Showing posts with the label Nancy Paulsen Books

Review: Across So Many Seas

Across So Many Seas by Ruth Behar Nancy Paulsen Books (imprint of Penguin Random House), 2024 Category: Middle Grade Reviewer: Heather J. Matthews Buy at Following four girls in the same family line, Across So Many Seas explores important Jewish moments in history. Characters Benvenida, Reina, Alega, and Paloma bear witness to such events as the Expulsion of Jews from Spain following Alhambra Decree of 1492, the Cuban literacy campaign in 1961, and the flight of Cuban children to the United States via Operation Pedro Pan in 1962. Each girl, seemingly isolated within her timeline, is never truly alone. Throughout the novel there are the ever-present connections of music, heritage foods, and the use of Ladino words and phrases which help bridge gaps between each generation of the Sephardic family. Ultimately, the interconnectedness between each character in the book is brought to a head when Reina, Alega and Paloma all travel to Spain together in a final crossing of the sea

Review: The Big Dreams of Small Creatures

The Big Dreams of Small Creatures by Gail Lerner Nancy Paulsen Books (imprint of Penguin Random House), 2022 Category: Middle Grade Reviewer: Heidi Rabinowitz Buy at This fantastical story, told from multiple viewpoints, offers a vision of hope for human/insect communication. Eden (a biracial interfaith girl), August (a white, presumably Christian boy), a paper wasp queen, and an ant named Atom all contribute their perspectives as the story unfolds. August seeks to destroy insect life after his big moment in the school play is ruined by a cockroach inside his costume. Meanwhile, Eden, a budding entomologist, discovers that she can communicate with paper wasps via radical empathy and a kazoo. With opposing purposes, both children head for the Institute for Lower Learning, "Where Humans and Insects Intersect." August wants to find the deadly insecticide invented by the Institute's founder before he saw the light, and Eden wants to help insects educate humans ab

Review: Starfish

Starfish by Lisa Fipps Nancy Paulsen Books (imprint of Penguin Random House) Category: Middle Grade Reviewer: Laurie Adler   Buy at   Starfish , written by first-time novelist Lisa Fipps, is one of the best new tween novels on the trending subject of fat-phobia and body image. Ellie, an eleven-year-old Texan, is continuously body-shamed by her schoolmates and family. Since her fifth birthday party, she has been called “Splash” and compared to a whale. She lives by self-imposed fat girl rules -- “make yourself small,” “avoid eating in public,” “move slowly so your fat doesn’t jiggle” -- but the bullying escalates dangerously both at home and at school. Ellie’s only safe space is her swimming pool, where she feels weightless and can stretch out like a starfish. With only her father, her new neighbor Catalina, and a therapist to support her, Ellie valiantly finds her voice to confront rude doctors, cruel schoolmates, and even her own mother.   This novel is written

Review: Lilah Tov / Good Night

Lilah Tov / Good Night by Ben Bundersheimer (Mister G), illustrated by Noar Lee Naggan Category: Picture Books Reviewer: Beth Gallego In this lyrical bedtime book, a deceptively simple text is set beside an immigration story told through the illustrations. Ben Gundersheimer (Mister G) adapts a Hebrew lullaby into rhyming English text that flows with natural rhythm when read aloud. Noar Lee Naggan’s digitally colored pencil sketches suffuse each double-page spread with intense color and animated style. The family - a little girl with dark braids and red kerchief, her bearded father in his flat cap, and her mother, who wears a scarf over her hair and carries a baby in her arms or on her back - eat a simple meal in a small house. The sun sets outside the window, where a golden menorah gleams on the sill. On the next page, “The moon is rising, / big and bright / Time to wish everyone / good night” while Father fastens the menorah to a large pack and Mother ties the red kerchief over