April 23, 2017

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How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child by Sandra Uwiringiyimana with Abigail Pesta | SLJ Review

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UWIRINGIYIMANA, Sandra with Abigail Pesta. How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child. 304p. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. May 2017. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780062470140.

Gr 7 Up –The greatest storytellers connect with readers through universal truths, and Uwiringiyimana tells her own profound story with clarity and honesty. After a heart-pounding cliff-hanger opening, Uwiringiyimana goes back in time to revisit her childhood in Uvira, a city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Although occasionally interrupted by bouts of […]

SLJ’s April 2017 Popular Picks

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The latest thriller from Cristin Terrill, a feminist primer for little ones, and a heartfelt memoir by a BuzzFeed editor.

4 Novels on the Trials and Tribulations of Middle School

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The following novels feature characters smack-dab in the middle of those tumultuous middle school years.

Eco-conscious Poetry Books for Earth Day

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Just in time for April, here are two titles that are perfect for both National Poetry Month and Earth Day–related lessons.

2 YA Tales of Some Not-so-Witchy Witches

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Teen witch books aren’t all “hocus pocus” and “eye of newt.”

5 Picture Books Celebrating Dads (and Granddads)

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5 warm and tender titles with male-focused parent-and-child interactions that celebrate the special bonds between father (or grandfather) and child

Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce | SLJ Review

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COTTRELL BOYCE, Frank. Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth. 336p. HarperCollins/Walden Pond. Jun. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062643629.

Gr 4-7 –Prez Mellows is a list expert. He’s been making lists for years on sticky notes to help his granddad remember important life facts, such as “Prez is your grandson” and “Do not go out without trousers.” His lists help save the planet when a space-traveling alien, Sputnik, shows up on Earth and enlists Prez’s help to come up with […]

Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin by Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin | SLJ Review

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FULTON, Sybrina & Tracy Martin. Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin. 352p. Spiegel & Grau. Jan. 2017. Tr $26. ISBN 9780812997231.

Four years after Trayvon Martin, a black teenager, was killed walking home by George Zimmerman, a white neighborhood watch coordinator with a gun, the teen’s mother and father, in alternating chapters, share the devastating experience of losing a son to senseless violence: “We tell it in hope for healing, for bridging the divide that separates […]

Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market by Michelle Schaub | SLJ Review

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SCHAUB, Michelle. Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market. illus. by Amy Huntington. 32p. Charlesbridge. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781580895477.

Gr 3-5 –A multiethnic crowd of people saunter through a farmers’ market, investigating produce, accompanied by cheerful poetry. Does the “smell of a melon give clues you can use”? Are free-range eggs truly “eggs-traordinary,” and is honey really “liquid-gold alchemy”? Along with this delectable sampling of sweet corn and the search for gooseberries are a list of […]

The Giant Jumperee by Julia Donaldson | SLJ Review

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DONALDSON, Julia. The Giant Jumperee. illus. by Helen Oxenbury. 32p. Dial. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780735227972.

Toddler-PreS –When Rabbit hears a booming voice coming from his burrow, from someone who claims to be the Giant Jumperee, he’s terrified. Cat, Bear, and Elephant each attempt to investigate but are sent running by the unseen occupant. Luckily, Mama Frog puts things right and reveals that the Giant Jumperee isn’t nearly as terrifying as he sounds. Though the ending will be […]

York: The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby | SLJ Review

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RUBY, Laura. York: The Shadow Cipher. 496p. ebook available. HarperCollins/Walden Pond. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062306937.

Gr 5-8 –In an alternate present-day New York, three seventh graders embark on a citywide adventure as they attempt to solve a centuries-old cipher in order to save their home. In the mid-19th century, the Morningstarr twins, brilliant inventors who created steampunk-esque technology and iconic architecture that greatly influenced New York, disappeared, leaving a puzzle for the city, known as the Old […]

Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner | SLJ Review

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TURNER, Megan Whalen. Thick as Thieves. 352p. (Queen’s Thief: Bk. 5)

­HarperCollins/Greenwillow. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062568243.

Gr 7 Up –Kamet is a slave poised to become one of the most powerful men in the Mede Empire thanks to his master’s close relationship with the Emperor. While he knows the limitations of his life as a secretary and slave, Kamet is ambitious and eager for the chance to help shape the Empire and wield his influence until one […]

The Quilts of Gee’s Bend by Susan Goldman Rubin | SLJ Review

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RUBIN, Susan Goldman. The Quilts of Gee’s Bend. 56p. bibliog. index. notes. photos. Abrams. Jun. 2017. Tr $21.95. ISBN 9781419721311.

Gr 6 Up –A quilt “represents safekeeping, it represents beauty, and you could say it represents family history.” In this handsomely designed volume, Rubin shares the history of the Gee’s Bend families, who, for more than 100 years, have been designing and creating bold and brilliant quilts. From 1845, when plantation owner Mark Pettway and his household settled in […]

Playing for the Devil’s Fire by Phillippe Diederich | SLJ Audio Review

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DIEDERICH, Phillippe. Playing for the Devil’s Fire. 7 CDs. 8:14 hrs. Listening Library. Jan. 2017. $45. ISBN 9781524723842. digital download.

Gr 7 Up – Izayoc is an idyllic Mexican pueblo where 13-year-old Boli and his friends spend time ogling the girls, shining shoes to earn money, watching the luchadores (the wrestlers), and playing marbles in the hopes of winning the much-coveted “Devil’s Fire” marble. The new highway, however, has opened the town up to dangerous people. Body parts appear, […]

37 Superb New Titles | April 2017

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This month’s stars include a compilation of picture book authors and illustrators answering the question “What’s your favorite color?” a graphic novel biography of Mama Cass, and the first book in a new series about a steampunk-inspired alternate history of New York City from Laura Ruby.

This article was published in School Library Journal's April 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Be True to Me by Adele Griffin | SLJ Review

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GRIFFIN, Adele. Be True to Me. 352p. Algonquin. Jun. 2017. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781616206758.

Gr 8 Up –Eager to escape her sister’s shadow for the summer, privileged but insecure Jean Custis is delighted to meet newcomer Gil Burke one early June night. Yet within a matter of days, Gil has been intercepted by Fritz, a girl with no family connections to the small town of Sunken Harbor, who humiliated Jean in last year’s tennis playoff. As both girls interact […]

The Fashion Committee by Susan Juby | SLJ Review

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JUBY, Susan. The Fashion Committee. 320p. Viking. May 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780451468789.

Gr 9 Up –Charlie Dean and John Thomas-Smith live on the wrong side of the tracks, but they both want to attend the private and exclusive Green Pastures Academy of Art and Applied Design. Their local public high school is so poorly funded that all nonessential classes, including art, have been eliminated from the curriculum. But every year, Green Pastures sponsors an emerging talents scholarship worth […]

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly | SLJ Review

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SHETTERLY, Margot Lee. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race. 368p. bibliog. index. notes. Morrow. Sept. 2016. Tr $27.99. ISBN 9780062363596.

In popular culture, Rosie the Riveter symbolized the thousands of women who worked assembly line jobs during World War II; her image lives on as an iconic poster for women’s rights. Shetterly tells a companion story: starting in 1945, about 50 college-educated African American female […]

Fred Korematsu Speaks Up by Laura Atkins & Stan Yogi | SLJ Review

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ATKINS, Laura & Stan Yogi. Fred Korematsu Speaks Up. illus. by Yutaka Houlette. 112p. (Fighting for Justice). bibliog. chron. index. notes. photos. Heyday. Jan. 2017. Tr $18. ISBN 9781597143684.

Gr 4-8 –A compelling blend of free verse, expository text, and artwork illuminates the life and times of Japanese American activist Fred Korematsu. Growing up in Oakland, the child of Japanese immigrants, Korematsu was a typical American kid, joining the Boy Scouts and dancing to big band music. Following Pearl […]

The Takedown by Corrie Wang | SLJ Review

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WANG, Corrie. The Takedown. 384p. Freeform. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781484757420.

Gr 9 Up –The near future in this novel is just close enough to feel incredibly eerie. Wang’s characters are plugged in to a degree that will leave some readers exhilarated and others delightfully spooked. Kyla Cheng and her three best friends are uber-popular girls who constantly use their Docs (next-next-next-gen iPhones) for absolutely everything. Sounds familiar, but the reach of this version of social networking is […]