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, 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, 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, [...]
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 [...]
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.
Unlike many novels in verse, which can read like conventional narratives with line breaks, Caminar contributes poetry that elevates the genre.
Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems Selected by Paul B. Janeczko Illustrated by Melissa Sweet Candlewick Press $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-7636-4842-8 Ages 4-8 On shelves now Is reviewing works of poetry essentially a ridiculous thing to attempt? I’m not trying to be facetious or anything, I honestly want to know. It took me a [...]
Aptly named Digger Dog sniffs out a bone and with catchy, repetitive phrases, uses increasingly larger digging tools and vehicles to break the hard ground and retrieve it.
Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner. Candlewick Press. 2013. Reviewed from ARC. Printz Honor Book. The Plot: Standish Treadwell, fifteen, is dyslexic. He has different colored eyes, one blue, one brown. He lives with his grandfather; his parents are gone. He had one friend, Hector, and Hector is also gone. Standish’s world is one of fear and [...]
Organized by the seasons, beginning with spring, this collection of 36 impeccably chosen short poems demonstrates that significant emotional power can reside in just a few lines.
Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles, America’s First Black Paratroopers by Tanya Lee Stone. Candlewick Press. 2013. Library copy. YALSA Nonfiction Finalist. It’s About: During World War II, the US Armed Forces were segregated. This discrimination also included what roles African American men were, and weren’t, allowed. Combat? No. Cleaning? [...]
The whimsical story is accompanied by striking oil paintings. The two fish are portrayed in fluid orange and gold brushstrokes, while the bowl is a luminous sphere reflecting different colors from page to page.
A few final books we wanted to squeeze in: Reality Boy, which received some buzz early in the year but seems to have fallen off everyone’s radars despite three year-end Best lists; More Than This, a book that has picked up some traction recently as a buzz book and potential contender; and Black Helicopters, which [...]
Okay, not all the books, but three books for the price of one post: The Golden Day, Winger, and The Midnight Dress. (It was going to be four books, because I stayed up way too late reading More Than This the other night, but I think I need to sit on that for another day [...]
Have You Seen My Dragon? By Steve Light Candlewick Press $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-7636-6648-4 Ages 2-6 On shelves April 8th When I grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan I would get this little thrill every time my city appeared in a children’s book. Which is to say, every time it was mentioned in Horton Hatches the Egg. [...]
Journey By Aaron Becker Candlewick Press ISBN: 978-0-7636-6053-6 $15.99 Ages 3-8 On shelves now. I’ve encountered something new and exciting at this late stage of the game. For years I’ve been reviewing picture books written for children. Working with them on almost a day-to-day basis as a children’s librarian, I did not doubt that my [...]