July 24, 2017

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Sue Macy on Women in Sports, Feminism, and the Impact of Title IX

Sue Macy, whose books center on the intersection of women’s history and sports, discusses the impact of Title IX, feminism, and why she writes about real-life heroines.

I’m Just No Good at Rhyming by Chris Harris | SLJ Review

HARRIS, Chris. I’m Just No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups. illus. by Lane Smith. 192p. index. Little, Brown. Sept. 2017. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780316266574.

Gr 3-8 –Those who claim to hate poetry will enjoy this riotous compilation just as much as those who love the form. Fans of Ogden Nash, Shel Silverstein, and Jack Prelutsky will rejoice in finding another member of their gang. Wordplay abounds: “If ever I find myself holding a gecko…/I’ll lecko.” Typography […]

The Magician and the Spirits by Deborah Noyes | SLJ Review

NOYES, Deborah. The Magician and the Spirits: Harry Houdini and the Curious Pastime of Communicating with the Dead. 160p. bibliog. index. notes. photos. Viking. Aug. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780803740181.

Gr 6 Up –Harry Houdini is best remembered as a magician and escape artist, but he also spent more than half his life tirelessly investigating mediums and séances—charlatans in disguise. Noyes’s narrative blends the history of the spiritualism movement in the early 20th century with a biographical account of Houdini. Early in Houdini’s […]

Standout STEM Reads | SLJ Spotlight

Most children’s and YA books on STEM subjects can be a tad didactic; however, these recent offerings are anything but dull.

How To Be an Elephant by Katherine Roy | SLJ Review

ROY, Katherine. How To Be an Elephant. illus. by Katherine Roy. 48p. diag. filmog. further reading. photos. websites. Roaring Brook/David Macaulay Studio. Sept. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781626721784.

Gr 3-6 –Roy follows her masterly Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands with a stunning look at how a newborn elephant matures into a capable member of the herd. The work adroitly covers anatomy, environment, family life, and other topics. Roy emphasizes how elephants, with their […]

Young Palestinians Speak: Living Under Occupation by Anthony & Annmarie Young | SLJ Review

ROBINSON, Anthony & Annemarie Young . Young Palestinians Speak: Living Under Occupation. photos by Anthony Robinson. 144p. chron. filmog. further reading. maps. websites. Interlink. Jul. 2017. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781566560153.

Gr 7 Up –A number of Palestinian kids and teens discuss their hopes and dreams and what it is like living in an occupied country. An introductory chapter explains the Occupied Territories, provides an overview of the history of the Palestinian land, and explores the impact of occupation on […]

Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary by Martha Brockenbrough | SLJ Review

BROCKENBROUGH, Martha. Alexander Hamilton, Revolutionary. 384p. bibliog. chron. index. notes. Feiwel & Friends. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250123190.

Gr 7 Up –Brockenbrough engagingly re-creates the complex character and eventful life of Alexander Hamilton in her nuanced biography. The author explores this eloquent, passionate, and principled founding father, from his illegitimate birth on the Caribbean island of Nevis to his fatal duel with Aaron Burr. The chronological narrative relies on thorough research to present details of Hamilton as an […]

Voyager’s Greatest Hits: The Epic Trek to Interstellar Space by Alexandra Siy | SLJ Review

SIY, Alexandra. Voyager’s Greatest Hits: The Epic Trek to Interstellar Space. 80p. further reading. glossary. index. notes. photos. websites. Charlesbridge. Jun. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781580897280.

Gr 4-8 –Forty years after the launch of the twin space probes, Siy’s well-researched and enthusiastic title depicts their conception, construction, major discoveries, and lasting legacy. After two introductory chapters, the narrative settles into a pattern: each chapter opens with a historical breakthrough, such as Galileo discovering four of Jupiter’s moons, and then […]

Red Cloud: A Lakota Story of War and Surrender by S.D. Nelson | SLJ Review

NELSON, S.D. Red Cloud: A Lakota Story of War and Surrender. 64p. bibliog. illus. notes. photos. Abrams. Mar. 2017. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781419723131.

Gr 4-6 –Chief Red Cloud (1822–1909) is known as an Oglala Lakota leader who acquiesced to the demands of United States and entered into a treaty despite opposition from other Lakota leaders. The treaty forever changed the lifestyle of the Lakota and forced them to relinquish their freedom, homelands, and indigenous ways of being to live […]

13 Must-Read Titles for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with novels and works of nonfiction that highlight the Asian American experience.

The Quilts of Gee’s Bend by Susan Goldman Rubin | SLJ Review

RUBIN, Susan Goldman. The Quilts of Gee’s Bend. 56p. bibliog. index. notes. photos. Abrams. Jun. 2017. Tr $21.95. ISBN 9781419721311.

Gr 6 Up –A quilt “represents safekeeping, it represents beauty, and you could say it represents family history.” In this handsomely designed volume, Rubin shares the history of the Gee’s Bend families, who, for more than 100 years, have been designing and creating bold and brilliant quilts. From 1845, when plantation owner Mark Pettway and his household settled in […]

Fred Korematsu Speaks Up by Laura Atkins & Stan Yogi | SLJ Review

ATKINS, Laura & Stan Yogi. Fred Korematsu Speaks Up. illus. by Yutaka Houlette. 112p. (Fighting for Justice). bibliog. chron. index. notes. photos. Heyday. Jan. 2017. Tr $18. ISBN 9781597143684.

Gr 4-8 –A compelling blend of free verse, expository text, and artwork illuminates the life and times of Japanese American activist Fred Korematsu. Growing up in Oakland, the child of Japanese immigrants, Korematsu was a typical American kid, joining the Boy Scouts and dancing to big band music. Following Pearl […]

Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees by Mary Beth Leatherdale | SLJ Review

LEATHERDALE, Mary Beth. Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees. illus. by Eleanor Shakespeare. 64p. chron. websites. Annick. Apr. 2017. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9781554518968; pap. $12.95. ISBN 9781554518951.

Gr 4-7 –Across time, desperation has driven people from their homes in search of refuge—and the only way out is often through a stormy passage on the sea. Ruth was one of 900 Jewish people who boarded a ship, hoping to escape Nazi Germany; Mohammed, orphaned during the civil war in […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 […]