June 25, 2017

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Standout STEM Reads | SLJ Spotlight

Most children’s and YA books on STEM subjects can be a tad didactic; however, these recent offerings are anything but dull.

This Beautiful Day by Richard Jackson | SLJ Review

JACKSON, Richard. This Beautiful Day. illus. by Suzy Lee. 40p. S. & S./Atheneum. Aug. 2017. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781481441391.

PreS-Gr 1 –A dark and stormy morning cannot dampen the spirits of three siblings in this ode to summer weather. The day begins with a song, a dance, and a skip as the kids splash through puddles and march through the neighborhood with friends. As the sky clears, the children delight in doing what children do: playing outdoors, expending energy, […]

How To Be an Elephant by Katherine Roy | SLJ Review

ROY, Katherine. How To Be an Elephant. illus. by Katherine Roy. 48p. diag. filmog. further reading. photos. websites. Roaring Brook/David Macaulay Studio. Sept. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781626721784.

Gr 3-6 –Roy follows her masterly Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands with a stunning look at how a newborn elephant matures into a capable member of the herd. The work adroitly covers anatomy, environment, family life, and other topics. Roy emphasizes how elephants, with their […]

Frogkisser! by Garth Nix | SLJ Audio Review

NIX, Garth. Frogkisser! 9 CDs. 11:07 hrs. Listening Library. Feb. 2017. $27.50. ISBN 9781524702021. digital download.

Gr 5 Up –“Frogkisser” isn’t a nickname most 13-year-old princesses aspire to, but when Anya makes a sister-promise to return Prince Denholm to his human state, she goes in search of Transmogrifying Reversal Lip Balm. Nix knows how to stage an enchanting story, as Anya finds herself up against (and equal to!) one adventure after another. Accompanied by palace pup Ardent, prospective good […]

Review of the Day: Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

Beyond the Bright Sea By Lauren Wolk Dutton (an imprint of Penguin Young Readers) $16.99 ISBN: 978-11-101-99485-6 Ages 10-14 On shelves now. No author gets a free pass. Your last book have been a spot-on bit of brilliance, lighting up the literary landscape like a thousand Roman candles. Pfui. A writer is only as good […]

Martí’s Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad by Emma Otheguy | SLJ Review

OTHEGUY, Emma. Martí’s Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad. illus. by Beatriz Vidal. 32p. bibliog. Lee & Low. May 2017. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9780892393756. BL

Gr 2-5 –The life of poet, writer, and freedom fighter José Martí (1853–95) comes alive in this lyrical, bilingual retelling of his everlasting impact on the people of his native Cuba. Growing up, Martí was an admirer of nature and fell in love with the beauty of the Cuban countryside. As […]

It All Comes Down to This by Karen English | SLJ Review

ENGLISH, Karen. It All Comes Down to This. 368p. Clarion. Jul. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544839571.

Gr 5-8 –Sophie is a 12-year-old African American girl living in 1965 Los Angeles. She is intelligent and determined. With two professional parents and a sister on her way to a historically black college, Sophie is living a middle-class life in her mostly white neighborhood and struggling to find acceptance among her peers. Friendship formation and creative ambitions are thwarted by bigotry, but her […]

Round by Joyce Sidman | SLJ Review

SIDMAN, Joyce. Round. illus. by Taeeun Yoo. 32p. HMH. Mar. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544387614.

PreS-K –Sidman delivers a captivating homage to the many round things found in nature and in the world around us. Told in the voice and sensibility of a young child, the simple text follows a girl as she comes across round objects, feels their smoothness, and wraps her fingers around their curves. Some she appreciates from afar (turtle eggs and sunflowers), watching how they […]

Daring Middle Grade Debuts | SLJ Spotlight

Five new and forthcoming middle grade debuts to watch out for.

Touch Press’s “Word Runners” App | Touch and Go

Amplify and Touch Press have joined forces to issue educational, skill-building games, one per month, on a subscription basis.

All the Way to Havana by Margarita Engle | SLJ Review

ENGLE, Margarita. All the Way to Havana. illus. by Mike Curato. 40p. Holt. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781627796422.

PreS-Gr 2 –Accompanied by the vibrant onomatopoeia of an old rebuilt car, a brown-skinned boy travels with his family from their village in Cuba to the capital city, Havana, to celebrate the “zero-year birthday” of his cousin. The focus of this colorful picture book is on the car (nicknamed “Cara Cara”), one of Cuba’s many mid-20th-century American vehicles maintained through […]

Book Review: Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee

When I’m reviewing books for professional publications, I stay quiet about them on social media. I’m always really excited once a review comes out to be able to talk about the book, finally! Here’s one of my most recent reviews, which originally appeared in the June 2017 issue of School Library Journal. I am SO EXCITED to now […]

Young Palestinians Speak: Living Under Occupation by Anthony & Annmarie Young | SLJ Review

ROBINSON, Anthony & Annemarie Young . Young Palestinians Speak: Living Under Occupation. photos by Anthony Robinson. 144p. chron. filmog. further reading. maps. websites. Interlink. Jul. 2017. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781566560153.

Gr 7 Up –A number of Palestinian kids and teens discuss their hopes and dreams and what it is like living in an occupied country. An introductory chapter explains the Occupied Territories, provides an overview of the history of the Palestinian land, and explores the impact of occupation on […]

Reference Titles on the Presidents, Geography, & Science

These recent reference titles profile the presidents, offer a year-by-year look at science, and more.

This article was published in School Library Journal's June 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Good Morning Yoga & Good Night Yoga | SLJ DVD Review

Good Morning Yoga. 20 min. ISBN 9781520069524.

Good Night Yoga. 17 min. ISBN 9781520069494.

ea DVD: Dreamscape. 2017. $38.99.

K-Gr 2 –These animated programs are tailored to short attention spans and don’t demand rigorous adherence to specific form. Good Morning begins with perky piano music and a brief introduction before depicting a series of brightly drawn multicultural children breathing in, breathing out, and demonstrating clearly described and unembellished yoga poses. Boldly colored and simply illustrated birds, butterflies, crabs, and […]

One Star Review Guess Who? (#54)

Can you guess the classic children’s book by its scathing one-star review on Goodreads or Amazon? This is an evil kid’s book, for sure. Pick it up and you’ll be condemned to a near eternity of grueling tongue twisters. And your kid will love it… Not because it’s one of Seuss’s masterpieces, but because he […]

Me and You and the Red Canoe by Jean E. Pendziwol | SLJ Review

PENDZIWOL, Jean E. Me and You and the Red Canoe. illus. by Phil. 32p. Groundwood. Aug. 2017. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781554988471.

PreS-Gr 2 –Two siblings, a lush forest, a red canoe, and a love of adventure and exploration. These are the elements that Pendziwol weaves into this stunning book celebrating friendship across the backdrop of the Canadian landscape. Narrated by one of the boys, the story is structured into paragraphs arranged like poetry, with frequent use of rhymes and […]

Pandora by Victoria Turnbull | SLJ Review

TURNBULL, Victoria. Pandora. illus. by Victoria Turnbull. 32p. Clarion. Apr. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544947337.

PreS-Gr 1 –Pandora, an anthropomorphic fox, finds slivers of beauty in a wasteland of discarded objects. From piles of detritus, she ferrets out treasures—a teddy bear, a van Gogh painting—repairs broken objects, and fills her house, a rickety cottage on stilts, with them. Her solitary existence is interrupted when an injured bird drops from the sky. Pandora nurses the bird, and as he becomes […]

The Bad Seed by Jory John

JOHN, Jory. The Bad Seed. illus. by Pete Oswald. 40p. HarperCollins/Harper. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062467768.

K-Gr 2 –Corn kernels, pistachios, peanuts, and other seeds gasp and point as a “baaaaaaaaaaad seed” goes by. When others mumble about him, he can hear them because he has “good hearing for a seed.” The bad seed tells “long jokes with no punch lines,” lies “about pointless stuff,” and never puts things back where they belong. But he did not start […]

Download SLJ’s Sneak Peek Guide to Fall 2017 Books

Download this handy guide to over 150 of the most hotly anticipated fall titles, curated by SLJ editors. With info on ALA author signings and galley giveaways.