September 26, 2017

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Speaking Our Truth by Monique Gray Smith | SLJ Review

SMITH, Monique Gray. Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation. 160p. further reading. glossary. index. photos. websites. Orca. Sept. 2017. Tr $29.95. ISBN 9781459815834.

Gr 4-7 –A sensitive and extensive insight into the experiences of Indigenous people in Canada. Smith traces the historical events, movements, and laws affecting people of the First Nations and connects this history to the impact still resonating generations later. The book largely addresses the laws that forcibly removed Indigenous children from their families and sent them to residential schools in […]

Book Review: Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Publisher’s description A gorgeous and emotionally resonant debut novel about a half-Japanese teen who grapples with social anxiety and her narcissist mother in the wake of a crushing rejection from art school. Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a […]

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed | SLJ Review

REED, Amy. The Nowhere Girls. 416p. S. & S./Simon Pulse. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481481731. POP

Gr 9 Up –This gritty and timely novel examines the culture of sexism and rape through the eyes of three girls and a chorus of the universal “Us.” Grace, the new girl in town, just wants to blend in to the point of invisibility. Having been forced out of their conservative Southern Baptist Church when her preacher mother becomes “too liberal,” Grace is still reeling from the […]

Where, Oh Where, Is Baby Bear? by Ashley Wolff | SLJ Review

WOLFF, Ashley. Where, Oh Where, Is Baby Bear? illus. by Ashley Wolff. 32p. S. & S./Beach Lane. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481499163.

PreS –When night falls, the sweet and curious black bear cub and his mother go looking for food. Mama hunts and Baby Bear explores. “‘Where, oh where, is Baby Bear?’ calls Mama.” Readers won’t worry, because Wolff has hidden Baby Bear in the spread for them to find. “Here I am, Mama,” he replies each time. The sky subtly darkens as […]

Dream March by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson | SLJ Review

NELSON, Vaunda Micheaux. Dream March: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the March on Washington. illus. by Sally Wern Comport. 48p. (Step into Reading: Step 3). Random. Dec. 2017. lib. ed. $12.99. ISBN 9781101936702; pap. $4.99. ISBN 9781101936696. POP

K-Gr 3 –The narrative opens with Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, then traces the March on Washington back to the 1950s and 60s when “black Americans organized and fought extra hard. Their fight was called the civil rights movement.” Early protests […]

Review: ‘Calla Cthulhu’

Calla Cthulhu Writers: Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer Artists: Erin Humiston and Mario A. Gonzalez Dark Horse Books; $12.99 Rated 14+ The mythos of cosmic horror that H.P. Lovecraft created and curated during his short writing career has always proved a curiously inviting and creatively fertile milieu for other writers to work in, on, and […]

Blog Tour: Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

Special prize raffle at the end! From the publisher: BOOK DESCRIPTION   The highly anticipated standalone from the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of the Graceling Realm series—a kaleidoscopic novel about grief, adventure, storytelling, and finding yourself in a world of seemingly infinite choices. Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct […]

Shadowhouse Fall by Daniel José Older | SLJ Review

OLDER, Daniel José. Shadowhouse Fall. 368p. (Shadowshaper Cypher: Bk. 2). Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Bks. Sept. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780545952828. POP

Gr 7 Up –Sierra and her crew of shadowshapers are back for another adventure in this sequel to Shadowshaper. A mysterious card deck appears and, with it, a conflict between Shadow House and The House of Light arises. Sierra must act quickly to figure out whom she can trust while learning what it means to be a leader. She also begins a relationship with […]

#NotYourPrincess by Lisa Charleyboy & Mary Beth Leatherdale | SLJ Review

CHARLEYBOY, Lisa & Mary Beth Leatherdale, eds. #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women. 112p. illus. photos. Annick. Oct. 2017. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781554519583; pap. $12.95. ISBN 9781554519576.

Gr 10 Up –According to the foreword, Charleyboy’s intent for this anthology is to provide a “space to not only write a love letter to all young Indigenous women trying to find their way, but also to help dispel those stereotypes so we can collectively move forward to a brighter future for all.” Charleyboy and Leatherdale have selected […]

Silent Days, Silent Dreams by Allen Say | SLJ Review

SAY, Allen. Silent Days, Silent Dreams. illus. by Allen Say. 64p. bibliog. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Bks. Oct. 2017. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9780545927611.

Gr 3-7 –In this fascinating longform “imagined” biography about James Castle, author-illustrator Say plays with artistic and literary formats. Castle was born deaf and premature in Idaho, was considered to be autistic and dyslexic, and was abused and bullied for his inability to speak or read. He was discouraged from creating art by his parents and principal, and had his art supplies […]

Review of the Day: Bolivar by Sean Rubin

Bolivar By Sean Rubin Archaia (a division of BOOM Entertainment) $29.99 ISBN: 9781684150964 Ages 7-12 On shelves November 28th It took a year and a half for me to notice, but by then it was too late. I moved to the Chicago area from New York City in what can only be described as a […]

The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis | SLJ Review

KOSTAKIS, Will. The Sidekicks. 288p. Harlequin Teen. Oct. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780373212620. POP

Gr 9 Up –When Australian high school student Isaac dies, three fellow students who each considered him his closest friend battle for individual ways forward. While this is Kostakis’s American debut, his literary polish and deep understanding of teen storytelling is compelling and nuanced from the first page. Ryan, Scott, and Miles take turns recounting the months after Isaac’s death. Each viewpoint differs, as does each voice; it is through […]

Robot Dad | Touch and Go

A creative, pint-size maker comes up with an ingenious solution when he misses his dad.

10 Diverse YA Fantasy & Sci-Fi Titles | SLJ Spotlight

Ten new sci-fi and fantasy books featuring a diverse range of leading characters, including sequels to Traci Chee’s and Daniel José Older’s YA debuts.

This article was published in School Library Journal's September 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

No Kimchi for Me! by Aram Kim | SLJ Review

KIM, Aram. No Kimchi for Me! illus. by Aram Kim. 40p. Holiday House. Sept. 2017. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9780823437627.

PreS-Gr 2 –Their grandmother announces lunch featuring delicious Korean dishes while Yoomi and her brothers play. Yoomi enjoys grandma’s dried seaweed, soft egg omelets, and even the seasoned bean sprouts, but she does not like “stinky spicy kimchi!” Her older brothers, Jun and Yoon, won’t let her play with them because she’s too little; “big kids eat kimchi.” Despite trying various ways to mask […]

Book Review: Release by Patrick Ness

Publisher’s description Inspired by Judy Blume’s Forever and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, this novel that Andrew Smith calls “beautiful, enchanting, [and] exquisitely written” is a new classic about teenage relationships, self-acceptance—and what happens when the walls we build start coming down. Adam Thorn doesn’t know it yet, but today will change his life. Between his religious family, a deeply unpleasant […]

Book Review: A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo

When I’m reviewing books for professional publications, I stay quiet about them on social media. I’m always really excited once a review comes out to be able to talk about the book, finally! Here’s one of my most recent reviews, which originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of School Library Journal.    A Line in the Dark […]

Too Shattered for Mending by Peter Brown Hoffmeister | SLJ Review

HOFFMEISTER, Peter Brown. Too Shattered for Mending. 384p. Knopf. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780553538052.

Gr 10 Up –Gavin “Little” McCardell is fighting to keep his world from unraveling. Little’s older brother JT is serving time in prison, and Rowan, JT’s girlfriend, is cozying up to Little. Little’s aunt and uncle oscillate between being neglectful and abusive toward his 10-year-old cousin Willa, prompting Little to try to at least keep both of them fed. Finally, when Little’s grandfather, “Big” McCardell, disappears without a […]

Danza! by Duncan Tonatiuh | SLJ Review

TONATIUH, Duncan. Danza!: Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México. illus. by Duncan Tonatiuh. 32p. bibliog. glossary. index. Abrams. Aug. 2017. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781419725326.

Gr 3 Up –Amalia “Ami” Hernández (1917–2000) didn’t expect to break with tradition. It was assumed that perhaps she would become a schoolteacher like her mother. But when she saw dancers in a town square while on vacation with her family, she knew what she wanted to be. Her parents nurtured her love of dance, and she […]

Review: ‘Man-Thing By R.L. Stine’

Man-Thing By R.L. Stine Writer: R.L. Stine Artists: German Peralta, Tyler Crook and others Marvel Entertainment; $15.99 Rated T+ for teens 13 and up The trade paperback collection of juvenile fiction juggernaut R.L. Stine’s recent five-issue Man-Thing miniseries contains a brief prose introduction from the author that contains some downright shocking information. Stine writes that […]