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January 27, 2015

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YALSA GGNT Top Ten Manga: Vinland Saga Volume 1

YALSA GGNT Top Ten Manga: Vinland Saga Volume 1

Thorfinn is a teenage boy and a member of a mercenary crew of Vikings that raid towns in France and England and return to their home base in Denmark. But Thorfinn isn’t interested in battle or treasure. As a boy he dreamed of sailing on a long ship and becoming a Viking warrior. Now he […]

Illusionists

Illusionists

Two books that follow professional stage magicians, or illusionists, top our week. I was completely entranced by The Magician’s Lie, a terrific historical yarn that reads like a modern thriller. The title magician is a young woman, and the only woman making the circuit in the first decade of the 20th century. It is her […]

Althea and Oliver

Althea and Oliver

Althea and Oliver by Cristina Moracho Viking, October 2014 Reviewed from final copy This book really amazed me by being a story that is bigger and harder and rougher and rawer than I thought it would be. It’s been named for two year’s best lists, and garnered three starred reviews, so it’s not just me […]

Three Debuts

Three Debuts

One of my favorite reader’s advisory tools is Amazon’s “Customer’s Who Bought This Item Also Bought” feature. I know, I know, Amazon’s a big evil company engaged in a fight against the absolutely tiny publishing firm of Hatchette (note: Hatchette is not tiny), but what can I say? The algorithm they use is great. You […]

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

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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 […]