August 3, 2015

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The Nest by Kenneth Oppel | SLJ Review


Oppel, Kenneth. The Nest. illus. by Jon Klassen. 256p. ebook available. S. & S. Oct. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781481432320.

Gr 5-7–Steve has always been a worrier, but since his brother was born he’s become even more anxious. When Steve starts having dreams about otherworldly wasps, he takes comfort in their message that everything will be okay. But the more he learns about their plan to “fix” the baby’s congenital condition, the more he’s conflicted. The tension and unease grow as […]

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon | SLJ Review

Yoon 2

Yoon, Nicola. Everything, Everything. 320p. ebook available. Delacorte. Sept. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780553496642.

Gr 10 Up–From the first page, Madeline Whittier is a sympathetic character who has had to watch the world from the inside of a bubble—literally. Her diagnosed condition of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency is a life sentence that limits her to a world of two people: her mother, who is a doctor, and her nurse. Everything changes when Olly and his family move into the house next door. […]

The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall | SLJ Review


Pearsall, Shelley. The Seventh Most Important Thing. 288p. ebook available. Knopf. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780553497281; lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 9780553497298.

Gr 4-7–A middle school student learns the meaning of redemption in this excellent coming-of-age story. For the rest of the country, it was the year President Kennedy was assassinated. For Arthur Owens, it would always be the year his Dad died. Arthur is struggling to adapt. When he sees his Dad’s hat being worn by the neighborhood “Junk Man,” […]

The Keeper by Darragh | SLJ Review


Martin, Darragh. The Keeper. 280p. glossary. Little Island. Jul. 2015. pap. $15.99. ISBN 9781908195845.

Gr 7 Up–Twelve-year-old Oisin Keane has grown up in the suburbs of Dublin without the slightest clue that he coexists with the ancient magic of the land. He and his youthful looking Granny Keane are the only members of the family with green eyes. Celtic folklore and legends attribute magical powers to those with green eyes, because green is said to be the color of Fairies’ eyes. […]

“Comics Connector” Finds Comics Professionals for School Visits


Launched by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the Comics Connector features a growing list of comics professionals state by state, as well as in Canada, along with their contact information.

ABDO Launches Database Series for Pre-K–2


Abdo Zoom, a database covering 160 animal species for Pre-K–2 learners, will debut in August.

Fable Comics edited by Chris Duffy | SLJ Review


Duffy, Chris, ed. Fable Comics. 124p. First Second. Sept. 2015. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781626721074.

Gr 3 Up–This title rounds off the successful Nursery Rhyme Comics (2011) and Fairy Tale Comics (2013, both First Second) collections, which contain short tales adapted by popular cartoonists. The majority of the fables in this installment are from Aesop, but there is also a sampling of selections from countries including Angola and India and famous writers such as Ambrose Bierce. Fables lend themselves well to graphic […]

The Whisper by Pamela Zagarenski | SLJ Review


Zagarenski, Pamela. The Whisper. illus. by Pamela Zagarenski. 40p. HMH. Oct. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544416864.

Gr 1-3–A sweet-faced girl in a red hood borrows a special book from her teacher. As she runs home, oblivious to what is happening, the words escape. While a fox nets the jumbled letters, readers can discern “once upon a time,” “wizard,” “bears,” etc. At home, the child is disappointed, thinking the book lacks a story. Then she hears the whisper: “You can imagine the […]

Eisner Grant-Winning Library Will Use Graphic Novels to Explore Community


Valerie Acklin, teen services librarian at the Bellmore (NY) Memorial Library, will launch a program exploring local community experience through graphic novels—and will have patrons of all ages create their own comics.

Lizard Radio by Pat Schmatz | SLJ Review


Schmatz, Pat. Lizard Radio. 288p. ebook available. Candlewick. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763676353.

Gr 8 Up–All great heroes begin with mythical origins. Fifteen-year-old Kavali is no exception. When she was a baby, she was abandoned on a sidewalk, swaddled in a T-shirt with a lizard printed on the front. Since then, she has questioned her true identity. Is she a boy or a girl? A lizard or a human? This work is set in the not-too-distant future, in which the […]

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, & Deborah Biancotti | SLJ Review


Westerfeld, Scott, Margo Lanagan, & Deborah Biancotti. Zeroes. 560p. (Zeroes: Bk. 1). ebook available. S. & S./Simon Pulse. Sept. 2015. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781481443364.

Gr 9 Up–This may not be the first tale of a group of crime-fighting teenagers with supernatural powers, but its talented writing team get points for creating some fresh and original superpowerd abilities. Scam has a seemingly omniscient inner voice, which can speak for him and get him out of trouble or, all too often, into it. […]

“The Last One” explores fascinating history of AIDS quilt and community|DVD Pick


The Last One. 71 min. Dist. by the Video Project. 2014. $89. ISBN unavail.
Gr 7 Up–This documentary covers the history of the AIDS Quilt and Names Project, while providing a revealing look at the effects of ignorance, stigma, and discrimination, which cause the disease to spread. Conceived by San Francisco gay rights activist Cleve Jones, the AIDS Quilt began in 1985 with a single panel dedicated to Jones’s lover, Marvin Feldman. The quilt now numbers more than 48,000 panels and […]

The Girl Who Could Not Dream by Sarah Beth Durst | SLJ Review


Durst, Sarah Beth. The Girl Who Could Not Dream. 384p. Clarion. Nov. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544464971.

Gr 4-6–Middle school is rough even for ordinary kids, but Sophie is anything but ordinary. For one thing, her parents run a secret underground shop, where they distill, bottle, and sell dreams. Sophie herself has a special power that allows her to bring elements of the dream realm into the real world with her. Worries about getting her homework done and not having anyone […]

Where Families Play: Dynamic Early Learning Spaces


These innovative public library destinations for young children and their caregivers are places for reading, romping, and learning.

This article was published in School Library Journal's July 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Lenny & Lucy by Philip C. Stead | SLJ Review


Stead, Philip C. Lenny & Lucy. illus. by Erin E. Stead. 40p. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks. Oct. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781596439320.

PreS-Gr 2–Peter and his dog Harold are unhappy to find themselves on a journey with their dad through the dark woods on their way to a new home. Peter thinks the move is a terrible idea and if Harold weren’t a dog, even he would do something about it. However, the decision has been made and Peter strongly dislikes […]

Easy as ABC, 123 | Focus on


Books that introduce the basic lessons of a child’s experince—the alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, and more.

This article was published in School Library Journal's July 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Serpentine by Cindy Pon | SLJ Review


Pon, Cindy. Serpentine. 262p. (Serpentine: Bk. 1). ebook available. Month9. Sept. 2015. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781942664338.

Gr 9 Up–Skybright never knew her parents. She was raised by an affluent Chinese family who took her into their home to be a handmaid to their daughter, Zhen Ni. The two grew up as close as sisters, best friends and confidants who shared everything. Skybright loves her mistress, but as both girls grow up, changes start to occur. While Zhen Ni finds love in […]

New Nonfiction for Young Readers


Wednesday, August 19th, 2015, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET / 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM PT
This free SLJ webcast, moderated by the library director of Bard H.S. Early College Queens, Jess deCourcy Hinds, will showcase a wide range of reading materials and educational series supporting Common Core and STEM curriculums, plus much more. We’ll highlight new riveting and suspenseful biographies, historical graphic novels, and several fresh and series.
Register Now!

Jump Back, Paul: The Life and Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar by Sally Derby | SLJ Review


Derby, Sally. Jump Back, Paul: The Life and Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar. illus. by Sean Qualls. 128p. bibliog. chron. index. notes. Candlewick. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763660703. LC 2014952480.

Gr 5-8–Derby asks, ”Did you ever hear anyone whose way of talking was kind of like that poem? I’m guessing not. Seems to me, first thing you know we’re all going to talk like the reporters and the pretty people they call anchors on TV—everybody all the same.” Paul Laurence […]

Rules for Stealing Stars by Corey Ann Haydu | SLJ Review

Stealing Stars

Haydu, Corey Ann. Rules for Stealing Stars. 336p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062352712.

Gr 4-7–Silly’s family is in distress. Moving to their New Hampshire summer house, which was supposed to help, has only exacerbated her mother’s drinking problem. Silly’s father finds refuge in his academic study of fairy tales, leaving 11-year-old Silly and her three sisters to fend for themselves. Silly resents the fact that her siblings view her as the baby, and exclude her from the […]