October 23, 2014

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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 [...]

Teens Review ‘Shatter Me’, ‘MLB 14: The Show’, ‘Mario Golf: World Tour’

Shatter Me

Dub-step violin? You have got to give Lindsey Stirling’s album Shatter Me a listen. Like baseball and golf but would rather play indoors than out? MLB 14: The Show and Mario Golf: World Tour to the rescue!

Science is celebrated in ‘Great Men and Women in the History of Medicine’ | Audio Pick


Angus, David. Great Men and Women in the History of Medicine. 2 CDs. 2:30 hrs. Naxos Audio. 2013. $17.98. ISBN 9781843796909. digital download.
Gr 4-7–Anyone who thinks that the history of treating disease and injury is destined to be a boring listen will be remarkably impressed with this presentation. Beginning with Hippocrates in Ancient Greece followed by the work of the Roman Galen, this title chronicles the incredible developments in medicine through the centuries with astounding details and entertaining facts interspersed [...]

Roald Dahl’s Offbeat Tale ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ Delights and Intrigues | DVD Pick


Fantastic Mr. Fox. DVD and Blu-ray. 87 min. Dist. by the Criterion Collection. 2009, this edition 2014. $39.95. ISBN 9781604657883.
Gr 4 Up–Mr. Fox is the cleverest fox around. In his youth, he was a master chicken thief. When he and his wife are trapped during a chicken heist, she reveals that she is pregnant and demands that Mr. Fox change his ways and stop taking risks. He does as his wife asks, but after several years he finds himself unsatisfied. [...]

May Starred Reviews


Tracy Holczer’s tender exploration of grief, Matthias Picard’s eye-popping 3-D underwater adventure, and Stephanie Kuehn’s unputdownable thriller top our list of stellar titles reviewed in the May issue.

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

Marvel Superhero Blowout: Captain America, Spiderman, and the X-men | Media Mania

Xmen No More Humans

This spring has brought a bumper crop of big-budget films about the adventures of shield-flinging, skyscraper-swinging, mutation-mastering heroes. Supercharge your holdings and movie tie-in book displays by including this selection of preludes, adaptations, story sources and inspirations, and suggested reads about popular Marvel characters.

Caillou, Josephine Baker, and Music Galore | Multimedia Reviews

Fantastic Mr. Fox
©2014 by the Criterion Collection

Reviews of DVDs and audiobook for kids of every age, plus a roundup of children’s music

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

Teens Review ‘Divergent’ Soundtrack, Shakira, and “Plants vs. Zombies” | Music and Games

Divergent soundtrack

Teens who went crazy for the “Divergent” series and film adaptation will want the soundtrack on autoplay. Think it would be hard for Shakira to surprise you? Her 10th studio album will. Need help keeping the zombies off your lawn? Sign up for Garden Warfare, the latest in the “Plants vs. Zombies” game franchise.

A Young Saudi Arabian Girl Refuses to Conform in Wadjda | DVD Pick


This nuanced, achingly poignant, and sensitive story of a rebellious girl navigating the difficult terrain of a repressive culture will invite comparisons to Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s Persepolis.