“Wolf in the Snow” by Matthew Cordell
This wordless picture book won the 2018 Caldecott Medal. It is the story of a girl wrapped in a red coat and hood (that choice was not by accident) and a wolf pup who are lost in a snowstorm. Through kindness and patience, each is able to save the other. The watercolor illustrations powerfully depict the emotions of humans and wolves, leading the reader through a range of feelings. Recommended for ages 2 to 6.
“How to Be an Elephant: Growing Up in the African Wild” by Katherine Roy
Roy’s books are well known for their careful attention to detail and fact. She studied elephants in Kenya, which resulted in this fascinating informational picture book. Filled with watercolor illustrations and detailed diagrams, Roy explores all the skills a baby elephant must learn from her family herd in order to grow and survive on the African savanna. Recommended for ages 7 to 11.
Note: Cordell, Roy and five other authors, illustrators and publishers, will take part in Deschutes Public Library’s 2019 Youth Lit Fest from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 6 at Summit High School in Bend. For details or to register visit deschuteslibrary.org/ylf
— Heather McNeil, Deschutes Public Library youth services manager
“On the Come Up” by Angie Thomas
Hip-hop and poetry are inherently combined in this sophomore project from the author of “The Hate U Give.” Brianna has a difficult home life, with a single mother recovering from addiction, and an empty fridge staring her down. Her experience at an arts school isn’t much better when she gets labeled as a “hood,” and goes viral for the wrong reasons. But Bri hopes to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a famous rapper, with her own powerful lyrics and a hunger for success. Recommended for grades 8 and up.
“Watch Us Rise” by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan
Two friends, one a poet, and one an essayist and actress, attend a “social-justice focused high school,” but find racism and sexism still rampant within its halls. Jasmine and Chelsea use the tools they have at hand — a school club and a blog — to try to make a difference. Their efforts attract allies and trolls, plus a few dismaying responses from the school’s faculty.
— Josie Hanneman, Deschutes Public Library community librarian
“The Better Sister” by Alafair Burke
The Taylor sisters, Chloe and Nicky, have never been on the same page. Younger sister Chloe attended an Ivy League school and landed an amazing publishing job in New York City while Nicky moved from job to job and stayed in their home town of Cleveland. Things appear to improve for Nicky when she marries attorney Adam Macintosh and they have a son named Ethan. Flash forward 15 years later, Chloe is now married to her sister’s ex, and Ethan is accused of murdering his father in the family’s East Hampton beach house. The two sisters unite to prove Ethan’s innocence.
But who is the real murderer? Burke’s latest thriller is a twisting tale of family secrets and suspense.
“Searching for Sylvie Lee” by Jean Kwok
Amy has always looked up to her beautiful, successful older sister. Their parents, who immigrated from China to the United States, always worked while Sylvie provided care, friendship, love and protection throughout the years. When Sylvie goes missing, Amy does everything she can to find her. As Amy starts to untangle what really happened to her sister, sadness, guilt and a series of family secrets emerge. Written in three voices — Ma, Amy and Sylvie — this novel follows women who find strength in family and uncovering past secrets.
— Paige Bentley-Flannery, Deschutes Public Library community librarian