Jean Westmoore, The Buffalo News
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Jean Westmoore

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Member of News digital desk and longtime News' children's book reviewer News employee since 1983, serving on copy desk, as assistant city editor, NeXt editor, Features copy editor. Previously worked as reporter and editor at the Niagara Gazette. Graduate of Oberlin College and Lockport Senior High School. Native of Dayton, Ohio.

CHILDREN'S Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar; Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin, 231 pages ($16.99) Ages 8 to 12. ... Ruth Behar  takes her childhood experience of a year spent in a body cast after a terrible car accident to create a powerful tale of suffering, courage, forgiveness and starting anew in her marvelous first novel for young readers. Ruth and her family were Cub…

YOUNG ADULT Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson; 272 pages ($17.99) Ages 14 and up. ... This lovely novel, of learning to love again after unspeakable loss, delicately interweaves the stories of three teenage girls across a 150-year sweep of history. Anderson, author of critically acclaimed "Tiger Lily" and "The Vanishing Season," brings to vivid life three v…

CHILDREN'S NONFICTION Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman; Henry Holt, 424 pages ($19.99) ... Deborah Heiligman was a National Book Award finalist for her marvelous biography "Charles and Emma" for young readers, and she brings the same original perspective, artistry, meticulous research and love for her subjects to this ambitious, heart-wrenc…

CHILDREN'S The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts by Avi; Algonquin Young Readers, 320 pages ($16.95) Ages 8 to 12. ... This entertaining work of historical fiction, set in 1724, comes from prolific author Avi, who  won the 2003 Newbery Medal for "Crispin: The Cross of Lead" set in 14th century England. The unfortunately named Oliver Cromwell Pitts wakes up in …

GRAPHIC NOVEL Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham; First Second, $12.99. (Ages 8 to 12) ... Shannon Hale,  author of many marvelous novels for children including "Princess Academy," tells the true story of her struggles as a kid to make friends and keep them in this bracingly honest, painfully real graphic memoir in the tradition of the autobiographical graphi…

"Master of None" is a marvelous show that offers the rapid-fire laughs of the best stand-up comedy along with insights about dating, parents and finding your way in the world. It's from the perspective of the Indian-American experience as only Aziz Ansari could deliver. The actor, best-known as Tom Haverford in NBC comedy "Parks and Recreation," created and writes this sma…

PICTURE BOOK Goldfish Ghost by Lemony Snicket,illustrations by Lisa Brown; Neal Porter/Roaring Brook Press, $17.99. ...  The author of "A Series of Unfortunate Events" series brings his wonderfully skewed and original perspective to this unusual exploration of the afterlife featuring a goldfish who has gone belly up in the fishbowl.  The journey begins: "Goldfish …

CHILDREN’S Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia; HarperCollins, 176 pages ($16.99) Ages 8 to 12. ... Clayton Byrd dreams of the day his grandfather, Cool Papa Byrd, will finally nod him in for a blues harp solo with his blues buddies in Washington Square Park, a favorite excursion the two keep secret from Clayton’s mother, who has never forgiven her…

YOUNG ADULT Beck by Mal Peet with Meg Rosoff; Candlewick Press, 272 pages ($17.99). Ages 16 and up.  This extraordinary coming-of-age tale - a harrowing but ultimately hopeful westward odyssey that takes our suffering hero from his native Liverpool to Montreal to a desolate farm in Ontario and then to the vast Canadian prairie - was begun by critically acclaimed a…

YOUNG ADULT The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas; Balzer and Bray; 444 pages ($17.99) Ages 14 and up. ... This stunning, timely and critically important debut novel tackles tough issues of police violence and racism through the experience of a 16-year-old girl who is the only witness when her childhood friend is killed by a police officer during a traffic stop. Starr Carter …

CHILDREN'S Lemons by Melissa Savage; Crown Books for Young Readers, 305 pages ($16.99). Ages 8 to 12. ... A heroine with the unlikely name of Lemonade Liberty Witt will steal your heart in this wonderful debut novel set in Willow Creek, Calif., “the Bigfoot Capital of the World,” in 1975. Lemonade’s mother has always told her: When life gives you lemons, make lemo…

YOUNG ADULT The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares; Delacorte Press, 293 pages ($18.99) A list of players is required in the preface to sort out the complicated Thomas-Harrison  clan - divided by a very bitter divorce and subsequent remarriages - in this beautifully written novel from the author of the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" series. Emma, Quinn an…

CHILDREN’S Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan; translated from the Mandarin by Helen Wang; illustrated by Meilo So; Candlewick Press, 381 pages ($16.99). Ages 8 and up. ... Two lonely children, scarred by tragedy, form an inseparable bond in this lovely novel from a beloved Chinese author set in the Chinese countryside during the Cultural Revolution. Seven-year-ol…

CHILDREN’S Miss Ellicott’s School for the Magically Minded by Sage Blackwood; Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins; 368 pages ($16.99) Ages 8 to 12. ... A huge wall – called “The Seven Buttons” - is all that protects the Kingdom of Lightning Pass from destruction by Marauders outside. Or so the people of Lightning Pass – and the “magical maidens” in train…