August 17, 2017

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Mahnaz Dar

About Mahnaz Dar

Mahnaz Dar (mdar@mediasourceinc.com) is Assistant Managing Editor for Library Journal and School Library Journal and can be found on Twitter @DibblyFresh.

I’m Smart! by Kate McMullan | SLJ Review

MCMULLAN, Kate. I’m Smart! illus. by Jim McMullan. 40p. HarperCollins/Harper. Jun. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062449238.

PreS-Gr 2 –Oozing confidence and energy, a big-eyed, grinning school bus describes his morning route, informing listeners that it “takes BRAINS to do my job—drive you to SCHOOL and keep you SAFE!” As with previous titles, the McMullans (I’m Brave!; I Stink!; I’m Cool!) infuse everyday activities with an infectious excitement bound to entice vehicle-loving youngsters. When the bus’s lights flash amber, it means “Cars and trucks, […]

Transcending the Genre: True Crime for Young Adults

While true crime is often associated with the prurient and the voyeuristic, a trio of new titles prove that the genre is far more nuanced.

Gale Galligan On “Dawn and the Impossible Three”

Gale Galligan presents an inspired graphic novel version of one of Ann M. Martin’s beloved “Baby-Sitters Club” books.

This article was published in School Library Journal's July 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Libraries Provide Teens with Important Life Skills | ALA Annual 2017

During a panel at the ALA annual conference, librarians suggested ways to help teens learn lessons on everything from cooking to money management.

The Power of Nonneutral Librarianship | ALA Annual 2017

While some believe that libraries should remain entirely objective, several speakers at an ALA annual conference panel stressed the importance of using exhibits and programs to express political opinions and take a stand.

Taking a Stand Against Islamophobia | ALA Annual 2017

Deepa Iyer discussed the hostility directed at Muslims and advised librarians on ways they could make a difference.

Adele Griffin On Creating a Beach Read That Boils with Tension

Adele Griffin offers insights into Be True to Me, a dark summer read that centers on an unforgettable love triangle.

How To Be an Elephant by Katherine Roy | SLJ Review

ROY, Katherine. How To Be an Elephant. illus. by Katherine Roy. 48p. diag. filmog. further reading. photos. websites. Roaring Brook/David Macaulay Studio. Sept. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781626721784.

Gr 3-6 –Roy follows her masterly Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands with a stunning look at how a newborn elephant matures into a capable member of the herd. The work adroitly covers anatomy, environment, family life, and other topics. Roy emphasizes how elephants, with their […]

Pandora by Victoria Turnbull | SLJ Review

TURNBULL, Victoria. Pandora. illus. by Victoria Turnbull. 32p. Clarion. Apr. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544947337.

PreS-Gr 1 –Pandora, an anthropomorphic fox, finds slivers of beauty in a wasteland of discarded objects. From piles of detritus, she ferrets out treasures—a teddy bear, a van Gogh painting—repairs broken objects, and fills her house, a rickety cottage on stilts, with them. Her solitary existence is interrupted when an injured bird drops from the sky. Pandora nurses the bird, and as he becomes […]

Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt by Ben Clanton | SLJ Review

CLANTON, Ben. Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt. illus. by Ben Clanton. 64p. (A Narwhal and Jelly Book: Bk. 2). Tundra. May 2017. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781101918296. POP

Gr 1-3 –Donning a cape, Narwhal decides to become a superhero—after eating lunch, of course. Super Narwhal needs a sidekick, so pal Jelly is dubbed Jelly Jolt. In this second installment of the sweetly surreal series, the characters are true to form; delightfully ditzy Narwhal remains upbeat even when he initially fails […]

Walk on the Weird Side | Graphic Novels

Fantasy and sci-fi tales—with their nuanced world-building, bizarre characters, and intense action—lend themselves perfectly to graphic novels.

The Big Bad Fox by Benjamin Renner | SLJ Review

RENNER, Benjamin. The Big Bad Fox. tr. from French by Joe Johnson. illus. by Benjamin Renner. 192p. First Second. Jun. 2017. pap. $15.99. ISBN 9781626723313.

Gr 3-6 –The proverbial fox may be a menace to the henhouse—but not the hero of this work. The titular character lacks gumption, guile, or cunning, and the chickens send him running each time he ventures into the farmyard. Taking pity on the fox, the wolf proposes playing the long game: stealing eggs and […]

The Giant Jumperee by Julia Donaldson | SLJ Review

DONALDSON, Julia. The Giant Jumperee. illus. by Helen Oxenbury. 32p. Dial. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780735227972.

Toddler-PreS –When Rabbit hears a booming voice coming from his burrow, from someone who claims to be the Giant Jumperee, he’s terrified. Cat, Bear, and Elephant each attempt to investigate but are sent running by the unseen occupant. Luckily, Mama Frog puts things right and reveals that the Giant Jumperee isn’t nearly as terrifying as he sounds. Though the ending will be […]

Feminism for Everyone: Kelly Jensen on “Here We Are”

Kelly Jensen discusses her new book, Here We Are, an empowering look at feminism that highlights diverse voices.

This article was published in School Library Journal's March 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Away by Emil Sher | SLJ Review

SHER, Emil. Away. illus. by Qin Leng. 32p. Groundwood. Apr. 2017. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781554984831.

PreS-Gr 2 –Skip is heading to summer camp soon, but despite her mom’s reassurance, she’s certain that she’ll have a terrible time. However, a visit from Mimsy, Skip’s maternal grandmother, soon begins to convince the girl that camp might be fun. Unusually—and effectively—the story is told entirely through notes that the mother and daughter leave for each other. Both Skip’s and Mom’s voices are […]

Making the Personal Political | Angie Thomas on “The Hate U Give”

Angie Thomas, debut novelist of The Hate U Give, a stirring work on police brutality and racial violence, spoke with SLJ about bigotry, the influence of real life on her book, and the power of literature.

Real Friends by Shannon Hale | SLJ Review

HALE, Shannon. Real Friends. illus. by LeUyen Pham. 224p. First Second. May 2017. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9781626724167; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781626727854. POP

Gr 3-6 –Hale revisits her elementary school years in this insightful exploration of the ups and downs of friendship. Young Shannon meets her BFF Adrienne in kindergarten, and the two bond until Adrienne moves away. When Adrienne returns, Shannon is thrilled—until Adrienne joins a clique. In over her head, Shannon copes with feelings of inadequacy as she […]

Goal: Bury the White House in Books

Responding to President Trump’s statement that he does not read books, a grassroots group is encouraging people to send ones to the White House for Valentine’s Day.

Artemis: Wild Goddess of the Hunt by George O’Connor | SLJ Review

O’CONNOR, George. Artemis: Wild Goddess of the Hunt. illus. by George O’Connor. 80p. (Olympians: Bk. 9). bibliog. further reading. notes. First Second. Jan. 2017. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781626725225. POP

Gr 4-8 –With the latest in his series of books focused on the Greek deities, O’Connor brings to life the goddess of the hunt. Various individuals share anecdotes, weaving a nuanced portrait of Artemis: formidable, quick-witted, occasionally cruel, yet always deeply devoted to the natural world and intensely protective of […]

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas | SLJ Review

THOMAS, Angie. The Hate U Give. 464p. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. Feb. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062498533.

Gr 8 Up –After Starr and her childhood friend Khalil, both black, leave a party together, they are pulled over by a white police officer, who kills Khalil. The sole witness to the homicide, Starr must testify before a grand jury that will decide whether to indict the cop, and she’s terrified, especially as emotions run high. By turns frightened, discouraged, enraged, and […]