Richard has worked tirelessly on his flat-ground Ollie, determined to impress at Gregory Johnson’s skateboard party. But he hasn’t worked tirelessly on learning how to spell “quotient,” or where the howler monkey lives, and his fourth-grade teacher insists he can do better. When Richard “forgets” to give her note to his parents, the truth and its consequences quickly catch up with him in the second installment of Karen English’s Carver Chronicles: Skateboard Party (Clarion, $14.99). As with the winning, well-meaning Gavin of Dog Days, young readers will empathize with Richard’s (usually) good intentions and laugh at the mischievous interactions among his three brothers. By emphasizing characters’ expressions, Laura Freeman’s accompanying illustrations light-heartedly capture the trials and tribulations of growing up in—and raising—a big family. Ages 6-9. Amy Dickinson

Skateboard Party: The Carver Chronicles, Book Two Cover Image
By Karen English, Laura Freeman (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780544582262
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Clarion Books - December 1st, 2015

When eleven-year-old Stella and her brother sneak out one evening, they discover the Ku Klux Klan burning a cross, the first in a series of increasingly tense events in their small segregated town in the grip of the Jim Crow South. Sharon Draper deftly weaves the story of Stella, a thoughtful student compelled to write but uncertain of her ability, with that of the town’s inequality, whose harsh realities the novel portrays unflinchingly. The courage of Stella’s family and community help her develop her voice and discover wells of bravery within. Beautifully written, threaded with song, Stella by Starlight (Atheneum, $16.99) paints an affecting portrait of both injustice and fortitude that succumbs neither to melodrama nor simple resolutions. Ages 9-12. Amy Dickinson

Stella by Starlight Cover Image
ISBN: 9781442494978
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - January 6th, 2015

Pablo Picasso wasn’t a painter. He was a friend, poet, lover, sculptor, pet owner, and father. He was at least 100 Pablo Picassos (Duo Press, $14.99), and artist Violet Lemay helps young readers keep track of his many manifestations in her delightful biography. The book’s illustrations appear in the varied styles of Picasso, blending the personal story with examples of his work to create a highly engaging portrait of a ground-breaking visionary who, like a child, loved to play in color, medium, and form. The book even manages to communicate the shock and revolution of Picasso’s first cubist painting in language and images accessible to younger readers, a story at once complex, simple, and wholly charming. Ages 5-10. Amy Dickinson

100 Pablo Picassos Cover Image
By duopress labs (From an idea by), Violet Lemay (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781938093326
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: duopress - May 12th, 2015