Books: Top picks this month
Title: A Place at the Table
Author: Saadia Faruqi, Laura Shovan
Publisher: Clarion Books
Sixth-graders Sara, a Pakistani American, and Elizabeth, a white, Jewish girl meet when they take a South Asian cooking class taught by Sara’s mom. They could not be more different. Sara is at a new school that is huge and completely unlike the small Islamic school she used to attend. Elizabeth has her own problems: her British mum has been struggling with depression. The girls meet in an after-school South Asian cooking class, which Elizabeth takes because her mom has stopped cooking, and which Sara, who hates to cook, is forced to attend because her mother is the teacher. The girls form a shaky alliance that gradually deepens, and they make plans to create the most amazing, mouth-watering cross-cultural dish together and win a spot on a local food show. They make good cooking partners … but can they learn to trust each other enough to become true friends?
Title: Paola Santiago and the River of Tears
Author: Tehlor Kay Mejia
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents
Space-obsessed 12-year-old Paola Santiago and her two best friends, Emma and Dante, know the rule: Stay away from the river. It’s all they’ve heard since a schoolmate of theirs drowned a year ago. Pao is embarrassed to admit that she has been told to stay away for even longer than that, because her mother is constantly warning her about La Llorona, the wailing ghost woman who wanders the banks of the Gila at night, looking for young people to drag into its murky depths.
Pao has always relied on hard science to make sense of the world, but to find her friend she will have to enter the world of her nightmares, which includes unnatural mist, mind-bending monsters, and relentless spirits controlled by a terrifying force that defies both logic and legend.
Title: The Belonging Tree
Author: Maryann Cocca-Leffler, Kristine A. Lombardi
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co
Life was ordinary in the big oak tree on Forest Lane. Squirrels lived in every part of the tree, and the Gray squirrel family inhabited the knot in the middle. But the neighborhood starts to change as the big oak tree welcomes families of chipmunks, beavers, and birds. And with each new arrival, the Grays become increasingly unhappy. Can’t everything remain just as it was? It will take an unexpected moment of heroism from a thoughtful inhabitant to finally open hearts and bind together this diverse animal community.
Title: Haunted Mansion
Author: Sina Grace
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of Disneyland’s most beloved rides with this original graphic novel featuring all of your favorite grim grinning ghosts! Welcome, foolish mortals… to the Haunted Mansion, where the crypt doors creak and the tombstones quake. The happy haunts are getting ready to throw a swinging wake, and all the goblins and ghoulies are invited, so be sure to bring your death certificate!
Title: Everything Sad Is Untrue
Author: Daniel Nayeri
Publisher: Levine Querido
The story of a boy who flees Iran as a small child, detours through a refugee camp in Italy, then winds up in middle school in Oklahoma, where he is met with both curiosity and suspicion.