August 25, 2016

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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

Pax

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 […]

28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World by Charles R. Smith Jr. | SLJ Audio Review

28 Days Moments in Black History That Changed the World by Charles R. Smith Jr.

Smith, Charles R., Jr. 28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World. 1 CD w/Tr book. 68:45 min. Live Oak. Jan. 2016. $31.95. ISBN 9781430120247. 

Gr 2-5 –Each of the 28 entries in this excellent work, written to be used during Black History Month, highlights the achievements of an African American man or woman, or the details of a court decision or historical event, the effects of which are still felt today. Vibrant poetry begins many of […]

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin | SLJ Audio Review

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

GARVIN, Jeff. Symptoms of Being Human. ­­7 CDs. 7:47 hrs. HarperAudio. Feb. 2016. $21.99. ISBN 9780062447258. digital download. 

Gr 9 Up –“The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?” Keep wondering: Riley Cavanaugh isn’t answering. Riley is gender-fluid, information only Riley’s psychiatrist is privy to while Riley’s conservative congressman father and teacher mother remain clueless. Between medications and therapy, Riley is struggling to just live life. […]

Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez | SLJ Audio Review

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Pérez, Ashley Hope. Out of Darkness. 10 CDs. 12:32 hrs. Listening Library. Apr. 2016. $65. ISBN 9780735289475. digital download. 

Gr 9 Up –The 1937 school explosion in New London, TX, remains the deadliest school disaster in U.S. history. With that real-life tragedy as a starting point, Pérez adds greater volatility with race, class, and family dysfunction, by introducing a love story between two teens from different worlds in a tiny community where nothing remains hidden for long. Mexican […]

Oyler | SLJ DVD Review

Oyler

Oyler. 56 min. Dist. by the Video Project. 2015. $89. ISBN unavail. 

Gr 9 Up –A chronicle of a year at Oyler School, located in Cincinnati’s most economically challenged neighborhood. Committed staff, led by principal Craig Hockenberry, have created a preschool to grade 12 facility that has become a community center, serving three meals daily and equipped with a free medical clinic open until 10 p.m. Hockenberry takes a personal approach to helping students succeed, and he can be […]

Big Voice | SLJ DVD Review

Big Voice.

Big Voice. 53 min. and 83 min. Dist. by the Video Project. 2015. $89. ISBN unavail.

Gr 6 Up –Jeffe Huls loves music and his job as Santa Monica High School’s choral director. This exceptional documentary chronicles a school year as he uses all of his skills to pull the music out of students who are also dealing with their own teen issues. After finally being able to select a 32-person madrigal choir (a longtime dream), he finds that […]

The Haters by Jesse Andrews | SLJ Audio Reviews

The Haters by Jesse Andrews

Andrews, Jesse. The Haters. 7 CDs. 8:37 hrs. Listening Library. Apr. 2016. $45. ISBN 9780735209466. digital download. 

Gr 10 Up –Sixteen-year-old Wes and Corey go to jazz camp and immediately hate it. After teaming up with a fellow hater, 19-year-old Ash, the teens decide to run away from camp, form a band, and go on tour. Romantic entanglements, comical misadventures, and even some music making ensue in this rollicking ramble. The humor ranges from raunchy to uproarious to […]

Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras | SLJ DVD Review

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Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras. 24 min. Dist. by Dreamscape. 2016. $38.99. ISBN 9781520011424. 

Gr 1-6 –Based on Duncan Tonatiuh’s award-winning picture book, this is the history of what is known about artist and political commentator José Guadalupe Posada, also known as Don Lupe or simply as Posada. Born in the mid-1800s, Posada is best known for his humorous and often politically pointed drawings of calaveras—representations of skeletons shown doing the ordinary tasks of […]

You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang | SLJ Audio Review

You Are (Not) Small

Kang, Anna. You Are (Not) Small. 1 CD w tr book. 21 min. Weston Woods. Jan. 2016. $29.95. ISBN 9780545936644. 

PreS-Gr 1 –Winner of the 2015 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, this delightful book is joyfully performed by Christopher Weyant, Michael Crouch, and Emily Eiden. Two furry critters are having it out as they try to describe each other. The tall one says the other is small. The small one insists he isn’t small, the other is big. […]