November 26, 2015

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Best Books 2015: Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound | Nonfiction


The Groove” takes readers on a tour of the origins and demise of Motown, the musical powerhouse responsible for Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, and Stevie Wonder. Centering around Berry Gordy, the talented visionary and eventual mogul, the ingenious narration highlights the company’s humble beginnings, its successes and failures, and its place in sociocultural history. A well-researched and melodic ride.

Best Books 2015: Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx | Nonfiction


A heartbreaking memoir about how the iconic Latina educator and TV personality found her way to Sesame Street from her modest upbringing in the South Bronx. Opening with fragments from her early childhood and ending with her life-changing audition for the educational program, the book includes vignettes that offer glimpses of a singular coming-of-age filled with poverty and violence but also with love and music. A stark and powerful work.

Best Books 2015: Dime | Young Adult


Plucked out of a bleak foster home by the manipulative pimp Daddy and groomed into a life of prostitution, 13-year-old Dime gives voice to her pain as she attempts to write a note, the intent of which is revealed toward the end of the book. Exploring an oft-overlooked subject, Frank has crafted an honest and raw true-to-life narrative—and one laced with the barest sliver of hope.

Top 10 Graphic Novels 2015


Selected by the Good Comics for Kids bloggers, these graphic novels published in 2015 are the cream of the crop.

This article was published in School Library Journal's December 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Best Books 2015: Symphony for the City of the Dead | Nonfiction


Anderson vividly sets the scene with Shostakovich’s young years on the eve of the revolution and the Lenin era, his coming-of-age as a composer, and the rise of Stalin’s reign of terror. The central story of the creation and performance of the Leningrad Symphony while the city was in the crippling throes of a two-and-a-half year siege is devastating, enlightening, and, ultimately, inspiring. A narrative nonfiction triumph.

Best Books 2015: The Tightrope Walkers | Young Adult


Dominic Hall, a British youth from a working-class family, finds himself wavering between attachment to his childhood friend, the artistic Holly Stroud, and the literary future he dreams of, and the powerful, inexplicable draw of Vincent McAlinden, a violent neighborhood bully. Set in the shadow of the 1960s shipbuilding community on the banks of the River Tyne, this beautifully written story is as taut and as exhilarating as the high wire.

Best Books 2015

Best Books 2015: Nonfiction

Best Books 2015: Young Adult

Best Books 2015: 8: An Animal Alphabet | Picture Books


Each page in this oversize volume includes a range of creatures—from the lowly ant to the exotic zebu—whose names begin with the featured alphabet letter. Muted watercolors depict the denizens of the animal world once, except for the chosen creature, which is seen eight times on the page. Why eight? “Because 8 is great,” states the author. An abecedarian that will get kids counting.