School Library Journal http://www.slj.com The world's largest reviewer of books, multimedia, and technology for children and teens Tue, 24 Jan 2017 05:01:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.11 SLJ Reviews of the YMA Winners | ALA Midwinter 2017 http://www.slj.com/2017/01/industry-news/slj-reviews-of-the-2017-yma-winners/ http://www.slj.com/2017/01/industry-news/slj-reviews-of-the-2017-yma-winners/#respond Mon, 23 Jan 2017 18:48:49 +0000 http://www.slj.com/?p=209060 At a jam-packed press conference held at the midwinter meeting of the Amercian Library Association in Atlanta this morning, the winners of the Youth Media Awards (YMAs) were announced. Below are the SLJ reviews of almost all the titles that received medals or honors, as well as past interviews with a few of the authors and illustrators. Many of our Best Books of 2016 were recognized by the various committees and the vast majority of honored titles received glowing or even starred reviews. A handful, particularly the Batchelder titles (translated works originally published in a language other than English), received mixed or negative assessments from our reviewers. What did you think of the winners? Did your favorites make the cut?

John Newbery Medal

redstarBARNHILL, Kelly. The Girl Who Drank the Moon. 400p. Algonquin. Aug. 2016. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781616205676. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Gr 4-6 –Once a year in the Protectorate there is a Day of Sacrifice. The youngest baby is taken by the Elders and left in the forest to die, thus appeasing the witch who threatens to destroy the village if not obeyed. Unbeknownst to the people, Xan, the witch of the forest, is kind and compassionate. When she discovers the first baby left as a sacrifice, she has no idea why it has been abandoned. She rescues the infants, feeds each one starlight, and delivers the shining infants to parents in the Outside Cities who love and care for them. On one occasion, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight along with starlight, filling her with glowing magic. Xan is smitten with the beautiful baby girl, who has a crescent moon birthmark on her forehead, and chooses to raise her as her own child. Twists and turns emerge as the identity of the true evil witch becomes apparent. The swiftly paced, highly imaginative plot draws a myriad of threads together to form a web of characters, magic, and integrated lives. Spiritual overtones encompass much of the storytelling with love as the glue that holds it all together. VERDICT An expertly woven and enchanting offering for readers who love classic fairy tales.–D. Maria LaRocco, Cuyahoga Public Library, Strongsville, OH

An SLJ Best Book of 2016

John NewbEry Honors

redstarBRYAN, Ashley. Freedom over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan. illus. by Ashley Bryan. 56p. reprods. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Bks. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481456906.

freedom over meGr 4-6 –Using real documents from an estate appraisal dated July 5, 1828, Bryan has created beautiful portrait paintings for 11 people who were named and priced as property on the Fairchildses’ estate (the documents are reproduced fully in the endpapers and in segments throughout the work). Relying on narrative poetry to explore each figure’s inner and outer life, Bryan gives voice to their history, their longing for freedom, and their skills as artisans, cooks, musicians, carpenters, etc. Each person has two visual portraits, with each accompanied by a poem (on the opposite page). Collaged historical documents of slave auctions fill the negative space of the first portrait frame. The second portrait depicts that person in a private dream, often a dream for safety, family, community, or the freedom to create. Peggy, a self-taught expert herbalist and cook for the Fairchildses, knows that although she works hard, everything goes to the estate. She dreams of her Naming Day ceremony and her parents calling to her, “Mariama! Mariama!” Each portrait reflects the role of song, call-and-response, ceremony, spirituality, community, and griots in living a double life—doing what was demanded while keeping close in their hearts the “precious secret,” the constant yearning for freedom. Expertly crafted, these entries will deeply resonate with readers. Referenced in the poems are slave independence in Haiti, the drinking gourd, the North Star, and songs such as “Oh, by and By,” “This Little Light,” and “Oh Freedom.” VERDICT A significant contribution to U.S. and African American history that will elicit compassion and understanding while instilling tremendous pride. A must-purchase for all collections.–Teresa Pfeifer, The Springfield Renaissance School, MA

An SLJ Best Book of 2016

Check out our interview with Ashley Bryan.

Gidwitz, Adam. The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog. illus. by Hatem Aly. 384p. Dutton. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525426165.
Gr 5-10–What is a miracle? Is a miracle what happens when, faced with murderous bandits, a teenage monk ripsInquisitor's Apprentice a leg off his donkey, beats them to death with it, then restores the donkey’s leg? Or is it a miracle when a cranky innkeeper is so moved by a little girl’s friendliness that he risks his life to help her and her companions flee a posse of armed knights? Maybe the real miracle happens when readers attracted to the action and violence a particular author is known for find themselves strongly invested in the moral questions that plague bandit-killing monk and friendly peasant girl alike—along with every other character they encounter, from a young minstrel/pickpocket to Louis IX. Gidwitz’s tale of medieval France successfully combines the epic with the personal, aiming for that heart-stopping moment when characters readers have come to care about find themselves on a collision course with one of the great wood chippers of history—the Inquisition, agents of which are in hot pursuit of three underdog characters (and one actual dog) from the very start. It is left to the titular Inquisitor to discover the truth behind the legends that quickly rise to surround these kids. He nudges it from each of the travelers at a roadside inn, the narrative tension rising as each facet is revealed. VERDICT This book appeals to the heart, to the mind, and to any reader’s appetite for action: read it for the thrilling escapes, the fart jokes, the stinky cheese, or the palace intrigue. Read it for the Talmudic wisdom, commonsense philosophies, and moments of doubt. Read it for the palaces and monasteries and the unbelievable descriptions of food. But read it.–Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson

An SLJ Best Book of 2016

Check out our interview with Adam Gidwitz

redstarWOLK, Lauren. Wolf Hollow. 304p. Dutton. Apr. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781101994825. Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Gr 5-8 –Eleven-year-old Annabelle lives in a rural Pennsylvania community in 1943. The continued fighting of World War II haunts everyone, but life is mostly peaceful—until Betty Glengarry’s arrival. Betty is cruel and threatening and thrives on inflicting pain. At first, Annabelle is slightly comforted to know that Toby is watching out for her. Toby is a local vagabond, a World War I veteran of few words who has become something like a friend of Annabelle’s family. Meanwhile, Betty’s violent malice only grows, until one day she goes missing. Toby immediately becomes the prime suspect in Betty’s disappearance. Annabelle is sure of Toby’s innocence and is determined to prove it. Readers are alerted from the outset that this is the story of how the narrator loses her childish naïveté in a life-altering way. The narrative is powerful, complex, and lifelike. There are pointlessly cruel people, courageously kind people, and those who simply pass the gossip. Despite the jaded feelings that come with witnessing unjust persecution, the heart of this story is ultimately one of hope and empathy. Thematically, this book raises some of the same issues as To Kill a Mockingbird, but with social status rather than racism as the basis for injustice. Vicious bullying is also a highly relevant topic, and this aspect is sure to spark important conversations. VERDICT Highly recommended for purchase; a truly moving debut.–Sara White, Seminole County Public Library, Casselberry, FL

An SLJ Best Book of 2016

Randolph Caldecott Medal

redstarSTEPTOE, Javaka. Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. illus. by Javaka Steptoe. 40p. bibliog. Little, Brown. Oct. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316213882. Radiant Child- The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe

Gr 1-5 –One extraordinary artist illuminates another in this textured, heartfelt picture book biography of the 1980s cultural phenom. Employing signature features of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work—vibrant colors, found objects, repeated motifs—Steptoe allows his own emotionally rich style to shine through the artistic and biographical references dotting the illustrations. Pieces of discarded wood from Basquiat’s stomping grounds fit together to form the painted surfaces for Steptoe’s scenes of the Afro Puerto Rican artist, each unfolding within a colored frame. Occasional collage elements of newsprint, photographs, and art materials add dimension and immediacy, highlighting both artists’ immersion in their work and surroundings. Adhering to a straightforward chronology, Steptoe addresses events in Basquiat’s life primarily as they affected his artistic growth from young boyhood in Brooklyn through the triumphant years as a critical and popular success in Manhattan. With minimal detail, the author sensitively touches upon his subject’s childhood car crash and his mother’s mental illness, though the story avoids his drug use and stops before his early death. Crucial back matter provides context for readers in every respect. Additional biographical information fleshes out the lyrical text of the main narrative, and an introduction to symbolism in Basquiat’s work helps readers appreciate the layers at play in Steptoe’s illustrations. An author’s note articulates feelings that radiate from every page of the book: Steptoe’s admiration for and attachment to Basquiat and his personal investment in depicting a complicated, loving relationship between a child and a mentally ill parent. VERDICT Pairing simple text with expressive, encompassing illustrations, this excellent title offers a new generation a fittingly powerful introduction to an artistic luminary.–Robbin E. Friedman, Chappaqua Library, NY

An SLJ Best Book of 2016

Check out our interview with Javaka Steptoe

Randolph Caldecott Honors

redstarBROSGOL, Vera. Leave Me Alone. illus. by Vera Brosgol. 40p. Roaring Brook. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626724419.

leave-me-alonePreS-Gr 2 –Brosgol incorporates folktale elements in her amusing story of an old woman in search of a quiet place to knit. Fleeing her too small house overrun with too many energetic grandchildren, she packs her needles and yarn and heads for the mountains. Unfortunately, she can’t find an undisturbed spot. Hungry bears, curious mountain goats, and little green moon-men provoke her to shout: “Leave me alone!” Climbing through a wormhole, she discovers a dark and quiet place to complete 30 little sweaters. Then she crawls through a wormhole that leads to her house, where 30 grandchildren rush to meet her. Peasant clothing, wooden houses, and village scenes create a setting reminiscent of the Brothers Grimm or of Fiddler on the Roof. The humorous illustrations depict the determined woman knitting in improbable circumstances as she climbs ever higher. A huge bear looms above her, curious “about what she might taste like.” Mountain goats frolic with balls of yarn they consider tasty snacks. Green creatures investigate the woman with handheld scanners while she sits on a chair-shaped moon rock. Brosgol is a master of facial expressions, using eyes, mouth, and forehead lines to indicate the old woman’s thoughts and emotions. VERDICT This offbeat tale will please readers who appreciate subtle humor, especially those who crave some time alone. A good choice for collections needing to bolster their supply of humorous titles.–Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University Library, Mankato

WEATHERFORD, Carole Boston. Freedom in Congo Square. illus. by R. Gregory Christie. 40p. glossary. Little Bee. Jan. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781499801033.
YMA_FreedominCongoSquareGr 1-3–This vibrant picture book examines Congo Square in New Orleans. A foreword and author’s note explain how, historically, slaves in Louisiana were allowed Sunday afternoons off. This custom continued after the territory joined the United States, although in time, New Orleans established one location for all slaves to gather: an area that became known as Congo Square. This unique practice helped enslaved and free Africans maintain cultural traditions. The impact was felt far beyond New Orleans as musicians, dancers, and singers developed, explored, and shared rhythms that eventually grew into jazz music. The text is realistic but child appropriate. Couplets count down the days to Sunday in a conversational tone (“Slavery was no ways fair./Six more days to Congo Square.”). The writing is accompanied by folk art–style illustrations, with paint applied in thick layers. Some images, such as faces, are more detailed, while others are presented as silhouettes. Collage with painted elements is incorporated on occasion. The architecture portrayed evokes the New Orleans setting. Bright colors suggest the exuberance displayed at Congo Square. Spreads where the slaves are finally able to sing, dance, and express emotion contrast effectively with the forced restraint of those depicting the work week. VERDICT Unique in its subject and artistic expression, this beautiful book belongs in most collections.–Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher’s School, Richmond, VA

An SLJ Best Book of 2016

Check out our interview with Carole Boston Weatherford

ELLIS, Carson. Du Iz Tak? illus. by Carson Ellis. 48p. Candlewick. Oct. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763665302.
YMA_DuzIzTakPreS-Gr 3–Using intricate illustrations supported by spare dialogue in an invented language, Ellis elegantly weaves the tale of several square feet of ground in the insect world as the seasons pass. Multiple story lines intersect: a mysterious plant bursting from the soil, the rise and fall of a spectacular fort, and a caterpillar’s quiet then triumphant metamorphosis into a shimmering moth. The illustrations demand to be pored over, with exquisite attention to detail, from the extravagantly dressed anthropomorphized insects in top hats to the decor of Icky the pill bug’s tree-stump home. Much of the book’s action occurs on the lower halves of the pages, the ample white space emphasizing the small world of the critters. As the flower and fort grow together and larger animals come into play, the illustrations take up more vertical space until the climax, when the plant blooms and is revealed to be a “gladenboot” (flower) and all of the insects come out to rejoice. As the weather cools, readers are treated to a delightful nighttime spread of the moth finally emerging and flying to a cricket’s tune as the decayed flower’s seeds dance all around. Though this could nearly work as a wordless book, the invented, sometimes alienlike language seemingly contains real syntax and offers readers the opportunity to puzzle over the meanings of the words and tell the story using their own interpretations. VERDICT This is a title that calls for multiple readings, as there is something new to be discovered each time. Perfect for one-on-one or small group sharing.–Clara Hendricks, Cambridge Public Library, MA

redstarWENZEL, Brendan. They All Saw a Cat. illus. by Brendan Wenzel. 44p. Chronicle. Sept. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781452188058.

they-all-saw-a-catPreS-Gr 3 –This playful exploration of perspective presents its strolling subject through a range of animal lenses; the resulting views comprise a kaleidoscope of physical and psychological interpretations. A child pets a soft, smiling cat with cartoon eyes. The dog observes a scrawny, slinking creature dominated by a bell. Through the fishbowl, the cat is a blurry close-up. An expressionistic explosion exhibits the mouse’s viewpoint: a red background sets the tone for the menacing monster, all pointy teeth and outsize claws. Entertaining and intellectually stimulating, Wenzel’s ideas progress from ways of seeing that are easily grasped to those that require more thought, e.g., the underground worm understands the feline’s presence by sensing its mirror image—shown in vibrating lines that surround him as it crosses overhead. The distinctive look of each spread and the skill with which the artist employs a multitude of media, from colored pencils, charcoal, and oil pastels to watercolor and markers, underscore the variety of perspectives and add visual pleasure. The symmetrical narrative structure, selective rhymes, and cumulative conclusion (in which the cat’s body is built from a piece of each prior view and the animals are enumerated in a fast-paced, rhythmic manner) have the feel of a classic story song, such as “The Cat Goes Fiddle-I-Fee” or “The Green Grass Grew All Around.” Ultimately the cat approaches a pond to see, of course, a reflection. From the endpapers to each clever composition, this title invites interaction and thoughtful looking, always allowing the child to discern meaning. VERDICT An excellent first purchase that belongs in all picture book collections.–Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library

An SLJ Best Book of 2016

Michael L. Printz Award

redstarLEWIS, John & Andrew Aydin. March: Book Three. illus. by Nate Powell. 192p. Top Shelf. Aug. 2016. pap. $19.99. ISBN 9781603094023. March- Book Three by John Lewis & Andrew Aydin

Gr 8 Up –In the final installment in the trilogy, Congressman Lewis concludes his firsthand account of the civil rights era. Simultaneously epic and intimate, this dynamic work spotlights pivotal moments (the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL; the Freedom Summer murders; the 1964 Democratic National Convention; and the Selma to Montgomery marches) through the lens of one who was there from the beginning. Lewis’s willingness to speak from the heart about moments of doubt and anguish imbues the book with emotional depth. Complex material is tackled but never oversimplified—many pages are positively crammed with text—and, as in previous volumes, discussion of tensions among the various factions of the movement adds nuance and should spark conversation among readers. Through images of steely-eyed police, motion lines, and the use of stark black backgrounds for particularly painful moments, Powell underscores Lewis’s statement that he and his cohorts “were in the middle of a war.” These vivid black-and-white visuals soar, conveying expressions of hope, scorn, and devastation and making storied figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Fannie Lou Hamer feel three-dimensional and familiar. VERDICT This essential addition to graphic novel shelves, history curricula, and memoir collections will resonate with teens and adults alike.–Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

An SLJ Best Book of 2016

Watch the video of Rep. John Lewis speaking at the SLJ Summit this fall. 

Michael L. Printz Honors

redstarO’NEILL, Louise. Asking for It. 304p. ebook available. Quercus. May 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781681445373. Asking for It by Louise O'Neill

Gr 10 Up –Proud, gorgeous, vain—at 18, Emma O’Donovan is the “It” girl of her small Irish town. She dreams of passing her leaving exams in a year, going to college, marrying a rich man who can finally buy her what she deserves, and living happily ever after. Then she takes a pill from a boy at a party. Emma wakes up the next afternoon, dumped on her parents’ doorstep with her dress on backward, no underwear, and no recollection of what happened after she kissed her best friend’s boyfriend, but the pictures posted on Facebook and SnapChat tell the full story in lurid, shockingly graphic detail. Overnight, she is renamed “Easy Emma” and slut-shamed as the rumors circulate about what happened that night: Was she really drugged and raped by four boys, or was she asking for it? O’Neill’s powerful novel digs into deep questions about rape culture that are difficult to read but essential to consider. Sensitive teens may have a hard time reading about the protagonist’s downward spiral. Her shame and self-loathing are contradicted by what the rape counselor tells her (“It’s not your fault”) and are confirmed by what she hears from the town (“You are destroying those poor boys’ lives”). VERDICT More graphic and grim than Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, this UK import nonetheless is an important read for mature teen audiences.–Leighanne Law, Scriber Lake High School, WA

An SLJ Best Book of 2016

redstarBERRY, Julie. The Passion of Dolssa. 496p. ebook available. Viking. Apr. 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780451469922. The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry

Gr 7 Up –Botille is a matchmaker in the small seaside town of Bajas in medieval France. She struggles to run the family’s tavern and keep her sisters and herself afloat. Dolssa is a young woman with a secret that she can’t help but share—her lover is God, and she speaks to him regularly. When the two young women cross paths, both deep friendship and mortal peril await them. A beautifully rendered portrait of a little-known portion of history, this work is a meticulously researched piece of fiction. Yet it is not just in the accurate details that the novel shines. The strength and humanity of the almost entirely female set of characters are inspiring and well drawn. The panic and suspicion of post-Inquisition France is omnipresent, giving the story of a supposed heretic a constant edge of danger. As the novel slips in and out of magical realism, readers will be transported into Dolssa and Botille’s world. VERDICT An expertly crafted piece of historical fiction, Berry’s latest is a must for middle and high school libraries.–Erinn Black Salge, Saint Peter’s Prep, Jersey City, NJ

An SLJ Best Book of 2016

redstarSHUSTERMAN, Neal. Scythe. 448p. ebook available. S. & S. Nov. 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781442472426.

scytheGr 8 Up –In a world in which humanity has conquered death (no aging, no disease, no poverty, no war), ruled by the Thunderhead, an omniscient evolution of today’s cloud, Scythes are the only ones who are allowed to take a human life. They are considered to be the best humanity has to offer, and they roam the world “gleaning” people in order to keep the population in check. Scythes are treated like royalty and feared. The last thing Citra Terranova and Rowan Damisch want is to become Scythes, but when they are chosen by Scythe Faraday to become his apprentices, they are thrown into a life in which they need to master the art of death. They prove to be apt pupils, but when Scythe Faraday mysteriously gleans himself and Citra and Rowan are apprenticed to two other fearsome Scythes, they will have to put their skills to the test against each other. Intertwined with the fascinating concept of humanity conquering death and the idea of Scythes is the prospect that perhaps this is not the ideal world in which to live. Humanity has perfected itself—so what does that leave it to accomplish? Shusterman starts off this series in dramatic fashion as he creates an engrossing world that pulls readers in and refuses to let them go. VERDICT A truly astounding, unputdownable read and a fast-paced beginning to an excellent sci-fi series. A must-have.–Tyler Hixson, School Library Journal

Check out our interview with Neal Shusterman

YOON, Nicola. The Sun Is Also a Star. 384p. ebook available. Delacorte. Nov. 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780553496680. POP

SunStarGr 8 Up –It is Natasha’s last day in New York City, where she has lived for 10 years. Her family, living as undocumented immigrants in a small Brooklyn apartment, are being deported to Jamaica after her father’s arrest for drunk driving. Natasha is scouring the city for a chance to stay in the United States legally. She wants the normal teen existence of her peers. Meanwhile, poetic Daniel is on his way to an interview as part of his application process to Yale. He is under great pressure to get in because his parents (who emigrated from South Korea) are adamant that he become a doctor. Events slowly conspire to bring the two leads together. When Daniel and Natasha finally meet, he falls in love immediately and convinces her to join him for the day. They tell their stories in alternating chapters. Additional voices are integrated into the book as characters interact with them. Both relatable and profound, the bittersweet ending conveys a sense of hopefulness that will resonate with teens. VERDICT This wistful love story will be adored by fans of Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park and by those who enjoyed the unique narrative structure of A.S. King’s Please Ignore Vera Dietz.–Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH

Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award

redstarLEWIS, John & Andrew Aydin. March: Book Three. illus. by Nate Powell. 192p. Top Shelf. Aug. 2016. pap. $19.99. ISBN 9781603094023. March- Book Three by John Lewis & Andrew Aydin

Gr 8 Up –In the final installment in the trilogy, Congressman Lewis concludes his firsthand account of the civil rights era. Simultaneously epic and intimate, this dynamic work spotlights pivotal moments (the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL; the Freedom Summer murders; the 1964 Democratic National Convention; and the Selma to Montgomery marches) through the lens of one who was there from the beginning. Lewis’s willingness to speak from the heart about moments of doubt and anguish imbues the book with emotional depth. Complex material is tackled but never oversimplified—many pages are positively crammed with text—and, as in previous volumes, discussion of tensions among the various factions of the movement adds nuance and should spark conversation among readers. Through images of steely-eyed police, motion lines, and the use of stark black backgrounds for particularly painful moments, Powell underscores Lewis’s statement that he and his cohorts “were in the middle of a war.” These vivid black-and-white visuals soar, conveying expressions of hope, scorn, and devastation and making storied figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Fannie Lou Hamer feel three-dimensional and familiar. VERDICT This essential addition to graphic novel shelves, history curricula, and memoir collections will resonate with teens and adults alike.–Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

An SLJ Best Book of 2016

Watch the video of Rep. John Lewis speaking at the SLJ Summit this fall. 

Coretta Scott King (Author) Honors

REYNOLDS, Jason. As Brave as You. 410p. S. & S./Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Bks. May 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781481415903.
Gr 5-8–Reynolds’s engaging middle grade debut stars 11-year-old African American Genie Harris, as-brave-as-you-9781481415903_hran inveterate worrywart who considers Google his best friend, and his older brother Ernie, who is well on his way to being a cool dude (sunglasses and all). The born and bred Brooklynites are to spend a month with their grandparents in rural Virginia while their parents take a long overdue vacation and work out their marital problems. It is only after the boys are left in their grandfather’s care that they realize that he is blind. They are also surprised to learn that they are expected to do chores and follow their grandmother’s strict rules—and that it is possible to exist (sort of) without the Internet. While Ernie crushes on the girl who lives at the base of the hill, Genie writes down his many burning questions so he doesn’t forget them and gets to know his proud and fiercely independent grandfather. Genie barrages Grandpop with questions about his past and present abilities and about the quirky aspects of the household, especially his “nunya bidness” room, his harmonica playing, and how Grandpop might not be able to see but still packs a pistol. As the languid days unfold, the boys learn about country life and the devastating loss of the elder Harrises’ son during Desert Storm and their estrangement from their living son, the boys’ father. Grandpop Harris is a complicated, irascible character, full of contradictions and vulnerabilities, the least of which is his lack of vision. Reynolds captures the bond that Grandpop and Genie form in a tender, believable, and entertaining way, delivered through smart and funny prose and sparkling dialogue. VERDICT A richly realized story about life and loss, courage and grace, and what it takes to be a man. Although a tad lengthy, it is easy reading and will be appreciated by a broad audience.–Luann Toth, School Library Journal

An SLJ Best Book of 2016

Check out our interview with Jason Reynolds

redstarBRYAN, Ashley. Freedom over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan. illus. by Ashley Bryan. 56p. reprods. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Bks. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481456906.

freedom over meGr 4-6 –Using real documents from an estate appraisal dated July 5, 1828, Bryan has created beautiful portrait paintings for 11 people who were named and priced as property on the Fairchildses’ estate (the documents are reproduced fully in the endpapers and in segments throughout the work). Relying on narrative poetry to explore each figure’s inner and outer life, Bryan gives voice to their history, their longing for freedom, and their skills as artisans, cooks, musicians, carpenters, etc. Each person has two visual portraits, with each accompanied by a poem (on the opposite page). Collaged historical documents of slave auctions fill the negative space of the first portrait frame. The second portrait depicts that person in a private dream, often a dream for safety, family, community, or the freedom to create. Peggy, a self-taught expert herbalist and cook for the Fairchildses, knows that although she works hard, everything goes to the estate. She dreams of her Naming Day ceremony and her parents calling to her, “Mariama! Mariama!” Each portrait reflects the role of song, call-and-response, ceremony, spirituality, community, and griots in living a double life—doing what was demanded while keeping close in their hearts the “precious secret,” the constant yearning for freedom. Expertly crafted, these entries will deeply resonate with readers. Referenced in the poems are slave independence in Haiti, the drinking gourd, the North Star, and songs such as “Oh, by and By,” “This Little Light,” and “Oh Freedom.” VERDICT A significant contribution to U.S. and African American history that will elicit compassion and understanding while instilling tremendous pride. A must-purchase for all collections.–Teresa Pfeifer, The Springfield Renaissance School, MA

An SLJ Best Book of 2016

Check out our interview with Ashley Bryan.

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award

redstarSTEPTOE, Javaka. Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. illus. by Javaka Steptoe. 40p. bibliog. Little, Brown. Oct. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316213882. Radiant Child- The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe

Gr 1-5 –One extraordinary artist illuminates another in this textured, heartfelt picture book biography of the 1980s cultural phenom. Employing signature features of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work—vibrant colors, found objects, repeated motifs—Steptoe allows his own emotionally rich style to shine through the artistic and biographical references dotting the illustrations. Pieces of discarded wood from Basquiat’s stomping grounds fit together to form the painted surfaces for Steptoe’s scenes of the Afro Puerto Rican artist, each unfolding within a colored frame. Occasional collage elements of newsprint, photographs, and art materials add dimension and immediacy, highlighting both artists’ immersion in their work and surroundings. Adhering to a straightforward chronology, Steptoe addresses events in Basquiat’s life primarily as they affected his artistic growth from young boyhood in Brooklyn through the triumphant years as a critical and popular success in Manhattan. With minimal detail, the author sensitively touches upon his subject’s childhood car crash and his mother’s mental illness, though the story avoids his drug use and stops before his early death. Crucial back matter provides context for readers in every respect. Additional biographical information fleshes out the lyrical text of the main narrative, and an introduction to symbolism in Basquiat’s work helps readers appreciate the layers at play in Steptoe’s illustrations. An author’s note articulates feelings that radiate from every page of the book: Steptoe’s admiration for and attachment to Basquiat and his personal investment in depicting a complicated, loving relationship between a child and a mentally ill parent. VERDICT Pairing simple text with expressive, encompassing illustrations, this excellent title offers a new generation a fittingly powerful introduction to an artistic luminary.–Robbin E. Friedman, Chappaqua Library, NY

An SLJ Best Book of 2016

Check out our interview with Javaka Steptoe

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Honors

WEATHERFORD, Carole Boston. Freedom in Congo Square. illus. by R. Gregory Christie. 40p. glossary. Little Bee. Jan. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781499801033.
YMA_FreedominCongoSquareGr 1-3–This vibrant picture book examines Congo Square in New Orleans. A foreword and author’s note explain how, historically, slaves in Louisiana were allowed Sunday afternoons off. This custom continued after the territory joined the United States, although in time, New Orleans established one location for all slaves to gather: an area that became known as Congo Square. This unique practice helped enslaved and free Africans maintain cultural traditions. The impact was felt far beyond New Orleans as musicians, dancers, and singers developed, explored, and shared rhythms that eventually grew into jazz music. The text is realistic but child appropriate. Couplets count down the days to Sunday in a conversational tone (“Slavery was no ways fair./Six more days to Congo Square.”). The writing is accompanied by folk art–style illustrations, with paint applied in thick layers. Some images, such as faces, are more detailed, while others are presented as silhouettes. Collage with painted elements is incorporated on occasion. The architecture portrayed evokes the New Orleans setting. Bright colors suggest the exuberance displayed at Congo Square. Spreads where the slaves are finally able to sing, dance, and express emotion contrast effectively with the forced restraint of those depicting the work week. VERDICT Unique in its subject and artistic expression, this beautiful book belongs in most collections.–Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher’s School, Richmond, VA

An SLJ Best Book of 2016

Check out our interview with Carole Boston Weatherford

redstarBRYAN, Ashley. Freedom over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan. illus. by Ashley Bryan. 56p. reprods. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Bks. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481456906.

freedom over meGr 4-6 –Using real documents from an estate appraisal dated July 5, 1828, Bryan has created beautiful portrait paintings for 11 people who were named and priced as property on the Fairchildses’ estate (the documents are reproduced fully in the endpapers and in segments throughout the work). Relying on narrative poetry to explore each figure’s inner and outer life, Bryan gives voice to their history, their longing for freedom, and their skills as artisans, cooks, musicians, carpenters, etc. Each person has two visual portraits, with each accompanied by a poem (on the opposite page). Collaged historical documents of slave auctions fill the negative space of the first portrait frame. The second portrait depicts that person in a private dream, often a dream for safety, family, community, or the freedom to create. Peggy, a self-taught expert herbalist and cook for the Fairchildses, knows that although she works hard, everything goes to the estate. She dreams of her Naming Day ceremony and her parents calling to her, “Mariama! Mariama!” Each portrait reflects the role of song, call-and-response, ceremony, spirituality, community, and griots in living a double life—doing what was demanded while keeping close in their hearts the “precious secret,” the constant yearning for freedom. Expertly crafted, these entries will deeply resonate with readers. Referenced in the poems are slave independence in Haiti, the drinking gourd, the North Star, and songs such as “Oh, by and By,” “This Little Light,” and “Oh Freedom.” VERDICT A significant contribution to U.S. and African American history that will elicit compassion and understanding while instilling tremendous pride. A must-purchase for all collections.–Teresa Pfeifer, The Springfield Renaissance School, MA

An SLJ Best Book of 2016

Check out our interview with Ashley Bryan.

redstarJACKSON, Richard. In Plain Sight: A Game. illus. by Jerry Pinkney. 40p. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626722552.

in-plain-sightPreS-Gr 2 –Sophie’s grandfather lives in her house, and while his mobility is restricted, his tender feelings for his granddaughter know no bounds. He waves her off to school from his second-floor window, and she comes to visit him every afternoon. Their daily routine includes the man asking for the child’s help in retrieving an everyday object that has somehow “gone missing.” All of the items are in plain sight, if, that is, one knows where to look. Bright-eyed Sophie is always up for the challenge and is thorough and methodical as she searches through Grandpa’s room—neat but chock-full of a busy lifetime of acquired books and mementos—to locate the paper clip, rubber band, straw, or paintbrush. Sharp-eyed viewers will glean that this man, now in a wheelchair, was once a soldier and an athlete and reads poetry and paints. The simple text is largely made up of the good-natured conversations that surround the game and reflect the warmth and joy that Sophie and Grandpa find in each other. Pinkney’s lush and lovely watercolors are by turns delicate, energetic, and effusive as he captures his engaging African American characters and their homey domicile. VERDICT This appealing story about a dynamic intergenerational relationship is large enough to share with a group, but individual children will want to pore over the art to spot all of the details in plain sight.–Luann Toth, School Library Journal

Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award

YOON, Nicola. The Sun Is Also a Star. 384p. ebook available. Delacorte. Nov. 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780553496680. POP

SunStarGr 8 Up –It is Natasha’s last day in New York City, where she has lived for 10 years. Her family, living as undocumented immigrants in a small Brooklyn apartment, are being deported to Jamaica after her father’s arrest for drunk driving. Natasha is scouring the city for a chance to stay in the United States legally. She wants the normal teen existence of her peers. Meanwhile, poetic Daniel is on his way to an interview as part of his application process to Yale. He is under great pressure to get in because his parents (who emigrated from South Korea) are adamant that he become a doctor. Events slowly conspire to bring the two leads together. When Daniel and Natasha finally meet, he falls in love immediately and convinces her to join him for the day. They tell their stories in alternating chapters. Additional voices are integrated into the book as characters interact with them. Both relatable and profound, the bittersweet ending conveys a sense of hopefulness that will resonate with teens. VERDICT This wistful love story will be adored by fans of Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park and by those who enjoyed the unique narrative structure of A.S. King’s Please Ignore Vera Dietz.–Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH

Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement

Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop

Schneider Family Book Award (Ages 0-10)

redstarBRYANT, Jen. Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille. illus. by Boris Kulikov. 40p. further reading. websites. Knopf. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780449813379.

six dotsGr 1-4 –This picture book biography of Louis Braille (1809–59) strikes a perfect balance between the seriousness of Braille’s life and the exuberance he projected out into the world. The text highlights Braille’s determination to pursue an education. Readers will learn how he attended the Royal School in Paris and was frustrated by the lack of books for the blind, an obstacle that set him off on a long quest to invent an accessible reading system. Braille ultimately found success by simplifying a military coding technique that had earlier been introduced but was far too complex. The focus on Braille as one of the world’s great inventors is apt, and by taking a close look at his childhood, his family, and his experiences as a young person, Bryant makes Braille’s story even more powerful. She writes from his perspective, which brings a level of intimacy sure to resonate with readers. Kulikov’s mixed-media artwork mirrors and magnifies the text, keeping the spotlight solidly on young Braille and his world as he moves through it. VERDICT An engaging and moving account of an inventor, a solid addition for elementary collections.–Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA

Schneider Family Book Award (Ages 11-13)

REYNOLDS, Jason. As Brave as You. 410p. S. & S./Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Bks. May 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781481415903.
Gr 5-8–Reynolds’s engaging middle grade debut stars 11-year-old African American Genie Harris, as-brave-as-you-9781481415903_hran inveterate worrywart who considers Google his best friend, and his older brother Ernie, who is well on his way to being a cool dude (sunglasses and all). The born and bred Brooklynites are to spend a month with their grandparents in rural Virginia while their parents take a long overdue vacation and work out their marital problems. It is only after the boys are left in their grandfather’s care that they realize that he is blind. They are also surprised to learn that they are expected to do chores and follow their grandmother’s strict rules—and that it is possible to exist (sort of) without the Internet. While Ernie crushes on the girl who lives at the base of the hill, Genie writes down his many burning questions so he doesn’t forget them and gets to know his proud and fiercely independent grandfather. Genie barrages Grandpop with questions about his past and present abilities and about the quirky aspects of the household, especially his “nunya bidness” room, his harmonica playing, and how Grandpop might not be able to see but still packs a pistol. As the languid days unfold, the boys learn about country life and the devastating loss of the elder Harrises’ son during Desert Storm and their estrangement from their living son, the boys’ father. Grandpop Harris is a complicated, irascible character, full of contradictions and vulnerabilities, the least of which is his lack of vision. Reynolds captures the bond that Grandpop and Genie form in a tender, believable, and entertaining way, delivered through smart and funny prose and sparkling dialogue. VERDICT A richly realized story about life and loss, courage and grace, and what it takes to be a man. Although a tad lengthy, it is easy reading and will be appreciated by a broad audience.–Luann Toth, School Library Journal

An SLJ Best Book of 2016

Check out our interview with Jason Reynolds

Schneider Family Book Award (Ages 13-18)

redstarLORD, Emery. When We Collided. 352p. ebook available. Bloomsbury. Apr. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781619638457.Lord, Emery. When We Collided

Gr 8 Up –Filled with raw, descriptive truths and told through the alternating voices of the protagonists, this story takes place in the idyllic, picturesque setting of Verona Cove, CA. Small enough for everyone to know one another yet large enough to handle a summer tourist season, this background locale is a perfect nesting spot for the poignant love story between Vivi Alexander and Jonah Daniels. The collision between the teens crests and ebbs in what seems like a far too small window of time. Instead, the story dares to allow the action to rise and fall in an organic way. Teeming with in-your-face realism, the work exposes readers to the emotional ups and downs of Vivi, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and Jonah, who is trying to hold himself, his siblings, and the family restaurant together as his mother falls apart after the death of her husband. Vivi’s struggles with taking medication, and her honest discussions of her brain’s chemical issues are evenly balanced with her portrayal as an artist who wants to leave her mark on the world. Jonah’s quiet strength as he steps into the role his father’s death left vacant and his willingness to share a piece of himself with Vivi make this a powerful book for reader engagement. The ending will have readers hoping for a sequel, though one is not needed. ­VERDICT An absolute tearjerker romance with a powerful message about weightier topics of grief and mental illness.–Sabrina Carnesi, Crittenden Middle School, Newport News, VA

Andrew Carnegie Medal

redstarDrum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music. 10 min. Dist. by Dreamscape. 2016. $38.99. ISBN 9781520013213.

drum-dream-girlPreS-Gr 2 –What do you do when your talents and dreams remain unfulfilled? That was the problem facing Millo Castro Zaldarriaga. A girl of Chinese African descent living in Cuba, Millo was surrounded by a rich culture and a world filled with rhythms begging to be shared. In a tradition where boys were the only ones allowed to play the drums, Millo seemed doomed to keep her hands still and the joyous beats she heard in her head unexpressed. Fortunately, rules were bent, talents were nurtured, and an artist became internationally recognized for her skills. This bright and optimistic presentation is based on the 2016 Pura Belpré Award winner by Margarita Engle. Adriana Sananes’s vibrant voice celebrates the story, and lively background music adds the finishing touches. Rafael López’s bright and imaginative illustrations are delightfully yet simply animated, creating a feast for the eyes. A bonus feature contains a historical note about Zaldarriaga. VERDICT This is an inspiring and buoyant presentation that will entertain and inform young viewers. It would be valuable for music programs and cultural diversity studies.–Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary, Federal Way, WA

Laura Ingalls Wilder Award

Nikki Grimes

Margaret A. Edwards Award

Sarah Dessen

2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award

Naomi Shihab Nye

Mildred L. Batchelder Award

RINGTVED, Glenn. Cry, Heart, but Never Break. illus. by Charolotte Pardi. tr. from Danish by Robert Moulthrop. 32p. Enchanted Lion. Feb. 2016. Tr. $16.95. ISBN 9781592701872. No review available.

Mildred L. Batchelder Honors

Ocean_GomiGOMI, Taro. Over the Ocean. illus. by Taro Gomi. tr. from Japanese by Taylor Norman. 36p. ebook available. Chronicle. May 2016. Tr. $16.99. ISBN 9781452145150.
PreS-Gr 1A dark-haired child in red overalls clasps hands behind his or her back while gazing at vistas of the ocean and wondering what might be beyond it. Each page turn leads readers to the child’s imaginative speculation about farms, cities, bullies, amusement parks, exotic animals, and even a beach where another child mirrors the narrator’s actions. A constant on the horizon is a steamer progressing along the page from right to left. Spare text and vibrant color are typical of Gomi’s mood pieces. VERDICT The book’s elegant simplicity lends itself not only to pointing out visual details but also to encouraging a listening child’s own speculations. Perfect for one-on-one and small group sharing.-Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA

SANABRIA, José. As Time Went By. illus. by José Sanabria. 48p. NorthSouth. May 2016. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9780735842489.
AsTimeWentByK-Gr 3–Three brief sections tell of the parallel flourishing, decline, and later revitalization of a family and a ship in this Swiss import by an Argentinian author/illustrator. After glamorous beginnings, the ship is abandoned at a port, and “luxury and excess [make] the family poor.” Ultimately, the ship becomes the floating home of displaced peoples, including the family, and the vessel and family are restored to dignity and purpose. One or two sentences per spread tell the story in spare but rather stilted prose that may befuddle young readers. The tale offers neither a compelling story nor insight into poverty and inequality. Gloomy paintings of gray skies and people with bulging eyes and static postures convey a mood of ruin and despair throughout. VERDICT Managing to be both heavy-handed and opaque, this melancholy parable is not recommended.–Sarah Stone, San Francisco Public Library

SVINGEN, Arne. The Ballad of a Broken Nose. tr. from Norwegian by Kari Dickson. 224p. S. & S./Margaret K. McElderry Bks. Jun. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781481415422.
BalladBrokenNoseGr 5-7–Twelve-year-old Bart is pretty resigned about his life. He lives in Norwegian public housing with his alcoholic mother and doesn’t know anything about his father other than his name, John Jones, and that he is American. At school, Bart tries to maintain a level of invisibility. He has a small circle of acquaintances to talk to at recess, but Ada is the only one who really talks to him, and their conversations are usually centered on Ada copying Bart’s math homework. The class talent show is approaching, and Bart lets it slip to Ada that he sings opera, and she in turn lets their classroom teacher know. Imagine his surprise when Ada shows up unannounced at his apartment one day. Bart is horrified that she has had to crunch over needles and avoid junkies just to get to his door. He is also dismayed that she is going to see his mother, who is quite overweight, missing a tooth, and responsible for the state of their apartment. Bart knows that Ada cannot keep a secret, and soon his everyday reality is revealed to his classmates. Bart must work on overcoming his fears, not only about singing but about the state of his life with his mother. The strength of this title is that it will encourage readers to look at their own lives and see the good despite the bad. Unfortunately, there are also some ideas that come across as insensitive or offensive. One of Bart’s friends tells him that his mom will not let him listen to rap music, because “she doesn’t want me to move to the ghetto and walk around with a gun.” When describing his mom, Bart calls her a “beached whale. Superfatso. Very overweight. Back end of a bus.” Later, his mother ends up in the hospital, and she is going to have an unnamed operation to make her “better. And thinner.” These insensitivities are never circled back to, discussed, or questioned by any of the characters. Most middle grade students will require deeper context and conversation during and after reading to fully digest and comprehend the various layers and themes in this work. VERDICT The content and heavy nature of this story make it hard to place with an audience. That, combined with the offensive fat-shaming language and other unpacked prejudices, makes this title a tough sell; not recommended.–Stacy Dillon, LREI, New York City

Odyssey Award

SAVIT, Gavriel. Anna and the Swallow Man. 6 CDs. 6:30 hrs. Listening Library. 2016. $40. ISBN 9781101891834. digital download.
AnnaSwallowManGr 8 Up–It is 1939, and seven-year-old Anna lives with her father, a professor of linguistics, in Krakow. Anna finds herself alone after her father is summoned to a meeting by the Gestapo and does not return. She befriends a strange man who is able to talk to birds, hence the nickname the Swallow Man. Anna and the Swallow Man wander the countryside for four years, careful to avoid largely populated areas. The Swallow Man is a mystery to Anna and the listeners alike—the author never quite reveals why he is living in hiding. The story is beautifully told, and, despite the often dark subject matter, Allan Corduner’s voice is soothing. Though it is set during the Holocaust, the book does not draw upon the historical content in too much detail. Still, it could be used as part of a historical unit to discuss different points of view. VERDICT It is important to note that teens are the intended audience—though the protagonist is young, the story can be disturbing and too violent for children closer to the character’s age. Recommended for YA collections. [“More interpretive than literal, the story will generate discussion among YA readers”: SLJ 12/15 review of the Knopf book.]–Betsy Davison, State University of New York at Cortland

Odyssey Honors

redstarREYNOLDS, Jason. Ghost. digital download. 3:29 hrs. S. & S. Audio. Aug. 2016. $14.99. ISBN 9781508230472.

au-reynolds-ghostGr 5-9 –Guy Lockard has assumed the mantle of narrator-of-choice for Reynolds’s fiction: Ghost (2016 National Book Award finalist) is Lockard’s third Reynolds title, following As Brave as You and Rashad’s chapters in All American Boys. Here, as seventh grader Castle “Ghost” Crenshaw, Lockard performs with excitable bravado, ruminating honesty, and trash-talking speed. Ghost runs fast with good reason, having escaped his father, who chased him and his mother with a loaded gun. Three years later, Ghost’s mother works hard to keep him safe, while Ghost tries never to ask for more than she can give. His temper, however, too often keeps him fleeing from trouble of his own making. When the track coach recognizes his immense talent, Ghost’s cocky arrogance initially gets in his way. How he finds his tremendous stride is a realistic, exhilarating story for all young audiences (look for a wink-wink to Reynolds’s friend and fellow author Christopher Myers, son of the legendary Walter Dean Myers, one of Reynolds’s inspirations). VERDICT An ideal choice for even the most reluctant readers. Libraries should start building this “Track” (Ghost is the first of a series) immediately.–Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC

An SLJ Best Book of 2016

Check out our interview with Jason Reynolds

SHEVAH, Emma. Dream on, Amber. 4 CDs. 4:15 hrs. Recorded Books. Feb. 2016. ISBN 9781501910715. digital download.
DreamOnAmberGr 4-6–Amber has a lot to deal with—a new school, a bully, a completely uncool phone, a huge fib, and an invented dream dad—in this South London–based coming-of-age treat. Amber is half Italian and half Japanese. She longs to know more about her Asian ancestry, but her father left when she was six. She is keenly affected by his absence, and when she draws a replacement, her creation seems to come alive. The situation is ripe for maudlin introspection, but there is none to be found. The first-person point of view keeps the fast-paced and clever story bopping along. Laura Kirman’s performance is lovely and matches the character’s inner self—doubtful and strong at once. VERDICT Highly recommended. [“By turns playful and poignant, in both style and substance, this coming-of-age novel will hook readers from the first page to the last”: SLJ 10/15 starred review of the Sourcebooks Jabberwocky book.]–Jane Newschwander, Fluvanna County Public Schools, VA

redstarSTEVENSON, Noelle. Nimona. 2:17 hrs. HarperAudio. Oct. 2016. $24.99. ISBN 9780062562807. digital download.

au-stevenson-nimonaGr 7 Up –Imagine a future where technology meets medieval studies mashed with a bit of supernatural and government conspiracy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is determined to expose the despicable activities of the Institute of Law Enforcement, which is led by his former best friend, Sir Ambrose Goldenloin. Such a large undertaking requires not just any sidekick. Enter Nimona, a quick-witted, hilarious teen shape-shifter who has a knack for getting into and out of trouble. Ballister is resistant to take Nimona under his wing, but as the two become closer, Ballister realizes Nimona’s mysterious past and inconsistent powers might be bigger and more dangerous than he ever imagined. Turning a graphic novel into a successful audiobook is no easy task. Images from the graphic novel are interpreted into original music to convey the action and emotion normally portrayed visually. Rebecca Soler, Jonathan Davis, and Marc Thompson narrate, providing the cast of characters with unique voices. Polished sound effects complement the action and chapter changes VERDICT This title offers a charming dose of auditory magic. It could easily be paired with the print book for reluctant readers and for those who want to see the illustrations while listening. A great addition to all collections. [“A vibrant solo work from “Lumberjanes” (Boom!) cocreator”: SLJ 4/15 starred review of the HarperTeen book.]—Amanda ­Schiavulli, Finger Lakes Library System, NY

Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Award

CAMPER, Cathy. Lowriders to the Center of the Earth. illus. by Raúl the Third. 128p. (Lowriders: Bk. 2). glossary. Chronicle. Jul. 2016. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9781452123431; pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781452138367.
LowridersCenterEarthGr 4-8–Lupe, Elirio, and Flapjack—an impala, a mosquito, and an octopus—work in a garage, repairing and detailing cars. When they discover their cat, Genie, is missing, they follow his tracks to a corn maze that turns out to be a trap used by the Aztec god Mictlantecuhtli to steal the skeletons of wayfarers. Can the trio challenge him in the underworld, rescue their pet, and return safely home? The artwork is intricate but accessible; the textures and colors invite imitation. The storytelling is inventive, juggling cultural references, surreal circumstances, and educational impulses. As in the previous volume, Lowriders in Space, the dialogue combines Spanish and English slang, with frequent footnotes and definitions for the Spanish terms. This reinforces a narrative distance created by the flat affect of the characters and the woodenness of the included vocabulary. Perhaps the book is trying to do too much, incorporating lucha libre, mythology, Day of the Dead imagery, fanciful geology lessons, and multilingual puns all into one narrative. Or perhaps readers just need to go along for the ride, bajito y suavecito. VERDICT A jumble of creative ambition, the compelling visuals and scattershot storytelling will appeal to those not distracted by the roller-coaster plotting and jagged, more-is-more approach. Purchase where the first installment is popular.–Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, NH

PURA BELPRÉ (ILLUSTRATOR) HONORs

WOOD, Susan. Esquivel!: Space-Age Sound Artist. illus. by Duncan Tonatiuh. 32p. further reading. photos. websites. Charlesbridge. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781580896733.
esquivelGr 2-6–Much as Juan García Esquivel (1918–2002) made a great contribution to music history, this title is an important addition to music biography collections. Beginning with Tampico, Mexico, the text and illustrations work together to showcase how a world filled with sound influenced and inspired a young Esquivel and continued to do so throughout his life. Esquivel is shown listening to “whirling” mariachi bands, modifying a player piano to suit his own compositions, experimenting with unusual instruments like the theremin, and conducting musicians in unique and unprecedented ways. The text explores how Esquivel’s love of sound led to new ways of making music, most notably in his pioneering of stereo sound and lounge music. Tonatiuh’s illustrations are lively and colorful—a perfect match for Esquivel’s personality and work. Occasional blocks of text make this title best suited for upper elementary students. Back matter includes an author’s note expanding on Esquivel’s influence and an illustrator’s note on how the art was created. VERDICT A beautiful addition to music biography collections for upper elementary students.–Shannan Hicks, J.S. Clark Elementary School Library, LA

redstarTONATIUH, Duncan, retel. The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes. illus. by Duncan Tonatiuh. 40p. bibliog. glossary. Abrams. Oct. 2016. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781419721304.

princess-and-the-warriorPreS-Gr 2 –Princess Izta is the most beautiful and eligible maiden in the land. One day, a humble warrior named Popoca approaches the princess, offering her the promise of true love and fidelity instead of lavish gifts or material wealth. Izta falls in love with him, even though her father, the emperor, feels Popoca is unsuitable for his royal daughter. He agrees to allow Popoca and Izta to marry, under one condition: Popoca must defeat Jaguar Claw, the infamous ruler of a neighboring land. Popoca fights many battles and defeats Jaguar Claw. But with the help of a bribed messenger, a bitter Jaguar Claw manages to take one last stab at Popoca by tricking Izta into poisoning herself into a deep sleep. Just as he promised, Popoca stays by her side, lying next to her until, as legend has it, two volcanoes are formed: Popocatépetl, meaning smoky mountain, and Iztaccíhuatl (sleeping woman). Award-winning author/illustrator Tonatiuh successfully retells this ancient tale using his distinctive and artistic illustrations with spare but effective text. The action battle scenes will excite and captivate, while the images of Popoca kneeling beside Izta in determined wait will stir the hearts of readers. The integration of Nahuatl words (defined with a pronunciation guide in the glossary) into the narrative provides a rich opportunity to introduce and explore another facet of Aztec culture. VERDICT Use this Aztec legend to inspire readers while teaching a bit about dramatic irony; a first purchase for all folklore collections.–Natalie Braham, Denver Public Library

An SLJ Best Book of 2016

PURA BELPRÉ (AUTHOR) AWARD

CHAP-Medina-Juana and LucasredstarMEDINA, Juana. Juana and Lucas. illus. by Juana Medina. 96p. Candlewick. Sept. 2016. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780763672089.

Gr 2-4 –Juana lives in Bogotá, Colombia, with her dog Lucas. She loves brussels sprouts, drawing, and especially the comic book superhero Astroman. She most definitely does not like learning “the English.” When her teacher says learning English is going to be a “ton of fun,” Juana knows that it will really be “nada de fun.” Her abuelo, or Abue for short, is a brain surgeon and tries to explain to Juana how learning English can be very useful. He also has a bribe—if Juana learns English, he will take her to the Spaceland amusement park in Florida, where only English is spoken, even by her hero Astroman. Medina has written a first-person narrative filled with expressive description. Spanish words are used throughout, and their meaning is made clear through context. As both author and illustrator, Medina is able to integrate the text and illustrations in unique ways, including spreads in which Juana tells us why, for example, she strongly dislikes her school uniform or why Mami is the most important person in her life. Font design is also used creatively, such as when Medina traces the arc of a soccer ball hit hard enough to be sent “across the field.” VERDICT An essential selection that creates multicultural awareness, has distinguished and appealing design elements, and has a text that is the stuff of true literature.–Tim Wadham, formerly at Puyallup Public Library, WA

An SLJ Best Book of 2016

Check out our interview with Juana Medina.

PURA BELPRÉ (AUTHOR) HONOR

DIAZ, Alexandra. The Only Road. 320p. ebook available. S. & S./Paula Wiseman Bks. Oct. 2016. Tr. $16.99. ISBN 9781481457507. No review available.

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award

redstarLEWIS, John & Andrew Aydin. March: Book Three. illus. by Nate Powell. 192p. Top Shelf. Aug. 2016. pap. $19.99. ISBN 9781603094023. March- Book Three by John Lewis & Andrew Aydin

Gr 8 Up –In the final installment in the trilogy, Congressman Lewis concludes his firsthand account of the civil rights era. Simultaneously epic and intimate, this dynamic work spotlights pivotal moments (the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL; the Freedom Summer murders; the 1964 Democratic National Convention; and the Selma to Montgomery marches) through the lens of one who was there from the beginning. Lewis’s willingness to speak from the heart about moments of doubt and anguish imbues the book with emotional depth. Complex material is tackled but never oversimplified—many pages are positively crammed with text—and, as in previous volumes, discussion of tensions among the various factions of the movement adds nuance and should spark conversation among readers. Through images of steely-eyed police, motion lines, and the use of stark black backgrounds for particularly painful moments, Powell underscores Lewis’s statement that he and his cohorts “were in the middle of a war.” These vivid black-and-white visuals soar, conveying expressions of hope, scorn, and devastation and making storied figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Fannie Lou Hamer feel three-dimensional and familiar. VERDICT This essential addition to graphic novel shelves, history curricula, and memoir collections will resonate with teens and adults alike.–Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

An SLJ Best Book of 2016

Watch the video of Rep. John Lewis speaking at the SLJ Summit this fall. 

ROBERT F. SIBERT INFORMATIONAL HONORs

redstarFLEMING, Candace. Giant Squid. illus. by Eric Rohmann. 40p. bibliog. diag, further reading. websites. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks. Sept. 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781596435995. NF-SP-Elem-Fleming-Giant Squid

Gr 2-4 –Through engrossing, informative verse, Fleming artfully introduces readers to a mysterious sea monster that glides through the deepest and darkest reaches of the ocean. Although some species of giant squid are as large as a bus, these animals are rarely spotted by people. Scientists have been able to gather clues and assemble a body of knowledge about the unusual cephalopod from pieces washed up on shore or found by fishermen. In a similar fashion, Fleming reveals characteristics of the squid piece by piece, beginning with a description of its 30-foot-long tentacles. She shares what little is known about the squid and raises many yet-to-be answered questions: Why does the squid change colors? Where does the female lay her eggs? As the narrative reaches a conclusion, the squid jets away from a predatory barracuda and disappears into a murky cloud of ink. Rohmann’s full-color paintings are eerily atmospheric. Bit by bit, each illustration focuses on a particular part of the sea creature until the entire squid is portrayed in a dramatic foldout spread. VERDICT Curious readers will be inspired by the engaging text and stunning illustrations to learn more about the giant squid. An essential purchase for science collections.–Linda L. Walkins, Saint Joseph Preparatory High School, Boston

redstarSTELSON, Caren. Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story. 144p. bibliog. ebook available. further reading. glossary. index. maps. notes. photos. websites. Carolrhoda. Oct. 2016. lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 9781467789035.

sachikoGr 5-8 –Sachiko Yasui was just six years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on her hometown of Nagasaki. On August 9, 1945, she went from playing house with her friends to burying them. Yasui also lost a brother that day and would lose many more family members because of radiation sickness. Growing up, she was ostracized for her status as hibakusha, a bomb survivor. Despite her trauma and the bullying she faced, Yasui endured. She sought out inspiration from the likes of Helen Keller, Mohandas Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr. Their works allowed her to make peace with the events in her life. Stelson recounts hearing Yasui speak at a ceremony to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This event would spark a long and intimate process in which Stelson repeatedly met with and interviewed Yasui in order to tell her story. Frequent historical notes provide context to the events happening in the narrative: Japan’s role in World War II, the issue of racism in the war, President Truman’s ultimatum, the effects of radiation sickness, the U.S. occupation of Japan after the war, and more. Back matter includes a glossary of Japanese terms used in the book and detailed maps of where events took place. VERDICT This sensitive and well-crafted account of a Nagasaki bomb survivor is an essential addition to World War II biography collections for middle school students.–Deidre Winterhalter, Niles Public Library, IL

redstarMARRIN, Albert. Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience During World War II. 256p. ebook available. further reading. index. notes. photos. websites. Knopf. Oct. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780553509366; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780553509373.

nf-mshs-marrin-uprootedGr 7 Up –The Japanese American internment during World War II is the subject of National Book Award finalist Marrin’s latest historical nonfiction for adolescents. He ties together chronological events with thematic elements (how racism operated during World War II) to tell the story of this dark time in U.S. history: “Our government failed in its duty to protect the rights of everyone living in the United States.” Marrin demonstrates great attention to detail in conveying the experiences of Japanese Americans who were removed from their homes and forced to live in “relocation” centers, relying on interviews, speeches, newspaper articles, and official and personal correspondence from the time period. Of particular interest is the chapter on the Yankee Samurai, Japanese American war heroes who fought bravely for the United States while their families were denied freedom at home. Back matter includes an extensive list of suggested further reading. VERDICT Packed with details yet well organized and carefully annotated, this excellent treatment of a shameful episode in U.S. history is highly recommended for library collections serving teens.–Kelly Kingrey-Edwards, Blinn Junior College, Brenham, TX

redstarFREEDMAN, Russell. We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler. 112p. bibliog. index. notes. photos. Clarion. May 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544223790. NF-MHS-FREEDMAN-WE WILL NOT BE SILENT

Gr 6-8 –Though the story of the White Rose student resistance in Nazi Germany has been told elsewhere, Freedman’s focus on the youth of the participants will resonate with readers. Hans Scholl, a free-spirited teen who became disillusioned by the enforced conformity of his Hitler Youth group, joined a banned rival group that discussed forbidden books, and there were no uniforms or marching. Younger sister Sophie got in trouble for reading a book by a Jewish German poet and questioning the pervasive anti-Semitism of her society. While attending school in Munich, the siblings became active in a group of anti-Hitler pamphleteers. The story has its share of dark turns, including arrests, lengthy detentions, and the eventual trial and execution by guillotine of Hans and Sophie. But Freedman treats these aspects gracefully, and the overarching message is one of defiant resistance in the face of overwhelming evil. “You will go down in history,” their father, an outspoken pacifist, told them after their conviction. “There is such a thing as justice despite this. I am proud of both of you.” Stock photos from the period are adeptly interspersed with personal snapshots and portraits to create a strong visual component. VERDICT A highly readable and well-documented overview of a fascinating aspect of World War II.–Bob Hassett, Luther Jackson Middle School, Falls Church, VA

Stonewall Book Award

RIORDAN, Rick. Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Hammer of Thor. 480p. ebook available. Disney Hyperion. Oct. 2016. Tr. 19.99. ISBN 9781423160922. No review available.

STONEWALL BOOK AWARD

RUSSO, Meredith. If I Was Your Girl. 272p. ebook available. Flatiron. May 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250078407. POP
IfIWasYourGirlGr 9 Up–After a violent incident in her Atlanta suburb, Amanda moves to small-town Tennessee to make a new start with her estranged father. Finally living openly as her true self three years after she, then known as Andrew, attempted suicide, Amanda needs the safety and relative freedom of a fresh beginning. A new set of risks and opportunities open up to her as she makes friends with a group of girls harboring their own secrets, navigates a tense relationship with a father who is terrified of what the world will do to his child, and begins the first romance of her life. This is everything a coming-of-age novel should be—honest, complicated, and meaningful. Amanda navigates the teenage world with a cautious bravery that will grip readers by the heart. Russo, herself a transwoman from Tennessee, handles every issue in the story—from pot and promposals to hormones and support groups—with a deft hand, both gentle and honest. The result is a narrative that transcends the typical “issue” novel to be a beautiful tale in its own right. VERDICT A highly recommended purchase for any collection serving teens.–Amy Diegelman, Vineyard Haven Public Library, MA

STONEWALL HONORs

redstarMCLEMORE, Anna-Marie. When the Moon Was Ours. 288p. ebook available. St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne. Oct. 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250058669. When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

Gr 9 Up –Love bests every opponent in this surreal exploration of familial bonds and sexual identity. Teens Sam and Miel have been best friends for years, ever since Miel appeared, sodden and terrified, amid the flooded ground around an overturned water tower. As their friendship unfolds into romance, long-repressed secrets and rumors clamor for air. Sam is reticent and obsessed with painting moons on paper and metal. Miel and her guardian, Aracely, are thought to be witches—Miel because roses grow beautifully and painfully out of her wrist one at a time, and Aracely because she cures lovelorn townspeople with potions she creates. Until recently, the four haughty, gorgeous Bonner sisters held mysterious sway over the hearts of the town’s young men. Now that their power has gone, they believe Miel’s roses are the fix they need, and they have no scruples about using physical cruelty or blackmail to get what they want. Amid the ordinariness of the small-town setting, McLemore winds arabesques of magical realism. This imbues the narrative with the feel of a centuries-old fairy tale, while the theme of sexual identity gives it the utmost relevance. Some teens might be put off by the frequent descriptions of egg and pumpkin varieties and their associated shapes, colors, and uses. VERDICT Readers who stick with this novel will be rewarded with a love story that is as endearingly old-fashioned as it is modern and as fantastical as it is real.–Jennifer Prince, Buncombe County Public Libraries, NC

redstarDOWNHAM, Jenny. Unbecoming. 384p. ebook available. Scholastic/David Fickling Bks. Feb. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545907170; ebk. $17.99. ISBN 9780545907323.Unbecoming-Jenny-Downham

Gr 9 Up –What kind of pain can love survive? How late is too late to learn the truth? When 17-year-old Katie’s estranged grandmother shows up on their doorstep, alone and suffering from dementia, Katie’s tightly wound mother is enraged. Instantly drawn to the confused but fascinating old woman, who seems to embody a spirit of personal freedom and love that the teen has been longing for, Katie starts recording pieces of her grandmother’s story, both to help her remember and to get to the bottom of what really happened between her mother and grandmother. It turns out all three women are harboring some pretty heavy secrets. Unveiling the narrative in bits and pieces and hopping through tim07e periods, Downham paints a moving picture of three generations of women who haven’t felt listened to or understood, who have felt confined by their choices, and who have suffered the consequences of trying to forge a new path. Katie’s plotline (she is coming to terms with her growing attraction to girls) is wrapped up a little too nicely, but the two older women’s stories, both past and present, are subtle and heartbreaking. The grandmother, whose slipping hold on her memories is portrayed with compassion and gentle humor, is especially well drawn. This would be a great title for teens and adults to read and discuss together. VERDICT A strong choice for thoughtful readers.–Beth McIntyre, Madison Public Library, WI

STEVENSON, Robin. Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community. 120p. ebook available. Orca. Apr. 2016. pap. $24.95. ISBN 9781459809932. No review available.

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award

KELLER, Laurie with Mo Willems. We Are Growing! illus. by Laurie Keller with Mo Willems. 64p. (Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!). Disney-Hyperion. Sept. 2016. Tr $9.99. ISBN 9781484726358. POP

WeAreGrowingK-Gr 2 –An exciting thing is happening. The grass is growing! One blade grows tall, another grows curly, and two grow pointy. As these changes occur, the blades of grass declare what it is that makes them unique—all but one, that is. The last blade of grass has no distinguishing feature of note, and no matter how much the group wrack their brains, they can’t figure it out. Then, the great equalizer, the lawn mower, comes along. It takes this event for the blade to discover his special quality. As for the rest, even though they are literally cut down, they are reassured that they will grow again. The empowering narrative can be applied to lessons regarding things like confidence, identity, and growing up. No matter the takeaway, the message is easily consumable, thanks to exaggerated characteristics, cartoonish actions, and a good sense of comedic timing. In this new series, Willems’s popular characters share their favorite books, acting as the introductory and closing framework to the story. In this case, they have made an excellent choice. VERDICT Fans of Elephant and Piggie will devour this kooky easy reader, with its similar presentation and storytelling style.–Rachel Forbes, formerly at Oakville Public Library, Ontario, Canada

THEODOR SEUSS GEISEL HONORs

PIZZOLI, Greg. Good Night Owl. illus. by Greg Pizzoli. 48p. Disney-Hyperion. Apr. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781484712757.
GoodNightOwlPreS-Gr 1–Owl is just beginning his bedtime routine when he hears an annoying squeak. Readers can see that a cheerful little mouse is responsible, but Owl remains clueless about its origins. His attempts at discovering where the noise is coming from not only are glaringly wrong but also cause him to do enormous damage to his home. When he thinks that the squeak is coming from under the floor, he pulls up every last floorboard. When he is certain that he has a “noisy roof,” children witness a manic Owl destroying it with a sledgehammer. The stakes get higher and higher, as will the laughs and groans from readers, until he obliterates every inch of his domicile save his bed. It is at this point that Owl spies Mouse, and with that discovery, they both go happily to sleep. While the ending is quirky and feels abrupt, kids will be greatly amused by Pizzoli’s latest effort. VERDICT Filled with big, colorful illustrations and amusing facial expressions, this is a lively addition for most collections and a definite storytime addition.–Amy Nolan, St. Joseph Public Library, St. Joseph, MI

TWOHY, Mike. Oops, Pounce, Quick, Run!: An Alphabet Caper. illus. by Mike Twohy. 32p. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. Feb. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062377005.
OopsPounceToddler-PreS–An alphabetical romp that tells what happens when Dog accidentally rolls his ball into Mouse’s house. Dog is irritated about the missing ball and winds up chasing Mouse out of his den and all through the house. The story resolves with Mouse wrapping the ball up and giving it to Dog. Dog unwraps it, thinks it’s very cool, wags his tail, sends “XOXO,” and finally says yes. Then the two of them happily take a nap together: Zzzzz. Twohy’s fast-paced book is spare, with simple line illustrations, few colors, and one or two words per page. Felt-tip pens and India ink were used to create these illustrations, and the lines Twohy uses in his drawings convey Dog’s curiosity and Mouse’s panic to escape, as well as the energetic antics of the story. This book will work nicely as a one-on-one read but will also be a good pick for toddler storytimes. VERDICT A general purchase for early childhood collections.–Liz Anderson, DC Public Library

MILGRIM, David. Go Otto Go! illus. by David Milgrim. 32p. ebook available. S. & S./Simon Spotlight. May 2016. Tr. $ 16.99. ISBN 9781481467247. pap. $3.99. ISBN 9781481467230. No review available.

LAREAU, Kara. The Infamous Ratsos. illus. by Matt Myers. 64p. Candlewick. Aug. 2016. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780763676360.
RatsosGr 2-4–Everyone in the Big City knows the Ratsos. Third grader Ralphie and fifth grader Louie live with their father, Big Lou, in the animal metropolis. Their mother’s unexplained absence has the family resorting to “toughness” as a means of survival. Big Lou tells his sons to “hang tough.” These half-pints surmise that talking about your feelings, making friends, and being kind are only for “softies.” They plan to show how tough they are by pulling pranks on their classmates and neighbors. But all of their antics backfire, leading to unwanted consequences. This animal protagonist tale is lighthearted and fun. The writing is straightforward and easy, while the pen-and-ink artwork is detailed. These characters are complex enough to interest newly independent readers, and the story resolution is heartfelt and solid. The father-son dynamic is realistic and honest. Young readers will feel for the family as they learn to deal with the absence of a loved one. This slender novel packs a strong message of overcoming loss through love and kindness. VERDICT A solid purchase; a chapter book that entertains and uplifts.–Sada Mozer, Los Angeles Public Library

William C. Morris Award

ZENTNER, Jeff. The Serpent King. 384p. ebook available. Crown. Mar. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780553524024; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780553524031.
SerpentKingGr 9 Up–The son of a snake-handling preacher imprisoned for possessing child pornography, Dill escapes his controlling mother and social ostracism with the help of his two friends, Lydia and Travis. As the trio round out their senior year, it becomes overwhelmingly apparent the different paths their lives are going to take—Travis is content working in a lumberyard and diving into a fantasy world from a book series in his spare time, while Lydia runs a popular fashion blog and is intent on attending New York University. As for Dill, he yearns for more than Forrestville, TN, can offer, but he feels compelled to honor his father’s legacy and his mother’s domineering wishes. As Dill grapples with a crush on Lydia and a mother who wants him to drop out of high school, a YouTube clip of Dill singing and playing guitar begins to garner attention. Dill must decide among what his heart wants, what his family needs, and his own desire for a life outside of their small town; “If you’re going to live,” he says, “you might as well do painful, brave, and beautiful things.” Zentner offers a contemporary young adult novel that explores many issues common with teenagers today—bullying, life after high school, and the coming together and breaking apart of high school friendships. Thorough characterization and artful prose allow readers to intimately experience the highs and lows of these three friends. VERDICT Recommended for fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell.–Amanda C. Buschmann, Atascocita Middle School, Humble, TX

WILLIAM C. MORRIS HONORs

redstarGIRARD, M-E. Girl Mans Up. 384p. ebook available. HarperCollins/HarperTeen. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062404176. Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard

Gr 9 Up –The expression man up refers to many things. It suggests that “real men” take responsibility for their actions. Real men act bravely in the face of adversity. For Pen (short for Penelope), 16, it is a little more complicated than that. She has a difficult time knowing how to man up when she cannot even classify her own gender identity. For her, the LGBTQ lexicon carries too much cultural baggage and too many expectations. Pen does not want to define herself too closely, especially when everything in her world seems to be crashing down around her. Her best friend Colby has recently become a terrible bully, her parents are more and more unsupportive, and her older brother has been kicked out of the house. On a positive note, her crush, Blake, has taken an interest in her. Pen tries to navigate all of this, while still figuring out who that person is staring back at her from the mirror. This is a fresh title in the growing sea of LGBTQ YA literature. Pen and her peers are neither quirky nor whimsical. They cuss, drink, smoke pot, hook up, and get into fights. There is no sugarcoating in this very real portrayal of an aspect of teen life that many experience. VERDICT Recommended for fans of YA urban fiction as well as those who prefer grittier LGBTQ lit.–Jaclyn Anderson, Madison County Library System, MS

redstarPATEL, Sonia. Rani Patel in Full Effect. 313p. ebook available. further reading. glossary. Cinco Puntos. Oct. 2016. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781941026496; pap. $11.95. ISBN 9781941026502.

rani-patel-in-full-effectGr 10 Up –On Molokai in the early 1990s, Rani Patel lives the life of the ultimate outsider. A quiet class council member of Indian descent whose relationship with her parents is deeply dysfunctional, she takes comfort only in hip-hop and rap. Her unrequited crushes on two local guys lead her into the underground rap scene, where she tests her skills as MC Sutra, but as she begins to forge an identity, her family and romantic relationships threaten to pull her under. Rani is a flawed character whose poor choices make her somewhat unlikable but also reflect a realistic reaction to her troubled family past—her mother ignores her, and her father sees her as a wife replacement (the book contains instances of incest). The teen seeks love and acceptance wherever she can find it, and through rap she is able to express her struggles and discover a community that embraces her unreservedly. The dialogue, which incorporates a bit of Hawaiian pidgin, Gujarati, and hip-hop slang, can require the use of the included glossary but enhances the understanding of Rani’s place at the convergence of multiple cultures. Her story will appeal to readers who prefer gritty, darker fiction without a pat, happy ending, and characters who don’t always overcome their challenges but must face them repeatedly. VERDICT A strong, unique choice for YA collections.–Marian McLeod, Convent of the Sacred Heart, Greenwich, CT

HITCHCOCK, Bonnie-Sue. The Smell of Other People’s Houses. 240p. ebook available. Random/Wendy Lamb Bks. Feb. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780553497786. HITCHCOCK, Bonnie-Sue. The Smell of Other People’s Houses

Gr 7 Up –In the 1970s, in Fairbanks, AK, four teenagers’ lives intersect in unexpected ways. Dealing with problems that continue to propel modern teens—unwanted pregnancy, alcoholism, difficult family situations, and ambition—they try to find a future that is theirs. Their struggles feel especially poignant set against the backdrop of a young state also battling to define itself. Uniquely Alaskan issues and industries weave throughout the background of the story by an author who is a fourth-generation Alaskan. Point of view moves among the four characters. But rather than appearing disjointed, this vantage allows readers a multifaceted glimpse into the rich cast of characters. Perhaps the primary flaw of this book is its brevity—each character has a unique journey and personality that readers will want to spend more time with than they are allotted. This leads to a glossed-over treatment of the relationships among characters, implied rather than shown. However, that is not enough to rob this work of its beauty and gentle emotional richness. VERDICT An excellent debut sure to appeal to teens who prefer relationship-based fiction.–Elizabeth Nicolai, Anchorage Public Library, AK

DEVLIN, Calla. Tell Me Something Real. 304p. ebook available. S. & S./Atheneum. Aug. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481461153.
TellMeSomethingRealGr 9 Up–The year is 1976, and the Babcock sisters, Adrienne, Vanessa, and Marie, are dealing with the rapidly approaching death of their mother. Their world revolves around their mother’s care and her illness. The sisters have put their own lives on hold while they care for her—cleaning the house, feeding her, giving her the necessary medications, and dealing with their mother’s increasingly disruptive mood swings. They spend several days each month in a Mexican clinic where their mother receives a controversial treatment that is banned in the United States. Just when things can’t seem to get any worse, their mother announces that her disease is terminal, sending the family into a spiral of grief, anger, and, for some, shameful relief. Slowly the girls start to realize that not everything about their mother’s illness adds up and that cancer may not be the worst thing that could befall their family. This is an intense read that explores the way illness can seep into the lives of everyone it touches, leaving behind confusion, fear, and anger, and a thoroughly engrossing story that will keep readers reevaluating everything they thought they knew about the Babcock family. VERDICT An intriguing tale of illness, love, loss, and betrayal that is sure to reel in teens looking for something with a little bit of darkness hidden in the pages.–Annalise Ammer, Henrietta Public Library, NY

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults

redstarLEWIS, John & Andrew Aydin. March: Book Three. illus. by Nate Powell. 192p. Top Shelf. Aug. 2016. pap. $19.99. ISBN 9781603094023. March- Book Three by John Lewis & Andrew Aydin

Gr 8 Up –In the final installment in the trilogy, Congressman Lewis concludes his firsthand account of the civil rights era. Simultaneously epic and intimate, this dynamic work spotlights pivotal moments (the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL; the Freedom Summer murders; the 1964 Democratic National Convention; and the Selma to Montgomery marches) through the lens of one who was there from the beginning. Lewis’s willingness to speak from the heart about moments of doubt and anguish imbues the book with emotional depth. Complex material is tackled but never oversimplified—many pages are positively crammed with text—and, as in previous volumes, discussion of tensions among the various factions of the movement adds nuance and should spark conversation among readers. Through images of steely-eyed police, motion lines, and the use of stark black backgrounds for particularly painful moments, Powell underscores Lewis’s statement that he and his cohorts “were in the middle of a war.” These vivid black-and-white visuals soar, conveying expressions of hope, scorn, and devastation and making storied figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and Fannie Lou Hamer feel three-dimensional and familiar. VERDICT This essential addition to graphic novel shelves, history curricula, and memoir collections will resonate with teens and adults alike.–Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

An SLJ Best Book of 2016

Watch the video of Rep. John Lewis speaking at the SLJ Summit this fall. 

YALSA AWARD FINALISTs

BLUMENTHAL, Karen. Hillary Rodham Clinton: A Woman Living History. 320p. bibliog. chron. ebook available. index. notes. photos. Feiwel & Friends. Jan. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250060143.
Gr 10 Up –More objective and even more comprehensive than Cynthia Levinson’s Hillary Rodham Hillary Rodham Clinton A Woman Living HistoryClinton: Do All the Good You Can (HarperCollins, 2016), this volume covers many aspects of Hillary Clinton’s life and achievements, from her Illinois childhood to the early days of her current presidential campaign. Blumenthal focuses on the formative experiences that shaped Clinton’s beliefs and how those principles have guided her actions throughout her life and influenced her choices about her education, work, marriage and family life, and political career. Clinton is presented as an intensely private person in a public life, and Blumenthal objectively discusses the contradictions between Clinton’s beliefs and some of her actions and examines the many controversies and scandals that have been a part of the Clintons’ lives since their early years in public service. Blumenthal’s bibliography includes a wider spectrum of sources than the Levinson title and includes Clinton’s books and statements, papers and memoirs from the Clinton archives, and sources critical of Clinton. Small photos supplement the text, and “Drawn and Quartered” sidebar reproductions of negative and positive editorial cartoons illustrate public perceptions of Clinton’s personality, life, and work. With 36 dense chapters, this book reads more like an adult work than a YA title and is occasionally dry. Its primary audience will be report writers and students who are highly interested in Clinton or politics. VERDICT A good option for libraries that need advanced research material about Clinton.–Mary Mueller, Rolla Public Schools, MO

redstarDAVIS, Kenneth C. In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives. 304p. bibliog. chron. index. notes. photos. Holt. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781627793117. In the Shadow of Liberty The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives by Kenneth C. Davis

Gr 6 Up –Many are familiar with the lives of the Founding Fathers—their legacies are woven into the very fabric of our nation. Yet Davis peels back the layers of early U.S. history to provide readers with an aspect of the American story that is often ignored. Drawing on a wealth of primary sources, images, statistics, and personal accounts, this work gives readers a more complete picture of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Jackson through profiles of the enslaved people they owned. This volume does not shy away from the horrific reality of this portion of U.S. history, nor does it suggest readers should abandon all nostalgic notions of the Founding Fathers. Instead, Davis encourages middle schoolers and older students to use this work as an additional lens to better comprehend the time period and contribute to an improved understanding of current racial tensions. Davis does not disappoint with this title. Compulsively readable, this book follows the narratives of Billy Lee, Ona Judge, Isaac Granger, Paul Jennings, and Alfred Jackson, enhanced with historical context and insight. A time line before each chapter grounds readers in the history without overwhelming them with information. Images serve to complement the text effectively, and an index will make this text useful for research. While this entry is satisfying in its entirety, teachers can easily incorporate sections of the text into the curriculum or have students read different portions. VERDICT This is a must-have selection for any library collection to present alternative takes on history.–Paige Rowse, Needham High School, MA

redstarTURNER, Pamela S. Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune. illus. by Gareth Hinds. 256p. bibliog. chron. glossary. index. notes. Charlesbridge. Feb. 2016. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781580895842.Samurai RisingThe Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner

Gr 7 Up –Minamoto no Yoshitsune, the 12th-century Heian hero who defeated the rival Taira clan only to be undone by another member of the Minamoto group, is a samurai legend. His rise from obscurity, reckless brilliance in battle, and gruesome end (which helped establish seppuku as part of the warrior code) are irresistible features of a life that ended at age 30. A near-contemporary chronicle, Heike monogatari, and a nemesis’s history, Azuma kagami, reporting Yoshitsune’s deeds were too thin for the popular imagination, which immediately began embroidering on the sources. Turner unpicks some of the yarn but brightens the colors of what remains so that Yoshitsune, physically a small man, leaps from the pages, larger than life and twice as active. Everyone dies—violently—but the famous ends of Atsumori, Antoku, Kiyomori, and others are moving rather than grim. The text rips along, skillfully engaging teens in many swift turns of events. Historical and cultural references are impressively accurate, and Hinds’s fluid brush-and-ink drawings and battle maps add useful detail. Although Turner often uses the word probably, the compelling narrative never strains credulity, and expert tricks help readers navigate Japanese names and sort out relationships. Students will find the 60 pages of endnotes equally fascinating and lively; a seven-page bibliography attests to the serious research behind the vivid (but never simplistic) writing. VERDICT Japanophiles, action lovers, and future historians will all find this book gripping.–Patricia D. Lothrop, St. George’s School, Newport, RI

An SLJ Best Book of 2016

redstarOSBORNE, Linda Barrett. This Land Is Our Land: A History of American Immigration. 128p. bibliog. chron. index. notes. photos. reprods. Abrams. Apr. 2016. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9781419716607.This Land Is Our Land A History of American Immigration

Gr 6-10 –This exceptional work explores the history of American immigration from the early colonization of the continent to the contemporary discussions involving undocumented aliens. The so-called American melting pot has a history of exclusion, discrimination, and strife that has resulted in anti-immigration laws, segregation, and, in the case of the Japanese during World War II, unjustified internment. The author combines comprehensive history with anecdotal case studies to present the human side of the issue. Outstanding archival photographs and illustrations complement the comprehensive text and encourage thoughtful discussion. The author conveys the attitudes toward new waves of immigration. As each new ethnic or national group arrived, it faced exclusion, aversion, and hostility from those who came earlier. The author outlines the motivations for these barriers and the political circumstances behind them. She also distinctly demonstrates the benefits immigrant populations have brought to the growth of this country. An excellent time line and end notes and a thorough bibliography make this an effective research tool. VERDICT Highly recommended for general purchase.–Eva Elisabeth VonAncken, formerly at Trinity-Pawling School, Pawling, NY

]]>
http://www.slj.com/2017/01/industry-news/slj-reviews-of-the-2017-yma-winners/feed/ 0
Librarians at the Women’s March | ALA Midwinter 2017 http://www.slj.com/2017/01/industry-news/librarians-at-the-womens-march-ala-midwinter-2017/ http://www.slj.com/2017/01/industry-news/librarians-at-the-womens-march-ala-midwinter-2017/#respond Mon, 23 Jan 2017 17:33:18 +0000 http://www.slj.com/?p=209145 Across the country, librarians participated in the January 21, 2017 Women’s March, which coincided with the ALA Midwinter Meeting, and shared on Twitter.

]]>
http://www.slj.com/2017/01/industry-news/librarians-at-the-womens-march-ala-midwinter-2017/feed/ 0
Winners of the 2017 Youth Media Awards | ALA Midwinter 2017 http://www.slj.com/2017/01/industry-news/winners-of-the-2017-youth-media-awards/ http://www.slj.com/2017/01/industry-news/winners-of-the-2017-youth-media-awards/#respond Mon, 23 Jan 2017 14:25:03 +0000 http://www.slj.com/?p=208897 The American Library Association has announced the winners of its 2017 Youth Media Awards. Here’s the full list.

YMA_Winners_2017_webgraphic_F

The American Library Association (ALA) today announced the top books,video and audio books for children and young adults – including the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Newbery and Printz awards – at its Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

GirlDrankMoonThe John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:

The Girl Who Drank the Moon, written by Kelly Barnhill, is the 2017 Newbery Medal winner. The book is published by Algonquin Young Readers, an imprint of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, a division of Workman Publishing.

Three Newbery Honor Books also were named: Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves,Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan, written and illustrated by Ashley Bryan and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division; The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog, written by Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatem Aly and published by Dutton Children’s Books, Penguin Young Readers Group, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC; and Wolf Hollow, written by Lauren Wolk and published by Dutton Children’s Books, Penguin Young Readers Group, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

3newberyHonorBooks

 

 

 

 

 

Radiant_aloneRandolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, illustrated by Javaka Steptoe is the 2017 Caldecott Medal winner. The book was written by Javaka Steptoe and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Four Caldecott Honor Books also were named: Leave Me Alone! illustrated and written by Vera Brosgol and published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Limited Partnership; Freedom in Congo Square, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and published by Little Bee Books, an imprint of Bonnier Publishing Group; Du Iz Tak? illustrated and written by Carson Ellis, and published by Candlewick Press; and They All Saw a Cat, illustrated and written by Brendan Wenzel and published by Chronicle Books LLC.

CaldecottHonors


March_aloneCoretta Scott King (Author) Book Award recognizing an African-American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults:

March: Book Three, written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, is the King Author Book winner. The book is illustrated by Nate Powell and published by Top Shelf Productions, an imprint of IDW Publishing, a division of Idea and Design Works LLC.

Two King Author Honor Books were selected: As Brave as You, written by Jason Reynolds, a Caitlyn Dlouhy Book, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division; and Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves,Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan, written and illustrated by Ashley Bryan, a Caitlyn Dlouhy Book, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.

CSK_honor

 Radiant_aloneCoretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award:

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, illustrated by Javaka Steptoe, is the King Illustrator Book winner. The book is written by Javaka Steptoe and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

Three King Illustrator Honor Book were selected: Freedom in Congo Square, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, written by Carole Boston Weatherford and published by Little Bee Books, an imprint of Bonnier Publishing Group; Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan , illustrated and written by Ashley Bryan, a Caitlyn Dlouhy Book, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division; and In Plain Sight, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, written by Richard Jackson, a Neal Porter Book, published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Limited Partnership.

CSK_illustrtors

 

 

 

 

 

SunStar2Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award:

The Sun Is Also a Star, written by Nicola Yoon, is the Steptoe author award winner. The book is published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

 

 

Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement:

Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop is the winner of the Coretta Scott King – Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. The award pays tribute to the quality and magnitude of beloved children’s author Virginia Hamilton. Dr. Bishop is a winner of numerous awards and has served as a respected member of many book awards committees over the course of her long and distinguished career. Her influential writing, speaking, and teaching articulates the history and cultural significance of African-American children’s literature. Her globally cited work, Mirrors, Windows and Sliding Glass Doors, has inspired movements for increased diversity in books for young people, and provides the basis for the best multicultural practice and inquiry for students, teachers, writers and publishing houses.

 

March_aloneMichael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:

March: Book Three, created by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, is the 2017 Printz Award winner. The book is published by Top Shelf Productions, an imprint of IDW Publishing.

 

 

Four Printz Honor Books also were named:

Asking for It, by Louise O’Neill and published by Quercus, a Hachette Company; The Passion of Dolssa, by Julie Berry and published by Viking Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers; Scythe, by Neal Shusterman and published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Publishing; and The Sun Is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon and published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House.

Printz_honor

Schneider Family Book Award for books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience:

Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille, written by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Boris Kulikov and published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, wins the award for young children (ages 0 to 10). As Brave As You, written by Jason Reynolds and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, is the winner for middle grades (ages 11-13).

When We Collided, written by Emery Lord and published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books is the winner for teens (ages 13-18).

 

Alex Awards for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences:

The Queen of Blood, by Sarah Beth Durst, published by Harper Voyager, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

The Regional Office is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales, published by Riverhead, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided, by Diane Guerrero with Michelle Burford, published by Henry Holt and Co.

Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded, by Hannah Hart, published by Dey Street, an imprint of William Morrow, a division of HarperCollins Publishers.

Arena, by Holly Jennings, published by Ace Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire, a Tor Book published by Tom Doherty Associates.

Romeo and/or Juliet: A Choosable-Path Adventure, by Ryan North, published by Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Die Young with Me: A Memoir, by Rob Rufus, published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

The Wasp that Brainwashed the Caterpillar, by Matt Simon, published by Penguin Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko, by Scott Stambach, published by St. Martin’s Press.

 

Andrew Carnegie Medal for excellence in children’s video:

Ryan Swenar of Dreamscape Media, LLC, producer of Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music is the Carnegie Medal winner. Adapted from Margarita Engle’s book, a girl in 1930s Cuba aspires to play the drums, a privilege afforded only to boys. Based on the life of Chinese-African-Cuban Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, this story demonstrates how the power of persistence can break barriers, shatter expectations, and make one’s dreams a reality.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Award honors an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have made, over a period of years, a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children.

The 2017 winner is Nikki Grimes, whose award-winning works include Bronx Masquerade, which won the Coretta Scott King Author Award in 2003, and Words with Wings, the recipient of a Coretta Scott King Author Honor in 2014. In addition, Grimes received the Virginia Hamilton Literary Award in 2016 and the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children in 2006.

 

Dessen_and_booksMargaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults:

The 2017 winner is Sarah Dessen. Her books include: Dreamland, Keeping the Moon, Just Listen, The Truth about Forever, Along for the Ride, What Happened to Goodbye?, and This Lullaby, all published by Viking Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, a Penguin Random House Company.

 

2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award recognizing an author, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children’s literature, who then presents a lecture at a winning host site.

Naomi Shihab Nye will deliver the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture. The daughter of a Palestinian father and an American mother, Naomi Shihab Nye grew up in St. Louis, Jerusalem, and San Antonio, Texas. The author and/or editor of more than 30 books for adults and children, her latest for young people, The Turtle of Oman, was chosen as a 2015 Notable Children’s Book by the ALA. She has received four Pushcart Prizes, was a National Book Award finalist, and has been named a Guggenheim Fellow, amongst her many honors.

 

Mildred L. Batchelder Award for an outstanding children’s book originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States, and subsequently translated into English for publication in the United States: Cry, Heart, But Never Break is the 2017 Batchelder Award winner. Originally published in Danish in 2001 as Græd blot hjerte,” the book was written by Glenn Ringtved, illustrated by Charolotte Pardi, translated by Robert Moulthrop, and published by Enchanted Lion Books.

Three Batchelder Honor Books also were selected: Over the Ocean, published by Chronicle Books LLC, written and illustrated by Taro Gomi and translated from the Japanese by Taylor Norman; As Time Went By, published by NorthSouth Books, Inc., written and illustrated by José Sanabria and translated from the German by Audrey Hall; and The Ballad of a Broken Nose, published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, written by Arne Svingen and translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson.

 

Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults, available in English in the United States:

Anna and the Swallow Man, produced by Listening Library, an imprint of the Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Groups, is the 2017 Odyssey Award winner. The book is written by Gavriel Savit and narrated by Allan Corduner.

 

Three Odyssey Honor Audiobooks also were selected: Ghost produced by Simon and Schuster Audio, written by Jason Reynolds and narrated by Guy Lockard; Dream On, Amber, produced by Recorded Books, written by Emma Shevah and narrated by Laura Kirman; and Nimona, produced by HarperAudio, written by Noelle Stevenson and narrated by Rebecca Soler, Jonathan Davis, Marc Thompson, January LaVoy, Natalie Gold, Peter Bradbury and David Pittu.

 

Pura Belpré Awards honoring a Latino writer and illustrator whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience:

Lowriders to the Center of the Earth, illustrated by Raúl Gonzalez, is the Belpré Illustrator Award winner. The book was written by Cathy Camper and published by Chronicle Books LLC.

Two Belpré Illustrator Honor Books were named:

Esquivel!: Space-Age Sound Artist, illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh, written by Susan Wood and published by Charlesbridge.

The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes, illustrated and written by Duncan Tonatiuh and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS.

Juana & Lucas, written by Juana Medina, is the Pura Belpré Author Award winner. The book is illustrated by Juana Medina and published by Candlewick Press.

One Belpré Author Honor Book was named: The Only Road, written by Alexandra Diaz and published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers/A Paula Wiseman Book.

 

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children:

March: Book Three, written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell, is the Sibert Award winner. The book is published by Top Shelf Productions, an imprint of IDW Publishing, a division of Idea and Design Works LLC.

Four Sibert Honor Books were named:

Giant Squid, written by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann, a Neal Porter Book, published by Roaring Brook Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings Limited Partnership; Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story, written by Caren Stelson and published by Carolrhoda Books, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.; Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience During World War II, written by Albert Marrin and published by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC; and We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler, written by Russell Freedman and published by Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

Stonewall Book Award – Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award given annually to English-language children’s and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Hammer of Thor, written by Rick Riordan and published by Disney Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group, and If I Was Your Girl written by Meredith Russo and published by Flatiron Books, are the 2017 recipients of the Stonewall Book Awards – Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award, respectively.

Three Stonewall Honor Books were selected:

When the Moon Was Ours, written by Anna-Marie McLemore and published by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press; Unbecoming, written by Jenny Downham and published by Scholastic Inc. by arrangement with David Fickling Books; and Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community, written by Robin Stevenson and published by Orca Book Publishers.

Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished beginning reader book:

We Are Growing: A Mo Willems’ Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! Book, written by Laurie Keller. The book is published by Hyperion Books for Children, an imprint of Disney Book Group.

Four Geisel Honor Books were named: Good Night Owl, written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli and published by Disney Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group; Oops, Pounce, Quick, Run! An Alphabet Caper, written and illustrated by Mike Twohy and published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; Go Otto Go! written and illustrated by David Milgrim and published by Simon Spotlight, an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division; and The Infamous Ratsos, written by Kara LaReau, illustrated by Matt Myers and published by Candlewick Press.

William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens:

The Serpent King, written by Jeff Zentner, is the 2017 Morris Award winner. The book is published by Crown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a Penguin Random House Company. Four other books were finalists for the award: Girl Mans Up, written by M-E Girard, published by HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; Rani Patel in Full Effect, written by Sonia Patel, published by Cinco Puntos Press; The Smell of Other People’s Houses, written by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, published by Wendy Lamb Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a Penguin Random House Company; and Tell Me Something Real, written by Calla Devlin, published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

 

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults:

March: Book Three, created by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, is the 2017 Excellence winner. The book is published by Top Shelf Productions, an imprint of IDW Publishing.

Four other books were finalists for the award: Hillary Rodham Clinton: A WomanLiving History , by Karen Blumenthal and published by Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group; In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives, by Kenneth C. Davis, and published by Henry Holt, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group; Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune, written by Pamela S. Turner, illustrated by Gareth Hinds and published by Charlesbridge; and This Land Is Our Land: A History of American Immigration, written by Linda Barrett Osborne and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS.

]]>
http://www.slj.com/2017/01/industry-news/winners-of-the-2017-youth-media-awards/feed/ 0
The Bad Guys in Mission Unpluckable by Aaron Blabey | SLJ Review http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/the-bad-guys-in-mission-unpluckable-by-aaron-blabey-slj-review/ http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/the-bad-guys-in-mission-unpluckable-by-aaron-blabey-slj-review/#respond Mon, 23 Jan 2017 14:00:54 +0000 http://www.slj.com/?p=208462 BLABEY, Aaron. The Bad Guys in Mission Unpluckable. illus. by Aaron Blabey. 144p. ebook available. Scholastic. Mar. 2017. pap. $5.99. ISBN 9780545912419. POP

Gr 2-4 –The “Bad Guys” return for another rescue mission. This time their goal is to free 10,000 chickens from Sunnyside Chicken Farm. Readers new to the series will benefit from the summary that kicks off the story. However, fans of the original will also delight in one of the most creative synopses appearing in serial [...]]]> redstarBLABEY, Aaron. The Bad Guys in Mission Unpluckable. illus. by Aaron Blabey. 144p. ebook available. Scholastic. Mar. 2017. pap. $5.99. ISBN 9780545912419. POP

CB-Blabey-BadGuys2Gr 2-4 –The “Bad Guys” return for another rescue mission. This time their goal is to free 10,000 chickens from Sunnyside Chicken Farm. Readers new to the series will benefit from the summary that kicks off the story. However, fans of the original will also delight in one of the most creative synopses appearing in serial books. In this second tale, Mr. Wolf is still trying to prove that his crew is filled with “good guys,” which isn’t always easy. While Mr. Snake agrees to aid in the chickens’ release, it is clear to readers that he would rather eat them. To accomplish the chicken rescue operation, Mr. Wolf must enlist the help of a computer-hacking expert. Despite Mr. Shark’s trepidation, a tarantula joins the team. In a spoof on “Mission Impossible,” the heroes must break into the security system, navigate laser beams, and avoid wall sensors. It’s “Mission, Like, Totally Impossible.” Blabey continues to charm a wide age range of readers with uproarious storytelling and artwork that features exaggerated facial expressions. Readers will revel in the voice of his newest character. Variations in font sizes and styles not only make the pages sizzle but also aid developing readers. A twist at the end of this installment is sure to have kids begging to read more. VERDICT Guaranteed to be a hit for chapter book readers looking for humor and action.–Beth Parmer, New Albany Elementary Library, OH

This review was published in the School Library Journal January 2017 issue.

]]> http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/the-bad-guys-in-mission-unpluckable-by-aaron-blabey-slj-review/feed/ 0
SLJ 2017 Battle of the Kids’ Books Contenders Announced http://www.slj.com/2017/01/books-media/slj-2017-battle-of-the-kids-books-contenders-announced/ http://www.slj.com/2017/01/books-media/slj-2017-battle-of-the-kids-books-contenders-announced/#respond Fri, 20 Jan 2017 15:00:06 +0000 http://www.slj.com/?p=208831 BOB-KidsLogo2017March may be synonymous with three-pointers to many people, but here in the children’s book world, we’re all about BOB. Now in its ninth year, School Library Journal’s Battle of the Kids’ Books—affectionately known as BOB—brings together kid lit fans from classrooms, libraries, and publishing houses across the country to debate each of the contender’s literary merits, design, and overall appeal.

Sixteen of 2016’s best books for young people are being paired off in a series of one-on-one contests, March Madness style. This online elimination competition will pit the year’s most acclaimed titles for children and young adults against one another in matches. The panel of judges, consisting of some of the most esteemed authors in the field, will decide the contenders’ fates in this winner-take-all tournament. Each author (very closely) reads two books, and then decides which one advances to the next round. It ain’t easy. They must assess a range of works: nonfiction and fiction, children’s and teen novels, historical fiction and contemporary titles (and, for the first time, picture books). They ultimately have to designate one as the “best,” even from among books of different genres.

Among the picture books that will be vying for the title are Carole Boston Weatherford’s Freedom in Congo Square (little bee); Ashley Bryan’s Freedom over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Bks.); Sherman Alexie’s Thunderboy Jr. (Little, Brown); and Julie Fogliano’s When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons (Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks.).

But this year’s judges—to be revealed individually as the battle unfolds, starting on February 6—are up to the task. Past judges have included three National Ambassadors for Young People’s Literature: Jon Scieszka, Katherine Paterson, and Walter Dean Myers; Newbery Award winners Lois Lowry, Laura Amy Schlitz, and Clare Vanderpool; and New York Times best-sellers James Patterson and Jennifer L. Holm.

The battle officially launches Monday, March 13, with the 16 titles having been published on January 18. On Friday, March 31, the victor will be announced.

Fans can take part in the action by voting in the virtual Undead Poll. If a book is voted off early, it still can compete in the last round if it came out ahead during this Zombie Round. That voting opens March 2 and closes Sunday, March 12, the day before the first match. The “Closer,” or last judge, will choose the grand prize winner from among the Zombie Round winner and the last two books left standing.

The 2016 Closer, Ann M. Martin, had the daunting task of choosing among Rita Williams-Garcia’s Gone Crazy in Alabama (HarperCollins/Amistad), Brian Selznick’s The Marvels (Scholastic), and Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona (HarperCollins/Harper Teen), with The Marvels victorious when the dust settled.

BOB is the brainchild of Monica Edinger and Roxanne Feldman, educators at the Dalton School in New York City, and Jonathan Hunt, the coordinator of library media services at the San Diego County Office of Education (and SLJ’s “Heavy Medal” blogger). Inspired by The Morning News’s Tournament of Books, SLJ’s BOB launched in 2009 as an engaging way to celebrate children’s literature.

The process began months ago, with BOB’s Battle Commander winnowing the vast field to devise the list of contenders. Then, each of those worthy competitors was assigned a judge by SLJ editors. Adding to the fun is a series of whimsical illustrations created by SLJ’s own creative director, Mark Tuchman, which cleverly play on each title’s plotline.

From this stellar field of work, which book will emerge with the crown? We’ll just have to wait and see.

]]>
http://www.slj.com/2017/01/books-media/slj-2017-battle-of-the-kids-books-contenders-announced/feed/ 0
“March: Book Three” Named Winner of the 2017 Walter Award http://www.slj.com/2017/01/teens-ya/march-book-three-named-winner-of-the-2017-walter-award/ http://www.slj.com/2017/01/teens-ya/march-book-three-named-winner-of-the-2017-walter-award/#respond Fri, 20 Jan 2017 14:14:17 +0000 http://www.slj.com/?p=208880 March: Book Three as the winner of the Walter Dean Myers Award, along with three honorees.]]> ALA_TN_Walter_bigThe conclusion to the three-volume graphic nonfiction title March by Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, with art by Nate Powell, has garnered another accolade. We Need Diverse Books has selected it as the winner of the second annual Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature – Young Adult Category. Three honorees were also chosen. An SLJ Best Book, March: Book Three also won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in November 2016.

In 2018, the Walter will expand to include middle grade works, in addition to the existing YA category. Plans to add picture books in the future are under way. For more information about the award and the winners, see complete press release below.

We Need Diverse Books™ Announces the 2017 Walter Dean Myers Award and Honorees for Outstanding Children’s Literature – Young Adult Category By We Need Diverse Books January 17, 2017 (New York) – The We Need Diverse Books™ Walter Award Judging Committee has confirmed selections for the second annual Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature – Young Adult Category. One Winner and three Honorees have been named.The Walter Dean Myers Award, also known as “The Walter” is named for prolific children’s and young adult author Walter Dean Myers (1937-2014). Myers was the third National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, appointed in 2012, as well as a champion of diversity in children’s and YA books. The Walter’s mission is to honor Myers’ memory and his literary heritage, as well as celebrate diversity in teen literature.The winner of the 2017 Walter Award (2017) is March: Book Three by Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, with art by Nate Powell.The three honorees, in alphabetical order by author, are Watched by Marina Budhos, If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo, The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon.

The Judging Committee reviewed 68 submitted titles published during the 2016 calendar year by diverse authors whose work featured a diverse main character or addressed diversity in a meaningful way. In the case of author pairs (or author-illustrator pairs), at least one of the creators had to be from an underrepresented community. The books covered many genres and included both fiction and nonfiction work.

The 2017 Walter Award Judging Committee were: Co-chairs Kathie Weinberg and Terry Hong, Derek Ivie, Shannon Lake, Karen Lemmons, and Nayantara Mhatre.

“Our Committee was privileged to read and review so many exceptional YA titles representing diversity in authors, subject matter, and characters which were candidates for this award,” said CoChair Judge Kathie Weinberg. “We thank the publishers too, who worked with us for this second year to embrace the mission of the Walter Award.”

“In this time of profound change within our national leadership,” Hong noted, “we’re relieved to know that the right books can serve as ideal antidotes against xenophobia, prejudice, intolerance, hate, and every negative, hurtful, limiting -ism out there.”

In 2018, the Walter will be expanded to include Middle Grade titles, in addition to the existing Young Adult category. Plans to add a Picture Book category in the future are underway. The co-chairs for the 2018 Judging Committee are Terry Hong and Maria Salvadore. Kathie Weinberg and Terry Hong will assume Co-director roles for The Walter Award, effective immediately. In this capacity, they will oversee the Walter Judging Committee, coordinate with publishers, generate publicity for the Award, and present the annual Award event.

We Need Diverse Books™ is a 501(c)(3) organization established in 2014 to address the lack of diverse representation in the children’s publishing industry. The Walter Dean Myers Award is one of the many initiatives funded or supported by WNDB™.

# #

]]>
http://www.slj.com/2017/01/teens-ya/march-book-three-named-winner-of-the-2017-walter-award/feed/ 0
Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly | SLJ Review http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/hello-universe-by-erin-entrada-kelly-slj-review/ http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/hello-universe-by-erin-entrada-kelly-slj-review/#respond Fri, 20 Jan 2017 14:00:48 +0000 http://www.slj.com/?p=208456 KELLY, Erin Entrada. Hello, Universe. illus. by Isabel Roxas. 320p. ­HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062414151.

Gr 3-7 –The universe comes together unexpectedly when a unique set of circumstances cause four tweens to cross paths. Central to the story is Virgil, an 11-year-old Filipino American whose grandmother, Lola, helps him to come out of his shell and face the world. When Virgil and his pet guinea pig, Gulliver, end up trapped in a well in the woods at [...]]]> redstarKELLY, Erin Entrada. Hello, Universe. illus. by Isabel Roxas. 320p. ­HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062414151.

MG-SL-Kelly-HelloUniverseGr 3-7 –The universe comes together unexpectedly when a unique set of circumstances cause four tweens to cross paths. Central to the story is Virgil, an 11-year-old Filipino American whose grandmother, Lola, helps him to come out of his shell and face the world. When Virgil and his pet guinea pig, Gulliver, end up trapped in a well in the woods at the hands of a bully, Chet, it is up to the stars to align before it’s too late. Coming together like spokes on a wheel, everyone converges in the woods—Valencia, a Deaf girl on whom Virgil has a crush; Kaori, an adolescent fortune-teller and free spirit; Kaori’s sister, Gen, her jump-roping apprentice; a feral dog Valencia has befriended; and a snake, which is the only thing Chet fears. Unlikely friendships are formed and heroism abounds as the group of young people try to find their way in the world. Plucky protagonists and a deftly woven story will appeal to anyone who has ever felt a bit lost in the universe. VERDICT Readers across the board will flock to this book that has something for nearly everyone—humor, bullying, self-acceptance, cross-generational relationships, and a smartly fateful ending.–Michele Shaw, Quail Run Elementary School, San Ramon, CA

This review was published in the School Library Journal January 2017 issue.

]]> http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/hello-universe-by-erin-entrada-kelly-slj-review/feed/ 0
All Ears, All Eyes by Richard Jackson | SLJ Review http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/all-ears-all-eyes-by-richard-jackson-slj-review/ http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/all-ears-all-eyes-by-richard-jackson-slj-review/#respond Fri, 20 Jan 2017 14:00:26 +0000 http://www.slj.com/?p=208452 JACKSON, Richard. All Ears, All Eyes. illus. by Katherine Tillotson. 40p. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Bks. Mar. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481415712; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781481415729.

PreS-Gr 2 –A forest night setting created with watercolor and digital techniques at first connotes quiet and stillness, but from beginning to end, this story encourages readers to look closer and listen deeper to discover a symphony of sight and sound. As the day starts to fade, an owl sits practically camouflaged in a tree, [...]]]> redstarJACKSON, Richard. All Ears, All Eyes. illus. by Katherine Tillotson. 40p. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Bks. Mar. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481415712; ebk. $10.99. ISBN 9781481415729.

all ears all eyesPreS-Gr 2 –A forest night setting created with watercolor and digital techniques at first connotes quiet and stillness, but from beginning to end, this story encourages readers to look closer and listen deeper to discover a symphony of sight and sound. As the day starts to fade, an owl sits practically camouflaged in a tree, painted in the same blues and purples as the leaves. When night falls, the following pages repeat the technique, and many of the creatures cannot be seen until they, surprisingly and delightfully, become visible. This pairs well with the questions and cadence of the text (“What surprises? What sings? Crick-crick-crickets chirring in the thick-thick-thickets.”). There’s no need to fear the dark knowing that there’s such company stirring within it, and yet even with this noise and activity, the ending provides a gentle send-off to slumber. VERDICT This lovely, evocative selection is a guessing game and a soothing bedtime offering that’s perfect for reading aloud, especially to young animal and nature lovers.–Joanna K. Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Library

This review was published in the School Library Journal January 2017 issue.

]]> http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/all-ears-all-eyes-by-richard-jackson-slj-review/feed/ 0
Junior Library Guild to Sponsor Multicultural Children’s Book Day http://www.slj.com/2017/01/diversity/junior-library-guild-to-sponsor-multicultural-childrens-book-day/ http://www.slj.com/2017/01/diversity/junior-library-guild-to-sponsor-multicultural-childrens-book-day/#respond Thu, 19 Jan 2017 17:32:26 +0000 http://www.slj.com/?p=208704 MCBookDay-white-1

Junior Library Guild (JLG) is sponsoring the 2017 Multicultural Children’s Book Day on January 27. See complete press release below.

(NOTE: JLG is owned by Media Source, Inc., SLJ’s parent company.)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Junior Library Guild launches Multicultural Literacy Resources for Librarians, Sponsors the Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 Campaign

(Plain City, OH—January 18, 2017) Junior Library Guild (JLG)—a Media Source Inc. company—promotes multicultural literacy through a series of initiatives for librarians, including sponsoring the Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD) 2017 campaign.
As part of JLG’s mission to “fuel excellence in libraries, literacy, and learning,” raising awareness about the need for culturally and ethnically diverse books is critical to supporting the literacy needs of young readers.
“We believe that every student should have access to terrific books that reflect the diversity of this nation,” says Andrew Thorne, JLG’s VP of Marketing. “Books by diverse authors have long been an important component of Junior Library Guild’s offerings, and our sponsorship with MCBD is a natural extension for us.”
JLG is the honorary sponsor of Multicultural Children’s Book Day, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about diverse books. Through JLG’s donation of 200 diverse, award-winning, hardcover books to the MCBD Classroom Reading Challenge, teachers are able to sign up to receive a free diverse book for their classroom library. Learn more about MCBD here: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/

JLG has also developed a number of initiatives focusing on raising awareness about multicultural books in the library. Deborah Ford, JLG’s Director of Library Outreach, has written a white paper entitled “4 Ways to Strengthen Diversity in Your Library Program.” JLG has hundreds of books designated as diverse in multiple genres ranging from PreK to Adult Crossover across 74 book categories; which are available online at 2017 Multicultural Book List. In addition, JLG has launched a dedicated book category, named Multicultural Elementary, which librarians can choose to receive as part of a JLG membership. Deb Ford’s 10 minute video highlights six recently published multicultural books.
Pinners can also check out JLG’s Pinterest board, We Need Diversity, which includes strategies and program ideas to help librarians even further.

About Junior Library Guild—a Media Source, Inc. Company

Junior Library Guild (JLG) is a book review and collection development service helping thousands of school and public libraries acquire the best new-release children’s and young adult books. Founded in 1929, JLG is a privately held company based in Plain City, Ohio and owned by Media Source, Inc. whose mission is to partner with librarians, teachers, organizations, parents and others to fuel excellence in libraries, literacy, and learning.
Over 21,000 librarians across the U.S. trust JLG to help them develop their library collection. JLG’s editorial team knows the children’s and young-adult literature landscape like no one else. They read and review thousands of author manuscripts per year and select only the best to become a published JLG Selection. Over 95% of #JLGSelections go on to become award-winners and/or receive favorable reviews. This credibility gives JLG a unique advantage, which benefits our members and publishers who value the prestige knowing their books are on the #JLGSelection booklist. JLG is proud to offer these newly published titles soon after release to libraries across the nation for PreK-Adult Crossover reading levels. Learn more: www.juniorlibraryguild.com

# #

]]>
http://www.slj.com/2017/01/diversity/junior-library-guild-to-sponsor-multicultural-childrens-book-day/feed/ 0
ILA Report: Digital Literacy Is Hot; Access to Books and Content Is Not http://www.slj.com/2017/01/literacy/ila-report-digital-literacy-is-hot-access-to-books-and-content-is-not/ http://www.slj.com/2017/01/literacy/ila-report-digital-literacy-is-hot-access-to-books-and-content-is-not/#respond Thu, 19 Jan 2017 15:00:50 +0000 http://www.slj.com/?p=208679 ILA-affiliate-WEB_gray-The International Literacy Association (ILA) has released its annual What’s Hot in Literacy report. Based on responses from more than 1,500 literacy researchers, classroom teachers, librarians, and community leaders in 89 countries and territories, the findings show that what is trendy when talking about literacy is not always the same as what’s most important to discuss.

The differences in how topics were designated by respondents—getting a lot of buzz but not necessarily that important, and vice versa—is something Marcie Craig Post, ILA’s executive director, thinks deserves attention. She suggests that perhaps the timing of the survey near the presidential election, as well as the location of respondents and the amount of publicity a subject received, might have factored into how survey respondents rated various topics. The media and the influence of its reporting is, in itself, a hot topic right now, so that might have skewed what respondents perceived as important to focus on.

surprising results

The topic of digital literacy, for example, is viewed, relatively, as more “hot” than “important.” The report shows that while the subject was rated as either very or extremely important by 59 percent of respondents at the community level and by 63 percent at a national level, it was seen as less important than other topics, including teacher professional development and disciplinary literacy.

Craig Post suggested that a reason for this might be that there are different interpretations of digital literacy. “The findings for digital literacy are interesting, aren’t they?” she says, noting that digital literacy can be viewed as facile use of equipment, such as smartboards and iPads. But “the important side of it is not the tool, but how to utilize it. What aspects of language do kids need in order to search and write in the digital space? How do they check the validity of a source? These are things that we need to be putting more attention on,” she explains. Craig Post also pointed out that studies have indicated that students from middle and upper socioeconomic classes are more proficient in using search engines because they have a larger vocabulary, showing that literacy involves not just knowing how to read, but also understanding what you read in a way that allows you to do something with that information.

There were also other findings that Craig Post called surprising. Particularly unexpected was that only 39 percent of respondents said access to books and content was a very or extremely hot topic in their community, and only 36 percent said this about their country. But respondents ranked this the second most important topic in the report, behind only parent engagement.

“Neutral” topics that are anything but

Still, Craig Post would rather have it that way than the other way around. “I can say with some degree of comfort that we didn’t have anything in there that was hot, but unimportant,” she said. “There were some neglected areas that surprised us. [The responses regarding] multi-language learners and English learners concerned us because it was very neutral, neither hot nor important, and we’re talking about a global society.” She wondered if the lukewarm reaction to these subjects was due to the recent change in political rhetoric in this country, noting that in Europe, a culture of multilingualism is embedded in daily life.

Leadership was another “neutral” topic. “We view the important angle on that to be: What do literacy leaders need to know to be effective in that environment at the system level? How are these people fundamentally contributing to and informing how literacy is taught? It’s about what is important in teaching literacy in a systematic way,” says Craig Post. “I think there’s a need for literacy leaders who know what that looks like and how to see that in action.” Craig Post sees librarians as the front line of literacy leadership. “It’s important to raise awareness of what culture of literacy looks like in a school, and librarians are up there alongside principals as resources.”

Some things never change

In addition to those surprising differences in this latest report, Craig Post also noted consistencies over the years. Early literacy, parent engagement and teacher professional learning and development are subjects that are regularly specified as worthy of attention. “Those needles aren’t moving, so clearly we need to be doing more and putting out information, finding out how [these areas are] evolving,” she says

A reality check

Now that the ILA has these findings, the question becomes: what will the organization do with the information? “The beauty of this survey is that it allows us to look across data, and we feel a great responsibility to communicate what we found out and urge others to do the same,” said Craig Post. “We [as a field] still are not good at getting what we know, which is derived from research, into the classroom, nor are we [really] good at explicitly making that connection for our teachers. There’s a disparity between research and practice.” To that end, a subgroup in the ILA is conducting deeper research based on the survey results.

Ultimately, Craig Post thinks the survey can show where more research is needed and can spark discussions about literacy that are necessary, albeit nuanced and difficult. “It gives us a reality check,” she said.

]]>
http://www.slj.com/2017/01/literacy/ila-report-digital-literacy-is-hot-access-to-books-and-content-is-not/feed/ 0
Princess Cora and the Crocodile by Laura Amy Schlitz | SLJ Review http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/books/princess-cora-and-the-crocodile-by-laura-amy-schlitz-slj-review/ http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/books/princess-cora-and-the-crocodile-by-laura-amy-schlitz-slj-review/#respond Thu, 19 Jan 2017 14:00:45 +0000 http://www.slj.com/?p=208444 SCHLITZ, Laura Amy. Princess Cora and the Crocodile. illus. by Brian Floca. 80p. Candlewick. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763648220.

Gr 1-4 –Little Cora is an old-fashioned princess with a decidedly contemporary problem: her well-meaning parents have overscheduled her with improving experiences, and she just wants a day off. Failing at her less than assertive attempts to convince the adults of her castle to give her a break, she calls on her fairy godmother for assistance. The help comes [...]]]> redstarSCHLITZ, Laura Amy. Princess Cora and the Crocodile. illus. by Brian Floca. 80p. Candlewick. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763648220.

CB-Schlitz-PrincessCoraandtheCrocodileGr 1-4 –Little Cora is an old-fashioned princess with a decidedly contemporary problem: her well-meaning parents have overscheduled her with improving experiences, and she just wants a day off. Failing at her less than assertive attempts to convince the adults of her castle to give her a break, she calls on her fairy godmother for assistance. The help comes in the form of a gigantic crocodile who dons Cora’s frilly pink dress and takes her place in the princess’s daily routine of excessive bath taking, spreadsheet review, and calisthenics in the dungeon-turned-gym. Schlitz’s narrative is incredibly entertaining, with chapters that alternate between chaos at the castle and Cora’s meandering day in the woods and pastures. Featuring Floca’s hysterical full-color artwork, the book is laugh-out-loud funny. The crocodile’s expressive, snaggle-toothed face and extreme body language clearly convey his frustration with Cora’s required activities, and his eventual shutdown of each oblivious adult is a bored child’s dream come true. The fable is reminiscent of the finest adult-comeuppance collaborations of Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake, with the added bonus that the princess learns to speak up for herself and the grown-ups learn to listen. The book’s trim size and artwork will appeal to fans of Kate DiCamillo’s “Mercy Watson” series, and the elegant prose reads aloud beautifully. VERDICT This delightful illustrated chapter book is a first purchase for all elementary schools and public libraries.–Beth Wright Redford, Richmond Elementary School Library, VT

This review was published in the School Library Journal January 2017 issue.

]]> http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/books/princess-cora-and-the-crocodile-by-laura-amy-schlitz-slj-review/feed/ 0
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz | SLJ Review http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/books/the-inexplicable-logic-of-my-life-by-benjamin-alire-saenz-slj-review/ http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/books/the-inexplicable-logic-of-my-life-by-benjamin-alire-saenz-slj-review/#respond Thu, 19 Jan 2017 14:00:21 +0000 http://www.slj.com/?p=208448 SÁENZ, Benjamin Alire. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life. 464p. ebook available. Clarion. Mar. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544586505. POP

Gr 9 Up –It is the first day of senior year, and Sal feels as if his life is exactly as it should be. He has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican American extended family. Sal’s best friend, Samantha, is almost like his sister. She really gets him, and more [...]]]> redstarSÁENZ, Benjamin Alire. The Inexplicable Logic of My Life. 464p. ebook available. Clarion. Mar. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544586505. POP

YA-HS-Saenz-TheInexplicableLogicofMyLifeGr 9 Up –It is the first day of senior year, and Sal feels as if his life is exactly as it should be. He has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican American extended family. Sal’s best friend, Samantha, is almost like his sister. She really gets him, and more often than not, she finishes his sentences and knows exactly what he is thinking, even when he won’t admit it. Sal is an inward thinker who struggles with anger that has begun to boil just under the surface. After tragedy strikes Samantha’s life and leaves her reeling, Sal and his father take responsibility for her well-being and bring her into their family circle. At the same time, Sal befriends Fito, a streetwise teen trying to find his place in a world not of his own choosing. Sal and Samantha show Fito that his life has purpose, just as they discover the same about their own lives. Sal’s history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-changing events force him and Samantha to confront serious issues of faith, loss, and grief. The themes of love, social responsibility, death, and redemption are expertly intertwined with well-developed characters and a compelling story line. This complex, sensitive, and profoundly moving book is beautifully written and will stay with readers. VERDICT A must-purchase title, recommended for all school and public libraries.–Amy Caldera, Dripping Springs Middle School, TX

This review was published in the School Library Journal January 2017 issue.

]]> http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/books/the-inexplicable-logic-of-my-life-by-benjamin-alire-saenz-slj-review/feed/ 0
A Historic Meeting | Picture of the Week http://www.slj.com/2017/01/industry-news/a-historic-meeting-picture-of-the-week/ http://www.slj.com/2017/01/industry-news/a-historic-meeting-picture-of-the-week/#comments Wed, 18 Jan 2017 21:26:31 +0000 http://www.slj.com/?p=208667 Caren Stelson, the author of Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story, recently traveled across the Pacific to visit with Sachiko Yasui, the Nagasaki atomic bomb survivor and subject of the work, at the latter’s nursing home in Nagasaki, Japan. During the same trip, Stelson paid a visit to the city’s mayor, Tomihisa Taue, to announce the publication of the book.

Caren and Sachiko in Nagasaki

]]>
http://www.slj.com/2017/01/industry-news/a-historic-meeting-picture-of-the-week/feed/ 1
Citing “Bathroom Bill,” Riordan Passes on Texas Honor http://www.slj.com/2017/01/industry-news/citing-bathroom-bill-riordan-passes-on-texas-honor/ http://www.slj.com/2017/01/industry-news/citing-bathroom-bill-riordan-passes-on-texas-honor/#comments Wed, 18 Jan 2017 20:12:19 +0000 http://www.slj.com/?p=208652 Rick RiordanRick Riordan, creator of “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” and other series, has taken a stand against the proposed Texas “bathroom bill.” In protest, Riordan, who was born in San Antonio, has turned down an invitation to attend the Texas Legislature Celebration of Texas Authors on March 8, 2017. Riordan posted this tweet on January 6:

Just turned down an invite to be honored by TX state legislature as a Texas author. If they want to honor me, they could stop this nonsense.

The tweet came a day after Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick presented Senate Bill 6 that requires people to use the bathroom that matches their biological gender in schools and other public buildings, with each violation enforced through a civil fine of at least $1,000. The bill was introduced by State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham). Since the tweet first appeared, it has received about 11,500 likes and more than 4,000 retweets.

The tweet prompted a response from Rep. Jason Villalba (R-Dallas), who is the organizer of the event that Riordan declined to attend. “I don’t want to challenge [Riordan’s] belief system,” Villalba told the Texas Tribune. “I appreciate that this is his way of making his statement about what has occurred. My only disappointment is we can’t show him how much we appreciate his great work.”

Riordan’s tweet prompted other authors who were invited to the event to take a stand. Amanda Eyre Ward, whose latest book The Nearness of You (Ballantine) comes out in February, also declined via Twitter. Meanwhile, Sarah Bird, author of Love Letter to Texas Women (University of Texas, 2016) was disinvited to the event after she was openly critical of the Texas legislature.

pj-3-titans-curse-cover-LG-204x300Walter Betts, the president of the Texas Library Association, respects the decision of the authors. “I appreciate that Rick Riordan and other Texas authors boycotting the Texas state legislature’s Celebration of Authors event in support of transgender equality and dignity are following their convictions,” he says.

“The American Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Round Table supports those who stand up against discriminatory laws that aim to stop full inclusion of transgender individuals,” says Deb Sica, chair of the round table. “We thank author Rick Riordan for bringing attention to this legislation and his work in coalition to stop discriminatory measures for all GLBTQIA people.”

Ty Burns, who represents the children’s round table on the Texas Library Association’s Council, regrets that Riordan has chosen not to be recognized for his respected contributions to children’s literature. He believes that the honor would “draw more recognition to the importance of children’s literature.”

However, Burns, who is also the chair of the 2017 Rainbow Book List for GLBTQ children’s literature and the retired library director of the Clear Creek (TX) ISD, “respects Riordan’s right and freedom to let our government leaders [know] that they are trying to legislate discrimination against a group that is already marginalized greatly without this new law,” he says.

In March 2016, similar legislation in North Carolina spurred 269 authors and illustrators of children’s literature to write an open letter to young readers in that state.

 

 

 

 

 

]]>
http://www.slj.com/2017/01/industry-news/citing-bathroom-bill-riordan-passes-on-texas-honor/feed/ 1
Series for Every Type of Reluctant Reader | Nonfiction Notions http://www.slj.com/2017/01/collection-development/series-for-every-type-of-reluctant-reader-nonfiction-notions/ http://www.slj.com/2017/01/collection-development/series-for-every-type-of-reluctant-reader-nonfiction-notions/#comments Wed, 18 Jan 2017 15:48:35 +0000 http://www.slj.com/?p=208497 There are, in my experience, three types of reluctant readers. First, there are the kids who struggle to read, know they are “poor readers,” and hate reading because of it. Then, there are kids who can read competently but prefer to do pretty much anything else, like sports, video games, hanging out with friends, watching movies, etc. Finally, there are the kids who are categorized as reluctant readers, but are actually highly selective readers, often wary of reading books adults want them to read. Naturally, nonfiction is the answer to all three of these problems! Below are specific series and publishers whose titles will tempt each type of reluctant reader.

The Struggling Reader

For struggling readers, I recommend Bearport publishers. This series nonfiction publisher specializes in high-interest nonfiction at a lower reading level. I don’t recommend them unreservedly; some of their Bearportmaterial, especially titles from the Ruby Tuesday imprint, can have errors and not all of them resonate with every type of reader. However, their science, sports, and animal series are all excellent. I specifically recommend “Science Slam.” This series includes 129 titles, with each one focusing on a different animal, plant, or scientific subject (such as recycling, dirt, rocks, and seasons.) Struggling readers who need to access research materials for class projects will find these titles both readable and engaging. Bearport’s unique sports series also stand out. “Football Heroes Making a Difference” and “Basketball Heroes Making a Difference” go beyond the usual fare of sports statistics by promoting sports figures who contribute to their communities and fans. Students who can’t read the higher-level titles their peers may be devouring will be thrilled to find new facts and stories in these books to share with their friends.

The Disinterested Reader

NGChaptersThe second category of reluctant readers, those who can read but have other interests they’d rather pursue, can often be enticed into reading with National Geographic’s titles. Many librarians are already familiar with the factoid and joke books produced by NatGeo, but if you dig a little deeper into their offerings, you’ll find a wider variety of enticing nonfiction. I specifically recommend their “Everything” series, which includes titles on subjects as varied as soccer, Vikings, money, birds of prey, sports, and robotics. When serving this type of reader, it’s essential to have a conversation (or several) in order to understand where their interests lie outside of the usual book genres. Once you know what they’re passionate about, you’ll be able to match them with a text that draws them into reading with bright photographs and interesting tidbits of knowledge. These kids are often reluctant to sit still for the length of time needed to read a full-length novel or narrative nonfiction title, so shorter, more browseable titles are usually successful and will show them that reading can be relevant to their lives.

The Highly Selective Reader

The third category of readers, those who can read well but aren’t interested in what the adults in their lives want them to read, are the most difficult to serve. Well-meaning teachers, parents, and librarians often push these kids to enjoy the classic novels they themselves read as children or “challenging” titles that will push their reading skills. Often, these kids stubbornly cling to a few favorite authors and refuse to try anything new, while their caregivers get increasingly frustrated at their refusal to expand their reading choices. For these readers and their adults, I recommend that most elusive of creatures: the nonfiction chapter book. These titles will satisfy parents who want their kids to read narrative books and teachers who assign titles that must be at least 100 pages long. Most importantly, kids who don’t want to read massive tomes and unbroken pages of words will be satisfied as well.

To get these selective readers started, I suggest two series; National Geographic’s “Kids Chapters” and little bee’s new nonfiction chapter book series, “Blast Back!” The titles in NatGeo’s series each contain three to five chapters, each chapter being a separate true story. They often feature true animal tales, but also include extreme sports and scientific research. The books are colorful and include photographs andBlast Back extra facts, but are primarily focused on the narratives. Kids who are introduced to this series will devour them and then get interested in reading longer, more complex titles like the books in HMH’s stellar “Scientists in the Field.” The “Blast Back!” series, part of little bee’s excursion into the world of chapter books, is a natural read-alike for fans of “Magic Tree House” and “I Survived!” and offers kids who prefer notebook novels a look at how fun history can be. Each book, at just over 100 pages, introduces a different historical event or culture. Current and forthcoming titles focus on ancient Egypt, the U.S. Civil War, the Great Wall of China, the Titanic, and the Salem witch trials. Each title is decorated throughout with cartoons and the text is simple and brisk, with a helping of snarky humor. Of course, kids are not going to jump straight from reading “Blast Back!” to Steve Sheinkin, but after they’ve devoured the whole series try them on Georgia Bragg, Sarah Albee, and Nancy Castaldo and you’ll soon find you’ve got a dedicated reader on your hands.

It can be discouraging and frustrating to work with struggling and reluctant readers, especially if you’re also dealing with a concerned or stubborn caregiver, but these publishers and series offer something for both students and adults and will hopefully inspire them to discover the joy of reading together.

]]>
http://www.slj.com/2017/01/collection-development/series-for-every-type-of-reluctant-reader-nonfiction-notions/feed/ 2
Nonfiction Graphic Novels: Give These to Fans of “March” http://www.slj.com/2017/01/teens-ya/nonfiction-graphic-novels-give-these-to-fans-of-march/ http://www.slj.com/2017/01/teens-ya/nonfiction-graphic-novels-give-these-to-fans-of-march/#respond Wed, 18 Jan 2017 15:30:16 +0000 http://www.slj.com/?p=206471 march-book3-cover-713x1024This is the year of March: Book Three. The third volume in Congressman John Lewis’s graphic memoir of the civil rights movement, coauthored by Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell, is the first graphic novel to win a National Book Award and is making all of the best-of-the-year lists. And deservedly so.

All three volumes in the “March” trilogy are great reads for teens. The titles show what life was like in the Jim Crow South and how a determined group of activists mobilized to change the world. While history can sometimes seem like a string of almost inevitable events, the “March” titles make clear that nothing was inevitable in the civil rights movement, and the authors vividly depict not just the passion of the organizers, but also their planning and preparation. In addition, March: Book Three is simply a dramatic story.

The “March” trilogy is truly one of a kind, but the graphic medium in general has great power to convey information, bring the reader into the center of the action, and breathe life into the dry facts of history. Here’s a roundup of recent and upcoming graphic novels that bring history and current events to life in a similar way, by telling important stories through the eyes of real people.

mamaBAGIEU, Pénélope. California Dreamin’: Cass Elliott Before the Mamas and the Papas. 272p. First Second. Mar. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626725461
Gr 10 Up
–Bagieu’s biography of singer Cass Elliott takes its title from her most iconic song. Elliott was the lead singer in the 1960s vocal group The Mamas and the Papas, but this story shows what led up to that stardom: Elliott’s childhood in a family of Jewish deli entrepreneurs in Baltimore, her irrepressible high school personality, and her early career as a musician. Elliott performed in an ever-changing series of bands before finally joining the group that would become The Mamas and the Papas, against the wishes of songwriter John Phillips. Woven throughout the story is the issue of Elliott’s weight: Bagieu portrays her as a skinny kid who started eating more to please her family, and an overweight teenager and adult who was comfortable with her body, even though she lost some opportunities because of it. Bagieu has a loose, curvy style that works well with the subject matter; as a child, Elliott has an impish quality reminiscent of Hilary Knight’s Eloise, and as a woman, she carries her body with grace. True to its period, the book includes many scenes of drug use (marijuana and LSD), and there is some talk of sexual situations but no explicit depictions.

BROWN, Box. Tetris: The Games People Play. 256p. First Second. Oct. 2016. pap. $19.99. ISBN 9781626723153.

tetrisGr 9 Up–Brown’s history of the video game Tetris is also a history of games in general, as well as the complicated story of the pioneering video game itself. He shows the creation of Tetris as a side project, basically for fun, by Russian computer scientist Alexey Pajitnov. The addictive game spread via shareware throughout Moscow and then to Hungary, where it caught the eye of Robert Stein of Andromeda Software, who wanted to market it. The story gets more tangled from there, with several businessmen wrangling over the rights and Alexey sitting back in his office, smoking cigarettes and drinking tea, unaware of most of what was going on. Brown takes some interesting side trips into the psychology of games and the history of gaming, particularly the origins of Nintendo’s Game Boy and Donkey Kong. His simple, blocky style is appropriate to the subject matter, and he takes pains to make the story less confusing by introducing characters one at a time and occasionally using diagrams and flow charts to make his points.

rolling-blackoutsGLIDDEN, Sarah. Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. 304p. Drawn & Quarterly. Oct. 2016. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9781770462557.

Gr 10 Up–Glidden’s story of traveling through Turkey, Syria, and Iraq with a team of freelance journalists is a fascinating piece of reporting on both the situation of refugees in those countries and on journalism itself. Glidden shows us the journalists conducting interviews, as well as finding contacts, setting up stories, and discussing how to frame and market their work. Also traveling with the team is Dan, a friend of the journalists who is a veteran of the Iraq War, and much of the story revolves around his reflections and the ethical problems that come with including a personal friend in news reporting. Glidden’s simple drawing style brings the different settings to life with just a few details, and her art is easy to follow. While the situation in the region has changed drastically since her 2010 trip, the team’s conversations with ordinary people there still shed unexpected light on both the Iraq War and the lives of refugees.

fukushimaKAZUTO, Tatsuta. Ichi-F: A Worker’s Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. 576p. Kodansha Comics. Mar. 2017. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9781632363558.

Gr 9 Up–The pseudonymous author of this manga was just an ordinary guy working cleanup at the Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Power Plant, which was severely damaged during the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. His duties there included plumbing, maintenance, and taking care of the robots that went into the plant to remove the melted fuel rods. Unlike the other workers, though, Kazuto was also a manga creator (although at that time, an unsuccessful one), and his account of his work at the reactor caused a sensation when it was published in Japan. Kodansha Comics is collecting all three of the original volumes in a thick omnibus to be published next spring.


MOORE, Anne Elizabeth, and The Ladydrawers.
Threadbare: Clothes, Sex, and Trafficking. 160p. Microcosm. May 2017. pap. $13.95. ISBN 9781621067399.

threadbareGr 10 Up–Created as a journalistic project by Moore and the artists of the Ladydrawers collective, Threadbare takes a hard look at the fashion industry from a number of different angles, including the rise of “fast fashion,” the secondhand clothing industry, free trade zones, the life of a model, and the internationalization of fashion. The stories include some frank talk about sexual harassment, and the sections on the connections between sex trafficking and the garment industry, which include critiques of anti-trafficking NGOs and an interview with an advocate for sex workers, may be challenging for some readers, although there are no explicit depictions. The book is written for an adult audience and includes some dry discussions of the business aspects of the industry. In addition, the drawings are uneven in quality, and the lettering is sometimes hard to read. Nonetheless, this is an extremely valuable overview for anyone interested in knowing what goes on behind the clothing racks, and the subject is inherently appealing to teenagers. The stories include many unusual points of view, and everything is copiously footnoted, making this a good starting point for further research.

colonial-comicsRODRIGUEZ, Jason, ed. Colonial Comics, Volume II: New England, 1750-1775. 216p. Fulcrum. Jan. 2017. ISBN 9781682750025.

Gr 7 Up–The Colonial Comics books (three volumes are planned in all) are anthologies of short stories by different authors, each focusing on a single event in pre-Revolutionary history. Some focus on lesser-known figures, such as smugglers and agitators, while others cast an iconic event in a new light, such as the story about how the tea that was thrown overboard in the Boston Tea Party got to Boston Harbor in the first place. The stories all stand alone but together, they add up to a well-rounded picture of life in New England in the middle of the 18th century.

aliTITEUX, Sybille. Muhammad Ali. illus. by Amazing Ameziane. 128p. Dark Horse. Nov. 2016. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781506703183.

Gr 9 Up–Two French creators capture the essence of a very American phenomenon, Muhammad Ali, following him from his childhood in Jim Crow Kentucky through his turbulent career as a boxer and fiery spokesman for civil rights, to his quiet final years when, his fists stilled by Parkinson’s disease, he met with presidents and accepted belated honors—including a new Olympic medal to replace the one he threw off a bridge in 1963. Titeux and Ameziane quickly put Ali’s story into context, explaining the political and cultural events that touch on his life, and they also do a great job of explaining the boxing piece, showing how each of his fights unfolded in the ring. The one flaw in this book is the decision to write it in the second person, addressing the subject directly, but the story itself is so engrossing that readers will likely overlook that narrative misstep.

brief-historiesWARNER, Andy. Brief Histories of Everyday Objects. 224 p. Picador. Oct. 2016. Tr $20. ISBN 9781250078650.

Gr 7 Up–This one is just for fun! In brief three- and four-page episodes, Warner tells the fascinating stories behind everything from toothbrushes to traffic lights. The stories are based on facts, but the characters speak in an anachronistically facetious tone that will go over well with teenagers. The entries are short and self-contained (although there are a few running jokes), so the book can be read in small bites, and each section includes a few extra facts.

 

]]>
http://www.slj.com/2017/01/teens-ya/nonfiction-graphic-novels-give-these-to-fans-of-march/feed/ 0
The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz | SLJ Audio Review http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/the-inquisitors-tale-or-the-three-magical-children-and-their-holy-dog-by-adam-gidwitz-slj-audio-review/ http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/the-inquisitors-tale-or-the-three-magical-children-and-their-holy-dog-by-adam-gidwitz-slj-audio-review/#respond Wed, 18 Jan 2017 14:00:51 +0000 http://www.slj.com/?p=208431 GIDWITZ, Adam. The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog. 8 CDs. 10:14 hrs. Listening Library. Sept. 2016. $40. ISBN 9780735287389. digital download.

Gr 5-8 –The year is 1242; the setting: a roadside inn on the outskirts of a small French town. Travelers from all corners of France share what they know about the country’s most notorious outlaws: a group of three children and their dog. Jeanne is a peasant girl able to see the [...]]]> redstarGIDWITZ, Adam. The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog. 8 CDs. 10:14 hrs. Listening Library. Sept. 2016. $40. ISBN 9780735287389. digital download.

AU-Gidwitz-InquisitorsTaleGr 5-8 –The year is 1242; the setting: a roadside inn on the outskirts of a small French town. Travelers from all corners of France share what they know about the country’s most notorious outlaws: a group of three children and their dog. Jeanne is a peasant girl able to see the future. William is a young monk with unusual physical strength and intelligence. Jacob is a Jewish boy who possesses powerful healing abilities. The final member of the group is Gwenforte, the holy greyhound. These unlikely friends find themselves on the run from monks, demons, dragons, knights, and the king of France himself as they try to escape persecution and save religious books from being burned. Each traveler who is gathered at the inn recounts a different piece of the children’s story, creating a Canterbury Tales–like narrative structure. The audiobook is voiced by a cast of nine narrators, each telling a different character’s part of the tale. Gidwitz himself voices the character of the Inquisitor. Thirteenth-century music and vocals by a renowned medieval musician bring the troubadour’s part of the novel to life. An author’s note at the end of the production shares the background research Gidwitz did to create this story and includes details about what parts of the tale are based on actual medieval history and which parts are fiction. VERDICT Mixing history and adventure, religion and humor, Gidwitz breathes new life into the Middle Ages and makes this time period accessible and exciting for middle grade listeners.–Anne Bozievich, Friendship Elementary School, Glen Rock, PA

This review was published in the School Library Journal January 2017 issue.

]]> http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/the-inquisitors-tale-or-the-three-magical-children-and-their-holy-dog-by-adam-gidwitz-slj-audio-review/feed/ 0
The Champ is Here | SLJ Spotlight http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/the-champ-is-here-slj-spotlight/ http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/the-champ-is-here-slj-spotlight/#respond Wed, 18 Jan 2017 14:00:16 +0000 http://www.slj.com/?p=208531 Sports stars are easy idols for kids and teens. The following titles are a mix of picture book and YA biographies that focus on well-known athletes who not only excelled in their respective leagues but also created lasting cultural change in the world of sports and beyond.

Barretta, Gene. Muhammad Ali: A Champion Is Born. illus. by Frank Morrison. 40p. bibliog. further reading. photos. websites. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. Jan. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062430168.

NF-SP-Barretta-MuhammadAliK-Gr 2 –A kid named Cassius Clay discovers boxing in this nonfiction picture book. Barretta sets the scene through Muhammad Ali’s three record-setting heavyweight championship titles. Oversize comic book–style action words (“POW!”) highlight Ali knocking out Sonny Liston, George Foreman, and Leon Spinks. Circling back to Ali’s childhood, Barretta recounts the oft-cited origin story of 12-year-old Cassius riding high on his brand-new bike. Unfortunately, the bike disappears, and when Cassius reports the theft to police officer and boxing coach Joe Martin, threatening to “whup” the thief, Martin suggests that he first learn how to fight. Regular sessions at the gym develop in Cassius a single-minded determination to be the greatest boxer in the world. As he becomes a more public figure, his self-confidence never wavers, effectively illustrated by a few choice quotes, bold and set apart from the mostly invented dialogue. Morrison’s dynamic oil paintings complement Barretta’s lively text, capturing a self-assured Ali in detailed spreads. Action scenes full of movement and intensity draw readers into the boxing ring and depict Ali’s growth from a gangly youth to a dominant athlete. Two pages of unfailingly positive biographical information fill in the rest of Ali’s career. A brief bibliography and suggestions for additional reading are also appended, but no source notes are included. VERDICT This is an attractive choice as an inspirational read-aloud, but report writers will want to seek more nuanced and thorough sources.–Chelsea Couillard-Smith, Hennepin County Library, MN

Bildner, Phil. Martina & Chrissie: The Greatest Rivalry in the History of Sports. illus. by Brett Helquist. 40p. bibliog. chron. websites. Candlewick. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763673086.

NF-SP-Bildner-MartinaChrissieGr 2-5 –Nonfiction tennis books for kids are in general in short supply, and so are retellings of powerful true rivalries between star players of any sport. Bildner offers kids both in this picture book biography of Martina Navratilova and Chris “Chrissie” Evert. Each woman’s story begins in childhood, gently and with minimal text. The book becomes more interesting when the author notes that these two intense rivals were good friends from their first meeting and that each still fought hard to beat the other on the court. They both pushed to be the very best, and then they relaxed together—except for a few years when Navratilova had a coach who wouldn’t allow her to be friends with a rival. They met in the finals of the French Open twice, intense duels that Evert won; Navratilova decided then that friendship was more important—and to this day they remain close friends who support each other’s off-court charity work. Though Evert and Navratilova are long retired and largely unknown to most kids, their tale imparts a timely moral: friendship and kindness are what matter most. That said, this is likely a shelf-sitter despite a good narrative, strong illustrations, and great factual support that includes a bibliography for students doing reports. VERDICT Though a quality selection for students who need role models and for tennis players seeking idols to emulate, this title will require some handselling on the part of librarians. –Dorcas Hand, formerly at Annunciation Orthodox School, Houston, TX

Lloyd, Carli with Wayne Coffey. All Heart: My Dedication and Determination To Become One of Soccer’s Best. 304p. index. HMH. Dec. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544978690. POP

NF-SP-Lloyd-AllHeartGr 5-8 –This young readers edition of Lloyd’s adult title, When Nobody Was Watching, details her life as a professional soccer player. Beginning with her childhood experiences on community club teams, Lloyd provides a comprehensive chronicle of her athletic perseverance: using rejection to work harder, coping with disappointment, overcoming obstacles, and relishing the hard-earned professional and personal achievements that come with such dedication. This commitment is evident from Lloyd’s time in college through later years when she pursued Olympic and World Cup glory. With simple sentence structure and a straightforward narrative, this book is appropriately designed for its audience. It predominantly focuses on a play-by-play of the many tryouts, teams, practices, and games of Lloyd’s career, with brief glimpses of the politics behind the game and rare details of her personal life. The prose is replete with soccer terms and jargon, which may make the narrative more difficult for readers less familiar with the sport. Still, the central themes of hard work, diligence, ambition, and tenacity make Lloyd’s story an inspiration for all readers, especially tweens looking for strong role models. VERDICT Purchase where avid soccer fans seek motivational accounts of favorite players.–Paige Rowse, Needham High School, MA

Maraniss, Andrew. Strong Inside: The True Story of How Perry Wallace Broke College Basketball’s Color Line. 272p. bibliog. ebook available. index. photos. Philomel. Dec. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399548345. POP

NF-SP-Maraniss-StrongInsideGr 7 Up –Vanderbilt University made a strong statement in 1966 when they recruited Perry Wallace, a local teen basketball star who was African American. Students may not be familiar with Wallace, but after reading this poignant biography, they will not forget him. Readers meet him as a child whose loving family provided him with the care and attention he needed to thrive academically, then follow him onto the court, where he yearned—and then learned—to dunk. Maraniss speeds through Wallace’s senior year at Pearl High, in Tennessee, where recruiters from schools across the country were eager to add him to their rosters. His years at Vanderbilt, where he broke the color barrier in the Southeastern Conference, receive the most attention, with great sports writing meeting heartfelt interludes of Wallace’s efforts to bring about change for his fellow black students. Maraniss does not shy away from the ultimate truth: Wallace experienced vicious racism and countless death threats as well as racial slurs, discrimination, and unfair treatment on and off the court. Wallace is quoted abundantly throughout the text, and the bibliography is packed with primary sources, offering ample research opportunities for those compelled to dig deeper into the civil rights struggle of Wallace and other black athletes. VERDICT This portrait of the fortitude of a young athlete will make a huge impact on teens and is guaranteed to spark serious discussion.–Abby Bussen, Muskego Public Library, WI

]]>
http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/the-champ-is-here-slj-spotlight/feed/ 0
Who Killed Christopher Goodman? by Allan Wolf | SLJ Review http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/who-killed-christopher-goodman-by-allan-wolf-slj-review/ http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/who-killed-christopher-goodman-by-allan-wolf-slj-review/#respond Wed, 18 Jan 2017 14:00:05 +0000 http://www.slj.com/?p=208438 WOLF, Allan. Who Killed Christopher Goodman? 288p. Candlewick. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763656133.

Gr 9 Up –Christopher Goodman wears ridiculous bell bottoms, and the way he shakes hands with people is a little strange. He’s also a genuinely nice guy, which is why everyone in Goldsburg, VA, is shocked when Chris is murdered during 1979’s Deadwood Days, a Western street festival that draws tourists to the town every summer. While on a cross-country run, classmates Doc Chestnut and [...]]]> redstarWOLF, Allan. Who Killed Christopher Goodman? 288p. Candlewick. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763656133.

who killed christopher goodmanGr 9 Up –Christopher Goodman wears ridiculous bell bottoms, and the way he shakes hands with people is a little strange. He’s also a genuinely nice guy, which is why everyone in Goldsburg, VA, is shocked when Chris is murdered during 1979’s Deadwood Days, a Western street festival that draws tourists to the town every summer. While on a cross-country run, classmates Doc Chestnut and Squib Kaplan find Chris’s body. Along with Hunger McCoy, Hazel Turner, and Mildred Penny, Doc and Squib carry the burden of knowing that they may have inadvertently played a part in the tragedy. As Wolf explains in his author’s note, this mystery is inspired by an actual murder that occurred when he was a teen. The book features six narrators, including Chris’s killer, and scenes that incorporate group dialogue are written in a screenplay format, which also extends to the book’s initial “cast”: David Oscar “Doc” Chestnut, the Sleepwalker; Leonard Pelf, the Runaway; Scott “Squib” Kaplan, the Genius; Hunger McCoy, the Good Ol’ Boy; Hazel Turner, the Farm Girl; and Mildred Penny, the Stamp Collector. Distinctive narrative styles help readers differentiate among characters, with long-winded sentences for Squib, who has Tourette’s syndrome, and verse passages for Leonard. Wolf uses these unique formats to excellent effect to create a gripping mystery as well as a thoughtful character study in which the six teens grapple with their actions on the night of the murder and their blame, if any, in Christopher Goodman’s death. VERDICT Recommended for most YA collections, this fast-paced novel will appeal to reluctant readers as well as fans of mystery and suspense.–Emma Carbone, Brooklyn Public Library

This review was published in the School Library Journal January 2017 issue.

]]> http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/who-killed-christopher-goodman-by-allan-wolf-slj-review/feed/ 0
Dozers, Dumpers, and Drills | SLJ Spotlight http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/dozers-dumpers-and-drills-slj-spotlight/ http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/dozers-dumpers-and-drills-slj-spotlight/#respond Wed, 18 Jan 2017 14:00:00 +0000 http://www.slj.com/?p=208466 Titles featuring construction equipment and other big machines are evergreen favorites with the preschool set, and these new offerings do not disappoint. Whether told in infectious rhyme, reinforcing concepts, or building vocabulary, these active, irresistible narratives filled with vibrant art and awesome sound effects address early literacy skills and get the job done in style.

Fleming, Meg. Ready, Set, Build! illus. by Jarvis. 32p. little bee. Apr. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781499801750. POP

PB-SP-FlemingPreS-K–A blue dog sets out for a day of construction work. He begins with a plan before getting to work and uses a variety of tools and construction vehicles, with a little green bird as a coworker. The dog and bird take a short break for lunch and then are back to work, until finally they have completed their project for the day, a big blue “Dog and Bird House” with a green roof. The dog and bird head home to get some rest so they can return to work the next day, which promises to be “twice as fun.” Fleming offers a sprightly picture book that will appeal to young readers, particularly those with an interest in construction. She writes in simple rhymes, and her text reflects the enthusiasm of the dog and the bird, both of whom truly enjoy their work. Jarvis’s use of bold, solid colors pairs well with the energy and exuberance of Fleming’s text. The blue dog is depicted with large, cartoonlike features, and the bird is drawn with simple circular shapes, and both are eye-catching. Fleming’s short, bouncy rhymes coupled with Jarvis’s big, bright illustrations make this an excellent choice for a read-aloud in a group setting. VERDICT A definite winner for construction-themed storytimes and for readers looking for a fun and vibrant picture book. Expect high circulation.–Laura J. Giunta, Garden City Public Library, NY

Greene, Rhonda Growler. Push! Dig! Scoop!: A Construction Counting Rhyme. illus. by Daniel Kirk. 32p. Bloomsbury. Oct. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780802735065. POP

PB-SP-GreenePreS-K–A clever reimagining of “Over in the Meadow” featuring different families of construction trucks busy attending the daily shores by a dirt pile. Parent trucks must show the little ones the important tasks they all have at the construction site. Mama bulldozer shows her little dozer the ropes: “ ‘Push!’ says the mama. ‘I push!’ says the one./So they push oosh oosh in the sizzling summer sun.” Papa excavator shows his two little excavators how to dig. The assignments differ as papa wheel loader shows his three little loaders how to scoop, mama dump truck teaches her four little dumpers that they must spill, etc. It is a great learning experience for all the little trucks, who, after a long and arduous day of work, are ready for some lullabies and then to say good night. Greene is in tune with preschoolers and has created a sensitive rhyming and counting book with an asymmetrical composition that plays with the organization of the text’s layout and the illustrations. The text flows naturally, providing enough repetition for an interactive setting and abundant vocabulary to enrich preschoolers’ language skills. Additionally, the expressive, bright illustrations, made with a fusion of black ink drawings and digitally added colors, relate to the text and will inspire children’s imagination. VERDICT This appealing picture book will work well in classrooms and storytimes and as a bedtime read. Bound to circulate often.–Kathia Ibacache, Simi Valley Public Library, CA

Rinker, Sherri Duskey. Mighty, Mighty Construction Site. illus. by Tom Lichtenheld. 40p. ebook available. Chronicle. Feb. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781452152165. POP

PB-SP-RinkerPreS-Gr 1–In this follow-up to the wildly popular Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, the trucks are back, working together to get the job done. This task is a bit too big for the old crew, though, and some new friends make an appearance, including a skid steer loader, a backhoe, a flatbed, a pumper truck, and a front-end loader. Fans of the first title, and vehicle lovers in general, will adore this story that’s perfect for reading anytime of day. Filled with vibrant illustrations and rich vocabulary, this rhyming tale is sure to make readers grin as brightly as the smiling vehicles in the book! VERDICT A solid addition for storytimes and one-on-one sharing. Expect high circulation.–Emily E. Lazio, The New York Public Library

Shoulders, Michael. D Is for Dump Truck: A Construction Alphabet. illus. by Kent Culotta. 32p. glossary. Sleeping Bear. Oct. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781585369751.

PB-SP-ShouldersPreS-Gr 1–D is for “dump truck” and T is for “tape measure” in this A–Z journey to build a backyard tree house. Each letter of the alphabet describes a different part of the construction process with a rhyming verse and full-color illustrations. This is not your typical alphabet picture book, as Q is for “quad-axle truck,” and the text is detailed and includes vocabulary that may be unfamiliar to young children. A glossary of potentially unfamiliar terms is appended. This book will appeal to children who have an interest in learning factual information about the construction process. A few of the selections are less than inspiring. For example, A is for “alarm”: “Alarm goes off. Hip-hip-hooray!/The wait is over. Today’s the day.” And G is for “grab”: “ ‘Grab a hard hat,’ the foreman says./‘We need protection for our heads.’ ” VERDICT Recommended for additional purchase, this book is suitable for young vehicle and construction enthusiasts.–Kristen Todd-Wurm, Middle Country Public Library, NY

]]>
http://www.slj.com/2017/01/reviews/dozers-dumpers-and-drills-slj-spotlight/feed/ 0