October 8, 2015

Subscribe to SLJ

Review of the Day: The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz

The Hired Girl By Laura Amy Schlitz Candlewick Press $17.99 ISBN: 978-0763678180 Ages 12 and up Bildungsroman. Definition: “A novel dealing with one person’s formative years or spiritual education.” A certain strain of English major quivers at the very term. Get enough Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man shoved down your gullet and […]

The Tightrope Walkers

  The Tightrope Walkers by David Almond Candlewick, March 2015 Reviewed from an ARC Oh, I am conflicted about this one. This is gorgeous, gorgeous writing — even the first line pulls you in and lets you know that you’re in for something unusual here (“I was born in a hovel on the banks of the […]

Four NYC Publishers, One Epic Season: Rocco Staino’s Peek at Upcoming Fall Titles


SLJ contributing editor Rocco Staino shares highlights from this past spring’s NYC publisher previews and offers a peek into some of the books coming out this fall season.

“Honor Girl” Graphic Novelist Maggie Thrash on Identity and Girls’ Spaces

Photo by Nico Carver

SLJ caught up with debut author Maggie Thrash, whose graphic memoir Honor Girl focuses on an experience she had at summer camp when she was 15. Thrash shared how she went from comics newbie to full-fledged author, described the challenges of writing a memoir, and emphasized the importance of all-girl’s spaces.

Finding a Creative Frequency: Tuning in to Pat Schmatz’s “Lizard Radio”


Pat Schmatz’s Lizard Radio comes at a key social moment, with trans identities and gender fluidity gaining increasing mainstream recognition. The YA author spoke with SLJ on the nuances of that well-wrought term dystopia and letting characters speak for themselves, including the work’s 15-year-old protagonist, ‘bender’ Kivali.

Review: ‘Baba Yaga’s Assistant’

A little realism. A little creepiness. Fairy tale stepmothers and stepsisters. This book has a little bit of everything to attract all type of readers and will leave all of them more than satisfied. Baba Yaga’s Assistant By Marika McCoola, art by Emily Carroll Candlewick Press Grades 6 and up Masha was mostly raised by […]

Book Expo America 2015 (Part II)

On Thursday, May 28th, I was lucky enough to be released from my regular duties as a middle school librarian so I could hop over to the City and spend a day at Book Expo America. I walked up and down the Convention Floor for five hours without a break. I only felt it when […]

Egg & Spoon

Egg & Spoon

Egg & Spoon, Gregory Maguire Candlewick Press, September 2014 Reviewed from final copy What an ingenious little (okay, big) book this is. Maguire is at his best when he’s being sly and subverting tropes and expectations; he did it to genius effect in Wicked, which remains one of my favorite novels, and while his overall […]

Partial Non-Fiction Roundup

Partial Non-Fiction Roundup

We’ve got a small list of nonfiction titles to go through today — all with starred reviews, and two on year’s best lists. These are all good non-fiction, solid reads. I liked them. Understand: these are no frogs here, and I enjoyed the kisses very much. Buuuuuut… I’m not convinced that they’ll be talked about […]

In Brief (at length)

We’re called “Someday My Printz Will Come” for a reason; we kiss a lot of frogs. Which is necessary if we want to read widely — and we do, because that gives us the best sense of the year. The Printz is, after all, an award for literary excellence in the publication year — wider […]

Video Sunday: Or Jon Klassen himself. He’d make a nice bear.

Video Sunday: Or Jon Klassen himself. He’d make a nice bear.

The holidays are nearly upon us!  Time to buy things!  To chop down trees.  To find books for the small fry!  I can’t help you with the first or second of these necessities but #3?  Here’s a bit of an aid for you.  As you may know, Rocco Staino and KidLit TV have together been […]

The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean

The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean

The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean, David Almond Candlewick, January 2014 Reviewed from finished ebook David Almond was one of the original Printz court (see my royalty pun there?). Skellig was an honor book in 2000, and then Kit’s Wilderness took the gold in 2001. Almond hasn’t stopped writing; at least in his […]

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender, Leslye Walton Candlewick Press, March 2014 Reviewed from ARC Here’s some magic realism by way of fairy tales with writing that’s often achingly beautiful. Some books engage your intellect and others grab your heart; some books, however, immerse you in a sensory experience. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrow […]

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, Susan Kuklin Candlewick Press, February 2014 Reviewed from ARC Does literary quality mean that a writer has to have a strong authorial presence? I bring this up because Beyond Magenta is a wonderful nonfiction book. It’s easily one of the strongest contenders for this year’s YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction—but […]

Children of the King

Children of the King

Children of the King, Sonya Hartmett Candlewick, March 2014 Reviewed from ARC Luxuriant prose, complicated and resonant themes, contemplative characters — Hartnett’s historical fiction is actually a bit of a genre-blender with thin fantasy elements woven in. Traditionally, the Printz committee rewards books that mix genres — but RealCommittee choices also tend to skew older, […]

Review of the Day: Caminar by Skila Brown

Review of the Day: Caminar by Skila Brown

Caminar By Skila Brown Candlewick Press $15.99 ISBN: 978-0763665166 Ages 9-12 On shelves now Survivor’s guilt. Not the most common theme in children’s books these days. Not unheard of certainly, but it definitely doesn’t crop up as often as, say, stories about cupcakes or plucky orphans that have to defeat evil wizards. Serious works of […]

Interview: Gregory Maguire on Why the World Needs Magic and ‘Egg and Spoon’


The author of Wicked, the book that spawned the blockbuster Broadway play, Gregory Maguire talks with SLJ about his latest otherworldly novel Egg and Spoon, who should be reading it, and why fairy tales are necessary nutrition for the modern world.

This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2013 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

‘Druthers’ Meets ‘Leroy Ninker’ at Candlewick| Fall 2014 Preview


SLJ visits the Candlewick Fall Preview where Kate DiCamillo talks about spinoff character from her “Mercy Watson” series for her upcoming August title Leroy Ninker Saddles Up—and books about bears and dads get some love.

Pictures of the Week: National Kid Lit Ambassador Kate DiCamillo Visits ‘School Library Journal’

Kate DiCamillo and SLJ staff

En route to host the Children’s Book Week gala in New York City on May 14, National Ambassador of Children’s Literature Kate DiCamillo stopped by the SLJ office. The 2014 Newbery Award-winning author of Flora & Ulysses shared galleys of her next chapter book Leroy Ninker Saddles Up, out this August, and a companion to the “Mercy Watson” books.

Pick of the Day: Caminar


Unlike many novels in verse, which can read like conventional narratives with line breaks, Caminar contributes poetry that elevates the genre.