Book Review Tuesday

Lots of great books this week! Read the book reviews below, and learn more about my favorite reads:


City of the Plague God by Sarwat Chadda
Gr. 4-7. Sik thinks its just another night at his parents’ deli–but everything changes when a couple of demons crash the place. Literally–they destroy the building, demanding a mystery item from Sik that he simply doesn’t have. Suddenly Sik’s parents are in the hospital with a strange illness, one of Sik’s classmates is behaving particularly strangely, and Sik is pulled into a world of gods, demons, and monsters from his family’s old stories. Sik isn’t alone–he has Ishtar, the goddess of love and war; Ishtar’s adopted daughter and all-around awesome warrior, Belet; and former hero Gilgamesh all on his side. To save his parents and all of New York, Sik just needs to travel to the realm of the dead, find his brother, and bring back the Flower of Immortality. Should be easy since Sik is apparently, somehow, already immortal…right?

Squee! I go through phases with the quality of the Rick Riordan presents books, but wow this imprint is on a roll lately. This is in my top three favorites (with Tristan Strong and Paola Santiago). A fantastic, fast-paced fantasy entrenched in Mesopotamian myth that masterfully captures the humor and snark of the Percy Jackson books. I’m going to be recommending this book to everyone and anyone. So much fun–I just need to know that there will be a sequel.

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Home Is In Between by Mitali Perkins (picture book)
Gr. 1-3. Shanti and her family move from India to the United States, and Shanti suddenly finds herself caught between two homes: her old village, stories in Bangali, delicious luchi, and her life in her family’s apartment; but also her life in her new town at her new school, with trick or treating, ballet, and snowball fights. Shanti feels caught in between–trying to figure out which one is really home.

Ohhhhh this book! I’ve heard great things, and boy does this deliver. Great, fun illustrations, and an excellent glimpse into the life of a child adjusting to immigrating to a new place and figuring out how cultures blend together. Pick this one up!

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Laxmi’s Mooch by Shelly Anand (picture book)
Gr. K-2. Laxmi has a mooch (Hindi for “mustache”). She’s never really thought about it until her classmates tell her that her “whiskers” make her a perfect pretend cat. Laxmi gets upset, suddenly noticing the hair all over her body. When she talks to her parents, she is reminded that she is beautiful–and she realizes that everyone has something that makes them unique (and some girls’ “mooch” is easier to see than others).

So much body positivity here and a reminder to love who you are. I wasn’t personally quite as enticed by the part where Laxmi draws a mooch on kids who don’t have one (with their permission)–I sort of wish we would have had a kid who was okay without having a mooch, real or fake. But as a kid who was teased for dark hair on her arms–I definitely think this is a much needed book that needs to be shared in classrooms everywhere.

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Mel Fell by Corey R. Tabor (picture book)
Gr. PreS-K. Baby bird Mel is ready to fly! But rather than flying, Mel seems to fall…and fall…and fall.

Don’t worry, this book doesn’t end in the disaster you might think–it actually has a great lesson about kingfisher birds in the end, making this pair well with a science storytime. Author Corey R. Tabor gets creative with orientation here, which I think will also appeal to kids, changing the direction of the book depending what is happening on the page.


The Sea in Winter by Christine Day
Gr. 4-5. Maisie lives for ballet, dreaming of being a ballerina someday…until a torn ligament means her dancing is put on hold. Now that Maisie doesn’t go to ballet practice, she doesn’t really see her friends anymore. She feels alone all the time, and Maisie is not very thrilled for the forced family bonding during a road trip to the coast near the Makah community where her mom grew up. As the pain in her leg seems to get worse, Maisie’s moods do too–will she ever dance again? And if she doesn’t, what does that mean for all of Maisie’s dreams?

A quiet, slice of life story. I appreciate that this blends Maisie’s Makah culture into the plot with stories, family history, and connections to the land–but it lets Maisie’s mental health take the forefront of the book. Great family dynamics, particularly Maisie’s relationship with her stepdad.


Shuri: The Vanished by Nic Stone
Gr. 3-5. Princess Shuri of Wakanda is back! Shuri is determined to focus on her training and earn her mother and brother’s permission to travel to an international conference where her country may be revealed to the world. But her dreams are haunted by girls–girls her age, with her passions, who need her help. Soon those whispered visions turn into reality when Shuri discovers that real girls from across the world–girls with extraordinary science and technology skills–are going missing. With the help of best friend K’Marah and the one and only Riri Williams (a young Ironheart!), Shuri is pulled into a mystery involving a secret base, a supervillian, and mind control. Will Shrui save the lost girls…or will she be lured in herself?

I LOVE this series so much. While it deviates a bit from the Marvel movie universe–as all of these kid superhero series seem to do–Shuri is just as strong and powerful, if a bit younger and more naïve. I love all of the nods for Marvel fans (especially Riri’s appearance here…Nic Stone can we have a Riri spinoff book, please?). Packed with adventure and mystery to pull in even more reluctant readers. I can’t wait for more!

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