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October 23, 2014

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SLJ Reviews

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Put a Little Spook On Your iPad | Apps for the Halloween Season

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Two iPad apps will put your middle grade students in the Halloween mood.

Lawson reimagines Twain’s classic characters in “Becky Thatcher”| Audio Pick

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Lawson, Jessica. The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher. 5 CDs. 5:59 hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2014. $39.99. ISBN 9781629239385. 1 MP3-CD.
Gr 3-7–It’s 1860, and 11-year-old Becky Thatcher has just moved to St. Petersburg, Missouri. She’s looking for big-time adventure in this small town, and once she meets Sid Sawyer, it doesn’t take her long to find it. Pretty soon, she’s sneaking out after dark, stealing graveyard dirt at midnight, and keeping an eye out for dead cats to help [...]

Halloween Reading

Halloween Reading

The days grow shorter. The evenings grow darker. You’re trying to figure out a costume to wear to school next Friday. In the spirit of the season, we review three new novels for those seeking a thrill this Halloween. Edgar Cantero’s first book in English, The Supernatural Enhancements, is a secret society mystery/haunted house gothic [...]

A Look Back and a Look Forward | Reference Online Databases

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Recent online databases from Rosen and World Book introduce readers to the exciting world of science and the realm of reading, respectively.

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

Caitlin Moran and Lena Dunham

Caitlin Moran and Lena Dunham

Today I review two books that have the potential to be wildly popular with teens–and wildly challenging for school librarians. Caitlin Moran and Lena Dunham are media forces, women who excel in professions dominated by men. They both succeed through the sheer force of their personalities, and to some extent through their willingness to say [...]

#WeNeedDiverseBooks: Realistic fiction with diverse protagonists | SLJ Spotlight

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Three teen titles highlight diverse protagonists whose stories are not often told.

Becky Thatcher, Baseball, and All That Jazz | Multimedia Reviews, October 2014

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The saga of all-women jazz orchestras and boys bonding over baseball feature in two starred DVD reviews. In addition, the secrets behind the building of the Great Pyramid of Giza and The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher are revealed in this month’s lineup.

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

Documentary explores female pioneers in the world of Jazz | DVD Pick

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The Girls in the Band. 88 min and 57 min. Dist. by Kino Lorber Edu. 2013. $99. UPC 823857178124.
Gr 6 Up–What was conspicuous about women jazz musicians in the big band era was their near absence. Those lucky enough to be asked to sit in with a band were not accepted by male peers and had short tenures. How women broke into the world of jazz, as revealed in this exceptional documentary, is poignant and disturbing. The resulting all-women orchestras [...]

Hollywood Starlets, Charming Con Men, & Lethal Assassins | What’s Hot in YA

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From Ally Condie’s /Atlantia to Jason Reynolds’s The Boy in the Black Suit, these latest books for teens will inspire, infuriate, and tug at the hearstrings (and nerves) of readers.

Poetry from the Streets

Poetry from the Streets

For teen in my community, in Vallejo, CA, mentioning Tupac Shakur is pretty much guaranteed to give you some credibility, and his book of poetry, The Rose That Grew from Concrete is one of our most read (and lost) poetry collections. So when I saw that David Tomas Martinez’s debut collection, Hustle, not only name-checks [...]

Relevancy Trumps All for Reluctant Readers | YA Underground

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Juvenile services librarian Amy Cheney posits that the winning recipe for books that entice reluctant readers includes a great cover, lots of action (real action!), relevancy, and an easy to read page layout.

Transitioning to Chapter Books | Series Standbys

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What are your favorite series titles for children making their first forays into chapter books? We’ve listed a few of ours.

Separating a City—and Families

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On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Beth Kephart’s compelling YA novel ‘Going Over’ offers a story of the human impact of the barrier, which separated not just the city, but friends and families on either side.

October Starred Reviews

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Travel to an English boarding school with wild tomboy Will in Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms, learn how Roget determined The Right Word, and listen to The Girls in the Band with the October stars, which offer the best of fiction, nonfiction, and multimedia.

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

Malala Yousafzai Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Malala Yousafzai Wins Nobel Peace Prize

I thought readers here might be interested to know, if they hadn’t heard already, that Malala Yousafzai has just been named a co-recipient of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Malala is, of course, the author of I Am Malala–reviewed here back in December–which chronicles her struggle for education for girls in Pakistan, and eventual shooting [...]

Secret agents, robot chickens, and zombies | SLJ Spotlight

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These zany middle grade titles are perfect shelf bait for reluctant readers.

Teens Review War Books: Mythological, Historical, and Emotional

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Teens often feel like they are misunderstood and at war with the rest of the world. These fiction titles will give them some strategies for coping on and off the battlefield of adolescence.

Debut Author Marie-Helene Bertino Dishes the Writing Dirt with SLJTeen

Marie Helene Bertino

SLJ caught up with debut author Marie-Helene Bertino to discuss her 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas, a multigenerational story perfect for mother/daughter book clubs.

Brian Cox’s ‘Wonders of Life’ | Touch and Go

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He refers to himself as a bit of an “academic ” and lucky for us that he is one. Brian Cox is also a highly engaging, enthusiastic teacher of all things science. In his latest immersive production, ‘Wonders of Life,’ he delves into the origins and mysteries of life on Earth.

Brush Up on Musicals, Cat Breeds, Sign Language, and More | Reference Reviews

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This month, we’ve got you covered no matter what you want to learn. Hoping to brush up on your cat breed knowledge? You’re covered. Want to take up American Sign Language? Look no further. And, Annie, get your ready reference—we’ve got your guide to musicals: stage, screen, and more.

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