Reinberger Reviews

Click on the book titles to read the full reviews.

Picturebooks:

Big Cat, Little Cat

This story captures the bond of friendship and the circle of life with simple text. Cooper’s use of black lines against lots of white space brings the complex subject up front and alive with movement.

 

The Blue Songbird

A little blue songbird just wants to sing like her sisters, but could never manage to sound as lovely as they do. Her mother tells her to go out and find her song, so she leaves her nest to travel to far-off lands and talk to many other birds about how to find her special song.

 

The Bookstore Cat

This charming book will delight cat and word lovers as readers follow along to learn all the adjectives that fit the Bookstore Cat. Inspired by a Victorian parlor game, the Minister’s Cat, the Bookstore Cat is many things, and all of them are accompanied by adorable illustrations.

 

Dark Was the Night: Blind Willie Johnson’s Journey to the Stars

Gary Golio and E. B. Lewis bring the story of blues musician Blind Willie Johnson to life with rolling prose and imaginative watercolors. Inspiring while also somber, this book reminds all readers that even in the darkest moments there is still light.

 

A Different Pond 

Engaging portrait of father, his son and one fishing trip on a crisp autumn morning. Told through the eyes of the author as a young boy, Bao Phi is brought to the United States with his family fleeing Vietnam in 1975. Now residing in Minnesota, one morning they both set out to go fishing for dinner.

 

The Digger and the Flower

A story of three trucks, Crane, Dozer and Digger, who mindlessly build and build until Digger notices a flower in the rubble. Struck by its beauty, Digger takes care of the flower as the other trucks continue to build around him until finally there is no more space to build on except the strip of earth where the flower grows.

 

Egg 

A beginner’s book for your future graphic novel enthusiast. In true Henkes style, this story explores so many emotions that young children encounter when faced with someone different. Henkes achieves this using paneled illustrations.

 

Frederick Douglass: The Lion Who Wrote History 

With signature grace and style, Walter Dean Myers and Floyd Cooper harmoniously depict the life of Frederick Douglass in this picturebook biography. The storyline highlights the turning points in Douglass’s life, from the moment he realizes the value of words and education, to his quest for knowledge, freedom and equal rights for all. 

 

Good Dog Carl by Alexandra Day

As an adult, the beautiful illustrations and wordless plot of Good Dog Carl can still entertain me. Good Dog, Carl truly inspired my imagination, and I remember falling asleep many times to plotted adventures I would have if only Carl was my dog.

 

Green Pants 

We all have our favorite something when we’re young—blankie, binky, shirt, pillow—and for Jameson, it’s pants. He loves his green pants so much that he refuses to wear any other color except green.

 

I’m a Duck 

A young duck struggles with his fear of swimming but with encouragement from his wise friends and a touch of practice, he finds he can jump right in! The rhythmic flow of the text makes this story an enjoyable read-aloud choice for young children.

 

Julián Is a Mermaid

When a young boy sees a group of women dressed as mermaids while on the train with his abuela (grandmother), his imagination takes hold. He loves the mermaids and wants to become one himself. He worries what his grandma will think.

 

Mae Among the Stars

A biography of the life of Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African American woman who was daring enough to travel in space. When a young Mae discusses a what-do-you-want-to-be assignment from school with her parents, she shares her dream of traveling to space one day.

 

Martina & Chrissie: The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sports

Not just for sports fans! Phil Bildner’s storytelling genius pulls the reader in with a riveting rivalry between Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert. Bildner doesn’t overload the reader with a ton of information, but offers enough to inform the reader about the history of these frenemies.

 

Milk and Juice: A Recycling Romance

When Milk and Juice meet, it is love at first sight, and they spend many happy days in the refrigerator together. However, when Juice is taken away to be recycled, their love faces an obstacle, but will not be destroyed.

 

Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters

When McKinley Morganfield was a young boy, he liked playing in the mud in his backyard in Mississippi so much that his Grandma Della started calling him “Muddy,” and it stuck. Muddy loved nothing more than making music – when he saved up enough money for a used guitar, he started playing his own brand of Mississippi blues, much to Grandma Della’s chagrin.

 

Noisy Night 

With each turn of the page, the reader takes flight in this interactive story about a tall and noisy apartment building in the middle of a city. Beginning with a child unable to sleep as a result of mysterious “La La Las” above his head, to an opera singer interrupted by “ma ma mas”, the story moves up, up, up through each floor of the apartment building until reaching the very top where an old man’s sleep is interrupted by it all.

 

Original Cat, Copy Cat

When Pineapple’s family gets a new cat, his quiet routine gets ruined, and he quickly grows annoyed when Kiwi copies everything he does. To make matters worse, Kiwi ruins everything that Pineapple likes to do.

 

Pandora

Colored pencil and watercolor—such simple and delicate tools—that Victoria Turnbull uses to tell the poignant story of a little fox, Pandora, who journeys through a destitute world, making a home amongst the remaining rubble of what once was. 

 

Rivers of Sunlight: How the Sun Moves Water Around the Earth 

This is a colorful and engaging way to introduce young children to the important role the sun plays in the Earth’s water cycle.  Molly Bang teams up again with MIT professor, Penny Chisholm to complete The Sunlight Series, books that explore the sun’s role in the water cycle.

 

See the Stripes 

Don’t let the bright colors and pop-up design fool you, this picturebook contains puzzles that will have even the oldest of readers pouring over the foldable flaps, pull tabs, cut-away windows, and rotating designs within its pages.

 

Wolf in the Snow

Besides a couple of whines, sniffs, howls and barks, this wordless picturebook tells the courageous story of a little girl who gets lost in the snow while walking home from school. She finds and saves a wolf pup who has lost his wolf pack, and together they travel through the unforgiving and blinding snow.

 

Tween and Middle School Books:

Charlie Thorne and the Lost City 

Charlie Thorne is one of the smartest people alive–don’t take her word for it? Don’t worry, she’s been tested. Unfortunately, being one of the smartest people alive happens to get her into a lot of trouble. 

 

Ghost

A National Book Award Finalist in 2016, Ghost is just one of Jason Reynolds’ many works that have received recognition within the world of youth literature. Its triumphant narrative is perfect for middle schoolers, especially any young boy of color who too rarely sees an image of himself empathetically and realistically portrayed in text.

 

Maizy Chen’s Last Chance 

Maizy Chen had only met her grandparents once in person, a brief visit that was over before it truly began. But when Maizy’s grandfather gets sick, she and her mother drive to Last Chance, Minnesota to spend a few days with him. Those few days turn into the entire summer as Maizy and her mother realize just how ill he is.

 

Prairie Lotus

When Hanna and her widowed father settle in the small town of LaForge in the Dakota Territory, Hanna is both excited and worried. Excited because after three years of traveling, they are finally in a town where they bought a store instead of renting–meaning her father intends to stay for longer than normal–and because she might be able to go to an actual school.

 

Show Me a Sign 

Mary’s family had lived on Martha’s Vineyard since the first English settlers arrived on the island, and her great-great-grandfather was the first deaf islander. While being born deaf elsewhere during the 19th century would lead to a life of struggle, on Martha’s Vineyard it is nothing out of the ordinary, and people like Mary and her father are supported and accepted by the community.

Young Adult Books:

American Street

Ibi Zoboi’s American Street is a powerful Own Voice novel that will draw in teens who are interested in social issues of immigration, racism, police violence, and economic inequality.  Fabiola is an extremely likable and relatable character, and readers will love to root for her. She offers a much-needed representation that’s rare in young adult literature and empowering to so many teens.

 

Any Sign of Life

When Paige Miller wakes up, all she knows is that she fell asleep early the night before due to a fever. Except she soon finds that it wasn’t the night before, it was six days ago, and now her house is eerily quiet. Weak from being in a coma and fed by I.V. bags, Paige pulls herself from her room to look for her family, and finds that she is the only one in her house–and her town–still alive.

 

As Good As Dead (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #3)

The conclusion to the trilogy that introduced us to Pippa Fitz-Amobi and her life as a young investigator with a podcast. In this conclusion, we see Pippa start another case as she gets ready to leave for university.

 

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager is teen romance and high school drama at its best. In addition to dealing with his parents’ divorce, Norris is starting out at a new high school in Austin, Texas. Before he even steps inside the school’s building he’s sure that he’ll be treated as an unwelcome outsider; he’s a new student, Canadian, bilingual, black, and a child of immigrants from Haiti.

 

The Grace Year

Kim Liggett’s novel begins in Garner county as Tierny prepares for her Grace Year. In this dystopia, when girls turn sixteen-years-old they are forced to spend a year fenced off in the wilderness as they work off their “magic” which otherwise can be used against men.

 

Heartstopper: Volume One

Charlie, an openly-gay year 10, and Nick, a year 11 rugby player both attend an all-boys school in Britain and become the unlikeliest of friends. But is there more to the relationship than meets the eye?

 

History Is All You Left Me

In History is All You Left Me, Griffin, a high schooler, must face the grief and complications that surround loss when his first love, Theo, passes away. He finds the courage to attend Theo’s funeral, but to fully grasp and move past his grief, he must relive and reexamine the losses that preceded this parting.

 

How to Make Friends with the Dark

This is a book about losing someone and navigating the loneliness of grief when someone you love dies. While it may not seem like the most fun book to read, it kept me on my toes. It felt like every chapter, Tiger and I were catching another curveball.

 

The Last Cuentista

There is nothing Petra wants more than to be a storyteller like her grandmother. However, with earth’s imminent destruction by a comet, Petra and her family are chosen to leave Earth, and travel to the nearest inhabitable planet.

 

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me (2020 Michael L. Printz Honor Book) is an engaging, beautifully illustrated graphic novel that tells the story of a teenage girl named Freddy and her experience in a tumultuous relationship with Laura Dean.

 

Music From Another World

In Music From Another WorldTammy and Sharon are paired as pen pals for a school assignment. As they grow closer, they divulge secrets they don’t dare tell anyone about who they truly are. A historical fiction look at being LGBT in The 1970s.

 

The Nature of Witches 

Clara is an Everwitch – someone whose magic is tied to every season, and this is rare. Most witches have one season they are tied to. Throughout a year, we see Clara grow, thrive, fall in love, and risk losing those she loves to save everyone.

 

Ordinary Hazards: A Memoir

Ordinary Hazards: A Memoir (a 2020 Michael L. Printz Honor Book) will showcase the power and freedom of verse in a whole new light to teens. Grimes’ vivid imagery, wide repertoire of poetic devices, and straightforward, yet insightful conclusions are artful, yet accessible.

 

Six Crimson Cranes

“Six Crimson Cranes” is an imaginative retelling of several classic stories including “The Wild Swans,” “Cinderella,” “the legend of Chang E,” and the “Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.” Lim expertly weaves together the core elements of each story with an original twist that will keep readers enthralled until the end, and then wishing for more. In true fashion of traditional fairytales, this story has all the hallmarks of a classic tale–a lost slipper, a cursed princess in disguise, an evil stepmother, and a monster who may not be so monstrous.

 

We Are Okay

Nina LaCour tells the beautiful and heart-wrenching story of Marin’s experience of grief, pain, and betrayal as she explores her complicated relationships with her mother, grandfather, and best friend/ex-girlfriend, Mable. Through flashbacks and a much-needed heart-to-heart with Mable, we unveil the mystery around Marin’s quick and mysterious departure and ease the unspoken tension between these two friends.

 

We Set the Dark On Fire

In Medio, graduates from the School for Girls marry into prominent families. One of those women is Daniela Vargas, the top student with fake papers about who she is.

 

When Dimple Met Rishi

Sandhya Menon offers a refreshing and well-written Own Voice perspective in the world of teen romance in When Dimple Met Rishi. Dimple just graduated high school and is ecstatic that her parents are letting her take a summer program in app development. Little does she know, her parents are using this opportunity to give Dimple time to get to know Rishi, a potential candidate for an arranged marriage.

 

Graphic Novels:

Aquicorn Cove

The author/illustrator of Tea Dragon Society and Princess Princess Ever After returns with Aquicorn Cove, a graphic novel that tells the story of Lana, a young girl grieving the loss of her mother who returns to the Island her family is from to help with relief efforts after a storm. 

 

Bedhead Ted

This delightful middle-grade graphic novel twines together mystery with messages about friendship and not basing judgments on first impressions. Sangiacomo perfectly captures the dread some students face as the summer ends and uncertainties can no longer be avoided.

 

Juliet Takes a Breath 

The graphic novel version of the bestselling book, Juliet Takes a Breath. Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving her home in the Bronx for the Pacific Northwest to work with her favorite feminist author.

 

Miles Morales, Vol. 1, Straight Out of Brooklyn

In this volume, Miles struggles to balance his school and social life with his nighttime gig watching over the city. His Vice Principal is increasingly and frustratingly suspicious of him, making his school life even harder. But Miles has more pressing concerns when he discovers that immigrant children are going missing. With help from some old and new friends, he saves the day, but there’s a lot Miles has left to think about. 

 

Tidesong

Reminiscent of Studio Ghibli animations, this graphic novel introduces readers to a young witch named Sophie who travels to train under the guidance of her great aunt and cousin. While her magic is troublesome at times, Sophie is determined to prove to her family that she is powerful enough to be accepted into the Royal Magic Academy. Except instead of learning spells like she thought she would be, Sophie’s auntie Lan has her doing chores all day long and berates her for each little mistake.