‘Separate Is Never Equal’ by Duncan Tonatiuh: Picture book about desegregation

Rating: 5 stars In the picture book "Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family's Fight for Desegregation," Duncan Tonatiuh tells a story that predates "Brown v Board of Education." In California, children of Mexican descent were not allowed to attend the regular public schools. Instead, they were forced to attend the "Mexican" school … Continue reading ‘Separate Is Never Equal’ by Duncan Tonatiuh: Picture book about desegregation

‘The Forbidden Wish’ by Jessica Khoury: YA story of Aladdin and the lamp

Rating: 4 stars Jessica Khoury brings the story of Aladdin to life in "The Forbidden Wish." Aladdin is still the handsome, impetuous thief who steals the lamp from an abandoned cave. But the genie is Zahra, a beautiful entity trapped for a thousand years in the lamp. She has been punished for an unknown crime. … Continue reading ‘The Forbidden Wish’ by Jessica Khoury: YA story of Aladdin and the lamp

‘Sad, the Dog’ by Sandy Fussell and illustrated by Tull Suwannakit

Rating: 5 stars "Sad, the Dog" by Sandy Fussell and illustrated by Tull Suwannakit is a book that will touch the heart of even the most jaded reader. This is the story that those who rescue unwanted animals hear daily -- the story of an unwanted dog ("an unwanted Christmas present from a friend") who … Continue reading ‘Sad, the Dog’ by Sandy Fussell and illustrated by Tull Suwannakit

‘Half Lost’ by Sally Green; last in ‘Half Bad’ YA trilogy

Rating: 5 stars "Half Lost" by Sally Green is the very violent but also incredibly touching conclusion to the trilogy that began with "Half Bad" and continued with "Half Wild." The books should be confusing with all the different characters and changes to characters who aren't really who they seemed to be. But the basis … Continue reading ‘Half Lost’ by Sally Green; last in ‘Half Bad’ YA trilogy

‘Rise of the Wolf’ by Jennifer Nielsen: Second in YA ‘Mark of the Thief’ series

Rating: 4 stars "Rise of the Wolf" ably continues the story of Nic, a Roman slave who enters an ancient cave in search of treasure and flies away with a magic amulet and a griffin. Those who would have the powerful amulet pursue him, and it's difficult to know who the bad guys are - … Continue reading ‘Rise of the Wolf’ by Jennifer Nielsen: Second in YA ‘Mark of the Thief’ series

‘Sophomores and Other Oxymorons’ by David Lubar: YA humorous fiction

Rating: 4 1/2 stars While "Sophomores and Other Oxymorons" is the sequel to David Lubar's "Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie," it also works as a stand alone read. Lubar ably includes enough information (without making it seem awkward) that the reader knows enough about Scott Hudson's freshman year to understand the humor and action in this … Continue reading ‘Sophomores and Other Oxymorons’ by David Lubar: YA humorous fiction

‘Mother Bruce’ by Ryan T. Higgins: Picture book kids and adults will adore

Rating: 5 stars "Mother (Goose) Bruce," written and illustrated by Ryan T. Higgins, is an absolutely adorable, terrifically funny, and totally enjoyable peek into the life of one Bruce the Grumpy Bear, who is hilariously trapped on the rollercoaster ride that is parenting. The reviewers' cliche that "adults will love it as much as children" … Continue reading ‘Mother Bruce’ by Ryan T. Higgins: Picture book kids and adults will adore

Group rescued 74 dogs from Redlands, FL; County shelter wouldn’t help

Sorry, Miami-Dade Animal Services isn't accepting stray animals. Need to relinquish an animal? Try a different county. Those in charge of the Miami-Dade Animal Services (MDAS) are very proud that they have reached the 90% save rate that allows them to say they are "no-kill." But what others are asking is: At what cost? According … Continue reading Group rescued 74 dogs from Redlands, FL; County shelter wouldn’t help

‘Calamity’ by Brandon Sanderson: Third in ‘The Reckoners’ series

Rating: 5 stars Brandon Sanderson's "The Reckoners" series, which began with "Steelheart" and continued with "Firefight," concluded with the recently released final book in the trilogy, "Calamity." The main character, David Charleston, tells the story in fabulous first person narrative. Sanderson manages to create a narration that is brilliant -- both humorous and exciting at … Continue reading ‘Calamity’ by Brandon Sanderson: Third in ‘The Reckoners’ series

‘Little Roja Riding Hood’ by Susan Middleton Elya: Familiar fairy tale con salsa

Rating: 5 stars "Little Roja Riding Hood" by Susan Littleton Elya is a familiar fairy tale that has been spiced up with a Latin point of view. Here, Granny is "Abuela," and the wolf is "el lobo." Kids who know the story of Little Red Riding Hood love this retelling. While all kids enjoy this … Continue reading ‘Little Roja Riding Hood’ by Susan Middleton Elya: Familiar fairy tale con salsa

‘Things You Won’t Say’ by Sarah Pekkanen: Extremely thoughtful and timely

Rating: 5 stars Sarah Pekkanen's newest book, "Things You Won't Say," is not just a book about a cop who shoots a teenager who happens to be a member of a minority. It's about family, trust, and above all -- making mistakes. We all make mistakes. When a cop shoots someone -- if it's a … Continue reading ‘Things You Won’t Say’ by Sarah Pekkanen: Extremely thoughtful and timely