Marissa Moss

Marissa Moss has written more than 60 children's books, from picture books to middle-grade and young adult novels. Best known for the Amelia’s Notebook series, her books are popular with teachers and children alike. Both Rachel's Journal and Hannah’s Journal are included in state textbooks. Her picture book biographies of historical figures from Jackie Mitchell to Maggie Gee to Kate Warne have won many awards.

Barbed Wire Baseball, a recent nonfiction picture book, won the California Book Award, and was named an ALA Notable Book as well as a Notable Book for Social Studies.

Last spring, her first adult book was published. Last Things, a Memoir of Love and Loss, uses her trademark mix of art and text in a graphic memoir about her husband's death from ALS.

Book Reviews by Marissa Moss

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“does a good job of evoking the post-Civil War era . . .”

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The Last Life isn’t an easy read, but it’s a rewarding, thought-provoking one.”

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“This book is impressive as a picture of life in North Korea, but it goes beyond that, elevating the story into one that gets to the heart of what is so corrosive about propaganda, what is

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“A beautiful, compelling portrait of dance . . sure to become a book group favorite, rich in discussion topics that are as provocative as they are complex.”

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“Jestice succeeds in proving that queens have played important parts throughout history—and continue to do so.”

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“For those who can’t travel to Egypt, this book is the next best thing.”

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“With powerful language, Usami reveals a terrifying world of teenage fan obsession.”

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“The graphic novel format will be enough incentive to get readers interested in physics.”

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“an important reminder of something that’s easily taken for granted: the right to participate directly in one’s own government.”

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“brilliant. . . . Beyond tracing Putin’s career and delving into his psychology, his beliefs and values, Weiss places his character firmly in context.”

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“quick glimpses into different lives”

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“A master of visual and narrative pacing . . . the book does what great books should do: it stays with the reader long after the last pages are turned.”

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“Like a series of Russian nesting dolls, this book is about a specific painter within a specific culture within the history of how that culture has been seen and described through the centu

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“a fictional history of the slow dissolution of the Ottoman Empire itself, crumbling under its own corruption, starting at the end of the 19th century.”

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“Funny in a distinctly deadpan way. . . . the perfect book for anyone who cares about words and the many ways to have fun with them.”

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“This is more than an introduction to Canetti, the thinker, the writer, the man. It’s a profound portrait of a creative talent and the times he lived in.”

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“wonderfully fun to dip into. Reading just a few pages is a perfect antidote to reading today’s news. Humor like this is more than a tasty snack; it’s a very satisfying meal.”

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“A magnificent job of bringing this little-known history into the full glorious light where it belongs.”

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“This kind of self-awareness is a crucial ingredient for any memoir.

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Defending Britta Stein makes vivid an important part of Holocaust history, one that is less familiar to the general public and deserves all the more to be better known. . . .

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“Anne Innis Dagg is a worthy subject for a picture book and this story may inspire readers to look for more information about her.”

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“The spare, evocative text paired with the warm art has the feel of a classic, as the book is sure to become.”

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“a rich resource . . . a brilliant and much-needed book.”

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“exciting and fun . . . a pitch-perfect image of a classroom election. With this story, young readers will be inspired to rock that vote as soon as they’re given the chance.”

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“Pure pleasure from first page to last. . . . All the joys of writing are richly displayed here, as is all their power to evoke and hold close.”

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“incandescent”

The narrator of Yiyun Li’s newest book is Agnes, but she insists the story she tells isn’t really about her, but about her best friend Fabienne:

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“Quickly digested, bite-sized moments in pregnancy and motherhood . . .”

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“For those looking for factual information and a new perspective on an old topic, fortunately there are other books out there.”

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“The Wise Gals who started at the CIA paved the way for the many women coming after them and still provide an inspiring model.

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“Cruz has created an unforgettable character in Cara. And readers will feel like they’ve made a new, fascinating friend.”

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“the understated text allows the art to shine . . . a lovely way to show how everyone has something to offer.”

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“Ultimately the great ‘aha’ moment seems more like a ‘hohum’ moment.

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“Young readers will easily identify with Pigeon. . . . a brilliant picture book.”

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“Brilliantly conceived. . . . There are court intrigues, whispered rumors, a clever subplot about the power of painting, what it reveals as well as what it hides . . .

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“very funny . . . if you’re ready to laugh at pandemic absurdities, this is the book for you.”

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“there is a sense of exuberance in both rhyme and illustration. It’s that energy that makes the book fresh and fun."

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“McCall Smith is an author who sees his characters and their world, fully and tenderly. And that makes for a book that is as comforting to sink into as well-worn armchair.”

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“bright and appealing . . . a perfect introduction into the wonders that books can offer.”

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“bright and appealing . . . a perfect introduction into the wonders that books can offer.”

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“A powerful story of community, faith, and belief, and which ones truly matter versus ones that are false distractions.”

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“a quick read . . . easily digested . .  .”

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Louisa Treger opens her historical novel about the life of intrepid reporter Nellie Bly in 1887 as she arrives on Blackwell Island, home of the notorious women’s insane asylum.

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“essential reading for anyone concerned with social justice. . . . a blueprint for a Jewish 1619 Project.”

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“sweetly comforting”

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“In these days of isolation and disconnection, Carlson shows us how to enrich our own landscapes, both inner and outer. What seems barren at first can reveal hidden treasures.”

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The Last White Man works as a kind of message-heavy fable . . .”

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“You can read Holy Chow for the mystery, for the snappy writing, for the engaging characters. The main thing is to read it!”

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“Quimby deserves the attention Dahler gives her. Hers is a life worth knowing.”

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“Barry has created characters that stick with the reader long after the last page is turned.

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“This book is beautifully structured for young readers. The chapters are quick and loaded with colorful illustrations.

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“The writing is vivid in the descriptions of village life in Oman . . .”

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“[does] a superb job of transporting the reader back in time, evoking the era with telling details while staying true to the core of Nellie Bly’s story.”

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“interesting and insightful . . . a beacon of hope in our dark times”

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“Far from a stuffy, dusty story, Turner gives us an exciting scientific thriller . . .”

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“an interesting puzzle . . . the historical background adds to the thrill of the narrative chase.”

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Uncontrollable Women is a fine piece of history . . .

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“cursory and sloppy . . . ill-conceived”

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“zany fun”

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“a page-turner . . . the two stories intertwine ingeniously.”

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“a portrait of a psyche, of the jumbled mess that lives in our heads . . . Reading these pages is like being invited into someone’s private dream journal.”

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“crisp, clear, and evocative . . . a supernatural thriller that takes you where you least expect to go.”

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“A vivid and concise introduction to effective writing for students and professionals alike. . . .

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“a map for others on the power of storytelling . . . writing and drawing her way to liberation”

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 “A work of literary genius, showing how insidiously normal evil can be . . .  while delivering a gripping story with vivid characters.”

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“The roots are messy indeed, but the tree blossoming from them is brilliant.”

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Calla Henkel’s debut novel has a lot to please readers who want a heavy party scene, a frothy narrative that pulses with a heavy metal beat.

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“. . . both fantastical and touchingly human.”

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“provides a valuable view of an important artist who deserves to be better known.”

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“Packed with emotional power.”

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“Barry has a real genius for getting to the reality of middle-school kids . . . gritty, real, and deeply funny.”

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“an evocative picture . . . an important addition to medieval and women’s history.”

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“a fascinating piece of writing from a master storyteller”

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“a magnificent example of how stories can light imaginations . . .”

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“Absolutely gripping . . . armchair travel and exploration doesn't get any better than this.”

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“An exquisitely painful portrait of loneliness, perfectly pitched for the current time of pandemic isolation.”

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“a kind of master class in voice . . . the world of literature is much richer now that Longing and Other Stories is available for English readers.”

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“concise, clear, easy-to-follow guide through Islam as both a religion and a political-cultural force. . . . impressively thorough.”

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“a rich and varied portrait of Israel . . .”

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“For parents who want to reassure anxious children, this book will be a useful tool.”

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“Board books are for the youngest readers, those who chew pages as well as turn them.”

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“an incomplete, unconvincing picture.”

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“. . . essential for anyone wanting to know who Magritte was, as a person, a painter, and a thinker.”

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“One story that is far from convincing, showing not much of story’s fabled power at all.”

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Out of My Heart, Sharon Draper’s sequel to Out of My Mind, is every bit as powerful and moving as the first book.

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“Thought provoking and surrealistic in some places, evocative and strange in others.”

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“Both simple and engaging.”

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“A comprehensive, even-handed, clear-headed story about one of the most argued over pieces of land on earth.”

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“An expansive history . . . with concise clarity, managing to capture the uniquely Greek identity throughout.”

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“Hermans has written a classic with this book, a scathing exploration of human nature, of the small pettiness that consumes people even in the most dramatic of situations.”

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“No detail escapes Dauber. . . . A master storyteller . . .”

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“a powerful narrative of WWII news, journalistic ethics, and women’s achievements in the face of daunting odds.”

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“a gorgeous book, richly illustrated with powerful words, evoking the music of the talented Nina Simone.”

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“a richly researched, carefully thought-out, and complicatedly inclusive history, an antidote to the current black-and-white thinking that’s proving so divisive today.”

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“Moving from staccato reportage to evocative scenes, the book works as a sort of collage of information, replicating in its stylistic choices the different lenses used to understand history

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“Together the author and illustrator have woven a powerful message, truly an anthem that children—and their parents—will want to sing loudly.”

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“Besides offering a rich source of information, Ancient Rome: Infographics presents an incredible example of visual intelligence, of how we learn by ‘seeing’ facts

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“A board book treasure.”

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“Brilliant magic!”

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“How history should be written . . . brilliant.”

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“Instead of focusing on the discrimination Beatrice faced, both words and pictures show the difficulties without focusing on them.

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Sylvain Cypel argues forcefully for the moral bankruptcy of Israel in its treatment of Palestinians.

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“A brilliant meditation on love, family, trust, and the stories that bind us to each other.”

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“A tour de force about failure and success, connection and isolation, about how we shape our lives by the stories we tell about them, and, ultimately, how stories redeem us.”

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“A beautiful evocation of what women can achieve and what they can mean to each other.”

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“The reader closes the covers more frustrated than enlightened.”

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“A brilliant example of the power of words and pictures, of storytelling itself.”

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“The real magician here is Toibin, who conjures up the complexity of the times and a rich cast of characters.”

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“Pennypacker brilliantly walks this tightrope of evoking the power and pain of love. The end result is a story about healing and forgiveness . . .”

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“Exquisite pacing . . . a masterful artist.”

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“Bearing witness has never been more important. Cerotti and her grandmother are powerful guides as to why these Holocaust stories matter.”

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“A heartwarming . . . depiction of a close Black family . . .”

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“Unfortunately, this isn’t the accurate biography it purports to be.”

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“A good adventure story, well told . . . worthy of John Le Carre.”

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“A world of bright imagination where kindness wins out.”

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“A masterful job of bringing Orwell’s complex personality and incredibly prescient thinking vividly to life.”

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“one tightly connected braid of liberty/imprisonment in forms that are political, physical, societal, emotional, and psychological.

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“A sterling example of how graphic novels are uniquely able to get readers through tough subjects.”

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“This book will certainly inspire many new questions.”

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“History at its finest, proving clearly how the past is very much part of the present.”

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“This is a picture book meant for adults . . .”

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King Tutankhamun Tells All provides a lively introduction to Egyptology and to the famous boy king.”

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“For those wanting never-before-published information about Korean, Japanese, and Chinese Americans in the OSS, this book will prove a windfall.”

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Pop-Up Moon is gorgeously illustrated by Annabelle Buxton with stunning paper-engineering by Olivier Charbonnel.

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“Brown provides an exemplary piece of history, thoroughly researched and presented as a coherent, compelling story.”

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“High school students should be especially eager to read this history, a sense of 1700s America they won’t find in their textbooks.”

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“Wickenden does a brilliant job of weaving all the complicated threads together, telling a compelling story that we thought we knew well. History at its best: personal, pow

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“[A] fascinating, beautifully written memoir . . .”

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“a brilliant book, one that lays out several gripping mysteries and reveals how the personal is very much political, all wrapped in a compelling narrative that will keep readers turning the

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“Bechdel is ruthlessly honest, her sharp gaze helping us see ourselves, our culture, more clearly.”

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“This is a rich history, much broader than the title hints at. It’s more about women as movers and shakers in a country’s culture than about divas.”

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“A beautiful book with ingeniously engineered pop-up pages.”

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“introduces young readers to women who broke the strictures of their times to do extraordinary things”

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“Nayberg brings her zany wit and artistic ingenuity to this fun romp through art history and New York City.”

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After being out of print for many years, The New York Review Children’s Collection has reprinted M. B. Goffstein’s 1977 Caldecott Honor Title, Fish for Supper.

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“Exactly what’s needed to inspire the next generation of scientists.”

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“For Jon Klassen fans, Bad Apple is a good follow-up book.”

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“A model of how not to write history for young people.”

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“sure to be loved by The Wimpy Kid set, a fun mix of cartoons and text with just the right amount of middle-school angst.”

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Nikki Grimes and Elizabeth Zunon, the pair who created Bedtime for Sweet Creatures, are back with a picture book that will become a bath time reading favorite for many families.

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“A brilliant job of engaging even the most reluctant reader, showing how much fun a book can be.”

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“An important addition to the growing collection of picture book biographies of women you should know about but probably don’t.”

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“A world that kids will love!”

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“Should inspire readers to explore more of these amazing-but-true stories and connections.”

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“The little boy who dreamed of painting like Norman Rockwell ended up with his own art on the cover of The New Yorker. What could be more magical than that?

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“A powerful story of our earliest days as a species.”

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Jerry Craft brings us back to eighth grade in his follow-up graphic novel to the award-winning New Kid.

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“There is some information to be gleaned, but not enough to make the pages worth turning.”

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“The story is simple, with a satisfyingly surprising ending.”

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“Inside Out Medieval Castle provides an appealing introduction to a potent fairy tale symbol, bringing it into the real world.”

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“lively illustrations and wry humor”

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“Lovers of Winnie the Pooh stories and The Wind in the Willows will find a contemporary story in the same vein.”

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“accessible in an engaging way, sure to inspire a generation of young scientists.”

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“In Pollock Confidential, they’re given a fascinating slice of this mercurial artist’s life, a strange marriage between a conservative government intrigue and rebellious creativity

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“a delightful take on the new baby trope . . .”

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“deserves to be widely read and treasured.”

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“Makes graduating to big kid pants fun.”

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“Bound to be an instant favorite.”

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“The illustrator tries hard to make up for the text’s plodding quality with winsome details and colorful characters.”

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“This is a book to be savored, each page a minor masterpiece in mood.”

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“For those looking for an easy introduction to the idea that women can make art, this book is a solid offering. For those wanting more, the search is still on.”

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Nikki Grimes gives a new slant to the perennial bedtime battles in Bedtime for Sweet Creatures.

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“Doesn’t convey the real challenges or inspiring successes of a driven athlete, though it hopes to do both.”

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“. . . a masterful job of evoking the sweep of this vital piece of naval history in both broad strokes and the telling detail.”

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“brilliant . . . an important addition with its focus on the lives of women and its unbearably vivid details.”

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“Des Jardins’ writing inspires all of us in the way Missy clearly inspired others. It’s an incredible feat for a biography to serve its subject so well.”

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“For children who are afraid of the dark, this book is the perfect way to turn the scary into the fascinating.”

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“another delightful crayon story . . .”

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“hilarious wordplay . . .”

The delightful characters of Yam and Donkey return for more hilarious wordplay in You Loves Ewe.

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“The perfect book for any child who has ever played with a hammer.”

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 “There's a lot of charm in the art and text, and readers will be inspired to color their own story, including gray in their palette.”

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“for anyone who loves pop culture references and quick, easy fun, this book will help them while away those hours stuck in mass transit.”

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“The text is clear and engaging, the art charming and inviting. Mapmaking has rarely looked more fun and cozy.”

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“A wonderfully fun young graphic picture book, the perfect way to revive this old Yiddish classic.”

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“This is a graphic novel for people who don't like graphic novels, a sports book for readers who don't like sports books.

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“All families will appreciate the message of how crazy-much parents love their children.”

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“a rollicking adventure, part misfit superhero story, part humorous friendship tale . . .”

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“light and breezy . . .”

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“The message of celebrating our differences is upbeat, and the encouragement to 'just ask' is something kids will love to hear.”

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“A timely memoir.”

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“Khemlin has created an unforgettable character and opened a window onto a world more people should know about.”

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Stephen Krensky's biography of Nelson Mandela outlines how a boy whose name, Rolihlahla, meaning “troublemaker,” grows up to be a fighter for the rights of black South Africans and the country's fi

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“an important book for any home or library collection.”

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“A treasure . . . using both a close personal focus and a broader historical scope, Grossman has written a war epic that rightly deserves to be a classic.”

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“A riveting story of a horrible injustice enacted with careful, logical cruelty in the name of national security.

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“In this wide-ranging story of exploration, Fetter-Vorm captures both the mystical pull of the moon and the many men and women who worked hard to understand and reach it.

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“Each of the lives portrayed here exemplify the importance of perseverance and a refusal to be constrained by social boundaries.”

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“a slapdash simplification of history to a cartoonish extreme.

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“A standout among the board book crowd.”

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“This book offers a sweet ray of hope in a very confusing time.”

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“A lively mix of words and pictures . . .”

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“Fun and engaging, Untitled proves just how interactive a deceptively simple picture book can be.”

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“[C]heerful, funny . . . Perfect balance of text to art . . .”

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“An intriguing story asking the eternal question, What is Art? . . .

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“The question of ‘What are you?’ has never been answered with so much charm.”

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“Clear descriptions and beautiful illustrations . . .”

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“Masterly, vivid, dramatic. . . This is beautiful writing, visceral and deep.”

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It seems too bizarre to be true, even in the dreamworld of surrealism.

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“Budding inventors, doodlers, and cartoonists will find much to love in this fun, inspiring book.”

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“Who is this picture book for? Any child would find it a horror story about a destructive father and a mother who can't keep herself or her son safe.

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“a good job of explaining the mechanics of bridge building”

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“Does an excellent job of describing Debs’ life and work, his passion and purpose.”

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The press release for this book reads “Tyson covers all the major concepts in astrophysics, and does so in an accessible but never condescending style.” It is indeed true that the major concepts ar

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“a quick, mesmerizing read.”

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"Mary Walker deserves better than this. And so do young readers."

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“Stunning photographs . . . fascinating information . . .”

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“A masterful combination of words and pictures, Harold Loves His Woolly Hat is about love and the different forms it can take, if only you open your eyes to it and are willing to s

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“Struttin' with Some Barbecue provides an important introduction to a musical figure most people won't have heard of, along with the story of her better-known part

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In the third picture book by this talented team, I Am Human teaches both compassion and mindfulness, popular trends in children's books these days.

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“Bald Knobber is a good example of how design matters in books, how we experience a book as an object first, then dive into the pages to discover the world inside.

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The young boy who narrates Sing to the Moon has big dreams but when a rainy day keeps him from his exotic plans, he discovers a different kind of indoor adventure invented b

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Passing for Human is a compelling weaving of stories about author-illustrator Liana Finck's mother, her father, herself and how each of them has difficulties figuring out themselves, figur

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John Hendrix tells a very complicated story in tracing Dietrich Bonhoeffer's journey of faith in Nazi Germany. The graphic format serves him well as he intersperses dense text passages with art.

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“With the comics and the cleverly designed art, this book has something for everybody. And those with a keener curiosity will find plenty to satisfy their elemental interest.”

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The Dreamer, a spare picture book written and illustrated by Il Sung Na, is clearly meant to inspire young readers to try for the impossible.

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The theme of parents' love for their child is a recurring one in children's books, from Love You Forever by Robert Munsch to Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney to Mama

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This is the time of stories about refugees and immigrants in every format possible.

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Jules Feiffer is a masterful storyteller, creating unforgettable characters like his dancers, his neurotics, his therapists.

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Learning a new language can be daunting, but Chineasy for Children makes it fun, if not exactly easy.

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“for kids worried about the first day of school, this book offers something to make them feel better.”

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Michael Kupperman is a graphic novelist with a cult following (Snake 'n' Bacon's Cartoon Cabaret, Tales Designed to Thrizzle).

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Vietnamese Memories by Clement Baloup starts as a series of memories of the Vietnam War, different men, now living in France, telling how they left Saigon at the end of the war.

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Since their first book together, Extra Yarn (2012, Balzer & Bray), Barnett and Klassen have created a series of deceptively simple, clever books.

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Alpha: Abidjan to Paris tells the story of the refugees’ struggle from up close and personal through the character of Alpha, a cabinet maker in the Cote d'Ivore, the Ivory Coast.

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There is a lot of discussion these days in the children's book world about books providing mirrors and windows, ways for readers to recognize themselves and see other cultures.

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Narwhal and Jellyfish are the stars of this easy reader series by Ben Clanton.

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It is a difficult task to dive into the sequel to a book that received universal praise and many starred reviews without having read that first acclaimed book.

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Black Bird Yellow Sun operates on several levels, more complicated than you might think a simple board book would be.

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The theme of desperately wanting a pet is not new to children's books, but it takes a different form in I Love Cats!, the follow-up to Stainton and Staake's I Love Dogs!. What is

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We may think that nostalgia is something only adults feel, looking back on their childhoods, but children feel nostalgic, too.

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STEM books are hot topics now and every parent wants their child to be a mathematical whiz, if not a genius.