November 18, 2017

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Pax by Sara Pennypacker | SLJ Audio Review

PENNYPACKER, Sara. Pax. 5 CDs. 5:35 hrs. HarperAudio. Feb. 2016. $25.99. ISBN 9780062443960. digital download. 

Gr 4-7 –Somewhere close, sometime soon, war is coming. Twelve-year-old Peter and his fox, Pax, are forced apart by a father whose noble intentions have devastating results. When Peter’s father enlists in the military, he pressures Peter to return Pax to the wild, while Peter is sent 300 miles away to live with his grandfather. Almost immediately, Peter realizes his grave mistake and […]

The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry | SLJ Audio Review

Berry, Julie. The Passion of Dolssa. 10 CDs. 11:43 hrs. Listening Library. Apr. 2016. $60. ISBN 9780147525819. digital download. 

Gr 7 Up –This magnificent tale is set in post-Crusades 13th-century France. A pious young noblewoman blessed with the gift of healing, Dolssa de Stigata is judged a heretic by the Roman Catholic Church and sentenced to burn at the stake. Forced to watch her beloved mother burn first, Dolssa is surprised when someone cuts the ropes binding […]

28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World by Charles R. Smith Jr. | SLJ Audio Review

Smith, Charles R., Jr. 28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World. 1 CD w/Tr book. 68:45 min. Live Oak. Jan. 2016. $31.95. ISBN 9781430120247. 

Gr 2-5 –Each of the 28 entries in this excellent work, written to be used during Black History Month, highlights the achievements of an African American man or woman, or the details of a court decision or historical event, the effects of which are still felt today. Vibrant poetry begins many of […]

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin | SLJ Audio Review

GARVIN, Jeff. Symptoms of Being Human. ­­7 CDs. 7:47 hrs. HarperAudio. Feb. 2016. $21.99. ISBN 9780062447258. digital download. 

Gr 9 Up –“The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?” Keep wondering: Riley Cavanaugh isn’t answering. Riley is gender-fluid, information only Riley’s psychiatrist is privy to while Riley’s conservative congressman father and teacher mother remain clueless. Between medications and therapy, Riley is struggling to just live life. […]

Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez | SLJ Audio Review

Pérez, Ashley Hope. Out of Darkness. 10 CDs. 12:32 hrs. Listening Library. Apr. 2016. $65. ISBN 9780735289475. digital download. 

Gr 9 Up –The 1937 school explosion in New London, TX, remains the deadliest school disaster in U.S. history. With that real-life tragedy as a starting point, Pérez adds greater volatility with race, class, and family dysfunction, by introducing a love story between two teens from different worlds in a tiny community where nothing remains hidden for long. Mexican […]

The Haters by Jesse Andrews | SLJ Audio Reviews

Andrews, Jesse. The Haters. 7 CDs. 8:37 hrs. Listening Library. Apr. 2016. $45. ISBN 9780735209466. digital download. 

Gr 10 Up –Sixteen-year-old Wes and Corey go to jazz camp and immediately hate it. After teaming up with a fellow hater, 19-year-old Ash, the teens decide to run away from camp, form a band, and go on tour. Romantic entanglements, comical misadventures, and even some music making ensue in this rollicking ramble. The humor ranges from raunchy to uproarious to […]

You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang | SLJ Audio Review

Kang, Anna. You Are (Not) Small. 1 CD w tr book. 21 min. Weston Woods. Jan. 2016. $29.95. ISBN 9780545936644. 

PreS-Gr 1 –Winner of the 2015 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, this delightful book is joyfully performed by Christopher Weyant, Michael Crouch, and Emily Eiden. Two furry critters are having it out as they try to describe each other. The tall one says the other is small. The small one insists he isn’t small, the other is big. […]

The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly | SLJ Audio Review

KELLY, Erin Entrada. The Land of Forgotten Girls. ­­4 CDs. 5:02 hrs. HarperAudio. Mar. 2016. $49.99. ISBN 9781504696111. digital download.  

Gr 3-6 –Once upon a time, Soledad had two sisters and two loving parents. But tragedy can happen to anyone at any time, and suddenly, Sol and her younger sister, Ming, are transplanted to the other side of the world in a run-down apartment in Louisiana, abandoned by their desperate father and left in the (so-called) care […]

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo | SLJ Audio Review

DICAMILLO, Kate. Raymie Nightingale. ­­4 CDs 4:25 hrs. Listening Library. Apr. 2016. $30. ISBN 9781101917435. digital download. 

Gr 4-7 –Before they became the Three Rancheros, the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition brought Raymie Clarke, Louisiana Elefante, and Beverly Tapinski together—each for wildly different reasons. Raymie is convinced that when her philandering father, who’s run off with the dental hygienist, sees a picture of her in the newspaper wearing the winning crown and sash, he will surely […]

The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd | SLJ AUDIO Review

LLOYD, Natalie. . ­­4 CDs. 5:15 hrs. Scholastic. Feb. 2016. $29.99. ISBN 9780545910316. digital download. 

Gr 3-6 –Emma Casey, her brother Topher, and their Granny Blue call the Boneyard Café home. On weekends, Emma conducts tours of the haunted graveyard next door, while Topher warms visitors with his irresistible peach-lavender muffins and famous Boneyard Brew (aka hot chocolate). When their cozy haven is threatened by a greedy developer, Emma channels her late mother’s promise that the women in […]

Most Dangerous: ­Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin | SLJ Audio Review

SHEINKIN, Steve. Most Dangerous: ­Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War. 7 CDs. 7:52 hrs. Listening Library. 2015. $45. ISBN 9780553552775. digital download.

Gr 7 Up –Here Sheinkin tells the story of activist and military analyst Daniel Ellsberg and the famous Pentagon Papers, which were written while the United States was still fighting the war in Vietnam. The top-secret study revealed the many subterfuges used over the course of four presidencies to prolong the war […]

The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork | SLJ Audio Review

Stork, Francisco, X. The Memory of Light. 8 CDs. 9:19 hrs. Scholastic Audiobooks. 2016. $39.99. ISBN 9780545910934. 
Gr 7 Up –Vicky Cruz never expected to wake up. She planned her suicide attempt so nobody would find her until well after the pills did their job, but she was saved by her family’s housekeeper’s cat and woke up in Lakeview Hospital. There, she meets three other teens who also have mental illness. Mona copes with losing custody of her child […]

Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt & Alison McGhee | SLJ Audio Review

Appelt, Kathi & Alison McGhee. Maybe a Fox. 4 CDs. 3:30 hrs. S. & S. Audio. 2016. $24.99. ISBN 9781442394353. digital download.  

Gr 4-6 –Eleven-year-old Jules and her 12-year-old sister Sylvie are very close and dependent on each other, especially since their mother died when they were very young. So when Sylvie suddenly disappears and is presumed dead, Jules and her father are left to cope with her absence and their lives “after Sylvie.” At the […]

Mama’s Nightingale by Edwidge Danticat | SLJ Audio Review

Danticat, Edwidge. Mama’s Nightingale. 1 CD. 15 min. Recorded Books. 2015. $15.75. ISBN 9781501911156. digital download.

PreS-Gr 2 –Danticat’s first book for children is the bittersweet story, bookended by a lilting guitar and accordion waltz, of a family fractured by United States immigration law. For three months, Saya and her father have trudged through their days, doing what they can to stay connected with Saya’s mother, an undocumented immigrant—including weekly visits to the detention center where she’s […]

American Ace by Marilyn Nelson | SLJ Audio Review

Nelson, Marilyn. American Ace. 2 CDs. 1:22 hrs. Listening Library. 2016. $20. ISBN 9780147525772. digital download.  

Gr 4-6 –When Connor’s grandmother dies, she leaves his father a ring, a pair of pilot’s wings, and a letter explaining that the man who raised Connor’s father was not his biological father. With his father paralyzed by depression, Connor takes the two mementoes and the few details available to him and traces his new lineage to the U.S. Air Force, […]

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken | SLJ Audio Review

BRACKEN, Alexandra. Passenger. 11 CDs. 13:35 hrs. Brilliance. 2016. $24.99. ISBN 9781511361149. 

Gr 9 Up –Etta Spencer plans to be a professional violinist, not knowing the big secret her mother has kept from her—Etta and her mother are the last survivors of a time-traveling family. Cyrus Ironwood believes that Etta is the only person who can find the valuable object he seeks. And so he sends her traveling through space and time to land on a ship. Nicholas […]

Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye by Tania Del Rio | SLJ Audio Review

Del Rio, Tania. Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye. 4 CDs. 5 hrs. Brilliance. 2015. $19.99. ISBN 9781511322775. 

Gr 3-6 –Although he’s only 12 years old, Warren the 13th is the sole heir to his family’s once magnificent hotel. Unfortunately, the hotel has fallen on hard times since the death of Warren’s father five years earlier and since Warren’s Uncle Rupert brought his bride, Aunt Annaconda, to stay. Annaconda is bent on finding the hotel’s legendary hidden treasure, […]

The Lighting Queen by Laura Resau | SLJ Audio Review

RESAU, Laura. The Lighting Queen. 8 CDs. 8:16 hrs. Scholastic Audiobooks. 2015. $34.99. ISBN 9780545921176.

Gr 3-7 –Mateo visits his grandfather, Teo, in rural Mexico every year. Usually the visits follow the same old routine, but not this year. Instead, Teo tells the boy a story about friendship, life, and a bit of magic. His grandfather’s life wasn’t easy. He lost his father and sister when he was 11, and his mother fell into a deep depression. […]

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz | SLJ Audio Review

Schlitz, Laura Amy. The Hired Girl. 11 CDs. 12:45 hrs. Recorded Books. 2015. $87.75. ISBN 9781490632230. digital download. 

Gr 7 Up –Fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs is forced to quit school, much to her dismay, in order to help out on Steeple Farms, where her father and three brothers work. Having lost her mother at an early age, Joan finds herself struggling to do all the chores for the men—cooking, cleaning, washing, and any other chore her father assigns her. Joan’s […]

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor | SLJ Audio Review

OKORAFOR, Nnedi. Binti. digital download. 2:30 hrs. Macmillan Audio. 2015. $7.99. ISBN 9781427275462. 

Gr 9 Up –At 16, Binti embarks on an interplanetary voyage to Oomza Uni, the galaxy’s supreme institution of higher learning. As the first of her people offered such an opportunity, she leaves home without even warning her family of her departure. When the vessel is attacked by the alien Meduse, Binti’s only hope of survival is a pot of native clay—and her exceptional intelligence. Equal […]