March 29, 2017

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Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson | SLJ Audio Review

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STELSON, Caren. Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story. 3 CDs. 3:27 hrs. Dreamscape. Dec. 2016. $29.99. ISBN 9781520063034. digital download.

Gr 5-8 –Sachiko Yasui was six years old when an atomic bomb was dropped on her hometown of Nagasaki: this is the account of her survival. She experienced the death of family members, homelessness, and ill health, but the unrelenting encouragement of her father gave her the strength and willpower to face the future. He had told her always […]

Real Friends by Shannon Hale | SLJ Review

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HALE, Shannon. Real Friends. illus. by LeUyen Pham. 224p. First Second. May 2017. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9781626724167; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781626727854. POP

Gr 3-6 –Hale revisits her elementary school years in this insightful exploration of the ups and downs of friendship. Young Shannon meets her BFF Adrienne in kindergarten, and the two bond until Adrienne moves away. When Adrienne returns, Shannon is thrilled—until Adrienne joins a clique. In over her head, Shannon copes with feelings of inadequacy as she […]

Motor Girls!: How Women Took the Wheel and Drove Boldly into the Twentieth Century by Sue Macy | SLJ Review

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MACY, Sue. Motor Girls!: How Women Took the Wheel and Drove Boldly into the Twentieth Century. 96p. further reading. notes. photos. websites. National Geographic. Feb. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781426326974.

Gr 6 Up –This meticulously researched account of early automobiles and women is an excellent companion to Macy’s previous title Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (with a Few Flat Tires Along the Way). Macy delves into early automobile history through the use of primary […]

Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin | SLJ Review

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SHEINKIN, Steve. Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team. 288p. bibliog. ebook available. notes. photos. Roaring Brook. Jan. 2017. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781596439542.

Gr 6 Up –Proclaimed “the greatest all-around athlete in the world” by legendary football coach Glenn “Pop” Warner, Jim Thorpe dominated sports in the early 1900s. His natural athleticism, in tandem with Warner’s innovative coaching style, helped establish the Carlisle Indian Industrial School’s football program as one of the nation’s best, eclipsing perennial […]

Super Hummingbirds | SLJ DVD Review

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Super Hummingbirds. (Nature). 54 min. Dist. by PBS. 2016. $24.99. UPC 0841887030106. Blu-ray $29.99. ISBN 9781627899086.

Gr 6 Up –They are the smallest birds in the world, but what makes hummingbirds so difficult to see is their speed of flight. With the assistance of special high-speed photography and creative camera work, viewers will finally be able to observe the unique and fast-paced world of this fascinating species. Probably too few realize that hummingbirds have “superpowers,” such as flying backward […]

Bravo!: Poems About Amazing Hispanics by Margarita Engle | SLJ Review

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ENGLE, Margarita. Bravo!: Poems About Amazing Hispanics. illus. by Rafael López. 48p. Holt. Mar. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780805098761.

Gr 4-7 –Engle highlights 18 Latinxs from a range of ethnic backgrounds and countries of origin, all of whom lived in what is now the United States or its territories. Each person made a positive impact on U.S. history, and although some are not well-known, their contributions warrant an important place in the U.S. collective cultural knowledge. Engle’s masterly first-person […]

Bats: Learning To Fly by Falynn Koch | SLJ Review

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KOCH, Falynn. Bats: Learning To Fly. illus. by Falynn Koch. 128p. (Science Comics). further reading. glossary. First Second. Feb. 2017. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781626724099; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781626724082.

Gr 3-7 –This latest in the science-related graphic novel series turns its focused eye to the world of bats. A little brown bat is lost in a Southwestern desert at night, just as a group of nature lovers are out for a tour. Injured in a commotion with the humans, the […]

Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal’d by Mary Losure | SLJ Review

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LOSURE, Mary. Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal’d. 176p. bibliog. index. notes. photos. reprods. Candlewick. Feb. 2017. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780763670634.

Gr 6-8 –Losure brings a world-renowned scientist to life. Isaac Newton’s story, from his tough formative years through the end of his life, is ably told and peppered with a mix of Old English and scientific terms. Fascinating details, such as experiments with mercury that involved him tasting the poisonous element, humanize him and will keep […]

Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out!: Games, Songs & Stories from an African American Childhood by Patricia C. McKissack | SLJ Review

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MCKISSACK, Patricia C. Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out!: Games, Songs & Stories from an African American Childhood. illus. by Brian Pinkney. 184p. bibliog. ebook available. index. Random/Schwartz & Wade. Jan. 2017. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780375870880; lib. ed. $27.99. ISBN 9780375970887.

Gr 2-6 –Children’s literature powerhouses McKissack and Pinkney team up for the second time, creating a dynamic collection of songs, rhymes, and stories with origins in the African American diaspora. McKissack recalls […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day 28 – 2016 Great Nonfiction Chapter Books for Kids

I peer into the darkness and at long last I see the light at the end of the tunnel.  We’re almost there!  Almost at the end of this month’s 31 Days, 31 Lists challenge.  I’m certainly delighted, not least because I’ve managed to keep it up so far (knocking on wood now as hard as […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day 24 – 2016 Science and Nature Books for Kids

There were no science books on the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for 2016.  Nor in 2015.  Nor 2014.  Bomb in 2013 was sort of a science book, so we’ll count that.  And Moonbird that year certainly was.  Yet it’s often surprising how consistently science and nature get overlooked when they’re handing out awards […]

Under Water, Under Earth by Aleksandra Mizielińska & Daniel Mizieliński | SLJ Review

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MIZIELIŃSKA, Aleksandra & Daniel Mizieliński. Under Water, Under Earth. illus. by Aleksandra Mizielinska & Daniel Mizielinski. 112p. Candlewick/Big Picture. Oct. 2016. Tr $35. ISBN 9780763689223.

Gr 3-6 –Using a mix of brief text and detailed illustrations, this large-format book provides an informational feast. It is designed to be opened vertically like a calendar so that pages are flipped upward. As a result, readers get a sense of the great depths shown and the size of people, animals, and objects […]

Brown v. Board of Education: A Fight for Simple Justice by Susan Goldman Rubin | SLJ Review

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RUBIN, Susan Goldman. Brown v. Board of Education: A Fight for Simple Justice. 144p. bibliog. chron. index. notes. photos. Holiday House. Oct. 2016. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9780823436460; ebk. $18.95. ISBN 9780823437085.

Gr 6-8 –In a highly readable narrative, this title tells the story of the monumental 1954 Supreme Court decision that mandated desegregation in public schools in the United States. In short, comprehensible chapters, Rubin describes the development of five individual cases as they were strategically fought and often […]

Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience During World War II by Albert Marrin | SLJ Review

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MARRIN, Albert. Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience During World War II. 256p. ebook available. further reading. index. notes. photos. websites. Knopf. Oct. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780553509366; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780553509373.

Gr 7 Up –The Japanese American internment during World War II is the subject of National Book Award finalist Marrin’s latest historical nonfiction for adolescents. He ties together chronological events with thematic elements (how racism operated during World War II) to tell the story of this dark […]

How To Build a Museum: Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture by Tonya Bolden | SLJ Review

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BOLDEN, Tonya. How To Build a Museum: Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. 64p. index. notes. photos. Viking. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780451476371.

Gr 5 Up –One hundred years ago, the National Memorial Association was formed to establish a monument honoring African American veterans of the Civil War. It took years to get Congressional support, but finally, in the late 1920s, a bill was passed to create a committee to establish a museum dedicated to […]

Fannie Never Flinched: One Woman’s Courage in the Struggle for American Labor Union Rights by Mary Cronk Farrell | SLJ Review

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FARRELL, Mary Cronk. Fannie Never Flinched: One Woman’s Courage in the Struggle for American Labor Union Rights. 56p. bibliog. chron. further reading. glossary. index. notes. photos. websites. Abrams. Nov. 2016. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781419718847.

Gr 4-6 –The narrative begins with the murder of Fannie Sellins by deputies in Natrona, PA, in 1919 and then goes back 20 years to when Sellins first started working at the Marx and Haas garment factory and helped form the local United Garment Workers […]

Secret Agent STEM | SLJ Spotlight

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From murderous poisoners to poop-sniffing dogs, there is a wealth of educational and accessible material here.

Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White by Melissa Sweet | SLJ Review

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SWEET, Melissa. Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White. illus. by Melissa Sweet. 176p. bibliog. chron. index. notes. photos. HMH. Oct. 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780544319592. POP

Gr 3-7 –Throughout his life, E.B. White (1899–1985) divided his time between New York City and Belgrade Lakes in Maine. He drew inspiration for his books from the bucolic setting near author Sweet’s own home and studio. Readers and writers will relate to stories of White’s childhood—he was “scrawny” and “fearful” […]

Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson | SLJ Review

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Stelson, Caren. Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story. 144p. bibliog. ebook available. further reading. glossary. index. maps. notes. photos. websites. Carolrhoda. Oct. 2016. lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 9781467789035.

Gr 5-8 –Sachiko Yasui was just six years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on her hometown of Nagasaki. On August 9, 1945, she went from playing house with her friends to burying them. Yasui also lost a brother that day and would lose many more family […]

Scientist, Globe-trotter, Author, Publisher: An Interview with Sneed Collard III

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SLJ chats with Sneed Collard about his books, starting a publishing house, traveling the world, and the impact and importance of nonfiction for middle grade readers.