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February 11, 2015

Random House Children’s Books Honors Black History Month

February marks the beginning of Black History Month, or National African American History Month; the annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time to recognize the central role of African Americans in U.S. history.

Random House honors this tradition with children’s books both by and about black Americans. Bring these gorgeous titles into your classroom and library.
Picture Books

by Barack Obama;
illustrated by Loren Long
Hardcover: 9780375835278
Library Binding: 9780375935275
EPUB: 9780375983290
by Renee Watson;
illustrated by Christian Robinson
Hardcover: 9780375869730
Library Binding: 9780375969737
EPUB: 9780375985379
Child of the Civil Rights Movement

by Paula Young Shelton;
illustrated by Raul Colon
Hardcover: 9780375843143
Library Binding: 9780375954146
EPUB: 9780375982811


You Never Heard of Willie Mays?!

by Jonah Winter;
illustrated by Terry Widener
Hardcover: 9780375868443
Library Binding: 9780375968440
EPUB: 9780375987823
Barack Obama: Out of Many, One (Step into Reading)
by Shana Corey;
illustrated by James Bernardin
Hardcover: 9780375863394
Library Binding: 9780375973710
EPUB: 9780385374781
Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century

by Carole Boston Weatherford;
illustrated by Raul Colon
Hardcover: 9780375856068
Library Binding: 9780375956065
EPUB: 9780385392464

Middle Grade

Bud, Not Buddy

by Christopher Paul Curtis
Paperback: 9780553494105

by Barbara Wright
Hardcover: 9780375869280
Library Binding: 9780375969287
EPUB: 9780375982705

by Tonya Bolden
Hardcover: 9780375827952
Paperback: 9780375827969
EPUB: 9780307792884


The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963

by Christopher Paul Curtis
Hardcover: 9780385321754
Paperback: 9780440228004
EPUB: 9780307568458
The Mighty Miss Malone

by Christopher Paul Curtis
Hardcover: 9780385734912
Library Binding: 9780385904872
EPUB: 9780375897368
Condoleezza Rice: A Memoir of My Extraordinary, Ordinary Family and Me

by Tonya Bolden
Hardcover: 9780385738798
Library Binding: 9780385907477
EPUB: 9780375896132

Young Adult

145th Street: Short Stories

by Walter Dean Myers
Paperback: 9780307976109
Library Binding: 9780385905381
EPUB: 9780385729840
Discovering Wes Moore (The Young Adult Adaptation)

by Wes Moore
Hardcover: 9780385741675
Library Binding: 9780375990182
EPUB: 9780375986703
Make It Messy

by Marcus Samuelsson
Hardcover: 9780385744003
Library Binding: 9780375991448
EPUB: 9780385374194


On a Clear Day

by Walter Dean Myers
Hardcover: 9780385387538
Library Binding: 9780385387545
EPUB: 9780385387552
What They Found: Love on 145th

by Walter Dean Myers
Paperback: 9780375845451
Library Binding: 9780375937095
EPUB: 9780307549181
Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina

by Michaela DePrince and Elaine DePrince
Hardcover: 9780385755115
Library Binding: 9780385755122
EPUB: 9780385755139


February 11, 2015

Celebrate your 100th Day of School with Rocket!

Will your school be coming up on its 100th day this month? Celebrate with Rocket the beloved dog from author/illustrator Tad Hills’ picture books How Rocket Learned to Read and Rocket Writes a Story.

On Rocket’s 100th day of school he is busy collecting 100 things to take to school, and he has the perfect place to keep them safe. That is, until Bella (a squirrel who loves acorns) gets involved. Join Rocket as he sets out to make his 100th day of school a memorable one!

Make Rocket’s 100th Day of School your storytime read in celebration of one hundred days of learning. Enjoy these 100th Day of School activities with Rocket for a special day

Song for the 100th Day of School
(sung to the tune of The Farmer in the Dell)

One hundred days of school,
One hundred days of school,
That’s how long we’ve been in school,
One hundred days of school.

RocketRocket’s 100th Day of School
Hardcover: 978-0-385-39095-8
Library Binding: 978-0-385-39096-5
EPUB: 978-0-385-39098-9

RocketHow Rocket Learned to Read
Hardcover: 978-0-375-85899-4
Library Binding: 978-0-37595899-1
EPUB: 978-0-375-98922-3
RocketRocket Writes a Story
Hardcover: 978-0-375-87086-6
Library Binding: 978-0-375-97086-3
EPUB: 978-0-307-97491-4
RocketDrop it, Rocket
Hardcover: 978-0-385-37247-3
Library Binding: 978-0-385-37248-0
EPUB: 978-0-385-37248-0

February 11, 2015

Four stars for Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Raul Colon

★ “As the story of Leontyne Price opens, and as the text so affectingly puts it, a black girl born in 1927 Mississippi could expect nothing besides “a heap of hard work—as a maid, mill worker, or sharecropper. Her song would surely be the blues.” But Leontyne heard other music growing up: hymns and praise songs, and encouraging words that told her she was as good as anyone. Seeing Marian Anderson sing raised her hopes higher, and after a musical education at Julliard, Price went on to play Bess in Porgy and Bess and fulfilled her dream of becoming an opera singer, playing all the great roles. One curious line of text as Price goes off to teacher’s college: “The concert stage was out of reach for a black singer then,” even though a previous spread has her listening to Marian Anderson, who had already sung in places like New York’s Town Hall. But this does a beautiful job of capturing the dreams of a young girl who has the talent and willpower to make them come true, and Colón’s dappled artwork is an excellent visual accompaniment. Children will get a sense of Price’s struggles and triumphs as well as how music can break down barriers.” —Booklist

★ “Weatherford and Colón create a rapturously described, evocatively illustrated account of the life of groundbreaking African-American opera singer Leontyne Price. Her musical path began in the segregated South where, as a child, she was inspired by hymns, opera music on the radio, and the success of Marian Anderson. Price’s natural talent eventually led her to Juilliard, theatres, and television. Colón works in subdued blues, browns, and creams, textured with the fine lines that are his trademark. Yet when Price sings, fiery, vibrant shapes represent the music pouring out of her as she appears in Porgy and Bess, Madama Butterfly, and Aida. While Weatherford addresses the barriers Price faced, her love of music and the presence of those who supported her are deeply felt: “The song of her soul soared on the breath of her ancestors.”—Publisher’s Weekly
★ “Weatherford continues to showcase groundbreaking African Americans often overlooked by history books and popular culture. World-famous opera singer Leontyne Price gets her due in this luscious picture book biography. Price’s talent and perseverance enabled her to follow in the footsteps of singer Marian Anderson and become a celebrated soprano whose wondrous voice rang through the Metropolitan Opera House in her iconic Aida role and on Broadway as a lead in Porgy and Bess. A true marriage of lyrical text and majestic illustrations, the book shines a much-needed spotlight on an important cultural figure. Colón’s earthy hues establish the tone of Price’s early years, set against the backdrop of her humble Mississippi upbringing and a childhood surrounded by supportive parents and gospel music. The watercolor and pencil drawings seem to vibrate off the page, especially in the form of rainbow-colored musical notes that often envelop the work’s subject. An author’s note includes more information on other singers for whom Price paved the way. While the exact audience for this book is hard to place, the emphasis on the performer’s predecessors (“The song of her soul soared on the breath of her ancestors.”) and mentions of segregation will tie this title into units on African American history and female pioneers. A gorgeous book in the ranks of the author’s I, Matthew Henson: Polar Explorer (Walker, 2007) and Becoming Billie Holliday (Boyds Mills, 2008).”—School Library Journal
★ “Carol Boston Weatherford (Africa Dream) begins this inspiring picture book biography of the groundbreaking soprano in 1927 Laurel, Miss., where “the line between black and white was as wide as the Mississippi River was long,” and demonstrates how Leontyne Price broke barrier after barrier in a society largely hostile to African Americans.
Raúl Colón (Draw) reflects Price’s journey through a palette of the earthen browns and creams of the Cotton Belt where she grew up. The music that moved and emanated from Price infuses the scenes in a swirl of rainbow colors. Still a girl, Leontyne watches Marian Anderson “[glide] onstage in a whoosh of satin.” Author and artist here link the lives of the two singers, laying out how one paved the way for the other. A stream of colors envelops Anderson like a low-lying mist, “Her song, like a torch, sparked a light in Leontyne.” In 1939, as Anderson sings the famous Easter concert at the Lincoln Memorial, young Leontyne sings in her church choir on the facing page. Her college president hears Leontyne sing and urges her to study voice: “Led by song, she cracked the door that Marian had opened years earlier.”
The author chronicles how Price’s voice led to Juilliard, Broadway and finally to New York’s Metropolitan Opera House, against the backdrop of a United States where much remained closed to her. Weatherford describes the journey that built Price’s personal and professional strength and power; Colón makes visible the music that fueled her path.”—Shelf Awareness

Leontyne PriceLeontyne Price: Voice of a Century
by Carole Boston Weatherford; illustrated by Raul Colon
Hardcover: 978-0-375-85606-8
Library Binding: 978-0-375-95606-5
EPUB: 978-0-385-39246-4

February 11, 2015

Three stars for All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

★ “Two struggling teens develop an unlikely relationship in a moving exploration of grief, suicide and young love. Violet, a writer and member of the popular crowd, has withdrawn from her friends and from school activities since her sister died in a car accident nine months earlier. Finch, known to his classmates as “Theodore Freak,” is famously impulsive and eccentric. Following their meeting in the school bell tower, Finch makes it his mission to re-engage Violet with the world, partially through a school project that sends them to offbeat Indiana landmarks and partially through simple persistence. (Violet and Finch live, fortunately for all involved, in the sort of romantic universe where his throwing rocks at her window in the middle of the night comes off more charming than stalker-esque.) The teens alternate narration chapter by chapter, each in a unique and well-realized voice. Finch’s self-destructive streak and suicidal impulses are never far from the surface, and the chapters he narrates are interspersed with facts about suicide methods and quotations from Virginia Woolf and poet Cesare Pavese. When the story inevitably turns tragic, a cast of carefully drawn side characters bring to life both the pain of loss and the possibility of moving forward, though some notes of hope are more believable than others. Many teen novels touch on similar themes, but few do it so memorably.” —Kirkus

★ “Seniors Theodore Finch and Violet Markey run into each other on their school bell tower, contemplating what it would be like to jump. It’s more dark-cute than meet-cute, which also describes the book. Finch thinks about suicide every day; Violet was happy until her sister died in a car crash. While Finch, aka “Theodore Freak,” is a marginal presence in their high school, he’s smart and handsome—a musician who, readers gradually realize, suffers from undiagnosed manic depression. Violet is equally smart, and as they traverse Indiana for a geography project, looking for “wonders,” they flirt, argue, admit dark secrets, and fall in love. In her YA debut, adult author Niven (Velva Jean Learns to Drive) creates a romance so fresh and funny that it seems like it could save Finch; she also makes something she foreshadows from the first line surprising. The journey to, through, and past tragedy is romantic and heartbreaking, as characters and readers confront darkness, joy, and the possibilities—and limits—of love in the face of mental illness.”—Publisher’s Weekly
★ “Violet Markey is on the ledge of her school’s bell tower, six stories up, and frozen in terror. Theodore Finch, the Freak, stands on the ledge nearby. Before she can panic, he calms her down and gets her back on solid ground. He even lets everyone think she’s the one who talked him out of jumping. Violet, until recently, was a popular cheerleader and Finch has a well-earned reputation for being manic, violent, and unpredictable. But Finch won’t let their encounter rest. He’s suddenly everywhere Violet goes and even signs her up as his partner on a “Wander the State” school project. As the two drive around Indiana, Violet begins to see the lame tourist attractions through Finch’s eyes, and each spot becomes something unique and special. He pushes and challenges the protagonist, and seems to understand the effect her sister’s death made on her. But though Violet begins to recover from the devastating grief that has cocooned her for almost a year, Finch’s demons refuse to let go. The writing in this heartrending novel is fluid, despite the difficult topics, as Niven relays the complex thought processes of the two teens. Finch and Violet, with their emotional turmoil and insecurities, will ring true to teens. Finch in particular will linger in readers’ minds long after the last page is turned. Give this to fans of Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park (St. Martin’s Pr., 2013), John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars (Dutton, 2012), or Jennifer Hubbard’s The Secret Year (Viking, 2010).”School Library Journal
All the Bright PlacesAll the Bright Places
by Jennifer Niven
Hardcover: 978-0-385-75588-7
Library Binding: 978-0-385-75589-4
EPUB: 978-0-385-75590-0

February 11, 2015

February: What’s In The News?

There is never too much information when guiding young people to an understanding of national and world events. Most are aware of heated debates over issues like terrorism, immigration and the lifting of the Cuban embargo, and they need guidance as they begin to form their own opinions about hot topics. Have them search libraries for books and materials that relate to articles in the news.

●   Create a Then and Now display that highlights events of the 20th Century that led to newsworthy actions in the 21st century. Begin by introducing The Century for Young People by Peter Jennings and Todd Brewster.  For example, what led to the Cuban embargo in the first place?

●   President Obama has called upon Congress to end the 50-year Cuban embargo.  Display books about Cuba and ask readers to find out how lifting the embargo may change the life for Cubans.  Why have some Cuban Americans taken a stand against Obama’s move?  Titles from Random House that help readers connect to the Cuban culture are:

Cuba 15 (young adult) by Nancy Osa

The Red Umbrella (young adult) by Christina Diaz Gonzalez

●  The recent events in Paris where two gunman stormed the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical newspaper, and killed eleven people because of the way Muhammad was depicted in cartoons has caused much debate about Free Speech and the way nations deal with terrorists.  Teaching tolerance is the first step in this debate.  Recommended books from Random House are:

Dear Malala, We Stand with You (picture book) by Rosemary McCarney

The Genius of Islam: How Muslims Made the Modern World (middle grade) by Bryn Barnard

Growing Up Muslim (middle grade) by Sumbul All-Karamall

I Love I Hate My Sister (young adult) by Amelle Sarn

No god but God: The Origins & Evolution of Islam (young adult) by Reza Aslan

Shabana. Haveli and House of Djinn (young adult) by Suzanne Fisher Staples

●    Immigration remains in the news.  Suggest that readers “walk in others shoes” by reading a book that brings issues related to immigration front and center.  Titles from Random House include:

The Name Jar (picture book) by Yangsook Chol

Return to Sender (middle grade) by Julia Alvarez

The Tia Lola series (middle grade) by Julia Alvarez

Dark Water (young adult) by Laura McNeal

Enrique’s Journey (young adult) by Sonia Nazario

Outcasts United (young adult) by Warren St. John

●   2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the Voter Rights Act signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on August 6, 1965. The movie “Selma” is much in the news because critics question whether it’s historically accurate, especially the portrayal of Johnson. Ask young readers to document all of the events that led to the Voter Rights Act by reading books set during the Civil Rights Movement.   Titles from Random House include:

Child of the Civil Rights Movement (picture book) by Paula Young Shelton & illus by Raul Colon

I Have a Dream (picture book) by Martin Luther King, Jr. & illus by Kadir Nelson

My Dream of Martin Luther King (picture book) by Faith Ringgold

Thank You Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  (elementary) by Eleanora Tate

The Watson’s Go to Birmingham 1963 (middle grade) by Christopher Paul Curtis