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November 21, 2014

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Book Review: Professional Reading | October 2013

CART , Michael. Cart’s Top 200 Adult Books for Young Adults: Two Decades in Review. 136p. appendix. index. ALA. 2013. pap. $50. ISBN 978-0-8389-1158-7. LC 2012027260.

Cart uses his years of experience, reviews from Booklist, VOYA, and School Library Journal, plus criteria used for the Alex Awards to choose the adult books, both fiction and nonfiction, he considers to be of interest to young adults. Chosen titles are annotated and presented in alphabetical order with category symbols such as GF for general fiction. Also included is an index of authors and titles, and appendixes of titles “Not to be missed” and “Something Entirely Different,” which would be more valuable if the titles were all different from those included in the annotated lists. While the book is of possible use to new librarians with little collection-development experience and/or a library with a limited YA collection, most experienced librarians will see no need for such a volume, relying instead on review journals.–Suanne B. Roush, Osceola High School, Seminole, FL

CRAIG , Angela & Chantell L. McDowell . Serving At-Risk Teens: Proven Strategies and Programs for Bridging the Gap. 220p. appendix. bibliog. further reading. index. notes. websites. Neal-Schuman. 2013. pap. $60. ISBN 978-1-55570-760-6. LC 2012044857.

In the current economy, libraries are losing funding at the very moment when the numbers of teens at-risk have been growing. This book compiles suggestions and experiences from librarians who work with this population. Chapters include understanding their needs as well as how to engage them through library programs. Featuring interviews with library staff as well as teens themselves, the book will give librarians insight into the needs of at-risk teens as well as relevant tips. Suggestions are presented to engage not just the teens themselves but also children of teen parents. One appendix offers forms libraries can use to evaluate programs and needs; another features a list of organizations that serve at-risk teens, which is helpful for forming partnerships with related groups. A valuable resource for librarians in urban or rural areas who serve this population.–Melissa Stock, Arapahoe Library District, Englewood, CO

MULDROW , Diane. Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book. 96p. illus. Random/Golden Bks. 2013. Tr $9.99. ISBN 978-0-307-97761-8; lib. ed. $12.99. ISBN 978-0-375-97126-6; ebook $7.99. ISBN 978-0-375-98118-0. LC 2012949414.

A fun and entertaining walk down memory lane for anyone who has grown up within the last 60 years or so and had the pleasure of reading and loving a Little Golden Book. The author, the longtime editorial director at Golden Books, has cleverly strung together a collection of images and text from approximately 65 different books into a guide about enjoying life and what’s important. This title will be great for sharing one-on-one with children. It’s just unfortunate that there is no bibliographic listing of titles.–Renee McGrath, Nassau Library System, NY

POLETTE , Nancy J. Gateway to Reading: 250+ Author Games and Booktalks to Motivate Middle Readers. 260p. index. Libraries Unlimited. 2013. pap. $45. ISBN 978-1-61069-423-0. ebook available. LC 2013008684.

The introduction states that in 1950 the average 14-year-old had a language storehouse of 25,000 words; by 1990, it was reduced to 10,000. This book aims to enhance literacy and comprehension in a fun way. Teachers and librarians will find games, activities, and booktalks for 40 popular authors. They can use them with students or modify them based on their own ideas. Chapters are organized alphabetically by authors from Avi to Laurence Yep. Answer keys are provided for all activities. The final chapter lists the book titles and publication information for the 40 authors discussed in the book. A good resource for teachers, librarians, and book clubs.–Melissa Stock, Arapahoe Library District, Englewood, CO

SCHALL , Lucy. Teen Talkback with Interactive Booktalks! 305p. further reading. index. websites. Libraries Unlimited. 2013. pap. $45. ISBN 978-1-61069-289-2; ebook $45. ISBN 978-1-61069-290-8. LC 2013000241.

Schall presents booktalks for 110 titles in seven categories: “Issues,” “Contemporary,” “Action/Adventure/Survival,” “Mystery/Suspense,” “Fantasy,” “Heritage,” and “Multiple Cultures.” Each entry includes complete bibliographic information, a summary, and a plethora of additional information, including a sample booktalk, suggestions for suitable read-aloud or “talkback” sections, links for alternate booktalks, and links to discussion questions or author questions. Five read-alikes are listed after each title, with bibliographic information. The majority of these have a booktalk available from one of the author’s previous titles. Novice booktalkers will be able to find a wide variety of books and styles, although with the prominence and prevalence of the CCSS, it’s too bad that so little nonfiction is included.–Betsy Fraser, Calgary Public Library, Canada

WILLEMS , Mo. Don’t Pigeonhole Me!: Two Decades of the Mo Willems Sketchbook. with a foreword by Eric Carle. illus. by author. 288p. Disney. 2013. RTE $40. ISBN 978-1-4231-4436-6.

In this collection of sketches, adult fans of the award-winning Pigeon, KnuffleBunny, and Elephant and Piggie books are treated to a peek inside the mind of one of the most critically acclaimed and best-selling children’s book creators of our time. Complied from volumes of The Mo Willems Sketchbook, an annual gift presented to friends, family, and potential clients, many of the drawings predate Willems’s success as a picture-book author/illustrator. The early sketchbooks feature single cartoon-style panels and clever visual gags in the manner of the New Yorker. They crack wise about such topics as City Life, The Creative Process, and Couples. Some of the sketchbooks are deeply personal, such as I’m Fine, a darkly comic journey through self-doubt and fear. Later sketchbooks reveal Willems’s early experiments with the slightly longer narratives and dynamic page turns that became the springboard for his first picture books. Adults will appreciate many of the grown-ups-only read-alouds such as the hilarious and “intoxicatingly hard reader” Olive Hue Show Mutts. Educators in the fields of children’s literature and art will find interest in seeing the genesis of characters like The Pigeon and enjoy this rare glimpse into the often-private world of artist doodles.–Kiera Parrott, Darien Library, CT

This article was published in School Library Journal's October 2013 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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