March 27, 2017

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3 “STEM”-ulating Biographies

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These recent titles tackle complex STEM topics suitable for any classroom.

15 STEM Titles To Celebrate Women

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A splendid mix of fiction and nonfiction female-centered STEM books for children and teens.

A Time To Act: John F. Kennedy’s Big Speech by Shana Corey | SLJ Review

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COREY, Shana. A Time To Act: John F. Kennedy’s Big Speech. illus. by R. Gregory Christie. 48p. bibliog. further reading. notes. photos. NorthSouth. Apr. 2017. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9780735842755.

Gr 3-5 –On June 11, 1963, President John F. Kennedy gave an eloquent speech in which he made a plea for civil rights for African Americans. He was lauded for his blunt but sincere appeal to ensure equality for all Americans. Corey begins with biographical information on Kennedy, including his […]

The Hawk of the Castle: A Story of Medieval Falconry by Danna Smith | SLJ Review

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SMITH, Danna. The Hawk of the Castle: A Story of Medieval Falconry. illus. by Bagram Ibatoulline. 40p. further reading. index. websites. Candlewick. Apr. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763679927.

K-Gr 3 –A serene journey through a medieval landscape with a falconer and his daughter. Each spread features a four-line stanza that describes an aspect of falconry and ends with “the castle”: “This is the glove with scratches and flaws/which protects Father’s hand from razor-sharp claws/that grasp with ease and hold […]

Animal Ark: Celebrating Our Wild World in Poetry and Picture by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess & Deanna Nikaido | SLJ Review

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ALEXANDER, Kwame with Mary Rand Hess & Deanna Nikaido. Animal Ark: Celebrating Our Wild World in Poetry and Picture. photos by Joel Sartore. 48p. National Geographic. Feb. 2017. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781426327674.

K-Gr 3 –Opening with an earnest invitation to “see what we can save—together,” Alexander and Sartore have crafted a stunning journey through the animal kingdom. The book implores readers to pause and look each animal in the eye, to soak in the majesty and diversity of nature. […]

Taking Action and Reading Orwell | Nonfiction Series Update

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Animals and author biographies for the elementary crowd and a timely focus on social issues for tweens and teens.

This article was published in School Library Journal's February 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

An Antidote for the Winter Blues | SLJ Spotlight on Nonfiction

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Cold, blustery days got elementary students down? These spring-related titles are just the ticket to get kids energized for longer and warmer days ahead.

Noah Webster’s Fighting Words by Tracy Nelson Maurer | SLJ Review

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MAURER, Tracy Nelson. Noah Webster’s Fighting Words. illus. by Mircea Catusanu. 40p. bibliog. chron. ebook available. further reading. notes. websites. Millbrook. Jan. 2017. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781467794107.

Gr 3-5 –Maurer and Catusanu have created a wonderfully clever and humorous depiction of Noah Webster as an outspoken, driven man who endlessly advocated for weaning Americans from British influence by producing a lexicon of truly American words with American pronunciations. For example, at that time, the terms skunk, hickory, and chowder […]

The Champ is Here | SLJ Spotlight

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A mix of picture book and YA biographies that focus on well-known athletes who not only excelled in their respective leagues but also created lasting cultural change.

SLJ’s January 2017 Popular Picks

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SLJ is ringing in the New Year with this January Popular Picks list! This month includes a story about a badger who realizes his obsession with cleanliness has gone too far; the return of Aaron Blabey’s “Bad Guys”; a stunning graphic novel about Artemis, the goddess of the hunt; and an autobiography by soccer star Carli Lloyd, recently voted FIFA’s Best Women’s Soccer Player.

The Secret Life of the Red Fox by Laurence Pringle | SLJ Review

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PRINGLE, Laurence. The Secret Life of the Red Fox. illus. by Kate Garchinsky. 32p. further reading. glossary. Boyds Mills. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781629792606.

Gr 1-4 –Beginning on a snowy afternoon in February and ending in early autumn, this book centers on a fox named Vixen as she explores her habitat, hunts, runs from danger, and starts a family. This intimate and personal view into Vixen’s life is chronicled through a beautifully cohesive relationship between text and illustration. […]

Grand Canyon by Jason Chin | SLJ Review

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CHIN, Jason. Grand Canyon. illus. by Jason Chin. 56p. bibliog. diag. further reading. websites. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks. Feb. 2017. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781596439504.

Gr 3-5 –A breathtaking walk through multiple habitats and deep time. Beginning at the banks of the Colorado River, a child and her adult companion hike up the South Kaibab trail from 1.84 billion-year-old “basement rocks” past the layers of the Grand Canyon Supergroup, the Bright Angel Shale, and other major formations to the Kaibab […]

Bats: Learning To Fly by Falynn Koch | SLJ Review

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KOCH, Falynn. Bats: Learning To Fly. illus. by Falynn Koch. 128p. (Science Comics). further reading. glossary. First Second. Feb. 2017. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781626724099; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781626724082.

Gr 3-7 –This latest in the science-related graphic novel series turns its focused eye to the world of bats. A little brown bat is lost in a Southwestern desert at night, just as a group of nature lovers are out for a tour. Injured in a commotion with the humans, the […]

The Search for Olinguito: Discovering a New Species by Sandra Markle | SLJ Review

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MARKLE, Sandra. The Search for Olinguito: Discovering a New Species. 40p. ebook available. further reading. glossary. index. maps. notes. photos. websites. Millbrook. Jan. 2017. lib. ed. $30.65. ISBN 9781512410150.

Gr 3-6 –“Nothing new under the sun,” goes the old saying, but apparently there is. Consider the first “new” carnivore spotted in the Americas in 35 years—the olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina), a small furry member of the raccoon family, hiding in plain sight (though nocturnal in nature) in the Ecuadorian rain […]

Mickey Mantle: The Commerce Comet by Jonah Winter | SLJ Review

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WINTER, Jonah. Mickey Mantle: The Commerce Comet. illus. by C.F. Payne. 40p. Random/Schwartz & Wade. Feb. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781101933527.

Gr 2-5 –The cover image of a steely-eyed Mickey Mantle, bat aloft over his shoulder, sets the stage for an intimate look at the Hall of Famer. Mantle (1931–95) shattered records but struggled throughout his life to live up to expectations. (“Where Mickey came from, you had to be strong—tough, too.”) Mantle battled childhood injuries and illness, but […]

Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out!: Games, Songs & Stories from an African American Childhood by Patricia C. McKissack | SLJ Review

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MCKISSACK, Patricia C. Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out!: Games, Songs & Stories from an African American Childhood. illus. by Brian Pinkney. 184p. bibliog. ebook available. index. Random/Schwartz & Wade. Jan. 2017. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780375870880; lib. ed. $27.99. ISBN 9780375970887.

Gr 2-6 –Children’s literature powerhouses McKissack and Pinkney team up for the second time, creating a dynamic collection of songs, rhymes, and stories with origins in the African American diaspora. McKissack recalls […]

Becoming Bach by Tom Leonard | SLJ Review

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LEONARD, Tom. Becoming Bach. illus. by Tom Leonard. 40p. bibliog. websites. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks. Feb. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626722866.

Gr 1-3 –In this elegantly composed biography, Johann Sebastian shares his dream of one day following in his family’s footsteps and becoming a “bach,” that is to say, a musician. For the young dreamer, “there was always music.” Fascinated by different musical instruments, from the harpsichord and violin to the flute and organ, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) learns […]

Get With the Program! | SLJ Spotlight

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In need of programming ideas?

SLJ’s December Popular Picks

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Featuring a tale about a rooster who refuses to stay silent, a new graphic novel series about a narwhal and his jellyfish companion, and a middle grade Cyrano de Bergerac, this month’s Popular Picks are bound to fly off shelves.

This article was published in School Library Journal's December 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

What Will Grow? by Jennifer Ward | SLJ Review

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WARD, Jennifer. What Will Grow? illus. by Susie Ghahremani. 40p. Bloomsbury. Feb. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781681190303.

PreS –This bucolic companion to Ward’s What Will Hatch? captures the magic and excitement of planting a garden and waiting for it to bloom. In simple rhyming couplets, Ward highlights seeds of all shapes and sizes, including sunflower seeds (“Stripy black./Crunchy snack.”) and dandelion seeds (“Fluffy, white./Taking flight.”). Each short verse is followed by the question, “What will grow?” The sunflowers and […]