August 23, 2017

Subscribe to SLJ

SLJ Reviews

For all the latest SLJ reviews and more, subscribe to SLJ today and save 35%!

That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston | SLJ Review

JOHNSTON, E.K. That Inevitable Victorian Thing. 336p. Dutton. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781101994979.

Gr 9 Up –Years from now, Victoria-Margaret will be the next Queen and continue the work her ancestor Victoria I started two centuries earlier: to strengthen the British Empire for all of its people, and promote genetic diversity and inter-Empire politics with an advantageous marriage. First, the crown princess will have a summer of freedom for her debut season in Toronto. Although her brown skin, epicanthic fold, and freckles […]

Book Review: The Infographic Guide to College

Publisher’s Book Description: For fans of the popular Show Me How series, this illustrated guide to college life has everything a student needs to excel in their first year, from tips on getting involved around campus to advice about applying for loans and studying for exams. College survival just got graphic! Get a head start […]

Jazz Day | SLJ DVD Review

Jazz Day. 74 min. Dreamscape. 2017. $38.99. ISBN 9781520071053.

Gr 4-6 –It was a hot August day in 1955 when Art Kane gathered jazz musicians for a photograph for Esquire magazine. He wasn’t sure who, if anyone, would show up at the Harlem brownstone he’d chosen for his backdrop. He’d put out the word, and now he could only hold his two cameras and hope. The result was the iconic photograph—Harlem 1958—that features 57 jazz musicians of the time. Count Basie was there, […]

Review: ‘Cosmic Commandos’

Cosmic Commandos Writer/artist: Christopher Eliopoulos Dial Books; $13.99 Jeremy is loud, arrogant, and always ready to leap into action without thinking. His likes include video games and complaining about the unfairness of his life, while his dislikes include school (especially homework), reading, and his brother. Justin is quiet, polite, and thinks before acting. His likes […]

Threads of Blue by Suzanne LaFleur | SLJ Review

LAFLEUR, Suzanne. Threads of Blue. 224p. Random. Sept. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781101939994.

Gr 4-6 –Picking up where Beautiful Blue World left off, 12-year-old Mathilde awakes in the bottom of a boat headed towards the island of Eilean, hoping to be reunited with the group of children and adults she’s been separated from. Mathilde’s country, Sofarende, is at war and has just fallen to the enemy, Tyssia. The country of Eilean is an ally and a place of refuge for many of the children fleeing […]

The Game of Life | Touch and Go

A classic American game receives a winning digital update.

Tool of War by Paolo Bacigalupi | SLJ Review

BACIGALUPI, Paolo. Tool of War. 336p. Little, Brown. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316220835.

Gr 10 Up –The third entry in his award-winning dystopian series, following Ship Breaker and The Drowned Cities, tells the story of Tool the “augment,” a genetically engineered “half-man” made up of a cocktail of genetic material—human, dog, tiger. Augments are designed to be the ultimate killing machines while remaining fiercely loyal to his creators. However, once Tool discovers that he can suppress his submissive instincts, he rebels against his creators and […]

Review: Knife’s Edge

After reading volume 1 of the Four Points series, I was left hanging. So were my students. One student, Albert* (Name changed), asked me when volume 2 was coming out. I told him the wait was a while, and he asked me to let the author and artist know that he was willing to help […]

Book Review: Feral Youth edited by Shaun David Hutchinson

Publisher’s description Ten teens are left alone in the wilderness during a three-day survival test in this multi-authored novel edited by award-winning author Shaun David Hutchinson. At Zeppelin Bend, an outdoor-education program designed to teach troubled youth the value of hard work, cooperation, and compassion, ten teens are left alone in the wild. The teens […]

Warcross by Marie Lu | SLJ Review

LU, Marie. Warcross. 368p. Putnam. Sept. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780399547966. POP

Gr 8 Up –A highly engaging and incredibly exciting science fiction novel for young adults. Emika Chen is a bounty hunter living in a futuristic New York City. Emika has a juvenile record and spent time in the foster care system after her father died. She is struggling to pay her bills, and is banking on getting enough from the next bounty to settle up with her landlord. In the midst of […]

Seamus’s Short Story by Heather Hartt-Sussman | SLJ Review

HARTT-SUSSMAN, Heather. Seamus’s Short Story. illus. by Milan Pavlović. 32p. Groundwood. Aug. 2017. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781554987931.

PreS-Gr 2 –In this hilarious tale, Seamus, a big-headed and blue-haired kid, hates being short. He can never reach what he needs to, including a “horrid” baby picture of himself. He explores a few ineffectual options until he discovers his mom’s high heels and, suddenly, he is “having a blast.” Seamus’s being a boy in pumps passes without comment; high heels are simply a tool that […]

#flipgridfever: New features for fall

Amidst a fury of #FlipGridFever, our friends at Flipgrid recently announced major enhancements in a product I loved at first sight. (See just a couple of my posts from Let’s test drive FlipGrid to Announcing Flipgrid One (now free to all teachers). One thing you’ll notice if you go back and watch the live-streamed launch event that […]

Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafszai | SLJ Review

YOUSAFZAI, Malala. Malala’s Magic Pencil. illus. by Kerascoët. 48p. photos. Little, Brown. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316319577. POP

Gr 3 Up –Yousafzai, the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and campaigner for the rights of all children to attend school, has written her first picture book. It is an autobiographical account of her life designed for younger readers. She gently introduces her childhood in Pakistan and recounts a favorite TV show where a young boy has a magic pencil that he uses […]

YA Lit or New Adult? Six Titles for Older Teens | SLJ Spotlight

Six sophisticated titles for teens that explore life beyond high school.

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

Louis Undercover by Fanny Britt | SLJ Review

BRITT, Fanny. Louis Undercover. Tr from French by Christelle Morelli & Susan Ouriou. illus. by Isabelle Arsenault. 160p. Groundwood. Oct. 2017. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781554988594.

Gr 5 Up –From the team behind the touching Jane, the Fox, and Me comes another poignant story of hope amid despair. Following his parents’ split, tweenage Louis is shuttled between his mother’s new apartment in the city and his childhood home in the country, now inhabited by his despondent father. As he travels between these worlds, his memories of […]

Review of the Day: How Many Guinea Pigs Can Fit On a Plane? by Laura Overdeck

How Many Guinea Pigs Can Fit On a Plane? Answers to Your Most Clever Math Questions By Laura Overdeck Feiwel and Friends (an imprint of Macmillan) $17.99 ISBN: 978-1-250-07229-0 Ages 9-12 On shelves now Geez. How I ended up in this position I’ll never know. Me. A born and bred liberal arts major. The kind […]

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee | SLJ Review

YEE, F.C. The Epic Crush of Genie Lo. 320p. Abrams/Amulet. Aug. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781419725487.

Gr 7 Up –Genie Lo lives in Silicon Valley, but not the nice part. All she wants is to get into the Ivy League so she can escape. But then Quentin, the weird new kid at school, tells her that he’s really the Monkey King and she is the human reincarnation of his weapon, the Ruyi Jingu Bang. In response, she punches him the face. Unfortunately for […]

Robinson by Peter Sís | SLJ Review

SÍS, Peter. Robinson. illus. by Peter Sís. 48p. Scholastic. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545731669.

K-Gr 3 –Sís’s latest picture book fuses an episode from his childhood with the plot of Robinson Crusoe—a favorite novel when he was young. Sequential panels lead to full-bleed double spreads as the first-person accounts describe the way a group of five diverse friends play pirates in every conceivable setting, from a backyard tent to the bathtub. When the school costume party is announced, the collective choice is obvious, […]

Rise of the Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste | SLJ Review

BAPTISTE, Tracey. Rise of the Jumbies. 272p. Algonquin. Sept. 2017. Tr $16,95. ISBN 9781616206659.

Gr 4-6 –This sequel to The Jumbies, a dark fairy tale woven from elements of traditional Caribbean folklore, does not disappoint. Shunned by most of the town on her small island for her recently revealed part-jumbie heritage, Corinne is lonely and yet still wants to help when several children are lost after a tidal wave. After discovering that these are not the first kids to go missing near water, Corinne […]

I’m Smart! by Kate McMullan | SLJ Review

MCMULLAN, Kate. I’m Smart! illus. by Jim McMullan. 40p. HarperCollins/Harper. Jun. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062449238.

PreS-Gr 2 –Oozing confidence and energy, a big-eyed, grinning school bus describes his morning route, informing listeners that it “takes BRAINS to do my job—drive you to SCHOOL and keep you SAFE!” As with previous titles, the McMullans (I’m Brave!; I Stink!; I’m Cool!) infuse everyday activities with an infectious excitement bound to entice vehicle-loving youngsters. When the bus’s lights flash amber, it means “Cars and trucks, […]