November 21, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Book Review: Sparrow by Sarah Moon

Publisher’s description Sparrow has always had a difficult time making friends. She would always rather have stayed home on the weekends with her mother, an affluent IT Executive at a Manhattan bank, reading, or watching the birds, than playing with other kids. And that’s made school a lonely experience for her. It’s made LIFE a […]

Lisa Loeb, Ella Jenkins, & Mister G | ClefNotes

Reviews of 13 albums for children

Jazzy Ash, the Mighty Mighty Pants, & Lucky Diaz | ClefNotes

Reviews of 16 albums for children

Book Review: Kaleidoscope Song by Fox Benwell

Publisher’s description Fox Benwell delivers a harrowing and beautifully written novel that explores the relationship between two girls obsessed with music, the practice of corrective rape, and the risks and power of using your voice. Neo loves music, and all she ever wanted was a life sharing this passion, on the radio. When she meets […]

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground Written by Rita Williams-Garcia Published by Amistad, 2017 ISBN 978-0-06-221691-8   Grades 3 and up   Book Review   “When, Cool Papa, when?” For young Clayton Byrd, all that matters is when he’ll get finally the chance to play a twelve-bar solo on his blues harp (harmonica) with his grandfather’s blues […]

Book Review: Boy Seeking Band by Steve Brezenoff

Publisher’s description Great music and great friendships aren’t always in harmony. Terence Kato is a prodigy bass player, but he’s determined to finish middle school on a high note. Life has other plans. In eighth grade, he’s forced to transfer from a private arts school to a public school, where the kids seemingly speak a […]

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 […]

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 […]

Ear Snacks: Songs from the Podcast | SLJ Music Review

Ear Snacks: Songs from the Podcast. Performed by Andrew Barkan & Polly Hall. 38 min. Palindrome Records. 2016. $12.

PreS-Gr 5 –Like nothing you may have ever heard before, this collection of 16 original songs pulled from Los Angeles–based Andrew & Polly’s podcast for preschoolers is a great mashup of musical styles: a fresh find, filled with fantasy and fun—sophisticated yet relevant. Barkan and Hall’s fourth album injects humor and passion into each song, making it just right and “real” for youngsters […]

Poulo Warali | SLJ Music Review

Poulo Warali. Performed by Poulo Warali. CD. Approx. 34 min. Awesome Tapes from Africa. 2017. $13.

PreS-Gr 8 –This is singer Awa Poulo’s first internationally distributed record. On this, her most recent recording, the popular singer of Peulh origin from Dilly Commune, Mali, shows off her beautiful, lilting voice as she sings traditional Malian music and original songs written by either Poulo or her mentor, the celebrated Malian singer Inna Baba Coulibaly. All songs are performed in Poulo’s native language. The opening […]

Book Review: Who’s That Girl by Blair Thornburgh

 Publisher’s description This laugh-out-loud debut is filled with hilarious awkward encounters, a supportive LGBTQ organization, and too many cheesy lyrics to count—all with the compulsive readability of Audrey, Wait! and Boy Meets Boy. Junior Nattie McCullough has always been that under-the-radar straight girl who hangs out in the cafeteria with her gay-straight alliance friends. She’s […]

The Best of Raffi & 14 More Children’s Albums | ClefNotes

Fifteen reviews of new children’s albums

SLJ Chats with Diana Panton | ClefNotes

Canadian vocalist Diana Panton on what led to her first album for children.

Shut up, Rihanna

I guess the phrase “last night on TV” has been rendered obsolete, but last night on TV we watched the fourth episode of the second season of The Path, a Hulu series starring Hugh Dancy, Michelle Monaghan, and Aaron Paul about people in a cult–true believers, skeptics, and apostates (sometimes all in the same character, as […]

Shut up, Rihanna

I guess the phrase “last night on TV” has been rendered obsolete, but last night on TV we watched the fourth episode of the second season of The Path, a Hulu series starring Hugh Dancy, Michelle Monaghan, and Aaron Paul about people in a cult–true believers, skeptics, and apostates (sometimes all in the same character, as […]

Book Review: How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

Publisher’s description Grace, tough and wise, has nearly given up on wishes, thanks to a childhood spent with her unpredictable, larger-than-life mother. But this summer, Grace meets Eva, a girl who believes in dreams, despite her own difficult circumstances.   One fateful evening, Eva climbs through a window in Grace’s room, setting off a chain […]

The Latest from Lisa Loeb | April 2017 ClefNotes

Twenty reviews of new children’s music

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

Top 10 Music | 2016

Must-have albums from 2016, destined to get toes tapping, selected by ClefNotes columnist, Veronica DeFazio.

This article was published in School Library Journal's December 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

New Music from The Okee Dokee Brothers | ClefNotes

Reviews of recent children’s music albums.

Diana Panton & Sonia De Los Santos | ClefNotes

Diana Panton’s debut album for children and families; Sonia de Los Santos’s gorgeous, Spanish-language songs; the latest from The Not-Its.