Log In

Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the Table-of-Contents Database.

Get a digital subscription to Publishers Weekly for only $18.95/month.

Your subscription gives you instant access exclusive feature articles on notable figures in the publishing industry, he latest industry news, interviews of up and coming authors and bestselling authors, and access over 200,000 book reviews.

PW "All Access" site license members have access to PW's subscriber-only website content. To find out more about PW's site license subscription options please email: pw@pubservice.com or call 1-800-278-2991 (U.S.) or 1-818-487-2069 (all other countries), Monday-Friday between 5am and 5pm Pacific time.

A Child’s Introduction to African American History: The Experiences, People, and Events That Shaped Our Country

Jabari Asim, illus. by Lynn Gaines. Black Dog & Leventhal, $19.99 (96p) ISBN 978-0-316-43642-7

Asim (Preaching to the Chickens) thoroughly explores influential events, political and social movements, and individuals in African-American history, beginning with the ugly legacy of slavery: “African Americans are the only ethnic group whose ancestors were brought to this country against their will.” Moving forward in time, Asim discusses topics that include abolitionism, the Harlem Renaissance, and the civil rights movement; highlights African-American activists, artists, and athletes; and contextualizes events such as the airing of the 1977 miniseries Roots and the Los Angeles riots. A closing section carries readers into the 21st century with Hurricane Katrina, the election of Barack Obama to the presidency, and Black Lives Matter. Newcomer Gaines’s portraits are often stiff and awkward, but Asim’s thoughtful, wide-ranging commentary makes this a useful and accessible resource. Ages 8–12. Author’s agent: Joy Harris, Joy Harris Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 12/08/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Young, Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Iconic Talents from Past and Present

Jamia Wilson, illus. by Andrea Pippins. Wide Eyed Editions, $22.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-78603-158-7

With a title drawn from Nina Simone’s “To Be Young, Gifted and Black,” this striking volume highlights 52 black activists, politicians, artists, writers, scientists, and entertainers from around the world. Wilson introduces the figures in succinct biographies that move briskly through their accomplishments, emphasize their impact, and include brief quotations (“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair,” said Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman in Congress). Wilson’s subjects are weighted toward the 20th and 21st centuries (Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mae Jemison, Steve McQueen, the Obamas, the Williams and Knowles sisters), but earlier trailblazers are also represented, including George Washington Carver, Alexandre Dumas, and Harriet Tubman. Pippins uses dramatic shades of pink, yellow, red, and fluorescent green to create tableaus that suggest a blend of religious iconography and pop art. A luminous and diverse tribute to black movers and shakers across the centuries. Ages 7–10. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 12/08/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Prince and the Dressmaker

Jen Wang. First Second, $16.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-62672-363-4

A talented seamstress and a prince with a secret will win readers’ hearts in Wang’s utterly charming graphic novel, which is set in a playfully tweaked version of 19th-century Paris and highlights identity, acceptance, and fashion. After creating a scandalous dress for an attendee of Prince Sebastian’s 16th birthday party, Frances—an overlooked seamstress with big dreams—accepts a position as personal seamstress for a mystery client. She soon discovers that her employer is none other than Prince Sebastian, who wants her to create dazzling gowns for Lady Crystallia, Sebastian’s alter ego, who quickly becomes a fashion icon. Despite Frances’s connection with Sebastian, she worries that being part of the prince’s secret is limiting her dreams of finding success as a designer. The relationship between Frances and Sebastian—both as a conflicted prince and the glamorous Crystallia—glows; Frances understands that Sebastian and Crystallia are two halves of a brilliant whole. “It’s weird, I don’t feel like Prince Sebastian could lead a nation into battle, but Lady Crystallia could,” admits the prince, inspiring Frances to create an armor-themed dress for their next midnight escapade. Frances’s daring designs shine in Wang’s elegantly drafted and gorgeously colored illustrations, and the irreverently anachronistic approach to the setting provides a lovely and humorous counterbalance to the seriousness of the prince’s situation (“Prepare to get your lady groove on,” insists the burly, bearded king, who is eager for Sebastian to be betrothed). It’s all but certain to deliver grins, gasps, and some happy tears. Ages 12–up. Agent: Judith Hansen, Hansen Literary. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 12/08/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Votes for Women! American Suffragists and the Battle for the Ballot

Winifred Conkling. Algonquin Young Readers, $19.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-61620-734-2

This comprehensive history chronicles the almost-80-year battle for women’s suffrage. Conkling (Radioactive!) effectively sketches the complex personalities of the women who fought for women’s right to vote, beginning with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony and including subsequent leaders Carrie Chapman Catt and the more radical Alice Paul. Throughout, the detailed narrative contextualizes the contributions of the many women (and men) involved, including how women’s rights intersected with the abolition movement and the impacts of the Civil War and WWI. Sidebar biographies and historical photographs help bring figures in the movement to life. Throughout, Conkling skillfully presents the women in their own words, such as Sojourner Truth’s famous speech advocating for women’s rights regardless of race, and Anthony’s rallying cry to the next generation, shortly before her death in 1906: “With such women consecrating their lives, failure is impossible!” From the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls in 1848 to the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, this is a commanding and relevant account of sweeping, hard-won social reform and action. Ages 13–up. Agent: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 12/08/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Fly Girls: The Daring American Women Pilots Who Helped Win WWII

P. O’Connell Pearson. Simon & Schuster, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-5344-0410-6

Pearson’s accessible and immediate portrait of the women aviators whose organization became known as the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) highlights the courage and tenacity that bound them together during WWII. Quotations from the pilots illuminate their personalities and commitment to their country and careers in the face of gender discrimination, aircraft deemed unfit for flight, and Congress’s refusal to militarize them, denying them benefits that were awarded to other women’s auxiliaries (until some 30 years later). An early lobbyist for allowing women to fly noncombat missions on American military bases, pilot Jacqueline Cochran eventually became the lead pilot in command of an all-male crew, despite the fact that “red tape and sexist insinuations stood mountainously in my way.” In one especially intense passage, future WASP Cornelia Fort recounts being forced to alter her plane’s course to avoid the Japanese bomber headed to Pearl Harbor: “My heart turned over convulsively when the bomb exploded in the middle of the Harbor.” Archival photos and sidebars supplement this often thrilling tribute to these aviation heroes. Ages 10–up. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 12/08/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Modo: Ember’s End

Arthur Slade, illus. by Chrstopher Steininger. Orca, $14.95 trade paper (88p) ISBN 978-1-4598-1721-0

Slade brings back the central characters from 2009’s The Hunchback Assignments and its sequels in this action-packed graphic novel. Shape-shifting spy Modo and his partner, Octavia Milkweed, stumble into the strange town of Ember’s End (where, among other oddities, guns don’t work) in a steampunk version of 1885 Nevada. After being deputized by the local bartender/judge/undertaker, the two are soon fighting a ninja and a nearly indestructible cowboy named Ogden Bull, who is after a “magnificent device” created by the town’s founder, Ebenezer Ember, the source of the unusual inventions that make Ember’s End a town like no other. Steininger’s stylized, angular illustrations bring a cinematic energy to this Wild West fantasy. Octavia’s wisecracks and hard-edged attitude steal the show, and Slade and Steininger balance exposition with fun, sometimes slapstick action sequences when the deputies clash with Ogden and his henchmen. Readers familiar with Slade’s previous novels may appreciate this spinoff best, but prior knowledge of Octavia and Modo isn’t necessary to enjoy their sparring, verbal and otherwise. Ages 9–12. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 12/08/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Action Presidents #1: George Washington!

Fred Van Lente, illus. by Ryan Dunlavey. Harper, $9.99 (128p) ISBN 978-0-06-239405-7

In a project that evokes Larry Gonick’s Cartoon History series and follows in the vein of Van Lente and Dunlavey’s Action Philosophers! comics, the author and artist deliver a highly irreverent look at the life of George Washington, narrated by a turkey named Noah the Historkey. They highlight pivotal moments and challenges in Washington’s life and poke fun at his leadership struggles, moral contradictions (such as owning slaves while fighting for independence), and reluctance to assume the role of president. Illustrating in the loose, exaggerated style of his previous books, Dunlavey mixes tense sequences of military battles and political confrontations with caricatured reactions and a few contemporary references—a hired Hessian soldier is portrayed as a “G.I. German” action figure (“Break in case of war,” reads the packaging). Van Lente aims to contextualize historical figures who are often blindly lionized (“He wasn’t some mythological demigod,” notes Noah the Historkey), a goal that comes through clearly amid a flurry of gags and jokes. Book two, about Abraham Lincoln, arrives simultaneously. Ages 8–12. Agent: Jason Yarn, Jason Yarn Literary. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 12/08/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
Broken Beautiful Hearts

Kami Garcia. Imprint, $18.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-250-07920-6

Peyton Rios thinks that receiving a letter from her first-choice college to play Division I soccer is the start of a perfect day. But things go south after she confronts her boyfriend, Reed, about his use of steroids as a shortcut to becoming a professional mixed martial arts fighter. Reed loses his cool and pushes her down a flight of stairs, wrecking her knee and destroying their relationship. Soon after, Peyton’s mother insists that she move away to live with her uncle. The only things on Peyton’s mind are recovering from her injury and getting ready to play soccer in college, but her plans are derailed when she meets Owen, an MMA fighter like Reed who has his own secrets. Garcia’s suspenseful romance will keep readers turning pages, eager to find out if Peyton is vindicated and ends up with the right guy. Amid steamy moments and swoony descriptions of falling in love, Garcia (The Lovely Reckless) tackles a serious issue head-on, drawing from her own experiences with an abusive boyfriend. Ages 15–up. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 12/08/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary

NoNieqa Ramos. Carolrhoda Lab, $17.99 (344p) ISBN 978-1-5124-3976-2

Fifteen-year-old Macy Cashmere is emotionally disturbed, at least according to her school, teachers, and family. But her life is heartbreakingly difficult—her father is in prison, her brother was taken away by Child Protective Services, and her mother is involving herself with a string of abusive men who make occasional passes at Macy. She has just two friends: honor student Alma, who hopes that school will save her, and George, who wears a helmet due to an injury sustained after the brutal murder of his sister. Macy’s story is told as a series of vignettes, each framed by a word in Macy’s “dictionary” (“Answer. Noun. Example: ‘Ahnsuh me, bitch!’ ”) with a tenuous narrative thread. Debut author Ramos shows Macy navigating the difficulties of school and home while plagued by deaths, threats to her safety, and a constant, nagging hunger. Ramos makes effective use of vernacular to channel Macy’s anger, anguish, and sharp-edged perspective in a disturbing but empathetic portrait of life as a child in poverty. Ages 14–up. Agent: Emily Keyes, Fuse Literary. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 12/08/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza

Shaun David Hutchinson. Simon Pulse, $17.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-4814-9854-8

Sixteen-year-old Elena Mendoza doesn’t have a father—hers was a virgin birth (scientifically known as parthenogenesis), and Elena has never stopped feeling like an outsider or freak. (Her classmates have nicknamed her Mary, even though Jesus would be the more biblically accurate nickname.) Elena also hears voices, and after her crush Winifred (aka Freddie) is shot while Elena is working at Starbucks, the voice (coming from the company’s corporate logo) tells Elena to heal her—which she does. Caustically funny and irreverent, the voices urge Elena to heal others, but people disappear from the planet every time she does. As he did in At the Edge of the Universe and We Are the Ants, Hutchinson uses an “Is this the end of all things?” premise to create provocative and moving insights into the angst, wonder, and uncertainty of being a teenager. Elena’s carefully developed relationships with her supportive best friend Fadil, her ex Javier, the conflicted Freddie, and her family bring additional depth to a thoughtful story about choice and destiny. Ages 14–up. Agent: Katie Shea Boutillier, Donald Maass Literary. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 12/08/2017 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
X
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

Parts of this site are only available to paying PW subscribers. Subscribers: to set up your digital access click here.

To subscribe, click here.

PW “All Access” site license members have access to PW’s subscriber-only website content. Simply close and relaunch your preferred browser to log-in. To find out more about PW’s site license subscription options please email: pw@pubservice.com.

If you have questions or need assistance setting up your account please email pw@pubservice.com or call 1-800-278-2991 (U.S.) or 1-818-487-2069 (all other countries), Monday-Friday between 5am and 5pm Pacific time for assistance.

Not Registered? Click here.