The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye: I loved this quiet, thoughtful book about a young boy from Oman who is moving with his professor parents to the US for three years. Set in the week before he leaves, it pays great attention to the emotional turmoil of moving as a child. Aref is a great character, and I think this would be great for fans of Kevin Henkes. I loved the description of the many things that Aref values about his home, and his wonderful relationship with his grandfather. This is truly a beautiful book and I intend to look up Nye’s other works.
Maid of Deception by Jennifer McGowan: The second in the Maids of Honor series. These are one step more fanciful than, for instance, the Agency series, but they’re quite enjoyable if you’re able to put questions of historical accuracy aside. Personally, since they never pretend to be accurate, I’m quite willing to do so. I liked the book a lot, although I had some niggling questions about the portrayal of Beatrice’s mother. I think I mostly like how the relationship between the maids is shown: they’re not always united, but they clearly care about each other and that comes through. I will also say that the cover is pretty awful and the book is much better. (Who is this girl? Why are there anachronistically dressed young men lounging about? Who can say?)
Marching for Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge: This is an extremely timely book, especially if you have kids who are going to see Selma (which I haven’t yet but want to). It focuses on the role of young people in the Selma to Birmingham march, which reminded me a bit of We’ve Got a Job from a few years ago. Partridge’s concentration allows her to give a narrow, deep look at what was happening at that point. She clearly did a lot of work interviewing participants and researching the background and conditions in Selma at the time. At the same time, I will note that this is an outsider’s view. It definitely has value, especially as an introduction to the march and its background, but I would also love to hear more from the people who were there.