“There’s plenty of
magic in this collection
to go around.”
—School Library Journal, Starred
—Publishers Weekly, Starred
We All N;d
FROM TOP AWARD-WI;ING AUTHORS
OF MI;LE-GRADE FICTION
—Kirkus Reviews, Starred
and eminently readable.”
“A natural for middle
school classrooms and
libraries, this strong
collection should find
“There’s plenty of
Visit RHTeachersLibrarians.com, your online destination
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Continued from p. 41
the clock to get her best-selling memoir
written before the arrival of her new baby
sister—aka The Blob—
causes everyone in her
family to forget about her.
A few pages spent with this
exuberant, guileless narra-
tor is evidence that no one
will be forgetting Cilla any-
time soon. She loves stories,
and the highs and lows of
her own experiences make for an animated
memoir. Prolonged baldness, a taste for
snails, and the slings and arrows of friend-
ship are all part of her joyful narrative. When
Cilla talks about her burgeoning realization
that she is a biracial child in a society that is
trying to label her, and that there is distance
within her own family between her Chinese
grandparents and her Caucasian grandpar-
ents, her introspection on the matter, and
how it concerns her without completely de-
railing her, will hearten readers. Occasional
black-and-white illustrations enhance the
text, and Cilla’s empathy, candor, and skill
at turning a phrase indicate that her claim
to be a future author extraordinaire is com-
pletely justified. As she says, “My book is
over, but my writing isn’t.” Anyone who
spends time with Cilla Lee-Jenkins will
look forward to reading her in the future.
Forever, or a Long, Long Time.
By Caela Carter.
Mar. 2017. 320p. Harper, $16.99 (9780062385680). Gr. 4–7.
After a long, troubling string of foster
homes, 11-year-old Flora and her brother,
Julian, were finally adopted two years ago.
They’re starting to feel comfortable with their mom,
Emily, but now she’s pregnant. The announcement
raises distressing questions
about “real” family and
belonging, particularly because Flora and Julian know
nothing about their biological parents, except that they were probably
darker than Emily, who’s white, but lighter
than Emily’s husband, who’s black. In Flora’s
moving first-person narrative, the contrast
between her poetic, perceptive inner monologue and the words she struggles to say out
loud reveals the complicated process of sifting feelings of trust from a childhood full of
abandonment, insecurity, and fear. When
Emily takes Flora and Julian on a trip to visit
their old foster homes, they develop a stronger sense of identity and finally begin to feel
moored to their past. Carter fleshes out Flora
and Julian’s story with dynamic side characters, particularly the adults, who, for all
their patient understanding, still realistically
make mistakes. Though some of the siblings’
homes were awful, the loving ones demonstrate that, regardless of what a family looks
like—and there’s not a single “traditional”
family to be found here—love can make all
the difference. This stunning portrayal of the
circuitous path of trauma and healing teems
with compassion, empathy, and the triumph
of resilience. —Sarah Hunter
Forget Me Not.
By Ellie Terry.
Mar. 2017. 336p. Feiwel and Friends, $16.99
(9781250096272). Gr. 5–8.
In this sweet and sometimes sad story,
readers follow middle-schoolers Calliope
and Jin. Callie moves often, any time her
mom gets out of a relationship and decides
to start somewhere new. Jin’s in student
council and one of the popular boys at Callie’s new school, as well as her new neighbor.
Callie has Tourette’s syndrome, exacerbating
the anxiety and loneliness she feels, which is
compounded by the fact that she never stays
in one place long enough to make a friend.
Jin is torn between maintaining his reputation and getting closer to Callie, whom he’s
immediately attracted to. Terry, who herself
lives with Tourette’s syndrome, movingly
draws from her own experience as she describes Callie’s experiences and behaviors.
The narrative alternates between Callie’s and
Jin’s perspectives, with Callie’s chapters in af-