Two magical books topped off our April reading, both earning starred reviews. The Golem and the Jinni is a mash-up of Jewish and Arab folklore, historical fiction and fantasy, new and old world sensibilities. Helene Wecker’s debut seems destined to be among the best of the year. The publisher has certainly gone all-out. The physical package is richly [...]
Today’s three reviewed novels share elements of the supernatural and magical realism. What teenager doesn’t wish for a superpower, if only to imagine themselves less under the control of the adults in their lives? In a series of connected vignettes, What the Family Needed introduces seven members of one family who grapple with special abilities. [...]
Today’s reviews are all notable debut novels by women. I spent part of my spring break tearing through Kimberly McCreight’s Reconstructing Amelia, and let me tell you — teens are going to eat this up. It came out just yesterday, so go order a couple copies now. There are several appeal elements here. First, the [...]
It’s time to once again to look at the season before us and say “that looks good”. What follows are books coming out in March, April, and May that appear to have promise. Picture Book Giant Dance Party by Betsy Bird; illustrated by Brandon Dorman April 23 | Greenwillow | Grades K-2 Ever heard of [...]
We Are America: A Tribute from the Heart. By Walter Dean Myers. CD. 33:51 min. with hardcover book. Live Oak Media. 2012. ISBN 978-1-4301-1112-2. $29.95.
Gr 3 Up–The sweeping scope of Myers’s free verse poems (HarperCollins, 2011) is captured beautifully and interpreted dramatically on this CD by a diverse cast of narrators. This eminently patriotic book celebrates free expression and attempts to paint with word pictures the depth and breadth of the varied American experience. Rarely are all ethnicities given voice [...]
On the Radar: Top Picks from the Editors at Junior Library Guild: New Releases for Your Nonfiction Shelves
Good nonfiction titles rise to the top as librarians focus their content needs to meet the Common Core State Standards. New releases by our favorite authors and illustrators include an environmental bilingual poem, a picture-book biography, a fact-filled science title, and a narrative account of a bird’s 7,200 mile migration.
Title Girls are all that tie these three books together. Otherwise, the combination serves as a great example of the variety of books that appeal to different teen readers.
We begin with a rather intellectual historical fiction novel, Eight Girls Taking Pictures. The tie-in to the arts is a great hook for young adults. Photography is [...]
This Wednesday evening, the National Book Award winners will be announced in a grand ceremony at Cipriani in New York City. I went to the NBA site to refresh myself on just how the awards work.“The National Book Award is an American literary prize given to writers by writers and administered by the National Book Foundation.” [...]
GAGNON, Michelle. Don’t Turn Around. 310p. CIP. HarperCollins/Harper. 2012. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-210290-4; ebook $9.99. ISBN 978-0-06-210292-8. LC 2012009691.
Gr 8 Up–Teen runaway Noa has managed to make a tolerable life for herself. She has an apartment, a job as a freelance computer security specialist (she’s a hacker), and a fake foster family to make it all legal. Most importantly, she is off the grid and all but invisible–until she wakes up on an operating table with no memory of [...]
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson. Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins. 2012. Sequel to The Girl of Fire and Thorns.
The Plot: Elisa, 17, is the Queen of Joya d’Arena following the death of her husband, the King. Her stepson, the Prince, is too young to reign.
Being a Queen isn’t easy: she may bear [...]
Never Fall Down, Patricia McCormick
Balzer + Bray, May 2012
Reviewed from ARC
National Book Award Finalist. Three stars. Patricia McCormick. Never Fall Down is a critical and popular darling, and there is absolutely no question about the emotional impact of the story. You would need to be a stone to stay dry-eyed reading about the atrocities Arn [...]
White Devil by Justin Evans. HarperCollins. 2011. Personal copy. Part of my Holiday Reads for Grown Up series; and what better book to pick than one that is not just a ghost story, but is a haunted boarding school story?
The Plot: American Andrew Taylor has been sent to an exclusive British boarding school, Harrow, for [...]