June 22, 2017

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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.

Middle Grade: An Immigrant’s Story, Lucha Libre, and More | May 2017 Xpress Reviews

A young Congolese refugee faces her first year in America; Xavier Garza throws down another installment in the “Lucha Libre Adventures”; and more.

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

Dedicated Middle School Collections in the Public Library: A New Trend?

Public libraries are starting to develop collections specifically for readers in grades six to eight. The selection process can be tricky and time-consuming—but often well worth the effort.

4 Poetry Titles to Share with Tweens

Margarita Engle’s moving exploration of Latinx in U.S. history, Nikki Grimes’s tribute to the Harlem Renaissance, and other works of poetry to share with tweens.

Book Review: The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi

Publisher’s description A trio of friends from New York City find themselves trapped inside a mechanical board game that they must dismantle in order to save themselves and generations of other children in this action-packed debut that’s a steampunk Jumanji with a Middle Eastern flair. When twelve-year-old Farah and her two best friends get sucked […]

Middle Grade Xpress Reviews | April 2017

A fictional account of real-life Civil War spy, Mary Bowser; a brand-new series that takes place in the Star Wars universe; and the second installment of Kate O’Hearn’s Norse mythology-inspired series

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

Book Review: Armstrong and Charlie by Steven B. Frank

Publisher’s description Charlie isn’t looking forward to sixth grade. If he starts sixth grade, chances are he’ll finish it. And when he does, he’ll grow older than the brother he recently lost. Armstrong isn’t looking forward to sixth grade, either. When his parents sign him up for Opportunity Busing to a white school in the […]

Book Review: Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee

Publisher’s description Mattie is chosen to play Romeo opposite her crush in the eighth grade production of Shakespeare’s most beloved play in this Romeo and Juliet inspired novel from the author of Truth or Dare. Mattie, a star student and passionate reader, is delighted when her English teacher announces the eighth grade will be staging […]

Book Review: Secrets and Sequences: Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes, a guest post by Callum (age 10)

If you follow me on Twitter (@CiteSomething), then you’re familiar with my extremely entertaining 10-year-old son, Callum. He’s a big fan of graphic novels and recently has started pulling books out of my TBR pile. It’s fun to get book mail and have so much of it either appeal now to him or know it […]

Middle Grade Xpress Reviews | March 2017

A beautifully written tearjerker from David Almond, the story of the Constitution, and a poignant, powerful immigrant story.

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

Book Review: The Time Museum by Matthew Loux, a guest post by Callum (age 10)

If you follow me on Twitter (@CiteSomething), then you’re familiar with my extremely entertaining 10-year-old son, Callum. He’s a big fan of graphic novels and recently has started pulling books out of my TBR pile. It’s fun to get book mail and have so much of it either appeal now to him or know it […]

Grace Lin And Alvina Ling: The BFF Episode

Last year I got an email from Newbery Honor winning author Grace Lin. She had an idea for an episode of The Yarn. I loved the idea, but it sounded tricky. Lots of moving pieces. I figured that it wouldn’t hurt to try. I’m so glad I decided to roll with Grace’s idea. This episodes […]

Middle Grade Xpress Reviews | February 2017

A can’t-miss title from the late Terry Pratchett, Truly Lovejoy rides again, and another installment in the “Story Thieves” series.

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

Middle Grade Xpress Reviews | January 2017

Michaela MacColl’s historical fiction title takes place at the Carlisle Indian School; Scott Westerfeld pens a series opener sure to please ardent sci-fi fans.

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