August 17, 2017

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Robinson by Peter Sís | SLJ Review

SÍS, Peter. Robinson. illus. by Peter Sís. 48p. Scholastic. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545731669.

K-Gr 3 –Sís’s latest picture book fuses an episode from his childhood with the plot of Robinson Crusoe—a favorite novel when he was young. Sequential panels lead to full-bleed double spreads as the first-person accounts describe the way a group of five diverse friends play pirates in every conceivable setting, from a backyard tent to the bathtub. When the school costume party is announced, the collective choice is obvious, […]

Rise of the Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste | SLJ Review

BAPTISTE, Tracey. Rise of the Jumbies. 272p. Algonquin. Sept. 2017. Tr $16,95. ISBN 9781616206659.

Gr 4-6 –This sequel to The Jumbies, a dark fairy tale woven from elements of traditional Caribbean folklore, does not disappoint. Shunned by most of the town on her small island for her recently revealed part-jumbie heritage, Corinne is lonely and yet still wants to help when several children are lost after a tidal wave. After discovering that these are not the first kids to go missing near water, Corinne […]

I’m Smart! by Kate McMullan | SLJ Review

MCMULLAN, Kate. I’m Smart! illus. by Jim McMullan. 40p. HarperCollins/Harper. Jun. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062449238.

PreS-Gr 2 –Oozing confidence and energy, a big-eyed, grinning school bus describes his morning route, informing listeners that it “takes BRAINS to do my job—drive you to SCHOOL and keep you SAFE!” As with previous titles, the McMullans (I’m Brave!; I Stink!; I’m Cool!) infuse everyday activities with an infectious excitement bound to entice vehicle-loving youngsters. When the bus’s lights flash amber, it means “Cars and trucks, […]

Talking with Terry Lynn Johnson: Author, Conservationist, Musher

Terry Lynn Johnson doesn’t just write about wilderness and survival—she lives it.

2017 SLJTeen Live! Tackles Social Justice, YA Lit, and Coding

SLJ’s sixth annual virtual conference on all things teen took place on August 9, 2017. The archive and Storify for the free, all-day event is now available.

Five STEM-themed Chapter Books & Lesson Plan Ideas

These five fictional chapter books introduce scientific concepts in entertaining and accessible ways.

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus | SLJ Audio Review

MCMANUS, Karen M. One of Us Is Lying. 9 CDs. 11:44 hrs. Listening Library. May 2017. $65. ISBN 9781524756901. digital download.

Gr 9 Up –Five high school students walk into a normal Monday after-school detention but only four leave alive. Simon, the dead student, was despised for the secrets he revealed in his toxic gossip app targeting the students of Bayview High. The remaining four students all have reasons to want Simon dead, and the police quickly zoom in on all of them […]

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library by Carole Boston Weatherford | SLJ Review

WEATHERFORD, Carole Boston. Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library. illus. by Eric Velasquez. 48p. bibliog. chron. notes. Candlewick. Sept. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763680466.

Gr 3-6 –Born in 1874, Afro-Puerto Rican Arturo Schomburg’s sense of wonder was stoked early on by listening to el lector, who read aloud from newspapers and novels to the cigar workers Schomburg kept company. When a teacher asserted that “Africa’s sons and daughters” had no history or heroes worth noting, it sparked Schomburg’s lifelong quest to uncover his people’s […]

SLJ’s August 2017 Popular Picks

Welcome readers back to school with September’s Popular Picks! This month brings lost picnics, runaway pasta, potato chip history, tons of high-octane YA, and much more.

This article was published in School Library Journal's August 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin | SLJ Review

DUNN, Gaby & Allison Raskin. I Hate Everyone But You. 352p. Wednesday Bks. Sept. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250129321.

Gr 10 Up –This contemporary coming-of-age story of two friends on opposite shores explores difficult topics in a relatable tone. Ava and Gen are best friends whose relationship defines the maxim that opposites attract. Ava, the perfectionist, joins a sorority because she thinks that’s what college students should do. She struggles with balancing her social life, anxiety, and class load. Gen is studying journalism […]

Fault Lines in the Constitution by Cynthia Levinson and Sanford Levinson | SLJ Review

LEVINSON, Cynthia & Sanford Levinson. Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws That Affect Us Today. illus. by Adela Pons. 192p. Peachtree. Sept. 2017. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781561459452.

Gr 6-8 –Gerrymandering. Filibusters. The electoral college. The authors tackle these and other constitutional issues in this insightful work. The book functions differently than a straightforward explanatory text on the U.S. Constitution. Rather, the authors examine the fissures and issues that arise when it comes to the actual application of […]

Reading on the Go! Two Transportation Titles | SLJ Spotlight

Two picture books about public transit for kids on the move.

This article was published in School Library Journal's August 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Halfway Normal by Barbara Dee | SLJ Review

DEE, Barbara. Halfway Normal. 256p. S. & S./Aladdin. Sept. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781481478519.

Gr 4-7 –Norah Levy is entering seventh grade after being away from school for two years, during which she spent time in and out of the hospital battling leukemia. Transitioning back to the “real world” is challenging—everyone in the seventh grade knows her as “The Girl Who.” She’s tired of being treated like she’s fragile; some students are even jealous of the attention she receives. It doesn’t help that […]

Treasures from Four Historic Kid Lit Collections

Curators shared the history and scope of their children’s literature collections at a recent New York City event.

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe | SLJ Review

ITURBE, Antonio. The Librarian of Auschwitz. tr from Spanish by Lilit Thwaites. 432p. Holt. Oct. 2017. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781627796187.

Gr 8 Up –Based on the true story of Holocaust survivor Dita Kraus, this novel features a protagonist who exemplifies courage in the face of death. Fourteen-year-old Dita is imprisoned at Auschwitz along with her mother and father in the “family camp.” Her work assignment is to assist the Jewish leader in charge of Block 31, a section created to entertain the children […]

Pup and Bear by Kate Banks | SLJ Review

BANKS, Kate. Pup and Bear. illus. by Naoko Stoop. 32p. Random/Schwartz & Wade. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399554094.

PreS-Gr 2 –At the close of an Arctic winter, a wolf pup, stranded on an ice floe, is rescued by a polar bear. “I am not your mother,” says the bear, but she assures the fearful pup that she will care for and shelter him. As the seasons turn, she protects the pup, plays with him, and teaches him to fish until at last […]

The Summer of Owen Todd by Tony Abbott | SLJ Review

ABBOTT, Tony. The Summer of Owen Todd. 224p. Farrar. Oct. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780374305505.

Gr 5-8 –It’s the summer after fifth grade, and lifelong best friends Owen and Sean are looking forward to a vacation full of baseball, go-karts, beach trips, and, now that they are getting older, a bit more independence in their Cape Cod hometown. Things don’t go as planned, however, when Sean’s single mom hires Paul to help look after Sean, who depends on insulin injections to manage his […]

Free School Supplies; Mentoring Opportunity; Grant Applications | News Bites

The South Asia Book Awards, Teen Read Week prep, America’s 100 favorite books, and more.

Sandwiches! by Alison Deering | SLJ Review

DEERING, Alison. Sandwiches!: More Than You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About Making and Eating America’s Favorite Food. illus. by Bob Lentz. 144p. Capstone. Aug. 2017. pap. $15.95. ISBN 9781623708160.

Gr 4 Up –A tasty offering with more than 50 recipes covering five skill levels—there’s something here for everyone. The book spices up basic staples like PB&J and grilled cheese by adding historical facts in special “Between the Bread” sections, as well as challenges to experiment called “We Dare You” (mayonnaise plus peanut butter […]

Librarians Vote for the Top 100 Must-Have YA

The results are in! Almost 300 librarians weighed on SLJ’s Top 100 Must-Have YA poll. Download a PDF of the full list.