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Pub Day Shout-Outs for February 9, 2021, featuring Leitich Smith, Johnson, and Shusterman

by Jen Moyers (@jen.loves.books)

Here are three books coming out today that I'm excited to read! Two are from Unabridged favorites, and one book is by a new-to-me author.

Book cover for editor Cynthia Leitich Smith's Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids

Editor Cynthia Leitich Smith's Ancestor Approved: Intertribal Stories for Kids

Description from Publisher:

"Edited by award-winning and bestselling author Cynthia Leitich Smith, this collection of intersecting stories by both new and veteran Native writers bursts with hope, joy, resilience, the strength of community, and Native pride.

"Native families from Nations across the continent gather at the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In a high school gym full of color and song, people dance, sell beadwork and books, and celebrate friendship and heritage. Young protagonists will meet relatives from faraway, mysterious strangers, and sometimes one another (plus one scrappy rez dog).

"They are the heroes of their own stories.

"Featuring stories and poems by: Joseph Bruchac Art Coulson Christine Day Eric Gansworth Carole Lindstrom Dawn Quigley Rebecca Roanhorse David A. Robertson Andrea L. Rogers Kim Rogers Cynthia Leitich Smith Monique Gray Smith Traci Sorell Tim Tingle Erika T. Wurth Brian Young

"In partnership with We Need Diverse Books."

Why I want to read it:

Cynthia Leitich Smith's Hearts Unbroken was a favorite Unabridged Buddy Read pick, a YA book that did a fabulous job addressing issues that Native teenagers can face. This anthology looks phenomenal, with some excellent authors contributing interconnected stories. Anthologies can be a great way for students to find new-to-them authors, so this seems like a perfect addition for a classroom library (and for my own!).

book cover of Nancy Johnson's The Kindest Lie

Nancy Johnson's The Kindest Lie

Description from Publisher:

"A masterful, eye-opening novel about the profound racial injustices and class inequalities roiling American society, for fans of Tayari Jones and Jacqueline Woodson.

"A promise could betray you.

"It’s 2008, and the inauguration of President Barack Obama ushers in a new kind of hope. In Chicago, Ruth Tuttle, an Ivy-League educated Black engineer, is married to a kind and successful man. He’s eager to start a family, but Ruth is uncertain. She has never gotten over the baby she gave birth to—and was forced to leave behind—when she was a teenager. She had promised her family she’d never look back, but Ruth knows that to move forward, she must make peace with the past.

"Returning home, Ruth discovers the Indiana factory town of her youth is plagued by unemployment, racism, and despair. As she begins digging into the past, she unexpectedly befriends Midnight, a young white boy who is also adrift and looking for connection. Just as Ruth is about to uncover a burning secret her family desperately wants to keep hidden, a traumatic incident strains the town’s already searing racial tensions, sending Ruth and Midnight on a collision course that could upend both their lives.

"Powerful and revealing, The Kindest Lie captures the heartbreaking divide between Black and white communities and offers both an unflinching view of motherhood in contemporary America and the never-ending quest to achieve the American Dream."

Why I want to read it:

This book has been all over Instagram, and I've seen some amazing reviews. I appreciate the timeliness of its focus (though a lot has changed since 2008!): this kind of recent historical fiction can really work to illuminate current issues. I can't wait to read it.

book cover of Neal Shusterman's Game Changer

Neal Shusterman's Game Changer

Description from Publisher:

"All it takes is one hit on the football field, and suddenly Ash’s life doesn’t look quite the way he remembers it.

"Impossible though it seems, he’s been hit into another dimension—and keeps on bouncing through worlds that are almost-but-not-really his own.

"The changes start small, but they quickly spiral out of control as Ash slides into universes where he has everything he’s ever wanted, universes where society is stuck in the past, universes where he finds himself looking at life through entirely different eyes.

"And if he isn’t careful, the world he’s learning to see more clearly could blink out of existence…

"This high-concept novel from the National Book Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author of the Arc of a Scythe series tackles the most urgent themes of our time, making this a must-buy for readers who are starting to ask big questions about their own role in the universe."

Why I want to read it:

I've never read a Neal Shusterman book that didn't work for me (his book Dry is one of our earliest Buddy Read picks!). He's a master at selecting current issues of importance and pushing them into other settings and even other worlds. I appreciate here that he's taking on an issue we read about often in the news and using it to explore some big concepts. I look forward to this one.


(A note to our readers: click on the hashtags above to see our other blog posts with the same hashtag.)

Interested in what else we're reading? Check out our Featured Books page.

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