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July 30, 2014

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Spotlight on Musicians and Fine Artists | Focus On

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Here’s a collection of picture-book biographies that introduces musicians and fine artists to children. The authors and illustrators have created engaging, child-friendly profiles that will hopefully lead readers to explore and seek out other materials about these amazingly talented individuals.

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

Picture Book Biographies | Portals to the Past

Nelson Mandela

Superb choices for sharing aloud or reading independently, picture book biographies make useful starting points for investigations of subjects that span the curriculum. This year’s selections includes artists, activists, and an aviatrix.

Review: Mad Girl’s Love Song

Review: Mad Girl’s Love Song

Mad Girl’s Love Song: Sylvia Plath and Life Before Ted by Andrew Wilson. Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster. 2013. Personal copy. One of my “vacation reads” — books for the grown ups, reviewed around holidays, when you may want to take time off from reading young adult books. It’s About: Sylvia Plath before [...]

Review: Pain, Parties, Work

Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953 by Elizabeth Winder. HarperCollins. 2013. Personal Copy. Vacation reads — when I review not-teen books that people may be interested in reading! It’s About: In June, 1953, Sylvia Plath was a guest editor for the fashion magazine, Mademoiselle.  The guest editor program was prestigious. The [...]

Pick of the Day: On a Beam of Light

figure in center, title of book below

A picture book that focuses on Albert Einstein’s intellect hrough the concepts that puzzled and excited him. Check out SLJ’s starred review.

With ‘42’ in Theaters, Here’s a Free Movie Starring Jackie Robinson

With ‘42’ in Theaters, Here’s a Free Movie Starring Jackie Robinson

Alfred Green’s 1950 film, made at the height of Robinson’s career, is in the public domain…

Q: How to Connect Critical Thinking, Research, and Information Literacy? A: Fandom

Q: How to Connect Critical Thinking, Research, and Information Literacy? A: Fandom

The task for educators is not to drain this sense of open-ended exploration from student-fans but rather to make sure that it is accompanied by the Jiminy Cricket-like voice of critical literacy…

Review of the Day – Diego Rivera: An Artist for the People by Susan Goldman Rubin

Washington Post Politics app screenshot

Diego Rivera: An Artist for the People By Susan Goldman Rubin Abrams Books for Young Readers $21.95 ISBN: 978-0-8109-8411-0 Ages 10 and up On shelves now National Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15th to October 15th. How many folks could tell you that off the top of their heads? Meanwhile, few awards are specifically [...]

SLJ Talks to Author Andrea Cheng: Her latest book, ‘Etched in Clay,’ charts the courageous life of Dave the potter | Under Cover

Andrea Cheng

Author Andrea Cheng’s latest book, ‘Etched in Clay,’ charts the courageous life of Dave the potter, a 19th-century slave who became an accomplished artist.

Review: Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different by Karen Blumenthal. Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan. 2012. Review copy from publisher. Finalist for the YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award. It’s About: A biography of Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, Inc. The Good: Reading books like Bomb, Titanic or We’ve Got a Job [...]

Review of the Day: The Boy Who Loved Math by Deborah Heiligman

The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdős By Deborah Heiligman Illustrated by LeUyen Pham Roaring Brook (an imprint of Macmillan) ISBN: 978-1-59643-307-6 Ages 6 and up On shelves June 25th Make a beeline for your local library’s children’s biography section and learn firsthand the shocking truth about picture book bios of [...]

Review: Listening for Madeleine

Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L’Engle in Many Voices by Leonard S. Marcus. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2012. Review copy from publisher. It’s About: Madeleine L’Engle, beloved author of A Wrinkle In Time (Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1962). The Good: How to write a biography of Madeleine L’Engle, especially when so many people [...]

Pick of the Day: Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey

blue greens to right, musician to left

GOLIO, Gary. Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey. illus. by Rudy Gutierrez. 48p. bibliog. discography. further reading. websites. Clarion. 2012. RTE $17.99. ISBN 978-0-547-23994-1.
Gr 4-6–
A well-conceived marriage of art and text breathes life and passion into this picture biography. Swirling strokes of vibrant colors give the book an almost cinematic quality, animating Coltrane’s passionate journey from a joyous, nurturing early childhood with a loving extended family to the despair of losing too many loved ones in a short time. The [...]

Sandra McLeod Humphrey, Children’s Book Author, Killed in House Fire

Humphrey

Sandra McLeod Humphrey, 76, an award-winning author of children’s books on character development, was killed in a house fire on November 23.

Pick of the Day: Colorful Dreamer

figure on left wearing glasses

PARKER, Marjorie Blain. Colorful Dreamer: The Story of Artist Henri Matisse. illus. by Holly Berry. 32p. further reading. CIP. Dial. Nov. 2012. RTE $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3758-7. LC 2011035446.
Gr 2-5
–This picture-book biography covers Matisse’s entire life but focuses on his career aspirations and achievements. The straightforward text takes a lighthearted approach by including details such as young Henri’s dream of becoming a magician and his skill with a peashooter. Berry’s illustrations are the star of the show; dignified black-and-white drawings [...]

Larger Than Life: Biography | Series Made Simple Fall 2012

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Readers of this season’s biographies can expect to travel through time to meet characters from long ago, investigate various careers by meeting stars of today, and be inspired to invent and create.

Interview: Gary Golio Talks About ‘Spirit Seeker’

Golio Gary

Gary Golio speaks to SLJ about his latest picture book, Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey (Clarion, 2012), which deals with the tumultuous life of the legendary jazz musician.

On the Radar: Top Picks from the Editors at Junior Library Guild: Sports Books Score Touchdowns

Dinosaurs playing football

With the onset of September comes the roar of the crowd—the football crowd. From Pop Warner leagues to professional sports, there are plenty of games to attend or watch. Whether on the bleachers, in the field, or cheering from the living room couch, here are some new titles to fill in the gap during half-time.

All the Way to America

All the Way to America

Link to youtube video All the way to america After reading All The Way to America by Dan Yaccarino, we asked the 2nd graders to draw a picture of objects or ideas that are  passed down in families. Some of the objects that came up in the discussion, a hand-cranked coffee grinder, a ceremonial wine cup, [...]

All The Way To America

  We preface the reading of this book by noting that this is an information book. We ask the students if there are any hints about what the book is about on the cover. Some comments include that there is a trip. (suitcases) That it is about New York. (Statue of Liberty)  When we look [...]