September 29, 2016

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Mi Viaje: De Nuevo León to the New York Island by Sonia De Los Santos | SLJ Music Review

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Mi Viaje: De Nuevo León to the New York Island. Performed by Sonia De Los Santos. CD. 40:50 mins. Festival Five Records. 2015. $11.99.

PreS Up –In telling tales about growing up in Monterrey, Mexico; moving to the United States; and sharing stories from family and friends, De Los Santos has created a beautiful album for families of all ages to enjoy. While this collection of 12 songs are in Spanish, listeners do not have to speak Spanish to […]

Savvy Survivor | “Queen of Katwe” Movie Review

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This is a quietly triumphant adaptation of Tim Crothers’s nonfiction account of a Ugandan teenage girl from the slums who becomes an international chess champion.

I Believe in Little Things by Diana Panton | SLJ Music Review

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I Believe in Little Things. Performed by Diana Panton. CD. approx. 55 min. Entertainment One Music. 2016. $11.

PreS-Gr 5 –In her debut album for families, Canadian jazz vocalist Panton weaves a beautiful spell with a delightful selection of classics from children’s movies and television. Parents and grandparents who remember songs like “Pure Imagination” from the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, “The Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie, and “When You Wish upon a Star” from Pinocchio […]

As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds | SLJ Audio Review

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REYNOLDS, Jason. As Brave as You. 7 CDs. 7:02 hrs. S. & S. Audio. May 2016. $17.99. ISBN 9781508225089. digital download.

Gr 5-8 –Reynolds makes his middle grade debut with a multigenerational story featuring two Brooklyn brothers sent to stay temporarily with grandparents in rural Virginia. While their parents take some time to salvage their fraying relationship, 11-year-old Genie and his almost 14-year-old brother, Ernie, are expected to spend a month obeying their strict grandmother, surviving without cellular service […]

Flight of the Butterflies | SLJ DVD Review

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Flight of the Butterflies. 44 min. Dist. by Shout! Kids Factory. 2016. 3-D Blu-ray/digital copy $19.99 UPC 826663168327. Ultra high definition/3-D Blu-ray/Blu-ray $39.99. 0826663168334.

Gr 2 Up –Half biography, half nature documentary, the film follows naturalist Fred Urquhart’s pursuit of the monarch butterflies and their epic migration. Urquhart was a naturalist who became interested in the insects in the 1920s. He spent nearly 40 years searching for the monarchs’ migration destination, and he finally found it, with the help […]

Abe’s Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln by Doreen Rappaport | SLJ Audio Review

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RAPPAPORT, Doreen. Abe’s Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln. 1 CD w tr book. 13 min. Weston Woods. Mar. 2016. $29.95. ISBN 9780545932677.

Gr 1-4 –Rappaport paints a human and inspiring portrait of Abraham Lincoln. The text in this biography is uplifting, accessible, powerful, and tender. The author captures Lincoln’s influence on modern society in a way that young children can understand and appreciate, and Kadir Nelson’s illustrations are simply breathtaking. Narrators Nicol Zanzarella and Trevor Murphy deliver […]

My Name Is Not Friday by Jon Walter | SLJ Audio Review

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WALTER, Jon. My Name Is Not Friday. 9:56 hrs. Scholastic Audio. Jan. 2016. $19.50. ISBN 9780545911061. digital download.

Gr 7 Up –Samuel, almost 13, and his younger brother Joshua are orphans but born free and growing up educated. During the Civil War’s final year, Samuel takes the blame for mischief that he’s convinced that Joshua committed, and finds himself betrayed by the priest who has raised him. He’s stripped of everything familiar and renamed Friday—for the day he’s auctioned […]

Audio Xpress Reviews | September 2016

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Jon Walter’s complex and beautifully written My Name Is Not Friday; the can’t-miss conclusion to Margaret Peterson Haddix’s “Missing” series.

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

The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter | SLJ Audio Review

The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter

Kletter, Kerry. The First Time She Drowned. 8 CDs. 10:19 hrs. Listening Library. Mar. 2016. $50. ISBN 9780399567933. digital download. 

Gr 9 Up –Eighteen-year-old Cassie is facing the world for the first time since checking herself out of the mental institution where she has spent two and a half years. She agrees to attend her mother’s alma mater and try to make a fresh start, but illness and the pressures of social engagement prove too much for her, […]

Bounce: How the Ball Taught the World To Play | SLJ DVD Review

Bounce How the Ball Taught the World To Play DVD

Bounce: How the Ball Taught the World To Play. 71 min. Dist. by Alexander Street. 2015. $295. ISBN unavail. 

Gr 9 Up –Director Jerome Thelia’s insightful documentary delves into our instinctual drive to play ball and explores how this fundamental need crosses cultures, time, and even species, whether players use a ball made from plastic bags, rags, and twine or the factory-made spheres thrown and kicked on million-dollar playing fields. Human and animal subjects share screen time in locales […]

Creatures of Light | SLJ DVD Review

Creatures of Light PBS

Creatures of Light. (NOVA). 54 min. Dist. by PBS. 2016. $24.99. ISBN 9781627894739. 

Gr 5 Up –Fireflies are dazzling; few land animals glow as they do. In the oceans, lighting up from within (bioluminescence) or by reflecting light (biofluorescence) is almost matter of fact—about 90 percent of ocean life glows. As this delightful program explains, marine biologists are trying to better understand these displays, since the science behind illumination can be used to track cancer, discover pollution, and perhaps […]

Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart | SLJ Audio Review

Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart

Gephart, Donna. Lily and Dunkin. 7 CDs. 8 hrs. 48 min. Listening Library. May 2016. $45. ISBN 9780451481962. digital download. 

Gr 5-8 –Lily and Dunkin have a chance meeting just before entering eighth grade and sense an immediate connection; both harbor deep secrets. Gephart expertly weaves the characters’ separate but similar struggles with school, family, and society with concurrent narratives. Lily was assigned male at birth but has always felt she is a girl; she’s pressuring her family to […]

SLJ’s August Popular Picks

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The latest from Nicola Yoon; Dan Santat’s newest early reader, part of Mo Willems’s “Elephant and Piggie Like Reading” series; and the DVD version of Finding Winnie.

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

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick | SLJ Audio Review

Finding Winnie

Mattick, Lindsay. Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear. 1 CD. 15 min. Recorded Books. Apr. 2016. $15.75. ISBN 9781501923593. digital download.

K-Gr 3 –This story of the bear who inspired Winnie the Pooh is sure to find a home in the hearts of listeners worldwide. Mattick’s great-grandfather, Harry Colebourn, was a veterinarian who cared for horses in the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade during World War I. While traveling east by train across Canada from […]

Diana Panton & Sonia De Los Santos | ClefNotes

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Diana Panton’s debut album for children and families; Sonia de Los Santos’s gorgeous, Spanish-language songs; the latest from The Not-Its.

Animal Reunions | SLJ DVD Review

Animal Reunions

Animal Reunions. (Nature). 53 min. Dist. by PBS. 2016. $24.99. ISBN 9781627896856. 

Gr 4 Up –This wonderful film documents the work of animal rescuers who have nurtured orphaned wildlife—elephants, chimpanzees, gorillas—and reintroduced them to the wild, as well as videographer Kim Wolhuter, who has studied a family of cheetahs (the fastest animal on earth). In all cases, the bond that develops between these dedicated humans and the animals they have worked with and studied proves remarkably indelible. There are […]

Alone and Abandoned | “The Little Prince” Movie Review

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The new animated feature film of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s 1943 novella premieres on Netflix.

Last Stop On Market Street | SLJ DVD Review

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Last Stop on Market Street. 10 min. Dist. by Dreamscape. 2016. $38.99. ISBN 9781520011356. POP

K-Gr 3 –Winner of the 2016 Newbery Medal, as well as numerous other awards, this picture book by Matt de la Peña receives a lovely treatment in this video presentation. Arnell Powell reads the deceptively simple text, which follows CJ and his grandmother as they take the bus through their diverse neighborhood after church. CJ is not content with his lot (he wishes he […]

Pax by Sara Pennypacker | SLJ Audio Review

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PENNYPACKER, Sara. Pax. 5 CDs. 5:35 hrs. HarperAudio. Feb. 2016. $25.99. ISBN 9780062443960. digital download. 

Gr 4-7 –Somewhere close, sometime soon, war is coming. Twelve-year-old Peter and his fox, Pax, are forced apart by a father whose noble intentions have devastating results. When Peter’s father enlists in the military, he pressures Peter to return Pax to the wild, while Peter is sent 300 miles away to live with his grandfather. Almost immediately, Peter realizes his grave mistake and […]

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry | SLJ Audio Review

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry

Berry, Julie. The Passion of Dolssa. 10 CDs. 11:43 hrs. Listening Library. Apr. 2016. $60. ISBN 9780147525819. digital download. 

Gr 7 Up –This magnificent tale is set in post-Crusades 13th-century France. A pious young noblewoman blessed with the gift of healing, Dolssa de Stigata is judged a heretic by the Roman Catholic Church and sentenced to burn at the stake. Forced to watch her beloved mother burn first, Dolssa is surprised when someone cuts the ropes binding […]