December 15, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

The Uncommoners: The Crooked Sixpence by Jennifer Bell | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 4-6 –When their grandmother ends up in the emergency room, 11-year-old Ivy and her 14-year-old brother Seb are whisked into a secret underground city called Lundinor hidden beneath streets of London.

You Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly | SLJ Review

Gr 4-6 –An online Scrabble game is more than a pastime, it’s a lifeline for middle schoolers Charlotte and Ben: both children are coping with heartache.

The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 5-8 –Twelve-year-old Wallace, whom everyone calls Lolly, resides in Harlem with his mother. His older brother’s recent gang-related murder has left Lolly with raw, unresolved emotions.

Middle Grade: “Aunt Claire Presents” Two Series Reissues | December 2017 Xpress Reviews

Two books from the early 20th–century depict friendship and life among the elite in this month’s Xpress.

This article was published in School Library Journal's December 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Middle Grade Novels Set in the Last Century | SLJ Spotlight

Four middle grade titles explore childhood in the 1900s.

This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor | SLJ Review

Gr 5-7 –Calvin Chumsky, a brilliant seventh grader and the only friend of Mason Buttle, says, “The Universe is amazing. It knows what we want. And sometimes… it hands it over like a gift.”

Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano | SLJ Review

Gr 3-6 –Amor y Azúcar Panadería (Love and Sugar Bakery) is bustling on the eve of Dia de los Muertos, and all Leonora Logroño wants to do is help.

Middle Grade: New Titles from Frances Hardinge, Mariko Tamaki & More | November 2017 Xpress Reviews

A fur trapper makes a mysterious friend; a “Beyond Baylor” supernatural sequel; the Lumberjanes get a middle grade makeover and much more in November’s middle grade Xpress.

This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

El misterioso aire azul by Pamela Puldio | SLJ Review

Gr 3-6 –Erick and his Abuelo and Abuela love Halloween and Día de los Muertos, which they celebrate together as “Hellomuertos.”

The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore | SLJ Review

Gr 5-8 –Twelve-year-old Lolly, a resident of Harlem’s St. Nicholas projects, has had a tough few months.

Putting “Wunder” into the Ordinary: An Interview with Jessica Townsend

Jessica Townsend’s debut fantasy is as delightful and optimistic as the author herself.

Middle Grade Standalones and Sequels from Favorite Authors | SLJ Spotlight

These 10 titles from favorite authors will delight readers whether they’re seeking a standalone or series sequel.

This article was published in School Library Journal's July 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

4 Middle Grade Books To Tug the Heartstrings | SLJ Spotlight

Four poignant middle grade titles for analytical and introspective young readers.

This article was published in School Library Journal's October 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Middle Grade Tales of True Grit | SLJ Spotlight

The characters in these five new titles show dedication and determination to overcome hardships great and small.

This article was published in School Library Journal's September 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Silent Days, Silent Dreams by Allen Say | SLJ Review

SAY, Allen. Silent Days, Silent Dreams. illus. by Allen Say. 64p. bibliog. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Bks. Oct. 2017. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9780545927611.

Gr 3-7 –In this fascinating longform “imagined” biography about James Castle, author-illustrator Say plays with artistic and literary formats. Castle was born deaf and premature in Idaho, was considered to be autistic and dyslexic, and was abused and bullied for his inability to speak or read. He was discouraged from creating art by his parents and principal, and had his art supplies […]

All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson | SLJ Review

JAMIESON, Victoria. All’s Faire in Middle School. illus. by Victoria Jamieson. 248p. Dial. Sept. 2017. Tr $20.99. ISBN 9780525429982.

Gr 4-8 –Helping her parents with their jobs at the Renaissance Faire is all 11-year-old homeschooler Imogene “Impy” Vega has ever known. While working with her family is fun, she wants to go to middle school and meet kids her own age. Unfortunately, sheltered Impy is ill-equipped for the realities of draconian teachers, frenemies, and boys. Her new challenges begin to wear her down, and […]

The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley | SLJ Review

BRADLEY, Kimberly Brubaker. The War I Finally Won. 400p. Dial. Oct. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780525429203.

Gr 4-6 –Eleven-year-old Ada picks up her story shortly after The War That Saved My Life left off. She’s in the hospital, nervously awaiting the surgery that will fix her club foot, when Susan receives a letter from Lady Thornton that obviously upsets her. Turns out, Ada’s mother was killed in a bombing. Ada does not know how to feel about that, but, ever practical, she worries about where […]

Patina by Jason Reynolds | SLJ Review

REYNOLDS, Jason. Patina. 240p. Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Bks. Aug. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781481450188.

Gr 5-8 –Twelve-year-old Patina Jones not only loves to run, she needs to run—and win. She’s a gifted athlete, and since the death of her father and her mother’s life-altering health problems, Patty’s track club has become the focal point of her life. Running helps her to navigate the changes she and her younger sister, Maddy, are experiencing. They have left their urban neighborhood to live in a different part […]

The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine by Mark Twain & Philip C. Stead | SLJ Review

TWAIN, Mark & Philip C. Stead. The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine. illus. by Erin Stead. 160p. Doubleday. Sept. 2017. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780553523225.

Gr 4-8 –Using 16 pages of abbreviated handwritten notes from 1880 and outlining a tale Twain made up for his daughters, Stead has created a rhythmic and imaginative story seamlessly blended with intermittent “discussions” between the two authors. Twain’s story is set in a land where “the luckless and hungry remain luckless and hungry for all of their lives,” while “in […]

Review of the Day: The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez

The First Rule of Punk By Celia C. Perez Viking (an imprint of Penguin Random House) $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-425-29040-8 Ages 9-12 On shelves now They don’t warn you in library school. They’ll tell you about all the cool children’s books you’ll get to read. They’ll stress how you’ll be able to make a difference in […]