August 29, 2016

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Giant Squid by Candace Fleming | SLJ Review

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Fleming, Candace. Giant Squid. illus. by Eric Rohmann. 40p. bibliog. diag, further reading. websites. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks. Sept. 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781596435995. 

Gr 2-4 –Through engrossing, informative verse, Fleming artfully introduces readers to a mysterious sea monster that glides through the deepest and darkest reaches of the ocean. Although some species of giant squid are as large as a bus, these animals are rarely spotted by people. Scientists have been able to gather clues […]

Non-Nonfiction: Harry Potter and Hamilton | Adult Books 4 Teens

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Mark Flowers presents a bevy of titles that may technically be nonfiction but that are loaded with teen appeal, from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton: The Revolution to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to an examination of the Dark Knight.

Comics Confidential: Thirteen Graphic Novelists Talk Story, Craft, and Life Outside the Box edited by Leonard S. Marcus | SLJ Review

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Marcus, Leonard S., ed. Comics Confidential: Thirteen Graphic Novelists Talk Story, Craft, and Life Outside the Box. 192p. further reading. glossary. illus. notes. Candlewick. Sept. 2016. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780763659387. 

Gr 6 Up –In this volume, Marcus compiles interviews with 13 different graphic novel artists. All of the interviews retain their question-and-answer format and are about 12 to 14 pages long. They cover the interviewees’ childhoods, how they got interested in comics, ways comics and graphic […]

Storyworlds: Nature by Thomas Hegbrook | SLJ Review

Storyworlds Nature by Thomas Hegbrook

Hegbrook, Thomas. Storyworlds: Nature. illus. by Thomas Hegbrook. 64p. Tiger Tales/360 Degrees. Sept. 2016. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781944530013. 

PreS-Gr 2 –Simple narratives about animals and nature unfold through artwork in this refreshingly open-ended work. The book begins with an invitation: “Every picture tells a story. What do you think that story is?” One hundred wordless illustrations are presented for children to examine, interpret, and discuss. From a snake shedding its skin to a baby koala climbing […]

Mason Crest Embeds Key Historical Videos in Nonfiction Series

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The clips, accessed via QR codes, cover a range of experiences, from a moment in history, to a monumental speech or news coverage of a historical event.

In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives by Kenneth C. Davis | SLJ Review

In the Shadow of Liberty The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives by Kenneth C. Davis

Davis, Kenneth C. In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives. 304p. bibliog. chron. index. notes. photos. Holt. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781627793117. 

Gr 6 Up –Many are familiar with the lives of the Founding Fathers—their legacies are woven into the very fabric of our nation. Yet Davis peels back the layers of early U.S. history to provide readers with an aspect of the American story that […]

Reyna Grande on Immigration and “The Distance Between Us”

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A timely call for awareness and understanding. Reyna Grande on her upcoming young readers edition of her memoir The Distance Between Us.

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe | SLJ Review

Radiant Child- The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe

Steptoe, Javaka. Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. illus. by Javaka Steptoe. 40p. bibliog. Little, Brown. Oct. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316213882. 

Gr 1-5 –One extraordinary artist illuminates another in this textured, heartfelt picture book biography of the 1980s cultural phenom. Employing signature features of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work—vibrant colors, found objects, repeated motifs—Steptoe allows his own emotionally rich style to shine through the artistic and biographical references dotting the illustrations. Pieces of discarded […]

Crow Smarts: Inside the Brain of the World’s Brightest Bird by Pamela S. Turner | SLJ Review

Crow Smarts- Inside the Brain of the World’s Brightest Bird by Pamela S. Turner

Turner, Pamela S. Crow Smarts: Inside the Brain of the World’s Brightest Bird. illus. by Guido de Filippo. photos by Andy Comins. 80p. (Scientists in the Field). bibliog. index. HMH. Aug. 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780544416192. 

Gr 4-7 –This title takes readers to New Caledonia, where, as Turner puts it, “the forests are lush and the crows are geniuses.” Comins’s photos supply ample evidence of both. Under the guidance of crow researcher Gavin Hunt, expeditions to […]

The Gang’s All Here | SLJ Spotlight

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Take a peek at this collection of notable activists and political figures to start conversations about social movements with students.

The Music in George’s Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue by Suzanne Slade | SLJ Review

The Music in George’s Head George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue by Suzanne Slade

Slade, Suzanne. The Music in George’s Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue. illus. by Stacy Innerst. 48p. bibliog. chron. Calkins Creek. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781629790992. 

K-Gr 4 –Slade teams up with Innerst for this pleasant picture book biography of composer George Gershwin, with a focus on Gershwin’s introduction to music as a child and the various influences that led to his unique musical style. The culmination of the story is the creation and […]

Nonfiction Xpress Reviews | August 2016

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Getting up close and personal with gorillas, Leonardo da Vinci, and sharks.

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

Deliberate Research and Inclusive History: A Chat with Sarah Albee | Nonfiction Matters

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Sarah Albee is passionate about the research process—be it about famous historical figures, insects, or the evolution of the toilet.

The Bee Book | 30-Second Booktalk

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A mini booktalk about one of our favorite new nonfiction titles, The Bee Book.

Coyote Moon by Maria Gianferrari | SLJ Review

Coyote Moon by Maria Gianferrari

Gianferrari, Maria. Coyote Moon. illus. by Bagram Ibatoulline. 32p. further reading. websites. Roaring Brook. Jul. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781626720411. 

K-Gr 2 –A captivating and atmospheric title about a mother coyote on the hunt through a suburban landscape. Readers join the coyote as she leaves her pups in the den and travels through a neighborhood, a golf course, and a lakeside—all in pursuit of a mouse, a flock of geese, a rabbit, and, finally, one unfortunate […]

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy | SLJ Review

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Levy, Debbie. I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark. illus. by Elizabeth Baddeley. 40p. bibliog. photos. S. & S. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481465595. 

Gr 3-5 –Ruth Bader Ginsburg grew up in a time different from today; girls were taught to aspire to be wives and mothers—not study at college and become lawyers. This picture book biography of Justice Ginsburg traces her achievements in the field of law back to her girlhood years, emphasizing […]

Around America To Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles by Mara Rockliff | SLJ Review

Around America To Win the Vote Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles by Mara Rockliff

Rockliff, Mara. Around America To Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles. illus. by Hadley Hooper. 40p. further reading. Candlewick. Aug. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763678937. POP 

K-Gr 3 –A car made up of bright primary colors—yellow hood, blue doors, and red luggage compartment—transports suffragists Nell Richardson and Alice Burke, a kitten, and readers across the United States all in the name of “Votes for Women!” Throughout, the pacing is excellent, and Rockliff […]

Nonfiction Xpress Reviews | July 2016

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The heartrending journey of three elephants, ballpark recipes, and atlases and fact books galore.

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

Small Steps | SLJ Spotlight

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Forget the electoral process; students may need a refresher on what Washington, DC, even looks like! These titles will have readers ready to set off on the right foot toward greater political knowledge.

Fight To Learn: The Struggle To Go to School by Laura Scandiffio | SLJ Review

Fight To Learn The Struggle To Go to School

Scandiffio, Laura. Fight To Learn: The Struggle To Go to School. 176p. further reading. index. notes. photos. Annick. Sept. 2016. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9781554517985; pap. $14.96. ISBN 9781554517978.  

Gr 5-8 –The obstacles children face worldwide to obtain an education are discussed in accessible terms using real-life examples of how youth and adults fight these barriers—from gender bias in the Middle East to gang violence in Chicago to poverty in India. The work is divided into […]