February 26, 2017

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Rain by Sam Usher | SLJ Review

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USHER, Sam. Rain. illus. by Sam Usher. 32p. Candlewick/Templar. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763692964.

PreS-Gr 2 –In a suitable sequel to the author’s Snow, Sam can’t wait until he is “out in the rain. You can catch raindrops, splash in puddles, and look at everything upside down.” Granddad and his young grandson watch through the window as drops fall steadily, increasing until the street disappears in a steady downpour. They wait and wait, one reading about sea monsters […]

Talking Baby: Helping Your Child Discover Language by Margaret MacLagan & Anne Buckley | SLJ Review

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MACLAGAN, Margaret & Anne Buckley. Talking Baby: Helping Your Child Discover Language. 192p. Finch. Nov. 2016. pap. $18.95. ISBN 9781925048605.

In this puddle-jumper from down under, child language development lecturer ­Maclagan and speech-language therapist Buckley set forth a just-technical-enough look at how children acquire language and how to best support its development. Beginning with infancy, the authors encourage parents to talk, talk, talk about anything and to leave time for “response” (anything the baby does is her “turn” in […]

Book Review: Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

Publisher’s description Some bodies won’t stay buried. Some stories need to be told. When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family’s property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the past… and the present. Nearly one hundred years earlier, a misguided […]

Checking the Bear-omator | SLJ Spotlight on Picture Books

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Bear stories are perennial favorites for the toddler and preschool set to curl up with and these new titles are no exception.

First Things First: YA Debuts | SLJ Spotlight

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From fun romances to royal intrigue and from a harrowing tale of Hurricane Katrina to a teen’s journey from Haiti to Detroit, the following YA debut novels offer new stories and voices on the teen lit scene.

Blast from the Past | SLJ Spotlight on Middle Grade

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Are your patrons itching to revisit days of yore and bygone eras? These recent novels take on historical fiction from varied perspectives, from a narrative set during the 1950s that tackles bias and prejudice to a tale of medieval London that incorporates fantasy and magic.

An Antidote for the Winter Blues | SLJ Spotlight on Nonfiction

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Cold, blustery days got elementary students down? These spring-related titles are just the ticket to get kids energized for longer and warmer days ahead.

The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found by Martin W. Sandler | SLJ Review

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SANDLER, Martin W. The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found. 176p. bibliog. index. notes. photos. Candlewick. Mar. 2017. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780763680336.

Gr 6 Up –Sandler dispels many popular pirate-related myths and offers a more realistic and factual view of the era of piracy in the New World. Instead of living in abject poverty at the mercy of kings and nobles, many men embraced piracy as a means to support their families and live a comfortable life, […]

Teens Review Michael Miller and Amanda Strickland’s “Shadow Run” and More

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From graphic novels about war to sci-fi, this month’s batch of teen reviews covers the spread.

Book Review: The Time Museum by Matthew Loux, a guest post by Callum (age 10)

If you follow me on Twitter (@CiteSomething), then you’re familiar with my extremely entertaining 10-year-old son, Callum. He’s a big fan of graphic novels and recently has started pulling books out of my TBR pile. It’s fun to get book mail and have so much of it either appeal now to him or know it […]

Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas + Giveaway

Publisher’s description Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty. Soon to be a major motion picture from Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions. Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood […]

Book Review: The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera

Publisher’s description Pretty in Pink comes to the South Bronx in this bold and romantic coming-of-age novel about dysfunctional families, good and bad choices, and finding the courage to question everything you ever thought you wanted—from debut author Lilliam Rivera. Things/People Margot Hates: Mami, for destroying her social life Papi, for allowing Junior to become […]

Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper | SLJ Reviews

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COOPER, Elisha. Big Cat, Little Cat. illus. by Elisha Cooper. 40p. Roaring Brook. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781626723719.

PreS-Gr 1 –Bold and simple illustrations perfectly depict life with cats. Elegant, expressive black line drawings on white backgrounds capture the essence of all things feline and call to mind the work of Clare Turlay Newberry and Nikki McClure. The book follows a lone white cat who gains a small black companion, their life together, and the eventual loss of […]

Real Friends by Shannon Hale | SLJ Review

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HALE, Shannon. Real Friends. illus. by LeUyen Pham. 224p. First Second. May 2017. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9781626724167; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781626727854. POP

Gr 3-6 –Hale revisits her elementary school years in this insightful exploration of the ups and downs of friendship. Young Shannon meets her BFF Adrienne in kindergarten, and the two bond until Adrienne moves away. When Adrienne returns, Shannon is thrilled—until Adrienne joins a clique. In over her head, Shannon copes with feelings of inadequacy as she […]

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan | SLJ Review

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KHAN, Hena. Amina’s Voice. 208p. ebook available. S. & S./Salaam Reads. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781481492065.

Gr 4-6 –A satisfying read about an 11-year-old girl navigating friendship, family, religion, and dreams of becoming a soul-singing sensation. In a quiet Milwaukee suburb, Amina and her best friend Soojin grapple with their own ethnic identities and the pressure to Americanize. Soojin is Korean American and on the pathway to citizenship. She’s contemplating changing her name to solidify her American identity, […]

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor | SLJ Review

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TAYLOR, Laini. Strange the Dreamer. 544p. ebook available. Little, Brown. Mar. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316341684. POP

Gr 9 Up –Lazlo Strange is a foundling who has grown up alone and unloved, sustained only by his fantasies and stories of a city known as Weep. As an adult, Lazlo finds his way to the Great Library of Zosma and becomes a librarian, tasked with supporting scholars in their work. His fixation with Weep continues, and he searches for scraps […]

Book Review: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Publisher’s description You go through life thinking there’s so much you need. . . . Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother. Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. […]

The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Jerry Pinkney | SLJ Review

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The Three Billy Goats Gruff. adapted by Jerry Pinkney. illus. by Jerry Pinkney. 40p. Little, Brown. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316341578.

PreS-Gr 2 –Employing his signature pencil and watercolor compositions, Pinkney brings a thoughtful, nuanced perspective to this classic tale. The story begins as expected, with the goats “trip-trapping” across the bridge in search of food—the first two urging the troll to wait for the bigger animal coming next. Each goat has a distinctive appearance; the troll is […]

A Little Heart | New in YA Romance

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From coming-of-age stories with a dusting of romance to a modern-day Romeo & Juliet, there’s something here to suit everyone.

Ox & Gazelle? A Valentine’s Day Love Story| SLJ Book Review

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A lumbering yet loquacious ox wins over a glamorous yet conceited gazelle via the power of the pen in this epistolary picture book.