December 13, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey by Özge Samanci | SLJ Review

Samanci, Özge. Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey. illus. by Özge Samanci. 200p. Farrar/Margaret Ferguson Bks. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780374316983. 

Gr 6 Up –Samanci’s graphic novel memoir is a humorous and moving portrayal of coming-of-age in Turkey in the turbulent 1980s. The story makes the political personal in ways that are perfectly accessible to young teens. Samanci’s narrative is peppered with engaging details of her childhood experiences, including her relationships with her parents, uncle, […]

He Named Me Malala | SLJ DVD Review

He Named Me Malala. 88 min. Dist. by Twentieth Century Fox. 2015. $19.99. UPC 0024543225003. 

Gr 7 Up –Shortly after Ziauddin Yousafzai’s daughter was born, a relative shared with him their family tree. Yousafzai saw that although 300 years of his family history were traced in the branches, there was no mention of a single woman. In that moment, he wrote his newborn daughter’s name—Malala (which means sadness)—indelibly on the tree. She was named for a storied Pashtun warrior […]

Rain Fish by Lois Ehlert | SLJ Review

Ehlert, Lois. Rain Fish. illus. by Lois Ehlert. 40p. S. & S./Beach Lane. Apr. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481461528; ebk. $17.99. ISBN 9781481461535.

PreS-Gr 3 –Found art supplies form suggestions of fish shapes while the text lyrically provides directions on how to make “rain fish” in this imaginative work by the master collage artist. Ehlert describes how the objects “hide in debris/until rain sets them free,” thereby explaining how she finds materials. The ephemeral nature of […]

Circle by Jeannie Baker | SLJ Review

Baker, Jeannie. Circle. illus. by Jeannie Baker. 48p. maps. Candlewick. May 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763679668. 

PreS-Gr 2 –A lovely and lyrical ode to the migration of the godwits. A boy in bed dreams of flying. He watches from his wheelchair as a flock of godwits begin their northward migration from Australia. Beautifully detailed collages fill the spreads, and the perspectives switch from bird-watcher to bird. Chronicling the 7,000 miles of one of the longest animal […]

The Memory of Light by Francisco Stork | SLJ Review

STORK , Francisco. The Memory of Light. 336p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545474320; ebk. $17.99. ISBN 9780545634021.

Gr 9 Up –After attempting to commit suicide in her bedroom, Vicky Cruz wakes up in the psychiatric wing of the hospital. Exhausted and nearly catatonic, Vicky goes through the motions asked of her by the quiet but firm Dr. Desai while intending to stay only the mandatory time before going home to try again. After attending group […]

Listen to Our World by Bill Martin Jr. & Michael Sampson | SLJ Review

Martin, Bill, Jr. & Michael Sampson. Listen to Our World. illus. by Melissa Sweet. 40p. S. & S./Paula Wiseman Bks. Mar. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781442454736.

PreS-Gr 1 –On the title page of this simple and thoroughly inviting picture book, the universe appears vast and quiet, but zoom down to Earth and there are a great many habitats and inhabitants that make up our world. “Listen! Listen! Listen!” mommies say to their little ones, as each […]

Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan | SLJ Review

Khan, Joshua. Shadow Magic. illus. by Ben Hibon. 336p. Disney-Hyperion. Apr. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781484732724.

Gr 4-6 –Normally, getting purchased by an executioner wouldn’t be a good thing. For Thorn, however, it’s the beginning of a thrilling adventure. Captured while out looking for his missing father, Thorn is taken by new owner Tyburn to the kingdom where he serves as executioner. Arriving at Castle Gloom in Gehenna, Thorn meets 13-year-old Lady Lily Shadow, the last […]

Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxane Orgill | SLJ Review

Orgill, Roxane. Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph. illus. by Francis Vallejo. 64p. bibliog. further reading. notes. photos. websites. Candlewick. Mar. 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780763669546.

Gr 4 Up –A collection of poetry that focuses on the day graphic designer Art Kane orchestrated the iconic 1958 photograph of American jazz greats on a stoop in Harlem. Though many may recognize the photograph, fewer will know the story of its creation. While working on a […]

That Is NOT a Good Idea! | SLJ DVD Review

That Is NOT a Good Idea! 7 min. Dist. by Weston Woods. 2015. $59.95. ISBN 9780545879323.

PreS-Gr 3 –It’s not often that a video translation of a picture book actually surpasses the excellence of the source material, but that is the case with this offering from Mo Willems. The depiction of the narrative as if it is an old movie is more apparent, beginning with a baby goose comically struggling to pull down a movie screen. The scratches, black-and-white […]

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina | SLJ Review

Medina, Meg. Burn Baby Burn. 320p. ebook available. Candlewick. Mar. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763674670.

Gr 9 Up –Nora Lopez is 17 in 1977 when New York City faced one of its most horrific summers in history. A serial killer called Son of Sam was on the loose, shooting innocent couples; the city faced a blackout complete with looting; and arson was rampant. Nora’s brother Hector is illegally dealing drugs and physically abusing his mother, Mima, […]

¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z!: Descubriendo el bosque nublado/Olinguito, from A to Z!: Unveiling the Cloud Forest by Lulu Delacre | SLJ Review

Delacre, Lulu. ¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z!: Descubriendo el bosque nublado/Olinguito, from A to Z!: Unveiling the Cloud Forest. illus. by Lulu Delacre. 40p. glossary. Children’s Bk. Pr. Feb. 2016. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9780892393275. 

Gr 1-4 –Delacre uses a creative A–Z format to write a description in verse of a cloud forest, or a moist ecosystem found in tropical areas, in the Andes. The author mentions different animals or plants located here; each page […]

Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems by Bob Raczka | SLJ Review

Raczka, Bob. Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems. 48p. Roaring Brook. Mar. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626722361.

Gr 3-6 –At the start of this collection, Raczka notes that he likes to think of poems as “word paintings,” and he demonstrates this philosophy to marvelous effect. In each of his 21 concrete poems, he groups the words in a shape that complements or emphasizes the meaning or central concept. Raczka goes even further, playfully arranging the […]

Finding Hope by Colleen Nelson | SLJ Review

Nelson, Colleen. Finding Hope. 200p. Dundurn. Apr. 2016. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781459732452. 

Gr 10 Up –Fifteen-year old Hope has always fallen into her older brother’s shadow. Eighteen-year-old Eric, once a hotshot hockey player, is now a meth-addicted shell of the popular boy he once was. Homeless and desperate, Eric relies on Hope for the money, food, and clothing she leaves hidden for him. But when Hope is sent to an all-girls academy, she finally has a […]

Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti | SLJ Review

Caletti, Deb. Essential Maps for the Lost. 336p. ebook available. S. & S./Simon Pulse. Apr. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481415163. 

Gr 9 Up –The relationship between Mads and Billy, two teenagers thrown together by grisly fate and bound together over the course of the novel by love, echoes with a motif—a certain book beloved by them both: E.L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Having read the story of these two siblings […]

Love: The Tiger by Frederic Brremaud | SLJ Review

Brremaud, Frederic. Love: The Tiger. illus. by Federico Bertolucci. 80p. (Love: Bk. 1.) Magnetic. 2015. Tr. $17.99. ISBN 9780991332441. 

Gr 4-6 –This wordless story is the first in a series of wildlife books that each focus on a day in the life of a different wild animal in its natural habitat. A full-page panel of the jungle setting framed by lush limbs and vines gives readers a view that puts them into the action from the […]

When We Collided by Emery Lord | SLJ Review

Lord, Emery. When We Collided. 352p. ebook available. Bloomsbury. Apr. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781619638457.

Gr 8 Up –Filled with raw, descriptive truths and told through the alternating voices of the protagonists, this story takes place in the idyllic, picturesque setting of Verona Cove, CA. Small enough for everyone to know one another yet large enough to handle a summer tourist season, this background locale is a perfect nesting spot for the poignant love story between […]

Love Is in the Air! | SLJ Spotlight

Filled with reassuring sentiment, tender affirming language, and warm and fuzzy artwork, these titles are all about the joys that friendship, camaraderie, and caring can bring.

Have a Look, Says Book by Richard Jackson | SLJ Review

Jackson, Richard. Have a Look, Says Book. illus. by Kevin Hawkes. 48p. ebook available. S. & S./Atheneum. Apr. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481421058.

PreS-Gr 2 –Bright illustrations take readers, along with a girl and her papa in an oversize armchair, on a roller-coaster ride through the pages of a beckoning book. The book wants its visitors to look and listen, but, most importantly, it wants them to touch—to try to call forth a tactile experience through […]

The Storyteller by Aaron Starmer | SLJ Review

Starmer, Aaron. The Storyteller. 328p. (The Riverman Trilogy: Bk. 3). Farrar. Mar. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780374363130.

Gr 5-8 –This title concludes the original and uniquely satisfying trilogy and will not disappoint fans of the first two books. Picking up where The Whisper (Farrar, 2015) left off in the “solid world,” former narrator Alistair Cleary’s older sister, Kerrigan Cleary, assumes the narrative. Keri is troubled by what is happening to her little brother, from his involvement […]

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle | SLJ Audio Review

Carle, Eric. The Tiny Seed. 1 CD w/tr book. 18 min. Weston Woods. 2015. $18.95. ISBN 9780545875028.

PreS-Gr 2 –Seeds float on the breeze through a variety of biomes and across the four seasons as listeners explore the life cycle of one tiny seed. This book has remained in print since its original publication in 1987 (S. & S.) because it is replete with so many concepts beyond the flower life cycle and could be used with […]