October 24, 2016

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Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Infographics by Steve Jenkins | SLJ Review


JENKINS, Steve. Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Infographics. illus. by Steve Jenkins. 48p. bibliog. chart. diag. HMH. Nov. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544630925. POP

Gr 2-6 –Jenkins combines cut-and-torn-paper illustrations with infographics to present highly engaging visual comparisons from the animal kingdom. Ranging from one to four pages in length, the graphic sections feature careful layouts that convey well-chosen and fascinating data. Clean lines and abundant white space lead readers to absorb the information without strain or […]

Secret Agent STEM | SLJ Spotlight


From murderous poisoners to poop-sniffing dogs, there is a wealth of educational and accessible material here.

Tetris: The Games People Play by Box Brown | SLJ Review


BROWN, Box. Tetris: The Games People Play. illus. by Box Brown. 253p. First Second. Oct. 2016. pap. $19.99. ISBN 9781626723153.

Gr 9 Up –Brown immerses readers in the complicated origins of one of the world’s most popular video games, Tetris. Its creator, Alexey Pajitnov, was a computer scientist who became obsessed with how games and puzzles affected human psychology. Before long, Pajitnov became caught up in a prototype he’d designed based on a childhood game and shared it with […]

Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White by Melissa Sweet | SLJ Review


SWEET, Melissa. Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White. illus. by Melissa Sweet. 176p. bibliog. chron. index. notes. photos. HMH. Oct. 2016. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780544319592. POP

Gr 3-7 –Throughout his life, E.B. White (1899–1985) divided his time between New York City and Belgrade Lakes in Maine. He drew inspiration for his books from the bucolic setting near author Sweet’s own home and studio. Readers and writers will relate to stories of White’s childhood—he was “scrawny” and “fearful” […]

Nonfiction Xpress Reviews | October 2016


From Harry Potter crafts to dinosaur dictionaries, this month’s offering of online-only reviews present a variety of informational titles for all types of inquisitive minds.

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

Teens Review Trailblazing Nonfiction, “Labyrinth Lost,” and More

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The Kitsap YA reviewers take on some informational titles, contemporary YA, and creepy reads just in time for fall, including Zoraida Córdova’s Labyrinth Lost.

Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson | SLJ Review


Stelson, Caren. Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story. 144p. bibliog. ebook available. further reading. glossary. index. maps. notes. photos. websites. Carolrhoda. Oct. 2016. lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 9781467789035.

Gr 5-8 –Sachiko Yasui was just six years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on her hometown of Nagasaki. On August 9, 1945, she went from playing house with her friends to burying them. Yasui also lost a brother that day and would lose many more family […]

Vietnam: A History of the War by Russell Freedman | SLJ Review


FREEDMAN, Russell. Vietnam: A History of the War. 160p. bibliog. glossary. index. maps. notes. photos. Holiday House. Oct. 2016. Tr $20. ISBN 9780823436583; ebk. $20. ISBN 9780823437481.

Gr 6-8 –In his customary well-honed prose, Freedman presents a coherent overview of the Vietnam War. First he retraces Vietnam’s 2,000 year struggle to become and stay independent and how the United States went from ally to aggressor (a result of shifting from fighting colonialism to opposing communism after World War II). […]

The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes retold by Duncan Tonatiuh | SLJ Review


TONATIUH, Duncan, retel. The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes. illus. by Duncan Tonatiuh. 40p. bibliog. glossary. Abrams. Oct. 2016. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781419721304.

PreS-Gr 2 –Princess Izta is the most beautiful and eligible maiden in the land. One day, a humble warrior named Popoca approaches the princess, offering her the promise of true love and fidelity instead of lavish gifts or material wealth. Izta falls in love with him, even though her father, the emperor, […]

Just the Facts: Reader-Ready Nonfiction for Secondary Students


These thoroughly researched and visually appealing new nonfiction titles are sure to reel in older readers right from the get-go.

Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille by Jen Bryant | SLJ Review


BRYANT, Jen. Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille. illus. by Boris Kulikov. 40p. further reading. websites. Knopf. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780449813379.

Gr 1-4 –This picture book biography of Louis Braille (1809–59) strikes a perfect balance between the seriousness of Braille’s life and the exuberance he projected out into the world. The text highlights Braille’s determination to pursue an education. Readers will learn how he attended the Royal School in Paris and was frustrated by the […]

Esquivel!: Space-Age Sound Artist by Susan Wood | SLJ Review


WOOD, Susan. Esquivel!: Space-Age Sound Artist. illus. by Duncan Tonatiuh. 32p. further reading. photos. websites. Charlesbridge. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781580896733.
Gr 2-6–Much as Juan García Esquivel (1918–2002) made a great contribution to music history, this title is an important addition to music biography collections. Beginning with Tampico, Mexico, the text and illustrations work together to showcase how a world filled with sound influenced and inspired a young Esquivel and continued to do so throughout his life. Esquivel is shown […]

Like a Bird: The Art of the American Slave Song by Cynthia Grady | SLJ Review

like a bird

GRADY, Cynthia. Like a Bird: The Art of the American Slave Song. illus. by Michele Wood. 40p. bibliog. ebook available. further reading. glossary. reprods. websites. Millbrook. Sept. 2016. lib. ed. $19.99. ISBN 9781467785501.

Gr 4 Up –“Slaves sing most when they are most unhappy. The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart.” These words by Frederick Douglass are offered in an endnote to provide context for the 13 spirituals included in this volume. Readers will learn how […]

Alpha, Bravo, Charlie: The Complete Book of Nautical Codes by Sara Gillingham | SLJ Review

Alpha, Bravo, Charlie The Complete Book of Nautical Codes by Sara Gillingham

Gillingham, Sara. Alpha, Bravo, Charlie: The Complete Book of Nautical Codes. illus. by Sara Gillingham. 120p. Phaidon. May 2016. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9780714871431.  

Gr 2-6 –Nautical codes, flags, and signals presented with examples of the boats and ships that might use them make this a unique and engaging reference for lower and upper elementary students. Letter by letter, A to Z, each nautical signal flag is listed with its name, its current meaning, and a […]

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


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


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 […]