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We Say #Never Again edited by Melissa Falkowski and Eric Garner

Book jacket cover of We Say #Never AgainBooklist: *Starred Review*  “From the aftermath of the February 14, 2018, school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, comes this collection that stands alone as a primary source document. A few pieces from the journalism and broadcasting faculty accompany dozens of short essays and photographs by student journalists of the Eagle Eye, the high-school newspaper and student broadcasters from WMSD-TV, the school TV station. Frank and sincere, if occasionally repetitive, the student essays capture the raw aftermath of a tragedy from the closest vantage point one can find. They examine the situation from myriad angles; a recent British transplant comes at it as a so-called outsider, while those closest to the heart of the #NeverAgain movement on Twitter examine their newfound celebrity and respond to public critiques. At the same time, it’s a document about the inner workings of a high-school newspaper suddenly thrust into a spotlight far beyond what staff writers could ever have imagined. Many of the students wrestle with concerns of journalistic ethics: how to interview and write when they’re too close to the subject at hand.  A book like this shouldn’t have to exist, and yet it does and for that reason alone, it deserves a space in all libraries.”

Edison: The Mystery of the Missing Mouse Treasure by Torben Kuhlmann

Have you ever wondered where Thomas Edison got the idea for his lightbulb design? It turns out he may have had a little help…

Young mouse Pete has a mystery to solve, and he knows just who to ask for help – the Professor at the University of Mice.  Pete’s many-greats-grandfather boarded a ship to cross the Atlantic with a mysterious treasure generations ago, and was never heard from again.  He left no trace behind – only an ancient piece of paper that tells the tale of a sea voyage and a great treasure.

With the help of a little research and a magnifying glass, Pete and the Professor discover that the ship, the H.M.S. Atlantis, went down in a tragic accident.  All the human passengers were saved – bit what became of the mice, and all their belongings?  With that, Pete is off on a great scientific quest – to find a way to get to the bottom of the ocean and search the wreck of the Atlantis for his family treasure.  But can the two mice find a way to build an underwater submersible that will take them to the ocean floor, allow them to explore the deepest depths, evade the sea’s largest and most terrifying creatures, and make it safely back home again?  With a little ingenuity and a lot of scientific perseverance, Pete and the Professor are sure to find a way.

The third in Torben Kuhlmann’s marvelous series of books celebrating exploration and innovation, Edison is the perfect mix of history, the science of invention, the thrill of exploration, and, of course, mice making their way in a human world.  Gorgeously detailed illustrations reveal the wonder and beauty of the world through the eyes of small, clever creatures, making this hybrid picture/chapter book an adventure story perfect for all ages.  Shared aloud or pored over on your own, no matter how old you are, make sure you explore a little bit of mouse history with Pete and the Professor this spring.  And, once you’ve hunted for treasure with Pete for awhile, make sure you take a trip to the skies in Lindbergh, and then even further to the moon with Armstrong!

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Xiomara Batista is a girl who isn’t sure where – or how – she belongs.  A twin and one half of her Dominican parents’ miracle, Xiomara is everything her devout mother is afraid of – full of questions, especially when it comes to faith, possessed of fierce fists she learned how to use a long time ago to protect her twin brother, and with a body she always feels takes up too much space, especially when boys and men are always calling attention to it.  She’s also a girl who loves words and loves to write, her most prized possession a journal her twin, Xavier, gave to her on her birthday.

When her new English teacher, Ms. Galiano, invites Xiomara to join her after-school slam poetry club, Xiomara knows she can’t go.  Confirmation class is at the same time, and there’s no way Mami will allow her to switch it up, even though Xiomara isn’t too sure she’s ready to be confirmed yet – she’s full of too many questions that no one seems to want to hear, much less answer.

But a friendship – and maybe more, although there’s no way Mami will allow her to date – with a boy in her bio class starts to change the ways Xiomara tries to fit in to her world.  Aman feels like the first person to really listen to her – listen, and not judge.  Listen, with respect.  Listen, and understand.  Listen, and give words back to her.  As Xiomara fills up the pages of her journal with poetry, she starts to move toward becoming a girl who can let her words out – and even be proud of them.  But when something happens that sends her words up in smoke, can she be brave enough to keep working her way toward herself?

This book has been on my radar for months, so, after it basically picked up All The Awards this year, I knew I had to take a break from my annual Harry Potter re-read and make some time for Elizabeth Acevedo’s debut novel.  And OH WOW am I glad I did.  Beautiful, compelling, heart-breaking, raw and emotional, and stunning in its expression of one girl’s truth, this has got to be one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read.  Written in free verse, The Poet X is the story of Xiomara’s sophomore year of high school – the story of how one girl finds the words inside herself and uses them to set her true self free.