Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Brainstorm 235: Animal Fostering Stories

The need to reduce the pressure on animal shelters and the rise of individuals and families fostering animals has gotten a lot more attention in recent years. And that has led to more animal fostering in books, both fiction and nonfiction. Are you ready to meet some animal rescue heroes, both fictional and real? Many of these are great reads if you or someone you know is curious about animal fostering or seriously considering it. And, of course, animal lovers will be instantly hooked as soon as they crack the covers. 

Binky under Pressure (Binky, #3) by Ashley Spires

Binky is not a fan of the new foster cat, Gracie, that comes to visit his space station. He plots to get rid of her until he realizes she's there with a very important mission. (And in case you haven’t met Binky before, in the first book in this graphic novel series Binky found an application for F.U.R.S.T. (Felines of the Universe Ready for Space Travel) in the bottom of his kitty food. Since then he's been in intense training to become a licensed Space Cat. He's dedicated to fighting alien invaders (which humans call bugs) and exploring space (all areas outside of house), and protecting the house (aka space station) from alien invaders.)

Target Readers:

Graphic Novel Fans, Cat Lovers, Humor Fans, Reluctant Readers, Middle Grade Readers


Borrowing Bunnies: a Surprising True Tale of Fostering Rabbits by Cynthia Lord, photos by John Bald, ill. by Hazel Mitchell

Cynthia Lord shares her experience fostering two rabbits (and the surprise baby rabbits one of them gave birth to) until they were ready to go to their forever homes.

Target Readers: 

Bunny Lovers, Animal Lovers, Families Considering Getting a Rabbit, Families Interested in Fostering, Nonfiction Fans, Picture Book Readers

A Boy Called Bat (A Boy Called Bat, #1) by Elana K. Arnold, ill. by Charles Santoso

Meet Bixby Alexander Tam (called BAT). Bat has autism, but he has learned how to function in public...mostly. He still has problems understanding emotions, and he still gets upset sometimes when things aren't a certain way. Readers will get to understand Bat better as they watch him care for, get attached to, and plot how to keep a baby skunk his veterinarian mother brings home. The skunk's mother was pregnant and killed in an accident, but Bat's mom was able to save the kit. It is super tiny when they first start to care for it, and a bit of work. But Bat loves animals. He loves to learn about them and knows all sorts of things about them. His mother says that after four weeks they'll need to give the kit to a rescue shelter, but Bat is bound and determined to find a way to keep the kit.

Target Readers:

Animal Lovers, Skunk Lovers, Autistic Character Fans, Biracial Character Fans, Wildlife Rehab Fans, Lower Grade Readers/Middle Grade Readers (this book is right on the border between the two interest levels)

Kitten Lady's Big Book of Little Kittens by Hannah Shaw

Hannah Shaw (aka the Kitten Lady) introduces kids to how she takes care of kittens through fostering. She gives a little overview of a kitten's growth and development, and some of their biggest needs. In the back of the book is further information about how kids can get involved in fostering with their families or helping those who do foster. Kitten Lady has another book for adults with LOTS of details on kitten fostering called Tiny But Mighty

Target Readers:

Cat Lovers, Animal Lovers, Families Interested in Fostering, Nonfiction Fans, Curious Readers, Lower Grade Readers


Kitten Trouble (Bad Kitty, #12) by Nick Bruel

The neighborhood next door has some major unrest going on and Bad Kitty's family has decided to take in some of the kittens from there. Bad Kitty is not happy about this. She decides to go live with Uncle Murray instead, but a dream helps her gain a little more compassion for the displaced kittens.

Bruel has crafted a humorous Bad Kitty story about fostering with obvious parallels (well, at least obvious to adults) to the plights of refugees and displaced people. It's really quite clever. This is a very kid-friendly way to make the issues of displaced people understandable to kids and they'll have fun reading too.

Target Readers:

Cat Lovers, Animal Lovers, Those Looking for Approachable Refugee/Displaced People Stories for Kids, Graphic Novel Fans, Humor Fans, Lower Grade Readers

Moto and Me: My Year as a Wildcat’s Foster Mom by Suzi Eszterhas

While living on Masai Mara wildlife reserve in Kenya, wildlife photographer Suzi Eszterhas was asked by the rangers if she’d like to serve as a foster mom for a serval kitten hopelessly separated from its mother during a wildfire. The baby serval wouldn’t be a pet, the goal would be for her to raise the little wildcat to be able to live on its own in the wild. Suzi took on the task and tells readers how she raised Moto to be a wild serval, explaining about serval life along the way, and providing lots adorable photographs of Moto as he grew up with her. Suzi shares enough you get the picture that this wasn’t a job she took lightly, it was definitely demanding, though it had perks, and also that it involved a fair amount of research and knowledge to do well. It’s a realistic look into wildlife care as well as providing some great scientific info on servals, and lots of adorably cute photos.

Target Readers:

Animal Lovers, Those Studying African Animals, Photography Buffs, Wildlife Rehab Fans, Curious Readers, Those Suffering from a Lack of Cuteness in Their Lives, Curious Readers, Lower Grade Readers/Middle Grade Readers


Truman the Dog (My Furry Foster Family, #1) by Debbi Michiko Florence, ill. by Melanie Demmer

Kaita and her family are going to start fostering animals. The first foster animal they take care of is Truman. Truman is cute and Kaita soon learns to love him. But he can also cause trouble. Will they be able to find a forever family just right for Truman? There are currently 7 other books in this series featuring a wide array of animals that people can keep as pets.

Target Readers:

Animal Lovers, Contemporary Fiction Fans, Families Interested in Fostering, Asian American Character Fans, Lower Grade Readers


The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue (Vanderbeekers, #3) by Karina Yan Glaser

The Vanderbeekers' Mom finds out her baking business is going to be featured in a magazine and they have to get their brownstone ready for a photoshoot. They had great plans to get the sprucing up done well before the end of spring break shoot, but spring break is now here and not a drop of paint has been dabbed. The kids know they have to do something. While they try to find a cheap paint source, other issues rear their ugly heads. Issues in the form of a very grouchy health inspector who is ready to shut down their Mom's business as soon as he sees the family pets. The kids manage to get a 2nd inspection scheduled for the day before the photo shoot, but they have to figure out what to do with their pets by then. And then stray animals start showing up on their doorstep in a flood. How are they going to save Mom's business, spruce up the house, save these homeless animals, and survive the week?

Target Readers:

Feel Good Story Fans, Family Story Fans, Community Helping Story Fans, Contemporary Fiction Fans, NYC Area Setting Fans, Animal Lovers, Foodies, Middle Grade Readers

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Brainstorm 234: Mars Books

I’ve been thinking of doing a Brainstorm on books set on Mars (both nonfiction and fiction) for a while. I didn’t want to do it too close to the Lunar Brainstorm, so I’ve been putting it off, and then this week I finished Lion of Mars and heard that Perseverance had landed on Mars so I felt like it was time. If you have Mars on the mind, what better time to visit the red planet through the covers of some books?!  

Arabella of Mars series by David D. Levine

After one scrape too many, Arabella is whisked away from the Mars she knows and loves by her mother to be "civilized" in England. Arabella is heartbroken, even more so when an express from Mars informs them that her father unexpectedly has died. Arabella adored her father, it is from him that she's inherited a deep fascination with the workings of automatons. When Arabella finds out that a bitter impoverished cousin has decided that now would be the perfect time to get himself a part of the inheritance and has set off for Mars with ill intent towards her brother, she must scramble to beat him to Mars somehow. Through a series of events, Arabella finds herself bound for Mars, disguised as a boy, hired by Captain Singh of the Mars Company aboard the ship Diana to be the captain's boy. Can Arabella quickly learn the ropes of interplanetary sailing, keep her true identity a secret, avoid catastrophe on the journey, and make it to Mars in time to save her brother? The series continues in two more books featuring the tech savvy third culture kid (really young woman), Arabella, with France and England racing to gain control of Mars while the Martians themselves may have something to say about the matter, and Arabella being one of the few Brits who really understands and respects the Martians.

Target Readers:

Reimagined History Fans, Steampunk Fans, Scifi Fans, Third Culture Kid Character Fans, Multicultural Cast Fans, Space Adventure Fans, Sailing Fans, Young Adult/Adult Readers 

Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill

Durango gets stuck taking an assignment to protect a bunch of miners from the Draeu (canibals) on an outpost in nowhere-land on Mars. His crew of soldiers is smaller than he'd like, and a bit more pitiful than he'd like (except for his second, Vienne, who is practically an army all on her own). Their assignment becomes even less appealing when they start to learn more things about the Draeu and the miners, in fact, it starts to look like a suicide mission. But Durango doesn't give up so easy. And he's got his own secrets.

Target Readers:

Scifi Fans, Western Fans, Space Cowboy Story Fans, Dystopia Fans, Young Adult Readers


Curiosity: the Story of a Mars Rover by Markus Motum

Curiosity, the Mars Rover, tells us about how she was made and her mission to Mars.

Target Readers:

Robot Fans, Nonfiction Fans, Science Nerds, Cute Art Fans, Middle Grade Readers


A Frenchman on Mars (Castle in the Stars, #4) by Alex Alice, translated by Anne & Owen Smith

Seraphin, Sophie, Hans, and the villains who have commandeered their ship have arrived at Mars. They are looking for any signs of the King or the past expeditions and stumble into Martian political unrest. Can Seraphin and gang wrestle back control of the ship from Gudden while they are on Martian soil, or is he just going to get them in a worse mess? (Obviously, this is solidly into a series, and if you haven't read 1-3 you will be quite lost.) 

Target Readers:

Graphic Novel Fans, Art Lovers, Scifi Fans, Steampunk Fans, Reimagined History Fans, Fans of Books in Translation, Middle Grade Readers


In the Red by Christopher Swiedler

Michael wants to prove to himself and his family that his "condition" will not keep him from doing fun things in the field on Mars. After his first plan backfires, his best friend Lilith decides that what he needs is a little night time sneaky trip outside the dome. Michael goes along with the plan, but while they are out something goes catastrophically wrong and soon the two tweens find themselves in a struggle to survive and save others.

Target Readers:

Survival Story Fans, Scifi Fans, Thriller Fans, Mental Health Story Fans, Adventure Fans, Middle Grade Readers

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

Liam feels like he's the only one sad to say goodbye to Mars. The adults all view Mars as just a layover on their escape from the Earth, or more exactly, the Sun as it is on its way to going supernova. Their end goal is a new home in a planet called Aaru in another solar system. Today is the day the last people will board the starship for their long journey there. The only one who seems to understand Liam is his friend Phoebe, another of the kids who was born on Mars. As they prepare to leave the only home they've ever known, Liam and Phoebe are stuck on the last transport up to the starship because their parents are scientists finishing up the terraforming project for Aaru. But as the solar storms get worse and the time for the starship to depart draws near, things start to go horribly wrong, they stumble across some big secrets, and it is up to Liam and Phoebe to save the day. There are 2 more exciting and eventful books in this series.

Target Readers:

Scifi Fans, Survival Story Fans, Adventure Fans, Thriller Fans, Mystery Fans, Middle Grade Readers/YA Readers


Life on Mars
 by Jon Agee

An astronaut lands on Mars sure he is going to find life. But he hunts and hunts, and begins to give up hope. Suddenly, though, he spots a flower. There is some life on Mars! But readers will observe some much bigger life forms that the astronaut totally missed.

Target Readers:

Situational Comedy Fans, Scifi Fans, Picture Book Readers


Lion of Mars by Jennifer L. Holm

Bell is the youngest kid being raised in the US Mars base. He loves his life there, but some changes are making things a little uncomfortable and causing Bell try to figure out how to navigate his feelings. When a really serious situation hits the base, Bell finds himself shouldering huge responsibility. Getting help totally depends on him. Can the littlest American do the seemingly impossible?

Target Readers:

Scifi Fans, Feel Good Story Fans, Light Mystery/Adventure Fans, Growing Up Story Fans, Dealing with Change Story Fans, Middle Grade Readers


The Mars Challenge by Alison Wilgus, ill. by Wyeth Yates

Through the conversations of an eager teen who wants to go to Mars and an adult scientist, readers learn all the hurdles that need to be passed before humans are ready for a manned mission to Mars, from overcoming the headaches gravity poses to figuring out how to keep humans alive once they get there and everything in between.

Target Readers:

Science Nerds, Those Interested in Space Travel, Those Interested in Space Flight Engineering, Those Wondering Why We Aren’t on Mars Now, Graphic Novel Fans, Nonfiction Fans, Curious Readers, YA Readers

The Martian Chronicles: the Authorized Adaptation adapted by Dennis Calero, based on the book by & introduced by Ray Bradbury 

Ray Bradbury's classic tales of voyages to Mars from Earth that often result in tragedy adapted to graphic novel form.

Target Readers:

Scifi Classic Fans, Horror Fans, Cautionary Tale Fans, Graphic Novel Fans, YA/Adult Readers


The Mighty Mars Rovers: the Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity (Scientists in the Field) by Elizabeth Rusch

Follows the Mars Rovers projects from the time Steven Squyres dreamed them up to their acceptance as a mission, then development, and then on Mars soil for several years (so 2000-2010). Illustrated by pictures taken by the rovers. Readers get a nice inside scoop on what it is like inside a NASA project, the kinds of things that people do who work with such projects, and how tricky it is to work with machinery over thousands of miles of space.

Target Readers:

Robot Fans, Science Nerds, Readers Who Like a Behind the Scenes Look, Nonfiction Fans, History of Mars Exploration Buffs, Middle Grade Readers/YA Readers


Race to Mars (CatStronauts, #2) by Drew Brockington

While the CatStronauts have been touring the world accepting awards for saving the Earth from the energy crisis, other countries have decided they want their part of space exploration to be remembered too. The CosmoCats have brought back their mission to Mars and are getting ready to launch any day. The MEOW (think Germany) and COOKIE (think Japan) programs are also almost ready to head to Mars. The CatStronauts can't be left behind! With a new, more efficient rocket they are soon on their way to space too. But when a horrible accident happens in space, can the cats from all the different countries put aside their own glory and past issues with each other to survive, or will they all perish in space because of selfishness?

Target Readers:

Scifi Fans, Graphic Novel Fans, Cat Lovers, Kindness Story Fans, Humor Fans, Middle Grade Readers


Red Rover: Curiosity on Mars by Richard Ho, ill. by Katherine Roy

A very simple introduction to the Curiosity rover and Mars. This is Mars rover book with the simplest and shortest text, but it is still rich in details and features amazing illustrations. It has the best summary of Mars probes/rovers history up to 2018 of any book I've seen.

Target Readers:

Robot Fans, Nonfiction Fans, Mars Exploration History Buffs, Art Lovers, Little Science Nerds, Kids with Short Attention Spans, Picture Book Readers

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Brainstorm 233: Asian Foodie Reads

Today is Lunar New Year/Chinese New Year so I thought it would be a perfect time to give you a list of Asian foodie reads.

Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao by Kat Zhang, ill. by Charlene Chua

Amy is excited about making bao with her family. She is a little disheartened, though, that Grandma, Mom, and Dad can make perfect bao and hers always have some issue. Can she finally get it right?

Target Readers:

Fans of Problem Solving Stories, Bao Lovers, Family Story Fans, Picture Book Readers


Bee-bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park, ill. by Ho Baek Lee

A little girl helps her mom make Bee-bim Bop and cheers the process along because she is hungry.

Target Readers:

Rhythmic Story Fans, Korean Food Lovers, Picture Book Readers

A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin

Little Star and her mother make a great, big mooncake. Mother says to let it cool. And Little Star does for a while. But can Little Star resist some midnight snacking?

Target Readers:

Holiday Story Fans, Mooncake Lovers, Folktale Fans, Picture Book Readers


Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed, ill. by Anoosha Syed

Bilal and his friends help Bilal's dad make daal, Bilal's favorite dish. His friends have no clue what daal is. They prepare it in the morning and then spend all day playing, continually wondering when it will be done so they can try it. One thing they learn is that daal takes time. Will the wait be worth it? Bilal is a little nervous about whether or not his friends will like his favorite dish.

Target Readers:

Multicultural Character Fans, Friendship Story Fans, Pakistani Food Lovers, Award Winner Readers, Picture Book Readers

Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix by Jacqueline Briggs Martin & June Jo Lee, ill. by Man One

A picture book biography of street food pioneer Roy Choi who dared to mix flavors of Korean and Mexican and sought ways to bring people together with food in L.A..

Target Readers:

Picture Book Biography Fans, Asian Fusion Food Lovers, Street Food Lovers, Award Winner Readers, Picture Book Readers

Cook Korean!: a Comic Book with Recipes by Robin Ha

An introduction to Korean cooking and culture through a graphic novel format.

Target Readers:

Korean Food Lovers, Nonfiction Graphic Novel Fans, Readers Interested in Korean Culture, Young Adult/Adult Readers

Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore, ill. by Kristi Valiant

Cora is very excited the day her Mama decides she's old enough to help cook. She learns about the family's history of cooking and then cooks pancit with her Mama while wearing her Lola's old apron.

Target Readers:

Family Story Fans, Filipino Food Lovers, Picture Book Readers


Dim Sum for Everyone! by Grace Lin

A little girl and her family go to have dim sum at a restaurant, introducing readers to some of the common dishes and unique traits of a dim sum restaurant.

Target Readers:

Dim Sum Lovers, Those Curious about How to Eat Dim Sum, Family Story Fans, Picture Book Readers

The Dinner That Cooked Itself by J.C. Hsyu, ill. by Kenard Pak

A hardworking young man, taken in by neighbors after the death of his parents grows up. His adopted parents try to find a suitable wife for him with the help of a matchmaker, but they fail. He continues to faithfully work hard and show kindness to others. One of those kind acts is to feed a snail he finds. He starts to return home to find grand meals ready for him. And when he finds out who has been leaving meals for him, he discovers an unexpected surprise and blessing.

Target Readers:

Chinese Fairytale Fans, Chinese Food Lovers, Art Lovers, Picture Book Readers


The Discovery of Ramen (Asian Hall of Fame) by Phil Amara & Oliver Chin, ill. by Juan Calle

A red panda named Bao takes 2 kids on a time travel journey to learn about the history and evolution of ramen.

Target Readers:

Time Travel Fans, Ramen Lovers, Food History Buffs, Picture Book Readers

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

A rhyming picture book biography of Chinese chef Joyce Chen who eventually opened several popular restaurants in the States and had her own cooking show.

Target Readers:

Picture Book Biography Fans, Immigrant Story Fans, Rhyming Story Fans, Dumpling Lovers, Chinese Food Lovers, Picture Book Readers

Feast of Peas by Kashmira Sheth, ill. by Jeffrey Ebbeler

Jiva has planted peas and is excited about finally harvesting them. His friend Ruvji is excited too. But when something runs off with the peas just before Jiva plans to harvest them, he has to rethink his garden protection and wait for the next batch. Who could be stealing his peas?

Target Readers:

Indian Food Lovers, Pea Lovers, Trickster Tale Fans, Picture Book Readers

Giant Spider & Me series by Kikori Morino

Nagi is a girl who lives in the forest by herself (well, she lives with her dad but he's out satisfying his wanderlust). One day while weeding and harvesting from her garden, she meets a huge spider-like creature. At first she's scared, but the beast doesn't seem to be very beastly and enjoys Nagi's cooking. She names it Asa and they quickly become friends over food, which Nagi loves to cook. (Recipes are included.) Nagi and Asa’s adventures continue on for 2 more books.

Target Readers:

Light Dystopia Fans, Japanese Food Lovers, Fans of Unlikely Friend Tales, Manga Fans, Young Adult Readers

Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen (Jasmine Toguchi, #1) by Debbi Michiko Florence, ill. by Elizabet Vukovic

Jasmine Toguchi is tired of being the little sister and only getting to do things after her big sister gets to experience them. For once, she'd like to do something Sophie has never done. As the extended family gathers to celebrate mochi-tsuki on New Years, Jasmine is determined to get involved somehow. Sophie will get to help the women make mochi in the kitchen this year because she's ten now. Jasmine is only eight, but she's thinking up a way to convince the adults to let her do something besides babysit her little cousins.

Target Readers:

Holiday Story Fans, Japanese Food Lovers, Family Story Fans, Contemporary Fiction Fans, Lower Grade Readers

Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits series by Waco Ioka

Aoi has always known that her Grandfather, though he was loving and good to her, was a bit of a rogue to others. She had no idea how many aunts and uncles she had. She did know that the two of them shared the ability to see ayakashi. She learned from him that the best way to keep them from eating you is to give them something else to nibble on. She also knows not to trust them. But even the most vigilant of girls will slip up now and then. And Aoi slips up when retrieving a dish she let an ayakashi eat out of. She finds herself swept off to a place where the ayakashi come from, and a certain ogre demanding that he marry her in payment for her grandfather's debts. Rather than marry the ogre, Aoi decides to find a job and earn money to pay off what her grandfather owed this being. But that's going to prove challenging in the world of Kakuriyo. As the series continues Aoi starts a restaurant to earn money (and she frequently describes how to prepare the dishes she is making for it), and learns her way around the mythological world.

Target Readers:

Beauty and the Beast-ish Story Fans, Japanese Mythology Fans, Fantasy Fans, Japanese Food Lovers, Manga Fans, Young Adult/Adult Readers

Krista Kim-Bap by Angela Ahn

Krista Kim’s life is about to be shaken up by a family heritage project, popular girl Madison’s birthday party, and the Celebration of Dance her teacher has signed the class up to participate in. For the heritage project her best friend Jason suggests she focus on Korean food because he loves eating the stuff at her house. The trouble is her mom, though of Korean descent, has lived in Canada all her life and doesn’t really know how to cook Korean so Krista’d have to ask her grandmother for help. Her grandmother is a very strict, traditional Korean grandma, and seems to love Krista’s older, more fashionable sister Tori and barely tolerates her. Madison’s birthday party unexpectedly finds Krista questioning her fashion taste and hanging out with the popular girls a little more, which means hanging out with Jason less. And then the Celebration of Dance is pretty much a nightmare because dance is not something that comes naturally to Krista. Through it all, Krista will learn more about herself, her family, and what makes a true friend.

Target Readers:

Family Story Fans, Contemporary Fiction Fans, Korean Food Lovers, Middle Grade Readers

Magic Ramen: the Story of Momofuku Ando by Andrea Wang, ill. by Kana Urbanowicz

A picture book biography of Momofuku Ando who invented instant noodles.

Target Readers:

Picture Book Biography Fans, Immigrant Story Fans, Food History Fans, Ramen Lovers, Inventor Story Fans, Picture Book Readers

Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca

Mimi Mackson feels like she doesn't really belong in her family. One of her sisters is a brilliant soccer player, the other is a gifted dancer, her brother is quite the actor, and all of them are musical. Whereas she failed miserably at soccer, only makes ghastly noises on the clarinet, and seems to disappear into the background whenever her siblings are around. They all have tons of friends too, and her best friend just moved to Australia. One thing that she does feel somewhat competent in is baking. She loves experimenting and talking food with her food critic father. So when the new bakery in town announces a contest for the summer and a chance to meet her favorite chef, Mimi is determined to win the thing so she can prove she is important too. She even finds a new cookbook in the woods and a new friend there who also loves to bake. But then things get seriously weird. Her father isn't himself at all and is eating EVERYTHING he can without so much as commenting on taste. One of her sisters has two boys constantly pestering her to profess their undying love, and one of them is the one the other sister was interested in. Her brother is completely self-absorbed, to the point of being rude. And the lady who owns the bakery has the audacity to tell Mimi that her first creation isn't good enough for the contest and tells her to come up with something else to gain entrance. Mimi is starting to get worried that her whole world is about to come apart, but maybe she can put it to rights again with her baking.

Target Readers:

Shakespeare Story Rewrite Fans (or Those Wanting to Be Introduced to the "A Midsummer's Night Dream"), Indian Food Lovers, Baked Goods Lovers, Biracial Family Story Fans, Fantasy Fans, Middle Grade Readers

Mindy Kim and the Lunar New Year Parade (Mindy Kim, #2) by Lyla Lee, ill. by Dung Ho

Mindy is super excited for Lunar New Year, but she isn't so sure about celebrating it without mom or in Florida. In California there were lots of other Koreans around to share the celebration, but not so much in Florida. Her dad says he is planning on taking her to a Lunar New Year parade in a nearby city that's supposed to be big and Sally can come too, so maybe the day won't be a total loss.

Target Readers:

Holiday Story Fans, Contemporary Fiction Fans, Korean Food Lovers, Those Wanting to Learn about Korean Culture, Fans of Stories about Kids Dealing with Change/Loss, Lower Grade Readers

No Kimchi for Me! by Aram Kim

Little Yoomi doesn't like kimchi but she wants to be able to eat it to prove she is a big girl to her brothers. She tries a variety of methods, but Grandma may have the best idea.

Target Readers:

Korean Food Lovers, Family Story Fans, Picture Book Readers

Noodle Shop Mystery series by Vivien Chien

When the property owner of the Asia Village shopping center keels over after eating some dumplings from Lana Lee's parents' restaurant, she and the cooks are immediately the top suspects. She was the last one to see him alive that they know of, when she dropped off his take out order. And the cook made the dumplings, and everyone knows that Mr. Feng was deathly allergic to shellfish. Lana can't imagine who would want to kill Mr. Feng or how the pork dumplings got switched to shrimp. The mini mall shop owners are like a big family and go way back. It soon becomes clear that there will be no peace for anyone until the culprit is found, and without anything better to do in her free time, Lana and her roommate decide to see if they can figure out who done it. This series now has several books and continues to see Lana solve mysteries while helping her family run the restaurant. There’s always lots of food involved. 

Target Readers:

Taiwanese/Chinese Food Lovers, Mystery Fans, Contemporary Fiction Fans, Adult Readers

The Spacedog Cometh (Klawde, Evil Alien Warlord Cat, #3) by Johnny Marciano & Emily Chenoweth, ill. by Robb Mommaerts

Raj's parents are off to Hawaii and his ajji (grandmother) has come to stay bringing along a rescue dog she's fostering. Raj is worried that whatever social standing he had will be gone by the end of ajji's stay as she packs delicious Indian dishes that stink up the entire cafeteria at school. Even worse, she is trying to invite his whole grade to a birthday party for him where she'll serve all Indian food! He's doomed. While Raj is slowly dying socially, Klawde is being retrieved by the Pack of United Planets Peacekeeping Service (PUPPS) to be tried for his crimes. Comrade Muffee is sent to Earth to get him. But there's a problem. If Klawde has been claimed by a human, Comrade Muffee must get permission from his human to take him. Muffee has to figure out a way to get in good with Raj to get his permission to take Klawde. Klawde knows about Muffee's efforts, but is enjoying the benefits of a new camera that Raj got from his parents as an early birthday present and is using it to send videos of himself tormenting dogs to reinstate his popularity on Lyttyrboks. He's sure rescue from Lyttyrboks is imminent and he'll be free from Earth and reckoning with PUPPS any time now.

Target Readers:

Indian Food Lovers, Self-Acceptance Story Fans, Family Story Fans, Humor Fans, Animal Lovers, Scifi Fans, Middle Grade Readers

The Ugly Dumpling by Stephanie Campisi, ill. by Shahar Kober

The ugly dumpling tries his best to be like the other dumplings, but he just can't be like them and is never chosen. Then a cockroach pulls him out of despair, shows him the wider world and helps him figure out what he really is.

Target Readers:

Ugly Duckling Retelling Fans, Dumpling Lovers, Friendship Story Fans, Picture Book Readers

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Brainstorm 232: Photographer Bios

This week in the Brainstorm we are taking a look behind the viewfinder with biographies of noteworthy and groundbreaking photographers. 

Dorothea’s Eyes: Dorothea Lange Photographs the Truth by Barb Rosenstock, ill. by Gérard DuBois

A picture book biography of photographer Dorothea Lange, who overcame disabilities suffered because of polio, defied convention by becoming a photographer even though she was a woman, and stepped outside the studio to photograph the lonely and forgotten during the Great Depression.

Target Readers:

Social Justice Biography Fans, Overcomer Biography Fans, Photography Fans, Lower Grade Nonfiction Readers, Picture Book Readers


Eyes on the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the Invention of Modern Photo Journalism by Marc Aronson & Marina Budhos

In the mid 1930s, two young adult Jewish refugees met in Paris, France, André Friedmann and Gerta Pohorylle. André was trying to make a living as a photographer, one of the few jobs open to refugees in Paris. Gerta managed to land a job with a photography clearing house that sells photos to publications. As the two fell in love and started trying to work together to make ends meet, Gerta decided they should remake themselves. With the growing anti-Semitism in Europe, Gerta changes their names to something less Jewish-sounding, Robert Capa and Gerda Taro. Robert starts teaching Gerda how to take photos as well, and the two get an assignment photographing the civil war breaking out in Spain. They are two of the first photographers to use portable and fast photography to capture war photos. At the same time, publications are starting to use photos in new ways. They are using the newer, more lively photos in ways that will sway readers hearts and minds. So this is a story of two refugees trying to survive in a Europe that increasingly seems to be a hostile place for Jews. They are two photographers doing things and photographing things no one has seen before. So it is also the story of how modern photojournalism developed during this time period, largely using photos by Capa and Taro. And it is also the story of the Spanish Civil War and the convoluted mess of politics that was, and how Capa and Taro got wrapped up in that.

Target Readers:

Photography Fans, Refugee Biography Fans, Spanish Civil War History Buffs, Photojournalism History Buffs, Engaging Nonfiction Fans, Young Adult & Adult Readers


Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America by Carole Boston Weatherford, ill. by Jamey Christoph

A picture book biography of photographer Gordon Parks who used his art to work to fight for civil rights.

Target Readers:

People of Color Bio Fans, Photography Fans, Civil Rights Workers Bio Fans, Lower Grade Readers, Picture Book Readers


Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, ill. by Mary Azarian

A picture book biography of W.A. Bentley, an amateur in both photography and science who figured out how to photograph snowflakes and discovered that they are all different.

Target Readers:

Photography Fans, Snow Fans, Self-Made Men Bio Fans, Award Winner Fans, Lower Grade Readers, Picture Book Readers