August 26, 2015

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Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods by Hal Johnson and Tom Mead | SLJ Review


JOHNSON, Hal. Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods: 20 Chilling Tales from the Wilderness. illus. by Tom Mead. 176p. Workman. Aug. 2015. Tr $14.95. ISBN 9780761184614.
Gr 5-7–Look out for what’s lurking around every corner. The book is told from the perspective of a cryptozoologist who focuses on the lumberwoods of North America and who recounts many painful and horrifying incidents he witnessed during his years of seeking the most bizarre creatures. He begins with the very dangerous hodag, a rhinoceros critter […]

How Three California Cities Fought to Save School Libraries


This report on urban school districts in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Vista, CA, illustrates the setbacks faced by each and the steps taken to restore or maintain school librarians after budget cuts following the 2008 recession.

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

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown | SLJ Review


BROWN, Don. Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans. illus. by Don Brown. 96p. bibliog. ebook available. notes. HMH. Aug. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780544157774.
Gr 7 Up–A murky watercolor storm spreads across pages, darkening and becoming more ominous as it builds in Brown’s deeply affecting look at Hurricane Katrina. Dynamic sketches capture shocking scenes, such as residents fleeing down claustrophobic highways as the 400-mile-wide storm looms in a nearly completely dark spread. Brown depicts broken levees, flooded homes, and inhabitants […]

The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle | SLJ Review


FOWLEY-DOYLE, Moïra. The Accident Season. 304p. ebook available. Penguin/Kathy Dawson Bks. Aug. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525429487. LC 2014047858.
Gr 10 Up–Triple layers of protective clothing, padded furniture, knives locked away, and the gas turned off. It’s October, the accident season for Cara’s family, but all her mother’s precautions will not be enough to protect them from the cuts, bruises, broken bones, or worse. Cara’s sprained wrist and her sister Alice’s concussion are minor compared to previous years, though Bea’s tarot […]

The Nonsense Show by Eric Carle | SLJ Review


CARLE, Eric. The Nonsense Show. illus. by Eric Carle. 40p. Philomel. Oct. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780399176876.
PreS-Gr 1–Nonsense indeed! A rabbit pulls a boy out of a hat, a mouse chases a cat, and a girl plays tennis with an apple instead of a ball. These are just a few of the goofy images readers will find in Carle’s latest picture book. In rhyming text and surrealist illustrations, the book is full of Carle’s distinct art featuring bright and colorfully […]

ALA Webinars to Help Teachers—and Parents—Understand Censorship

While most librarians are familiar with the issues around intellectual freedom and a student’s right to read, what about their colleagues? Enter the American Library Association, which is offering two digital lessons to help librarians broach the topic of censorship with colleagues.

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin | SLJ Review


Benjamin, Ali. The Thing About Jellyfish. 352p. Little, Brown. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.ISBN 9780316380867. LC 2014044025.

Gr 4-7–Suzy’s best friend, Franny Jackson, was a strong swimmer. There is no way she could have drowned, at least in Suzy’s mind. Suzy’s determined search for a different explanation for her friend’s death leads her to believe that Franny was stung by an Irukandji jellyfish. Having nothing but time, since she has no other friends and has decided to stop talking, Suzy sets out […]

Listeners encouraged to find joy in the mundane in “Last Stop on Market Street”| Audio Pick


De la Peña, Matt. Last Stop on Market Street. 1 CD. 15 min. Recorded Books. 2015. $15.75. ISBN 9781490683720. digital download.
Gr K-2–In this beautiful, magical tribute to an intergenerational relationship between a boy and his grandmother, CJ and his Nana take the bus home after church on Sundays, unlike some of his friends, who jump in their family cars and drive away. CJ’s envy is understandable, but Nana’s positive outlook on the many advantages of their journey soon influences CJ […]

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz | SLJ Review


Schlitz, Laura Amy. The Hired Girl. 400p. Candlewick. Sept. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763678180.

Gr 6-9–Fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs is a reluctant drudge on her family’s farm, and no one appreciates her. She pours her thoughts and emotions into her diary, which is the lens through which readers experience her life. And life on her family’s 1911 hardscrabble Pennsylvania farm grinds on endlessly. She loves to read and longs for more education, but is trapped by her circumstances. Her boorish father pushes […]

Give Me Wings: How a Choir of Former Slaves Took on the World by Kathy Lowinger | SLJ Review


LOWINGER, Kathy. Give Me Wings: How a Choir of Former Slaves Took on the World. 148p. chron. ebook available. further reading. index. maps. photos. reprods. Annick. Sept. 2015. Tr $21.95. ISBN 9781554517473.
Gr 7 Up–Readers learn the story of Ella Sheppard and the Jubilee Singers of Fisk University. Born a slave, Sheppard survived the Civil War and eventually enrolled in Fisk Free Colored School (now Fisk University) in Nashville, TN. However, this underfunded school for newly freed blacks floundered within a […]

Rosen Publishing, Lilead Project Announce Grants for SLJ Summit Attendees


The grants will allow eleven Lilead Fellows to attend the 2015 SLJ Leadership Summit in Seattle on September 26–27.

The Latest from Amanda Hocking, R.L. Stine, and More | YA Series Update


School Library Journal editors round up the latest entries of popular fantasy, paranormal romance, dystopian, and horror series, including works by Amanda Hocking, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Janet Edwards, and R.L. Stine.

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

Monkey: Not Ready for Kindergarten by Marc Brown | SLJ Review


Brown, Marc. Monkey: Not Ready for Kindergarten. illus. by Marc Brown. 32p. ebook available. Knopf. 2015. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780553496581. LC 2014002818.

PreS–Monkey draws on his supportive family to combat first-day-of-school jitters in this new picture book. His parents and big brother are very excited about kindergarten, but Monkey isn’t so sure. Along with the usual list of worrisome “what ifs,” Monkey doubts he even needs kindergarten. After all, he can count to 12, and he’s pretty good with the alphabet. […]

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell | SLJ Review


Gaiman, Neil. The Sleeper and the Spindle. illus. by Chris Riddell. 64p. ebook available. HarperCollins/Harper. Sept. 2015. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780062398246.

Gr 7 Up–Snow White meets Sleeping Beauty in this fairytale mash-up where things are not what they seem. When three dwarfs learn of a sleeping plague spreading throughout the land, they alert their queen. The queen, already feeling that marriage means the end of her ability to make choices in her life, gladly postpones her wedding, grabs her sword, and […]

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray | SLJ Review

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Bray, Libba. Lair of Dreams. 704p. (Diviners: Bk. 2). ebook available. Little, Brown. Aug. 2015. Tr $19. ISBN 9780316126045.

Gr 10 Up–This breathtaking sequel to The Diviners (Little, Brown, 2012) is worth the wait. The novel opens in 1927 New York City, as construction continues on expanding the subway system. When workers break through to an older and forgotten train station, they develop a “sleeping sickness,” trapped first by dreams and then “nightmare[s]  from which they will, never, ever wake.” Bray […]

Good Grief | SLJ Spotlight


Three titles tackle “tough topics” for middle graders seeking darker reads.

It’s a Small World After All | SLJ Spotlight


Three new nonfiction titles that help make the world just a little bit smaller for young readers.

Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton | SLJ Review


Hilton, Marilyn. Full Cicada Moon. 400p. ebook available. Dial. Sept. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780525428756.

Gr 4-8–Mimi tells her story in this novel in verse that will resonate with fans of Jacqueline Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming (Penguin, 2014). The seventh grader describes arriving in small-town Vermont from Berkeley in 1969. While filling out a form, the teen is perplexed by which ethnicity to check off: her father is a black college professor, and her mother is Japanese (they married when he […]

Sunny Side Up by Jennifer Holm & Matthew Holm | SLJ Review


Holm, Jennifer L. Sunny Side Up. illus. by Matthew Holm & Lark Pien. 224p. Scholastic. Aug. 2015. Tr $23.99. ISBN 9780545741651; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780545741668; ebk. $12.99. ISBN 9780545741675.

Gr 4-6–The Holm siblings, of “Babymouse” and “Squish” (both Random) fame, and colorist Pien, of American Born Chinese fame (First Second, 2008), have created a must-have graphic novel based on true events from the Holms’ childhood. The year is 1976, and Sunny Lewin will be spending the summer with her grandfather in […]

Capstone Launches PebbleGo Dinosaurs Database Module


PebbleGo Dinosaurs, for pre-K through second grade, features articles related to more than 125 dinosaurs, such as ankylosaurus, stegosaurus, triceratops, tyrannosaurus rex, and velociraptor.