December 13, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

An Uninterrupted View of the Sky by Melanie Crowder | SLJ Review

CROWDER, Melanie. An Uninterrupted View of the Sky. 304p. Philomel. Jun. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399169007.

Gr 7 Up –Seventeen-year-old Francisco wears violent anger just under his skin, despite a tranquil life with his parents and eight-year-old sister in Cochabamba, Bolivia, in 1999. He and his family are irrevocably affected by Law 1008, a statute initiated in response to U.S. threats of economic sanctions, which seeks to find and imprison individuals connected to coca production. Francisco’s father, a taxi […]

Laurie Halse Anderson Reflects on the “Seeds of America” Trilogy

Pat Scales speaks with the prolific author about conducting historical research, creating authentic voices, and approaching our nation’s history with honesty.

SLJ’s April 2017 Popular Picks

The latest thriller from Cristin Terrill, a feminist primer for little ones, and a heartfelt memoir by a BuzzFeed editor.

2 YA Tales of Some Not-so-Witchy Witches

Teen witch books aren’t all “hocus pocus” and “eye of newt.”

York: The Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby | SLJ Review

RUBY, Laura. York: The Shadow Cipher. 496p. ebook available. HarperCollins/Walden Pond. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062306937.

Gr 5-8 –In an alternate present-day New York, three seventh graders embark on a citywide adventure as they attempt to solve a centuries-old cipher in order to save their home. In the mid-19th century, the Morningstarr twins, brilliant inventors who created steampunk-esque technology and iconic architecture that greatly influenced New York, disappeared, leaving a puzzle for the city, known as the Old […]

Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner | SLJ Review

TURNER, Megan Whalen. Thick as Thieves. 352p. (Queen’s Thief: Bk. 5)

­HarperCollins/Greenwillow. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062568243.

Gr 7 Up –Kamet is a slave poised to become one of the most powerful men in the Mede Empire thanks to his master’s close relationship with the Emperor. While he knows the limitations of his life as a secretary and slave, Kamet is ambitious and eager for the chance to help shape the Empire and wield his influence until one […]

Playing for the Devil’s Fire by Phillippe Diederich | SLJ Audio Review

DIEDERICH, Phillippe. Playing for the Devil’s Fire. 7 CDs. 8:14 hrs. Listening Library. Jan. 2017. $45. ISBN 9781524723842. digital download.

Gr 7 Up – Izayoc is an idyllic Mexican pueblo where 13-year-old Boli and his friends spend time ogling the girls, shining shoes to earn money, watching the luchadores (the wrestlers), and playing marbles in the hopes of winning the much-coveted “Devil’s Fire” marble. The new highway, however, has opened the town up to dangerous people. Body parts appear, […]

Speed of Life by Carol Weston | SLJ Review

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 […]

9 Refugee Stories for Kids and Teens

These nine titles—from picture books to YA—explore the many dangers, factors, and effects that refugees and immigrants face every day.

A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge | SLJ Review

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 […]

The Only Road by Alexandra Diaz | SLJ Review

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 […]

To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party by Skila Brown | SLJ Audio Review

BROWN, Skila. To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party. 3 CDs. 3:51 hrs. Brilliance. Oct. 2016. $24.99. ISBN 9781522656296. digital download.

Gr 7 Up –For 19-year-old Mary Ann Graves, and her family, the journey from Illinois to California in 1846 meant an arduous walk through mountains and deserts, alongside livestock and wagons. Following Graves’s actual reports, the chapters of this novel, which is based on actual events, relate the party’s day-to-day struggles […]

Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden | SLJ Review

BOLDEN, Tonya. Crossing Ebenezer Creek. 240p. Bloomsbury. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781599903194.

Gr 7 Up –In 1864, teenager Mariah and the other African Americans living in slavery on her plantation are freed by Union forces and encouraged to begin following General Sherman’s march through Georgia. Caleb assists Mariah as she prepares to join the march. Caleb and Mariah are immediately attracted to each other but are hesitant to express their feelings, so their relationship evolves slowly. Their pasts […]

First Things First: YA Debuts | SLJ Spotlight

From fun romances to royal intrigue and from a harrowing tale of Hurricane Katrina to a teen’s journey from Haiti to Detroit, the following YA debut novels offer new stories and voices on the teen lit scene.

SLJ’s February 2017 Popular Picks

These materials will fly off the shelves, from a story about a young boy who loves his green pants to a timely YA novel centered on gun violence and Islamophobia by Barry Lyga.

Effie Starr Zook Has One More Question by Martha Freeman | SLJ Review

FREEMAN, Martha. Effie Starr Zook Has One More Question. 224p. ebook available. S. & S./Paula Wiseman Bks. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781481472647.

Gr 3-5 –While spending the summer with her aunt and uncle in small-town Pennsylvania, inquisitive Effie Starr Zook tries to uncover family secrets. Hailing from New York City, Effie isn’t thrilled about having to spend the summer at Zook Farm while her parents fly around the world in a solar airplane. When she meets the Yoder […]

Ashes to Asheville by Sarah Dooley | SLJ Review

DOOLEY, Sarah. Ashes to Asheville. 256p. ebook available. Putnam. Apr. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780399165047.

Gr 5-8 –Following the death of one of her mothers, Mama Lacy, 12-year-old Fella is ripped from the only other parent she has ever known, Mama Shannon, and her 16-year-old sister, Zoey Grace, aka Zany. Fella is forced to move in with her grandmother Mrs. Madison, who has never approved of the relationship between her daughter, the more serious Mama Lacy, and the free-spirited […]

Moo by Sharon Creech | SLJ Audio Review

CREECH, Sharon. Moo. 2 CDs. 2:32 hrs. HarperCollins. Nov. 2016. $19.99. ISBN 9781470853624. 1 MP3-CD; digital download.

Gr 4-6 –Twelve-year-old Reena’s outburst during a family conversation about parental careers, geography, and the future “ten years from now” catapults the family from a city of monuments, subways, and museums and lands them in rural Maine. Her expectations of her new home include lobsters, blueberries, beaches, and mountains, but what she and her seven-year-old brother Luke get most familiar with is […]

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly | SLJ Review

KELLY, Erin Entrada. Hello, Universe. illus. by Isabel Roxas. 320p. ­HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062414151.

Gr 3-7 –The universe comes together unexpectedly when a unique set of circumstances cause four tweens to cross paths. Central to the story is Virgil, an 11-year-old Filipino American whose grandmother, Lola, helps him to come out of his shell and face the world. When Virgil and his pet guinea pig, Gulliver, end up trapped in a well in the woods at […]

Ghost by Jason Reynolds | SLJ Audio Review

REYNOLDS, Jason. Ghost. digital download. 3:29 hrs. S. & S. Audio. Aug. 2016. $14.99. ISBN 9781508230472.

Gr 5-9 –Guy Lockard has assumed the mantle of narrator-of-choice for Reynolds’s fiction: Ghost (2016 National Book Award finalist) is Lockard’s third Reynolds title, following As Brave as You and Rashad’s chapters in All American Boys. Here, as seventh grader Castle “Ghost” Crenshaw, Lockard performs with excitable bravado, ruminating honesty, and trash-talking speed. Ghost runs fast with good reason, having escaped his father, […]