July 24, 2017

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Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea by Ben Clanton | SLJ Review

CLANTON, Ben. Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea. illus. by Ben Clanton. 64p. (A Narwhal and Jelly Book: Bk. 1). Tundra. Oct. 2016. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781101918265; pap. $7.99. ISBN 9781101918715. POP

Gr 1-3 –Readers new to graphic novels will be richly rewarded with this series opener about a delightfully quirky duo. Earnest and down-to-earth Jelly the jellyfish is the perfect foil for endearingly airheaded Narwhal. Divided into three tales, the book is light on plot but brimming with a […]

Living with Ghosts: Nina LaCour on “We Are Okay”

Award-winning author Nina LaCour discusses her latest YA novel, “We Are Okay,” a lyrical look at a teen’s attempt to cope with past trauma.

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour | SLJ Review

LACOUR, Nina. We Are Okay. 240p. Dutton. Feb. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525425892. POP

Gr 8 Up –Her first semester of college behind her, Marin stays alone in the dorms over break, even with the threat of a snowstorm looming, rather than return to San Francisco, where bad memories lurk. Her best friend Mabel comes to stay with her, and over the next few days, Marin contemplates the events of last spring and summer and deals with her complicated […]

Deb Lucke on her Latest “Lunch Witch” Graphic Novel

Deb Lucke’s sequel to “Lunch Witch” was just named an SLJ Popular Pick. She reveals what’s next for Grunhilda.

This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Benny and Penny in How To Say Goodbye by Geoffrey Hayes | SLJ Review

HAYES, Geoffrey. Benny and Penny in How To Say Goodbye. illus. by Geoffrey Hayes. 32p. Toon. Sept. 2016. Tr $12.95. ISBN 9781935179993.

K-Gr 2 –In this addition to the celebrated series, Benny and Penny, the mouse siblings who are prone to squabbling but quick to hug and make up, learn about death. Penny notices that Little Red, a salamander, has died, but when she tells big brother Benny, he brushes her off. With soft lines and a muted palette, […]

Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer | SLJ Review

Starmer, Aaron. Spontaneous. 368p. Dutton. Aug. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525429746. 

Gr 10 Up –From the author of “The Riverman” trilogy comes a wholly original YA tale of identity, friendship, love, lust, and gory, grisly death. Covington High is facing a unique crisis: one by one, members of the senior class are spontaneously combusting, inexplicably blowing up in a mess of blood and guts. As the body count increases and the government gets involved, 12th grader […]

SLJTeen Live! 2016: Panels on College Readiness; Snapchat; Instagram 101

Though teenagers’ needs may be more complex than ever, there are also plenty of tools available to make reaching those patrons easier, according to several panelists who spoke at SLJTeen Live.

Free Spirits: Raina Telgemeier on “Ghosts” | Up Close

With Ghosts, the story of two sisters who move to a town where ghosts and the dead are seen in a different light, Raina Telgemeier tackles themes of death and illness.

This article was published in School Library Journal's August 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

March: Book Three by John Lewis & Andrew Aydin | SLJ Review

Lewis, John & Andrew Aydin. March: Book Three. illus. by Nate Powell. 192p. Top Shelf. Aug. 2016. pap. $19.99. ISBN 9781603094023. 

Gr 8 Up –In the final installment in the trilogy, Congressman Lewis concludes his firsthand account of the civil rights era. Simultaneously epic and intimate, this dynamic work spotlights pivotal moments (the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL; the Freedom Summer murders; the 1964 Democratic National Convention; and the Selma to […]

A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers & Sam Winston | SLJ Review

Jeffers, Oliver & Sam Winston. A Child of Books. illus. by Oliver Jeffers & Sam Winston. 40p. Candlewick. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763690779. 

Gr 1 Up –A gorgeous, innovative musing on the power of storytelling. A nameless young girl who calls herself a child of books narrates in lyrical, spellbinding verse. Some, she says, have forgotten the importance of stories, but she finds a boy and introduces him to her world, a land created through […]

Dav Pilkey on “Dog Man”

Dav Pilkey’s latest, a graphic novel about a crime fighter who’s part dog, part cop, is all fun. Pilkey weighs in on his process, his appeal among reluctant readers, and more.

This article was published in School Library Journal's July 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier | SLJ Review

Telgemeier, Raina. Ghosts. illus. by Raina Telgemeier. 256p. Scholastic. Sept. 2016. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780545540612; pap. $10.99. ISBN 9780545540629; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9780545540674. POP 

Gr 4-8 –Catrina and her family have just moved to Northern California. Bahía de la Luna is different from Cat’s hometown—for one thing, everyone is obsessed with ghosts—but the sea air makes it easier for Cat’s younger sister, Maya, who has cystic fibrosis (CF), to breathe. Carlos, a new friend and neighbor, […]

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando | SLJ Review

Altebrando, Tara. The Leaving. 432p. Bloomsbury. Jun. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781619638037. 

Gr 8 Up –One day, six kindergarteners disappear without a trace. Eleven years later, five of the kids, now teenagers, return, but the mysteries have only multiplied. Though Lucas, Scarlett, Kristen, Adam, and Sarah operate on a developmentally appropriate level (speaking, reading, and writing like typical adolescents), they have no memory of anything from the last 11 years—and no explanation of why Max, who also left, isn’t […]

Best Frints in the Whole Universe by Antoinette Portis | SLJ Review

Portis, Antoinette. Best Frints in the Whole Universe. illus. by Antoinette Portis. 40p. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks. Jul. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626721364. 

K-Gr 2 –Employing eye-catching imagery and space lingo that will have children and their adults giggling, Portis emphasizes that friendship can be tricky yet rewarding. Yelfred and Omek, residents of the planet Boborp, have been pals (or “frints”) since they were young. Though these two buddies love to engage in a variety of […]

Experts Focus on Censorship at Bank Street Conference

At “Who Are You To Say?”, an event held in New York City on April 16, authors and kid lit experts weighed in on where to draw the line between being aware and censoring.

Disco Inferno | Watch- and Listen-Alikes for Meg Medina’s “Burn Baby Burn”

Set in Queens during the summer of 1977, when the Son of Sam terrorized the city of New York, Meg Medina’s Burn Baby Burn is filled with pop culture references, from Donna Summer to Parliament. Steer teen fans of the book to songs and films from the period.

YA Author Louise Rennison Dies

Rennison, best known for the wildly popular “Confessions of Georgia Nicholson” series, was as beloved in the U.S. as in her native England.

A Dog’s Life | SLJ Spotlight

From books exploring different breeds to training guides, dog-related titles are well represented in the 590s, but readers will definitely want to check out these two additions, which examine our canine companions in new and intriguing lights.

1493 for Young People: From Columbus’s Voyage to Globalization by Charles C. Mann | SLJ Review

Mann, Charles C. 1493 for Young People: From Columbus’s Voyage to Globalization. adapted by Rebecca Stefoff. 416p. chron. glossary. index. maps. photos. reprods. Seven Stories. Jan. 2016. Tr $40. ISBN 9781609806309; pap. $18.95. ISBN 9781609806637.

Gr 7-10 –Stefoff abridges and simplifies Mann’s adult title 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created (Knopf, 2011), objectively describing how European exploration and the resulting Columbian Exchange of plants, animals, and diseases rapidly made the world “global” in outlook and […]

The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial by Susan E. Goodman | SLJ Review

Goodman, Susan E. The First Step: How One Girl Put Segregation on Trial. illus. by E.B. Lewis. 40p. bibliog. chron. further reading. Bloomsbury. Jan. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780802737397.

Gr 2-4 –More than a century before Brown v. Board of Education, there was Roberts v. City of Boston; this beautifully illustrated picture book sheds light on this lesser-known case. Benjamin and Adeline Roberts enrolled their four-year-old in the closest neighborhood school. Sarah attended, until officials noticed […]