July 24, 2014

Subscribe to SLJ

Squirrel Tales, Sibling Woes, and Conflict in Darfur | Grades 5-8 Fiction


Fiction for the middle-grade set includes both the light and lively, with Lynne Rae Perkins’s “true” tale of squirrels, and the stark and serious, with Andrea Davis Pinkney’s The Red Pencil.

This article was published in School Library Journal's July 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Q&A: Kathleen Krull on the History of Zoos

Illustration(s) from What’s New? The Zoo! copyright 2014 by Peter Malone. Used with permission from Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books

In her latest picture book What’s New? The Zoo!: A Zippy History of Zoos (illustrated by Marcellus Hall), author Kathleen Krull fills readers in on the ins and outs of fascinating animal collections and menageries from ancient times to the present day.

From Teacup Pigs to Flying Dragons: Wild and Wacky Animal Books | Series Made Simple


Animal books are always a draw, and these new series titles on wild animals (mandrills, pygmy mice, and more) are no exception.

This article was published in School Library Journal's April 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Friendly & Fearsome Animals | Series Made Simple


Using rich photos, great nonfiction features, and embracing species on the verge of extinction, these timely series will excite your readers this season.

This article was published in School Library Journal's April 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Review: The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp

Review: The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp

The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. 2013. Library copy. NBA Shortlist. The Plot: Raccoons Bingo and J’miah are the two newest True Blue Scouts of the Sugar Man Swamp, charged to watch over the swamp and in case of [...]

From Pet Cats to Saber Tooths: Animals | Series Made Simple Spring 2013


Any elementary school librarian can tellyou that trying to keep books in the 590s in reasonable order is a herculean task. However, that’s not a negative. Children in this age range devour books about animals.

From Army Ants to Vampire Bats: Animals | Series Made Simple Spring 2013


Animal books are perennial favorites for pleasure reading and report writing. This spring, series about pets, both common and unusual, are prevalent, as are titles about attention-grabbing (big or scary) creatures. While many of the sets cover standard report elements such as habitats, life cycles, and the food chain, others have a more specific focus.

Review: Endangered

Endangered by Eliot Schrefer. Scholastic. 2012. Review copy from publisher.
The Plot: Sophie, 14, is in Congo (the Democratic Republic of Congo) visiting her mother, who runs a sanctuary for bonobos. During the school year, she lives with her father in America.
Sophie saves a young bonobo who she names Otto; she cares for him, beginning to [...]

Packs, Pods, and Prides: Animals | Series Made Simple Fall 2012


This season’s animal titles are thoughtfully designed to support Common Core State Standards with good use of nonfiction text features and subject-specific vocabulary. Whether students are requesting books for research or for recreational reading, the abundant photographs and conversational narratives ensure that they will be engaged and will come away with increased background knowledge. Several series explain classification and interaction within a species’ habitat, environment, or group. While many of the animals highlighted are old favorites, students [...]

Creature Magnetism: Animals | Series Made Simple Fall 2012


There’s no denying that children are drawn to the library’s 590 shelves, making it essential to acquire new material. However, it’s important to choose judiciously from the many series published each year. Are you looking for a fresh outlook or design? A sensational subject to attract reluctant readers? Replacements for much-handled books on popular creatures, such as sharks or dinosaurs? This year’s offerings include all of the above, as well as several quality choices [...]

The Wild World of Steve Jenkins | An Author Study

Sisters and Brothers

The Common Core’s emphasis on nonfiction challenges educators to provide insightful and interesting materials to students. In order to best serve my population, I decided to create a series of nonfiction author study units similar to those we already did. Since most teachers at my school tend to assign animal research reports to introduce nonfiction, I chose Steve Jenkins for my first nonfiction author study—someone whose books are found in most classrooms and libraries.

A Universe to Discover | From Galileo to Barnum Brown

Barnum's Bones

Biographies and introductions on scientists can introduce young readers and listeners to the excitement that inspires a lifetime of study. They can also encourage students to consider such pursuits themselves—now and in the future. From Galileo to Barnum Brown, the titles recommended here range from gorgeously illustrated picture books to exciting stories of phenomenal discoveries supported by clear color photos, generous lists of additional resources, detailed author notes, and website updates.