July 29, 2016

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Last Stop On Market Street | SLJ DVD Review


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


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


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. 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


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. […]

The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly | SLJ Audio Review

Land of the Forgotten Girls

KELLY, Erin Entrada. The Land of Forgotten Girls. ­­4 CDs. 5:02 hrs. HarperAudio. Mar. 2016. $49.99. ISBN 9781504696111. digital download.  

Gr 3-6 –Once upon a time, Soledad had two sisters and two loving parents. But tragedy can happen to anyone at any time, and suddenly, Sol and her younger sister, Ming, are transplanted to the other side of the world in a run-down apartment in Louisiana, abandoned by their desperate father and left in the (so-called) care […]

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo | SLJ Audio Review


DICAMILLO, Kate. Raymie Nightingale. ­­4 CDs 4:25 hrs. Listening Library. Apr. 2016. $30. ISBN 9781101917435. digital download. 

Gr 4-7 –Before they became the Three Rancheros, the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition brought Raymie Clarke, Louisiana Elefante, and Beverly Tapinski together—each for wildly different reasons. Raymie is convinced that when her philandering father, who’s run off with the dental hygienist, sees a picture of her in the newspaper wearing the winning crown and sash, he will surely […]

Jackie Robinson | SLJ DVD Review

Jackie Robinson DVD

Jackie Robinson. 240 min. Dist. by PBS. 2016. DVD $24.99. Blu-Ray $29.99. ISBN 9781627896184. 

Gr 6 Up –With its in-depth look at the ups and downs of Robinson’s life and career, this wonderful resource lends context to his significant accomplishments. He won acclaim for shattering baseball’s “color line” in 1947, but as this exemplary documentary makes clear, he fought racism throughout his life. An impressive range of commentators share their perspectives, from President Obama to teammates, sports writers, and […]

The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd | SLJ AUDIO Review

The Key to Extraordinary

LLOYD, Natalie. . ­­4 CDs. 5:15 hrs. Scholastic. Feb. 2016. $29.99. ISBN 9780545910316. digital download. 

Gr 3-6 –Emma Casey, her brother Topher, and their Granny Blue call the Boneyard Café home. On weekends, Emma conducts tours of the haunted graveyard next door, while Topher warms visitors with his irresistible peach-lavender muffins and famous Boneyard Brew (aka hot chocolate). When their cozy haven is threatened by a greedy developer, Emma channels her late mother’s promise that the women in […]

Becoming Bulletproof | SLJ DVD Review

Becoming Bulletproof

Becoming Bulletproof. 82 min. Dist. by Tugg Educational. edu.tugg.com. 2014. $75. ISBN unvail.

Gr 9 Up –On the dusty streets of the film set of a Western town, two men face each other with steely gazes, fingers twitching on the trigger. Only one will be left standing. This behind-the-scenes documentary chronicles the making of this Western, Bulletproof Jackson, which features actors with and without disabilities, supported by the technical crew at the Zeno film camp. Actors such as the […]

The Mask You Live In | SLJ DVD Review

The Mask You Live In

The Mask You Live In. 92 min. Dist. by Virgil Films. 2016. $19.99. UPC 829567121429. 

Gr 9 Up –A selection of the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, this documentary by Jennifer Siebel Newsom addresses the American idea of masculinity and its rejection of the feminine. Newsom suggests that men are taught from an early age to become hypermasculine, to lock down all emotions except anger, to use violence to solve problems, and that being a man is based on […]

Most Dangerous: ­Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin | SLJ Audio Review

Most Dangerous

SHEINKIN, Steve. Most Dangerous: ­Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War. 7 CDs. 7:52 hrs. Listening Library. 2015. $45. ISBN 9780553552775. digital download.

Gr 7 Up –Here Sheinkin tells the story of activist and military analyst Daniel Ellsberg and the famous Pentagon Papers, which were written while the United States was still fighting the war in Vietnam. The top-secret study revealed the many subterfuges used over the course of four presidencies to prolong the war […]

UnSlut: A Documentary Film | SLJ DVD Review

UnSlut A Documentary Film

UnSlut: A Documentary Film. 40 min. Tugg Edu. edu.tugg.com. 2016. $75. ISBN unavail. 

Gr 9 Up –This film, directed by Emily Lindin, the founder of the UnSlut Project (unslutproject.com), tells the story of six women who were “slut-shamed” and bullied in middle or high school, including Rehtaeh Parsons, a Canadian teen who committed suicide after being gang-raped and then labeled a slut by her classmates. Slut-shaming implies that a girl or woman should feel guilty or inferior because of […]

The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork | SLJ Audio Review

STORK, Francisco. The Memory of Light

Stork, Francisco, X. The Memory of Light. 8 CDs. 9:19 hrs. Scholastic Audiobooks. 2016. $39.99. ISBN 9780545910934. 
Gr 7 Up –Vicky Cruz never expected to wake up. She planned her suicide attempt so nobody would find her until well after the pills did their job, but she was saved by her family’s housekeeper’s cat and woke up in Lakeview Hospital. There, she meets three other teens who also have mental illness. Mona copes with losing custody of her child […]