Thursday, January 24, 2019

Brainstorm 166: Tea Parties in the Woods

Today we have six books featuring tea parties in the woods. The three picture books came across my reading path in the past year or so and I was struck by their similarity of concept. They’re all quite different in overall plot though. So if you enjoy the idea of a tea party in the woods curl up with these cozy reads. (And if you’re looking for middle grade or adult reads that feature tea parties in the woods, I’ve included three bonus classics that might be just the thing.)

Picture Book Tea Parties in the Woods

Chirri & Chirra by Kaya Doi, translated by Yuki Kaneko
Chirri and Chirra go on a bike ride through the forest where they dine at charming cafes, go swimming, and stay at a unique hotel with forest creatures.

Target Readers:

  • Cute Illustration Fans/Fantasy Fans/Japanese Lit Fans/Forest Animal Fans: This just exudes cuteness. From the art style to the concept of cafes and hotels that have different dishes and rooms for various creatures. Chirri and Chirra just beg you to crawl into a delightful imaginary world that readers may be loathe to leave.

Red by Jed Alexander
Little Red Riding Hood is on her way to her grandmother's house when she encounters a wolf. The wolf seems to be trying to stall Red, but why?

Target Readers:

  • Fractured Fairytale Fans/Forest Animal Fans/Fans of Surprises: This is a clever and cute twist on the original Red Riding Hood tale. I don’t want to spoil the book for you, so let's just say, this isn't the story you think it is. (If you’re now dying of curiosity you can click on the title of the book and then click on the spoiler link in my review.) 
  • Language Arts/Reading/Writing Classes: The reason the twist in this books works is because it plays on your expectations based on prior readings of Little Red Riding Hood tales. So this is a great book to use when talking about how prior knowledge impacts your present reading in language arts or reading classes. Also good for writing classes talking about how to make a twist work.

The Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi
Kikko is off to take pie to her Grandmother, but the man she was following turns out to not be her father at all. Kikko finds herself at a strange tea party deep in the woods where she finds unexpected friendship and kindness.

Target Readers:

  • Stories of Kindness Fans/Forest Animal Fans/Art Lovers/Japanese Lit Fans: When this story started out I really expected it to be a version of Red Riding Hood from the set up, but what Kikko finds then reminds me of scene from Narnia. Like many of the talking animals of Narnia, the ones Kikko finds are kind and good of heart, and help her with a seemingly insignificant problem. A sweet story with just splashes of color on charcoal drawings that add to the fairytale feel of the story.

Bonus Tea Parties in the Woods from Middle Grade & Adult Fiction

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
The classic fantasy adventure tale of Alice falling down a rabbit hole and her many weird and whimsical adventures through a land called Wonderland as she tries to return home. Included in this blog for the iconic (but decidedly odd and not entirely pleasant) tea party with the Mad Hatter and various others.

Target Readers:

  • Fantasy Quest Fans/Imaginative Lands Fans/Animal and Imaginary Creature Fans/Those Ok with Some Weird in Their Fantasy/Vocabulary & Literary Awareness Builders: Alice’s adventure is an example of a subgenre that’s become a classic in fantasy: finding your way home through a strange land. It is also a work highly referenced with allusions in other works and phrases. (For example: the idiom go down the rabbit’s hole (click link for more info.))  Carroll’s land is very imaginative. Those who love to just let their imaginations take flight in new worlds should really enjoy this. Some of it is quite strange and weird, so if you like your fantasy to make sense steer far, far from Wonderland. It is also now over 150 years old and English vocabulary and usage has changed a bit in that time. If you want to build your vocabulary and have confidence you can make it through, go for the original. If you are shakier with older English you might want to hunt down an abridged or updated version.

The Fellowship of the Ring (Lord of the Rings, #1) by J.R.R. Tolkien
The first part of the epic story of Frodo and the Company being entrusted with getting a powerful ring to Mordor to be destroyed before the evil Sauron can get his hands on it. This book is included in today’s blog for the tea party at Tom Bombadil’s house which provides some much needed rest for the Company in the midst of the Old Forest (which hasn’t exactly been friendly to our heroes).
Note: War violence

Target Readers:

  • Epic Fantasy Fans/Quest Fantasy Fans/The Little Guys Fighting to Beat the Big Bad Guys Type of Story Fans/Fans of the Details: Tolkien’s masterpiece is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys impossible quests featuring the least likely of heroes overcoming impossible odds in a land full of richly imagined people and cultures and creatures. And for those of you who appreciate authors who spend lots of time on the fine details I suggest researching how long it took Tolkien to develop the languages he created for the various cultures or how he took the time to do things like calculate how much time it would actually take a group of people to hike the distance he has his heroes travel. A word of warning, though, this book is now 65 years old and the English used was complex to begin with. Pick this one up when you have time to appreciate it and work through the more complex passages. It is definitely worth the read.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia, #2 (chronological order)) by C.S. Lewis
The story of how the Pevensie children discover the land of Narnia through an old wardrobe and help free this magical place from the rule of the tyrant, the White Witch. This book is appearing in the blog today for a couple of tea parties in the woods. There’s Lucy’s tea party with Mr. Tumnus, there’s the Pevensie children’s more serious tea with the Beavers, and one could argue that Edmund has a sort of tea with the White Witch. All three are pivotal moments in the story…and someone out there is welcome for the literary thesis idea (if it hasn’t already been done).

Target Readers:

  • Fantasy Fans/Good Triumphing over Evil Fans/Talking Animals & Mythical Creature Fans/Allegory Fans: Another classic fantasy adventure story of unexpected heroes rising up against impossible odds and saving the land from evil. Those who love adventures with talking animals and mythical creatures will find no end of delight throughout the Narnia stories since the Pevensies are some of the few human characters. Many appreciate this story for the allegorical qualities too. Unlike the other two classics included here, this one’s English has aged quite well. Lewis wrote it to a child audience with simpler English, so even though it is almost 70 years old middle grade readers should still be able to pick it up and grasp the story pretty easily.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Brainstorm 165: Human trafficking & slavery awareness for kids and teens

This month is modern Slavery & Human Trafficking awareness month. This can be a tough topic to tackle talking about with kids without traumatizing them. Here are some great books that will help adults broach these tough topics with kids without giving them (kids or the adults) nightmares.

Picture Books

My Little Book of Big Freedoms by Amnesty International, ill. by Chris Riddell
Chris Riddell illustrates 16 of the fundamental freedoms outlined in the Human Rights Act and explains them in easy to understand text.

Target Readers:

  • Readers Building Awareness & Empathy: This book is a great way to introduce the Human Rights Act. Amnesty International did a good job of breaking down the statements into easily understood language with Riddell's illustrations that further explain the meaning. And there are further links in the back of the book to help adults find more resources. 

Middle Grade Fiction

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
Amal is a twelve-year-old girl in Afghanistan. She loves learning and soaks up every moment at school. She dreams of one day going to college and being a teacher. But when her mother sinks into depression after the birth of a new baby, Amal must stay home to watch her younger sisters and help keep the house running. And then something happens at the market, and Amal finds herself an indentured servant in the house of the local landlord everyone fears. At first Amal thinks she'll just be there a few weeks until her family can pay for her release. But then she hears stories about how this man deals with people in debt to him, and she fears that her dreams of being a teacher are gone forever because she'll be stuck a servant for the rest of her life.

Target Readers:

  • Building Empathy & Awareness for Sensitive Readers/Contemporary Fiction Fans: This is a "safe" read about modern day slavery for kids. The injustice and unfairness of Amal's situation is abundantly clear as is the abandonment of hope. But overall, her situation is much safer and easier to read about than the reality that many people face in similar circumstances. (The author does say this in a note in the back of the book.) It is actually pretty impressive how Saeed managed to convey the horrors of modern slavery without introducing things that would scar sensitive readers. It is powerful enough to inspire young people to fight against such treatment of fellow human beings without causing nightmares. 
  • Readers Curious about Modern Afghanistan Life/Fans of Characters of Color/Readers Reading to Learn about the World/Readers Wanting to Better Appreciate Access to Education: I also appreciated the way the book portrayed the life of an average village girl in Afghanistan without including any insurgent violence or war. Other than the power crazy landlord, Amal’s village is pretty quiet. Amal treasures her education and really conveys what a privilege it is. She also balks at the way people talk about girls and how they seem less than boys in her culture, but it is also explained why the adults think that way. 
  • Contemporary Fiction Fans/Memorable Character Fans: Amal's voice is engaging enough that middle graders should feel like this is a good read they would pick up and read on their own without it being assigned.

Giant Trouble (Hamster Princess, #4) by Ursula Vernon
Princess Harriet thought she was on her way home, but then a travelling salesman tries to fast talk her into trading Mumfrey for some supposedly magic beans. Of course Harriet says no, but when the salesman persists Mumfrey takes offense and eats one of the beans. Some horrid gastric distress results and for the good of the kingdom Princess Harriet decides to camp another night instead of going home. In the morning Mumfrey is feeling better but there's been a change of scenery in the shape of a giant bean stalk. Normally Princess Harriet would just chop it down, but there seems to be someone in the cloud stuck at the top of the stalk so she's gotta investigate before clearing the overgrown plant. And of course, nothing can be boring where Harriet goes.

Target Readers:

  • Fractured Fairytale Fans: Like all of Princess Harriet’s books, this is a fractured fairytale. This book is a fun twist on Jack and the Beanstalk. 
  • Readers Building Awareness & Empathy: The plot involves Princess Harriet freeing someone the giant has been keeping as a slave. It actually tackles slavery in a kid-friendly way, so if you're looking for a way to talk about human trafficking this may be a safe segue. 
  • Strong Female Character Fans/Reluctant Readers: Harriet is a plucky, unconventional princess who is much more interested in saving others and cliff jumping than doing typical princess things. She loads of fun for anyone to follow around. With large font and illustrations throughout, her books are also great for reluctant readers who can easily get sucked into the story and be amazed at how fast they finish it.

Little Red Rodent Hood (Hamster Princess, #6) by Ursula Vernon
Princess Harriet is asked to come help a little hamster and her grandmother who live in the woods and are being harassed by weasel-wolves. But when Harriet and Wilbur get to the woods, they find the weasel-wolves not very scary, and one of them even approaches Harriet asking her to keep them safe from another monster in the woods. Weird little girls and were-weasel-wolf-hamsters both asking Princess Harriet for help. What is going on? One thing Harriet knows for sure, she won't rest until she gets to the bottom of this.

Target Readers:

  • Fractured Fairytale Fans: In this story, Princess Harriet and gang don’t just fracture Little Red Riding Hood, they totally shatter it. (There’s also some nods to werewolf stories, but don’t worry. It stays safe and fun instead of scary.) 
  • Mystery Fans: This Princess Harriet adventure was more of a puzzle than normal. I wasn't sure what was going on for a little while. So readers who like to be kept guessing for a little bit can see if they can figure out what’s going on before Harriet.
  • Readers Building Awareness & Empathy: The story involves a form of slavery and trafficking, but handles a very serious topic in a way that kids can grasp and get the main points from without being traumatized. A great read to open the door for a much deeper conversation about real world issues. 
  • Humor Fans/Strong Female Character Fans/Reluctant Reader Fans: Princess Harriet is absolutely hilarious in this one (sometimes she gets too excited and doesn’t think things through), and her best friend Wilbur has a full time job trying to talk sense into her. Of course, this is all in the midst of her saving the day with the help of her friends. And see what I said above about Strong Female Character Fans and Reluctant Readers.

Young Adult Fiction

The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan
Amadou and his little brother Seydou came to the cacao farm from their village in Mali believing that they'd be paid every week, sending money home to their families, and once they'd repaid their worth set free. But it has been two years and Amadou has never seen any of the boys paid, and the only way anyone has left is by dying. It's not a great life, but Amadou has learned how to avoid the worst punishments and keep his little brother safe so he'd rather not rock the boat. But then a girl shows up at the farm, a girl who seems to know nothing of work and never signed up to be here and seems to have a bevy of secrets around her. Her fiery spirit awakens a spark in Amadou he thought long dead and buried...a desire to be free. But trying to escape is foolishness...isn't it?

Target Readers:

  • Readers Building Awareness & Empathy/Fans of Books with Depth/Heavy Read Fans/Thriller Fiction Fans/Contemporary Fiction Fans/African Setting Fans: Modern slavery is by no means a light topic. And I kept putting off reading this because I was afraid it would be too heavy. It is heavy. But, I did find it an excellent read. Yes, some very harsh things happen to Amadou, Seydou, and the girl, but in the end this book is hopeful. It shocks but doesn't wallow in the filth. It is hard, but important. And the author managed to put together a story that conveys the horror and reality of modern slavery without taking readers to the very worst places that can go (no sex slavery involved). In other words, she created a believable story of modern slavery that will make modern teen readers aware and moved to do something, but not scarring those readers horribly in the process. I was surprised by the depth of plot involved in the story once the kids get away from the farm (can't say too much about this without spoiling things). A great read for teens who want to make a difference in this world. The author provides notes in the back of how people can get involved in encouraging fair trade chocolate and fighting slavery of children cacao workers.

Genius: the Con (Genius, #2) by Leopoldo Gout
Now on the run, Rex, Painted Wolf, and Tunde must figure out how to get out of the US, save Tunde's village from the nefarious general, puzzle out Kiran's true end game, find a way to clear their names and outwit Kiran.

Target Readers:

  • High Action Fans/International Setting Fans/Smart Reads Fans: This book, like the first one in the series, would make a fantastic movie (which makes sense, the author is a TV/movie person). It's like a brainiac Bourne movie complete with multiple exotic locales (NYC, Nigeria, Kalkutta (India), and China) but the teens get absolutely no official training, they're just dumped into the midst of some very tough circumstance and don't know who they can trust. They have nothing but their friendship, brains, and their tech skills to get themselves and the people they love out of some seriously dangerous spots. It's a very exciting read. At the same time Gout manages to make all three teens still feel like fairly normal people. They get freaked out when the average person would get freaked out (though given their different personalities, they tend to not all freak out at the same things...which is good), and they don't pull off anything that their previous actions haven't hinted that they couldn’t already do. It's an exciting and fun high octane read. There's not a lot of action in the physical sense, most of the "chase scenes" don't require much movement, they primarily involve brain cells racing to beat tech or a dead line or out maneuver the other guys. It's a smart read and keeps readers guessing about how our three heroes will get themselves out of the next sticky spot. I only guessed one of the twists ahead of time, which doesn't happen too often so I respect a book that can surprise me and keep me guessing. 
  • Readers Building Awareness & Empathy: This series tackles a host of human rights issues, but in this book one of the primary plot points revolves around a village in Nigeria that is being enslaved by a warlord. It brings awareness and moves the reader to want the characters to do something. I’m sure many readers will be wondering after reading this what they can do to help real villages in similar situations and could be the start of a great conversation leading to action.

Young Adult Nonfiction

Undaunted: Daring to Do What God Calls You to Do (Student Edition) by Christine Caine
Christine Caine challenges readers to overcome all the things in life that may be keeping them from doing what God has called them to do. She illustrates several examples of possible road blocks by sharing vignettes from her own life.

Target Readers:
  • Teen Christian Nonfiction Fans/Inspirational Read Fans: That description does a good job of summarizing this book, but it in no way comes close to conveying how powerful Caine's stories and writing is. She has some super crazy stories, from discovering she was adopted at age 33 to getting lost in the jungle of Australia to how God called her to start an NGO to rescue people from sex trafficking and more. She's been through a lot, but every potential road block was overcome by the power of God in her life. And the end result is very encouraging that no matter what, God can get you to where He wants you to be. There is nothing too big or too hard or too crazy that can stand in the way. The book covers enough different examples of how a person can be daunted that it has applications for every stage of life too, not just someone trying to figure out their "calling" per se.
  • Readers Building Awareness & Empathy: Christine Caine started an NGO called A21 that fights sex trafficking worldwide. She shares in this book how that NGO started and about some of their work in getting people out. Since this is the teen version, the stories shared are kept safer. (Click on the book title and scroll down in my review to the content notes for more details.)

Friday, January 4, 2019

Brainstorm 164: Top 10s of 2018, Part 4

In this fourth and final installment of the Top 10s of 2018 we’ll look at some of my favorite young adult fiction, middle grade fiction, picture books, and top characters of Asian descent among books I've read this past year.
The top characters of Asian descent list is a new thing for this year. I selected them based on how well they represent their culture, give readers of that culture someone to cheer for in literature, and how much appeal they have to draw in readers who then get to know that culture better.
I saved the YA, MG, and Picture Book lists until the last because they were the hardest to narrow down. I read hundreds of books in each of those categories each year (especially the picture books). There are several amazing books which didn’t make this post because I had just too many great reads this year in these divisions. The 2018 Picture Books list actually ended up consisting of all 5 star review books, and I had to cut some 5 star books in making that list. (That's something that doesn't often happen. Usually there are 2-5 5 star reviews in each list at most.) There are also several great books that came out in 2018 which I just didn't have the chance to read in 2018 (particularly those which came out end of October through December). That is why many of these lists are narrowed down to books published in 2017-2018 or 2016-2018; I'm catching up on the books I didn't get to in the year they came out.
That said, the books that appear in these lists may have been published in any year unless I needed to narrow down my choice. In that case, I stated the limiters I used by the heading (and the publication year indicates 1st English publication anywhere in the world). My favorite choices are listed first and then it kinda sorta trickles down in descending order, but many of them I'd have trouble choosing between so it is more like some absolute favorites at the top and a 6-8 place tie for runners up. In the Top Characters section, I've listed the character or real person from the book after the title. Click on the titles of the books to read my reviews and see any content notes. Enjoy!

Dec 7: Top Adult Fiction, Top YA & Adult Nonfiction, Top YA & Adult Graphic Novels, Top Picture Book Biographies, Top Leveled Readers, Top Christian Nonfiction
Dec 14: Guest Post: Ms Sarah Foit’s Top 10s of 2018
Dec 21: Top Biographies, Top LG/MG Nonfiction, Top LG/MG Graphic Novels, Top LG Fiction, Top Creators of Asian Descent
This Week: Top YA Fiction, Top MG Fiction, Top Fiction Picture Books, Top Asian Characters

Clarification of terms: Lower Grade (LG) refers to Kindergarten-2nd Grade interest level books typically but I'm including Preschool in this division too, Middle Grade (MG) refers to 3rd-8th grade interest level books, and Young Adult (YA) refers to teenage interest level books. Some books will appeal to multiple divisions. For those books I picked the age division I felt it most appealed to.

Top Scifi & Fantasy Young Adult Fiction 
(limited to only 1 per series)

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe, #2) by Neal Shusterman

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda

2 Fuzzy 2 Furious (The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, #2) by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Skyward (Skyward, #1) by Brandon Sanderson

Mark of the Raven (The Ravenwood Saga, #1) by Morgan L. Busse

Renegades (Renegades, #1) by Marissa Meyer

Arabella the Traitor of Mars (Adventures of Arabella Ashby, #3) by David D. Levine

Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands, #1) by Alwyn Hamilton

Top Historical & Contemporary Young Adult Fiction

The Safest Lies by Megan Miranda

Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey

Duels and Deception by Cindy Anstey

From Twinkle with Love by Sandhya Menon

Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill

Carols and Chaos by Cindy Anstey

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson

The Leaving by Tara by Tara Altebrando

Auma’s Long Run by Eucabeth Odhiambo

Hurricane Dancers: the First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck by Margarita Engle

Top Scifi & Fantasy Middle Grade Fiction 
(limited to 2017 & 2018, and only 1 book per series)

Grump: the (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves by Liesl Shurtliff

Time Jumpers (Five Kingdoms, #5) by Brandon Mull

Beanstalker and other Hilarious Scarytales by Kiersten White

Last Day on Mars (Chronicle of the Dark Star, #1) by Kevin Emerson

Nevermoor: the Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor, #1) by Jessica Townsend

The Serpent’s Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond, #1) by Sayantani DasGupta

How to Tame a Human Tornado (The Genius Factor, #3) by Paul Tobin

Aru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava Quartet, #1) by Roshani Chokshi

The Monster’s Daughter (Ministry of SUITs, #2) by Paul Gamble

Crash Course (Project Terra, #1) by Landry Q. Walker

Top Historical & Contemporary Middle Grade Fiction 
(limited to 2017 & 2018) 

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street (Vanderbeekers, #1) by Karina Yan Glaser

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

Trapped! (Framed, #3) by James Ponti

Rebound (The Crossover, #0.5) by Kwame Alexander

Sunny (Track, #3) by Jason Reynolds

Krista Kim-Bap by Angela Ahn

Spy School Secret Service (Spy School, #5) by Stuart Gibbs

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

Mr. Lemoncello’s Great Library Race (Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, #3) by Chris Grabenstein

Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty

Top Fiction Picture Books of 2018 
(limited to 2018)

Ten Cents a Pound by Nhung N. Tran-Davies, ill. by Josée Bisaillon

Drawn Together by Minh Lê, ill. by Dan Santat

Diva Delores and the Opera Mouse by Laura Sassi, ill. by Rebecca Gerlings

Ocean Meets Sky by the Fan Brothers

Pearl by Molly Idle

A House That Once Was by Julie Fogliano, ill. by Lane Smith

Time for Bed, Miyuki by Roxane Marie Galliez, ill. by Seng Soun Ratanavanh

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, ill. by Rafael López

I Walk with Vanessa: a Story about a Simple Act of Kindness by Kerascoët

Santa Bruce (Bruce, #5) by Ryan T. Higgins

Top Fiction Picture Books of 2017 
(limited to 2017)

The Book of Gold by Bob Staake

The First Journey by Phùng Nguyên Quang & Huỳnh Kim Liên

The Bad Seed by Jory John, ill. by Pete Oswald

A Cooked-up Fairytale by Penny Parker Klostermann, ill. by Ben Mantle

The Great Puppy Invasion by Alastair Heim, ill. by Kim Smith

Sam, the Most Scaredy-Cat Kid in the Whole World (Leonardo, #2) by Mo Willems

This Book Will Not Be Fun by Cirocco Dunlap, ill. by Olivier Tallec

Bizzy Mizz Lizzie by David Shannon

Be a Star, Wonder Woman! by Michael Dahl, ill. by Omar Lozano

We Are Brothers, We Are Friends by Alexandra Penfold, ill. by Eda Kaban

Top Characters of South & Southeast Asian Descent 
(limited to 2017 & 2018, may include real people in biographies)

Manjhi Moves a Mountain by Nancy Churnin, ill. by Danny Popovici
Real Person: Manjhi

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
Character: Amal

Ten Cents a Pound by Nhung N. Tran-Davies, ill. by Josée Bisaillon
Character: Mother

The Serpent’s Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond, #1) by Sayantani DasGupta
Character: Kiran

From Twinkle with Love by Sandhya Menon
Character: Twinkle (with her grandmother a close 2nd)

Aru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava Quartet, #1) by Roshani Chokshi
Character: Aru

Arabella the Traitor of Mars (Adventures of Arabella Ashby, #3) by David D. Levine
Character: Captain Singh

Drawn Together by Minh Lê, ill. by Dan Santat
Character: Grandfather

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
Character: Nisha

Mela and the Elephant by Dow Phumiruk, ill. by Ziyue Chen
Character: Mela

Top Characters of East Asian Descent 
(limited to 2017 & 2018, may include real people in biographies)

Where’s Halmoni? by Julie Kim
Character: Halmoni

Jasmine Toguchi, Drummer Girl (Jamine Toguchi, #3) by Debbi Michiko Florence, ill. by Elizabet Vukovic
Character: Jasmine Toguchi

No Kimchi for Me by Aram Kim
Character: Yoomi

Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth
Character: Tash

Krista Kim-Bap by Angela Ahn
Character: Krista (though her grandmother is also a close 2nd)

Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines: Designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial by Jeanne Walker Harvey, ill. by Dow Phumrik
Real Person: Maya Lin

Rebel Seoul (Rebel Seoul, #1) by Axie Oh
Character: Lee Jaewon

Giant Spider & Me: a Post-Apocalyptic Tale, Vol. 1 by Kikori Morino
Character: Nagi

Dumpling Dreams: How Joyce Chen Brought the Dumpling from Beijing to Cambridge by Carrie Clickard, ill. by Katy Wu
Real Person: Joyce Chen

Time for Bed, Miyuki by Roxane Marie Galliez, ill. by Seng Soun Ratanavanh
Character: Grandfather