Each year, inhabitants of the Protectorate offer the village’s youngest baby to the witch of the forest in order to avoid her wrath. Little do they know that the witch, Xan, is actually kind and gentle, finding a loving home for each child and feeding them starlight. When she accidentally gives one child moonlight instead, Xan decides that she must care for the “enmagicked” child herself. And so The Girl Who Drank the Moon (Algonquin, $16.95) grows up with Xan, a swamp monster, and a dragon, never knowing that one of the young men who once left her in the forest is now out for the witch he believes to be so evil. Kelly Barnhill’s spectacular fairytale is full of magic, heart, humor, and wonder. Ages 11-14.
Take a trip through the history of art with this cohesive and accessible volume of awe-inspiring variety. Beginning with cave paintings and ending with artists still living today, Vincent’s Starry Night and Other Stories (Laurence King, $29.95) spans thousands of years in 68 chronologically arranged tales. Michael Bird recounts the life stories of a number of artists and imagines what they might have thought and said about their own creative journeys, while Kate Evans’s evocative watercolors include both original compositions and appealing reproductions of the famous works that Bird discusses. Warranting multiple reads from cover to cover, this is a perfect way to expose children to the wonders of human creativity through the ages. Ages 9-14.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is perhaps as well known for her objections as she is for her dedication to fairness and equality. I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes her Mark (Simon and Schuster, $17.99) documents Ginsburg’s lifelong ease with raising concerns about the status quo. From academics to hobbies and family life, she didn’t believe in adhering to restrictive social norms for girls and minorities, a conviction that made history as she ascended to the bench of the highest court in the United States. Debbie Levy narrates Elizabeth Baddeley’s comic-book-like illustrations to tell this amusing and inspirational tale, with a refreshing emphasis on the fact that constructive disagreement is a vital part of life. Ages 7-10.