November 17, 2017

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Threads of Blue by Suzanne LaFleur | SLJ Review

LAFLEUR, Suzanne. Threads of Blue. 224p. Random. Sept. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781101939994.

Gr 4-6 –Picking up where Beautiful Blue World left off, 12-year-old Mathilde awakes in the bottom of a boat headed towards the island of Eilean, hoping to be reunited with the group of children and adults she’s been separated from. Mathilde’s country, Sofarende, is at war and has just fallen to the enemy, Tyssia. The country of Eilean is an ally and a place of refuge for many of the children fleeing […]

Rise of the Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste | SLJ Review

BAPTISTE, Tracey. Rise of the Jumbies. 272p. Algonquin. Sept. 2017. Tr $16,95. ISBN 9781616206659.

Gr 4-6 –This sequel to The Jumbies, a dark fairy tale woven from elements of traditional Caribbean folklore, does not disappoint. Shunned by most of the town on her small island for her recently revealed part-jumbie heritage, Corinne is lonely and yet still wants to help when several children are lost after a tidal wave. After discovering that these are not the first kids to go missing near water, Corinne […]

Talking with Terry Lynn Johnson: Author, Conservationist, Musher

Terry Lynn Johnson doesn’t just write about wilderness and survival—she lives it.

Review of the Day: Patina by Jason Reynolds

Patina By Jason Reynolds Atheneum, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Books $16.99 ISBN: 978-1481450188 Ages 9-12 On shelves August 29th You cannot be a children’s librarian or an adult children’s book reviewer if you do not constantly remind yourself that you have to read outside your comfort zone on a regular basis. Our current […]

The Summer of Owen Todd by Tony Abbott | SLJ Review

ABBOTT, Tony. The Summer of Owen Todd. 224p. Farrar. Oct. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780374305505.

Gr 5-8 –It’s the summer after fifth grade, and lifelong best friends Owen and Sean are looking forward to a vacation full of baseball, go-karts, beach trips, and, now that they are getting older, a bit more independence in their Cape Cod hometown. Things don’t go as planned, however, when Sean’s single mom hires Paul to help look after Sean, who depends on insulin injections to manage his […]

Middle Grade Titles on Surviving and Thriving | SLJ Spotlight

Three new middle-grade titles feature protagonists overcoming illness and physical challenges.

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

The Real McCoys by Matthew Swanson | SLJ Review

SWANSON, Matthew. The Real McCoys. illus. by Robbi Behr. 336p. Imprint. Nov. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781250098528.

Gr 3-5 –A lot can happen in one day when you’re the world’s greatest fourth grade detective. Moxie McCoy aims to find both her school’s stolen mascot and a new best friend while surviving multiple trips to the principal’s office. Moxie’s biggest surprise of the day? A new appreciation of her “boring as a butter knife” younger brother Milton, who reveals detective skills of his own. […]

The Exact Location of Home by Kate Messner | SLJ Review

MESSNER, Kate. The Exact Location of Home. 224p. Bloomsbury. Oct. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781681195483.

Gr 5-7 –Thirteen-year-old science and electronics enthusiast Zig hasn’t had a visit from his father in more than a year. Zig’s mother won’t explain why, so he begins looking for clues in local geocaches. Meanwhile, Zig’s mother fails to pay the rent and they move into a homeless shelter after a short stay with Zig’s aunt Becka, who lives with an abusive husband. Messner describes the mundane details […]

Slider by Pete Hautman | SLJ Review

HAUTMAN, Pete. Slider. 288p. Candlewick. Sept. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763690700.

Gr 5-8 –David meant to bid $20, not $2,000, on the half-eaten hot dog of his favorite competitive eater. But it happened, and he won, and he sort of used his mom’s credit card to place the bid. To make up the money, David realizes it’s time to turn his interest into cash and compete in a local pizza eating contest. He can eat an entire pizza in under five minutes, but […]

The Notations of Cooper Cameron by Jane O’Reilly | SLJ Review

O’REILLY, Jane. The Notations of Cooper Cameron. 320p. Carolrhoda. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781512404159.

Gr 4-6 –After the death of his grandfather, 11-year-old Cooper Cameron develops a complicated relationship with “That Boy,” the voice inside of him that compels him to complete elaborate counting and washing rituals that he feels he must do to prevent terrible things from happening to his family. When medication and therapy fail Cooper, his mother moves him and his 15-year-old sister Caddie to their grandfather’s cabin for […]

Ellen Oh on Her Goosebump-Inducing “Spirit Hunters”

Ellen Oh, author and CEO/president of We Need Diverse Books, talks about crafting and researching her creepy new novel, Spirit Hunters.

Tumble & Blue by Cassie Beasley | SLJ Review

BEASLEY, Cassie. Tumble & Blue. 400p. Dial. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525428442.

Gr 4-6 –An immersive, supernatural middle grade adventure. Hear the whispers of long-kept family secrets in shadowed corners. Feel the humidity of a languid Georgia summer. Beasley, author of Circus Mirandus, weaves the tale of two tweens spending the summer looking for the way out of an ancestral curse. In 1817, 12-year-old Blue Montgomery’s forebear Walcott (a fugitive horse thief) and Tumble Wilson’s ancestor Almira (a “murderous young bride”) were forced—by […]

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend | SLJ Review

TOWNSEND, Jessica. Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow. 336p. Little, Brown. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316508889; pap. $10.99. ISBN 9780316513982.

Gr 5 Up –Morrigan Crow is cursed and doomed to die on her 11th birthday on Eventide night. She is blamed for every bit of bad luck and misfortune that plagues the residents of the town of Jackalfax in the Wintersea Republic. When Eventide arrives early, ushering in a new Age across the realm, Morrigan is faced with the prospect of her […]

Review of the Day: Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder

Orphan Island Laurel Snyder Walden Pond Press (an imprint of Harper Collins) $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-06-244343-4 Ages 9-12 On shelves now *spoiler alert on the whole darn review, basically* I spend more time than I’d like thinking about what makes a person and how that person is an entirely new creation at different stages of life. […]

The Way to Bea by Kat Yeh | SLJ Review

YEH, Kat. The Way to Bea. 352p. Little, Brown. Sept. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780316236676.

Gr 5-8 –Seventh grader Beatrix Lee puts a lot of faith in haiku. Since her family and friendships are changing dramatically, Bea abandons her love of free verse poetry and takes solace in the haiku’s dependable five-seven-five rhyme scheme. After an embarrassing incident at a pool party causes a painful rift with her longtime best friend, Bea writes most of her poetry in invisible ink, a reflection of […]

Battlesong by Lian Tanner | SLJ Review

TANNER, Lian. Battlesong. 304p. (The Icebreaker Trilogy: Bk. 3). Feiwel & Friends. Aug. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781250052186.

Gr 5-8 –Tanner’s trilogy concludes with a meticulously plotted, rapidly paced adventure that both stands alone and richly satisfies fans of the first two novels. The narrative picks up where Sunker’s Deep left off, with the crews of both the Oyster and the Claw on dry land searching for the captain and the legendary Singer. Enter young Gwin and her family, […]

The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez | SLJ Review

PÉREZ, Celia C. The First Rule of Punk. 336p. Viking. Aug. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780425290408.

Gr 3-6 –A fun romp through the awkward years of middle school that examines themes of identity and culture. When Malu has to move away from her dad and everything she knows, she takes her love of punk music with her. Following the rules of punk, she embarks on a new school journey, full of misadventures and hilarious life lessons. Malu is happy […]

Auma’s Long Run by Eucabeth Odhiambo | SLJ Review

ODHIAMBO, Eucabeth. Auma’s Long Run. 304p. Carolrhoda. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781512427844.

Gr 5 Up –In this novel set in 1980s Kenya, HIV/AIDS ravages Auma’s village and leaves her and her three siblings orphans. The girl’s speed and good grades lead to a track scholarship at a provincial high school. Auma’s life is at times overwhelmingly harsh, from her culture’s low expectations for girls to the threat of starvation to the dangers she faces from village men. She […]

Frogkisser! by Garth Nix | SLJ Audio Review

NIX, Garth. Frogkisser! 9 CDs. 11:07 hrs. Listening Library. Feb. 2017. $27.50. ISBN 9781524702021. digital download.

Gr 5 Up –“Frogkisser” isn’t a nickname most 13-year-old princesses aspire to, but when Anya makes a sister-promise to return Prince Denholm to his human state, she goes in search of Transmogrifying Reversal Lip Balm. Nix knows how to stage an enchanting story, as Anya finds herself up against (and equal to!) one adventure after another. Accompanied by palace pup Ardent, prospective good […]

Review of the Day: Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

Beyond the Bright Sea By Lauren Wolk Dutton (an imprint of Penguin Young Readers) $16.99 ISBN: 978-11-101-99485-6 Ages 10-14 On shelves now. No author gets a free pass. Your last book have been a spot-on bit of brilliance, lighting up the literary landscape like a thousand Roman candles. Pfui. A writer is only as good […]