Author Archive: Cindy Dobrez & Lynn Rutan

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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THE STUFF OF STARS: A Truly Stellar Collaboration

THE STUFF OF STARS: A Truly Stellar Collaboration

Lynn: Can a picture book take on the enormously complex concept of the big bang theory—the origin of all things—and do it well? I would have said no, but I know by now not to underestimate the talents and artistic mastery of those working in the picture-book world! In The Stuff of Stars (2018), author Marion […]

Wicked Nix, “The Foulest of Fairies,” Will Win Your Heart

Wicked Nix, “The Foulest of Fairies,” Will Win Your Heart

Lynn: “There is a people in our forest,” Nix, “the foulest of fairies,” worriedly announces in the first chapter of Lena Coakley’s Wicked Nix (2018). Left behind when the other fairies went home to the Summer Country, Nix has lived in the forest alone for almost a year. Was he left to protect the forest for the Fairy […]

This All-of-a-Kind Family Picture Book Is a Gift to Readers

This All-of-a-Kind Family Picture Book Is a Gift to Readers

Lynn: I’m not usually one to gush nostalgically, but Emily Jenkins and Paul O. Zelinsky have me doing just that. Their new picture book, All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah (2018), is a joyous celebration of both the holiday and one of my all time favorite series. As a child, I adored Sydney Taylor’s original All-of-a-Kind Family books […]

Understanding Immigration and the Refugee Experience through Graphic Novels

Understanding Immigration and the Refugee Experience through Graphic Novels

Lynn: Like the picture books in our earlier post, several graphic novels published this year also offer the opportunity to walk in the shoes of refugees and immigrants. Aimed at middle-school and teen readers, these books combine outstanding text and dramatic visual images to provide reading experiences that make a deep emotional impact. The Unwanted: […]

Posted in: Bookends, Young Adult
Understanding Immigration and the Refugee Experience through Picture Books

Understanding Immigration and the Refugee Experience through Picture Books

Lynn: How do we talk to children about refugees, immigrants, and all the related issues dominating the news? It seems to us a large number of adults don’t even understand the horrifying situations that have forced masses of desperate people to flee their homelands—so how can we help young people understand this serious issue while […]

Welcome Wombat: Tales of Marsupial Rescue for Middle-Grade Readers

Welcome Wombat: Tales of Marsupial Rescue for Middle-Grade Readers

Lynn: “Oh, hi, tiny thing. Welcome to Sleepy Burrows Wombat Sanctuary.” And so Welcome, Wombat (2018) begins: Chance, a two-year-old wombat, greets a tiny “pinkie” whose mother was just tragically killed by a car. Author Kama Einhorn proceeds to introduce readers to the sanctuary; its inspiring wildlife rehabilitators, Donna and Phil; and to the amazing wombat species as a […]

Jonathan Auxier’s SWEEP: A Truly Magical Read

Jonathan Auxier’s SWEEP: A Truly Magical Read

Cindy: Every so often, and not often enough, a book sweeps me off my feet and makes me want to curl up and read it straight through. Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster (2018) is one of those books.Part historical fiction, part Jewish mythology, and part magical realism, this tale of a young […]

Black Friday Deals & a Doorbuster Book Display!

Black Friday Deals & a Doorbuster Book Display!

Cindy: IMHO the best deal over the Thanksgiving weekend is having a good book to read! I saw a Pinterest post with an 8 1/2 x 11″ sign advertising a “Black Friday Deals All Week Long” display of books with black covers. It made me laugh. I have two 8-foot long bulletin boards in one of […]

Posted in: Bookends, Young Adult
The Truth Is, There’s a Whole Lotta Lying Goin’ on in YA Lit

The Truth Is, There’s a Whole Lotta Lying Goin’ on in YA Lit

Cindy: After last week’s midterm elections concluded, one issue had bipartisan support: everyone applauded the end of the political TV ads and robocalls. I figure we have six weeks or so before the 2020 ads appear and perhaps some of you don’t know what to do with your free time, now that you’re not fact-checking lies […]

Posted in: Bookends, Young Adult
Decisions, Decisions: THE APOCALYPSE OF ELENA MENDOZA

Decisions, Decisions: THE APOCALYPSE OF ELENA MENDOZA

Lynn: I thought I had some tough dilemmas to deal with lately but those are nothing compared to what 17-year-old Elena faces in Shaun David Hutchinson’s new book, The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza (2018). Here’s the deal: Elena has heard voices emanating from everyday objects her whole life, so it’s not a huge surprise when […]

Posted in: Bookends, Young Adult