February 21, 2017

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Fantasizing?

Then join Children’s Books Boston on February 23rd as Our Martha leads a conversation with Kristin Cashore and Tui Sutherland about just what’s going on in those big books today. Maybe they will talk about The Naming. Info at this link.

The Reader

The Reader by Traci Chee Putnam, August 2016 Reviewed from an ARC This is a book I’ve been saving the whole season, saving until the end because I knew I’d love it and I wanted to savor it. I’m not alone in loving it — it has four stars, it’s on the SLJ Mothership’s year […]

Teens Review “Dreamland Burning,” New Fantasy, and More

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The Kitsap YA reviewers take on new thrillers and fantasy titles and Jennifer Latham’s Dreamland Burning, among other recent releases.

Historical(ish)

So much fun! History is full of so many unexplored paths! What if you were a child of immigrants who bribed her way into a posh school? What if you were a doomed teenage king? What if you were a doomed teenage queen? What if you survived the San Francisco earthquake? What if you took […]

Tales from Mother Russia

We’re back from a few days of rest, travel, and so much family, with yet another double post — always, as the year draws to a close, the double posts, because the good books just keep piling up. Today’s books in many ways have nothing in common — one historical fiction, absolutely realistic despite some […]

The Lie Tree

Oh, The Lie Tree. For so long — since January, in fact, when I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC — I’ve been holding this up as an exemplar of great writing. Along with The Passion of Dolssa this has consistently held top billing in my head. It’s brilliant and unconventional; the writing is excellent; the […]

Rebel of the Sands

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton Viking, March 2016 Reviewed from a final copy OK, I’m a day late with this review because, well, I wanted to talk about this book and then I wasn’t sure if I ought to talk about this book, but I just wanted to keep thinking about this book […]

Middle Grade Xpress Reviews | November 2016

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A young boy with Dreidels on the Brain, a changeling baby, light fantasy for humor lovers, and more.

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

YA Xpress Reviews | November 2016

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Cindy Pon follows up Serpentine with the deeply satisfying Sacrifice, Jo Knowles delivers a “realistic and sensitive depiction of a family in crisis,” and Edward Stanton explores Polynesian history.

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

The Dark Days Club

I’m going to tip my hand right at the outset: this is a fantastic slow burn of a novel that is also the first in a series, so let’s face it: award recognition here probably goes beyond long shot and right into impossible. But sometimes you sit down to write up the book you meant […]

“Most Magical” Girls | New Fall Fantasy

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In their new books, middle-grade luminaries Karen Cushman, Karen Foxlee, and Jennifer A. Nielsen bring new meaning to the words, “girl power.”

The Inquisitor’s Tale

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog By Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatem Aly Published by Dutton Children’s Books Grades 5-8 Book Review “Whether you go your separate ways or stay together, you will continue to witness— against ignorance, against cruelty, and on behalf of all that is beautiful about […]

The Radiant Road

The Radiant Road, Katherine Catmull Dutton, January 2016 Reviewed from final e-book I mentioned last week that each of us has to assess excellence for ourselves, as well as coming to consensus when it comes time to pick a winner (or, for us, Pyrite winner). For me, excellence is deeply tied to language. I was […]

Setting a New Default for Readers and Myself: A Guest Post by LABYRINTH LOST author Zoraida Cordova

Today we are very honored to host a guest post by LABYRINTH LOST author Zoraida Córdova. Labyrinth Lost is book one in the Brooklyn Brujas series published by Sourcebooks Fire. It is the story of Alex, a girl who wants to reject her magical destiny and in doing so banishes her family to another plane […]

SLJTeen Live! 2016: Genre-Bending Sci-fi and Fantasy

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Today’s YA resists the traditional definitions of science fiction vs. fantasy. Cases in point: these “genre-bending” authors, whose works meld dystopian societies, magic, imagined empires, and alternate Earths.

Literacy Is Magic: Traci Chee on World-Building, Fantasy, and “The Reader”

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SLJ caught up with debut YA fantasy author Traci Chee and talked about her path to publishing, the need for diversity in genre teen fiction, and her writing process.

Shadow Magic | 30-Second Booktalk

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Giant bats, dark magic, necromancy, and non-stop action fill Joshua Khan’s debut middle grade fantasy, as explained in a super short booktalk.

A Chat with Brian Farrey About “The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse”

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Brian Farrey’s latest middle grade novel has all the magical details and atmospheric elements that fantasy readers crave—along with some deep and thought-provoking themes. SLJ chats with the author about exploring fundamental questions of ethics and emotions with middle graders through literature.

Fantasy Series Starters | Listen In

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Multi-volume tales, both classic and modern, to engage listeners

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

Magic in Our World | Spring 2016 Middle Grade Fantasy

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Exploring topics from grief to bullying in settings both contemporary and historical, a trio of 2016 titles mine real-world emotions and situations—and top them off with dashes of magic, horror, and talking skunks.