Loan Stars is the readers’ advisory tool that allows libraries across Canada to indicate popular upcoming titles every month. Loan Stars lists are now produced using On Order numbers from LibraryData. The forthcoming titles with the most orders become Loan Stars top picks!
We would like to congratulate Reed Duncan, JT Morrow, Candace Fleming, Eric Rohmann, Jon Klassen, Karen M. McManus, and Lane Smith on being selected for Loan Stars’ Junior Top 10 lists for July and August 2023.
Llama Llama’s Little Lie By Anna Dewdney and Reed Duncan Illustrated by JT Morrow 40 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Hardcover ISBN 9780593352489 | Viking BFYR When Llama Llama accidentally breaks Mama Llama’s favorite picture frame, he decides to tell a little lie about how it happened. In the end, Llama Llama learns a powerful lesson about telling the truth, even if it’s hard to say. Told with Anna Dewdney’s signature sweet rhyme, this newest installment of the Llama Llama series is timeless and can be used as a tool to educate readers in social and emotional learning.
Mine! By Candace Fleming Illustrated by Eric Rohmann 40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover ISBN 9780593181669 | Anne Schwartz Books In a tall, tall tree, at the tip-tippy top, hangs a single red apple . . . Along skirts Mouse. “An apple!” she squeaks, “How divine! When it tumbles to the ground, it’ll all be mine!” And so it goes, for Hare, Fox, Deer, and Bear, who each can’t wait to get their hands on the apple. Soon the wind huffs and puffs, the branch snips and snaps, and down the apple falls. Only one shiny red apple for five furry creatures? What are they to do?! Here is a read-aloud picture book, perfect for story time, that will have kids repeating the refrain “Mine!”. . . complete with an ending that celebrates sharing and is sure to surprise!
One of Us is Back By Karen M. McManus 368 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover ISBN 9780593485019 | Delacorte Press The third time’s a charm. It’s been almost two years since Simon died in detention, and the aftermath has been hard to shake. First the Bayview Four had to prove they weren’t killers. Then a new generation outwitted a vengeful copycat. Now the entire Bayview Crew is back home for the summer, and everyone is trying to move on. Only, this is Bayview, and life is never that simple. At first the mysterious billboard seems like a bad joke: Time for a new game, Bayview. But when a member of the Bayview Crew disappears, it’s clear this “game” is serious – and whoever’s in charge isn’t sharing the rules. Or maybe there aren’t any. Bronwyn. Cooper. Addy. Nate. Maeve. Phoebe. Knox. Luis. Kris. Everyone’s a target. And now that someone unexpected has returned to Bayview, things could start getting deadly. The thing is, Simon was right about secrets – they all come out, eventually. And Bayview has a lot it’s still hiding.
Stickler Loves the World By Lane Smith 40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover ISBN 9780593649831 | Random House Studio And just think of the wonders we must pass every day without even noticing! Stickler, an original character covered in sticks and with multiple ever-changing eyes, loves its little world. With best friend Crow, it shares the wonders of all the amazing things the world has to offer. Stickler is astonished by the ordinary, such as the sun and the stars, as well as fascinated by those things in nature that are often overlooked, such as swirling seed pods falling from the sky. The two pals wander about the world, stopping to appreciate the many marvels along the way, especially its beloved sticks, each one unique. Stickler Loves the World encourages awareness and mindfulness with a joyous and lighthearted touch. The award-winning illustrator of bestsellers including Penguin Problems and Giraffe Problems brings imagination and humor to a story that features a delightful and original character.
The Skull By Jon Klassen 112 Pages | Ages 6-9 | Hardcover ISBN 9781536223378 | Candlewick Jon Klassen’s signature wry humor takes a turn for the ghostly in this thrilling retelling of a traditional Tyrolean folktale. In a big abandoned house, on a barren hill, lives a skull. A brave girl named Otilla has escaped from terrible danger and run away, and when she finds herself lost in the dark forest, the lonely house beckons. Her host, the skull, is afraid of something too, something that comes every night. Can brave Otilla save them both? Steeped in shadows and threaded with subtle wit – with rich, monochromatic artwork and an illuminating author’s note – The Skull is as empowering as it is mysterious and foreboding.
It’s been four weeks since Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story released on Netflix, and the binge hangover is real. Luckily, we know the cure: we have multiple historical and royal romance book recommendations to tide you over until the next season of Bridgerton.
American Royals By Katharine McGee 464 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback ISBN 9781984830203 | Ember When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne. Like most royal families, the Washingtons have an heir and a spare. A future monarch and a backup battery. Each child knows exactly what is expected of them. But these aren’t just any royals. They’re American. As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America’s first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling. Nobody cares about the spare except when she’s breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn’t care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her. And then there’s Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson. If he’d been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.
Ash Princess By Laura Sebastian 464 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback ISBN 9781524767099 | Ember Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. For ten years Theo has been a held captive by the Kaiserin her own palace. Then the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable and Theo realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.
Fatal Throne By M. T. Anderson, Candace Fleming, Stephanie Hemphill, Lisa Ann Sandell, Jennifer Donnelly, Linda Sue Park, Deborah Hopkinson 416 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback ISBN 9781984830333 | Ember If you were one of King Henry VIII’s six wives, who would you be? Would you be Anne Boleyn, who literally lost her head? The subject of rumor and scandal like Catherine Howard? Or would you survive like Anna of Cleves? Meet all Henry’s queens–each bound for divorce or death–in this epic novel that reads like fantasy but really happened. Watch spellbound as each wife attempts to survive their unpredictable king as he grows more obsessed with producing a male heir. And discover how the power-hungry court fanned the flames of Henry’s passions . . . and his most horrible impulses. Brought to life by seven award-winning and bestselling authors, here is an intimate look at the royals during one of the most treacherous times in history, perfect for anyone fascinated by Britain’s Royal Family or Netflix’s The Crown.
Her Royal Highness By Rachel Hawkins 304 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback ISBN 9781524738280 | Penguin Books Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. Heartbroken and ready for a change of pace, Millie decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better. Soon, Millie is accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Here, the country is dreamy and green; the school is covered in ivy, and the students think her American-ness is adorable. The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess. She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland. At first, the girls can’t stand each other, but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, but Millie knows the chances of happily-ever-afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale . . . or is it?
Luck of the Titanic By Stacey Lee 400 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback ISBN 9781524741006 | Putnam BFYR Valora Luck has two things: a ticket for the biggest and most luxurious ocean liner in the world, and a dream of leaving England behind and making a life for herself as a circus performer in New York. Much to her surprise though, she’s turned away at the gangway; apparently, Chinese aren’t allowed into America. But Val has to get on that ship. Her twin brother Jamie, who has spent two long years at sea, is there, as is an influential circus owner, whom Val hopes to audition for. Thankfully, there’s not much a trained acrobat like Val can’t overcome when she puts her mind to it. As a stowaway, Val should keep her head down and stay out of sight. But the clock is ticking and she has just seven days as the ship makes its way across the Atlantic to find Jamie, perform for the circus owner, and convince him to help get them both into America. Then one night the unthinkable happens, and suddenly Val’s dreams of a new life are crushed under the weight of the only thing that matters: survival.
Prince Charming By Rachel Hawkins 320 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback ISBN 9781524738259 | Penguin Books Meet Daisy Winters. She’s an offbeat sixteen-year-old Floridian with mermaid-red hair, a part time job at a bootleg Walmart, and a perfect older sister who’s nearly engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. Daisy has no desire to live in the spotlight, but relentless tabloid attention forces her join Ellie at the relative seclusion of the castle across the pond. While the dashing young Miles has been appointed to teach Daisy the ropes of being regal, the prince’s roguish younger brother kicks up scandal wherever he goes, and tries his best to take Daisy along for the ride. The crown – and the intriguing Miles – might be trying to make Daisy into a lady . . . but Daisy may just rewrite the royal rulebook to suit herself.
Queen Bee By Amalie Howard 368 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover ISBN 9780593483503 | Joy Revolution Lady Ela Dalvi knows the exact moment her life was forever changed—when her best friend, Poppy, betrayed her without qualm over a boy, the son of a duke. She was sent away in disgrace, her reputation ruined. Nearly three years later, eighteen-year-old Ela is consumed with bitterness and a desire for . . . revenge. Her enemy is quickly joining the crème de la crème of high society while she withers away in the English countryside. With an audacious plan to get even, Ela disguises herself as a mysterious heiress and infiltrates London’s elite. But when Ela reunites with the only boy she’s ever loved, she begins to question whether vengeance is still her greatest desire. In this complicated game of real-life chess, Ela must choose her next move: Finally bring down the queen or capture the king’s heart?
Royal Blood By Aimée Carter 352 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover ISBN 9780593485897 | Delacorte Press An American girl becomes the British Monarchy’s greatest nightmare in this thrilling new series where royal scandals just got deadlier. As the King of England’s illegitimate daughter, 17-year-old Evan Bright knows a thing or two about keeping secrets. But when she’s forced to spend the summer in London with her father and the royal family, who aren’t exactly thrilled she exists, her identity is mysteriously revealed, and suddenly the world is dying to know every juicy lie the press prints about her. After a fun night turns deadly and Evan becomes the primary suspect in a murder investigation, the escalating rumors and fallout threaten to tear her life apart. As she fights to uncover the truth about what happened, she discovers royal secrets that are even more scandalous than she imagined – secrets that could change the monarchy forever. And her own may be next.
Seraphina By Rachel Hartman 528 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback ISBN 9780385668415 | Penguin Teen Canada A talented musician, Seraphina, joins the court in the Kingdom of Goredd just as a member of the royal family is murdered in suspiciously draconian fashion. Soon she is drawn into the investigation. While they begin to uncover a sinister plot to destroy the peace between humans and dragons, Seraphina struggles to protect the secret behind her musical gift, a secret so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.
The Davenports By Krystal Marquis 384 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover ISBN 9780593463338 | Dial Books The Davenports are one of the few Black families of immense wealth and status in a changing United States, their fortune made through the entrepreneurship of William Davenport, a formerly enslaved man who founded the Davenport Carriage Company years ago. Now it’s 1910, and the Davenports live surrounded by servants, crystal chandeliers, and endless parties, finding their way and finding love – even where they’re not supposed to. There is Olivia, the beautiful elder Davenport daughter, ready to do her duty by getting married . . . until she meets the charismatic civil rights leader Washington DeWight and sparks fly. The younger daughter, Helen, is more interested in fixing cars than falling in love – unless it’s with her sister’s suitor. Amy-Rose, the childhood friend turned maid to the Davenport sisters, dreams of opening her own business – and marrying the one man she could never be with, Olivia and Helen’s brother, John. But Olivia’s best friend, Ruby, also has her sights set on John Davenport, though she can’t seem to keep his interest . . . until family pressure has her scheming to win his heart, just as someone else wins hers.
The Game of Hope By Sandra Gulland 384 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback ISBN 9780143187127 | Penguin Teen Canada Paris, 1798. Hortense de Beauharnais is engrossed in her studies at a boarding school for aristocratic girls, most of whom suffered tragic losses during the tumultuous days of the French Revolution. She loves to play and compose music, read and paint, and daydream about Christophe, her brother’s dashing fellow officer. But Hortense is not an ordinary girl. Her beautiful, charming mother Josephine has married Napoleon Bonaparte, soon to become the most powerful man in France, but viewed by Hortense as a coarse, unworthy successor to her elegant father, who was guillotined during the Terror. Where will Hortense’s future lie? Inspired by Hortense’s real-life autobiography with charming glimpses of teen life long ago, this is the story of a girl chosen by fate to play a role she didn’t choose.
The Glittering Court By Richelle Mead 432 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback ISBN 9781595148421 | Razorbill Big and sweeping, spanning the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court. Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the mysterious Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court. When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together, they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise–first, as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and later, when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor. But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands….
The Guinevere Deception By Kiersten White 352 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback ISBN 9780525581703 | Ember Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot. To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?
Violet Made of Thorns By Gina Chen 368 Pages | Ages 14+ | Hardcover ISBN 9780593427538 | Delacorte Violet is a prophet and a liar, influencing the royal court with her cleverly phrased – and not always true – divinations. Honesty is for suckers, like the oh-so-not charming Prince Cyrus, who plans to strip Violet of her official role once he’s crowned at the end of the summer – unless Violet does something about it. But when the king asks her to falsely prophesy Cyrus’s love story for an upcoming ball, Violet awakens a dreaded curse, one that will end in either damnation or salvation for the kingdom – all depending on the prince’s choice of future bride. Violet faces her own choice: Seize an opportunity to gain control of her own destiny, no matter the cost, or give in to the ill-fated attraction that’s growing between her and Cyrus. Violet’s wits may protect her in the cutthroat court, but they can’t change her fate. And as the boundary between hatred and love grows ever thinner with the prince, Violet must untangle a wicked web of deceit in order to save herself and the kingdom – or doom them all.
You don’t need to be a member of the BeyHive to know that after nearly a decade of surprise drops and visual albums, Beyoncé’s seventh full-length album, Renaissance, was unveiled this past Friday. The immediate response has been overwhelmingly positive for this massive sixteen-track opus that manages to both honor Black musical artists throughout history and contain enough dance-floor bangers destined to instill a wild rumpus in the club. We thought we’d use it – or rather its title – to create this week’s reading list.
So, take that plastic off the sofa and get cozy. Don’t get heated, because we’re about to get all up in your mind and recommend some books for young readers – both about the European Renaissance (of the 15th and 16th centuries) and the later Harlem Renaissance (of the early 20th century) – that might impel you to move your self to the closest bookstore.
Langston Hughes was an author who was also one of the central figures of the Harlem Renaissance. That Is My Dream! is a picture book in which illustrator Daniel Miyares adapts his poem, “Dream Variation,” in which a young Black boy in confronted by the harsh reality of segregation and racism over this day, but he dreams of a different life – one full of freedom, hope, and so many possibilities!
Harlem’s Little Blackbird is a picture book biography by Renee Watson and Christian Robinson about Florence Mills, one of the most popular Black performers of the Jazz Age. The book tells her rise to fame on the stages of 1920s Broadway, and how she dedicated herself to supporting and promoting works by fellow Black performers – not unlike Beyoncé herself!
Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford and Eric Velasquez tells the story of an Afro-Puerto Rican law clerk who collected letters, music, and art from Africa and Black American creators. When his collection began to overtake his house, he brought it to the New York Public Library, where he created and curated a collection now known as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, one of the greatest primary source repositories of the output of the Harlem Renaissance! The book is also available en español.
Bonnie Christensen lets Galileo Galilei tell his side of the story in I, Galileo. Galileo’s contributions to science and the Renaissance were numerous and his ideas world-changing, but in his own time he was branded a heretic and put under house arrest. This is a great kids’ introduction to possibly the most important scientist of the Renaissance!
Few artists had a bigger impact on the Renaissance than Michelangelo, and Stone Giant: Michelangelo’s David and How He Came to Be by Jane Sutcliffe and John Shelley, describes how the artist turned a neglected hunk of marble into one of the world’s most famous hunk sculptures.
And while Dr. Seuss’s Horse Museum, illustrated by Andrew Joyner, doesn’t focus only on the Renaissance (and, in fact, explores different methods and movements of visual art through depictions of horses), it does include Renaissance artist Raphael’s Saint George Fighting the Dragon, and the accompanying horse.
CHAPTER BOOKS & MIDDLE GRADE
To get started in this age range, it’s best to begin with What Was the Harlem Renaissance?by Sherrie L. Smith and Tim Foley to get some background. Young readers learn how the vibrant Black neighborhood in upper Manhattan became home to the leading Black writers, artists, and musicians of the 1920s and 1930s – including profiles of Langston Hughes, Duke Ellington, Augusta Savage, and Zora Neale Hurston.
Did someone say “Zora Neale Hurston”? The influential Black author of Their Eyes Were Watching God is the protagonist of the Zora and Me trilogy by Victoria Bond and T. R. Simon, which fictionalize the youth of Zora Neale Hurston, and look at systemic racism and the power of storytelling in a Black community in the American south at the turn of the century. They serve as coming-of-age tales and great introductions to Hurston as an author.
Need a little more Da Vinci? The graphic novel The History of Western Art in Comics, Part Two by Marion Augustin and Bruno Heitz begins in the Renaissance, and two kids and their grandpa continue their guided tour of art kicking off with such hits as The Last Supper, The Mona Lisa, and the Sistine Chapel. The book only covers up to Modern Art, so the Lemonade visual album doesn’t make an appearance.
And while historians disagree on if we should categorize ol’ William Shakespeare in the Renaissance, we’re going to include him here. Tales from Shakespeare is an excellent introduction for young readers to Shakespeare’s greatest plays, as siblings Charles and Mary Lamb vividly bring to life Hamlet, Othello, As You Like It, Pericles, and more, but modified and retold in a manner sensitive to the needs of young children, without resorting to any actual censoring. Makes sense, as many have argued Beyoncé is our Shakespeare.
Inspired by their class unit on the Harlem Renaissance, Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes (who was born in Harlem herself) follows the eighteen students of a Mr. Ward’s eleventh grade English class who begin having weekly poetry sharing sessions, revealing their most intimate thoughts about themselves and each another.
Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough takes readers to Rome in 1610 and introduces them to seventeen-year-old nun Artemisia Gentileschi, the real-life painter who also participated in one of the world’s first high-profile trials of sexual assault. The book looks both at the highs of creative inspiration and the devastating lows of a system rigged against women. (Technically, she was a Baroque painter, not a Renaissance painter, but are you here for book recommendations or art history lessons?)
The European Renaissance is usually associated with cities in what is now known as Italy, but several historical websites claim the reign of Henry VIII marked the real beginning of the Renaissance in England. So, we can also recommend Fatal Throne: The Wives of Henry VIII Tell All, a collaborative work by seven authors (M.T. Anderson, Candace Fleming, Stephanie Hemphill, Lisa Ann Sandell, Jennifer Donnelly, Linda Sue Park, and Deborah Hopkinson), each telling the story of one of the king’s six wives – and Henry himself, who liked it, and put a ring on it a full six times.
Hello, and thanks for joining us at Tundra Telegram, the column where we delve into the topics at the very top of readers’ minds and recommend some recent great books to continue the razzle-dazzle discussion.
This week, we give our regards to Broadway, as this past weekend saw the 75th celebration of a certain prestigious awardsrecognizing excellent in Broadway Theatre. Not only were new productions like A Strange Loop and SIX: The Musicalshowered with wins, but so were returning favorites like Company, not to mention Dame Angela Lansbury, who was given a lifetime achievement award – and not just for the role of Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd!
Let’s put on a show! Get ready to tread the boards and hit the spotlights – these are your recommendations for kids and YA books about . . . The Theatre!
First things first: Where Is Broadway? Luckily Douglas Yacka, Francesco Sedita, and illustrator John Hinderliter have written a book all about that. Not only does it have a fold-out map (very helpful), it covers the development of the first theaters and the birth of the American musical, as well as the shows and stars that have become Broadway legends.
Finally, we present a picture book about kids with big stage dreams: Maya’s Big Scene by Isabelle Arsenault. In it, Montreal’s Mile End Kids are putting together a play about a feminist revolution, written by Maya. But the playwright learns her cast and crew have their own opinions on everything from costumes to lines, so Maya begins to demand obedience and loyalty! But, as readers learn, absolute bossiness corrupts absolutely!
A middle-school production of Fiddler on the Roof (winner of nine of those stage awards) sets up a chain of events that lead to uncovering a dark family secret in Broken Strings, a collaboration between writers Eric Walters and Kathy Kacer. Heroine Shirli Berman learns from her Zayde the power of music, both terrible and wonderful – something all musical theater lovers know intimately.
For installments of your favourite series for young readers where our heroes put on a show, check out Babymouse: The Musicalby Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, in which Babymouse dusts off her dancing shoes and tries out for the school musical – but she has some dogged competition from Felicia Furrypaws. And in Craig Robinson and Adam Mansbach’s Jake the Fake Keeps It Real, our hero fakes his way into the Music and Art Academy for the gifted and talented. More funnyman than music man, Jake will have to think of something quick before he’s revealed as a bigger fraud than those fellows in The Producers.
And you can’t have a great musical without a few great dance numbers. Luckily, Sofia Acosta Makes a Scene by Emma Otheguy has a few! And like a great musical, it combines stage spectacle and social relevance. Sofia is a Cuban-American girl trying to figure out where she belong in her ballet-loving family and in the U.S. when she would rather be designing costumes. And – when she confides in a friend about some Cuban dancers defecting to the States – she learns her community isn’t as welcoming as she thought it was.
If you’re talking YA and musicals, then you have to mention John Green and David Levithan’s Will Grayson, Will Grayson in which two boys from very different social circles, both named Will Grayson, meet in Chicago, and their lives become intertwined. And while it’s a great book, it would not be on this list without the massive, and massively fabulous, Tiny Cooper, friend to Will Grayson 1, offensive lineman, and musical theater auteur extraordinaire. Will and Will, alongside some romantic plots, work toward the epic production of Cooper’s biographical musical, Tiny Dancer (the greatest high school musical since Hamlet 2). You’ll also want to check out the companion novel, Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan, a book filled with honesty, humor, and “big, lively, belty” musical numbers from the full script of the fictional musical.
Like a modern-day Fame, You in Five Acts by Una LaMarche follows five friends with dreams of stage stardom after they enroll at a prestigious New York City performing arts school. Joy, Diego, Liv, Ethan, and Dave, have – among them – so much talent, so many romantic passions, and so much ambition, it’s a shock the novel (or Broadway itself) can contain them all!
Take a trip into the Great White Way’s past with Mazie by Melanie Crowder, in which an eighteen-year-old aspiring actress trades in starry Nebraska skies for the bright lights of 1950s Broadway. With money running out, and faced with too many failed auditions to count, Mazie begins to wonder if the dream is worth the cost – a dilemma explored in A Chorus Line, among other stage productions.
Looking for a little romance backstage? Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka is the story of Megan Harper, an aspiring theater director who is unlucky in love. She’s forced to take an acting role as part of a school requirement, gets cast as Juliet, and finds a potential Romeo in aspiring playwright, Owen Okita, though he’s totally unlike any one of her exes.
Justin, in Seth Rudetsky’s The Rise and Fall of a Theater Geek, has always longed to be on Broadway – the shows, the lights, the cute guys! So when he gets an internship with a famous Broadway actor, he jumps at the chance, even if it means straining things with his kind (though maybe a little uptight) boyfriend Spencer. But as Justin’s personal relationships falter and his famous actor boss heads for the C-list, he realizes he’ll need a little more than jazz hands to get him out of his situation. A very funny coming-of-age story for any kid who’s wished to be six feet from stardom.
Finally, Fatal Throne by M.T. Anderson, Candace Fleming, Stephanie Hemphill, Lisa Ann Sandell, Jennifer Donnelly, Linda Sue Park, and Deborah Hopkinson is not so much devoted to musical theatre as it is ideal reading for fans of one of this year’s big winners, SIX: The Musical. Like SIX, Fatal Throne is a reimagining of the story of the many wives of King Henry VIII. Told in seven different voices (including Henry’s) by seven different authors, each wife attempts to survive their unpredictable king as he grows more obsessed with producing a male heir. As the musical advises, “Don’t Lose Ur Head” reading this one!