January 27, 2015

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Strike A (Yoga ) Pose | SLJ Spotlight

yoga game

Two titles explore the benefits of yoga for a young audience.

Meet the Reviewer | Sabrina Carnesi

Sabrina Carnesi

SLJ interviews reviewer of the month Sabrina Carnesi.

Animals as We’ve Never Seen Them | SLJ Spotlight


Four nonfiction titles that portray animals in an unusual (and sometimes endearing) light.

Far-Out Science Fiction | SLJ Spotlight


Four out-of-this-world YA novels that will grab teens’ attention.

Stand-Alone Sequels | SLJ Spotlight


Three middle grade series installments that can be enjoyed all on their own.

Primates on Parade | SLJ Spotlight


These five new primate titles are for perfect for young readers that like to monkey around!

Artists Making Inroads | SLJ Spotlight


Entertainment pioneers overcome discrimination and obstacles in these uplifting nonfiction titles.

College Daze: YA Novels that Tackle the Undergraduate Years | SLJ Spotlight


Three YA novels explore the limbo between high school and college.

A young sleuth solves mysteries in “Spy Catchers of Maple Hill”| Audio Pick


Blakemore, Megan Frazer. The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill. 7 CDs. 8 hrs. Recorded Bks. 2014. $45. ISBN 9781490627595. Playaway, digital download.
Gr 4-6–The year is 1953, and fifth grader Hazel Kaplansky is a girl in search of a mystery. When rumors begin flying that the Russians are operating a spy ring right in her small New England town, Hazel knows she is the girl for the case. She’s the smartest, most relentless person she knows, and she’s ready to put […]

Tense Pasts: Middle-Grade Historical Fiction | SLJ Spotlight


These middle grade novels explore adventures set in older times.

Rwandan women build their own business in “Sweet Dreams”| DVD Pick


Sweet Dreams. 56 min. Dist. by Liro Films. 2014. Schools $195. 1 year streaming rights $150.  Three years streaming rights $350. ISBN unavail.
Gr 9 Up–A devastating civil war in the 1990s between Hutus and Tutsis left Rwanda in an emotional and political spasm, with more than 800,000 murdered. The surviving families experienced nationwide trauma, but perhaps the unifying force of traditional drumming could help them heal. Drumming had been the exclusive domain of men until Kiki Katese created a […]

Early Chapter Books to Cheer About | SLJ Spotlight


Six great new titles to help early readers hone their skills.

Alaskan culture and human nature explored in “Ice Whale” | Audio Pick


GEORGE, Jean Craighead. Ice Whale. 4 CDs. 4:30 hrs. Recorded Bks. 2014. $46.75. ISBN 9781490630212. Playaway, digital download.
Gr 4-6–This magnificent story begins with Toozak‚ a Yup’ik Eskimo boy in Alaska, staring at a whaling ship with a red, white, and blue flag. When Toozak unknowingly leads the Yankee ships to the whales’ feeding grounds, the animals are slaughtered. For this, the village shaman declares Toozak’s family cursed until one of them can save the life of Siku, a young ice […]

Plucked from obscurity: biographies with new and intriguing subjects | SLJ Spotlight


These new nonfiction titles highlight lesser-known historical figures.

Teen learns important lessons through community service in “Havana Curveball”| DVD Pick


Havana Curveball. 60 min. Dist. by PatchWorks Films. 2014. $89 (with PPR). $39.95 (no PPR). ISBN 3621179767.
Gr 5 Up–In this documentary, how can Cuba, baseball, a bar mitzvah, and a grandfather be connected into one fabulous story? For his upcoming bar mitzvah, Mica Schneider from California’s Bay Area decides to send baseball equipment to Cuba for his community service project. (He loves baseball.) His grandfather lived in the island nation as a child refugee from Nazi Germany, which led to […]

Curl up with these books about bears | SLJ Spotlight


Four children’s titles explore the wacky lives of bears.

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


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 […]

#WeNeedDiverseBooks: Realistic fiction with diverse protagonists | SLJ Spotlight

Diamond Boy

Three teen titles highlight diverse protagonists whose stories are not often told.

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


The Girls in the Band. 88 min and 57 min. Dist. by Collective Eye Films. 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 […]

Secret agents, robot chickens, and zombies | SLJ Spotlight


These zany middle grade titles are perfect shelf bait for reluctant readers.