November 20, 2017

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Review: All Faire’s in Middle School

Newbery Honor winner Victoria Jamieson is back with another middle grade graphic novel that is sure to please a growing fandom of middle grade students who just can’t get enough. Readers who are loving Svetlana Chmakova’s Awkward and Brave and Raina Telgemeier’s titles will be thrilled to pick up this latest addition to the middle-grade […]

Haunted Places

We are working on getting through books in the maximally efficient way, which sometimes means more fanciful pairings, and other times means groups that play with each other in interesting ways as we discuss them. Today we have the second option, a trio of books that mingle together in engaging ways as we consider the […]

Book Review: Sparrow by Sarah Moon

Publisher’s description Sparrow has always had a difficult time making friends. She would always rather have stayed home on the weekends with her mother, an affluent IT Executive at a Manhattan bank, reading, or watching the birds, than playing with other kids. And that’s made school a lonely experience for her. It’s made LIFE a […]

25 Terrifying Horror Novels for Kids and Teens

From totally innocuous through safe scary, all the way to “holy moly!”, the following fiction titles offer a scary experience for a range of readers and their comfort levels.

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

Striking a Chord: 20 Exceptional Books on Music for Young People

The following fiction and nonfiction titles demonstrate the world-changing power of music, from the birth of the blues to today’s top 40.

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

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 […]

23 YA and Middle Grade Books To Honor Hispanic Heritage Month

A mix of fiction and nonfiction titles from such stellar talents as Daniel José Older and Margarita Engle. And, as a bonus, professional reading picks for those serving Latinx communities.

Book Review: All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson

Publisher’s description Calling all Raina Telgemeier fans! The Newbery Honor-winning author of Roller Girl is back with a heartwarming graphic novel about starting middle school, surviving your embarrassing family, and the Renaissance Faire. Eleven-year-old Imogene (Impy) has grown up with two parents working at the Renaissance Faire, and she’s eager to begin her own training as a […]

Book Review: Boy Seeking Band by Steve Brezenoff

Publisher’s description Great music and great friendships aren’t always in harmony. Terence Kato is a prodigy bass player, but he’s determined to finish middle school on a high note. Life has other plans. In eighth grade, he’s forced to transfer from a private arts school to a public school, where the kids seemingly speak a […]

Middle Grade: New Titles from J.K. Rowling, Margarita Engle, & More | August 2017 Xpress Reviews

Mysteries abound in this month’s middle grade reviews! Sherlock’s creator gets a tween-aged overhaul in Robert J. Harris’s new novel, and Susan Vaught’s super sleuth Max solves mysteries when she’s not drag racing in her wheelchair.

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

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 […]

It All Comes Down to This by Karen English | SLJ Review

ENGLISH, Karen. It All Comes Down to This. 368p. Clarion. Jul. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544839571.

Gr 5-8 –Sophie is a 12-year-old African American girl living in 1965 Los Angeles. She is intelligent and determined. With two professional parents and a sister on her way to a historically black college, Sophie is living a middle-class life in her mostly white neighborhood and struggling to find acceptance among her peers. Friendship formation and creative ambitions are thwarted by bigotry, but her […]

Download SLJ’s Sneak Peek Guide to Fall 2017 Books

Download this handy guide to over 150 of the most hotly anticipated fall titles, curated by SLJ editors. With info on ALA author signings and galley giveaways.

The Losers Club by Andrew Clements | SLJ Review

CLEMENTS, Andrew. The Losers Club. 240p. Random. Aug. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780399557552.

Gr 3-6 –Sixth grader Alec, a true bibliophile, would rather read for pleasure than listen to his teachers, which often lands him in trouble with his parents, his teachers, and the principal. When Alec joins the after-school program, he is forced to pick a club, and quietly reading is not an option. Alec comes up with a plan to create a club that no kid would […]

Heidi | SLJ DVD Review

Heidi. 111 min. Omnibus Entertainment. 2017. $14.99. UPC 859686006109.

Gr 4 Up –Filmed on location, this adaptation of Johanna Spyri’s 1881 novel about a Swiss girl who finds a home with her grandfather in the Alps is nearly perfect. Director Alain Gsponer’s evident affection for the story informs the retelling. Each building, room, costume, and prop paints a convincing portrait of 19th-century Germany and Switzerland, from the elaborate table settings to the rustic but solid simplicity of the grandfather’s […]

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate | SLJ Review

APPLEGATE, Katherine. Wishtree. 224p. Feiwel & Friends. Sept. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781250043221. POP

Gr 4-8 –Newbery Award–winning author Applegate meets high expectations in this tale told by a tree named Red, a red oak who is “two hundred and sixteen rings old.” Touching on religious bigotry and the environment, Applegate keeps the emphasis on her characters, the many animals and birds who find shelter in the tree’s branches all year round. (All the birds and animals have names […]

Middle Grade: New Titles from Sophie Cleverly, Chris Grabenstein, & More | June 2017 Xpress Reviews

The latest crop of middle grade reads include Sophie Cleverly’s latest “Ivy and Scarlet” and Chris Grabenstein’s Beach Party Surf Monkey.

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