July 29, 2016

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The Best Man by Richard Peck | SLJ Review

MG-Peck-The Best Man

Peck, Richard. The Best Man. 240p. Dial. Sept. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780803738393. 

Gr 4-6 –The inimitable Peck frames his latest novel with weddings. Opening with a flashback to a hilariously disastrous wedding when Archer Magill was in first grade, the book closes with a significantly more staid one that occurs when he is in sixth grade. Most of the story, though, takes place between these two events, during Archer’s fifth grade year. A military-based student […]

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin | SLJ Audio Review

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

GARVIN, Jeff. Symptoms of Being Human. ­­7 CDs. 7:47 hrs. HarperAudio. Feb. 2016. $21.99. ISBN 9780062447258. digital download. 

Gr 9 Up –“The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?” Keep wondering: Riley Cavanaugh isn’t answering. Riley is gender-fluid, information only Riley’s psychiatrist is privy to while Riley’s conservative congressman father and teacher mother remain clueless. Between medications and therapy, Riley is struggling to just live life. […]

Teens Review Twisty Plots and Summer Romances

7 27 16 killer in me

From a murderous plot to a modern twist on You’ve Got Mail, the latest books covered by the Kitsap YA group are titles perfect for reading by the poolside or on much-needed beach days.

SLJ’s Starred Reviews | July 2016


From Aaron Becker’s lush conclusion to his “Journey” picture book series to librarian Mindy McGinnis’s YA blockbuster The Female of the Species, there’s something for every reader in July’s list of starred titles.

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

Where, Oh Where, Is Rosie’s Chick? by Pat Hutchins | SLJ Review

Where, Oh Where, Is Rosie’s Chick by Pat Hutchins

Hutchins, Pat. Where, Oh Where, Is Rosie’s Chick? illus. by Pat Hutchins. 32p. S. & S. Aug. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481460712. 

PreS-Gr 1 –When Rosie the hen finally hatches an egg, she cannot find her baby chick. She looks everywhere, and all the while, her chick is looking for her—sort of. Baby chick is still wearing half of his shell over his head and walking around blindly. Rosie does not even recognize him, but an […]

Garvey’s Choice by Nikki Grimes | SLJ Review

Garvey's Choice by Nikki Grimes

Grimes, Nikki. Garvey’s Choice. 120p. Boyds Mills/Wordsong. Oct. 2016. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781629797403. 

Gr 4-8 –Grimes’s latest is a sensitively written middle grade novel in verse that takes its syllable count from Japanese tanka. Garvey is an overweight boy who is teased at school and whose father constantly prods him to be more like his athletic older sister, Angie. But Garvey has a best friend (Joe), an open heart (which leads him to a new friend, […]

Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez | SLJ Audio Review


Pérez, Ashley Hope. Out of Darkness. 10 CDs. 12:32 hrs. Listening Library. Apr. 2016. $65. ISBN 9780735289475. digital download. 

Gr 9 Up –The 1937 school explosion in New London, TX, remains the deadliest school disaster in U.S. history. With that real-life tragedy as a starting point, Pérez adds greater volatility with race, class, and family dysfunction, by introducing a love story between two teens from different worlds in a tiny community where nothing remains hidden for long. Mexican […]

The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart | SLJ Review

MG-Stewart-The Secret Keepers

Stewart, Trenton Lee. The Secret Keepers. illus. by Diana Sudyka. 512p. Little, Brown. Sept. 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316389556; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780316389563. 

Gr 5 Up –Parkour practitioner Reuben Pedley has been having a hard time since his mom lost her job and they had to move to a different (and poorer) part of the city. Friendless, he spends his days avoiding the Directions, the enforcement officers of the mysterious Smoke, who runs the city. On […]

Across the Boards: The Latest for the Smallest of Readers


SLJ editors pick the best of the season’s board books.

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

Coyote Moon by Maria Gianferrari | SLJ Review

Coyote Moon by Maria Gianferrari

Gianferrari, Maria. Coyote Moon. illus. by Bagram Ibatoulline. 32p. further reading. websites. Roaring Brook. Jul. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626720411. 

K-Gr 2 –A captivating and atmospheric title about a mother coyote on the hunt through a suburban landscape. Readers join the coyote as she leaves her pups in the den and travels through a neighborhood, a golf course, and a lakeside—all in pursuit of a mouse, a flock of geese, a rabbit, and, finally, one unfortunate […]

SLJ’s July 2016 Popular Picks


This month’s Popular Picks features favorite authors such as Kelly DiPucchio, Kekla Magoon, and Dav Pilkey.

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

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova | SLJ Review

YA-HS-Corvado-Labyrinth Lost

CÓrdova, Zoraida. Labyrinth Lost. 336p. (Brooklyn Brujas: Bk. 1). ebook available. Sourcebooks/Fire. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781492620945. POP 

Gr 9 Up –Alejandra Mortiz comes from a long line of powerful brujas (witches), although she has unsuccessfully tried to hide her powers from her family. They dismiss her disinterest as typical teenage behavior and continue to have high expectations of her and her abilities. At her Deathday celebration, a special ceremony where she is expected to […]

Oyler | SLJ DVD Review


Oyler. 56 min. Dist. by the Video Project. 2015. $89. ISBN unavail. 

Gr 9 Up –A chronicle of a year at Oyler School, located in Cincinnati’s most economically challenged neighborhood. Committed staff, led by principal Craig Hockenberry, have created a preschool to grade 12 facility that has become a community center, serving three meals daily and equipped with a free medical clinic open until 10 p.m. Hockenberry takes a personal approach to helping students succeed, and he can be […]

Beautiful Blue World by Suzanne LaFleur | SLJ Review

Beautiful Blue World by Suzanne LaFleur

LaFleur, Suzanne. Beautiful Blue World. 224p. ebook available. Random/Wendy Lamb Bks. Sept. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780385743006; lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 9780375990892. 

Gr 5-8 –The country of Sofarende is at war. Mathilde and Megs, both 12, are best friends. When the military begins recruiting children for the war effort, their school holds an examination for students ages 12 to 14. Those who pass the test will be sent somewhere to help with the war effort. In […]

Moo by Sharon Creech | SLJ Review

Moo by Sharon Creech

Creech, Sharon. Moo. 288p. HarperCollins. Aug. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062415240. 

Gr 3-6 –Creech offers a memorable family story featuring an especially difficult cow. When Reena, 12, and her brother Luke, seven, move with their parents to Maine from the noisy bustle of New York City, lots of adjustments are required. The siblings appreciate each other and generally get along. The citified family is thrust into small-town life, and things get awkward when Reena’s parents force […]

Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner | SLJ Review

Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner

Garner, Paula. Phantom Limbs. 368p. ebook available. Candlewick. Sept. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763682057. 

Gr 8 Up –This debut novel is a story of loss, love, and friendship, about a teenager coming to terms with the past and dealing with repressed memories that are resurfacing. Otis Mueller, 16, an introverted swimmer at Willow Grove High School, is thrown for a loop when Meg, his all but forgotten first love and former next-door neighbor, sends him a […]

Big Voice | SLJ DVD Review

Big Voice.

Big Voice. 53 min. and 83 min. Dist. by the Video Project. 2015. $89. ISBN unavail.

Gr 6 Up –Jeffe Huls loves music and his job as Santa Monica High School’s choral director. This exceptional documentary chronicles a school year as he uses all of his skills to pull the music out of students who are also dealing with their own teen issues. After finally being able to select a 32-person madrigal choir (a longtime dream), he finds that […]

Owl Sees Owl by Laura Godwin | SLJ Review

Owl Sees Owl by Laura Godwin

Godwin, Laura. Owl Sees Owl. illus. by Rob Dunlavey. 40p. Random/Schwartz & Wade. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780553497823. 

PreS-Gr 1 –“Soar/Glide/Swoop/Swoosh.” A young owlet leaves his nest one night for a solo adventure—and, by the light of the moon, sees his reflection in the water. “Owl/Sees/Owl.” Startled, he makes his way back home, where he finds safety in the comfort of his nest. “Sister/Brother/Mama/Home.” With only a few words per page, this poetic picture book […]

Talking Leaves by Joseph Bruchac | SLJ Review

Talking Leaves by Joseph Bruchac

Bruchac, Joseph. Talking Leaves. 272p. Dial. Aug. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780803735088. 

Gr 4-7 –Bruchac has crafted a tale of depth and universal humanity in this fictionalized account of Sequoyah, the creator of the Cherokee syllabary, and his son, Jesse. Struggling with gossip and whispers about his father, Jesse must decide whether to embrace the vision his father has for his people or to distance himself even further from his heritage. With an authentic voice, Bruchac […]

Pokémon GO: What Do Librarians Need To Know?


Where’s Pikachu? How libraries are connecting with patrons over this wildly popular new virtual treasure hunt that uses geolocation—and why the game raises privacy concerns.