November 24, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

SLJ Nonfiction Reviews

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Striking a Chord: 20 Exceptional Books on Music for Young People

The following fiction and nonfiction titles demonstrate the world-changing power of music, from the birth of the blues to today’s top 40.

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

Guest Post – Melissa Stewart: A Look at Expository Literature

Those of you that were fans of Melissa’s previous posting on this blog Diversity in Thinking will be pleased to mark her return. Melissa’s been running a series on her blog about expository literature, including guest posts from experts in the field recommending recent examples you should know about. What exactly is expository literature? I’ll […]

Book Review: Bold Women of Medicine: 21 Stories of Astounding Discoveries, Daring Surgeries, and Healing Breakthroughs by Susan M. Latta

Publisher’s description Meet 21 determined women who have dedicated their lives to healing others. In the 19th century, Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton—the “Lady with the Lamp” and the “Angel of the Battlefield”—earned their nicknames by daring to enter battlefields to aid wounded soldiers, forever changing the standards of medicine. Modern-day medical heroines such as […]

23 YA and Middle Grade Books To Honor Hispanic Heritage Month

A mix of fiction and nonfiction titles from such stellar talents as Daniel José Older and Margarita Engle. And, as a bonus, professional reading picks for those serving Latinx communities.

Physics, Fears, & Female Empowerment | Adult Books 4 Teens

Tempt teens with a memoir from award-winning actress Gabourey Sidibe, a primer on feminism, and a peppy look at the universe and dark matter.

The Red Bandanna by Tom Rinaldi | SLJ Review

RINALDI, Tom. The Red Bandanna. 176p. bibliog. photos. Viking. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780425287620.

Gr 6-8 –Before leaving for church one day, Jeff Crowther gave his then seven-year-old son, Welles, a red bandanna to keep in his pocket, similar to his own blue bandanna. For the rest of Welles’s life, that red piece of fabric remained a constant reminder of his special bond with his father while also serving a variety of practical purposes—a handkerchief, a headband worn underneath a hockey helmet, […]

Sandwiches! by Alison Deering | SLJ Review

DEERING, Alison. Sandwiches!: More Than You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About Making and Eating America’s Favorite Food. illus. by Bob Lentz. 144p. Capstone. Aug. 2017. pap. $15.95. ISBN 9781623708160.

Gr 4 Up –A tasty offering with more than 50 recipes covering five skill levels—there’s something here for everyone. The book spices up basic staples like PB&J and grilled cheese by adding historical facts in special “Between the Bread” sections, as well as challenges to experiment called “We Dare You” (mayonnaise plus peanut butter […]

Reshma Saujani On Closing the Gender Gap in Tech

The CEO of Girls Who Code, and SLJTeen Live! closing keynoter, speaks to SLJ about her latest and upcoming projects.

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

Nonfiction: The Solar System, Sustainability, and Wacky Inventions | August 2017 Xpress Reviews

These nonfiction titles run the gamut! One author takes (figurative) selfies through our solar system; wacky inventions will inspire young problem solvers; Stacey Kravetz delivers an entrepreneurial guide for girls.

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

Writing Radar by Jack Gantos | SLJ Review

GANTOS, Jack. Writing Radar: Using Your Journal To Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories. illus. by Jack Gantos. 224p. Farrar. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374304560. POP

Gr 4-8 –You might expect that the writing method of the author of such no-holds-barred tales as Joey Pigza Swallowed the KeyThe Love Curse of the Rumbaughs, and the Newbery Award–winning Dead End in Norvelt would be chaotic. You might picture him plucking bizarre anecdotes from his own frenzied noggin and slapping them together in a blind delirium of inspiration. […]

The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater | SLJ Review

SLATER, Dashka. The 57 Bus. 320p. Farrar. Oct. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374303235.

Gr 6 Up –On November 4, 2013, Sasha, a high school senior from Oakland, CA, was napping on the 57 bus home from school. Shortly thereafter, Richard, another Oakland teen, boarded the bus with his two friends. When the trio’s jokes took a dark turn, Richard’s and Sasha’s lives were forever changed. Slater, who originally covered the crime for the New York Times magazine, here breaks down the series of events into […]

The Magician and the Spirits by Deborah Noyes | SLJ Review

NOYES, Deborah. The Magician and the Spirits: Harry Houdini and the Curious Pastime of Communicating with the Dead. 160p. bibliog. index. notes. photos. Viking. Aug. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780803740181.

Gr 6 Up –Harry Houdini is best remembered as a magician and escape artist, but he also spent more than half his life tirelessly investigating mediums and séances—charlatans in disguise. Noyes’s narrative blends the history of the spiritualism movement in the early 20th century with a biographical account of Houdini. Early in Houdini’s […]

Full of Fall by April Pulley Sayre | SLJ Review

SAYRE, April Pulley. Full of Fall. photos by April Pulley Sayre. 40p. bibliog. S. & S./Beach Lane. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481479844.

PreS-Gr 2 –The pages in this beautiful tribute to autumn virtually throb with color at every turn. A seasonal companion to Raindrops Roll and Best in Snow, this title highlights the glorious show that is performed each year by trees around the world. Simple, elegant poetry leads readers through the progression of changing leaves as the […]

Nonfiction: Career Guidance, Garbage Galore, and Homework Help | July 2017 Xpress Reviews

This month’s nonfiction Xpress Reviews include a volume aimed at students in need of some tips on doing homework, a primer on careers working with animals, and much more.

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

Book Review: Young Palestinians Speak: Living Under Occupation by Anthony & Annmarie Young

When I’m reviewing books for professional publications, I stay quiet about them on social media. I’m always really excited once a review comes out to be able to talk about the book, finally! Here’s one of my most recent reviews, which originally appeared in the June 2017 issue of School Library Journal.    ROBINSON, Anthony & Annemarie Young […]

5 Nonfiction Titles To Stave Off the Summer Slide | Adult Books 4 Teens

From an account of crimes committed against the Osage Nation in the 1920s to a quick overview of astrophysics from Neil deGrasse Tyson, these titles are bound to keep students learning, and having fun, during the summer months.

Standout STEM Reads | SLJ Spotlight

Most children’s and YA books on STEM subjects can be a tad didactic; however, these recent offerings are anything but dull.

How To Be an Elephant by Katherine Roy | SLJ Review

ROY, Katherine. How To Be an Elephant. illus. by Katherine Roy. 48p. diag. filmog. further reading. photos. websites. Roaring Brook/David Macaulay Studio. Sept. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781626721784.

Gr 3-6 –Roy follows her masterly Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands with a stunning look at how a newborn elephant matures into a capable member of the herd. The work adroitly covers anatomy, environment, family life, and other topics. Roy emphasizes how elephants, with their […]

Martí’s Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad by Emma Otheguy | SLJ Review

OTHEGUY, Emma. Martí’s Song for Freedom/Martí y sus versos por la libertad. illus. by Beatriz Vidal. 32p. bibliog. Lee & Low. May 2017. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9780892393756. BL

Gr 2-5 –The life of poet, writer, and freedom fighter José Martí (1853–95) comes alive in this lyrical, bilingual retelling of his everlasting impact on the people of his native Cuba. Growing up, Martí was an admirer of nature and fell in love with the beauty of the Cuban countryside. As […]

Young Palestinians Speak: Living Under Occupation by Anthony & Annmarie Young | SLJ Review

ROBINSON, Anthony & Annemarie Young . Young Palestinians Speak: Living Under Occupation. photos by Anthony Robinson. 144p. chron. filmog. further reading. maps. websites. Interlink. Jul. 2017. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781566560153.

Gr 7 Up –A number of Palestinian kids and teens discuss their hopes and dreams and what it is like living in an occupied country. An introductory chapter explains the Occupied Territories, provides an overview of the history of the Palestinian land, and explores the impact of occupation on […]