April 30, 2016

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Book Review: Jerkbait by Mia Siegert

Publisher’s description Even though they’re identical, Tristan isn’t close to his twin Robbie at all—until Robbie tries to kill himself. Forced to share a room to prevent Robbie from hurting himself, the brothers begin to feel the weight of each other’s lives on the ice, and off. Tristan starts seeing his twin not as a […]

For the Win: Sports | Series Nonfiction


Sports books are akin to the Trojan horse. What begins as a look at volleyball can quickly become a STEM, social studies, or Common Core Standards-friendly lesson. Read on to learn about Althea Gibson’s groundbreaking legacy, the science behind gymnastics, and the amazing stats, stories, and upsets of sports history.

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

March Madness Manga

The month of March has a lot going on. The first day of spring, St. Patrick’s Day, the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, and sometimes, like this year, Easter, all occur within its 31 days. For sports fans, the big event is March Madness, a basketball tournament held to determine the finalists in the NCAA […]

Football Season Arrives: A Quick Look at “Don’t Throw It to Mo!”

I’m two-timing you, SLJ.  Yes, the ugly truth had to come out sometime.  I admit all.  You see, I’ve been blogging elsewhere. Crazy but true?  It is, but this is a kind of blogging I’ve never really done before.  Because while my specialty is children’s literature, my new job here in Evanston, IL requires that […]

Game On: Sports | Series Nonfiction


These latest sports series go beyond simple primers of different games and activities, providing, instead, noteworthy ways that teachers and librarians can simultaneously stoke young readers’ athletic passions while connecting their interests to other fields of study.

This article was published in School Library Journal's April 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Sign Language Primers, Graphic Guide to Science, and Selections on the Civil Rights Movement | Nonfiction Series Update


SLJ presents Nonfiction Series Update, continuations in ongoing series that are not to be missed. This installment, check out the latest on animals, sign language, cell division, civil rights, and more.

This article was published in School Library Journal's February 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Beyond the All-American Athlete: Sports | Series Made Simple Fall 2014


Though these titles do tackle the basics (basketball, football, and baseball, oh my!), there are tons of lesser-known sports (kayaking, anybody?), as well as a far more inclusive focus in this season’s collections, from an emphasis on women and girls to a look at international superstars

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

Pressure to Succeed

Pressure to Succeed

Today I’m combining two books about pursuing competitive, pressure-filled fields — dance and basketball. One is nonfiction, one fiction. Both are full of struggle, family difficulties, and the stress of expectations. Misty Copeland is a phenomenon, and her book is a gift to the many young people obsessed with ballet (or dance of any kind). […]

Bats, Balls, Bikes…and Bruises? Sports | Series Made Simple


From the Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl to the Final Four and the World Cup, sports inspire us and capture our imaginations. There’s plenty offered in these series to motivate readers.

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

In Honor of Baseball’s All-Star Game, A Book to Pre-Order

Student sports fans (in this case, baseball fans specifically) can leverage their outside-of-school literacies to comprehend and appreciate the sophisticated cartoons and high-level text.

With ‘42’ in Theaters, Here’s a Free Movie Starring Jackie Robinson

With ‘42’ in Theaters, Here’s a Free Movie Starring Jackie Robinson

Alfred Green’s 1950 film, made at the height of Robinson’s career, is in the public domain…

Keep It Moving: Sports | Series Made Simple Spring 2013


In the spirit of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, these sports and exercise-related books encourage children to keep active and avoid obesity. Students will find inspiration in titles about their favorite teams, players, competitions, or forms of exercise.

MTV’s Andrew Jenks on Storytelling, Media Literacy, Baseball’s Bobby V, and His New Book

“Teaching media literacy seems almost as important as teaching any other subject because it is one of the main ways that young people learn and develop–and if you don’t know how to navigate the basics of consuming media and using media, you’re in trouble.”

Batter Up! Great New Books About Baseball


This grand-slam lineup of titles about baseball illustrate why the sport is still America’s pastime.

JLG’s On the Radar: Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails?

Nonfiction title with Sports Scenes

For those seeking informational books for reluctant independent readers (boys or girls), the editors at Junior Library Guild have a variety of picks, from sports and pirates, to body parts and dangerous creatures.

An Oscar-Winning Giveaway: UNDEFEATED on Blu-ray

The only problem with inspirational movies is that they can be kind of corny. Know what I mean? I’m not talking about message movies, although plenty of those attempt to inspire us–it’s just that their attempts are so transparent that the audience feels like it’s being treated like idiots. (And for some reason we educators, […]

Strap Yourself In: A New Year in Media Has Begun

We measure our lives out by annual media events, kind of like Prufrock and his coffee spoons.

Exploration and Recreation: Sports | Series Made Simple Fall 2012


Reading about recreational activities (not to be confused with “recreational reading,” though there can be overlap) is no substitute for actually getting outdoors or onto the field or court.

Muck City

Bryan Mealer’s exploration of football and poverty in one small Florida town brings to mind other books about high school sports, such as Friday Night Lights and Michael D’Orso’s Eagle Blue.
You probably know Mealer’s previous work, even if you don’t recognize the name. He wrote The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind with William Kamkwamba, a […]

On the Radar: Top Picks from the Editors at Junior Library Guild: Sports Books Score Touchdowns

Dinosaurs playing football

With the onset of September comes the roar of the crowd—the football crowd. From Pop Warner leagues to professional sports, there are plenty of games to attend or watch. Whether on the bleachers, in the field, or cheering from the living room couch, here are some new titles to fill in the gap during half-time.