Last minute shoppers love books – so, here’s a list of titles that deserve attention. This is part one of two – today we look at Young Adult and Children’s books. Tomorrow, reads for adults.
By Lalaa Comrie
Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron – https://amzn.to/33Onfb0
It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again. In this one, girls team up to overthrow the kingdom in this unique and powerful retelling of Cinderella from a stunning new voice that’s perfect for fans of A Curse So Dark and Lonely.
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna- https://amzn.to/3qjHGUP
Not only is the cover for this one beautiful, but the story is equally as captivating. This is the first book in a new series from Forna. In it, a girl named Deka is rejected by her village and gets recruited to join a supernatural all-girl army instead. Who would turn that down? Suddenly, Deka goes from a misfit to the biggest adventure of her life.
Lore, by Alexandra Bracken – https://amzn.to/3qkt73r
Set within the world of Greek mythology, nine gods are banished to Earth every seven years, subject to potentially being murdered by descendants of other ancient bloodlines looking for eternal glory. Lore Perseous has left that world behind, instead pushing down her desire to avenge the deaths of her family. But what happens when an old friend and one of the last Greek gods asks her to help kill a mutual enemy? It’s a book about choices and the consequences, which can last forever.
Concrete Rose, by Angie Thomas – https://amzn.to/3smmqjS
Set seventeen years before Thomas’ novel The Hate U Give, the author explores what it means to be a Black man living in the United States. Following the son of a former gang legend, Maverick does all he can to help his single mom while his dad’s incarcerated. When he discovers he has a child, he now has to figure out how to be the father he doesn’t have while also trying to be the man he wants to be.
Ways to Make Sunshine by Renee Watson – https://amzn.to/3Fvd4G0
Ryan Hart has a lot on her mind – school, self-image and especially family. Her dad finally has a new job, but money is tight. That means some changes, like selling their second car and moving into a new (old) house. But Ryan is a girl who knows how to make sunshine out of setbacks. As her brother says when he raps about her, she’s got the talent that matters most: it’s a talent that can’t be seen, she’s nice, not mean!
Eyes That Kiss the Corners by Joanna Ho and Dung Ho – https://amzn.to/3EhTewL
This lyrical, stunning picture book tells a story about learning to love and celebrate your Asian-shaped eyes, in the spirit of Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, and is a celebration of diversity.
The Tree in Me by Corinna Luyken – https://amzn.to/3egilW1
Through poetic text and exquisite illustrations of children reveling in nature, this picture book explores the various ways we as human beings are strong, creative, and connected to others. Each of us is like a tree, with roots and fruit, and an enduring link to everything else in nature. “The tree in me is strong. It bends in the wind, and has roots that go deep . . . to where other roots reach up toward their own trunk-branch-crown and sky.”
Ophie’s Ghost by Justina Ireland – https://amzn.to/3H7sOzH
Ophelia Harrison used to live in a small house in the Georgia countryside. But that was before the night in November 1922, and the cruel act that took her home and her father from her. Which was the same night that Ophie learned she can see ghosts. We follow Ophie as she gets used to her new gift and her new life.
Lalaa Comrie is an award-winning writer, literacy advocate, book blogger, and host of the Getting Lit Podcast, a podcast dedicated to reviews and recommendations for diverse reads coming out for the month. Her work has been highlighted by Toronto Life Magazine and she has worked with Twitter Canada, Books for Africa, Canada Reads, and Tech Spark Canada. Lalaa works at the York Region Arts Council helping to promote local arts and culture and also shares ways to #DiversifyYourBookshelf on her blog thisblackgirlreads.ca