These latest updates in ongoing series, these books encompass a wide variety of topics: a dark and haunting title about Vietnam from Chris Lynch, more drama from the world of the Seelies from Jane Yolen and son Adam Stemple, and time-traveling adventures with Mira.
SLJ Reviews: Grades 5 & Up
For all the latest SLJ reviews and more, subscribe to SLJ today and save 35%!
Our team of reviewers in Los Angeles selected and evaluated 42 titles to help librarians make informed purchase decisions. Picture books, poetry, song adaptations, nonfiction, and short stories are among the offerings.
This month’s picks for the middle school set will evoke a range of emotions. Whether you’re looking for the achingly poignant (Katherine Rundell’s Cartwheeling Through Thunderstorms, the tale of a spirited tomboy who finds herself orphaned) or the charmingly quirky (Alex McCall’s Attack of the Giant Robot Chickens or Julie Berry’s The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place), there’s something to please readers of all stripes.
There’s plenty to engage teen readers this month, from a creative retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s spine-tingling, gothic tale “The Fall of the House of Usher,” told from the perspective of Madeline Usher, as well as Audacity, Melanie Crowder’s look at Clara Lemlich, a 19th-century activist for workers rights.
Mythology Percy Jackson–Style, a Side-splitting Memoir, and Ghouls Galore | Nonfiction Grades 5 & Up
The intrepid Percy Jackson tries his hand at retelling Greek mythology, with hilarious results, while Paralympic ski racer Josh Sundquist pens a laugh-out-loud memoir of his dating life. And for those looking for some spooky selections, check out Kelly Milner’s Ghostly Evidence.
Spellbinding, shocking, and satisfyingly spooky, creepy tales will rivet readers and raise goose bumps galore. They can also be shared in secondary classrooms to introduce and explore basic short story elements, discuss narrative voice, and analyze point of view.
Our Bodies, Ourselves: A Transgender Teen Memoir, a Guide to Puberty, and Guys vs. Girls | Nonfiction Grades 5 & Up
The latest nonfiction for older readers spotlights gender and bodies, from a frank and original look at puberty to a memoir by a transgender teen.
This month, authors sensitively and perceptively portray both the bright and dark sides of family life, including award-winning author Cynthia Kadohata’s Half a World Away, a poignant look at adoption, the last installment in the “Joey Pigza” series, and Neil Gaiman’s innovative retelling of the “Hansel and Gretel” tale.
The Latest from Heavy-Hitters A. S. King, Marie Lu, Paolo Bacigalupi, and Julie Kagawa | Fiction Grades 9 & Up
Looking for the next YA blockbuster? This month’s reviews feature titles by teen author staples in a variety of genres, from realistic fiction (Paolo Bacigalupi and Frank Portman) to fantasy (Marie Lu and Julie Kagawa) and somewhere in between (A. S. King and Jandy Nelson).
There’s something here for middle-grade fans of all stripes this month. Those looking for adventure on the high seas will find it in Heidi Schulz’s Hook’s Revenge, while readers seeking a quieter tale will enjoy Ann M. Martin’s moving Rain Reign, a poignant story of an autistic girl who bonds with a lost dog.
Artistic Bonds, Gender-Bending Memoirs, and a New Look at Ernest Shackleton | Nonfiction Grades 5 and Up
Check out a gorgeous new volume on Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, two memoirs that tackle gender, and a graphic novel on Arctic explorer Ernest Shackleton.
This month’s YA offerings will take teens through the darkness to the light, from Dana Walrath’s Like Water on Stone, a tale of the Armenian genocide, to Meg Wolitzer’s engrossing Belzhar, a story of emotionally fragile teens coming to turns with personal losses and griefs.
Paul Fleischman opens our eyes to the environmental crisis, young Henri Matisse ponders The Iridescence of Birds, and Philip C. Stead takes to the skies in the August stars, offering the best of fiction, nonfiction, and multimedia.
Take a look at some old, familiar friends from continuing fiction series: Babymouse celebrates a birthday, while Big Nate runs for class president, and Lunch Lady has a new nemesis.
Check out the latest in nonfiction series, including continuations of previously reviewed series as well as some new offerings that librarians won’t want to miss.
Inside Human Trafficking, a Natural Mystery, and a Classic Author’s Memoir | Grades 5 & Up Nonfiction
Check out the latest nonfiction for older readers: Sandra Markle solves the mystery of the little brown bats, Alison Marie Behnke profiles human trafficking, and author Katherine Paterson provides an intimate portrait of her life.
Fiction for the middle-grade set includes both the light and lively, with Lynne Rae Perkins’s “true” tale of squirrels, and the stark and serious, with Andrea Davis Pinkney’s The Red Pencil.
The Latest from Stephanie Perkins, Maggie Stiefvater, and Scott Westerfeld | Gr 9 & Up Fiction Reviews
Whether it’s Stephanie Perkins’s latest title set in the City of Light, Scott Westerfeld’s mind-bending volume, or Maggie Stiefvater’s companion to her “Wolves of Mercy Falls,” July’s reviews are chock-full of heavy hitters. And don’t miss offerings from debut authors E. K. Jonston and Michelle Knudsen.
Ben Franklin makes a splash, Hervé Tullet mixes it up, and Mo Willems makes new friends in the July stars, offering the best of fiction, nonfiction, and multimedia.
Check out the truth behind the Romanovs with Candace Fleming’s latest, and explore some of the most “amazing” scientific discoveries with Mike Goldsmith.
This article was published in School Library Journal's June 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.