June 25, 2017

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Mighty Moby by Barbara DaCosta | SLJ Review

DACOSTA, Barbara. Mighty Moby. illus. by Ed Young. 40p. Little, Brown. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316299367.

PreS-Gr 2 –The book jacket depicting Herman Melville’s infamous behemoth befits the epic adventure it heralds: blackness swallows the crimson light surrounding the whale, setting an ominous tone. In an author’s note, DaCosta writes that every word comes from Moby-Dick except one. The text is minimal but dramatic, with dialogue as well as faux ballad and sea shanty verses. The story opens […]

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee | SLJ Review

ORMSBEE, Kathryn. Tash Hearts Tolstoy. 384p. S. & S. Jun. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781481489331.

Gr 9 Up –Seventeen-year-old Kentucky filmmaker and Tolstoy superfan Tash Zelenka’s summer takes an unexpected turn when her web series, Unhappy Families (a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina) goes viral. The newfound fame causes tension between Tash and her best friend Jack, who also works on the series. Tash is easily caught up in the increased social media attention, her fans’ expectations, and the […]

Our Country’s Presidents: A Complete Encyclopedia of the U.S. Presidency by Ann Bausum | SLJ Review

BAUSUM, Ann. Our Country’s Presidents: A Complete Encyclopedia of the U.S. Presidency. 224p. chart. chron. further reading. index. maps. photos. reprods. National Geographic. Jan. 2017. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781426326851.

Gr 4-7 –A clear, colorful design; a variety of sidebars; and rich historical material make this a solid, go-to resource for information on the presidents. The text is chronologically organized into six parts, each of which features a two-page time line delineating significant events. Each entry begins with a fact […]

How To Disappear by Sharon Huss Roat | SLJ Review

ROAT, Sharon Huss. How To Disappear. 384p. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062291752.

Gr 7 Up –Vicky Decker relies upon her best friend, Jenna, to shield her from stressful social situations. That is, until Jenna and her family move away and Vicky’s social anxiety is cast into sharp relief against Jenna’s seeming ease at making new friends. To cope with her jealousy and loneliness, Vicky Photoshops herself into one exciting social setting after another and uploads the images […]

Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary by Martha Brockenbrough | SLJ Review

BROCKENBROUGH, Martha. Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary. 384p. bibliog. chron. index. notes. Feiwel & Friends. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250123190.

Gr 7 Up –Brockenbrough engagingly re-creates the complex character and eventful life of Alexander Hamilton in her nuanced biography. The author explores this eloquent, passionate, and principled founding father, from his illegitimate birth on the Caribbean island of Nevis to his fatal duel with Aaron Burr. The chronological narrative relies on thorough research to present details of Hamilton as an […]

Now by Antoinette Portis | SLJ Review

PORTIS, Antoinette. Now. illus. by Antoinette Portis. 32p. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks. Jul. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626721371.

PreS-Gr 1 –A young girl names all her favorite things as she joyfully lives out her days. “This is my favorite mud…my favorite rain.” Other treasured objects include a worm and a paper boat. Mostly, the girl loves these things because they are what she is experiencing in the moment. For example, of the several holes she’s dug, her favorite is […]

Kindred by Octavia Butler | SLJ Review

BUTLER, Octavia E. Kindred. adapted by Damian Duffy. illus. by John Jennings. 240p. Abrams ComicArts. Jan. 2017. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9781419709470.

Gr 9 Up –A searing, painful, but necessary graphic novel adaptation of Butler’s classic sci-fi work. It begins with a short glimpse at African American protagonist Dana’s beaten physical state in the late 1970s and jumps briefly backward in time as she unpacks in her new home with her white husband Kevin. She is abruptly ripped from her […]

Book Review: Internet Famous by Danika Stone

Publisher’s description An engaging and relatable novel for the digital age that perfectly captures the complicated interaction between what goes on in our real lives and what we say online. Internet sensation Madison Nakama has it all! Her pop-culture rewatch site has a massive following, and fans across the world wait on her every post […]

Balderdash!: John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books by Michelle Markel | SLJ Review

MARKEL, Michelle. Balderdash!: John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books. illus. by Nancy Carpenter. 44p. bibliog. further reading. Chronicle. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780811879224.

K-Gr 2 –This winning picture book takes on a subject that one wouldn’t think, at first glance, would be of interest to modern-day audiences—a look at the life of an 18th-century publisher and shopkeeper. But said publisher is none other than John Newbery, who embraced the teachings of John Locke and is […]

42 Stellar Titles | June 2017

M.T. Anderson presents sci-fi with hard-hitting social commentary; Martha Brockenbrough profiles Alexander Hamilton, a Founding Father who’s having a moment; and Lian Tanner concludes her compelling “Icebreaker” trilogy.

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

Landscape with Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson | SLJ Review

ANDERSON, M.T. Landscape with Invisible Hand. 160p. Candlewick. Sept. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763687892.

Gr 9 Up –The vuvv came in peace, offering new technology and life-changing medical breakthroughs. Yet their presence on Earth has slowly eroded Adam Costello’s small town. Joblessness, illness, and food scarcity are the realities of his shaky existence, and his only solace is in his painting. When Adam begins to date Chloe, they realize that there’s a moneymaking opportunity in their relationship. Taking […]

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart | SLJ Review

LOCKHART, E. Genuine Fraud. 272p. Delacorte. Sept. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780385744775.

Gr 9 Up –Jule West Williams is at a fancy resort in Mexico. Someone is looking for her, but she can do a pretty stellar job of taking care of herself, paying a bartender to smuggle her out in his car, then fighting back when he tries to extort more money. That’s where Lockhart’s latest novel begins. Jule was recently in London. Her best friend, Imogen Sokoloff, […]

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate | SLJ Review

APPLEGATE, Katherine. Wishtree. 224p. Feiwel & Friends. Sept. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781250043221. POP

Gr 4-8 –Newbery Award–winning author Applegate meets high expectations in this tale told by a tree named Red, a red oak who is “two hundred and sixteen rings old.” Touching on religious bigotry and the environment, Applegate keeps the emphasis on her characters, the many animals and birds who find shelter in the tree’s branches all year round. (All the birds and animals have names […]

Voyager’s Greatest Hits: The Epic Trek to Interstellar Space by Alexandra Siy | SLJ Review

SIY, Alexandra. Voyager’s Greatest Hits: The Epic Trek to Interstellar Space. 80p. further reading. glossary. index. notes. photos. websites. Charlesbridge. Jun. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781580897280.

Gr 4-8 –Forty years after the launch of the twin space probes, Siy’s well-researched and enthusiastic title depicts their conception, construction, major discoveries, and lasting legacy. After two introductory chapters, the narrative settles into a pattern: each chapter opens with a historical breakthrough, such as Galileo discovering four of Jupiter’s moons, and then […]

Charlotte the Scientist Is Squished by Camille Andros | SLJ Review

ANDROS, Camille. Charlotte the Scientist Is Squished. illus. by Brianne Farley. 40p. Clarion. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544785830.

PreS-Gr 2 –Young rabbit Charlotte considers herself a serious scientist, complete with a lab coat and goggles, a clipboard, and a healthy understanding of the scientific method. There’s just one small detail holding her back: her large, rambunctious bunny family. Tired of being squished at the dinner table and finding her beloved beakers and test tubes accidentally broken, Charlotte hypothesizes, […]

This Is Just a Test by Madelyn Rosenberg & Wendy Wan-Long Shang | SLJ Review

ROSENBERG, Madelyn & Wendy Wan-Long Shang. This Is Just a Test. 256p. Scholastic. Jun. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781338037722.

Gr 4-8 –It’s 1983, and David’s got worries: his impending bar mitzvah, his constantly competing Chinese and Jewish grandmothers, the cute girl who makes him nervous, and his popular new friend, who dislikes David’s longtime best friend—plus, it’s the height of the Cold War, and nuclear annihilation could hit at any second. David’s lightly anxious tone; the progressively funny handful […]

SLJ’s May 2017 Popular Picks

A bevy of titles sure to circulate: profiles of queer figures through history, Steve Light’s latest, and more.

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

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel | SLJ Review

ISRAEL, Julie. Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index. 352p. Penguin/Kathy Dawson Bks. May. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780735228177.

Gr 9 Up –It has been 65 days since Camie died in a car accident. Her sister, Juniper, has been coping with the aftermath of the event. She can’t find happiness and struggles with former relationships. Juniper then discovers a mysterious letter from her late sister addressed to “You” and begins a mission to learn who the intended recipient is. While on the […]

Restart by Gordon Korman | SLJ Review

KORMAN, Gordon. Restart. 256p. Scholastic. May 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781338053777. POP

Gr 3-6 –What would it be like to forget your whole life, your family, your friends, and even who you are? After falling off his roof, 13-year-old Chase Ambrose learns the hard way that reinventing himself can be pretty hard, especially when his past is not what he wants for his future. Before his fall, Chase was a jock, captain of the football team, following in his […]

Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus | SLJ Review

NABERHAUS, Sarvinder. Blue Sky White Stars. illus. by Kadir Nelson. 40p. Dial. Jun. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780803737006.

K-Gr 2 –Naberhaus, an Indian American immigrant, and Nelson, an African American illustrator, collaborate on this timely homage to the relationship among America’s majesty, its hopefulness and diversity, and its flag. Beginning with iconic images of the country (rows of autumn-burnished trees, a white trail of wagons moving west under the blue sky), the spreads feature descriptive phrases paired with illustrations […]