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November 22, 2014

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SLJTeen Unlocks the Secrets of the Past with Debut Author Jessica Lidh

Number7

Jessica Lidh’s debut novel The Number 7 takes readers on a trip to the past, exploring Sweden’s role in World War II while examining one family’s ability to deal with grief in the present.

North of Normal and What is Visible

North of Normal and What is Visible

On Monday, Angela mentioned that we haven’t had as many nonfiction titles as we’d like this year, and offered up Dr. Mutter’s Marvels for consideration. Today, we’ve got another nonfiction title, this time a memoir, and a novel based on a real person. The memoir is Cea Sunrise Person’s North of Normal, and Person’s first [...]

The Gospel of Winter

The Gospel of Winter

The Gospel of Winter, Brendan Kiely Margaret K. McElderry (Simon & Schuster), January 2014 Reviewed from ARC It’s so hard when a book is completely admirable and worthy of discussion and yet I just can’t like it. Because now I’m torn between wanting lots of discussion on this and also wanting to move on to [...]

Historical Fiction Round-Up

Historical Fiction Round-Up

I have to say I expected more World War I books this year, considering it is the Centennial of that war. We did have the fabulous poetry collection/graphic novel Above the Dreamless Dead. But other than that we haven’t seen a huge push for books about the Great War. One book under review today takes [...]

The Newest from Stiefvater, Lyga, and Napoli | Fiction Grades 9 & Up

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Teen readers have plenty to sink their teeth into, from Maggie Stiefvater’s Blue Lily, Lily Blue, the much-anticipated latest in “The Raven Cycle”; Barry Lyga’s Blood of My Blood, the blood-soaked finale in the “I Hunt Killers” trilogy; and Donna Jo Napoli’s historical fiction Hidden.

This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Historical Accuracy in Illustration: Shifting Standards or Stubborn Certainties?

Historical Accuracy in Illustration: Shifting Standards or Stubborn Certainties?

There’s been a lot of talk about accuracy in children’s nonfiction recently (which is just a fancy way of saying that there’s been a lot of talk on this particular blog).  Everything from invented dialogue to series that are nonfiction-ish.  One element we haven’t discussed in any way, shape, or form though is the notion [...]

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 [...]

Asian Identity

Asian Identity

The Year She Left Us concerns the search for belonging and identity, both personal and cultural. Ari was abandoned in China as a baby, taken to an orphanage, then adopted by a Chinese American woman, Charlie, who raises her in San Francisco with the help of her sister and mother. Now Ari is 18 and [...]

Court Intrigue

Court Intrigue

Whence our fascination with royalty? Back in my high school American History classes, I used to joke that ever since winning the Revolution, Americans have been trying their hardest to make the President into a king–a joke I find less and less funny as we are treated to ever-expanding executive power and a seemingly inevitable [...]

Review of the Day: The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis

Review of the Day: The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis

The Madman of Piney Woods By Christopher Paul Curtis Scholastic ISBN: 978-0-545-63376-5 $16.99 Ages 9-12 On shelves September 30th No author hits it out of the park every time. No matter how talented or clever a writer might be, if their heart isn’t in a project it shows. In the case of Christopher Paul Curtis, [...]

Best Books of the Year so far, 2014

Best Books of the Year so far, 2014

Presenting the best adult books for teens that were published between January and June 2014. Science fiction and historical fiction made a big splash in this list created by reviewers of the AB4T blog.

History in Fiction: More than Just the Facts │ JLG’s Booktalks to Go

Caminar

Writing historical fiction calls for lots of research. Language, clothing, housing, technology are just the tip of the factual iceberg when it comes to building a story based on actual events. Use the following fictional titles, selected by Junior Library Guild editors, to support the Common Core while leading middle schoolers to the facts.

Survival Stories

Survival Stories

We know that many teens love survival stories for their pacing, suspense and the unexpected trials the characters endure. In both of these historical novels, a young person is displaced from home, loses parents and security, makes a journey into the unknown, and overcomes obstacle after obstacle.  My Name is Resolute is quite a tome, a [...]

Review of the Day: West of the Moon by Margi Preus

Review of the Day: West of the Moon by Margi Preus

West of the Moon By Margi Preus Amulet Books (an imprint of Abrams) $16.95 ISBN: 978-1-4197-0896-1 Ages 10 and up On shelves now. These are dark times for children’s literature. Pick up a book for the 9-12 year-old set and you just don’t know what you’re going to find. Whether it’s the murderous foliage of [...]

All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See

I’m excited to begin the week with All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. This World War II novel hinges on the U.S. bombing of St. Malo, an isolated port on the northern French coast, which continued to be occupied by the Nazis after most of Brittany was liberated. All the Light We Cannot [...]

Novels about the One Percent

Novels about the One Percent

Today we have two very different novels that feature the lives of the uber-wealthy. I love Jamie Watson’s reference to Brideshead Revisited in her starred review of The Last Enchantments. I was completely obsessed with that novel when we read it in senior year English, and I think the fact that I never fully understood [...]

Decoded

Decoded

Mai Jia has published three novels and a novella in his native China and has won several awards for them. But Decoded (2002) marks the first time his work has been published in English, and based on this one, we can only hope the rest of his work isn’t far behind. Some readers may be [...]

Touchstones of American History

Touchstones of American History

A new novel by Alice Hoffman is always cause for celebration. The Museum of Extraordinary Things conjures up the sights and sounds of early 20th century, Gilded Age Coney Island and New York City. Hoffman’s many teen readers will appreciate the magical love-at-first-sight between her two young protagonists, and fans of The Night Circus will [...]

Review of the Day: Curiosity by Gary Blackwood

Curiosity By Gary Blackwood Dial (an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group) $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-8037-3924-6 Ages 9-12 On shelves April 10th Blackwood’s back, baby! And not a minute too soon. Back in 1998, the author released The Shakespeare Stealer which would soon thereafter become his best-known work. A clever blending of historical fiction and adventure, [...]

Young Women in 19th Century America

Young Women in 19th Century America

The Secret Life of Bees is a phenomenon with teen readers, especially girls. It hardly needs suggesting from us, does it? They just seem to know about it. It always comes up as a peer recommendation when I lead booktalk sessions with the 9th graders in my library. I wonder how that happens, 12 years [...]