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SLJ’s Reviews of the 2019 YALSA's Excellence in Nonfiction Award Finalists

Review: ‘Shazam!’ #1

Review: "Hex Vet: Witches in Training"

Cardboard Castles and Three-Headed Cats

YALSA’s 2019 Excellence in Nonfiction Award Shortlist Revealed

The Year in SLJ Covers | 2018

19 2019 Middle Grade Books To Have On Your Radar

The Mission That Changed Everything | Apollo 8

We Are Here to Stay | A Conversation with Susan Kuklin

2019 Morris Award Finalists Announced

The Year's Most Popular Stories on SLJ | 2018

Review: "Crush"

Preview: "Archie and Me Jumbo Comics Digest" #13

Finally, The Heavy Medal Finalists!

Great Books: Baby Time!

Heavy Medal Committee: Official Call for Participants

This Week’s Comics: Wreck-It Racing

19 2019 YA Books To Have On Your Radar

Review: "The City on the Other Side"

Exclusive Book Trailer Premiere: Bear and Wolf by Daniel Salmieri

Preview: ‘World of Archie Jumbo Digest’ #84

Review: "Estranged"


Romeosaurus and Juliet Rex

An original and entertaining fractured version of a classic tale.

Mina vs. the Monsoon

Both words and pictures create context for the book's cultural and geographic setting, while effortlessly incorporating universal themes that speak to children everywhere. A winner for storytime or one-on-one sharing.

Two Can Keep a Secret

For readers who have outgrown "Fear Street" and are looking for a similar sort of tension, mystery, and murder.

The Eleventh Hour

This is a beautiful and heartfelt picture book about war and perspective that should be a part of all social studies curriculum. Highly recommended.

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters

Highly recommended for all readers interested in Alcott and her masterpiece's legacy.–Erica Swenson Danowitz, Delaware County Community College Library, Media, PA

The Poesy Ring: A Love Story

This is a real gem and so lovingly rendered, it should be a first purchase for all libraries serving children.

Only a Breath Apart

This title belongs in most romance collections and should be featured for its portrayal of a balanced relationship in which both parties get to be the hero.

The Electric War: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Light the World

Purchase where narrative nonfiction flies off the shelves.

Keys to Inspiration: A Teacher's Guide to a Student-Centered Writing Program

Purchase as needed to supplement existing writing programs.

Sleepover at the Museum

A good selection to pique children's interest in a scientific field, as well as inspire them to have their own adventures.

If I Were a Bird

A wonderful resource to spark and encourage children's interest in the natural world.

One Too Many Lies

Give this coming-of-age work to fans of YA verse novels and reluctant readers.

Elvis is King!

Unique and artistic, this biography will not only entertain readers, but will also leave them with a deeper understanding of Elvis.

Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss

Fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen will enjoy this lighthearted, wholesome romantic comedy.


This accessible yet heartbreaking story deserves to be read and discussed by readers of many different ages.

The Unsinkable Walker Bean and the Knights of the Waxing Moon

A strong recommendation for libraries where Walker Bean's first outing is popular.–Matisse Mozer, Los Angeles Public Library

The Neighbors

A unique and vibrant choice that artfully displays the dynamism of the imagination.

Fake News: Separating Truth from Fiction

A useful addition to classroom and large public libraries.


Consider for sports fans who like their action with a sci-fi twist.

Archibald Finch and the Lost Witches

This page-turner is sure to capture the attention of readers who enjoy magical fantasy adventures.

Hush, Little Bunny

Add this delightful tale to The Runaway Bunny and Guess How Much I Love You for a charming storytime or lapsit sharing.

Game of Stars

This action-packed sequel is a must-buy where the first book is popular.

This Promise of Change: One Girl's Story in the Fight for School Equality

A must-buy for tweens and teens, especially where novels-in-verse are popular.

Hush Hush, Forest

A lovely choice for one-on-one and small group sharing.


This compelling continuation to a fabulous middle grade graphic series also stands on its own and is every bit as strong as the first two books. For all collections.

Prosper Redding: The Last Life of Prince Alastor

Fans of comedic horror, mystery, fantasy, and adventure who have read the first one will enjoy this sequel. Recommended where the first installment is popular.

The Lady Is a Spy: Virginia Hall, World War II Hero of the French Resistance

A well-researched, organized, and compelling nonfiction read for middle schoolers.

Lumberjanes: The Infernal Compass

Purchase where "Lumberjanes" comics and novels are popular.

Exit Plans for Teenage Freaks

A definite purchase for any library collection.

The Ice Garden

This feel-good, modern fairy tale is ideal for elementary libraries and all middle grade collections.

Lizzie Flying Solo

A valuable addition where horse and family-driven stories are needed.

A Danger to Herself and Others

A thrilling page-turner and worthy choice for high school libraries.

Brave Ballerina: The Story of Janet Collins

This book radiates with the joy of dance. A first purchase for most collections.

Bear Moves

Recommended for public library collections or for preschool dance parties.

Barking with the Big Dogs: On Writing and Reading Books for Children

Librarians, educators, and anyone interested in materials for young people will appreciate this candid, sharp volume full of discerning perspectives on enduring subjects related to children's literature and the human experience.

The Lost Girl

A beautiful, timeless tale of love conquering darkness in the midst of mystery and the angst of change. A must-have for any middle grade collection.

An Affair of Poisons

This fast-paced and refreshing page-turner is recommended as a first purchase for all libraries serving teens.

The Weight of a Thousand Feathers

An additional purchase.


Tan fans and others willing to take a deep dive into the many layers of this fascinating book will find much to appreciate. Those who take a shallow dip may end up feeling unsettled and bewildered.

Super Potato's Galactic Breakout

A whimsical tale for fans of the series, newcomers, and anyone who loves adventure.

There Are No Bears in This Bakery

This is not only a winning read-aloud, but also an excellent choice to introduce a mystery unit or a mini-lesson on onomatopoeia or simile. Another hit from the creator of The Bear Ate Your Sandwich.

Peep and Ducky: It's Snowing!

This simply told tale of the very best of friends will be understood and enjoyed by the toddler set. A good choice where this series is popular.

Fox Explores the Night: A First Science Storybook

A worthy informational consideration for preschool units on light sources, nighttime, and urban foxes.

The Cold Is in Her Bones

A good selection for those who enjoy fairy tales and to spark discussion about gender roles and feminism.

Evidence of Practice: Playbook for Video-Powered Professional Learning

K-12 administrators or professional development coordinators looking to incorporate video-based professional learning into their schools or districts will find plenty of material here. A solid purchase for school libraries with professional development collections.

Mousie, I Will Read to You

The calming cadences and loving domestic scenes will please listeners, and adults will be gently guided in methods of inspiring lifelong learning.

ABCs of What I Can Be

Libraries and schools looking for distinct alphabet books, or ways to introduce various occupations will find this a pleasant addition.

All You Need Is Love

A cultural must-have for all well-rounded library collections.

I Can Fly

With beautiful, cool blue illustrations and simple text, this book is a welcome addition to any library; great for lapsits or storytimes with a "never give up" theme.

Chilly da Vinci

A lively addition to makerspace collections that's sure to inspire and nurture a spirit of invention.

Squirrel's Family Tree

Offering stimulating information on the valuable connection between squirrels and oaks, this book is a useful introduction to early environmental lessons.

Growing Up on the Playground/Nuestro patio de recreo

A feel-good picture book that will appeal to older readers who are interested in Spanish or bilingual stories.

Bird Watch

A peaceful look at nature for little ones.

Unnatural Disasters

Purchase where Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer is popular.

Maya Papaya and Her Amigos Play Dress-Up

A great addition to early childhood classrooms and most library collections.

Come Find Me

A solid addition to any teen collection.

The Moon Within

An excellent addition for upper middle grade and middle school readers, especially for maturing tweens in the midst of puberty.

Watch Us Rise

A timely and must-have collaboration for all YA collections

Wings of Olympus

A high-flying adventure to supplement middle grade fiction collections.

Our New Kittens

Vets might find this title to be a useful tool for parents looking to add kittens to their home, but libraries will not find it to be a necessary addition.

Persuading Miss Doover

Enjoyable and informative, this engaging title is a suggested general purchase for all libraries.

Lafayette!: A Revolutionary War Tale

A must-buy.–Kacy Helwick, New Orleans Public Library

The Secret of Zoone

A solid fantasy for large middle grade collections.

Echo North

A first purchase for libraries.

The Missing Piece of Charlie O'Reilly

An original premise, tear-jerker twists, and a touching message about forgiveness make this a must-have on every middle grade shelf.

Courting Darkness

A first-purchase gem of historical fantasy for high school and public libraries that will delight fans and engage newcomers.

Gloria Takes a Stand: How Gloria Steinem Listened, Wrote, and Changed the World

An excellent picture book biography about a courageous activist, advocate, and leader.

Parkland Speaks: Survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas Share Their Stories

A solid choice for high schools seeking to inspire activism in their student body.

Raccoon Rescue

Newly independent readers with a preference for nonfiction will be satisfied by this lively animal-rescue tale.

Giraffe and Bird Together Again

A strong choice for a preschool storytime or a one-on-one sharing.

Just Like Rube Goldberg: The Incredible True Story of the Man Behind the Machines

Playful illustrations drive this loving biography for elementary-school-age inventors and dreamers.

Sea Bear: A Journey for Survival

An artful and expressive take on the effects of global warming—and a timely addition to picture book nonfiction collections.

Watch Hollow

A well-crafted story that should be a hit with readers who enjoy a a good scare.

No One Here Is Lonely

Fans of Gayle Forman and Nina LaCour will appreciate Everett's emotional roller-coaster of a story.

29 Dates

This novel will please teens looking for a light read. Give to fans of Sandhya Menon's When Dimple Met Rishi and Jenny Han's books.

Pandora's Legacy

An additional purchase for collections in need of graphic novels.

Lucía the Luchadora and the Million Masks

Abu's words ring true: "Remember, the best adventures are shared." Another storytime hit.

Animal Babies Like To Play

Other than the illustrations, there is little else to recommend this book. With so many alphabet books on the market, this one can be passed over.

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