November 17, 2017

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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.

Unzip the Mysteries | SLJ Spotlight

With red herrings, suspects, and plenty of clues, mysteries hold tons of appeal for readers of all ages. These novels have all the twists and turns that make the genre so captivating, but all are tween-friendly. From the latest “Glimmer Girls” installment to the tale of a mystery prankster to a book about a disappearing toddler, these are intriguing yet age-appropriate stories that are bound to inspire budding gumshoes.

We Are Family | SLJ Spotlight

Is there anything more complicated than family? For the protagonists of these recent novels, families are both the source of strife and foundations of strength.

#33 Gertie’s Leap to Greatness Unravelled (S2 E4)

Colby: I’m excited to share our last episode of Season 2. I have really enjoyed following debut author Kate Beasley’s road to publication. It is pretty wild to think that we first starting working on this season over a year ago. In today’s episode Kate talks about Gertie’s Leap to Greatness. I loved listening to […]

Middle Grade Xpress Reviews | November 2016

A young boy with Dreidels on the Brain, a changeling baby, light fantasy for humor lovers, and more.

This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary by Laura Shovan | SLJ Audio Review

SHOVAN, Laura. The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. 3 CDs. 3:15 hrs. Recorded Books. Jul. 2016. $51.75. ISBN 9781501925344. digital download.

Gr 3-6 –When the land where their school is located is sold to build a supermarket, 18 fifth graders use poetry to tell the story of their loss. Each student has a unique voice reflecting personality, culture, and individual challenges. Some fight the change. Others embrace new possibilities. Soon they will be scattered to other schools. It […]

Companionable Reads | SLJ Spotlight

Several sequels and companion books are reviewed in this month’s issue—from Bruce Coville’s laugh-out-loud second installment in the “Enchanted Files” series and Eleanor Glewwe’s thoughtful follow-up to Sparkers to Kirsten Hubbard’s unique companion to last year’s unsettling Watch the Sky and Beth Vrabel’s heartfelt sequel to A Blind Guide to Stinkville.

Race the Night by Kirsten Hubbard | SLJ Review

HUBBARD, Kirsten. Race the Night. 288p. ebook available. Disney-Hyperion. Nov. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781484708347.

Gr 4-6 –The world has ended. All that’s left is the remote desert compound where 12-year-old Eider and four other children live under the stern rule of Teacher, whose tales of the cataclysm and dangers of the outside world keep the children isolated and afraid to question what they’ve been told. Eider’s growing sense of “something out there…something more” emboldens her to venture beyond […]