July 28, 2014

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An Endorsement: Comic Collections

An Endorsement: Comic Collections

Growing up, comic strip collections were as important to me as any single book. I’ve talked about Roald Dahl’s influence (in this Nerdy Book Club post), but I could just as easily talk about The Far Side and Fox Trot collections that piled up next to my bed during that same time period. It wasn’t [...]

Sketching Celebrities | SLJ Spotlight


James Gulliver Hancock’s new nonfiction title offers a charming and whimsical look at well-known figures through drawing.

‘Gatsby’ and ‘Brideshead Revisited’ Readalikes for Teens | SLJ Spotlight

even in paradise

Chelsey Philpot’s Even in Paradise and Charles Finch’s The Last Enchantments explore the lush secret lives of the rich and privileged.

Creepy Library Statue Status Update

Creepy Library Statue Status Update

If you’re confused, click here for the creepy library statues backstory. Created with

All Middle Grade Novels Should Be 192 Pages. No Exceptions.

All Middle Grade Novels Should Be 192 Pages. No Exceptions.

Imagine a world… Where all middle grade fiction is 192 pages. No exceptions. There’s been talk for a few years now about the expanding page counts in books for young people. Some point to Harry Potter as the reason. One type of book that hasn’t ballooned is the humble picture book. There are exceptions, but [...]

The Wildest Children’s Books of 2014

The Wildest Children’s Books of 2014

“What follows are a few 2014 books that made me and Salvador Dali double take – in a good way,” writes Travis Jonker, introducing this year’s edition of an annual feature on his blog 100 Scope Notes.

Mixing Colors? There’s a Book for That! | SLJ Spotlight


A new interactive picture book teaches children about creativity, and color.

This One Time, At Nerdcamp

Come for the knowledge, stay to admire the spectacular balloons. Earlier this week 350 teachers, librarians, administrators, authors, and illustrators converged on Parma, Michigan for the second annual nErDcampMI. Like any good sequel, the is year’s camp was bigger and bolder. It also got some nice coverage in the local news. It was an early [...]

The State of Doughnuts in Las Vegas, Nevada (or 2014 ALA Annual Conference Recap)

The State of Doughnuts in Las Vegas, Nevada (or 2014 ALA Annual Conference Recap)

In case you’ve never been there (as I hadn’t before the 2014 American Library Association Annual Conference a couple weekends ago), the first thing you need to know about Las Vegas is: they don’t mess around. When you visit, you can be playing the slots seconds after deplaning. I kinda love the idea that someone [...]

Breezy Beach Reads | SLJ Spotlight


Three tales of sibling rivalry, sibling discovery, and mysteries on the moon to keep middle grade readers entertained during the summer.

Tenacious Teens | SLJ Spotlight


Four new titles about formidable teens making a change.

Dry Heat: ALA Annual Conference 2014

Dry Heat: ALA Annual Conference 2014

The American Library Association Annual Conference is happening this weekend in Las Vegas. I’ll be there taking in the sights and sounds and expelling the perspiration. There will likely be a “Photos from the Conference”-type post at some point, but mostly I’ll be talking and sharing pics on Twitter – click here to find me [...]

Inspirations For Baking | SLJ Spotlight

Baking Day

Three children’s books embrace the joy of baking.

Bone-Chilling Horror Stories |SLJ Spotlight


A collection of frightening fiction for young adult readers.

Overcoming Loss | SLJ Spotlight

Avery- My Brother's Shadow

Two middle grade titles explore the impact of loss on childrens’ lives.

Predictions! 2014 NYT Best Illustrated Children’s Books

Ah, what the heck? Why not try to predict one of the most difficult to predict awards out there? Is the criteria for eligibility available? Not that I can find. Take this list with grains of salt accordingly. But I’ve never seen anyone try to guess these, so again I ask you: what the heck? [...]

Two New Titles About the Freedom Summer | SLJ Spotlight


A key moment in the civil rights movement—the Freedom Summer of 1964—is explored in two new works.

Notes on May 2014

Notes on May 2014

In May… …I previewed the summer season. There’s a batch of good-looking books coming out in the next three months, folks. …we witnessed the birth of a ninja mini trend. Ninjas appear to be giving whales a run for their money in children’s lit trend department. …a pretzel rotisserie appeared in my staff lounge. This [...]

Putting Your Book in Your Book

Putting Your Book in Your Book

So last night I was reading Count on the Subway (illustrated by Dan Yaccarino) to my daughter. We turned the page and her eyes lit up. Here’s what she saw: Yep, that’s Doug from Doug Unplugged – a book my daughter and I have read a bunch of times. Doug appears on a poster in [...]

Explorations of Gender & Sexuality in New YA Fiction | SLJ Spotlight


Boy meets boy, girl meets girl, and girl becomes genie in this diverse collection of coming-of-age novels that explore gender and sexuality.