August 30, 2016

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When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin | SLJ Review

When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin

Lin, Grace. When the Sea Turned to Silver. illus. by Grace Lin. 384p. Little, Brown. Oct. 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316125925; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780316317696. POP  

Gr 3-6 –The Tiger Emperor is conscripting all the men of the mountain villages to build the Vast Wall surrounding the kingdom. But when they reach Pinmei’s village, they also take her grandmother, the Storyteller. In order to save her, Pinmei and her friend Yishan embark on a voyage […]

Conquering Middle School Miasma

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There’s no need for kids to muddle through middle school—books can guide the way.

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown | SLJ Review

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Brown, Jaye Robin. Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit. 432p. ebook available. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Aug. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062270986. 

Gr 9 Up –Brown orchestrates a fast-paced narrative that is powerful, moving, and relatable. Jo Gordon, a proudly queer teen, has recently been uprooted from her home in Atlanta to a more rural part of the state during her senior year of high school. Her father also has recently remarried, is a man of faith, and has […]

Go to the Head of the Class | Back-to-School Roundup

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This season’s crop of back-to-school picture books will encourage and hearten newbies as well as returning students to the hallowed halls of our institutions of learning.

This article was published in School Library Journal's August 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Book Review: Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown

Publisher’s description Joanna meets the perfect girl for her and must decide whether to break a promise that could change everything for her and her family or lose out on love in this charming young adult romance that’s perfect for fans of Julie Murphy’s Dumplin’ and Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Joanna […]

RIP Gene Wilder: Children’s Literature’s Avatar

Consider, if you will, the life of Gene Wilder.  Since his death, many people have been doing precisely that.  It makes me happy, but since I’ve harbored a not-so-secret crush on the man for decades (a quick search of this blog will back that up) I felt it necessary to point out that for all […]

Audio Xpress Reviews | September 2016

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Jon Walter’s complex and beautifully written My Name Is Not Friday; the can’t-miss conclusion to Margaret Peterson Haddix’s “Missing” series.

This article was published in School Library Journal's September 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

YA Xpress Reviews | September 2016

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Zetta Elliott’s follow-up to A Wish After Midnight combines time travel, romance, and history; Jane Ozkowski “captures the absurdity and magic of the last summer before college.”

This article was published in School Library Journal's September 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Life (and Learning) After High School: Exploring the Options

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For every young adult with clear career goals, there are many more still seeking a niche that fits. These titles will help them navigate the path ahead.

Picture Books Xpress Reviews | September 2016

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An illustrated version of one of T.S. Eliot’s most notorious cats; a stubborn princess overcomes her distaste for a certain green vegetable.

This article was published in School Library Journal's September 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Nonfiction Xpress Reviews | September 2016

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Ken Burns tackles the U.S. presidents; an “antiprincess collection.”

This article was published in School Library Journal's September 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Middle Grade Xpress Reviews | September 2016

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John David Anderson’s heartrending work about three friends coping with the departure of a beloved teacher; Jason Reynolds’s “Track” series is off to a strong start.

This article was published in School Library Journal's September 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Duck, Duck, Porcupine! by Salina Yoon | SLJ Review

Duck, Duck, Porcupine! by Salina Yoon

Yoon, Salina. Duck, Duck, Porcupine! illus. by Salina Yoon. 64p. Bloomsbury. May 2016. Tr $9.99. ISBN 9781619637238. 

PreS-Gr 1 –This wonderfully engaging easy reader, starring the titular trio, is divided into three short chapters. The two duck siblings and their purple porcupine pal go on an all-weather picnic, celebrate Porcupine’s birthday in style (well, eventually), and gather all of the things they need for a campout. The stories are told almost exclusively in dialogue, with the […]

Unbound by Anne E. Burg | SLJ Review

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Burg, Ann E. Unbound. 352p. Scholastic. Sept. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545934275.

Gr 4-8 –Grace is a light-skinned, blue-eyed slave who is called to work in “The Big House,” leaving behind her family and friends in the fields. What she sees of the Master and Missus gives Grace even more motivation to escape, including Missus’s decision to sell members of Grace’s family at the auction block. Soon, Grace and her family flee to the Great Dismal […]

Graphic Novels Xpress Reviews | September 2016

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Brian K. Vaughan takes readers on a surreal journey; the next installments in the “Lumberjanes” series; an introduction to one of Japan’s most beloved characters.

This article was published in School Library Journal's September 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier | SLJ Review

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Larbalestier, Justine. My Sister Rosa. 320p. ebook available. Soho Teen. Nov. 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781616956745. 

Gr 9 Up –When Che is forced to move from Australia to the United States, he has two things on his mind: find a new boxing gym and keep the world safe from his sister Rosa. For almost as long as she’s been alive, Che has known that something is not right with her. Callous, indifferent, fascinated by pain, she […]

Giant Squid by Candace Fleming | SLJ Review

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Fleming, Candace. Giant Squid. illus. by Eric Rohmann. 40p. bibliog. diag, further reading. websites. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks. Sept. 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781596435995. 

Gr 2-4 –Through engrossing, informative verse, Fleming artfully introduces readers to a mysterious sea monster that glides through the deepest and darkest reaches of the ocean. Although some species of giant squid are as large as a bus, these animals are rarely spotted by people. Scientists have been able to gather clues […]

It’s a Summer #Bookaday Tweetstorm!

Ah, summer – the days get longer, the LaCroix starts flowing like water, the #bookaday reading begins. You know, #bookaday, the summer reading challenge started by Book Whisperer Donalyn Miller. Here are a few of the books I read and liked over the summer. #bookaday pic.twitter.com/yZXslunBw2 — Travis Jonker (@100scopenotes) August 6, 2016 #bookaday A […]

What I Learned About “Representation Matters” While Reading BENEATH WANDERING STARS by Ashlee Cowles

By the time I graduated high school, I had attended 9 separate schools in three different states. Every time I would start a new school the first question everyone asks, after what’s your name, is “where are you from?” I have no good answer to this question. I am from nowhere and everywhere. I am […]

Fallen London |Touch and Go

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The popular, text-based adventure, a “Lovecraftian dream of Victorian London,” is now available in iOS. Enter at your own risk.