November 27, 2014

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History comes to life in Wiles’s second “Sixties” installment|Audio Pick


Wiles, Deborah. Revolution. (The Sixties Trilogy: Bk. 2). 10 CDs. 12:10 hrs. Listening Library. 2014. $50. ISBN 9780553395266. digital download.
Gr 5-8–At home, 12-year-old Sunny’s prickly relationships with her blended family trigger yearning for her absent mother. In town, the community faces SNCCs, COFOs and COREs, invaders from the North who’ve come to register black voters despite violent local opposition. Stacey Aswad perfectly conveys Sunny’s sassy young voice while Francois Battiste becomes Raymond, the African American boy who personifies the struggle [...]

The Long-Anticipated Film of Lois Lowry’s ‘The Giver’ | Movie Review


The film adaptation for Lois Lowry’s 1993 dystopian middle-grade novel The Giver is almost 20 years in the making, starting when actor Jeff Bridges bought the book option back in 1995. Fans of Lowry’s book have long waited for the book’s screen release coming to theaters this Friday, August 15.

Out West and Underwater | Multimedia Reviews, August 2014


Bionic pets, great white sharks, and snow monkeys dart across the screen in three DVD documentaries while Brian Floca’s award-winning Locomotion arrives as an audiobook. Or, plunge under the sea with Jacques Cousteau or hop into the box ring with Joe Louis in two adaptations of acclaimed picture books

This article was published in School Library Journal's August 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

August Starred Reviews


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.

This article was published in School Library Journal's August 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Tragic consequences of intolerance and gun violence explored in “Valentine Road”| DVD Pick


Valentine Road belongs in all school and public libraries as a cautionary tale about homophobia, intolerance, and the easy availability of guns.

Folklore and fantasy thrive in “Midwinterblood”| Audio Pick


This unusual book for teensis is comprised of seven vignettes, with settings ranging from the future to Viking times and a variety of characters, including vampires, ghosts, and humans all based on the Scandinavian island of Blessed.

“Addiction Incorporated” highlights dangerous dealings of the tobacco industry| DVD Pick


An extremely interesting snapshot that gives viewers a chance to watch a rather sordid piece of American corporate history. Researcher Victor DeNoble talks about his research in the 1980s for tobacco giant Philip Morris.

The Avengers return to save the future in Friedman’s “The Ultimates” | Audio Pick


The complex plot and unique, developed characters in “The Ultimates” will appeal to listeners who like the Avengers, superheroes, action, adventure, and mystery.

Great Reads for Video Gamers

Dirt Bikes, Drones and Other Ways to Fly

This lineup of gorgeous behind-the-scenes browsers, cool book and graphic-novel tie-ins, and magnetic YA novels that star gamers as protagonists is sure to reel in teens who spend their leisure time with game controller in hand.

National Geographic documents the ways of wildlife in “Best of Nature” collection| DVD Pick


This three-DVD set features six of the seven Great Migrations episodes that aired on the National Geographic channel in 2010.

July Starred Reviews


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.

This article was published in School Library Journal's July 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Transgender Youths Tell Their Stories in “Beyond Magenta” | Audio Pick


The strength and honesty of six transgender teens stand out as their stories are told by a large cast of outstanding performers, including Nick Podehl, Roxanne Hernandez, Nancy Wu, and Marisol Ramirez.

Students Improve Speech Through History in “The Address” | DVD Pick


The Address. 84 min. Dist. by PBS. 2014. $24.99. ISBN unavail.
Gr 6 Up–This documentary focuses on the students at the Greenwood School in Putney, Vermont, as they seek to understand the meaning of the Gettysburg Address, but, more importantly, as they strive to memorize the words and recite the address at a formal dinner held in February each year. Founded in 1978, the school educates young men who have a variety of complex learning differences, including dyslexia, dysgraphia, executive function, [...]

Teens Review Coldplay’s ‘Ghost Stories,’ ‘Me. I Am Mariah,’ and ‘Kirby: Triple Deluxe’

Ghost Stories

The teens at Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School share their thoughts on recent music releases (Ghost Stories and Me, I am Mariah) and video games (Kirby: Triple Deluxe).

“Sky Raiders” Kicks Off New Action-Packed Fantasy Series | Audio Pick


MULL, Brandon. Sky Raiders. 11 CDs. 12:39 hrs. S. & S. Audio. 2014. $39.99. ISBN 9781442367678. digital download.
Gr 3-7–When a Halloween haunted house trip goes bad, Cole Randolph watches his friends get kidnapped by unknown creatures. In an attempt to save his friends, he jumps down a manhole and lands in another dimension, where he is captured and sold off to the Sky Raiders. His new life as a scout is dangerous, but not as much as when his friend [...]

June Starred Reviews


From a dystopian adventure set in Hawaii to a surreal, graphic-novel-inspired picture book to a deep exploration of one history’s most infamous families, the June Stars offer excellent examples of the best in fiction, nonfiction, and media for children and teens.

This article was published in School Library Journal's June 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

A Promising Young Basketball Star Learns to Live “Off the Rez” | DVD Pick


Off the Rez. 86 min. Dist. by Cinema Guild. 2012, released in 2014. $99.95. ISBN 0781506220.
Gr 7 Up–High school basketball star Shoni Schimmel, a household name in Native communities throughout North America, has reached the apex of her sport, which is deftly documented in this film. Oregon’s Umatilla Indian Reservation is Shoni’s home before her mother, Ceci, accepts a high school coaching job in Portland, hundreds of miles away. Starting her junior year there, Shoni, her six siblings and mother [...]

Teens Review Latest from Neon Trees, Hunter Hayes, and FIFA World Cup


Neon Trees’s latest release, Pop Psychology, demonstrates growing command of both sound and lyrics. Wunderkind Hunter Hayes brings a new level of class to the often cliched world of country western music. Can’t make the trip to Rio for the 2014 World Cup soccer games? Not a problem—FIFA’s 2014 World Cup Brazil will take you there for a fraction of the cost.

Following the Rhythm of ‘Josephine’ | Audio Pick


Powell, Patricia Hruby. Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker. 1 CD. 1 hr. Recorded Books. 2014. $15.75. ISBN 9781470383862. digital download.
Gr 2-5–Born into the slums of St. Louis in 1906, Josephine Baker had dance in her soul. From an early age, she was happiest when performing in front of an appreciative audience. Because of her race, she was often relegated to dressing the dancers, but Josephine worked hard and learned all the dance moves, just in case. When she [...]

Actor Jeremy Irons Exposes Earth’s Pollution in Eco-Doc ‘Trashed’ |DVD Pick


Trashed. 97 min. Dist. by Green Planet Films. 2013. Schools $129, public libraries $69. ISBN unavail.
Gr 7-12–In this grim and shocking eco-documentary, actor Jeremy Irons travels the world investigating the monumental waste produced by our consumer-oriented lifestyles. Irons—calm, sometimes concerned, but with touches of lightness—is well suited presenting the harsh facts he offers. Some of the aftereffects of rampant waste are trash mountains seeping toxic waste into the Mediterranean, dying turtles and barren whales, plastic debris polluting the oceans, children [...]