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I discovered this author while browsing our NEW bookshelves in the Teen Department last year.  I was trying to find a book with a male protagonist, which is harder and harder in the current publishing trend.  After the Shot Drops also included basketball and a diverse cast, so how could I resist?  It turned out to be one of my favorite books of the year.  Which is why I'm pumped that Ribay has a new book out this week!  Do I already have it checked out?  YES!

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay (Jun 18, 2019)
Shocked out of his senioritis slumber when his beloved cousin Jun is killed by the police in the Philippines for presumably using drugs, Jay makes a radical move to spend his spring break in the Philippines to find out the whole story. Once pen pals, Jay hasn’t corresponded with Jun in years and is wracked by guilt at ghosting his cousin. A mixed heritage (his mother is white) Filipino immigrant who grew up in suburban Michigan, Jay’s connection to current-day Philippines has dulled from assimilation. His internal tensions around culture, identity, and languages—as “a spoiled American”—are realistic. Told through a mix of first-person narration, Jun’s letters to Jay, and believable dialogue among a strong, full cast of characters, the result is a deeply emotional story about family ties, addiction, and the complexity of truth. The tender relationship between Jay and Jun is especially notable—as is the underlying commentary about the challenges and nuances between young men and their uncles, fathers, male friends, and male cousins.  Part coming-of-age story and part exposé of Duterte’s problematic policies, this powerful and courageous story offers readers a refreshingly emotional depiction of a young man of color with an earnest desire for the truth. [from Kirkus Reviews]

Read an excerpt here.

A linguistic and visual feast awaits in Kwame Alexander and Melissa Sweet’s debut collaboration.  New readers will be eager to follow such unconventional instructions, and experienced readers will recognize every single step.

How to Read a Book (June 18, 2019)
If the mechanics of deciphering words on a page is a well-covered topic, the orchestration of finding magic between pages is an art emphasized but unexplained…until now. First things are first: “find a tree—a black tupelo or dawn redwood will do—and plant yourself.” Once settled, take the book in hand and “dig your thumb at the bottom of each juicy section and pop the words out…[then] // Squeeze every morsel of each plump line until the last drop of magic / drips from the infinite sky.” Reading, captured here in both content and form, is hailed as the unassailably individual, creative act it is. The prosody and rhythm and multimodal sensuousness of Alexander’s poetic text is made playfully material in Sweet’s mixed-media collage-and-watercolor illustrations. Not only does the book explain how to read, but it also demonstrates the elegant and emotive chaos awaiting readers in an intricate partnership of text and image.

Read this Publishers Weekly article to learn more about their collaborative process.

"Hey yo, I’m just like my country
I’m young, scrappy, and hungry
And I’m not throwing away my shot."

Are you ready for an epic song-rap-American history showdown?  Don't throw away your shot!  See who has the greatest knowledge of the Musical Phenomenon known as Hamilton at our Hamilton Musical Throw-Down on Monday, July 1, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.  We will play Name That Song, Finish the Lyrics, and Trivia. There will be snacks and a small Hamilton-themed craft.  Registration is open to rising 7th-12th graders.  Sign up online or by phone (444-7826) beginning 06/17.