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October 22, 2014

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SLJ Multimedia Reviews

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Lawson reimagines Twain’s classic characters in “Becky Thatcher”| Audio Pick

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Lawson, Jessica. The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher. 5 CDs. 5:59 hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2014. $39.99. ISBN 9781629239385. 1 MP3-CD.
Gr 3-7–It’s 1860, and 11-year-old Becky Thatcher has just moved to St. Petersburg, Missouri. She’s looking for big-time adventure in this small town, and once she meets Sid Sawyer, it doesn’t take her long to find it. Pretty soon, she’s sneaking out after dark, stealing graveyard dirt at midnight, and keeping an eye out for dead cats to help [...]

Becky Thatcher, Baseball, and All That Jazz | Multimedia Reviews, October 2014

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The saga of all-women jazz orchestras and boys bonding over baseball feature in two starred DVD reviews. In addition, the secrets behind the building of the Great Pyramid of Giza and The Actual and Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher are revealed in this month’s lineup.

This article was published in School Library Journal's October 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Documentary explores female pioneers in the world of Jazz | DVD Pick

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The Girls in the Band. 88 min and 57 min. Dist. by Kino Lorber Edu. 2013. $99. UPC 823857178124.
Gr 6 Up–What was conspicuous about women jazz musicians in the big band era was their near absence. Those lucky enough to be asked to sit in with a band were not accepted by male peers and had short tenures. How women broke into the world of jazz, as revealed in this exceptional documentary, is poignant and disturbing. The resulting all-women orchestras [...]

October Starred Reviews

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Travel to an English boarding school with wild tomboy Will in Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms, learn how Roget determined The Right Word, and listen to The Girls in the Band with the October stars, which offer the best of fiction, nonfiction, and multimedia.

This article was published in School Library Journal's October 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

An unlikely friendship blossoms in “If I Ever Get Out of Here”|Audio Pick

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Gansworth, Eric. If I Ever Get Out of Here. 9 CDs. 10:20 hrs. Listening Library. 2014. $55. ISBN 9780553395464. digital download.
Gr 9 Up–The year is 1975. Lewis Blake, a slightly built teen from the Tuscarora Indian Reservation, is enrolled in advanced classes at high school. Lewis suffers racist stereotyping and bullying from students and some teachers. When he meets George Haddonfield, the boys find common interests in music, especially the Beatles, but Lewis is wary of befriending someone off the [...]

A Virtuoso Performance: ‘Vivaldi’s Four Seasons’ | Touch and Go

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A new app from Touch Press is always cause for celebration, and in ‘Vivaldi’s Four Seasons,’ the developer, with the help of Deutsche Grammophon, has engineered a production that mirrors the groundbreaking work accomplished in its productions of ‘Beethoven’s 9th’ and the ‘Liszt Sonata in B Minor.’

Documentary explores an unconventional classroom in ‘Lessons from a Forest Kindergarten’ | DVD Pick

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Young viewers will love learning about a nontraditional environment in Lessons from a Forest Kindergarten DVD.

An inspirational woman’s life in review in “Sally Ride”| Audio Pick

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Sherr, Lynn. Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space. 11 CDs. 13:30 hrs. Tantor Audio. 2014. $44.99. ISBN 9781494503406. 2 MP3-CDs.
Gr 9 Up–Sally Ride, the first American woman to go into space, impressive had earned a newly minted doctorate in physics from Stanford when she applied for the space program, beating out a thousand applicants for the job. Her focus was on her work and that dedication led to all of her successes. Published originally for the adult market, this [...]

“Growing Up Green” takes learning outside the classroom | DVD Pick

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Growing Up Green. 27 min. Dist. by the Video Project. 2013. School: $79. Public: $39. ISBN unavail.
Gr 9 Up–Award-winning filmmaker Bob Gliner’s new documentary focuses on the Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative (GLSI) in Michigan, a statewide initiative that centers on school reform through the students’ environment. Urban and rural students of all ages learn and practice science and environmental knowledge and skills. In doing so, they make connections to their physical surroundings, history, and community, while developing solutions and even [...]

Using Nintendo Streetpass in your Library

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Nintendo’s Streetpass as a form of outreach targets gamers directly and encourages connections to the library in an unconventional way.

This article was published in School Library Journal's September 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

September Starred Reviews

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Get the inside scoop behind the whale who inspired Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, take a walk on the wild side with The Accidental Highwayman, and blast off with Sally Ride, in the September stars, which offer the best of fiction, nonfiction, and multimedia.

This article was published in School Library Journal's September 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Ancient Mysteries and Outer Space | Multimedia Reviews, September 2014

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Among the DVDs, the possible location of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are discovered, and in audiobooks, Deborah’s Wiles’s Revolution and Lynn Sherr’s Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space reach for (and get) a star.

This article was published in School Library Journal's September 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

History comes to life in Wiles’s second “Sixties” installment|Audio Pick

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Wiles, Deborah. Revolution. (The Sixties Trilogy: Bk. 2). 10 CDs. 12:10 hrs. Listening Library. 2014. $50. ISBN 9780553395266. digital download.
Gr 5-8–At home, 12-year-old Sunny’s prickly relationships with her blended family trigger yearning for her absent mother. In town, the community faces SNCCs, COFOs and COREs, invaders from the North who’ve come to register black voters despite violent local opposition. Stacey Aswad perfectly conveys Sunny’s sassy young voice while Francois Battiste becomes Raymond, the African American boy who personifies the struggle [...]

The Long-Anticipated Film of Lois Lowry’s ‘The Giver’ | Movie Review

BRENTON THWAITES and ODEYA RUSH star in THE GIVER

The film adaptation for Lois Lowry’s 1993 dystopian middle-grade novel The Giver is almost 20 years in the making, starting when actor Jeff Bridges bought the book option back in 1995. Fans of Lowry’s book have long waited for the book’s screen release coming to theaters this Friday, August 15.

Out West and Underwater | Multimedia Reviews, August 2014

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Bionic pets, great white sharks, and snow monkeys dart across the screen in three DVD documentaries while Brian Floca’s award-winning Locomotion arrives as an audiobook. Or, plunge under the sea with Jacques Cousteau or hop into the box ring with Joe Louis in two adaptations of acclaimed picture books

This article was published in School Library Journal's August 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

August Starred Reviews

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Paul Fleischman opens our eyes to the environmental crisis, young Henri Matisse ponders The Iridescence of Birds, and Philip C. Stead takes to the skies in the August stars, offering the best of fiction, nonfiction, and multimedia.

This article was published in School Library Journal's August 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Tragic consequences of intolerance and gun violence explored in “Valentine Road”| DVD Pick

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Valentine Road belongs in all school and public libraries as a cautionary tale about homophobia, intolerance, and the easy availability of guns.

Folklore and fantasy thrive in “Midwinterblood”| Audio Pick

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This unusual book for teensis is comprised of seven vignettes, with settings ranging from the future to Viking times and a variety of characters, including vampires, ghosts, and humans all based on the Scandinavian island of Blessed.

“Addiction Incorporated” highlights dangerous dealings of the tobacco industry| DVD Pick

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An extremely interesting snapshot that gives viewers a chance to watch a rather sordid piece of American corporate history. Researcher Victor DeNoble talks about his research in the 1980s for tobacco giant Philip Morris.

The Avengers return to save the future in Friedman’s “The Ultimates” | Audio Pick

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The complex plot and unique, developed characters in “The Ultimates” will appeal to listeners who like the Avengers, superheroes, action, adventure, and mystery.