June 30, 2016

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As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds | SLJ Review

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REYNOLDS, Jason. As Brave as You. 410p. S. & S./Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Bks. May 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781481415903.
Gr 5-8–Reynolds’s engaging middle grade debut stars 11-year-old African American Genie Harris, an inveterate worrywart who considers Google his best friend, and his older brother Ernie, who is well on his way to being a cool dude (sunglasses and all). The born and bred Brooklynites are to spend a month with their grandparents in rural Virginia while their parents take a long overdue […]

SLJ’s Starred Reviews | May 2016

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From Antoinette Portis’s latest hilarious picture book to the sequel to Renée Ahdieh’s The Wrath & the Dawn, SLJ’s May 2016 stars are must-have titles for children’s and YA collections.

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

SLJ’s Starred Reviews | April 2016

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From the latest offerings by Printz winners Nick Lake and John Corey Whaley to Molly Idle’s Flora’s most recent adventure, SLJ’s April 2016 starred titles will inspire children and teens to keep the pages turning.

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

Lenny & Lucy by Philip C. Stead | SLJ Review

Lenny

Stead, Philip C. Lenny & Lucy. illus. by Erin E. Stead. 40p. Roaring Brook/Neal Porter Bks. Oct. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781596439320.

PreS-Gr 2–Peter and his dog Harold are unhappy to find themselves on a journey with their dad through the dark woods on their way to a new home. Peter thinks the move is a terrible idea and if Harold weren’t a dog, even he would do something about it. However, the decision has been made and Peter strongly dislikes […]

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 […]

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 […]

Lockstep & Goodhouse

Lockstep

Two excellent science fiction titles today, both featuring teen male protagonists. Lockstep is a hard SF romp that, despite its sophistication, could have been published for a YA audience. Karl Schroeder is a well-known and respected Canadian science fiction author whose output is entirely adult, so his publishers probably did well to keep him in […]

Displaced Persons

Displaced Persons

Derek McCulloch’s Gone to Amerikay was one of our favorite books of 2012. In fact, I even (incorrectly) predicted an Alex Award for it. So I was very excited to see that he was out with a new graphic novel, this time illustrated by Anthony Peruzzo. Like Gone to Amerikay, Displaced Persons has an epic […]

Kirkus Prize Finalists

Kirkus Prize Finalists

In case you missed the news when it was first announced, or the recent news of the finalists, Kirkus Reviews now offers a really excellent writing award — it’s monetary, to the tune of $50,000, which for many authors probably represents a lot more time to write. The nominee list — all the star reviews […]

Bellweather Rhapsody

Bellweather Rhapsody

A mystery that takes place during a high school music festival set in an old resort hotel during a snowstorm? The Bellweather is certainly less terrifying than The Overlook of The Shining fame, but it holds its own secrets–especially room 712. In the introduction to her novel’s playlist on Largehearted Boy, Kate Racculia shares that she played the bassoon […]

Mixed-Race Relationships

Mixed-Race Relationships

Today we have two stand-out novels involving race and immigration that are told from multiple points of view. Both involve the weight of parental expectations. Everything I Never Told You is Celeste Ng‘s debut novel, and our starred review joins other stars from LJ, Booklist and PW.  This is a dysfunctional family story in which […]

Novels about the One Percent

Novels about the One Percent

Today we have two very different novels that feature the lives of the uber-wealthy. I love Jamie Watson’s reference to Brideshead Revisited in her starred review of The Last Enchantments. I was completely obsessed with that novel when we read it in senior year English, and I think the fact that I never fully understood […]

Fusenews: Blink and you’ll miss it

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Hey all!  Before I dive into the oddities of the world in which we live, I just wanted to give a bit of a shout out to two distinct groups that allowed me to sprawl my librarian self all over their respective gatherings.  First up, credit and love to Nancy Castaldo and all the folks […]

The Lucy Variations

The Lucy Variations, Sara Zarr Little, Brown Books For Young Readers, May 2013 Reviewed from ARC If you stop doing the thing that defined you and made you special for most of your life, who are you and can you ever move on? The Lucy Variations is a meditation on the classic young adult themes of […]

Weekly Reviews: Literary Mysteries

Gavin Extence’s debut novel earns today’s starred review. This is a unique book, which will be especially popular with the many fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and with Kurt Vonnegut readers. Every year, when I booktalk to my students, they bring up Haddon’s novel. It is still a widespread […]

Book/Multimedia Review Stars List | August 2013

How to Train a Train (Eaton)
©2013 by John Rocco.

On trains, cooking, and volcanoes.

Book/Multimedia Review Stars List | June 2013

Inside Outside (Boyd)

Novels by Holly Black, Cynthia Kadohata, Rita Williams-Garcia, and others.

Book/Multimedia Review Stars List | May 2013

Odd Duck (Castellucci). ©2013 by Sara Varon

May, a month of “ducky” stars.

Book/Multimedia Review Stars List | April 2013

That Is Not a Good Idea! (Willems) ©2013 by Mo Willems.

This month’s star listings include That is Not a Good Idea by Mo Willems, among others.

Making Contact With the Outside World

I don’t know about other librarians, but when it comes to book reviews, I find it easy to get bogged down in the world of the library journals and book blogs by fellow librarians.  So today I decided I wanted to take a look at what the rest of the world is saying about some […]