The Cover Wars

This elegant young adult novel captures the immigrant experience for one Indian-American family with humor and heart. Told in alternating teen voices across three generations, You Bring the Distant Near explores sisterhood, first loves, friendship, and the inheritance of culture–for better or worse.

From a grandmother worried that her children are losing their Indian identity to a daughter wrapped up in a forbidden biracial love affair to a granddaughter social-activist fighting to preserve Bengali tigers, Perkins weaves together the threads of a family growing into an American identity.

Here is a sweeping story of five women at once intimately relatable and yet entirely new.

Janet: The cover is striking. Gorgeous title font and use of white space and colour. My only complaints are that the central figure is exceedingly slender, which may only be the computer stretching the image, and that the tag line seems to minimize the story. The back copy sounds more like a novel written for adults than for teens – multiple generation stories are almost always very adult. Even so, I’d look at the first few pages.

Nafiza: I like this. Both the cover and the back copy. I feel like it will be one of those books that makes you hug your grandma. I’ll read it.

Moena lives in a world of her own making, sealed off from the deadly pathogens of Bangalore in her own personal biome. But when she meets Rahul, a beautiful man working to clean up his city, her need for him draws her into danger. She will risk her health and her work to satisfy her lust for Rahul, and may find love along the way.

Janet: Lovely greenhouse-globe! The cover is definitely appealing. The back copy is less so: I’m not interested in reading about lust. Too bad – the promise of pathogens, biomes, and Bangalore is otherwise tempting.

Nafiza: Oh my gosh. Isn’t this a Tor short? Why does Tor.com have the best covers? Ughhh. And I don’t mind reading about lust at all so count me in. I mean, as look as it is good lust and not at all 50-Shades of lust. Can it be called lust. It’s 3:30 in the morning. I need to sleep.

The Five Worlds are on the brink of extinction unless five ancient and mysterious beacons are lit. When war erupts, three unlikely heroes will discover there’s more to themselves and more to their worlds than meets the eye. . . .

The clumsiest student at the Sand Dancer Academy, Oona Lee is a fighter with a destiny bigger than she could ever imagine.

A boy from the poorest slums, An Tzu has a surprising gift and a knack for getting out of sticky situations.

Star athlete Jax Amboy is beloved by an entire galaxy, but what good is that when he has no real friends?

When these three kids are forced to team up on an epic quest, it will take not one, not two, but 5 WORLDS to contain all the magic and adventure!

Janet: The cover isn’t for me. Just a little too young and happy-goofy? I don’t know. The back copy’s character descriptions are intriguing, though. I’ll wait for reviews.

Nafiza: I love the cover and I love the back copy. The 12 year old in me is celebrating. This week’s covers are all so brilliant. I want to read these books. All of them. Aaahhhh. The colours in this one are particularly appealing. It’s bound to be a fave with the MG crowd.

When Mona the Mouse stumbles across the wondrous world of the Heartwood Hotel in the middle of a storm, she desperately hopes they’ll let her stay. As it turns out, Mona is precisely the maid they need at the grandest hotel in Fernwood Forest, where animals come from far and wide for safety, luxury, and comfort. But the Heartwood Hotel is not all acorn souffle and soft moss-lined beds. Danger lurks, and as it approaches, Mona finds that this hotel is more than a warm place to spend the night. It might also be a home.

Janet: The cover is oddly appealing; although the illustrations appear flat, almost as if they are stage props, the contrast between the dark background and the hanging lights and the warm tones of the tree bark adds dimension. I like Kallie George’s Magical Animal Adoption Agency series, and I suspect I’ll like this. It’s definitely the sort of book that I would have pounced on in elementary school.

Nafiza: Yes. Once again, yes.

My name is Adam Butters. I live on planet Earth, I like eating spaghetti hoops and I’ve decided I’m going to be a SUPERHERO.

Everyone loves superheroes, they solve problems and make people happy, and that’s good because my mum needs cheering up. Also, I’ve found out that before I was adopted my real mum called me ACE. So now I’ve just got to prove to the world that’s what I am. One mission at a time…

Hilarious, heart-warming and heart-breaking in equal measure, this is a story about the power in all of us to be extraordinary.

Janet: What are spaghetti hoops? The cover does nothing for me, even if the central figure looks like he stepped out of The Incredibles. The back copy voice is very earnest and very young. I might like this.

Nafiza: The cover had me smiling and the back copy matches the kid on the cover so perfectly. An award for the cover designers. I’d look at this one. I don’t know if it’s for me but I would take a look at it.

Liara Tamani’s debut novel deftly and beautifully explores the universal struggles of growing up, battling family expectations, discovering a sense of self, and finding a unique voice and purpose. Taja Brown lives with her parents and older brother and younger sister, in Houston, Texas. Taja has always known what the expectations of her conservative and tightly-knit African American family are—do well in school, go to church every Sunday, no intimacy before marriage. But Taja is trying to keep up with friends as they get their first kisses, first boyfriends, first everythings. And she’s tired of cheering for her athletic younger sister and an older brother who has more freedom just because he’s a boy. Taja dreams of going to college and forging her own relationship with the world and with God, but when she falls in love for the first time, those dreams are suddenly in danger of evaporating.

Janet: Beautiful cover! I would read this book just for that. And the back is just as compelling. Family expectations, sibling relationships, faith, school, first love, being an African American girl/woman, #ownvoices author — does this book even have a downside? *grabby hands*

Nafiza: I really love this cover. The artist has managed to capture the vulnerability and uncertainty of the protagonist so well. And the back copy is intriguing as well. Another one for the TBR list.

Guest Post by Russell Hirsch: Indigenous Children’s Lit Resources

Guest Post by Russell Hirsch: Indigenous Children’s Lit Resources

Indigenous Children’s Lit Resources Whether you are honing your to-be-read list or building a library or school collection, the following resources on indigenous literature offer a great starting point. Canadian Children’s Book Centre The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) produces a number of themed book lists and in 2014 they compiled this list featuring First […]

Don’t Touch This Book

Don’t Touch This Book

Don’t Touch This Book Bill Cotter’s previous picture book, Don’t Push The Button!, is one of my all-time favourite story time books – I’ve read it aloud more times than I can count. It’s just so much fun – few things in life are more tantalizing than a big red button, especially one that you’re not […]

The Cover Wars

The Cover Wars

Despite sending him letters ever since she was thirteen, Taliah Abdallat never thought she’d ever really meet Julian Oliver. But one day, while her mother is out of the country, the famed rock star from Staring Into the Abyss shows up on her doorstep. This makes sense – kinda – because Julian Oliver is Taliah’s […]

I Am Not a Number by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer; illustrations by Gillian Newland

I Am Not a Number by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer; illustrations by Gillian Newland

A bookseller friend (hi, Leah!) informs me that because of long awaited and long-overdue curriculum changes in BC elementary schools that place more emphasis on the residential school system, teachers are rushing out to buy books like Fatty Legs and I Am Not a Number in droves. These books are flying off the shelves like hotcakes. It’s easy to […]

Chuck in the City

Chuck in the City

I am very fortunate to be able to support and engage with a very diverse group of young children in my work, which includes children from different Aboriginal communities. I work in a neighbourhood with a large Aboriginal population, and have been privileged to explore and learn more about different cultures and traditions. One of […]