Freedom to Read
You Can't Say That!
What happens when freedom of expression comes under threat? In frank and wide-ranging interviews, historian and critic Leonard S. Marcus probes the experience of thirteen leading authors of books for young people.
A powerful photo essay on transgender teens is called anti-religious and anti-family. A meticulously researched primer on sex education stirs up accusations of pornography and child abuse. Picture books about two mommies (or two penguin daddies) set off a hue and cry. Two hugely popular children's series run afoul of would-be censors, one for its scatological humor, the other because it's deemed too scary. Kids' books that touch on race, sex, LGBTQ matters, the occult, "coarse language," and more have found themselves under the scrutiny of those who challenge First Amendment rights.
Tune in as thirteen top children's and young adult authors speak out about what it's like to have your work banned or challenged in America today. Prompted by Leonard S. Marcus's insightful questions, they discuss why their books have faced censorship--both blatant and "soft"--how the challenges have or haven't affected their writing, and why some people feel they have the right to deny access to books. In addition, Leonard S. Marcus puts First Amendment challenges in a historical context and takes a promising look at the vibrant support network that has risen up to protect and defend young people's rights.
Authors interviewed include:
Matt de la Peña
Robie H. Harris
Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
R. L. Stine
Attack of the Black Rectangles
Award-winning author Amy Sarig King takes on censorship and intolerance in a novel she was born to write.
When Mac first opens his classroom copy of Jane Yolen's The Devil's Arithmetic and finds some words blacked out, he thinks it must be a mistake. But then when he and his friends discover what the missing words are, he's outraged.
Someone in his school is trying to prevent kids from reading the full story.
Even though his unreliable dad tells him to not get so emotional about a book (or anything else), Mac has been raised by his mom and grandad to call out things that are wrong. He and his friends head to the principal's office to protest the censorship... but her response doesn't take them seriously.
So many adults want Mac to keep his words to himself.
Mac's about to see the power of letting them out.
In Attack of the Black Rectangles, acclaimed author Amy Sarig King shows all the ways truth can be hard... but still worth fighting for.
Answers in the Pages
A bold, timely novel about speaking up and coming out as parents lobby to ban a beloved book from the school curriculum by New York Times-bestselling author David Levithan.
When Donovan left his copy of The Adventurers on the kitchen counter, he didn't think his mom would read it--much less have a problem with it. It's just an adventure novel about two characters trying to stop an evil genius...right?
But soon the entire town is freaking out about whether the book's main characters are gay, Donovan's mom is trying to get the book removed from the school curriculum, and Donovan is caught in the middle.
Donovan doesn't really know if the two boys fall in love at the end or not--but he does know this: even if they do, it shouldn't matter. The book should not be banned from school.
Interweaving three connected storylines, David Levithan delivers a bold, fun, and timely story about taking action (whether it's against book censors or deadly aligators...), being brave, and standing up for what's right.
In this lyrical picture book, world-renowned poet, New York Times bestselling author, and Coretta Scott King Honor winner Nikki Giovanni and fine artist Erin Robinson craft an ode to the magic of a library as a place not only for knowledge but also for imagination, exploration, and escape.
In what other place can a child "sail their dreams" and "surf the rainbow" without ever leaving the room? This ode to libraries is a celebration for everyone who loves stories, from seasoned readers to those just learning to love words, and it will have kids and parents alike imagining where their library can take them.
This inspiring read-aloud includes stunning illustrations and a note from Nikki Giovanni about the importance of libraries in her own childhood.
A lyrical, vibrant tribute to the amazing life and legacy of Pura Belpré, a lauded storyteller, librarian, and pioneer of bilingual storytimes
Pura's abuela always has a cuento to share. She crows ¡Qui-qui-ri-quí! for Señor Gallo, booms Borom, Borom for Señor Zapo, and tells of a beautiful cockroach who loves a mouse. Pura clings to these stories like coquíes cling to green leaves.
When Pura grows up and moves from Puerto Rico to Harlem, she gets a job at the library, where she is surrounded by stories--but they're only in English. Where is Señor Gallo? Where is Pérez the mouse? Where is Puerto Rico on these shelves? She decides to tell children the tales of her homeland in English and in Spanish.
Lyrically written, with lively illustrations, Pura's Cuentos captures the exuberant spirit and passion of Pura Belpré celebrated storyteller, author, folklorist, and the first Latina librarian in New York City. A pioneer of bilingual storytimes, she welcomed countless new families to the library, formed cultural bridges in her community, and broke the rules by telling stories that weren't printed in books--at least, not yet.
Little Libraries, Big Heroes
From an award-winning author and illustrator, the inspiring story of how the Little Free Library organization brings communities together through books, from founder Todd Bol's first installation to the creation of more than 75,000 mini-libraries around the world.
Todd and his friends love heroes. But in school, Todd doesn't feel heroic. Reading is hard for him, and he gets scolded for asking too many questions. How will he ever become the kind of hero he admires?
Featuring stunning illustrations that celebrate the diversity of the Little Free Library movement, here is the story of how its founder, Todd Bol, became a literacy superhero. Thanks to Todd and thousands of volunteers--many of whom are kids--millions of books have been enjoyed around the world.
This creative movement inspires a love of reading, strengthens communities, and provides meeting places where new friendships, ideas--and heroes!--spring to life. --Author's note, bibliograpy
Free for You and Me
Find out the freedoms and rights of the First Amendment.
It's a free country! But what does that mean? Find out the five liberties protected by the First Amendment. Vivid examples from history and everyday life demonstrate the meaning of freedom of religion, speech, and the press, and the rights to assemble peacefully and to petition the government.
Leilong the Library Bus
A library-loving dinosaur reminds us how it feels to be transported by story in this picture book for young children.
Leilong's friends are taking him to story time at the library. But it's difficult for a large, clumsy brontosaurus without a library card to follow all the rules. Especially when enthusiastic Leilong gets caught up in the story and joins in, threatening to flatten the library. Is Leilong too big for the library, or is the library too small?
With vibrant and vintage-like illustrations, Children of all ages will love this enthusiastic, bumbling dinosaur who just wants, like all of us, to hear a good story. Perfect to read aloud or together with younger dino fans and book-lovers, or for readers aged 5-7.
Julia Liu has worked as an editor of children's fiction at several of Taiwan's biggest and most prestigious publishers, and has published picture books, illustrated biographies and a collection of fairy tales.
Bei Lynn is an award-winning Taiwanese illustrator who has written and illustrated over 20 picture books, stories, magazines and comics. Her works have been recognized by various awards and honors.
Other books by Julia Lui:
Leilong Is Too Long!
Praise for Leilong the Library Bus
Text and illustrations are perfectly matched here. Via Wang's smooth translation from Chinese, Liu employs simple, direct third-person narration, enhanced by intriguing dialogue and winning characters. Lynn's intricate cartoons provide scope and setting and much of the fun as well as thought-provoking details.--Kirkus Reviews
"A heart-warming, humorous read. Readers will instantly fall in love with this likeable (slightly goofy) brontosaurus -- the juxtaposition of him and the quiet setting of the library is ridiculously delightful." - Reading Time, The Children's Book Council of Australia
"Leilong is a cheerful, bright-green standout among bustling cityscapes and quiet interiors with dark line art and crayon-like smears of rose and dusty blue."--Foreword Reviews
Love in the Library
Set in an incarceration camp where the United States cruelly detained Japanese Americans during WWII and based on true events, this moving love story finds hope in heartbreak.
To fall in love is already a gift. But to fall in love in a place like Minidoka, a place built to make people feel like they weren't human--that was miraculous.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Tama is sent to live in a War Relocation Center in the desert. All Japanese Americans from the West Coast--elderly people, children, babies--now live in prison camps like Minidoka. To be who she is has become a crime, it seems, and Tama doesn't know when or if she will ever leave. Trying not to think of the life she once had, she works in the camp's tiny library, taking solace in pages bursting with color and light, love and fairness. And she isn't the only one. George waits each morning by the door, his arms piled with books checked out the day before. As their friendship grows, Tama wonders: Can anyone possibly read so much? Is she the reason George comes to the library every day? Maggie Tokuda-Hall's beautifully illustrated, elegant love story features a photo of the real Tama and George--the author's grandparents--along with an afterword and other back matter for readers to learn more about a time in our history that continues to resonate.
Celebrate Latine Authors
Valentina Salazar Is Not a Monster Hunter
Sal and Gabi Break the Universe meets Supernatural in a heartfelt, hilarious adventure about a trio of tight-knit, monster-loving siblings from acclaimed author Zoraida Córdova.
It takes a special person to end up in detention on the last day of school.
It takes a REALLY special person to accidentally burn down the school yard while chasing a fire-breathing chipmunk.
But nothing about Valentina Salazar has ever been "normal." The Salazars are protectors, tasked with rescuing the magical creatures who sometimes wander into our world, from grumpy unicorns to chupacabras . . . to the occasional fire-breathing chipmunk.
When Val's father is killed during a rescue mission gone wrong, her mother decides it's time to retire from their life on the road. She moves the family to a boring little town in upstate New York and enrolls Val and her siblings in real school for the first time.
But Val is a protector at heart and she can't give up her calling. So when a mythical egg surfaces in a viral video, Val convinces her reluctant siblings to help her find the egg before it hatches and wreaks havoc. But she has some competition: the dreaded monster hunters who'll stop at nothing to destroy the creature . . . and the Salazar family.
Ernesto Cisneros, Pura Belpré Award-winning author of Efrén Divided, is back with a hilarious and heartfelt novel about two best friends who must rely on each other in unexpected ways. A great next pick for readers who loved Ghost by Jason Reynolds or The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez.
Isaac and Marco already know sixth grade is going to change their lives. But it won't change things at home--not without each other's help.
This year, star basketball player Isaac plans on finally keeping up with his schoolwork. Better grades will surely stop Isaac's parents from arguing all the time. Meanwhile, straight-A Marco vows on finally winning his father's approval by earning a spot on the school's basketball team.
But will their friendship and support for each other be enough to keep the two boys from falling short?
Sofía Acosta Makes a Scene
A poignant, coming of age story about a Cuban-American girl trying to figure out where she belongs--both in her ballet-loving family and the wider world. Perfect for fans of Front Desk and Merci Suárez Changes Gears.
It's a good thing Sofía Acosta loves dreaming up costumes, because otherwise she's a ballet disaster--unlike her parents, who danced under prima ballerina Alicia Alonso before immigrating to the suburbs of New York. Luckily, when the Acostas host their dancer friends from Cuba for a special performance with the American Ballet Theatre, Sofía learns there's more than dance holding her family together. Between swapping stories about Cuba and sharing holiday celebrations, the Acostas have never been more of a team.
Then Sofía finds out about the dancers' secret plans to defect to the United States, and makes a serious mistake--she confides in her best friend, only to discover that Tricia doesn't want "outsiders" moving to their community. Now Sofía wonders what the other neighbors in her tight-knit suburban town really think of immigrant families like hers. Sofía doesn't want to make a scene, but if she doesn't speak up, how will she figure out if her family really belongs?
The Last Beekeeper
Facing a world dually altered by climate change and those who profit from it, Yolanda Cicerón will have to fight to save the last known beehive from extinction in this stirring new adventure by award-winning author Pablo Cartaya.
In a future shaken by climate disasters, Yolanda Cicerón knows that nature is something to be feared. While life in the Valley is brutal and harsh, Yoly dreams of leaving her farm to live in Silo--the most advanced town for miles around. But first, Yoly will need to prove she belongs in a place where only the smartest and most useful are welcomed.
Between her razor-sharp smarts and sheer determination, Yoly is well on her way until she discovers her family can no longer afford her schooling. When forced to take matters into her own hands, the closer she gets to securing her future, the more she uncovers the dangers lying inside Silo's walls--ones that threaten the entire Valley.
As she cracks long-guarded secrets, Yoly, along with those closest to her, is put in grave peril and the only chance of surviving may lie in the rediscovery of a long-extinct species--the honeybee. Can the last surviving beehive be the key to pulling the Valley out from under Silo's thumb, or will they destroy what remains of Yoly's future
The Last Cuentista
Winner of the John Newbery Medal
Winner of the Pura Belpré Award
TIME's Best Books of the Year
Wall Street Journal's Best of the Year
Minneapolis Star Tribune's Best of the Year
Boston Globe's Best of the Year
BookPage's Best of the Year
Publishers Weekly's Best of the Year
School Library Journal's Best of the Year
Kirkus Reviews' Best of the Year
Bank Street's Best of the Year
Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best
New York Public Library Best of the Year
A Junior Library Guild Selection
Cybils Award Finalist
From Pura Belpré Award winner and Newbery Medalist, Donna Barba Higuera--a brilliant journey through the stars, to the very heart of what makes us human.
"Gripping in its twists and turns, and moving in its themes - truly a beautiful cuento."--New York Times
"Clever and compelling . wonderfully subversive."--The Wall Street Journal
★ "This tale packs a wallop. Exquisite."--Kirkus Reviews (starred)
★ "Gripping, euphonious, and full of storytelling magic."--Publishers Weekly (starred)
★ "A strong, heroic character, fighting incredible odds to survive and protect others."--School Library Journal (starred)
Había una vez . . .
There lived a girl named Petra Peña, who wanted nothing more than to be a storyteller, like her abuelita.
But Petra's world is ending. Earth has been destroyed by a comet, and only a few hundred scientists and their children - among them Petra and her family - have been chosen to journey to a new planet. They are the ones who must carry on the human race.
Hundreds of years later, Petra wakes to this new planet - and the discovery that she is the only person who remembers Earth. A sinister Collective has taken over the ship during its journey, bent on erasing the sins of humanity's past. They have systematically purged the memories of all aboard - or purged them altogether.
Petra alone now carries the stories of our past, and with them, any hope for our future. Can she make them live again?
Tía Fortuna's New Home
A poignant multicultural ode to family and what it means to create a home as one girl helps her Tía move away from her beloved Miami apartment.
When Estrella's Tía Fortuna has to say goodbye to her longtime Miami apartment building, The Seaway, to move to an assisted living community, Estrella spends the day with her. Tía explains the significance of her most important possessions from both her Cuban and Jewish culture, as they learn to say goodbye together and explore a new beginning for Tía.
A lyrical book about tradition, culture, and togetherness, Tía Fortuna's New Home explores Tía and Estrella's Sephardic Jewish and Cuban heritage. Through Tía's journey, Estrella will learn that as long as you have your family, home is truly where the heart is.
The Little House of Hope
When Esperanza and her family arrive in the United States from Cuba, they rent a little house, una casita. It may be small, but they soon prove that there’s room enough to share with a whole community.
“It was a little house. Una casita . . .
It was small.
It smelled like old wet socks. . .
But even though they were far from home,
The family was together.”
As Esperanza and her family settle into their new house, they all do their part to make it a home. When other immigrant families need a place to stay, it seems only natural for the family in la casita to help. Together they turn the house into a place where other new immigrants can help one another. Esperanza is always the first to welcome them to la casita. It’s a safe place in a new land.
Terry Catasus Jennings first came from Cuba to the U.S. in 1961, when she was twelve years old. With The Little House of Hope, she tells an inspiring, semi-autobiographical story of how immigrants can help each other find their footing in a new country.
A Spanish edition, La Casita de Esperanza, will be released simultaneously.
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and award-winning artist Rafael Lopez create a kind and caring book about the differences that make each of us unique.
Feeling different, especially as a kid, can be tough. But in the same way that different types of plants and flowers make a garden more beautiful and enjoyable, different types of people make our world more vibrant and wonderful.
In Just Ask, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor celebrates the different abilities kids (and people of all ages) have. Using her own experience as a child who was diagnosed with diabetes, Justice Sotomayor writes about children with all sorts of challenges--and looks at the special powers those kids have as well. As the kids work together to build a community garden, asking questions of each other along the way, this book encourages readers to do the same: When we come across someone who is different from us but we're not sure why, all we have to do is Just Ask.
Praise for Just Ask
"An affirmative, delightfully diverse overview of disabilities." --Kirkus Reviews
The Coquíes Still Sing
A powerful story about home, community, and hope, inspired by the rebuilding of Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria in 2017, written by debut author Karina González and illustrated by Krystal Quiles.
"This book is more than beautiful." - Yuyi Morales, Caldecott Honoree and New York Times bestselling creator of Dreamers
Co-quí, co-quí! The coquí frogs sing to Elena from her family’s beloved mango tree—their calls so familiar that they might as well be singing, “You are home, you are safe.” But home is suddenly not safe when a hurricane threatens to destroy everything that Elena knows.
As time passes, Elena, alongside her community, begins to rebuild their home, planting seeds of hope along the way. When the sounds of the coquíes gradually return, they reflect the resilience and strength of Elena, her family, and her fellow Puerto Ricans.
The Coquies Still Sing is also available in Spanish.
Rafa Counts on Papá
For fans of Guess How Much I Love You? and Just Me and My Dad comes a heartwarming story perfect for Father's Day about a son and his papá who love to measure everything, including their love for each other.
Rafa and his papá love to count and measure together. They know how many branches they climb to their favorite spot, they know how high their dog Euclid can jump, and they know how far they can run. But there's one thing Rafa can't count or measure because it is infinite: the love that he and his papá share.
Pura Belpré Honor illustrator and author Joe Cepeda celebrates curiosity and shows the tender and playful relationship between father and son on every inch of the page. With a subtle nod to introducing concepts, from real objects to the abstract, readers feel the immeasurable love of this Latinx family as Papá delights in spending time with Rafa.
Where Wonder Grows
Skipping Stones Honor Awards, Skipping Stones Magazine
From the creators of the award-winning picture book All Around Us comes another lyrical intergenerational story exploring our connections to nature, family, and traditions.
When Grandma walks to her special garden, her granddaughters know to follow her there. Grandma invites the girls to explore her collection of treasures--magical rocks, crystals, seashells, and meteorites--to see what wonders they reveal. They are alive with wisdom, Grandma says. As her granddaughters look closely, the treasures spark the girls' imaginations. They find stories in the strength of rocks shaped by volcanoes, the cleansing power of beautiful crystals, the mystery of the sea that houses shells and shapes the environment, and the long journey meteorites took to find their way to Earth. This is the power of Grandma's special garden, where wonder grows and stories blossom.
A stunning bilingual picture book that celebrates Latinx families by highlighting moments of connection and delight and feelings of safety and home, even through challenges and difficult times.
Me gusta your smile, tu sonrisa,
and your hugs, tus abrazos.
Me gusta when we explore this spectacular world, el mundo,
and gaze at all the stars, las estrellas.
But most of all, me gusta that no matter where we are, I feel at home, en casa, when I’m with you.
In the affirmative and encouraging Me Gusta, acclaimed author and illustrator Angela Dominguez combines Spanish and English in a poetic and touching story of family, reminding us that through the adventures and the heartbreak, love conquers all and transcends language.
MUZZY employs storytelling and friendly characters to teach new languages to young children.