Book review: Moko Magic, Carnival Chaos

  Tracy Baptiste’s carnival tale carries all the wonder, joy, strangeness, and vibrancy of the Caribbean culture it springs from. Twelve-year-old Misty and her mom have arrived in Brooklyn from Trinidad, just before the annual carnival celebrations on Labor Day. Misty misses her home and is finding it hard to adjust to living with her cousins, Brooke …
Continue reading

Hey, Ma, I’m on TV!

I had no idea what to expect when I was invited to Altoona, Pennsylvania, for a series of school visits. But I liked the name (“Altoona!”), and I liked Pennsylvania. So I agreed. I just wasn’t prepared for the warm welcome I received there from readers young and old. Thanks to a grant from the AASD …
Continue reading

Can AI really replace novelists?

Like the striking screenwriters out there on the picket lines, I’ve been concerned about the use of Artificial Intelligence in the world of writing. Could it really replace human novelists? I mean, it’s hard enough to write a book and then compete with other human writers to get it published. But adding AI-created books to …
Continue reading

Book review: The Art of Destiny

YA fiction by Wesley Chu Measuring up to the first book of a series can be a daunting task, but Wesley Chu avoids the sophomore slump with The Art of Destiny, the second tale in his War Arts saga. When the story picks up, Wen Jian, the prophesied hero, has been training in secret with his mentor, …
Continue reading

The spring that sprung

Wow, that was one busy spring! After the pandemic put a halt to in-person author visits back in 2020, I wondered when (and if) they would ever start up again. Now I wonder no more. Why? Well, it seemed like this past spring, every elementary school simultaneously woke up from its pandemic-induced slumber and said, “Hey, …
Continue reading

Book review: Warrior Girl Unearthed

YA fiction
by Angeline Boulley
Angeline Boulley’s debut novel, Firekeeper’s Daughter, was one of the best books I’ve read in recent years, so I came to read Warrior Girl Unearthed with high expectations. When the story was a little slow getting started, I thought, Ah, well. It’s common for a sophomore effort not to measure up to …
Continue reading

Book review: Winston Chu vs. The Whimsies

Middle-grade fiction
by Stacey Lee
This lively tween tale dips deftly into Chinese mythology while remaining completely modern. Twelve-year-old Winston Chu has a loving mom, an older and younger sister, and a tight circle of friends who support him, but the loss of his father in a war-related accident still shadows his life. His mom is struggling …
Continue reading

Book review: Ballad & Dagger

YA fiction By Daniel Jose Older All 16-year-old Mateo Matisse wants is to be able to make his music, be heard and not seen, and maybe someday play backup for his musical idol, Gerval. But events in his Brooklyn neighborhood of Little Madrigal don’t make that dream easy. Little Madrigal houses most of the people remaining from …
Continue reading