Category Archives: community

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

140127095838-25-young-adult-book-awards-horizontal-gallery1With four starred reviews and a Pura Belpré Award on the cover, I knew this would be a good book. What I didn’t realize is that I would stay up until 1:30 in the morning reading the last chapters, needing to know how everything turns out for Piddy Sanchez. This is a gritty, realistic, coming-of-age story that ultimately offers hope in the power of making our own choices in life.

Publisher’s description:  One morning before school, some girl tells Piddy Sanchez that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, never mind what she’s done to piss her off. Word is that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck-up, shakes her stuff when she walks, and isn’t Latin enough with her white skin, good grades, and no accent. And Yaqui isn’t kidding around, so Piddy better watch her back. At first Piddy is more concerned with trying to find out more about the father she’s never met and how to balance honors courses with her weekend job at the neighborhood hair salon. But as the harassment escalates, avoiding Yaqui and her gang starts to take over Piddy’s life. Is there any way for Piddy to survive without closing herself off or running away? In an all-too-realistic novel, Meg Medina portrays a sympathetic heroine who is forced to decide who she really is.

Hand this book to the kid who:

* has reached a cross-roads and has important choices or decisions to make

* struggles with poverty, or needs to be introduced to someone who does

* is being raised by a single parent

* is exploring what it means to be part of a particular culture or to straddle more than one culture (Piddy is bullied by Yaqui in part because Yaqui doesn’t think she is “Latina enough.”)

* responds to a teen voice that is honest and  unapologetic

Use this to discuss:

* Choices –Piddy has a slew of choices in front of her, and not one of them is easy. We see the choices that her friend Joey makes, and some of the choices that Yaqui makes. What choices does Piddy have in life? What are the ramifications of each? This would make for a good discussion, especially when paired with Steve Watkins’ young adult novel Juvie.


* Community–Although Piddy is being raised by her mother and has never met her father, she doesn’t lack for a support network. Lila, her mother’s friend, and the other ladies at the beauty salon where Lila works (and where Piddy works on the weekends) form a tightly-knit community that looks out for each other. Use Piddy’s story as a springboard to discuss various support systems that teens have in their lives.

* Point of View–Although we never get into Yaqui’s head, we get a glimpse of what her life must be like through Raul, a policeman who patrols Yaqui’s crime-ridden neighborhood, and Joey, Piddy’s friend and neighbor who lives with daily violence in his own home. Although Yaqui is the girl we want to hate, Meg Medina won’t let us, even though she keeps Yaqui’s point of view at arm’s length. How would Yaqui describe seeing Piddy for the first time? What bothers her so much about Piddy Sanchez?

* Bullying–One of the biggest choices Piddy must make is how to handle Yaqui’s bullying. Should she try to avoid Yaqui? Confront her? Tell an adult? This would make an excellent discussion starter about how to handle bullying and its lingering consequences.

Visit author Meg Medina’s website here, and read some sample chapters and see the string of honors this book has received here.

The Nitty Gritty~

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Publication Date: March 2013

ISBN-13: 978-0-7636-65859-5 (hardcover); 978-0-7636-7164-8 (paperback)

Number of Pages: 272

For ages 14 and up


All Through My Town by Jean Reidy, illustrated by Leo Timmers

Today Biblio Links welcomes prolific picture book author Jean Reidy! Jean’s picture books are full of rhythm, rhyme, and fun–perfect for sharing with young and emerging readers. Her latest–and sixth!–picture book, All Through My Town, was released earlier this year to rave reviews.

Here’s the summary from the publisher’s website:


Rising, waking
Bread is baking

School bus honks its horn

Who are the people in your neighborhood? Perfect for the pre-K set, this adorable rhyming text takes a walking tour of your community. The fresh modern art of Leo Timmers features hidden details and a perennial theme reminiscent of Richard Scarry. Little ones will beg to re-read again as they discover the characters who repeat throughout the art in this sweet and vibrant story.

All Through the Town is a fun, rollicking romp through a fictitious town from a toddler’s point of view. The take-away here is that everyone counts–we all play a role in making our communities hum like a well-oiled machine. The text rolls off the tongue–perfect for reading aloud. Publishers Weekly calls the illustrations “…an undeniable feast for the eyes,” and a feast it is from cover to cover.
Here’s what Jean had to say about using All Through My Town in the classroom.

-2-3Biblio Links: A student walks into my library and I think: That kid needs a copy of All Through My Town. Who is this child?

Jean Reidy:  It’s a kid who is insanely curious, who loves to explore, fully engage and interact with a book, and who will spend gobs of time studying the illustrations. That kid might be one who demands rereads during which new details, discoveries and self-referential moments are revealed and reveled in. It may be a kid who is just on the brink of reading. He’s ready to proudly recite the text, aided by the rhythm and rhyme pattern. Finally, it’s a kid who devours all thing busy (think fans of Richard Scarry) – sites, sounds, vehicles – a kid who is possibly even wearing a beloved fire chief hat.
Biblio Links: I love that there’s so much to discover in this book! The illustrations invite us to take a second look (and third, and fourth…) and the text is so catchy that even pre-readers will be reciting the text after a few read-alouds.
If we were to peek into a classroom where a teacher is using All Through My Town in a lesson or with a small group, what might we see or hear?

Jean Reidy:  You might find kids dressed as community helpers and performing jobs in a classroom make-believe town, complete with a post office, library and grocery story. The class could be playing community helper Bingo or make-a-match with rhyming words or acting out the many action verbs used in the story. Students might be performing an oral reading – with the honking, beeping, shrieking, ringing, city sounds – as well as rapping with the rhyme, rhythm and repetition in the book. Or you might find a fireman or policeman visiting as a special guest speaking to the kids about safety. The class may even be “out” of the classroom, touring a local bakery or library or touring their own neighborhood and then drawing neighborhood maps. Many, many more ideas for use in the classroom can be found in my free downloadable teacher’s guide here

Biblio Links: The teacher’s guide really is amazing–so many activities to choose from! It also includes author and illustrator interviews, which are great for classrooms who do author/illustrator studies.  
Where can teachers, librarians and students learn more about you and your book?  

Biblio Links: Thanks for joining us, Jean!


The Nitty Gritty~

Read the glowing reviews here.

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s

Publication Date: March 2013

ISBN: 978-1619630291

Interest Level: 3-6 years

Number of Pages: 32

Thanks to Sheila at Book Journeys for starting this meme, and Jen (Teach Mentor Texts) and Kellee (Unleashing Readers) for turning it into a kid-lit meme! Click here for more Monday reviews.

Thanks to Sheila at Book Journeys for starting this meme, and Jen (Teach Mentor Texts) and Kellee (Unleashing Readers) for turning it into a kid-lit meme! Click here for more Monday reviews.