November 29, 2015

Subscribe to SLJ

SLJ Reviews

For all the latest SLJ reviews and more, subscribe to SLJ today and save 35%!

Review of the Day: The Red Hat by David Teague

The Red Hat By David Teague Illustrated by Antoinette Portis Disney Hyperion (an imprint of Disney Book Group) $16.99 ISBN: 9781423134114 Ages 4-7 On shelves December 8th There is a story out there, and I don’t know if it is true, that the great children’s librarian Anne Carroll Moore had such a low opinion of […]

Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban | SLJ Review


Sepahban, Lois. Paper Wishes. 192p. Farrar/Margaret Ferguson Bks. Jan. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780374302160; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780374302177.

Gr 4-6 –In March 1942, 10-year-old Manami Tanaka’s whole world changes. Her family is forced to leave their home on Bainbridge Island along with all the other Japanese Americans in their community. Though arrangements have been made for a neighbor to care for their dog, Yujiin, Manami can’t bear to leave him behind and tries to bring him […]

The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower, or John Howland’s Good Fortune by P. J. Lynch | SLJ Review


Lynch, P.J. The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower, or John Howland’s Good Fortune. illus. by P.J. Lynch. 64p. bibliog. websites. Candlewick. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763665845.

Gr 3-6 –Lynch brings to vivid life the well-known story of the Pilgrims through the adventures and voice of John Howland. As a young man, Howland came across the Atlantic on the Mayflower as an indentured servant of John Carver, who would later become the first governor of the […]

Sriracha | SLJ DVD Review


Sriracha. 33 min. Dist. by Dreamscape. 2013, released in 2015. $24.99. $199.99 PPR. ISBN 857063005165.

Gr 9 Up –Sriracha, the bottled red chile sauce with the rooster emblem and distinctive green spout, has gained a cult following in the United States, and in this ode to the deliciously spicy hot sauce, director Griffin Hammond reveals the story—and man—behind its success. David Tran, the unassuming founder of Huy Fong Foods, Inc. in Irwindale, CA, began his sauce-making career in the […]

Religion: A Discovery in Comics by Margreet De Heer | SLJ Review


de Heer, Margreet. Religion: A Discovery in Comics. illus. by Margaret de Heer. 120p. index. NBM. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781561639946.

Gr 7 Up –With this volume that winningly combines her personal reflections with general information on five world religions, de Heer continues her series (previous titles have taken on philosophy and science). She depicts herself as the narrator of this discourse and includes her personal experience with religion. Both of her parents were Christian ministers, […]

When the Earth Shakes: Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Tsunamis by Simon Winchester | SLJ Review


Winchester, Simon. When the Earth Shakes: Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Tsunamis. 80p. diags. filmog. further reading. index. maps. photos. websites. Viking. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780670785360.

Gr 5-8 –Winchester, a journalist and former geologist, examines earth-shaking phenomena. In the opening pages, the author discusses his experience on a university research team that confirmed the key scientific theory of continental drift; his powerful writing conveys the excitement of discovery. After this first chapter, descriptions of earthquakes, volcanos, and […]

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman | SLJ Audio Review


GAIMAN, Neil. The Sleeper and the ­Spindle. 1 CD. 1 hr. Harper Audio, 2015. $13.99. ISBN 9780062435132. digital download.

Gr 8 Up –On the eve of her wedding, a beautiful queen learns from three dwarf friends that peril has befallen a kingdom in the east. A young princess lies asleep in the castle’s tower while a sleeping fog placed by an evil enchantress is rapidly seeping west. Having experienced this sleeping curse herself, the queen quickly exchanges her wedding […]

Best Books 2015: Dime | Young Adult


Plucked out of a bleak foster home by the manipulative pimp Daddy and groomed into a life of prostitution, 13-year-old Dime gives voice to her pain as she attempts to write a note, the intent of which is revealed toward the end of the book. Exploring an oft-overlooked subject, Frank has crafted an honest and raw true-to-life narrative—and one laced with the barest sliver of hope.

Best Books 2015: Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx | Nonfiction


A heartbreaking memoir about how the iconic Latina educator and TV personality found her way to Sesame Street from her modest upbringing in the South Bronx. Opening with fragments from her early childhood and ending with her life-changing audition for the educational program, the book includes vignettes that offer glimpses of a singular coming-of-age filled with poverty and violence but also with love and music. A stark and powerful work.

Best Books 2015: Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound | Nonfiction


The Groove” takes readers on a tour of the origins and demise of Motown, the musical powerhouse responsible for Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, and Stevie Wonder. Centering around Berry Gordy, the talented visionary and eventual mogul, the ingenious narration highlights the company’s humble beginnings, its successes and failures, and its place in sociocultural history. A well-researched and melodic ride.

Best Books 2015: Symphony for the City of the Dead | Nonfiction


Anderson vividly sets the scene with Shostakovich’s young years on the eve of the revolution and the Lenin era, his coming-of-age as a composer, and the rise of Stalin’s reign of terror. The central story of the creation and performance of the Leningrad Symphony while the city was in the crippling throes of a two-and-a-half year siege is devastating, enlightening, and, ultimately, inspiring. A narrative nonfiction triumph.

Top 10 Graphic Novels 2015


Selected by the Good Comics for Kids bloggers, these graphic novels published in 2015 are the cream of the crop.

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

Best Books 2015: The Tightrope Walkers | Young Adult


Dominic Hall, a British youth from a working-class family, finds himself wavering between attachment to his childhood friend, the artistic Holly Stroud, and the literary future he dreams of, and the powerful, inexplicable draw of Vincent McAlinden, a violent neighborhood bully. Set in the shadow of the 1960s shipbuilding community on the banks of the River Tyne, this beautifully written story is as taut and as exhilarating as the high wire.

Best Books 2015

Best Books 2015: Nonfiction

Best Books 2015: 8: An Animal Alphabet | Picture Books


Each page in this oversize volume includes a range of creatures—from the lowly ant to the exotic zebu—whose names begin with the featured alphabet letter. Muted watercolors depict the denizens of the animal world once, except for the chosen creature, which is seen eight times on the page. Why eight? “Because 8 is great,” states the author. An abecedarian that will get kids counting.

Best Books 2015: Young Adult

Best Books 2015: X: A Novel | Young Adult


Malcolm X’s daughter collaborates with acclaimed young adult author Magoon to craft this historical novel about the civil rights leader’s formative years. From Malcolm Little’s impoverished childhood in Michigan to his downward spiral into a life of excess and crime in New York City, the work chronicles how a troubled young man found his true self and changed the world.

Best Books 2015: Sail Away | Nonfiction


Collecting and illustrating sea-themed verse by Hughes, Bryan frames the famed poet in a new light that will appeal to poetry fans and newcomers alike. The cut-paper collages pulsate with energy and life and echo the passion of Hughes’s words. A luminescent oceanic love song.

Best Books 2015: Everything, Everything | Young Adult


Madeline has spent 18 years at home with only her doctor mother and a nurse to care for her rare form of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) and can’t risk exposure to the world beyond her highly controlled environment. When a boy her age moves next door, he wreaks havoc with her regimented routine and makes her acutely aware of all that she’s been missing. A tender and bittersweet romance with a jaw-dropping twist.