February 7, 2016

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Fairy Tale Programming Is Alive and Well


Renewed interest in fairy and folktales has librarians across the country coming up with clever themed programming, some around making and STEM.

LeVar Burton Launches Skybrary School

LeVar Burton - Headshot 1

LeVar Burton has launched Skybrary School, a web-based library and supplemental reading service. The executive producer of Reading Rainbow, Burton talked to SLJ about diverse books and more.

(Anti)Valentine’s Day Inspiration: Molly Wetta Curates an SLJ Pinterest Board

FT_Valentine Pinterest

In search of a last-minute display idea for Valentine’s Day? Or perhaps your teens would run in the opposite direction at the sight of hearts and doilies. Librarian and blogger Molly Wetta curates SLJ’s (Anti)Valentine’s Day-themed Pinterest board.

National Book Foundation Launches BookUp LGBTQ

National Book Award – Shortlist

The National Book Foundation, best known for its National Book Awards, will expand its BookUp program for teens on February 5, by creating its first after-school reading club for LGBTQ teens.

Ruta Sepetys on Unearthing an Untold Story of World War II in “Salt to the Sea”


SLJ caught up with the acclaimed YA author of Between Shades of Gray to discuss her latest historical fiction novel about the world’s worst maritime disaster, Salt to the Sea.

Why “The Hired Girl” Won the 2016 O’Dell Award


The win strikes a chord of redemption for supporters of the controversial book following a wide-ranging discussion over the main character’s prejudiced outlooks.

Primed for a Fight: SLJ’s 2016 Battle of the Kids’ Books Contenders Revealed


SLJ’s March Madness–like tournament will soon be upon us—the eighth annual Battle of the Kids’ Books (BOB) officially begins on March 7. Take a look at the 16 books vying for the title.

Good Books Are Like Good Pranks: Chatting with the Terribly Funny Authors of “The Terrible Two”

Terrible Two Mac and Jory in Costume

Jokesters Mac Barnett and Jory John chat about fooling kids, collaborative writing, and the subversive—yet honorable—underpinnings of pranking.

Embracing the Darkness in Middle Grade Fiction | The Upper Deck

Tara Kron Headshot

A brand new column, The Upper Deck, recommends titles for upper middle grade through teen readers. In this inaugural piece, librarian Tara Kron looks at several recently acclaimed middle grade titles that explore dark, sometimes disturbing, issues—but which ultimately offer strength and hope.

Funny, Action-Packed, Poignant | Middle Grade Series Update


Clear the shelves! Librarian Christopher Lassen rounds up a strong selection of new middle grade series and sequels.

Tracey Baptiste on Writing, Trinidadian Folklore, and Scary Stories | Under the Covers


Librarian Karen Yingling talks with Tracey Baptiste about her novel, The Jumbies, and the need for diverse representations in middle grade fiction.

2016 Book Awards Roundup: APALA, Amelia Bloomer Project, and Other Non-YMA Awards


SLJ curates a list of non-Youth Media Awards that were recently announced in the children’s and young adult literature world, including the National Jewish Award, South Asia Book Award, Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature, and more.

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer | 30-Second Booktalk


A super short and handy 30-second booktalk on one of SLJ’s Best Books of 2015.

Selecting and Promoting Nonfiction in Your Library | Nonfiction Notions

aaa Sniffer Dogs

Welcome to Nonfiction Notions, a new column devoted to exploring and recommending middle grade nonfiction. If you and your readers have always thought that nonfiction meant boring textbooks, dry as dust tomes, or—gasp!—factoid books with no redeeming qualities, think again! There’s a whole world of amazing middle grade narrative and expository nonfiction waiting to entice readers.

A Birthday Cake for George Washington | SLJ Review

Birthday Cake

Ganeshram, Ramin. A Birthday Cake for George Washington. illus. by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. 32p. Scholastic. Jan. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545538237.

Gr 1–3—A troubling depiction of American slavery. In a famous Philadelphia kitchen, chef Hercules prepares to make the perfect birthday cake for his master, President George Washington. When he discovers that there is no more sugar in the pantry, Hercules scrambles to find a suitable substitute, enlisting the help of the other slaves and servants. Based on the real figure of […]

Sharing the Newbery Love | Book Trailer Spotlight


These videos, featuring Newbery-winner Matt de la Pena and Newbery honor authors Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Pam Munoz Ryan, and Victoria Jamieson, are perfect for sharing in classrooms and libraries.

War Through a Child’s—and a Fox’s—Eyes: Sara Pennypacker on Her New Novel, Pax | Under the Covers

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Sara Pennypacker talks about her affecting new middle grade novel, Pax, which has already garnered several stars and much buzz.

Picture of the Week: Gene Luen Yang Inaugurated as National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature

Yang inaugurated

Our most memorable shot of the week is of a trio of grinning ambassadors. It’s sure to make you smile, too.

Beyond the Stars: Sci-Fi YA Read-Alikes for “The 5th Wave” Fans


The film adaptation of Rick Yancey’s YA The 5th Wave comes to theaters on January 22. Teens will be rushing to the library in search of the source material; offer them these new and upcoming sci-fi read-alikes.

SLJ Reviews of 2016 Youth Media Award–Winning and Honor Books


The winners are in, and once again, SLJ predicted many of the top Youth Media Award winners and honor books. Check out the reviews of all the winning and honor books.