November 23, 2015

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George by Alex Gino | SLJ Audio Review


Gino, Alex. George. 3 CDs. 2:57 hrs. Scholastic Audiobooks. 2015. $24.99. ISBN 9780545880206.

Gr 4-6 –Melissa is in fourth grade. She has a best friend named Kelly. Melissa loves fashion magazines and playing Mario Kart with her older brother, Scott. And, more than anything, she wants to play Charlotte in the school play, Charlotte’s Web. Unfortunately, the world sees Melissa as George, not as the girl she is. Melissa doesn’t wonder if she is transgender; she […]

Review: Is Mommy? by Victoria Chang

Is Mommy? By Victoria Chang Illustrated by Marla Frazee Beach Lane Books (Simon & Schuster) ISBN: 9781481402927 $15.99 Grades PreK-1 *Best New Book* Find it at: Schuler Books | Your Library Rarely do I read something and think, “Wait. You can do that in a picture book?” But that was exactly my experience reading Is […]

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon | SLJ Audio Review


YOON, Nicola. Everything, Everything. 6 CDs. 6:45 hrs. Listening Library. 2015. $40. ISBN 9781101916391. digital download.

Gr 7 Up –Yoon’s superb debut begins and ends with books. Stories are how 18-year-old Madeline has survived with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency—“you know it as ‘bubble baby disease’”—in her sanitized world that includes only her doctor mother and a nurse. She’s been content enough with taking classes via Skype, having movie nights with Mom, and posting Tumblr book reviews, until Olly and […]

Moletown by Torben Kuhlmann | SLJ Review


KUHLMANN, Torben. Moletown. illus. by Torben Kuhlmann. 32p. NorthSouth. 2015. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9780735842083.

K-Gr 3–In this mostly wordless allegory, a mole moves into a verdant field. Soon, more moles join him, each new page depicting an expanding underground civilization. As time goes by, increasingly advanced digging machinery enlarges the moles’ domain, creating a bustling metropolis but progressively destroying and polluting the meadow above until there is only a small patch of green in the glum industrial landscape. Front endpapers feature […]

PromptSmart: a sweet utility for speeches and more

Public speaking is not only a part of our curricula, it’s a huge part of our lives. For some of us, it a serious fear. Founded by a Communications Fellow at Wharton Business School, PromptSmart, turns your device into a teleprompter.  It is a seriously handy tool I wish we had years ago, While I […]

Super Heroines with Attitude and More | SLJ Graphic Novel Roundup


From Joan of Arc to Squirrel Girl, the female protagonists highlighted in SLJ’s recent graphic novel reviews defy the odds and shatter gender stereotypes.

The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands | SLJ Audio Review


SANDS, Kevin. The Blackthorn Key. 6 CDs. 6 hrs. S. & S. Audio. 2015. $39.99. ISBN 9781442388536. digital download.

Gr 3-6 –Christopher Rowe’s life has changed for the better. For the past three years he has been apprenticed to Master Benedict Blackthorn to learn the apothecary trade. Having grown up in an unhappy and sometimes violent orphanage, Christopher is extremely grateful for his kind and patient master and the knowledge he is gaining from him. However, when a mysterious […]

Jake Makes a World: Jacob Lawrence, a Young Artist in Harlem by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts | SLJ Review


Rhodes-Pitts, Sharifa. Jake Makes a World: Jacob Lawrence, a Young Artist in Harlem. illus. by Christopher Myers. 44p. reprods. Museum of Modern Art. 2015. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9780870709654.

PreS-Gr 2–A picture book biography on renowned painter Jacob Lawrence (1917–2000). Lawrence moved to Harlem in 1930 to rejoin his mother, who had moved to New York three years earlier in search of work. Lawrence was 13 years old and already a gifted artist. Stirred by the sights, sounds, and […]

Educational Video with a Twist | SLJ Reviews Flocabulary


Remember the days of School House Rock? Enter Flocabulary. Jennifer Hanson sizes up the popular resource for educational hip-hop videos in SLJ’s review.

Breakthrough!: How Three People Saved “Blue Babies” and Changed Medicine Forever by Jim Murphy | SLJ Review


Murphy, Jim. Breakthrough!: How Three People Saved “Blue Babies” and Changed Medicine Forever. 144p. bibliog. index. notes. photos. Clarion. Dec. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780547821832.

Gr 4-7–Murphy tells the fascinating story of a partnership between three extraordinary individuals, which led to a groundbreaking heart surgery. Prior to 1944, 25 percent of babies born with Tetralogy of Fallot, a serious heart defect, died before they reached their first year; only 30 percent lived to the age of 10. Dr. […]

On Tour Through “My Incredible Body” | Touch and Go


3-D perspectives, detailed illustrations, and narrated text features are just some of the features Zybright offers in its stunning tour of of the human body, available on a variety of devices.

Big Bear Little Chair by Lizi Boyd| SLJ Review


BOYD, Lizi. Big Bear Little Chair. illus. by Lizi Boyd. 32p. Chronicle. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781452144474.

PreS-Gr 1–In this dynamic visual journey, opposites in size receive a striking comparison, though only a few brief words pepper each page. Boyd uses blacks, whites, and grays, and splashes of red to emphasize visual details. Each examination highlights two items of contrasting proportions with a rolling rhythm, such as “big zebra/little broom/big rock/little butterfly/big elephant/little trick/big moon/little star.” References to the bear and […]

Book Review: Consent by Nancy Ohlin

Publisher’s description: In this sexy and intriguing novel, an intense—and passionate—bond between a high school senior and her music teacher becomes a public scandal that threatens the reputation of both. Bea has a secret. Actually, she has more than one. There’s her dream for the future that she can’t tell anyone—not her father and not […]

Book Review: The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker, by teen reviewer Lexi

“I’m quiet for a moment, enchanted by the idea of something stealing over you, settling into you, and telling you, with absolute certainty, who you are and what you’re meant to do.” Summary: The magic and suspense of Graceling meet the political intrigue and unrest of Game of Thrones in this riveting fantasy debut. Your […]

Messenger: The Legend of Joan of Arc by Tony Lee | SLJ Review


LEE, Tony. Messenger: The Legend of Joan of Arc. illus. by Sam Hart. 112p. ebook available. Candlewick. 2015. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9780763676131; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780763676148. LC 2013957283.

Gr 7 Up–This stunning biography uses Joan of Arc’s trial as a frame story for an account of her life. Joan recounts events from her life, which was rooted in deep faith, and the spiritual encounters that have made her such a legendary figure. Lee and Hart have aptly titled their work, […]

Editorial | Series Nonfiction


Good nonfiction answers questions readers might have and provides them with a few new facts, but great nonfiction does that and even more: it leaves students with questions of their own, eager to seek out further information.

This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

The Whole Truth: The Line Between Providing Age-Appropriate Content and Sugar-Coating


Ensuring that nonfiction aimed at young people is both age appropriate and enlightening is a tall order. But many recent titles are proving that it can be done, and librarians and kid lit experts are emphasizing that despite the challenges, it should be done.

This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Never Never by Brianna R. Shrum | SLJ Review


Shrum, Brianna R. Never Never. 368p. ebook available. Spencer Hill. 2015. Tr $9.95. ISBN 9781633920392.

Gr 8 Up–A masterful debut novel that delivers a unique and striking perspective on J.M. Barrie’s beloved world of Neverland. The focus is on James Hook, a 13-year-old Londoner who cannot wait to be an adult. His only childhood indulgence is at night, when he dreams of being the captain of a pirate ship filled with ruffians and scallywags. When he happens upon Peter Pan […]

Book Review: The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie and Alyssa B. Sheinmel, by teen reviewer Lexi

“Someone has made the next move.” Summary Shortly after her sixteenth birthday, Sunshine Griffith and her mother Kat move from sunny Austin, Texas, to the rain-drenched town of Ridgemont, Washington. Though Sunshine is adopted, she and her mother have always been close, sharing a special bond filled with laughter and inside jokes. But from the […]

Harper Lee: From Mockingbird to Watchman | SLJ DVD Review


Harper Lee: From Mockingbird to Watchman. DVD. 83 min. Dist. by First Run Features. 2015. $24.95. UPC 720229916691.
Gr 9 Up–This thoughtful documentary examines the life of author Harper Lee and the far-reaching influence of her Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Initially, it introduces Lee as she moves from Monroeville, AL, to New York City at the age of 31 in the late 1950s and her struggles before her novel is eventually published in 1960. Author Wally Lamb and […]