperCollins) Fiction. Juvenile delinquent Jake Semple is well on his way to a life of crime when he gets one last chance to reform: he's sent to live with the Applewhites, a big, nutty, artistic family who live on a farm in North Carolina with a maniacal goat, a foul-mouthed parrot, and a loveable, pudgy basset hound. Thirteen-year-old E.D. Applewhite--the only sensible member of the family--thinks that her folks are making a huge mistake by agreeing to homeschool Jake, and Jake fully intends wear out his welcome quickly. But when the entire Applewhite clan gets involved in a local production of The Sound of Music, the results are a surprise to everyone.

Bettina Valentino and the Picasso Club,
by Niki Daily (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Fiction. Fifth-grader Bettina Valentino adores art--the kind of art that "jumps off the wall and hits you in the eye like a wound-up ninja"--but persnickety Miss Pyle, her school's art teacher, cramps her style. When a daring new teacher replaces Miss Pyle, Bettina is thrilled. Now her class gets
to learn about artists who rebelled against the norm, and "Mr. Popart" (the new teacher's nickname) even lets them paint on the walls! But some parents aren't happy with Mr. Popart's unconventional ideas, and it's up to Bettina and her friends to keep him from getting fired.

Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel
, by Nikki Grimes (G.P. Putnam's Sons) Fiction. Smart, confident, and friendly Dyamonde Daniel is getting used to her new school, but she hasn't made a best friend yet. She certainly doesn't expect to become friends with the other new kid, a really grumpy boy named Free (whom Dyamonde secretly refers to as "Rude Boy"). But when Free's surly attitude frightens one of the younger kids, Dyamonde takes him to task...and the two of them discover that they actually have a lot in common. Kids who like plucky girl characters such as Sharon Draper's Sassy (Little Sister is Not My Name) will want to get to know Dyamonde Daniel and her new friend, Free.

Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea, by Steve Jenkins (Houghton Mifflin) Nonfiction. There are a lot of weird and wonderful creatures living in the ocean, and this book offers an up-close-and-personal introduction to more than 50 of them! In addition to stunning collage illustrations of lizardfish, hairy anglers, giant squid, bizarre species of jellyfish, and more, Down, Down, Down provides fascinating factual information about life from the ocean's surface all the way down to its deep, deep floor. Junior scientists, budding artists, and fans of books like The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau, the DK Guide to the Oceans, or Sharks and Other Sea Monsters will be hooked.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon,
by Grace Lin (Little, Brown) Fantasy. Young Minli and her parents live in China's valley of Fruitless Mountain and, although they all work very hard, are terribly poor. Enchanted by the folktales that her father tells every night and weary of her mother's bitter complaining, Minli--aided by a talking goldfish, a dragon who cannot fly, and others--embarks on a long journey to find the mythical Old Man of the Moon and change her family's fortune. While Minli's grand and exciting adventure is distinctively Chinese, it will thrill fans of other quests with girl heroes, such as The Wizard of Oz or Isobelle Carmody's Gateway trilogy (which starts with Night Gate).

Pharoah's Boat, by David Weitzman (Houghton Mifflin) Nonfiction. Thousands of years ago, subjects of the Pharaoh Cheops carefully constructed an enormous and majestic boat for their ruler's journey into the afterlife...and then they just as carefully took it apart and buried it with him. Modern archaeologists discovered the disassembled boat while excavating the Pharaoh's tomb, and this amazing, beautifully illustrated book shows how Egyptologist Ahmed Youssef Moustafa--in an effort that spanned many years--finally solved the riddle of how to put it back together.

Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom, by Eric Wight (Simon & Schuster) Graphic Novel. Franklin Lorenzo Piccolini--aka "Frankie Pickle"--loves to imagine himself as an adventurer like Indiana Jones or a superhero like Batman. He doesn't love housecleaning. When his exasperated mom gives up and tells him that, as long as he can deal with the consequences, he doesn't have to clean his room anymore, Frankie is overjoyed. Little does he know how the filth surrounding him will take on a terrifying life (and a really strong smell) of its own... If you like the hilarious, wacky adventures of Captain Underpants or space-pirate Sardine (of Sardine in Outer Space), you'll love Frankie Pickle and the Closet of Doom.

1 comment:

  1. I have just release my new fantasy novel for children and YA, "Gateway to DreamWorld." I would love to get a review from you on the book.

    The book has been listed on and Barnes&

    Synopsis: On their way home from baseball tryouts, Brad Colby and his two sons are involved in a terrible car accident that leaves six-year-old Pete in a coma. When Pete awakens, the family is crushed to learn that he is paralyzed. Meanwhile, Pete’s eight-year-old brother, Jason, has been having powerful dreams that lead him to a mysterious realm known as DreamWorld. Jason discovers that all of his desires can come true in DreamWorld, but the time is fast approaching when he will have to choose between his two worlds. And when more devastating news strikes at the heart of the Colby family, Jason and Pete set out on a desperate attempt to find the Gateway to DreamWorld and save their family. With time running out on their dangerous path, will Jason and Pete’s fear of the Unknown keep them from reaching the paradise of their dreams? Brenda