Friday, August 9, 2019

Just Us Books Signs Award-Winning Author Marilyn Nelson to Picture Book Deal

Just Us Books has signed award-winning author Marilyn Nelson to a publishing deal for her picture book, Free Day Pie. The manuscript is based on a story Marilyn’s mother shared with her children about their grandfather's journey from slavery to establishing family roots in the predominantly Black town of Boley, OK, in the early 1900s. 

Marilyn Nelson is the 2019 winner of the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and the author of numerous books for children and adults. She is also a contributor to our anthology with Crown: We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices

Marilyn is represented by the Serendipity Literary Agency. 

Monday, August 5, 2019

Five books to keep students excited about school

It’s back to school season. Whether your young scholars are excited, anxious, or wishing summer break would last indefinitely – there's a book to which they’ll relate.

Here are our top five back-to- school kidlit picks, available at our online store.

1) Places I Love to Go, by Wade Hudson,
illustrated by Laura Freeman, ages 2-5

Follow a group of children as they experience the excitement of visiting their favorite places – including school. 

2) Aloha for Carol Ann, by Margo Sorenson, illustrated by Priscilla Burris, ages 4-7

Beautiful palm trees, pretty flowers and a warm breeze are all waiting to welcome 8-year-old Carol Ann to her new school in Hawaii. But Carol Ann doesn’t want a new school. She doesn’t want new friends, or palm trees or a warm breeze. She wants her old friends. She wants her old home. She wants things the way they used to be. How will she remember her new classmates’ names? Who will she play with at recess? How will she ever feel at home in this new place? Then the teacher introduces Carol Ann to the term, aloha. She says the little word means hello, welcome and a lot more. Carol Ann finds out for just how much aloha means as she makes a place for herself at her new school.

“In this story of starting at a new school and making friends, Carol Ann is soon saying ‘Aloha’  ... the book should prove reassuring to children in similar situations.” - Publisher's Weekly

3) Jamal’s Busy Day, by Wade Hudson, illustrated by George Ford, ages 4-7

Meet Jamal – an energetic boy who shows just how demanding and eventful his day is as a student. He "works with numbers" in math class, does "research" in the library, has "meetings to attend" in the school auditorium, and occasionally settles schoolyard "disagreements between [his] co-workers." 

“The upbeat message is that both parents and children can "work hard" and accomplish much in their respective arenas: all have something to contribute and all work has value.” -Publisher’s Weekly

4) Path to My African Eyes, by Ermilla Moodley, ages 11-14

Being a teenager is tough enough. But imagine starting freshman year a new high school that's not just in a new city, but a new country? That's life for 14-year-old Thandie Sobukwe.

When her father is transferred from his position as a professor at a Capetown, South Africa university to Buena Vista, California, Thandie Sobukwe says goodbye to her friends, family and favorites places and hello to self-doubt, rejection and cultural confusion. Everything from the way she looks to the way she speaks, and even the way she thinks is questioned, mocked or simply misunderstood. Thandie's struggling to be comfortable in her skin, but between her California girl dreams, ambivalent feelings about Black American culture, and sensitivity about the ethnic background she thinks makes her stand out too much, she doesn't seem to fit in anywhere. Thandie's facing a real dilemma: How can you be true to yourself when you're trying to discover who you are?

“clearly delineated issues facing young African students in this country as well as those of any teen entering a new school in the middle of the year. Many girls will recognize Thandi's conflicts with her parents and her longing to fit in, and celebrate her progress.” - School Library Journal

5) 12 Brown Boys, by Omar Tyree, ages 9-12

Best-selling author Omar Tyree makes his children's book debut with 12 Brown Boys, a collection of short stories for middle readers that focus on the lives of Black pre-teen boys. Readers will connect with Tyree's engaging characters. There is Santa Monica scholar-entrepreneur and all around super kid William; Red Head Mike who hates his nickname, but hates his red hair even more; Chestnut, who is sent to live with relatives down south to keep him out of trouble in his Brooklyn neighborhood, and Wayne, who resents his role as the oldest child until a tragedy strikes the family. Tyree has assembled a wide range of characters that reflect the diversity of experiences of Black boys - characters that are funny, serious, edgy, street-wise, studious, and all unforgettable.