May 2, 2016

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The Peanuts Movie | SLJ DVD Review

The Peanuts Movie

The Peanuts Movie. 88 min. Dist. by Twentieth Century Fox. 2016. DVD, Blu-ray, digital HD $39.99. UPC 024543992691. 

K-Gr 4 –The Peanuts gang has returned in this delightful full-length feature, cowritten by Charles Schulz’s son and grandson. All of the classic elements of a Schulz story line are contained here. Surrounded by the usual cast of characters, Charlie Brown tries, often with no success, to get to know the new student in class, the Little Red-Haired girl. Woven in […]

American Ace by Marilyn Nelson | SLJ Audio Review

American Ace by Marilyn Nelson

Nelson, Marilyn. American Ace. 2 CDs. 1:22 hrs. Listening Library. 2016. $20. ISBN 9780147525772. digital download.  

Gr 4-6 –When Connor’s grandmother dies, she leaves his father a ring, a pair of pilot’s wings, and a letter explaining that the man who raised Connor’s father was not his biological father. With his father paralyzed by depression, Connor takes the two mementoes and the few details available to him and traces his new lineage to the U.S. Air Force, […]

Movie Reviews: The Bard in Newtown; A Kid Chess Champion | 2016 Tribeca Film Festival


Of more than a dozen films previewed at the Tribeca Film Festival, two works in particular stand out for teen and young adult viewers and as potential additions to media collections.

Chasing It | SLJ DVD Review

Chasing It  by Dreamscape

Chasing It. 46 min. Dist. by Dreamscape. 2015. $19.99. (PPR) $199.99. UPC 857063005769. 

Gr 9 Up –Addicts, a grieving father, and a medical doctor describe in detail the power of heroin over youth from all socioeconomic brackets. Dr. Marc Fishman, from Mountain Manor Treatment Center and associate professor at John Hopkins Medicine, explains how the first experience with heroin is unlike any previous feeling and that users are destined to chase that euphoria, which can never be duplicated. He […]

Mowgli, Mischief, and Music | “The Jungle Book” Movie Review

Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi) and Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley)  in The Jungle Book (All photos: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Disney’s new version of Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 classic returns to the murky and mysterious Indian jungle.

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken | SLJ Audio Review

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

BRACKEN, Alexandra. Passenger. 11 CDs. 13:35 hrs. Brilliance. 2016. $24.99. ISBN 9781511361149. 

Gr 9 Up –Etta Spencer plans to be a professional violinist, not knowing the big secret her mother has kept from her—Etta and her mother are the last survivors of a time-traveling family. Cyrus Ironwood believes that Etta is the only person who can find the valuable object he seeks. And so he sends her traveling through space and time to land on a ship. Nicholas […]

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys | SLJ Audio Review

salt to the sea

SEPETYS, RUTA. Salt to the Sea. 7 CDs. 8:50 hrs. Listening Library. 2016. $45. ISBN 9780147525437. digital download. 

Gr 9 Up – While the Titanic and Lusitania are both well-documented disasters, the single greatest tragedy in maritime history is the little-known 1945 sinking by Soviet torpedoes of the Wilhelm Gustloff, a German cruise liner that was supposed to ferry wartime personnel and refugees to safety. The ship was overcrowded with more than 10,500 passengers—the intended capacity was approximately 1,800—and […]

The Best of Big Blue Live | SLJ DVD Review

DVD_The Best of Big Blue Live

The Best of Big Blue Live. (BBC Earth). 56 min. Dist. by PBS. 2016. $24.99. ISBN 9781627895163.  

Gr 6 Up –The geography, history, and ecology of Monterey Bay, CA, are presented in this excellent program detailing the significance of the bay’s location and the many species that live within its waters. For a brief period each year, thousands arrive in the bay to rest and feed during epic ocean migrations to comprise the largest gathering of sea mammals […]

Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye by Tania Del Rio | SLJ Audio Review

AUDIO_DelRio_Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye

Del Rio, Tania. Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye. 4 CDs. 5 hrs. Brilliance. 2015. $19.99. ISBN 9781511322775. 

Gr 3-6 –Although he’s only 12 years old, Warren the 13th is the sole heir to his family’s once magnificent hotel. Unfortunately, the hotel has fallen on hard times since the death of Warren’s father five years earlier and since Warren’s Uncle Rupert brought his bride, Aunt Annaconda, to stay. Annaconda is bent on finding the hotel’s legendary hidden treasure, […]

Sexual Violence in YA Lit | SLJ Spotlight


April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Share these recently reviewed YA titles and resources with teen readers.

Laurie Berkner, Lisa Loeb, & Rolie Polie Guacamole | ClefNotes


Reviews of recent albums for children.

The Lighting Queen by Laura Resau | SLJ Audio Review

RESAU, Laura. The Lighting Queen

RESAU, Laura. The Lighting Queen. 8 CDs. 8:16 hrs. Scholastic Audiobooks. 2015. $34.99. ISBN 9780545921176.

Gr 3-7 –Mateo visits his grandfather, Teo, in rural Mexico every year. Usually the visits follow the same old routine, but not this year. Instead, Teo tells the boy a story about friendship, life, and a bit of magic. His grandfather’s life wasn’t easy. He lost his father and sister when he was 11, and his mother fell into a deep depression. […]

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz | SLJ Audio Review


Schlitz, Laura Amy. The Hired Girl. 11 CDs. 12:45 hrs. Recorded Books. 2015. $87.75. ISBN 9781490632230. digital download. 

Gr 7 Up –Fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs is forced to quit school, much to her dismay, in order to help out on Steeple Farms, where her father and three brothers work. Having lost her mother at an early age, Joan finds herself struggling to do all the chores for the men—cooking, cleaning, washing, and any other chore her father assigns her. Joan’s […]

New Horizons, New Villains | “The Divergent Series: Allegiant” Movie Review

Shailene Woodley in The Divergent Series: Allegiant (Photos: Murray Close)

After the world-building in the first two movies of “The Divergent Series,” the emphasis shifts toward straight-on action. Fans of the books will be able to keep up with the intrigues and conspiracies, but those now jumping into the saga will be left behind.

Blood Lions: Bred for the Bullet | SLJ DVD Reviews

Blood Lions Bred for the Bullet

Blood Lions: Bred for the Bullet. 85 min. Dist. by PBS. 2015. $24.99. ISBN 9781627895415.

Gr 9 Up –This is an outstandingly well-produced documentary that is almost certain to cause outrage in viewers. In South Africa, where it is legal to breed and hunt wild animals, sanctuaries are fronts for the purpose of lions being hunted at close range. This clandestine “canned hunting” industry is exceedingly profitable, since the owners of the captive lions spend as little money as […]

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor | SLJ Audio Review

OKORAFOR, Nnedi. Binti. Macmillan Audio

OKORAFOR, Nnedi. Binti. digital download. 2:30 hrs. Macmillan Audio. 2015. $7.99. ISBN 9781427275462. 

Gr 9 Up –At 16, Binti embarks on an interplanetary voyage to Oomza Uni, the galaxy’s supreme institution of higher learning. As the first of her people offered such an opportunity, she leaves home without even warning her family of her departure. When the vessel is attacked by the alien Meduse, Binti’s only hope of survival is a pot of native clay—and her exceptional intelligence. Equal […]

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate | SLJ Audio Review


APPLEGATE, Katherine. Crenshaw. 3 CDs. 3:18 hrs. Listening Library. 2015. $38. ISBN 9780399564673. digital download. 

Gr 4-6 –Jackson was seven the last time he saw his bubble-bathing, purple jelly bean–loving friend Crenshaw. But now that Jackson is 10, the oversize imaginary feline explains, “You need a bigger friend now.” Jackson and his family must sell everything they can to pay their overdue rent and avoid living in their minivan—again. Jackson knows hunger and daily uncertainty too well. He’s shoplifted […]

Inhalant Abuse: One Huff Can Kill | SLJ DVD Review

Inhalant Abuse DVD

Inhalant Abuse: One Huff Can Kill. 20 min. w/37-page PDF guide. Dist. by Human Relations Media. 2016. $149.95. ISBN 9781627060844. 

Gr 5-10 –This video packs a wallop, as it focuses primarily on the devastated family members of a teen who died from inhalant abuse. While having less clinical information than most of the distributor’s videos, the program features two reenactments of sniffing-related deaths. The one of 13-year-old Aria really hits home when her parents, sister, and numerous friends […]

SLJ’s Starred Reviews | March 2016


Check out SLJ’s March 2016 starred titles, from Corinne Duyvis’s sophomore effort, On the Edge of Gone, and Stonewall-winning Sex Is a Funny Word: A Book About Bodies, Feelings, and You.

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

Goldie Takes a Stand: Golda Meir’s First Crusade by Barbara Krasner | SLJ Audio Review

Krasner Goldie Takes a Stand Golda Meir’s First Crusade

Krasner, Barbara. Goldie Takes a Stand: Golda Meir’s First Crusade. 1 CD. 10 min. Dreamscape. 2015. $14.99. ISBN 9781681414898. 

Gr 1-3 –Nine-year-old Goldie is the president of the American Young Sisters Society, a group of school friends she organized to raise money to buy textbooks for her immigrant classmates who can’t afford them. In this picture book biography about Golda Meir’s “first crusade,” listeners get a glimpse at the early life of Israel’s first woman prime minister […]