November 21, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

SLJ Multimedia Reviews

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The Vietnam War | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 9 Up –Filmmakers Burns and Novick invested 10 years in making this documentary series, which clocks in at over 18 hours, including extras.

‘Wonder’ Movie Review

Author R.J. Palacio’s voice is heard loud and clear in the exceptionally sharp movie version of her popular 2012 novel.

Rare: Creatures of the Photo Ark | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 7 Up –Taking photographs of rare animals and habitats that might become extinct is the focus of this three-part program.

Great Yellowstone Thaw | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 5 Up –The unique ecosystem of Great Yellowstone National Park and the wildlife that survive its extreme temperatures is the focus of this three-part program.

‘Wonderstruck’ at the Movies

Fans of Brian Selznick’s book will have little to complain about in this often enthralling adaptation.

Joe’s Violin | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 4 Up –When New York City radio station WQXR put out a call for donations of instruments for schools, thousands responded. Every instrument has a story, but this documentary follows just one, Joe Feingold’s violin

‘Jane,’ the New Documentary on the Trailblazing Primatologist

Featuring never-before-seen footage of the early days of Jane Goodall’s landmark research and discoveries.

Book Jumper by Mechthild Gläser | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 7 Up –Amy Lennox and her mom, Alexis, decide they need a change, so the duo head to the family home in Stormsay, Scotland. There, Amy discovers her family’s book-jumping legacy.

‘The Big Bad Fox’ and ‘The Breadwinner’ Movies Premiere

Two book-to-screen adaptations recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Freedom in Congo Square | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 1-5 –This Coretta Scott King and Caldecott Honor Book by Carole Boston Weatherford, with illustrations by R. Gregory Christie, really takes flight in the lively DVD version.

SLJ’s September 2017 Popular Picks

Daniel José Older’s Shadowshaper sequel will thrill old and new fans; Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is illustrated for a young audience; and a city mouse finds food and adventure in this month’s Popular Picks!

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

The Playbook by Kwame Alexander | SLJ Audio Review

ALEXANDER, Kwame. The Playbook: 52 Rules To Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life. 1 CD. 1 hr. Recorded Bks. Feb. 2017. $15.75. ISBN 9781501949180. digital download.

Gr 5-8 –Alexander delivers 52 inspiring rules and motivational life lessons using notable sports figures, terminology, and stories. Sections include “Warm-Up: The Rules,” in which Alexander reminisces about his childhood involvement in sports and the lessons he learned. Four “Quarters,” with a “Half Time” and an “Overtime,” comprise the rest of the book. Each section […]

First Footprints | SLJ DVD Review

First Footprints. 3:49 hrs. Dreamscape. 2017. $24.99. $199.99 (PPR). ISBN 818506020268.

Gr 10 Up –This four-part, two-disc series illuminates Australia’s ancient human history. The episodes follow in historical order, beginning with the earliest migrations into Australia, which occurred some 50,000 years ago. The final segment concludes with contact between Indigenous Australians and European explorers and merchants. Viewers learn about Australia’s remote history, including the oldest discovered human remains on the continent, Lake Mungo Man, from tens of thousands of years ago. […]

Jazz Day | SLJ DVD Review

Jazz Day. 74 min. Dreamscape. 2017. $38.99. ISBN 9781520071053.

Gr 4-6 –It was a hot August day in 1955 when Art Kane gathered jazz musicians for a photograph for Esquire magazine. He wasn’t sure who, if anyone, would show up at the Harlem brownstone he’d chosen for his backdrop. He’d put out the word, and now he could only hold his two cameras and hope. The result was the iconic photograph—Harlem 1958—that features 57 jazz musicians of the time. Count Basie was there, […]

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus | SLJ Audio Review

MCMANUS, Karen M. One of Us Is Lying. 9 CDs. 11:44 hrs. Listening Library. May 2017. $65. ISBN 9781524756901. digital download.

Gr 9 Up –Five high school students walk into a normal Monday after-school detention but only four leave alive. Simon, the dead student, was despised for the secrets he revealed in his toxic gossip app targeting the students of Bayview High. The remaining four students all have reasons to want Simon dead, and the police quickly zoom in on all of them […]

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas | SLJ Audio Review

THOMAS, Angie. The Hate U Give. 9 CDs. 11:40 hrs. HarperAudio. Feb. 2017. $39.99. ISBN 9781470827137. digital download.

Gr 9 Up –Starr has learned to adapt her personality to fit two worlds. “Garden Heights Starr” helps her ex-gangbanger father in his neighborhood grocery. “Williamson Starr” has a white boyfriend, and is one of the few black students at a tony prep school in an exclusive part of town. When gunshots ring out at a Garden Heights party, Starr and her friend Khalil leave. […]

DVD: Folk Tales, Eco-Activism, & Art as Therapy | August 2017 Xpress Reviews

Timeless folk tales are rejuvenated for a young audience; two documentaries explore the poor effects of artificial light on fireflies; an analysis of the Battle of Waterloo.

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

Best of Raffi | SLJ Music Review

Best of Raffi. Performed by Raffi. CD. Approx. 35 min. Rounder Records. 2017. $9.49.

PreS-Gr 4 –Multi-award-winning Raffi, one of the first of the children’s music troubadours and who’s celebrating 40 years as an entertainer, presents 16 of his best songs from 10 albums. Featured here are both traditional and original songs in folk, reggae, jazz, country, and pop musical styles. The titles include “Baby Beluga,” “Down by the Bay,” “Apples and Bananas,” “Shake My Sillies Out,” “Wheels on the Bus,” “Day […]

Nero’s Sunken City | SLJ DVD Review

Nero’s Sunken City. (Secrets of the Dead). 55 min. PBS. 2017. $24.99. ISBN 9781531701758.

Gr 9 Up –This episode examines the archaeological remains of Baiae, an ancient Roman city in the Bay of Naples. One half of the ruins are now underwater, as the land has shifted over time owing to seismic forces. This city is the site of ruins of palaces of the Roman Empire’s elites in the first through third centuries AD. Emperor Claudius (10 BC–54 AD) had an […]

Night & Day by JoJo & the Pinecones | SLJ Music Review

Night & Day. Performed by JoJo & the Pinecones. CD. 50 min. Produced by Benjamin Gallina & Joelle Lurie. 2017. $8.99

PreS Up –JoJo & the Pinecones are lead singer Joelle Lurie, her musical partner and coproducer Benjamin Gallina, and a band of talented jazz musicians. Part 1: Day features high-energy songs that follow the arc of a day from waking up to having breakfast for dinner, while Part 2: Night is a farewell to the day as listeners get ready for […]