Whovians, unite! Saturday, November 23, marks the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, and teachers and youth librarians have been celebrating in recent weeks with a host of Who-themed programming, to the delight of their tween and teen patrons. For many superfans, though, the clever series is inspiring all year long.
How does a filmmaker adapt Markus Zusak’s bestseller The Book Thief, written in Death’s candid point of view? Director Brian Percival tackles that question and more in this atypical family movie set in Nazi Germany. Starring Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, and Sophie Nélisse, the adaptation expands to theaters nationwide in the coming weeks.
There are moments in the sleek-but-not-too-flashy adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game when the film takes flight. It feels like child’s play, and the audience forgets briefly that the on-screen kids, the smartest in the world, are being groomed to kill at a Battle School in space. The screenplay hews closer to the book than a potential franchise template.
From a soul-searing work of historical fiction to an array of dystopic tales that envision the not-so-distant future, four much-lauded young adult novels have been adapted for the big screen, all slated to premiere in November. Help teens make the connection between book and film by displaying, booktalking, and discussing these attention-worthy offerings.
I’m not sure what was more of a surprise to me—that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been around for 30 years, or that the John Madden videogame football franchise goes back twenty five years! John Mayer has some ground to make up; his first album debuted in 2001, an Internet only album titled Room for Squares. Hopefully he’ll have the longevity of the turtles and one particular earthbound former football coach.
Hero on a Bicycle is set in Italy in 1944 presents the story of a 13-year-old boy and his encounters with the Partisans in Nazi occupied Florence during World War II. Narrator Simon Vance’s incomparable vocal style is a perfect fit for this intense and suspenseful work of historical fiction. Check out the starred review of this audiobook.
While the jury is still out on the big screen adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones, reviewers are raving about the surprise indie hit The Spectacular Now, based on Tim Tharp’s young adult novel. Children’s books continue to be Hollywood’s go-to source for inspiration, and librarians couldn’t be happier. As readers and movie fans await the book-to-film entries coming this fall, such as Suzanne Collins’s Catching Fire and Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, SLJ looks ahead to future releases in this latest installment of Page to Screen.
For those of you who have been sitting under a shady tree or on a beach these past two months—and we hope that’s most of you—we’re offering a summary of the app reviews published over the summer. The list includes picture books, poetry, music, a reference guide or two, and some beloved characters and timeless stories. These are titles you want to load onto your school devices ASAP.
With another school year on the horizon, the focus of August’s Listen In column is on the relationships that children and teens make—with other kids and with adults—to help them navigate the stormy waters of growing up. The ten audiobooks featured are excellent for group listening and for generating discussions about what’s happening to the young people in the stories, from the poignant depiction of friendship in The Other Side to the real drama wrought by abuse in Eleanor and Park.
Darius and Twig both dream of leaving their poor neighborhood for better and safer lives. Narrator Brandon Gill does a great job differentiating between the two boys as they make their way through the obstacles set before them. Be sure to read the review of the audiobook version of Walter Dean Myers’s novel.
The books presented in this month’s collection development column have been selected to support and enhance expeditions to favorite preschool and elementary-aged destinations: farms and other food-producing enterprises; museums (both natural history and art); nature reserves and outdoor-observation areas; community institutions; and zoos and aquariums. A mix of fact-filled offerings and fictional adventures, all of these titles give kids a break from the routine and encourage interactive learning experiences.