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January 27, 2015

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Smith’s humorous, heartbreaking “Winger” translates seamlessly to audio | Audio Pick

winger

SMITH, Andrew. Winger. 8 CDs. 9:52 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2014. $52.97. ISBN 9781491507926.
Gr 9 Up–Ryan Dean West is the smartest student in the junior class at Pine Mountain boarding school, a starter on the rugby team, and two years younger than the rest of his classmates. He is also hopelessly in love with his best friend, Annie, who sees him as just a little kid. When Ryan Dean moves into Opportunity Hall, the dorm for misbehaving students (owing to an […]

“All About Ann” explores life of notable female politician | DVD Pick

all about ann

All About Ann: Governor Richards of the Lone Star State. 82 min. Dist. by the Cinema Guild. 2014. $99.95. ISBN 0781515017.
Gr 9 Up–Adults, particularly Texans, may have at least a passing familiarity with Ann Richards, but this affable documentary could introduce teenage viewers to this firecracker of Texas politics, who passed away in 2000. It uses archival footage, family photos, and campaign coverage to showcase her talent and abundant humor in scripted speeches and off-the-cuff remarks. Her early adult life […]

Adventure abounds in Maguire’s “Egg & Spoon”| Audio Pick

eggandspoon

MAGUIRE, Gregory. Egg & Spoon. 11 CDs. 12:51 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2014. $59.97. ISBN 9781491502327.
Gr 7 Up–Peasant girl Elena Rudina is slowly starving to death along with her dying mother in the Russian countryside. Her eldest brother has just been drafted into the Tsar’s army. When a train carrying Ekaterina, a girl of the nobility, unexpectedly breaks down in their village, an opportunity presents itself. Through a series of unplanned events, the girls switch places, and Elena is off to […]

“Caminar” is a powerful tale of courage in Guatemala | Audio Pick

caminar

BROWN, Skila. Caminar. 2 CDs. 2:23 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2014. $49.97. ISBN 9781491536858.
Gr 5-8–Carlos, a young boy living in remote Guatemala, yearns to be a man and defend his village from the soldiers who are seeking Communist rebels. His mother, however, tells him to run to the trees to hide. He’s in the jungle when the soldiers return, and he’s left alone, full of shame because he did not help his people. Carlos comes across a small band of guerillas, […]

Woodson’s “Brown Girl Dreaming” excels in audio format | Audio Pick

browngirldreaming

Woodson, Jacqueline. Brown Girl Dreaming. 4 CDs. 3:56 hrs. Listening Library. $28. ISBN 9780553397260. digital download.
Gr 4-7–Free verse is an effective writing style for describing dreams. Woodson’s text is particularly compelling when detailing the small moments of life, such as the “Saturday night smells of biscuits and burning hair” or bemoaning the “hair ribbons that anchor (her) to childhood.” And while poetry is sometimes difficult to follow on audio, this author is a masterful narrator. The sounds of the words […]

Filmmaker tackles the gluten-free trend in “The Trouble with Bread” | DVD Pick

troublewithbread

The Trouble with Bread. 27 min. Dist. by Bullfrog Films. 2013. $195. Rent $60. ISBN 1941545130.
Gr 7 Up–Beautifully shot, this informative work chronicles filmmaker Maggie Beidelman’s journey to understand her gluten intolerance and the burgeoning gluten-free market. After spending time in France, where bread was a large, enjoyable part of her diet, Beidelman returned to the United States and began to experience discomfort and pain after she ate bread. She investigates the difference between how the United States and France […]

A complex father-son relationship is found “Somewhere in the Darkness” | Audio Pick

somewheredarkness

MYERS, Walter Dean. Somewhere in the Darkness. 5 CDs. 5:15 hrs. Recorded Bks. 2014. $51.75. ISBN 9781470393922. Playaway, digital download.
Gr 7 Up–Jimmy is 14 years old. His biological mother is dead and his father has been incarcerated for the past nine years. As the story opens, Jimmy is living with Mama Jean in a rundown New York neighborhood. One day he returns home to find a stranger claiming to be his father. Crab, as Jimmy’s father is called, has been […]

“Safety Show” explores a broad range of topics | DVD Pick

safetyshow

The Safety Show. (Ruby’s Studio). 47 min. Dist. by the Mother Company. Themotherco.com. 2013. $14.99. ISBN 9780988282780.
PreS-Gr 1–Keeping children safe is a key concern for parents and teachers, and this production addresses this important topic in a way that empowers children instead of scaring them. The upbeat music, original cartoons, practical crafts, and music videos make learning about safety fun and memorable. Segments cover a range of different topics, and young viewers will learn how to stay safe in a […]

Gaiman’s ghoulish “Graveyard” is brought to life with a full cast | Audio Pick

graveyardbook

Gaiman, Neil. The Graveyard Book. 7 CDs. 8:30 hrs. Harper Audio. 2014. $27.99. ISBN 9780062364463. digital download.
Gr 5 Up–Gaiman’s beloved novel gets the full-cast treatment in this new audio edition. Due to ghastly circumstances, the ghosts of a graveyard take in a young toddler whom they name Nobody, or Bod for short. The enigmatic Silas becomes Bod’s guardian and makes it his duty to protect the boy from those who intend harm. Bod grows up in the graveyard, and although […]

Sir David Attenborough investigates “Fabulous Frogs”| DVD Pick

fabulousfrogs

Fabulous Frogs. (Nature). 60 min. Dist. by PBS. 2014. DVD $19.99. Blu-ray $24.99. ISBN 9781627890731.
Gr 4 Up–Presenter Sir David Attenborough states, “There’s more to frogs than you might suppose,” and this film has the quality sound and visuals viewers expect from this series, in addition to Attenborough’s charming, conversational approach. He clearly loves these creatures. An abundance of interesting facts concerning the 5,000 species of frogs and toads that share our planet will captivate viewers, along with explanations and discussions […]

July Starred Reviews

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Ben Franklin makes a splash, Hervé Tullet mixes it up, and Mo Willems makes new friends in the July stars, offering the best of fiction, nonfiction, and multimedia.

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

Pick of the Day: Secrets of the Sky Caves

Secrets of the Sky Caves

The author takes readers on a fascinating journey, blending adventure, science, and history.

Pick of the Day: Caminar

Caminar

Unlike many novels in verse, which can read like conventional narratives with line breaks, Caminar contributes poetry that elevates the genre.

Pick of the Day: Fortunately, the Milk | Audio

Fortunately, the Milk

Hilarious, captivating, and just plain fun, this is a production not to miss.

Pick of the Day: Following Papa’s Song

Following Papa’s Song

Stunning artwork takes readers into the lush, inviting waters filled with marine life swimming effortlessly across the pages.

Pick of the Day: Nicky’s Family | DVD

Nicky's Family

A top choice for Holocaust studies and profoundly memorable.

Pick of the Day: Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy

This inventive and engaging fantasy, based on the story of the Snow Queen, will be a welcome addition to middle grade collections.

Pick of the Day: A Volcano Beneath the Snow

A Volcano Beneath the Snow

Marrin offers a multisided look at the events and controversy surrounding John Brown’s role in the banishment of slavery and his ongoing inspiration for current events.

Pick of the Day: This Star Won’t Go Out | Audio

This Start Won't Go Out

This is the memoir of Esther Earl, a 16-year-old who suffered from terminal thyroid cancer that metastasized in her lungs.

Pick of the Day: The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond

The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond

The author admirably touches upon profound issues related to identity and race and tenderly conveys intergenerational bonds.