Children & Teens Books of the Week
Nico is new at school and lost, but he knows that playing among the birds will calm him. Undeterred when teased, Nico embraces his status as Bird Boy (Knopf, $17.99) as his enthusiasm and kindness draws in new friends. Bird motifs drawn by illustrator Shahrzad Maydani abound in this charming book by Matthew Burgess. Ages 4-8. Heidi Ashton Yoon
A crafty crow wows his new friend in Elise Gravel’s King of the Birds (HarperCollins, $7.99), the first installment in her Arlo & Pip series. Arlo the crow moves to the big city where he meets Pip, a pint-sized tweeter eager to show his new chum the ropes. As Pip plays tour guide, Arlo regales him with a litany of fascinating crow facts. Did you know crows can count to six and may even be able to do simple math? Even as he noshes on rotting beach trash, Arlo dazzles with cunning and an eye for shiny objects. Readers will laugh out loud at tongue-in-cheek humor that’s funny for parents too. This vibrant graphic novel geared toward beginners will delight even the most reluctant reader — they’ll be crowing for the sequel. Ages 6-10. Brandi Rose
How far would you go to save the ones you love? Princess Shiori harbors a secret, a forbidden magic she longs to understand. But on the day of her unwanted betrothal, Shiori witnesses the secret of another, causing her and her brothers to be cursed, them transformed in Six Crimson Cranes (Knopf, $18.99), and Shiori left without a voice, lost in a faraway land, and her face obscured by a bowl. With the help of her enchanted paper bird, a shifting dragon, and an unexpected ally, it will take all of her courage and will power to break the curse, confronting evil enchanters, a Dragon King, and gods, even when any word she utters would mean death for one of her beloved brothers. In this epic and enchanting fantasy, author Elizabeth Lim beautifully blends elements of Japanese and Chinese legends and western fairy tales, in this coming-of-age tale of family and sacrifice, with a dash of swoony romance. Ages 12 and up. Leah Meadvin.