Uncle Holland

When Holland is arrested for the thirty-seventh time for stealing beautiful things, he must make a very difficult decision. A police officer says that he must either go to jail or become a soldier. He chooses to join the army and is sent south, where he finds himself surrounded by beautiful things: palm trees, parrots, flowers and big blue waves…and fish! Holland starts painting pictures of the fish, which he sells at the market on the weekend. Soon, he has money to send home to his parents. They are worried that he’s gone back to his stealing ways, so his father writes to ask if he earned the money honestly. Holland writes back to reassure him that he has decided to paint instead of steal because “not everything that’s pretty can be stuffed in your pockets!” Based on a true story about JonArno Lawson’s uncle, and accompanied by Natalie Nelson’s collage illustrations, this quirky picture book is about making choices – and art.

Gon, The Little Fox

In this retelling of Nankichi Niimi’s masterpiece, delicate watercolors bring to life the mischievous yet kind-hearted spirit of Gon, the Little Fox. Readers should proceed with caution as they begin this tale, however, especially as Gon is sure to win over their hearts. Like many Japanese folktales, Gon, The Little Fox does not exactly end happily; a circumstance which will inspire lively and provocative conversation among young readers. When readers first meet Gon, he is relishing his life as a rascally fox. Each day brings a new opportunity for him to stir up trouble in Nakayama. One day, however, he feels remorse for having killed an eel that was meant for the poor villager Hyoju’s dying mother. Ironically, it is this rare moment of conscience that leads Gon down a path that leads to his fate. As with all great folktales, the world of Gon, The Little Fox is both extremely familiar and extremely mysterious. This quality, as evident in both the text and illustrations, will greatly appeal to readers, both young and old.

Estrella’s Quinceañera

For as long as Estrella Alvarez can remember, her mother has been planning to throw her an elaborate quinceañera for her fifteenth birthday — complete with a mariachi band, cheesy decorations, and a hideous dress. Just thinking about her quince makes Estrella cringe. But her mother insists that it’s tradition. Estrella has other things on her mind, anyway — like dating Speedy. Does it matter that her new friends — and her parents — would never approve of aguy from el barrio? Estrella’s almost fifteen and wants to start making her own decisions. But is she ready to find out who she is — and who she really wants to be?

Falling From Grace

It was all meant to be just a game, but now Grace is missing and may not even be alive. During an elaborate game of hide-and-seek on the beach, twelve-year-old sisters Annie and Grace are caught in the rising tide, and Grace seems to have been swept away. In the midst of this, fourteen-year-old Kip is also in the wrong place at the wrong time. Finding Grace’s abandoned back-pack sets off a chain of events that lands Kip under police surveillance. As the search for Grace intensifies, suspicions grow. But can Kip piece everything together and clear his name before it’s too late for Grace? Told in Kip’s and Annie’s alternating voices, this spellbinding mystery looks at the choices young people make-and their consequences.