American Panda

By Gloria Chao
Young Adult Fiction, 2018
Reviewed by Kelsey Psaute, Young Adult Services

Mei is Taiwanese-American and her parents never let her forget it. With a new school year starting, freshman year at MIT instead of senior year in college, she’s ecstatic and nervous to be on her own while maintaining her façade of good girl. She doesn’t think she’s rebellious exactly, but fulfilling her parents’ dream of becoming a doctor when Mei is a huge germaphobe and routinely falls asleep in Biology is going to be a challenge for this A student. She discovers a surprising ally in her estranged brother Xing and begins to wonder if keeping all the secrets about who she truly is will be worth it in the end. A charming read for fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell, this is a fantastic book about finding yourself and being true to who you are with a just teeny bit of satisfying romance.

Giraffe Problems

By Jory John; Illustrations by Lane Smith
Picture Book, 2018
Reviewed by Hannah Peacock, Youth Services Librarian

It’s hard to feel great about life when your “neck is too necky” and you feel as if everybody is just staring at it.  “It’s a neck only a mother could love”, one that never looks good, and that no amount of ties or scarves can improve. Edward the complaining giraffe just wants to hide, but then he meets Cyrus the turtle, whose neck is virtually non-existent. Cyrus has never been able to enjoy the pleasure of a banana, because of his own physical shortcomings in the neck department. Their meeting adds perspective for both animals. The art is magical, with lots of visual humor and the story is hilarious; kids will be laughing themselves silly when they get their hands on this one.  Be sure to read Penguin Problems by this same wonderful duo.