March 27, 2017

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Treasures of the Earth | SLJ DVD Review

DVD-TreasuresoftheEarth

Treasures of the Earth. (NOVA). 3 hrs. Dist. by PBS. 2017. $24.99. ISBN 9781627898546.

Gr 7 Up –This program contains three hour-long episodes (“Power,” “Gems,” and “Metals”), which examine the earth’s geological resources. Each focuses on the natural forces that have created them and the human manufacturing processes that transform them into products. For example, viewers learn about different metals used in jewelry, warfare, and modern electrical wiring. Through computer animation, the program details atomic composition, production techniques, and […]

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

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STELSON, Caren. Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story. 3 CDs. 3:27 hrs. Dreamscape. Dec. 2016. $29.99. ISBN 9781520063034. digital download.

Gr 5-8 –Sachiko Yasui was six years old when an atomic bomb was dropped on her hometown of Nagasaki: this is the account of her survival. She experienced the death of family members, homelessness, and ill health, but the unrelenting encouragement of her father gave her the strength and willpower to face the future. He had told her always […]

Grendel’s Guide to Love and War by A.E. Kaplan | SLJ Review

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KAPLAN, A.E. Grendel’s Guide to Love and War. 320p. ebook available. Knopf. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399555541.

Gr 8 Up –When the Rothgars move in next door, high schooler Tom Grendel’s summer takes a turn into uncharted territory that proves often terrible, definitely weird, and occasionally wonderful beyond words. He has struggled with the death of his mother and his father’s post-traumatic stress disorder for years; the appearance of the Rothgars, anti–manic pixie dream girl Willow, and inveterate […]

Beck by Mal Peet with Meg Rosoff | SLJ Review

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PEET, Mal with Meg Rosoff. Beck. 272p. Candlewick. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763678425.

Gr 9 Up –This final novel from the deceased Peet, completed by Rosoff, is a not-quite-YA, not-quite-adult historical fiction story of hardship after hardship. Beck is a Liverpudlian orphan, the son of a white prostitute and an African sailor. Through no choice of his own, Beck is shipped off to Canada with several other orphans to work with the Catholic Brothers. After enduring physical and […]

Heartless by Marissa Meyer | SLJ Audio Review

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MEYER , Marissa. Heartless . 12 CDs. 14:34 hrs. Macmillan Audio. Nov. 2016. $39.99. ISBN 9781427267948. digital download.

Gr 8 Up –In this dark imagining of the origin of the Queen of Hearts, Lady Catherine starts out with the dream of owning a bakery with her maid, Mary Ann. Cath’s baking skills land her the heart of the King of Hearts, but she is drawn to the mysterious court joker, Jest. As Cath begins to give her heart to […]

Speed of Life by Carol Weston | SLJ Review

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WESTON, Carol. Speed of Life. 352p. ­ebook available. Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky. Apr. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781492654490.

Gr 7-10 –It’s January, and eighth grader Sofia’s mother has now been dead for nine months. Disturbed that her dad has started dating so soon, Sofia, who is half Spanish, writes to Fifteen magazine’s “Dear Kate” for advice. Kate’s thoughtful response soon has Sofia writing back multiple times, asking many of the questions that a normal teen would ask her mom—if she still had […]

Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner | SLJ Audio Review

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TURNER, Pamela S. Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune. 4 CDs. 4:51 hrs. Recorded Books. Oct. 2016. $46.75. ISBN 9781501936265.

Gr 7 Up –Combining action, history, and excellent descriptions, this book shares the story of Yoshitsune, a most unlikely samurai. Spared after his father attacked a rival, Yoshitsune was raised by monks and later received instruction in the way of the samurai. Yoshitsune pledged his loyalty to his half brother Yoritomo and performed many heroic feats. Unfortunately, […]

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee | SLJ Review

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LEE, Mackenzi. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. 528p. ebook available. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. Jun. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780062382801. POP

Gr 9 Up –A trio of high-born, determined, and wildly charismatic teenagers get more than they bargained for in this rollicking 18th-century Grand Tour of the Continent gone awry. Endearing rake Lord Henry Montague (or Monty) and his biracial best friend (and unrequited love), the infinitely patient Percy, leave England to drop Monty’s fiercely intelligent sister Felicity […]

Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld | SLJ Review

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WESTERFELD, Scott. Spill Zone. illus. by Alex Puvilland. 224p. First Second. May 2017. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9781596439368.

Gr 10 Up –It’s a mystery why three years ago Poughkeepsie suddenly broke the boundaries of reality, giving life to demonic wolves and sentient twisters, or why its human inhabitants now hang suspended in the air like puppets. It wasn’t aliens, it wasn’t a nuclear attack, and the military isn’t talking. That isn’t Addison’s mystery to solve; all she has to do […]

The Best Bear in All the World by Paul Bright, Brian Sibley, Jeanne Willis & Kate Saunders | SLJ Audio Review

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BRIGHT, Paul, Brian Sibley, Jeanne Willis, & Kate Saunders. The Best Bear in All the World. 2 CDs. 1:37 hrs. Listening Library. Oct. 2016. $22. ISBN 9780735287655. digital download

Gr 2-5 – Four seasons bring new adventures and curiosities to Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin, and friends. From Eeyore seeing another donkey to Piglet and Pooh meeting a dragon, the tales will delight, inspire, and encourage imagination. Narrator Martin Jarvis’s voice is ideal for bringing to life each of the Hundred […]

Morris Mole by Dan Yaccarino | SLJ Review

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YACCARINO, Dan. Morris Mole. illus. by Dan Yaccarino. 40p. HarperCollins. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062411075.

PreS-Gr 2 –Morris the mole is unique in his family. His brothers spend their days digging, eating, and sleeping. Morris is smaller than his siblings and follows a slightly different routine. One day the moles discover that they have run out of food. Morris has a suggestion that he thinks can save the day. When Morris attempts to inform his brothers about his […]

A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge | SLJ Review

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HARDINGE, Frances. A Face Like Glass. 496p. ebook available. Abrams/Amulet. May 2017. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781419724848.

Gr 5 Up –Neverfell didn’t mean to cause a stir when she left Cheesemaster Grandible’s tunnels for the first time, nor could she have known that she would become a darling of the court, the target of assassins, a captive of the Kleptomancer, a pawn of the powerbrokers, or a leader of an uprising. She is just a girl trying to figure out […]

My Congo | SLJ DVD Review

DVD-MyCongo

My Congo. (Nature). 53 min. Dist. by PBS. 2016. $24.99. ISBN 9781627898737.

Gr 5 Up –It pays to travel with a professional photographer. Stunning images of the landscapes, wildlife, and people of the Republic of the Congo grace this wonderful film that draws viewers into a world of beauty and diverse cultures. Wildlife filmmaker Vianet D’jenguet spent his childhood there before moving to Europe. His return to his homeland is moving and informative. The film takes viewers on a […]

The Only Road by Alexandra Diaz | SLJ Review

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DIAZ, Alexandra. The Only Road. 320p. ebook available. S. & S./Paula Wiseman Bks. Oct. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781481457507.

Gr 5-8 –After the murder of their cousin/brother Miguel, Jaime and Ángela (ages 12 and 15) are given the “option” to join the powerful gang controlling their Guatemalan village. A refusal means certain death, so their families make the difficult decision to send the pair north, secretly gathering resources, paying smugglers, and identifying safe houses—all the while aware that their […]

Noodleheads See the Future by Tedd Arnold, Martha Hamilton & Mitch Weiss | SLJ Review

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ARNOLD, Tedd, Martha Hamilton, & Mitch Weiss. Noodleheads See the Future. illus. by Tedd Arnold. 48p. Holiday House. Jan. 2017. Tr $15.95. ISBN 9780823436736.

K-Gr 3 –The creator of Fly Guy follows up Noodlehead Nightmares with another hilarious and engaging anthropomorphic book full of wacky slapstick. Brothers Mac and Mac are the titular heroes, and, yes, they are literally pieces of pasta. They are also, well, noodleheads: the literal-minded brothers are incapable of understanding metaphor or grasping simple concepts. […]

A Psalm for Lost Girls by Katie Bayerl | SLJ Review

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BAYERL, Katie. A Psalm for Lost Girls. 368p. ebook available. Putnam. Mar. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399545252.

Gr 8 Up –Two years ago, Callie’s older sister Tess started hearing a voice. Tess could often tell if something ominous was on the horizon. The resulting throng of believers changed the course of the da Costas’ lives as their daily rhythm became punctuated by visitations from pilgrims and makeshift shrines to Tess. After Tess was unable to answer prayers to locate […]

Walk with Me by Jairo Buitrago | SLJ Review

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BUITRAGO, Jairo. Walk with Me. tr. from Spanish by Elisa Amado. illus. by Rafael Yockteng. 32p. Groundwood. Mar. 2017. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781554988570.

Gr 1-4 –A girl invites an imaginary lion, a metaphor for her missing father, to accompany her on her long walk home. Along the way, she must pick up her baby brother from child care and purchase groceries, and when they arrive home, she prepares dinner before her mother returns from the factory. The illustrations are […]

A Time To Act: John F. Kennedy’s Big Speech by Shana Corey | SLJ Review

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COREY, Shana. A Time To Act: John F. Kennedy’s Big Speech. illus. by R. Gregory Christie. 48p. bibliog. further reading. notes. photos. NorthSouth. Apr. 2017. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9780735842755.

Gr 3-5 –On June 11, 1963, President John F. Kennedy gave an eloquent speech in which he made a plea for civil rights for African Americans. He was lauded for his blunt but sincere appeal to ensure equality for all Americans. Corey begins with biographical information on Kennedy, including his […]

Come On in, America: The United States in World War I by Linda Osborne | SLJ Review

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OSBORNE, Linda Barrett. Come On in, America: The United States in World War I. 176p. bibliog. index. photos. reprods. Abrams. Mar. 2017. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781419723780.

Gr 9 Up –What begins as an overview of U.S. involvement in World War I expands into how the Great War impacted the lives of Americans at home and on the battlefield. Osborne effectively juxtaposes issues such as censorship, propaganda, prejudice, discrimination, and violence that arose in the United States against the democratic […]

I Voted? | SLJ DVD Review

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I Voted? 77 min. Dist. by Tugg Educational. 2016. $75. ISBN unavail.

Gr 9 Up –Jason Grant Smith, a young independent filmmaker, asks, “Are we the country we think we are?” in this timely, provocative, and important exploration of America’s voting procedures. His initial interest in the unlikely primary victory of an unknown candidate for the U.S. Senate in South Carolina morphs into a general investigation of current voting systems, which are likely to be vulnerable to error and […]