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October 1, 2014

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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 [...]

The Pieces We Keep

The Pieces We Keep

Still trying to catch up on all those great 2013 books we recommended? Sorry, we’ve still got a few more to add to that pile. Today, we have Kristina McMorris’s fabulous new novel, The Pieces We Keep. In this her third novel, McMorris returns to the World War II setting of each of her previous [...]

Victorian Violence

Hyde

Robert Louis Stevenson published The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in 1886, and the next year Arthur Conan Doyle published A Study in Scarlet, the first novel to feature Sherlock Holmes–both works set in the heart of London. And in September of 1888, the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper began [...]

Historical Novels with Modern-Day Appeal | JLG’s Booktalks to Go Teen

VIII

From King Henry VIII to Hitler, this month’s titles, selected by the editors at Junior Library Guild, are historical novels that take your readers for a journey to the past, enlightening them along the way.

Women at War

Women at War

Two highly recommended historical novels today. I Shall Be Near to You is, at its heart, a compelling love story. It features a strong heroine, so in love with her husband that she disguises herself as a man to accompany him into the horrors of the Civil War. I’m afraid its cover art may limit the [...]

The 2014 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction

The 2014 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction

The 2014 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction goes to Kirkpatrick Hill for Bo at Ballard Creek, illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Review: Belle Epoque

Review: Belle Epoque

Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross. Delacorte Press, Random House. 2013. Review copy from publisher. Morris shortlist. The Plot: Paris, France. 1888/1889. Maud Pichon, 16, had big dreams when she ran away from her small village in Brittany and an arranged marriage. Her dreams have changed to one thing: survival. The money she took from her father [...]

Rose Under Fire

house, barricades

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein Disney Hyperion, September 2013 Reviewed from an ARC Last year, we had a lot of great conversation about Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity, which ended up with a silver medal. This year, we have its companion title, Rose Under Fire. With two starred reviews, will this title go the [...]