Staff Pick

It’s 1945 in Yuba City, California, and fifth-grader Maria Singh is desperate to play softball on the town’s first-ever girls’ team. Inspired by her teacher, Maria begins her mission by advocating for the preservation of Yuba City’s lone baseball field. She quickly discovers, however, that that’s only the first of many ways she’ll have to challenge authorities. Set in the context of restrictive laws placed on Maria’s Indian-Mexican community, Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh (Tu, $16.95) showcases vivid scenes of daily life and delves into the discriminatory practices faced by immigrants to the United States. Author Uma Krishnaswami has created a determined, complex character whose spirit and sense of justice will move all readers. Ages 9-11.


Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh Cover Image
By Uma Krishnaswami, Nidhi Chanani (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781600602610
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tu Books - May 15th, 2017

Staff Pick

Who guides a lost soul? In Hello, Universe (Greenwillow, $16.99), guidance comes in many forms: a wise elder, a mystical friend, an imaginary spirit, a heroic inner strength. Through the eyes of four middle schoolers, Erin Entrada Kelly recounts a mysterious disappearance and the subsequent mission to solve the case. The four children come together using all of the magic, bravery, and intuition at their disposal. Nail-biting suspense is occasionally relieved by the book’s many tender, funny moments. Before the story ends, dreams will come true and unlikely friendships will form. Ages 9-12.


Hello, Universe Cover Image
By Erin Entrada Kelly, Isabel Roxas (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780062414151
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Greenwillow Books - March 14th, 2017

Staff Pick

A Boy Called Bat (Walden Pond, $16.99), formally known as Bixby Alexander Tam, is worried. His veterinarian mom is late coming home from work, and any change from his family’s normal schedule bothers Bat. When his mother does arrive, however, she has an explanation and an accompanying surprise: a baby skunk. Although the kit’s presence is another deviation from the norm, Bat quickly bonds with the defenseless animal. In fact, he decides that his mother’s plan to send the skunk to a wildlife refuge ignores that Bat is the absolute best skunk caretaker available. Written by Elana K. Arnold and peppered with evocative drawings by Charles Santoso, this is a sweet story of an unusually beautiful friendship. Ages 9-12.


A Boy Called Bat Cover Image
By Elana K. Arnold, Charles Santoso (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780062445827
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Walden Pond Press - March 14th, 2017