JambaLAya Kidlit Conference 2018

  For the second year in a row, the Louisiana/Mississippi chapter of SCBWI knocked it outta the park! This is one of the best kidlit conferences I’ve attended, and I’ve been to a few. I tend to prefer regional conferences for the intimacy and depth of focus, not to mention the community building, and this one delivered. […]

Review: In the Shadow of the Sun

North Korea has been in the news a lot lately, and although I’d rather not think about why, my kids have questions: Who are these people, and why are they targeting us? In the Shadow of the Sun by Anne Sibley O’Brien, an action-packed, middle-grade novel, offers a fascinating glimpse into the closed-off culture of North Korea, […]

Book review: We Fought Back: Teen Resisters of the Holocaust

After this weekend’s horrific events in Charlottesville, I thought I’d share a nonfiction YA book about Jewish teenagers who escaped death marches, labor camps, and ghettos to fight Nazis. This collection of seven individual stories, based on author Allan Zullo’s interviews with each participant, highlights eastern European partisans who “wreaked havoc on the Nazis through […]

Book review: Saints and Misfits

There are three kinds of people in 15-year-old Janna Yusuf’s life: saints, misfits, and monsters. Saints make the world a better place, like Janna’s elder-care charge, Mr. Ram, and her too-good-to-be-true prospective sister-in-law Sarah Mahmoud. They can be a little intimidating. Misfits are people like Janna. Whether she wears her burkini at the beach with […]

Book review: YA fantasy books with strong girls

Welcome to Part 3 of my book review series featuring speculative literature books with strong girl protagonists. In previous installments, I listed books for younger middle grade readers (ages 8-10) and middle grade readers (10-12). This post emphasizes readers 12-16, moving into the young adult category. (By the way, my age recommendations are based on […]