February 24, 2018

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Multimedia Reviews | DVD & Audio

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My So-Called Enemy (A New Day Films) ©2010 by Lisa Gossels, p. 50

My So-Called Enemy (A New Day Films)
©2010 by Lisa Gossels


Lasky, Kathryn. The Extra. 6 CDs. 7 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2013. $54.97. ISBN 9781480518506. MP3-CD.

Gr 7 Up —Filling a gap in Holocaust literature, this tale (Candlewick, 2013) of Roma (Gypsy) prisoners brings listeners into the surreal world of filmmaking in concentration camps. Lilo had lived a privileged life until she and her parents were arrested by Nazi troops. Father is imprisoned away from the women, who are selected to be film extras in a romance directed by the Hitler’s favorite documentarian, Leni Riefenstahl. The filmmaker is a brutal adherent to Nazi ideology who will starve and demoralize Roma, even disposing of those deemed “unnecessary” in the making of her self-aggrandizing film. Details about forced sterilization, Ravensbruck concentration camp, and Roma society’s class system embellish the tale. Lasky builds the narrative based on true events. Her references and vocabulary can be precise to the point of being strained or arcane, which might confound listeners. Arielle DeLisle’s narration provides dramatic accents, enlivening the German characters. Despite its drawbacks, titles about Roma history during the Nazi occupation of Europe can be difficult to find for teens, and The Extra is worth including in libraries with robust Holocaust collections.—Robin Levin, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Teacher/Fellow

redstarLyeson, Leon. The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible … on Schindler’s List. 4 CDs. 4:15 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. $46.75 ISBN 9781470369439. Playaway. digital download.

Gr 4-9 –In an intimate look at one family on Oskar Schindler’s famous “list,” Leyson’s (born Leib Lezjon) memoir (S & S, 2013) begins with his earliest memories of his poor but idyllic life in a Polish village. His large Jewish family was short on money, but never on love or a sense of purpose and belonging. They eventually move to Krakow, a city that Leib finds enchanting. When the Nazis invade, however, life becomes desperate for the 10-year-old protagonist, his parents, sister, and three brothers. By sheer happenstance, Leib’s father becomes a worker for Schindler, beginning a chain of improbable events that leads to Leib’s survival, despite pogroms, ghettos, and Nazi work camps. Young Leib’s feelings of fear, dread, and despondency are relayed simply. Narrator Danny Burstein speaks in decorous, measured tones, yet sounds conversational. The words have power, no embellishment is necessary. Despite the horrific subject, Burstein imparts Leyson’s peaceable nature and even delivers a natural-sounding laugh or chuckle when relating the rare bright spots. Leyson here shares only his own memories and does not speculate or pontificate on the larger story. If he does not know the fate of a relative or friend, that uncertainty, too, is part of his story. Randomness, luck, and split-second actions that delineated life and death—these are the truths of the Holocaust, and of those on Schindler’s list. A moving and heartfelt conveyance of Leyson’s gratitude to his family and to Oskar Schindler.—Lisa Taylor, Ocean County Library, NJ

Wein, Elizabeth. Rose Under Fire. 10 CDs. 11:43 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2013. $59.97. ISBN 9781743169582. MP3-CD.

Gr 9 Up –Wein has crafted another stunner in this companion novel (2013) to Code Name Verity (2012, both Hyperion) Listeners reconnect with Maddie, who is mourning her late friend Julie, as she befriends a young American pilot named Rose Justice. Rose loves to fly and has entered the war effort on behalf of the British Air Force, transporting planes and people wherever they’re needed, until she is taken captive while flying over France. The title character ends up in Ravensbruck, the infamous women’s concentration camp run by the Nazis, and experiences the excruciating horrors and intense friendships such a place can create. As possibly the only American in Ravensbruck, Rose bonds with the “Rabbits,” a group of women from a variety of backgrounds who were horribly experimented on by the Nazis, as well as French resistance workers and a Russian aviator. Not all of them make it out alive. Listeners learn earlier on that Rose does survive the camp, which makes hearing about the atrocities committed there a bit less harrowing, although many parts are still very difficult to listen to. Narrator Sasha Pick does a nice job depicting the American Rose, but she is less successful portraying characters with other accents. In a nice touch, the author narrates her own notes and acknowledgements. Pleasant music separates the discs.—Julie Paladino, East Chapel Hill High School, NC

redstarMy So-Called Enemy. 89 min. New Day Films. 2010, released in 2013. $89. ISBN 9781574484823.

Gr 7 Up –This moving film chronicles a group of teenage Israeli and Palestinian girls committed to bridging the gaps that separate their peoples. At a summer camp experience in New Jersey, the teens begin the dialogue which will challenge them with intimate, emotional attempts at knowing “the enemy.” Starting from insistent defiance, they begin to listen to one another in the safety of a rural enclave with caring, trained counselors. Each participant hopes for a peaceful Middle East despite differences that won’t evaporate once they return home. Their work together, conducted in English, is supervised by Building Bridges for Peace, and the film follows six of them for seven subsequent years. Mandatory military service confronts Israeli Gal’s friendship with Palestinian Christian Rezan. Will their bond survive the demands of real life? Hanin moves from being a militant Arabic protestor to a devout Muslim even with her feminist views. All the girls have families who are supportive of this transformative journey, which may account for the progressive theme. However, the documentary doesn’t sugarcoat the chances for peace, but rather holds out the hope that more outreach will slowly create links that may subdue violence. Subtle, not pedantic, this film is a balanced and nuanced approach to understanding conflict. An excellent choice for students of diplomacy and world conflict, and a reminder of the power of youthful idealism to make the world a better place.–Robin Levin, Fort Washakie School/Community Library, WY

redstarSloan, Holly Goldberg. Counting by 7s. 6 CDs. 7:15 hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2013. $59.99. ISBN 9781624069024. digital download.

Gr 5-8 –Willow Chance is an extraordinary child whose tragic story could have been heartbreakingly sad, but is instead hopeful and inspirational. The 12-year-old genius, who is obsessed with the number seven, strangers’ medical conditions, and her lush garden in the middle of an otherwise-barren neighborhood in Bakersfield, California, has no friends. Her loving adopted parents are her only family. While she knows that her idiosyncratic behavior tends to draw the ridicule of her peers, she is self-confident and hopeful that she can make a fresh start and find friends in her new school. Unfortunately, she gets a perfect score on a state test in an amazingly short time, causing her new teachers to accuse her of cheating, and she is sent to counseling sessions with the ineffectual Dell Duke. There, Willow meets Mai Nguyen and her trouble-making brother, Quang-ha. When Willow’s parents are tragically killed and she seems headed to a group home, the Nguyen family takes her in. As she gradually learns to put down roots, she draws together a nurturing community of culturally diverse characters whose interactions with Willow cause each to find the strength to make positive changes in his or her own life. Robin Miles creates a believable cast of characters with appropriate accents and tones, voicing Willow’s grief, pain, and eventual hopefulness with great emotion. She brilliantly brings to life Sloan’s moving tale (Dial, 2013) of tragedy, resilience, and the power of a loving, supportive community.–MaryAnn Karre, West Middle School, Binghamton, NY

redstarSpencer, Octavia. Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit. 4 CDs. 4:25 hrs. S & S Audio. 2013. $19.99. ISBN 9781470363369. digital download.

Gr 4-7 –Actress Spencer’s debut novel (S & S, 2013) is everything a middle-grade mystery should be: fast-paced, packed with interesting characters, and sprinkled with just enough clues that listeners can piece together the solution alongside the main characters. The additions of a haunted cabin in the woods, a loose skunk, a couple of fake secret service agents, and some expert ninja moves don’t hurt either. The story centers around 12-year-old Randi, who has been solving crimes in her Brooklyn neighborhood since her mother died more than a year ago. But when her suspense-writer father moves the family from bustling New York to sleepy Deer Creek, Tennessee, Randi fears her sleuthing days are behind her. All that changes when the town’s 200-year-old time capsule is stolen right before the annual Founder’s Day celebration. Randi teams up with martial arts enthusiast D.C. and fellow Deer Creek newcomer Pudge to crack the case and return the capsule. Spencer narrates herself, and her New York, Boston, Japanese, and Southern accents help listeners distinguish between the characters. Her enthusiasm and intimate knowledge of her characters really makes them come to life. Readers and listeners will be anxious to see what is next for Randi, D.C., and Pudge and will eagerly await the book’s planned sequel.–Anne Bozievich, Friendship Elementary School, Glen Rock, PA

redstarBerry, Julie. All the Truth That’s in Me. 6 CDs. 7:53 hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2013. ISBN 9781624069178. $59.99. digital download.

Gr 8 Up –Some things are better left unsaid–or so Judith thinks. Four years ago Judith and her best friend Lottie disappeared. Judith came back two years later but altered, part of her tongue had been cut off. Now, two years after her return, she still isn’t at peace; her mother holds onto resentment, her childhood love is getting married, and others in her Puritan town shun her. Trouble is on the horizon as Homelanders, a vengeful group that tried to take over the town years ago, are set to arrive and Judith must make hard choices. Can she protect the ones she loves? This story is haunting, romantic, mysterious, and well written. As the story progresses, Judith shares bits of the past, allowing the reader to slowly gather information about what happened to Judith during those two years and eventually learn who killed Lottie. Kathleen McInferney reads the story using different tones for each character. Her voice for Judith is spot-on in the way she addresses both her internal voice and her speech impediment. Reluctant readers and avid ones will be clamoring for this title with enticing cover art and an original story (Viking, 2013). This is a definite purchase for audiobook collections.–Katie Llera, Bound Brook High School, NJ

redstarGriffin, Adele. All You Never Wanted. 6 CDs. 6:41 hrs. Listening Library/Books on Tape. 2013. ISBN 9780804123808. $55. digital download.

Gr 9 Up –Alex and Thea Parrott’s new stepdad, Arthur, is filthy rich. They have moved into a magnificent home dubbed Camelot, and can now afford anything they could ever want. Alex is beautiful, popular, and has a promising career in fashion and a seriously hot boyfriend. But a traumatic and humiliating incident during her fashion internship has caused her to retreat into a life of paralyzing fear and panic attacks. Younger sister Thea has bought into the luxe lifestyle, and now she wants everything, especially what isn’t hers. When their mom and Arthur leave town, Thea plans a party that may just cause both girls to lose more than they ever could have imagined. Griffin creates a raw and mesmerizing tale (Knopf, 2012) that addresses a range of issues, including divorce, sibling rivalry, anorexia, compulsive lying, loss of bodily control, and social phobia. Chapters alternate between Alex and Thea’s points of view and are narrated by Annalie Gernert and Erin Mallon. The readers expertly capture the essences of tragic and brittle Alex and catty and conniving Thea. Recommended for all library collections and an excellent choice for girl’s book discussion groups.–Lisa Hubler, Charles F. Brush High School, Lyndhurst, OH
The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue:


Preschool to Grade 4

Building Our House. 8 min. Dist. by Dreamscape Media. 2013. $38.99. ISBN 9780977709830.

The Cart That Carried Martin. 7 min. Dist. by Dreamscape Media. 2013. $38.99. ISBN 9781933938974.

Guess How Much I Love You: Hidden Treasure . 80 min. Dist. by Entertainment One. 2011, released in 2013. $12.98. ISBN 1417237198.

Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator! DVD. 12 min. Weston Woods. 2013. $59.95. ISBN 9780545570336; CD $12.95. ISBN 9780545570381; Tr book w/CD $29.95. ISBN 9780545570299.

Moonday. 6 min. Dist. by Dreamscape Media. 2013. $38.99. ISBN 9781933938943.

Those Darn Squirrels! ISBN 9781933938400.

Those Darn Squirrels and the Cat Next Door. ISBN 9781933938455.

Those Darn Squirrels Fly South. ISBN 9781933938936.

ea vol: 8 min. Dist. by Dreamscape Media. 2013. $38.99.

Grades 5 Up

Confessions of a Bully. 17 min. w/resource guide. Human Relations Media. 2014. $149.99. ISBN 9781627060200.

Driving Stupid. 19 min. w/resource guide. Human Relations Media. 2014. $149.99. ISBN 9781627060189.

Hot Coffee: Is Justice Being Served? 86-min. and 50-min. versions. w/discussion guide. Dist. by Bullfrog Films. 2011, released in 2013. $350. ISBN 1937772926.

Latino Americans. 2 DVD set. 360 min. Dist. by PBS Dist. 2013. $34.99. ISBN 9781608839735.

Linsanity . 90 min. Dist. by Anderson Digital. 2013. $20.99. ISBN unavail. Rated PG.


Early Elementary

Kirk, Daniel. Library Mouse. 2 CDs. 15 min. Recorded Books. 2013. $15.75. ISBN 9781440719394. Tr book.

Sattler, Jennifer. Uh-Oh, Dodo! CD. 15 min. Recorded Books. 2013. $15.75 ISBN 9781470383589. Tr book.

Tonatiuh, Duncan. Pancho Rabbit and the ­Coyote. CD. 15 min. Recorded Books. 2013. $15.75. ISBN 9781470383640. Tr book. digital download.

middle grade

Angleberger, Tom. The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett. (Origami Yoda Series, Bk. 4). 3 CDs. 3:30 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. $30.75. ISBN 9781470382636. Playaway. digital download.

Buckley, Michael. Attack of the BULLIES. (NERDS Series, Bk. 5). 5 CDs. 6 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. $51.75. ISBN 9781470382605. Playaway. digital download.

Coville, Bruce. Always October. 8 CDs. 8:15 hrs. Full Cast Audio. 2013. $55. ISBN 9781936223480.

DiCamillo, Kate. Flora & Ulysses. 4 CDs. 4:30 hrs. Listening Library. 2013. $30. ISBN 9780449015131. digital download.

Federle, Tim. Better Nate than Ever. 5 CDs. 5:45 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. $51.75. ISBN 9781470369385. Playaway. digital download.

Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Risked. (The Missing Series, Bk. 6). 7 CDs. 7:25 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. $77.75. ISBN 9781470369088. Playaway. digital download.

Kinney, Jeff. Hard Luck. (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series, Bk. 8). 2 CDs. 2 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. $54.75. ISBN 9781470395636. Playaway. digital download.

Lerangis, Peter. Lost in Babylon. (Seven Wonders Series, Bk. 2). 7 CDs. 8:30 hrs. Harper Audio. 2013. $27.99. ISBN 9780062286383.

Mass, Wendy. The Last Present. (Willow Falls Series, Bk. 4). 6 CDs. 7:15 hrs. Scholastic Audio. 2013. $34.99. ISBN 9780545600330.

Meloy, Maile. The Apprentices. (The Apothecary Series, Bk. 2). 7 CDs. 8:07 hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2013. $59.99. ISBN 9781624068485. digital download.

Nimmo, Jenny. Leopards’ Gold. (Chronicles of the Red King, Bk. 3). 7 CDs. 7:59 hrs. Scholastic Audio. 2013. $29.99. ISBN 9780545351331.

Rundell, Katherine. Rooftoppers. 5 CDs. 5:45 hrs. Recorded Books. $51.75. ISBN 9781470369347. Playaway. digital download.

Smith, Alexander. McCall. The Mystery of Meerkat Hill. (Precious Ramostswe’s Very First Cases Series, Bk. 2). CD. 1:00 hr. Listening Library. 2013. $15. ISBN 9780385363822. digital download.

Ward, Matthew. The Fantastic Family Whipple. 9 CDs. 10:15 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. $97.75. ISBN 9781470382339. Playaway. digital download.

young adult

Carson, Rae. The Bitter Kingdom. (Fire and Thorns Trilogy, Bk. 3). 11 CDs. 13 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. ISBN 9781 464049255. Playaway. digital download.

de la Cruz, Melissa & Michael Johnston. ­Frozen. 7 CDs. 7:52 hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2013. $59.99. ISBN 9781624069147. digital download.

Elkeles, Simone. Wild Cards. 7 CDs. 8:54 hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2013. $29.99. ISBN 9781629231327. digital download

Farmer, Nancy. The Lord of Opium. (Matteo Alacran Series, Bk. 2). 9 CDs. 11:30 hrs. S & S Audio. 2013. $39.99. ISBN 9781442362420. digital download.

Hawkins, Rachel. School Spirits. 6 CDs. 6:58 hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2013. $47.99. ISBN 9781624068904. MP3-CD. digital download.

Hutchison, Dot. A Wounded Name. 11 CDs. 12:45 hrs. Recorded Books. $108.75. ISBN 9781470389253. Playaway. digital download.

Klavan, Andrew. Nightmare City. 5 CDs. 5:52 hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2013. $59.99. ISBN 9781629231143. 1 MP3-CD. digital download.

London, Jack. Call of the Wild. 3 CDs. 3:21 hrs. Dreamscape Media. 2013. $39.99. ISBN 9781629230306. MP3-CD.

McKinstry, Carolyn Maull. While the World Watched: A Birmingham Bombing Survivor Comes of Age During the Civil Rights Movement. 7 CDs. 8 hrs. Oasis Audio. 2013. $27.99. ISBN 9781613755549.

Riordan, Rick. The House of Hades. (The Heroes of Olympus Series, Bk. 4). 14 CDs. 17:33 hrs. Listening Library. 2013. $50. ISBN 9780804122825. digital download.

Roth, Veronica. Allegiant. (Divergent Series, Bk. 3). 11 CDs. 12:30 hrs. Harper Audio. 2013. $29.99. ISBN 9780062286482.

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of ­Huckleberry Finn. 8 CDs. 9:33 hrs. ISBN 9781624069192.

––––. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. 6 CDs. 6:59 hrs. ISBN 9781620469253.

ea vol: Dreamscape Media. 2013. $39.99. MP3-CD.

Winters, Cat. In the Shadow of Blackbirds. 9 CDs. 10:45 hrs. Recorded Books. 2013. $97.75. ISBN 9781470383701. Playaway. digital download.

My So-Called Enemy (A New Day Films) ©2010 by Lisa Gossels, p. 50

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