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November 25, 2014

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A Volcano Beneath the Snow

A Volcano Beneath the Snow

A Volcano Beneath the Snow: John Brown’s War Against Slavery by Albert Marrin Knopf, April 2014 Reviewed from final copy JOHN BROWN TAKE THE WHEEL is probably not how you expected this review to start, but let’s embrace the unexpected and just go with it. With four stars and some rave reviews happening, Albert Marrin’s [...]

Review of the Day: Neighborhood Sharks by Katherine Roy

Review of the Day: Neighborhood Sharks by Katherine Roy

Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands By Katherine Roy David Macaulay Studio – Roaring Brook (Macmillan) $17.99 ISBN: 9781596438743 Ages 7-12 On shelves now. When you’re a librarian buying for your system, you come to understand that certain nonfiction topics are perennial favorites. You accept that no matter how many [...]

North of Normal and What is Visible

North of Normal and What is Visible

On Monday, Angela mentioned that we haven’t had as many nonfiction titles as we’d like this year, and offered up Dr. Mutter’s Marvels for consideration. Today, we’ve got another nonfiction title, this time a memoir, and a novel based on a real person. The memoir is Cea Sunrise Person’s North of Normal, and Person’s first [...]

Dr. Mütter’s Marvels

Dr. Mütter’s Marvels

We’ve suffered from a dearth of adult nonfiction for teens this year, but today I am thrilled to bring you a great recommendation. In fact, Dr. Mütter’s Marvels shares some of the very best qualities of Mary Roach’s iconic Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, especially a gross-out curiosity factor and great story-telling. Add a larger-than-life subject and [...]

A Varied Set of Portraits, from Pets to Presidents | Nonfiction Grades 5 & Up

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This month’s nonfiction profiles a wide variety of people—and animals. Students will find a trove of information in Albert Marrin’s beautifully researched biography of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, while those with an artistic bent will enjoy Catherine Ingram’s quirky, illustrated looks at Andy Warhol, Salvador Dalí, and Jackson Pollock. And don’t miss the adorable Unlikely Heroes, which covers some truly courageous creatures.

This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

We Need Diverse Series Nonfiction | Series Made Simple Fall 2014

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Inclusivity has been a hot button issue for fiction—but it’s equally important for series nonfiction. Librarians, publishers, and authors weigh in on the diversity debate.

This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Review: Neighborhood Sharks by Katherine Roy

Review: Neighborhood Sharks by Katherine Roy

Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands By Katherine Roy David Macaulay Studio – Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan) ISBN: 9781596438743 $17.99 Grades 3-5 Out Now Find it at: Schuler Books | Your Library Kids are swimming in a sea of generic shark books. While a topic in constant demand, titles that [...]

The Final Book in the Southern Reach Trilogy

The Final Book in the Southern Reach Trilogy

You can’t say I didn’t warn you. I’ve been raving about Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy all year, and promising a review of the final volume. So here it is. VanderMeer once again takes readers into the heart of his mysterious Area X (after merely skirting around it through the middle volume in the trilogy), [...]

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia, Candace Fleming Schwartz & Wade, July 2014 Reviewed from ARC Six stars. It seems like everyone is talking about The Family Romanov*. Let’s set aside those stars though, because a discussion of what it means when a book earns full marks, ahem, stars, should be [...]

Caitlin Moran and Lena Dunham

Caitlin Moran and Lena Dunham

Today I review two books that have the potential to be wildly popular with teens–and wildly challenging for school librarians. Caitlin Moran and Lena Dunham are media forces, women who excel in professions dominated by men. They both succeed through the sheer force of their personalities, and to some extent through their willingness to say [...]

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, Susan Kuklin Candlewick Press, February 2014 Reviewed from ARC Does literary quality mean that a writer has to have a strong authorial presence? I bring this up because Beyond Magenta is a wonderful nonfiction book. It’s easily one of the strongest contenders for this year’s YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction—but [...]

Historical Accuracy in Illustration: Shifting Standards or Stubborn Certainties?

Historical Accuracy in Illustration: Shifting Standards or Stubborn Certainties?

There’s been a lot of talk about accuracy in children’s nonfiction recently (which is just a fancy way of saying that there’s been a lot of talk on this particular blog).  Everything from invented dialogue to series that are nonfiction-ish.  One element we haven’t discussed in any way, shape, or form though is the notion [...]

Malala Yousafzai Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Malala Yousafzai Wins Nobel Peace Prize

I thought readers here might be interested to know, if they hadn’t heard already, that Malala Yousafzai has just been named a co-recipient of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Malala is, of course, the author of I Am Malala–reviewed here back in December–which chronicles her struggle for education for girls in Pakistan, and eventual shooting [...]

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling, Lucy Frank Schwartz & Wade, August 2014 Reviewed from final copy I’m old. This year, it has really come home to me that I have been doing this for a while, with the following exchanges: Me: Oooh, a new one from Cecil Castellucci! Joy: You mean the LA Review [...]

Clearing the brush

Clearing the brush

The New York Times’ sensationalizing of the practice of abridging adult nonfiction titles for a younger audience rather misses the point, which is about commerce, not censorship. The main difference between the adult and juvenile editions of these titles is that the latter are shorter, provide less background material, and are less detailed. As an […]

The post Clearing the brush appeared first on The Horn Book.

Poisoned Apples

Poisoned Apples

Poisoned Apples, Christine Heppermann Greenwillow, October 2014 Reviewed from ARC Gosh, it’s a good year for poetry, at least from a publishing perspective. And unlike Nelson’s gorgeous memoir that I will be hard pressed to sell to actual real live teen readers™, Poisoned Apples has appeal in spades. This was a later addition to our list, [...]

Eyes Wide Open: A proof of concept for sustaining the conversation around books

Eyes Wide Open: A proof of concept for sustaining the conversation around books

What if a book continued to resonate for its readers in a tangible way long after the pages were closed? What if books inspired, not just individual–but collective and collaborative response, creative expression, participation, action? What if communities formed around books? What if author’s webspace inspired true dialogue and interaction? And how can librarians, with [...]

How I Discovered Poetry

How I Discovered Poetry

How I Discovered Poetry, Marilyn Nelson, illustrated by Hadley Hooper Dial Books, January 2014 Reviewed from final copy Marilyn Nelson, author of the 2006 Printz honor book A Wreath for Emmett Till, is responsible for what may be this year’s most unique contender, pairing two genres only occasionally spotted in the YA world — memoir [...]

Review of the Day: At Home in Her Tomb by Christine Liu-Perkins

Review of the Day: At Home in Her Tomb by Christine Liu-Perkins

At Home in Her Tomb: Lady Dai and the Ancient Chinese Trasures of Mawangdui By Christine Liu-Perkins Charlesbridge $19.95 978-1-58089-370-1 Ages 9-12 On shelves now When I say the word “mummy” what springs into your mind? Movies starring Brendan Fraser? Egypt and scarabs and rolls of crumbling papyrus? Absolutely. But what if I told you [...]

Before They Were Famous: Young Carl Sagan, Golda Meir, and Alice Waters | Nonfiction Preschool to Grade 4

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This month, SLJ highlights some picture books about famous figures—before they made it big. Barbara Krasner details Golda Meir’s first stab at leadership, Stephanie Roth Sisson offers a glimpse of Carl Sagan’s childhood dreams about the stars, and Jacqueline Briggs examines foodie Alice Waters, starting with the early years.

This article was published in School Library Journal's September 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.