ALA Youth Media Awards You Might Not See Elsewhere


I’m still at ALA with one more day for Best Fiction in Young Adult committee meetings. We have a few more books to discuss, then we vote on what books to add to the list and what books need to be in our Top Ten. Flights are getting canceled all over the country, so I’m hoping one more day here will get me home with no delays.

In the meantime, I’m finding out that a few of the books awards just aren’t getting posted to ALA sites. I’m excited about these well deserving titles and am going to post all the Ethnic Awards right here in one place. Much congratulations to all the winners that I’m so happy to mention.

The organizations sponsoring awards announced yesterday have varying relationships with the American Library Association. American Indian Library Association, Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association, Black Caucus of ALA, Chinese American Librarians Association,REFORMA, and the Sociedad de Bibliotecarios de Puerto Rico are all affiliates of the ALA. Each affiliate has a website separate from the ALA’s and can be joined without joining the ALA. (The APALA does not have memberships.)

The Pura Belpre Award (which appears on the ALA’s youth media awards page) is co-sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), and REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking, an ALA affiliate.

The Coretta Scott King Task Force was originally formed as part of ALA’s Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT) the next year.  In 1982, the Coretta Scott King Book Awards became an officially recognized ALA award.  The Coretta Scott King Task Force joined ALA’s Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) in 2003 and became the Coretta Scott Book Awards Committee.

The American Indian Library Association and the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association are affiliates that announce their own awards. The Chinese American Library Association will award books that “promote awareness of the best books on Chinese topics or literature written in English or Chinese by authors of Chinese descent, and published originally in the North America.” Winners of the Award will be announced during the CALA annual conference on 29 June. Award categories will include “Academic Books”,  “Fiction”, “Nonfiction”, “Juvenile and Children’s Books”.  Nominees for the award are being accepted through 18 April.

I am less clear on funding for each of these awards but I do know some receive funding while others depend upon donations to exist.

I’ve read several, but look forward to extend my reading into the picture books especially. Which books do you look forward to reading?

Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature

 Picture Books

Red Kite, Blue Kite by Ji-li Jiang and Ruth Greg(Disney Hyperion)


Barbed Wire Baseball by Marissa Moss illustrated by Yuko Shimizu (Abrams)


The Thinkg About Luck by Cynthia Kaddohata( Atheneum)


Vine Basket (Joanne La Valley (Clarion Books)


Jet Black and the Ninja Wind by Leza Lowitz and Shogo Oketani (Tuttle Publishing)


Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible by Suzanned Kamata (GemmaMedia)

American Indian Youth Literature Awards

Picture Book

Caribou Song, Atihko Oonagamoon by Tomson Highway, John Rombough  (Fifth House, 2012)

Middle School

How I Became a Ghost: A Choctaw Trail of Tears Story by Tim Tingle (The Roadrunner Press, 2013)


Danny Blackgoat, Navajo Prisoner by Tim Tingle (7th Generation, 2013)

Young Adult

Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac (Tu Books, 2013)


If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth (Arthur A. Levin Books, 2013)

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award 

“P.S. Be Eleven,” written by Rita Williams-Garcia (Amistad)


March: Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illustrated by Nate Powelland (Top Shelf Productions)

Darius & Twig by Walter Dean Myers (Amistad)

Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes (WordSong)

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award

Knock Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me illustrated by Bryan Collier written by Daniel Beaty ( Little, Brown and Company)


Nelson Mandela illustrated and written by Kadir Nelson (Katherine Tegen Books)

 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award

When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop illustrated by Theodore Taylor III, (Roaring Brook Press)

 Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement:

Patricia and Researcher Fredrick McKissack

Pura Belpré (Author) Award

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina (Candlewick Press)

The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba’s Greatest Abolitionist by Margarita Engle (Harcourt)

The Living by Matt de la Peña  (Delacorte Press)

Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale by Duncan Tonatiuh (Abrams Books for Young Readers)

I’ll come back in a couple of days to mention some winners of other ALA Youth Media Awards, reflect on BFYA and share the fruits of our labor.

Again, congratulations to all these winners! It’s cold!! I hope you have a good book to read!

30 Years of the Virginia Hamilton Conference

“Pearls of Wisdom:

Celebrating 30 Years of the Virginia Hamilton Conference”

The 30th Annual Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth will be held on Thursday, April 3, and Friday, April 4, 2014, at the Kent State University Student Center. The conference provides a forum for discussion of multicultural themes and issues in literature for children and young adults. Pearls of Wisdom: Celebrating 30 Years of the Virginia Hamilton Conference” is the theme for this year’s conference, which will feature the remarkable Christopher Paul Curtis, the talented Andrea Davis Pinkney and the amazing illustrator, David Diaz.  The Virginia Hamilton Conference is pleased to be a forum that brings together renowned national and local writers, illustrators, librarians, teachers, students and scholars and showcases some of the country’s top talents in multicultural literature for youth. The April 3 evening program includes a pasta dinner, a keynote address by the 16th Annual Virginia Hamilton Literary Award winner Christopher Paul Curtis, followed by a performance. Friday, April 4, features a full complement of workshops and keynote addresses by the authors.

Contact the Office of Continuing and Distance Education at (330) 672-3100 or register on-line at    (Click Programs, Conference).

For more information visit the conference Web site at


This may be my last post for a few weeks. ALA Midwinter is on the horizon and for me, it will be all about BFYA. Well, for the most part! I’ll be meeting several people in person who I’ve so far only know online. I have a small list of ARCs to pick up (Please let me know if any you’re aware of that I need to find!) and I’ll begin working with the YALSA Research Committee.

I’m not the only one who is busy these days!

Craig Laurance Gidney (Bereft, Tiny Satchell Press) recently appeared on Gil Roth’s Virtual Memories podcast to talk about his favorite read of 2013. The link is here.

Ayanna Coleman (Associate Manager of Events & Programs as well as the Librarian for the Children’s Book Council) has ventured out and begun a new literary agency.

Quill Shift Literary Agency is a boutique literary agency focusing on finding and promoting great children’s and YA (specifically MG and YA) books featuring engrossing settings and diverse characters. The cool thing about Quill Shift is that not only is it open to authors submitting their manuscripts, it’s looking for readers to participate in helping choose the books represented by the agency. The readers (called Shifters) decide what Quill Shift Literary takes on! Ayanna Coleman, Associate Manager of Events & Programs as well as the Librarian at the CBC and founder of this new agency, will still go through the submissions and pick which manuscripts she thinks are winners, but the readers who go onto are the ones who will get a free taste of those never-before-seen manuscripts and decide whether they’re worth further reading or not worth more of the readers’ time.

Kwame Alexander (He said, she said; Amistad) will be leading a group to Paris this July for the 2014 Book in a Day International Writing Retreat.

Join fellow writers and educators for Master Writing Classes, 4-Star Hotel Accommodations (4-nights), A Visit to Richard Wright’s Home and the Blacks in Paris tour, a tour of the locations featured in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, and much more.

Last week, I received an email from Cinco Puntos that Tim Tingle’s new book, House of Purple Cedar, is available for pre-order and this morning, my NPR station announced that Tingle will be in Indianapolis to perform a story titled, “Coyote This and Rabbit That, Native Trickster Tales”  on Saturday. Yes, that’s a day lost to BFYA reading but I know it will be worth it.


My word this year is “shine”. When I shine, it’s on you.

What do plans do you have for the next few weeks?

About Courage: Finale


Courage is the most important of the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage. ~Maya Angelou

In the past days, beginning with G. Neri and Johnny Cash all the way through Ari  I hope you’ve seen what a human virtue courage is. It transcends race, gender, diversity and adversity. It’s something we admire in anyone.  There are so many individuals I could have asked to be part of this series! I’d like to thank those who did share they courageous stories!

Thinking about your reading experiences, what authors, characters or literary events seem the most courageous to you?

Before I was a blogger, teacher, quilter, or librarian I was a mother. That is at the core of who I am, and my children are the most important people in my world. To close this series, I opted to be self-indulgent and ask my three children what authors, characters or literary events seem the most courageous them. Children? My oldest is 30 and youngest is 28.

My oldest son lives on the west coast and is about to be a dad! He most admires the courage of Eddard “Ned” Stark from Game of Thrones.

 I think reading has helped me grow in many areas including courage.  I’ve followed photo(1) many characters that I greatly admire for their unflinching determination in tough circumstances.  Others have cowered away from their responsibility and duty.  Reading has helped me see much more than I could have experienced in a limited time on this planet.  I’ve found tons of admirable characters real and imagined that I aspire to be like.  I’ve learned that courage is rarely applauded, recognized, or even celebrated.  I believe, that it is one of the cornerstones to strong character.

My daughter, K10 Is a contemporary artist living in the southeastern US. She occasionally vlogs at and has weeekly posts on

I have never thought  about the word courage. What it is. How it’s displayed. If I have it. Yesterday I spent the better part of two hours standing in a line that will change the course of my life. 

I have attended four different colleges in my short life and during that time I have managed to obtain no degrees. (Courage is being able to share parts of your life that photoyou may be ashamed of). Three of the four colleges I went to were for the same major but were simply location changes. When I realized that I was one of “those” people who would not be happy in life unless I was doing what I truly wanted to do and not just working to make money I dropped out. After a stint living abroad I moved back to the states and relocated to attend an art school because that is where my heart lies: creating. I believed that I was finally in the right place but life had different plans. I did not have enough money to finish school and get the degree I really wanted. So ever since I have been learning video production, graphic design and motion graphics on my own. 

And there I was standing in line to enroll into my fifth school. But a few things have changed. I know what I really want. I know that I am mentally and financially ready to make this change. I used to be really insecure about this area of my life because I know that I am smart and have a resume that is pretty impeccable for someone who has not obtained a degree yet I know I could be more accomplished if I had a piece of paper stating that I am as capable as I am. Makes sense right? Yes, it should, because our society says that it should.

So, while I was waiting in line a woman appeared behind me and asked if I was a current student. She wanted to know what I thought about the school but I could offer no advice or counsel. 

I quickly learned that the woman speaking was 67 years old with two sons, one who had his MBA while the other was still figuring out his life. The woman was very insecure about being older and going back to school after so many years. She knew it was what she had to do to stay alive (both by keeping her mind active and literally to make necessary ends to survive). She told me about her friends, most of whom are older than she is, and how they have sharp minds, travel, keep moving and have the ability to change as society changes. She envied them. She admired them. She was ready to join them. 

     It was very clear that my role in this conversation was  to listen and learn. I gained a few bits of advice about life but what I really left with was the knowing that as long as I am living I need to keep the courage to push forward.  To live the life I want to live. To never be content. To not just ride the waves of but to swim ahead, with knowledge, and be the one making the waves. My past is what has given me the courage to make better decisions today. Decisions that will lead to a better tomorrow. Courage to me is shamelessly living your purpose and doing the right thing along the way.

My youngest son lives in the southwest. While I expected he would look at some of his recent reads such as Quantum Enigma. Rather, he decided to go for something a little more real than non-fiction. His literary source for courage is the Bible.

To me courage is being able to put all faith in the one and true living God. To know that He is faithful and true to His word no matter the circumstances that face you. My faith is growing and walking in the Lord is a newer experience for me but I know that He is real and moving in my life. I am finding myself growing in courage when it comes to the changes in my life, among many other aspects, that I find that do not line up with walk the Lord would have me walk. The courage to stand up and do the right thing in the eyes of the Lord and not necessarily what the world would IMG_8277(1)consider the correct thing to do.  I’m finding the courage to write about God and how He has moved in my life and been faithful to me. This has all helped make this a real thing to me. Even if others don’t see or understand the change, it’s ok because in the Lord’s time they will understand when He makes it ready to be known. I cannot and, more importantly, will not force it on any person who does not want to receive the message I have to share. Why not? Because it is His story, I am the tool in His hand and do not wish to try to be the hand that moves but am content in being used by my Father. I have the courage to know in His mighty will all things work for the good of those who love the Lord.

In the books of Acts we see the Lord tell Paul “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” (Acts 23:11). A few chapters later we see Paul sharing this same word with the men around him “So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me”. (Acts 27:25). This is the biblical example of what I’m saying is happening with me. The Lord has taken time to encourage us and it is important to share that testimony with others around you to encourage them. It is imperative that we share the courage the Lord has given us. How many people have not heard that my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ say these words: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). Yes, to some this is just another quote from another book. But someone will be touched and that’s who I am speaking to, I humbly pray the Lord touches everyone’s heart that reads these words and leads them to know they are true. Grace and peace to you. 

My children make me be courageous! Who does it for you?



Zora’s Birthday: A day for writing and writers

I use Grammarly’s plaigerism check because I don’t want to eat more grandma.

I don’t usually start my posts with a teaser, but there you go! I hope that gets you ready for a post on writing and writers.

I decided to write this post several days ago, before all the reminders from Google and the Twittersphere about Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 4.18.14 PMZora Neale Hurston’s birthday. I just read one of the articles floating around and it mentioned Their Eyes Were Watching God as her greatest accomplishment. Really? Not all the work she did collecting folktales for the WPA? Or the body of work she created as a young woman writing on the fringes of the Harlem Renaissance? Or, perhaps just because of her courage?

I wonder what digital tools Zora would use in her writing. I imagine her to be someone who would embrace whatever would help her get her story out of her head and into print as quickly as possible.

2014 has begun with my article on finding children’s nonfiction in Library Media Connection and I hope to have a few other articles published this year. Doing more writing has me wanting needing to write better. I need help with the mechanics and am turning to online software to get my writing to shine.

I’m sharing from the prospective of an academic writer however; the tools I’m sharing will be good for all types 1212720-Clipart-Of-A-Casual-Black-Woman-Writing-And-Thinking-Royalty-Free-Vector-Illustration-1of writers. I don’t think high school students or college underclassmen are at a level to need any of these tools, however teachers should know what will apply to their own individual circumstance. Students need to develop habits of mind that will lead to growth and success throughout their lives; habits that include the development of these writing skills. K-12 students may benefit from these apps to record and document their learning. PLEASE! Don’t wait for teachers to implement these into your children’s education. Parents need to be proactive in adding productive tools into their children’s lives.

I closed out last semester by presenting a session on Zotero, my citation management software of choice. While there are dozens of such software, I like the ease and reliability of Zotero. This “free” (there is no financial cost) software collects articles, pdfs, images… anything with metadata into one cloud based location that I can access on my MacBook, iPhone or Asus laptop. Anyone doing massive amounts of research will appreciate having all  the articles right there with their citation. Have you found a convenient way to collect information? Zotero works for me, but there are other tools. (unpaid advertisement)

Now, the next items are really on my ‘to try’ list. If you have used any of them, chime in and let us know what works and what doesn’t!

Scrivner actually came on my radar via Don Tate on FB and is also an unpaid advertisement on my part. I’m not sure how he uses the software but I do imagine he uses it in his creative writing process. I hope to use it to stop relying upon all of the pieces of post-its, notebook paper, scribblings, notes and cross notes that I’ve used since high school. Anyone, including novelist, screenwriters, academics, students and lawyers, who writes for a living can benefit from the ways Scrivner allows them to organize their writing. In the next couple of months, I plan to try the trial subscription and report back to you on how it’s worked for me.

I found Grammerly via an email offering to pay me to promote the service. Purchasers of Grammarly are able to use its advanced features to check for grammar and spelling errors. Have you read one of my blog posts?? It’s not that I don’t know better, I simply cannot see the errors. Hopefully, Grammarly will add the final touch that will make my writing glimmer. Few things pain me more than being in the midst of an eloquent point only to have it diverted by an uncorrected typing error.

For you creative writing types, consider joining Kwame Alexander in Paris this July for the 2014 Book in a Day International Writing Retreat. (btw, if you realize how much you could benefit from having a librarian on board, I’m available for hire!)

Join fellow writers and educators for Master Writing Classes, 4-Star Hotel Accommodations (4-nights), A Visit to Richard Wright’s Home and the Blacks in Paris tour, a tour of the locations featured in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, and much more.

Have you been reading and enjoying the courage series? The final post will be tomorrow and I have to say that I think the series has really been one of the best things I’ve done on my blog. I really wish everyone who shared so much could have had more of a response to what they wrote, but that’s not the nature of this blog!

I really hope in 2014 to get back to building community. Reading Ari’s post reminded me of the strong network we had years ago and how important that is in promoting both YA authors of color and literacy for teens of color. I want to dust off the blog and get it to shine again. I hope you’ll be on board!


About Courage 10: Ari

Ari has been one of the most popular YA bloggers to date. I could easily attribute her wildly successful blog to her passion for literature in general or to her passion for diversity in particular, but Ari will be successful at anything she chooses to do. Note her email handle “willbprez”.

Because of the young age at which she began blogging, Ari worked to seclude her identity. She never even posted a picture of herself! That didn’t stop her from posting a letter that brought her to the attention of the ALA and an invitation to speak at a midwinter conference. She presented in 2011 (I think) at ALAN in Chicago along with Lyn Miller-Lachmann, Maggie (another teen blogger) and myself.

While she is not blogging at this time, Ari is on both Twitter and GoodReads. She attends college on the east coast where she majors in International Relations.  According to her Twitter bio, she’s “aiming to be an Anonymous Extraordinare/renaissance woman via my love of blogging, community service, dancing, ’30s-’40s films, politics, reading and sports”.

Chicago (for now)

 Ari, What kind of courage did it take for you to begin blogging about diversity in YA books? What did it feel like to begin posting reviews and your thoughts and opinions about the industry? Did you ever tell your parents, friends or teachers about your blog? How did blogging change you?

I was apprehensive about writing this post. I would never describe myself as courageous nor could I have AV headshotimagined myself writing an essay on courage to be featured alongside great writers that Edi invited to submit essays for her blog. Thus I am thankful for this opportunity Edi, though it is one that I hardly think I deserve!

That being said, when I first began blogging at Reading in Color (my now mostly-defunct blog) it was easy. I didn’t really expect people to find my blog to be perfectly honest. I didn’t worry much about my blog’s physical appearance, my reviews were mostly free of grammatical errors because I tend to be a stickler for that stuff, not because I feared turning off my potential audience. Then I began to discover other blogs, such as Color Online. TheHappyNappyBookseller. Zetta Elliott’s personal blog, Fledgling. These blogs focused on diversity in children’s books and they pushed me to raise the bar, to actually attempt to make something out of my blog. I wanted my blog to be good enough to be a part of the conversation on the lack of diversity in youth literature, specifically young adult literature. Good enough meaning I needed to spend a bit more time and effort on my book reviews and discussion posts. I then began to struggle with courage as my blog gained more readers and industry attention. Editors wanted to send me books, this required me telling my parents because they couldn’t figure out why so many book-shaped packages were being sent to our house and I eventually bought a post office box. My parents have always been extremely supportive of all that I do and my mother wanted to promote my blog to her friends. I was not courageous enough to say yes. I asked her to not mention it to her friends and for the most part she respected my wishes. She did tell one of her best friends and my English teacher and this would result in certain classmates at my high school learning about my blog. I am ashamed to say that when asked about my blog by anyone outside my family I would quickly answer the question and change the subject, or deny that I even had a blog. This is one of my biggest regrets now, as I wonder if I had been able to get over my shyness and embarrassment over blogging, perhaps I could have helped further the cause of championing the need for diversity in YA books.

I loved posting book reviews and my thoughts and opinions about the industry. I especially enjoyed posting discussion posts because they taught me a lot about the publishing industry (such as the fact that authors have relatively little say in choosing their book covers. Or that there are very few people of color who work as editors). Plus those posts tended to produce the most comments, which led to me discovering new-to-me blogs, and I liked visiting other blogs and learning about all kinds of YA books but especially YA books about people of color that may have flown under my radar. The scariest post I ever wrote was my letter to Bloomsbury after the second white-washing incident mainly because I worried that I sounded childish and that it would not be seen as eloquent. I almost didn’t publish it but I was so angry and upset that I knew for my own peace of mind I had to post it. And it’s one of my most popular posts to date and allowed me to meet new people as they commented on the post and wrote their own responses and by reading these other posts I learned a lot about how people think regarding diversity overall.

Reviews were fun to write because they helped me articulate my thoughts. I tried to be concise although it is still a mostly-losing battle, I do love to talk and that translates to my reviews! Reviews also provided me with a better understanding of what I looked for in a book. And when I had to deal with an author responding harshly to a negative review, the book blogging community gave me the tools to handle the issue as I researched other people’s posts about a similar issue and reached out to friends for advice and was overwhelmed by their support.

Book blogging changed me specifically in that I did not realize how bad the publishing industry was in regards to diversity in YA. I honestly thought that if I started my blog I would discover that I was wrong and just wasn’t looking in the right places for books that featured protagonists who not just acted like me but also looked like me. I wanted authors to see color, embrace it, but not make it a big deal and the book blogging world helped me articulate this thought. Blogging also changed me by forcing me to stop hating technology and learn to use Blogger and get a Twitter handle. I am now obsessed with Twitter so that was a very good thing for me! Blogging has changed me in general, although to be honest I’m not sure how but I do know that it changed me. It introduced me to a fantastic book blogging community, some wonderful mentors and friends and great books and for that I will always be grateful. I hope to be able to post more on my blog in the future although the odds of that are slim due to college being so time-consuming, who knew? ;p I still follow the book industry closely and read articles about diversity in YA, I’m just more silent than I used to be but I want that to change because I’m still very opinionated!

Happy New Year everyone!

Thank you, Ari!

The final post in this series will be on Wednesday!

New Releases: January 2014

If you prefer visuals, visit my Pinterest page.

Fake ID by Lamar Giles; Amistad Debut author Lamar Giles takes readers on a wild and dark ride in this contemporary Witness Protection thriller. Fake ID is a compelling story full of twists and turns—sure to appeal to fans of James Patterson, Harlan Coben, and John Grisham.

Nick Pearson is hiding in plain sight. In fact, his name isn’t really Nick Pearson. He shouldn’t tell you his real name, his real hometown, or why his family just moved to Stepton, Virginia. And he definitely shouldn’t tell you about his friend Eli Cruz and the major conspiracy Eli was uncovering when he died. About how Nick had to choose between solving Eli’s murder with his hot sister, Reya, and “staying low-key” like the Program said to do.

But he’s going to tell you—unless he gets caught first. . . .

Breaking Point Article 5 books 2 by Kristen Simmons; Tor Teens After faking their deaths to escape from prison, Ember Miller and Chase Jennings have only one goal: to lay low until the Federal Bureau of Reformation forgets they ever existed.

Near-celebrities now for the increasingly sensationalized tales of their struggles with the government, Ember and Chase are recognized and taken in by the Resistance—an underground organization working to systematically take down the government. At headquarters, all eyes are on the sniper, an anonymous assassin taking out FBR soldiers one by one. Rumors are flying about the sniper’s true identity, and Ember and Chase welcome the diversion….

Until the government posts its most-wanted list, and their number one suspect is Ember herself.

Orders are shoot to kill, and soldiers are cleared to fire on suspicion alone. Suddenly Ember can’t even step onto the street without fear of being recognized, and “laying low” is a joke. Even members of the Resistance are starting to look at her sideways. With Chase urging her to run, Ember must decide: Go into hiding…or fight back?

Beware of Boys Charley’s Epic Fiasco Book 4 by Kelli London; Kensington Reality TV stardom gets way too personal for Charly St. James when three of the world’s hottest heartthrobs want her to be their dream come true…

Now that Charly’s a star, she wants to give back any way she can. So she’s made The Extreme Dream Team’s newest mission to help three sizzling celebs’ charitable foundation build a super swanky retreat for teen girls who’ve battled an illness. But keeping things running smoothly is next to impossible when too many ideas–and egos–collide. . .

Handsome singer Mēkel is dazzling Charly with a chance to join the glitterati. Boxer Lex has powerful hood moves and charm she can’t resist. And hanging around movie heartthrob Faizon has Charlie feeling movie magic. The harder Charly struggles to keep things on track, the more they’re coming apart–especially when her kinda boyfriend and co-star, Liam, starts competing for her attention. Now, Charly needs to figure out fast what–and who–she really wants most. . .

Bird by Crystal Chan; Atheneum Books for Young Readers MG Entrenched secrets, mysterious spirits, and an astonishing friendship weave together in this extraordinary and haunting debut.

Nothing matters. Only Bird matters. And he flew away. newel never knew her brother Bird, but all her life she has lived in his shadow. Her parents blame Grandpa for the tragedy of their family’s past; they say that Grandpa attracted a malevolent spirit—a duppy—into their home. Grandpa hasn’t spoken a word since. Now Jewel is twelve, and she lives in a house full of secrets and impenetrable silence.

Jewel is sure that no one will ever love her like they loved Bird, until the night that she meets a mysterious boy in a tree. Grandpa is convinced that the boy is a duppy, but Jewel knows that he is something more. And that maybe—just maybe—the time has come to break through the stagnant silence of the past.

The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods; Nancy Paulsen Books (Penguin) Violet is a smart, funny, brown-eyed, brown-haired girl in a family of blonds. Her mom is white, and her dad, who died before she was born, was black. She attends a mostly white school where she sometimes feels like a brown leaf on a pile of snow. She’s tired of people asking if she’s adopted. Now that Violet’s eleven, she decides it’s time to learn about her African American heritage. And despite getting off to a rocky start trying to reclaim her dad’s side of the family, she can feel her confidence growing as the puzzle pieces of her life finally start coming together. Readers will cheer for Violet, sharing her joy as she discovers her roots.

STAT #5: Most Valuable (Stat: Standing Tall and Talented); Amar’e Stoudemire; Scholastic MG Young Amar’e Stoudemire is back in the all-star basketball adventure–STAT: Standing Tall and Talented!
Amar’e’s idol, Overtime Tanner plans the biggest streetball tournament every year. But when Overtime gets hurt during a basketball game, he can’t make the arrangements in time. Amar’e and his friends help set the tournament up.

On top of that, each group of Amar’e’s’ friends wants him to play for their team and he’s torn on what to do. Planning a tournament is a lot more work than playing in one. Will Amar’e’s hard work pay off? Based on the life of All-Star NBA sensation Amar’e Stoudemire, who overcame many obstacles to become one of the most popular figures in sports today.

When I was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds; Atheneum Books for Young Readers In Bed Stuy, New York, a small misunderstanding can escalate into having a price on your head—even if you’re totally clean. This gritty, triumphant debut captures the heart and the hardship of life for an urban teen.

A lot of the stuff that gives my neighborhood a bad name, I don’t really mess with. The guns and drugs and all that, not really my thing.

Nah, not his thing. Ali’s got enough going on, between school and boxing and helping out at home. His best friend Noodles, though. Now there’s a dude looking for trouble—and, somehow, it’s always Ali around to pick up the pieces. But, hey, a guy’s gotta look out for his boys, right? Besides, it’s all small potatoes; it’s not like anyone’s getting hurt. And then there’s Needles. Needles is Noodles’s brother. He’s got a syndrome, and gets these ticks and blurts out the wildest, craziest things. It’s cool, though: everyone on their street knows he doesn’t mean anything by it.

Yeah, it’s cool…until Ali and Noodles and Needles find themselves somewhere they never expected to be…somewhere they never should’ve been—where the people aren’t so friendly, and even less forgiving.

Secrets of the Terra-Cotta Soldier by Ying Chang Compestine, Vinson Compestine; Amulet Books In this action-packed adventure and coming-of-age story that finely weaves fact and fiction, thirteen-year-old Ming lives in a small village in Maoist China in the 1970s. His father is convinced that Emperor Qin’s tomb—and the life-size terra-cotta army created to serve and protect the emperor in the afterlife—lies hidden in the hills around them. But if Ming’s father doesn’t prove it soon, the town’s Political Officer will condemn him to the brutal labor camps. From the stories of a terra-cotta soldier who has survived through the centuries, Ming learns the history of Emperor Qin, known for building the Great Wall of China, and how and why the terra-cotta soldiers came to be. As their unlikely friendship develops, Ming experiences the mysterious tomb firsthand, braving deadly traps and witnessing the terra-cotta army in action. Most importantly, he comes to see how he can save both the terra-cotta soldiers and his father from the corrupt Political Officer and his Communist cronies.
The book is illustrated with photographs of Communist Chinese village life in the 1970s, the Great Wall, and, of course, the excavated tomb with its many terra-cotta soldiers. It also features a special recipe from the story.

How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson; Dial Books A powerful and thought-provoking Civil Rights era memoir from one of America’s most celebrated poets. Looking back on her childhood in the 1950s, Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award finalist Marilyn Nelson tells the story of her development as an artist and young woman through fifty eye-opening poems. Readers are given an intimate portrait of her growing self-awareness and artistic inspiration along with a larger view of the world around her: racial tensions, the Cold War era, and the first stirrings of the feminist movement.

A first-person account of African-American history, this is a book to study, discuss, and treasure.

Gold Medal Winter by Donna Freitas; Arthur A. Levine After years of early morning training and more jumps than she can count, Esperanza’s dream of figure skating for the United States is coming true at last! But with the excitement of an Olympic slot comes new attention — and BIG distractions.

Suddenly Espi can’t go out with her friends, or even out her back door, without reporters and autograph-seekers following her every move. Her new teammates have a lot more international experience, and they let Espi know that they don’t think she’s ready. Hunter Wills, the men’s figure skating champion, seems to be flirting with her, even as the press matches her up with Danny Morrison, the youngest — and maybe cutest — member of the U.S. hockey team.

In the midst of all this, Espi is trying to master an impossible secret jump that just might be her key to a medal. Can she focus enough to shut out the drama, find her edge over the competition, and make the Olympics as golden as her dreams?

Hidden Girl: The True Story of a Modern-Day Child Slave  by Shyima Hall, Lisa Wysocky; Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers An inspiring and compelling memoir from a young woman who lost her childhood to slavery—and built a new life grounded in determination and justice.

Shyima Hall was born in Egypt on September 29, 1989, the seventh child of desperately poor parents. When she was eight, her parents sold her into slavery. Shyima then moved two hours away to Egypt’s capitol city of Cairo to live with a wealthy family and serve them eighteen hours a day, seven days a week. When she was ten, her captors moved to Orange County, California, and smuggled Shyima with them. Two years later, an anonymous call from a neighbor brought about the end of Shyima’s servitude—but her journey to true freedom was far from over.

A volunteer at her local police department since she was a teenager, Shyima is passionate about helping to rescue others who are in bondage. Now a US citizen, she regularly speaks out about human trafficking and intends to one day become an immigration officer. In Hidden Girl, Shyima candidly reveals how she overcame her harrowing circumstances and brings vital awareness to a timely and relevant topic.