Mama's Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation by Edwidge Danticat, illustrated by Leslie Staub
Publication date: September 1, 2015
Ages: 5 to 8, Pre-school/Grade school
After Saya’s mother is sent to an immigration detention center, Saya finds comfort in listening to her mother’s warm greeting on their answering machine. To ease the distance between them, Mama begins sending Saya bedtime stories on cassette tape. Every night, Saya drifts off to sleep to the sounds of Haitian folktales mixed with parables of their current situation. Inspired by her mother’s stories and her father’s attempts to reunite their family, Saya writes a story of her own—one that just might bring her mother home for good. With colorful, stirring illustrations, this picture book is a poignant and tender tale about the human side of immigration and how every child has the power to make a difference.
Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco by Judith Robbins Rose
Publication date: September 8, 2015
Ages: 10 and up, Grade school/Middle school
“Miss, will you be my Amiga?”
Amiga means "friend" in Spanish, but at the youth center, it meant a lady to take you places.
I never asked myself if two people as different as Miss and me could ever really be amigas.
When Jacinta Juarez is paired with a rich, famous mentor, she is swept away from the diapers and dishes of her own daily life into a world of new experiences. But crossing la linea into Miss’s world is scary. Half of Jacinta aches for the comfort of Mamá and the familiar safety of the barrio, while the other half longs to embrace a future that offers more than cleaning stuff for white people. When her family is torn apart, Jacinta needs to bring the two halves of herself together to win back everything she’s lost. Can she channel the power she’s gained from her mentor and the strength she’s inherited from Mamá to save her shattered home life?
The Bamboo Sword by Margi Preus
Publication date: September 15, 2015
Ages: 10 to 14, Grade school/Middle school
Set in 1853 in Japan, this novel follows Yoshi, a Japanese boy who dreams of someday becoming a samurai. Unfortunately, as part of the serving class, Yoshi can never become a warrior. He is taken up by Manjiro, the protagonist of Preus’s Heart of a Samurai, and becomes his servant and secret watchdog. Meanwhile, Commodore Matthew Perry and his USS Susquehanna squadron of steamships arrive in Edo Bay demanding “diplomatically” that Japan open its ports to foreign trade. Aboard the commodore’s flagship is a cabin boy, Jack, who becomes separated from his American companions while on shore. When he and Yoshi cross paths, they set out on a grand adventure to get Jack back to his ship before he is discovered by the shogun’s samurai.
Jump Back, Paul: The Life and Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar by Sally Derby, illustrated by Sean Qualls
Publication date: September 22, 2015
Ages: 9 to 12, Grade school/Middle school
Discover the breadth and depth of Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poetry—and learn how it reflects his singular life as a late-nineteenth-century black man.
Did you know that Paul Laurence Dunbar originated such famous lines as “I know why the caged bird sings” and “We wear the mask that grins and lies”? From his childhood in poverty and his early promise as a poet to his immense fame and his untimely death, Dunbar’s story is one of triumph and tragedy. But his legacy remains in his much-beloved poetry—told in both Standard English and in dialect—which continues to delight and inspire readers today. More than two dozen of Dunbar’s poems are woven throughout this volume, illuminating the phases of his life and serving as examples of dialect, imagery, and tone. Narrating in a voice full of admiration and respect, Sally Derby introduces Paul Laurence Dunbar’s life and poetry to readers young and old, aided by Sean Qualls’s striking black-and-white illustrations.
Dolls Of Hope by Shirley Parenteau
Publication date: September 22, 2015
Ages: 8 to 12, Grade school/Middle school
When eleven-year-old Chiyo Tamura is sent from her home in a small Japanese mountain village to a girls’ school in the city of Tsuchiura, she never imagines that she will soon be in Tokyo helping to welcome more than twelve thousand Friendship Dolls from America—including Emily Grace, a gift to her own school. Nor could she dream that she’d have an important role in the crafting of Miss Tokyo, one of fifty-eight Japanese dolls to be sent to America in return. But when an excited Chiyo is asked to be Emily Grace’s official protector, one jealous classmate will stop at nothing to see her fail. How can Chiyo reveal the truth—and restore her own good name? In another heartwarming historical novel, the author of Ship of Dolls revisits the 1926 Friendship Doll exchange, in which teacher-missionary Sidney Gulick organized American children to send thousands of dolls to Japan in hopes of avoiding a future war.
The Inker's Shadow by Allen Say
Publication date: September 29, 2015
Ages: 12 and up, Middle school/Young Adult
For Allen Say, life as a teen in Southern California was a cold existence. His father, one of the leading hamburger salesmen in Japan, ran a booming burger business, much like McDonald's, and sent Allen to an American military academy, so that his son could learn English and "become a success in life."
As the school's first and only Japanese student, he experienced immediate racism among his fellow cadets and his teachers. The other kids' parents complained about Allen's presence at the all-white school. As a result, he was relegated to a toolshed behind the mess hall. Determined to free himself from this oppression, Allen saved enough money to buy a 1946 Ford for $50--then escaped to find the America of his dreams!