n addition to downloadable eBook and audiobook selections on Washington Anytime Library, check out other learning resources on the Walla Walla Public Library website under Kids & Teens, Learning and Fun:
TumbleBooks: TumbleBooks reads aloud and animates many of your child's favorite books! An excellent program for beginning readers.
Starfall: Give your child a head-start in phonics with this fun and engaging online program. Useful for children in pre-K to 2nd grade.
National Geographic Kids: NatGeo Kids’ website is a treasure trove of games, videos, photos, crafts, and other fun activities for kids of all ages.
This week’s eBook/Audiobook selections on Washington Anytime Library, at anytime.overdrive.com.
Kids EBook Fiction
"The Other Half of Happy,” by Rebecca Balcárcel
A seventh grader plots to run away to Grandma's instead of going on a family trip abroad.
Half-Guatemalan, half-white Quijana, named for Don Quixote, is much happier identifying as Anglo than Latinx. She doesn't speak Spanish, a fact that doesn't bother her too much until her Guatemalan cousins move to town, and not fitting in with the other Latinx kids at her new junior high doesn't help matters. When her parents announce that the family, which includes her 3-year-old brother Memito, is going to Guatemala over winter break, Quijana knows she can't go and embarrass herself. She resolves to save money and buy a bus ticket to Florida, where her maternal grandmother is going through cancer treatments. Key to her plan is selling the Guatemalan huipil her abuela sent her in order to pay for the trip. Biracial Quijana's anxieties about her mixed identity, not fitting in, and wanting to find her own way will ring authentic for readers of mixed backgrounds, but her voice skews younger than 12, and preteens may be unconvinced of the sincerity of Quijana's friendships with her peers compared with her hyperattachment to Grandma, who seems like her real best friend. Spanish phrases are (thankfully) not italicized but are usually translated within a few sentences; appendices include Grandma's "wise words," quotations from “Don Quixote,” titles of poems referenced in the text, directions to a game played, and science notes.
A novel about liminality with little in the way of originality.
— Kirkus Reviews
"Ghost Boys," by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Set in an impoverished Chicago neighborhood, this somber story blends history with current events. Jerome Rogers, a black 12-year-old, is playing outside with a toy gun when he is shot and killed by a white policeman who views him as a threat. Now Jerome wanders the earth with other “ghost boys” whose deaths are all connected to bigotry. Ironically, the only human who can see Jerome is Sarah, the young daughter of the officer who took his life. Jerome meets the ghost of Emmett Till and learns the horrific details of his murder. Emmett, like the other ghost boys, cannot rest until the world is swept clean of discriminatory violence; maybe Jerome can help if he can make Sarah understand that her father’s act was a result of deeply ingrained racism. Rhodes writes in short, poetic chapters that offer graphic depictions of avoidable tragedies; her hope for a better world packs a powerful punch, delivering a call to action to speak out against prejudice and erase harmful misconceptions. Ages 10-14
— Publishers Weekly
"The War That Saved My Life," by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Ada discovers there are worse things than bombs after she escapes her Mam’s cruelty during a children’s evacuation of World War II London.
Crippled by an untreated club foot and imprisoned at home by Mam, Ada has survived, but she hasn’t thrived. Only caring for her brother, Jamie, has made life tolerable. As he grows, goes out and tells Ada about the world, her determination to enter it surges. She secretly begins learning to walk and joins Jamie when Mam sends him to the country. Ada narrates, recalling events and dialogue in vivid detail. The siblings are housed with Susan, a reluctant guardian grieving the death of her friend Becky. Yet Susan’s care is life-changing. Ada’s voice is brisk and honest; her dawning realizations are made all the more poignant for their simplicity. With Susan’s help and the therapeutic freedom she feels on horseback, Ada begins to work through a minefield of memories but still harbors hope that Mam will accept her. In interesting counterpoint, Susan also knows what it is like to be rejected by her parents. With the reappearance of Mam, things come to an explosive head, metaphorically and literally. Ignorance and abuse are brought to light, as are the healing powers of care, respect and love.
Set against a backdrop of war and sacrifice, Ada’s personal fight for freedom and ultimate triumph are cause for celebration. Ages 9-12
— Kirkus Reviews
"Hello, Universe," by Erin Entrada Kelly; illustrated by Isabel Roxas
The universe comes together unexpectedly when a unique set of circumstances cause four tweens to cross paths. Central to the story is Virgil, an 11-year-old Filipino American whose grandmother, Lola, helps him to come out of his shell and face the world. When Virgil and his pet guinea pig, Gulliver, end up trapped in a well in the woods at the hands of a bully, Chet, it is up to the stars to align before it's too late. Coming together like spokes on a wheel, everyone converges in the woods — Valencia, a Deaf girl on whom Virgil has a crush; Kaori, an adolescent fortune-teller and free spirit; Kaori's sister, Gen, her jump-roping apprentice; a feral dog Valencia has befriended; and a snake, which is the only thing Chet fears. Unlikely friendships are formed and heroism abounds as the group of young people try to find their way in the world. Plucky protagonists and a deftly woven story will appeal to anyone who has ever felt a bit lost in the universe. Ages 8-12
— School Library Journal