April 26, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox
Esther Keller

About Esther Keller

Review: Speak

Recently, I was talking to one of my students, and she told me that she preferred to read novels, because she liked to make her own images in her head. I get it. I happen to love both novels and graphic novels, and I’m also an avid fan of audiobooks… but I totally get her […]

Review: Monsters Beware!

As March begins, teachers and librarians may start thinking about celebrating Women’s History Month. And while a graphic novel about a feisty fictional heroine may not exactly fit the bill, it does celebrate strong women. Monsters Beware! By Rafael Rosado. Jorge Aguirre First Second. 2018. ISBN 9781626721807 PBK, $14.99. 170pp. Grades 3 and up Readers […]

Review: The Bridge

If you’re a New Yorker, the Brooklyn Bridge is a majestic sight that regularly comes into view. It has made its appearance in fiction (for instance, in The Alienist by Caleb Carr, which was recently adapted for TV). For me, as a New Yorker, the bridge carries lots of good memories, like the huge fireworks […]

Review: Time Shifters

Time travel has always been an intriguing idea. What would happen if we could go back in time and change things? Could we improve our lives? In this entertaining graphic novel, author Chris Grine puts those ideas out there and leaves readers thinking, though they’ll be so entertained that they might not realize it. Time […]

Books in Brief: Unicorns, Bears, and Indian Wool (Pashminas)

Razzle Dazzle Unicorn by Dana Simpson ISBN 978-1-4494-7791-2 $9.99 pbk Amp Kids, c2016 Unicorn Crossing: Another Phoebe and her Unicorn Adventure ISBN 978-1-4494-8357-9 $9.99 pbk Amp Kids, c2017 If young readers haven’t found Phoebe and her best friend the Unicorn, they have been missing out. Snarky, glib, and just plain fun, Phoebe and her best […]

DC Comics Reveals 2 New Imprints for Young Readers

This weekend, the New York Times reported that DC Comics will be starting two new imprints aimed at young readers. DC Zoom will be geared to middle school readers and DC Ink will focus on stories for young adults. The first books in each imprint will be released in the Fall of 2018. While regulars […]

Books in Brief: Sand, Swine, and Shadows

5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior by Mark Siegel ISBN 978-1-101-93586-6 $18.99 hc Random House, c2017 The first in a presumably five-part series, Sand Warrior creates a unique and colorful world. Oona’s sister was destined to light the ancient beacon to restore their planet and make it healthy again, but Oona is unable to control her […]

Review: Anne of Green Gables

I’m pretty sure I read at least the first volume of Anne of Green Gables. I certainly caught much of the PBS series. But while I was growing up, the dreamy red-headed girl was part of pop culture, even if she was a classic when I read her. I wonder if today’s young girls know […]

Review: Tyrannosaurus Ralph

Dinosaurs! Gladiator-like fighting! Aliens! A fabulous combination that will have elementary-age readers banging down the library or bookstore doors for more. Tyrannosaurus Ralph By Nate Evans. Nick Evans AMP! Comics for Kids. 2017. ISBN 9781449472085 PBK, $9.99. 180pp. Grades 3 and up When Ralph meets his nemesis, his bully, in the park, he is saved […]

Review: Dream Jumper 2

It’s been a while since I read the first volume of Dream Jumper, but the story starts off at a fast pace. It doesn’t really fill in what happened before, so readers will benefit from a quick re-read to appreciate the nuanced details. Dream Jumper: Curse of the Harvester By Greg Grunberg. Lucas Turnbloom Graphix. […]

Review: Dream Jumper 2

It’s been a while since I read the first volume of Dream Jumper, but the story starts off at a fast pace. It doesn’t really fill in what happened before, so readers will benefit from a quick re-read to appreciate the nuanced details. Dream Jumper: Curse of the Harvester By Greg Grunberg. Lucas Turnbloom Graphix. […]

Review: ‘Swing It, Sunny’

Sunny Side Up, the story loosely based on the lives of sister-and-brother team of Jennifer and Matthew Holm, wrapped up so well that it never occurred to me there would be a sequel. But lucky for me, there is! Although the story will be better understood by those who have read the first volume, this […]

Review: Graveyard Shakes

Released in time for Halloween, Graveyard Shakes was an excellent choice to help get the spook on. But though Halloween is gone for another year, horror is always in high demand in my library! Graveyard Shakes By Laura Terry. Graphix. 2017. ISBN 9780545889544 PBK, $12.99. 204pp. Grades 4 and up Sisters Katia and Victoria both […]

Review: Brave

Middle School is brutal. I know. I’ve been there for the last 15 years. (They won’t let me graduate!) Watching the ups and downs of my students is a real eye opener, and though it’s been a long time since I was really that age, it’s hard not to remember that sometimes lonely and confusing […]

Review: Mighty Jack and the Goblin King

I have to admit, I didn’t exactly remember all the details of where I had left off in volume 1 of the Mighty Jack series. But it didn’t make a difference. While this is a solid volume 2 that doesn’t exactly stand on its own, it’s easy to pick up the pieces and move on […]

Review: All Faire’s in Middle School

Newbery Honor winner Victoria Jamieson is back with another middle grade graphic novel that is sure to please a growing fandom of middle grade students who just can’t get enough. Readers who are loving Svetlana Chmakova’s Awkward and Brave and Raina Telgemeier’s titles will be thrilled to pick up this latest addition to the middle-grade […]

Review: The Wendy Project

I particularly adore when authors (and artists) take a (classic) work and they tear it apart and create something new—but recognizable. There’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, countless fractured fairy tales, and this year I read a dystopian version of Peter Pan. So picking up a copy of The Wendy Project was a natural choice […]

Review: Knife’s Edge

After reading volume 1 of the Four Points series, I was left hanging. So were my students. One student, Albert* (Name changed), asked me when volume 2 was coming out. I told him the wait was a while, and he asked me to let the author and artist know that he was willing to help […]

Interview: Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham on ‘Real Friends’

I’m a sporadic social networker. On the rare day, when I have a few minutes of down time, I will go online and try and catch up on either Twitter or Facebook. So the other day, when I had a few minutes (read: procrastinating), I realized that the release date of Shannon Hale and LeUyen […]

Review: Snow White

I’ve always had a soft spot for retold or fractured fairy tales. I marvel at the ingenuity of an author to take an existing story, keep it recognizable, and give it a unique spin. There’s a long history of fractured fairy tales from Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted to Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Just Ella. And […]