Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal
Grades Pre-K to 3
If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has way too many names: six! How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? Alma turns to Daddy for an answer and learns of Sofia, the grandmother who loved books and flowers; Esperanza, the great-grandmother who longed to travel; José, the grandfather who was an artist; and other namesakes, too. As she hears the story of her name, Alma starts to think it might be a perfect fit after all — and realizes that she will one day have her own story to tell.
About the Author
Juana Martinez-Neal is the recipient of the 2018 Pura Belpré Medal for Illustration for "La Princesa and the Pea" (written by Susan M. Elya).
Alma and How She Got Her Name is her first picture book as author-illustrator. Martinez-Neal says that the essence of
Alma, which has autobiographical elements, is "you are everyone that came before you, and you are uniquely yourself."
Juana is the illustrator of "Babymoon" (written by Hayley Barrett), "Fry Bread" (written by Kevin Mailliard), and "Swashby and the Sea" (written by Beth Ferry). She is also the illustrator of "La Madre Goose" (written by Susan M. Elya). Juana was named to the International Board on Books for Young People Honor list in 2014, and was awarded the SCBWI Portfolio Showcase Grand Prize in 2012. She was born in Lima, the capital of Peru, and now lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with her husband and three children.
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The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond
by Brenda Woods
Grades 4 to 7
Violet is biracial, but she lives with her white mother and sister, attends a mostly white school in a white town, and sometimes feels like a brown leaf on a pile of snow. Now that she's eleven, she feels it's time to learn about her African American heritage, so she seeks out her paternal grandmother. When Violet is invited to spend two weeks with her new Bibi (Swahili for "grandmother") and learns about her lost heritage, her confidence in herself grows and she discovers she's not a shrinking Violet after all.
Brenda Woods, an artist and self-proclaimed bookworm, is the author of numerous award winning books for young people. Her debut novel, The Red Rose Box received a Coretta Scott King Honor award and was a Pen Center USA finalist. Her follow-up, Emako Blue, was an ALA Quick Pick selection for reluctant readers and won the International Reading Association Children's Choice Young Adult Fiction award. Her latest work, The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA, will be released in January 2019.
Picture Us In The Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert
Grades 8 and up
Danny Cheng has always known his parents have secrets. But when he discovers a taped-up box in his father's closet filled with old letters and a file on a powerful Silicon Valley family, he realizes there's much more to his family's past than he ever imagined.
Danny has been an artist for as long as he can remember and it seems his path is set, with a scholarship to RISD and his family's blessing to pursue the career he's always dreamed of. Still, contemplating a future without his best friend, Harry Wong, by his side makes Danny feel a panic he can barely put into words. Harry and Danny's lives are deeply intertwined and as they approach the one-year anniversary of a tragedy that shook their friend group to its core, Danny can't stop asking himself if Harry is truly in love with his girlfriend, Regina Chan.
When Danny digs deeper into his parents' past, he uncovers a secret that disturbs the foundations of his family history and the carefully constructed façade his parents have maintained begins to crumble. With everything he loves in danger of being stripped away, Danny must face the ghosts of the past in order to build a future that belongs to him.
Kelly Loy Gilbert is the author of
Conviction, which was a William C. Morris Award Finalist, and the recently-released
Picture Us In The Light, which is set in Cupertino, and explores family bonds, guilt, art, the Asian American experience and life at a competitive Bay Area high school. Kelly believes deeply in the power of stories to illuminate a shared humanity and give voice to complex, broken people. Aside from writing novels, she teaches fiction writing in various capacities. She is a nearly-lifelong Bay Area resident.