Sci-fi and adventure fans will find some can’t-miss continuations and conclusions of some gripping series, from Andrew Lane’s gripping update to the saga of teenage Sherlock Holmes to Gena Showalter’s satisfying wrap up of the “White Rabbit Chronicles.”
SLJ Reviews: Grades 5 & Up
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If your students enjoyed Gail Jarrow’s medical mystery Red Madness and John Lewis’s graphic novel memoir March, they’re in luck. Jarrow’s Fatal Fever takes a look at Typhoid Mary, while Lewis’s March: Book Two delves further into the civil rights struggle. And don’t miss the rest of the nonfiction targeted at older readers this month.
Middle-grade readers are treated to stories painstaking and poignant and funny and whimsical. Katherine Coville’s The Cottage in the Woods takes readers behind the fairy tale to the real story of Goldilocks, while Thanha Lai’s Listen Slowly sees a young girl travel to Vietnam to learn about her heritage. And don’t forget Edward Carey’s Heap House, a tale of a most unusual family—and their mansion.
The new year is filled with richly imagined new worlds YA readalikes for fans of Kristin Cashore’s Graceling, such as Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen and Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in Ashes. Readers of realistic fiction will delight in Lance Rubin’s unique Denton Little’s Deathdate and Juliana Romano’s romance-filled First There Was Forever.
This month’s middle-grade fiction includes a bevy of alluring new titles, from Audrey (Cow), a cow determined to make something of herself, to a steampunk version of Charles Dickens’s classic holiday tale, A Christmas Tale.
Printz winners Nick Lake and Marcus Sedgwick are back. Lake spins a tale featuring the ultimate unreliable narrator, in There Will Be Lies, while Sedgwick weaves together plots spanning centuries in his latest.
Check out an eclectic smattering of subjects: the history of the sneaker, a look at the effects of Chernobyl, and a tale of two brothers attempting to flee Tibet.
Get political with Ken Burns’s newest documentary, The Roosevelts, find out how Megan Shepherd’s “Madman’s Daughter” trilogy ends, and change how you see rainstorms with April Pulley Sayre’s Raindrops Roll with the November stars, which offer the best of fiction, nonfiction, and multimedia.
Check out a bevy of new titles, from new twists on old favorites, such as a gorgeous new edition of Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet, an updated “Beauty and the Beast,” and a graphic novel adaptation of Rick Riordan’s The Lost Hero.
This month’s nonfiction profiles a wide variety of people—and animals. Students will find a trove of information in Albert Marrin’s beautifully researched biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, while those with an artistic bent will enjoy Catherine Ingram’s quirky, illustrated looks at Andy Warhol, Salvador Dalí, and Jackson Pollock. And don’t miss the adorable Unlikely Heroes, which covers some truly courageous creatures.
These latest updates in ongoing series, these books encompass a wide variety of topics: a dark and haunting title about Vietnam from Chris Lynch, more drama from the world of the Seelies from Jane Yolen and son Adam Stemple, and time-traveling adventures with Mira.
Our team of reviewers in Los Angeles selected and evaluated 42 titles to help librarians make informed purchase decisions. Picture books, poetry, song adaptations, nonfiction, and short stories are among the offerings.
This month’s picks for the middle school set will evoke a range of emotions. Whether you’re looking for the achingly poignant (Katherine Rundell’s Cartwheeling Through Thunderstorms, the tale of a spirited tomboy who finds herself orphaned) or the charmingly quirky (Alex McCall’s Attack of the Giant Robot Chickens or Julie Berry’s The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place), there’s something to please readers of all stripes.
There’s plenty to engage teen readers this month, from a creative retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s spine-tingling, gothic tale “The Fall of the House of Usher,” told from the perspective of Madeline Usher, as well as Audacity, Melanie Crowder’s look at Clara Lemlich, a 19th-century activist for workers rights.
Mythology Percy Jackson–Style, a Side-splitting Memoir, and Ghouls Galore | Nonfiction Grades 5 & Up
The intrepid Percy Jackson tries his hand at retelling Greek mythology, with hilarious results, while Paralympic ski racer Josh Sundquist pens a laugh-out-loud memoir of his dating life. And for those looking for some spooky selections, check out Kelly Milner’s Ghostly Evidence.
Spellbinding, shocking, and satisfyingly spooky, creepy tales will rivet readers and raise goose bumps galore. They can also be shared in secondary classrooms to introduce and explore basic short story elements, discuss narrative voice, and analyze point of view.
Our Bodies, Ourselves: A Transgender Teen Memoir, a Guide to Puberty, and Guys vs. Girls | Nonfiction Grades 5 & Up
The latest nonfiction for older readers spotlights gender and bodies, from a frank and original look at puberty to a memoir by a transgender teen.
This month, authors sensitively and perceptively portray both the bright and dark sides of family life, including award-winning author Cynthia Kadohata’s Half a World Away, a poignant look at adoption, the last installment in the “Joey Pigza” series, and Neil Gaiman’s innovative retelling of the “Hansel and Gretel” tale.
The Latest from Heavy-Hitters A. S. King, Marie Lu, Paolo Bacigalupi, and Julie Kagawa | Fiction Grades 9 & Up
Looking for the next YA blockbuster? This month’s reviews feature titles by teen author staples in a variety of genres, from realistic fiction (Paolo Bacigalupi and Frank Portman) to fantasy (Marie Lu and Julie Kagawa) and somewhere in between (A. S. King and Jandy Nelson).
There’s something here for middle-grade fans of all stripes this month. Those looking for adventure on the high seas will find it in Heidi Schulz’s Hook’s Revenge, while readers seeking a quieter tale will enjoy Ann M. Martin’s moving Rain Reign, a poignant story of an autistic girl who bonds with a lost dog.
This article was published in School Library Journal's August 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.