It’s1961 in Clarkesville, Tennessee, and hometown hero Wilma Rudolph is coming to town for a big parade. Wilma may be the fastest woman in the world, but Alta is The Quickest Kid in Clarksville (Chronicle, $16.99) despite her tattered, holey shoes. There is a new girl in town, however, and Charmaine’s shoes are new and perfect. The girls race each other, but there is no clear winner. Despite the tension between them, they come together when it counts to honor their hero in Pat Zietlow Miller’s girl-power celebration of competition and friendship. Whimsical illustrations by Frank Morrison complete the atmosphere. Ages 5-8.
When you are twelve years old, one summer is an awfully long time; no wonder, then, that Elliott is less than thrilled when his parents send him to stay with relatives in a remote fishing village in Nova Scotia. In his first middle-grade novel, author/illustrator Frank Viva loses none of the innovative art and design that have made his picture books so notable. Typography and bold stylistic illustration work alongside the text in Sea Change (Toon, $18.95) as Elliott’s unique friendship with a local helps turn his maggot-filled, miserable summer into something special. This contemplative coming-of-age story has a nostalgic feel that is superbly echoed in Viva’s art. Ages 9-12.
Who really knows you, and how can you tell? Mark and Kate may have sat next to each other all year in calculus, but they don’t really know each other, until a chance meeting on the first night of Pride begins a friendship that will become invaluable to them both. Kate has just blown her chance with the girl she loves from afar, and Mark may or may not have something brewing between him and his best friend. Told in alternating perspectives written by Nina LaCour and David Levithan, You Know Me Well (St. Martin’s Griffin, $18.99) is a testament to how the person who knows you best might be the last one you’d expect. Ages 15-18.