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May 29, 2015

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Au Naturel | SLJ Spotlight

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Four nonfiction titles to inspire young naturalists.

It’s All About the Birds | Touch and Go

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Bird-watching is one of the fastest growing outdoor hobbies in United States, generating enthusiasm across age groups and demographics. Digital references for these hobbyists are on the rise.

Jim Dale brings well-loved characters to life in “The Mr. Men Collection” | Audio Pick

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HARGREAVES, Roger. The Mr. Men Collection Vol. 1. 1 CD. 59 min. Listening Library. 2015. $10. ISBN 9781101891285. digital download.
PreS-Gr 2–This recording features ten titles from the appealing collection of brief books that highlight Hargreaves’s classic “Mr. Men” tales. Mr. Happy ends up chuckling with a now-smiling Mr. Miserable. Mr. Messy leaves the cap off his toothpaste, Mr. Small slips into the mustard, and Mr. Brave rushes to arrive on time for tea to avoid upsetting stern Miss Bossy. There […]

Teens Review a Steampunk Sequel, a “Gone Girl”–Like YA, and More

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Paranormal romances don’t seem to be waning, and a realistic fiction title was received quite differently by two young critics. The young adult reviewers, part of the Kitsap (WA) Regional Library YA book groups near Seattle, offer honest insight into some of the latest titles for teens.

Changing the World with Erin Gruwell | Professional Shelf

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Erin Gruwell, a teacher determined to make a difference, and her students became the subject of the 2007 Hollywood movie Freedom Writers. On May 5, Gruwell and some of those same students will visit with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Together they will view a new documentary about the Freedom Writers’ extraordinary journey.

Latest Titles by Doreen Cronin, Douglas Florian, Peter Sís and More | Elementary Picture Books

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Dozens of flavors and varieties appear in this roundup of reviews for picture book lovers of all stripes.

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

Superpowered Heroines | SLJ Spotlight

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Five exciting new titles feature fierce female superheroes.

A Pourquoi Tale from Liberia: “Dentist Bird” | Touch and Go

Screen from "Dentist Bird" (Literary Safari)

Dentist Bird, a West African folktale from Literary Safari, explains how it came to be that plover birds clean crocodiles’ teeth. The developer notes that 100 percent of the purchase price of the app will go to “We-Care Foundation’s efforts to keep children reading and learning amidst the Ebola outbreak.” For iOS and Android.

A Poem in Your Pocket | A New Book from Margaret McNamara and G. Brian Karas

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On Poem in Your Pocket Day it seems appropriate to highlight this 2015 title by Margaret McNamara and G. Brian Karas.

New Titles from Douglas Florian, Courtney Summers, & Phillip Hoose | SLJ Sneak Peek

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A zany send-up to Star Wars and a fanciful dragon tale are some of the kid-friendly picture books featured in SLJ‘s May 2015 issue. And important titles from heavy hitters Phillip Hoose and Courtney Summers are just some of the works for older readers highlighted. Check out the latest sneak peek of reviews appearing in the next print issue.

Playing with the Alphabet, “Metamorphabet” | Touch and Go

The letter N from (Vectorpark) Patrick Smith

Only two months out of the gate and ‘Metamorphabet,’ a new app created and developed by Patrick Smith and Vectorpark, has received accolades, including recognition by the 2015 BolognaRagazzi Digital Award Committee. Take a peek at the trailer and you’ll see why.

Powerful film explores the dire consequences of plastic| DVD Pick

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Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. 57 min. Dist. by Bullfrog Films. 2014. $350. Rent $85. ISBN 1941545246.
Gr 7 Up–After seeing this documentary, viewers will not think of plastic in the same way again and will likely be inspired to make some personal changes, such as carrying reusable bags. Journalist Angela Sun’s journey to find the so-called drifting plastic island takes her to the remote Midway Atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. There plastic debris from the […]

Sleepy creatures, historical fiction, & a new Sammy Keyes | Audio Reviews

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L. Frank Baum’s Ozma of Oz and Ilyasah Shabazz’s historical novel about her father Malcolm X, are among this month’s audiobook reviews.

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

SLJ Reviews the MaKey MaKey | Test Drive

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The popular Arduino kit makes a game of learning and banana pianos are just a start. School Library Journal Test Drive columnist unpacks the learning potential of MaKey Makey.

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

Be Part Of The Solution | SLJ Spotlight

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Three standout nonfiction titles spotlight social justice causes.

Lincoln, Jefferson, and Franklin | DVD Reviews

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The arrival of Barb Rosenstock’s Ben Franklin’s Big Splash makes waves, along with Maira Kalman’s inspired biographies of presidents Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson. Additionally, post-Katrina New Orleans and the civil rights movement are poignantly depicted in The Whole Gritty City and The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement.

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

Animal adventures and fun lessons abound in “Humphrey” collection | Audio Pick

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Birney, Betty G. Humphrey Audio Collection, Books 8-11. 11 CDs. 13 hrs. Listening Library. 2015. $75. ISBN 9780553556490. digital download.
Gr 3-7–Everyone’s favorite golden hamster is back in this audio presentation of four of the books by Birney. In “Mysteries According to Humphrey,” Humphrey’s class is reading Sherlock Holmes, a substitute takes over, and Humphrey has his own mysteries to solve. “Winter According to Humphrey” brings snow, a pageant, and all the winter holidays. In “Secrets According to Humphrey,” the class […]

A Starred Sequel, a Family Adventure, and Laugh-Out-Loud Stories in the Latest Chapter Books Reviewed

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A handful of new chapter books are reviewed in the April 2015 issue, including the imaginative and funny sequel to Dory Fantasmagory.

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

Killer Manga, a Whodunit, & Noelle Stevenson’s “Nimona” | YA Graphic Novels

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“Lumberjanes” cocreator Noelle Stevenson’s webcomic about a shapeshifting sidekick gets a print edition and galactic-themed manga feature murderous and heroic aliens. Check out the YA graphic novel reviews featured in SLJ’s April 2015 issue.

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

Step Up Your Storytime, Role-Playing Games 101, and a Primer on Early Learning Spaces | Professional Reading

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This month’s titles have you covered, from reinvigorating storytimes to providing information on the importance of play.

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