May 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

The Five Best Things About KidLitCon

The ninth annual KidLitCon in Baltimore, themed Celebrating Young People’s Literature, was a treasured, personalized experience for its attendees. Here’s why!

The Story Behind Adele Griffin’s Hybrid Novel, ‘The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone’

Librarian and blogger Liz Burns shares an inside look at YA author Adele Griffin’s format-bending faux biography of a teen artist, The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone.


Well, with a title like that you know what this post is about! This is my last post here at School Library Journal. I’ll still be blogging, and you can find me and my posts over at a new location for A Chair, A Fireplace, & A Tea Cozy. Hope to see you there!

2014 So Far

We’re almost four months into 2014! What are some of your favorite books of 2014 so far? And what are some of the books you’re looking forward to?

Printz Award

I realized I never posted about the Printz Award and Honor Books! The Printz Award: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick. From my review:“Always, there is an Eric and a Merle; a hare and a loss; and the island of Blessed. These are the constants. What changes in the seven stories of Midwinterblood is the time, starting in the future, 2073, […]

YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Winner

The winner for YALSA’s Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults was announced at Midwinter! The winner: The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi by Neal Bascomb. From my review: “In 1960, a group of Israeli spies and operatives captured the Nazi fugitive, Adolf Eichmann. Eichmann had been in […]

Flashback: April 2012

A look back at what I reviewed in April 2012:  Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin & Lisa Brown. From my review: “Jennie Lovell’s loved ones left to fight in the Civil War: her twin brother, Tobias; her fiance and cousin, Will Pritchett; and her other cousin, Quinn, Will’s brother. She knew the moment Toby died: could feel it. […]

Let’s Have a Book Drive!

Here’s the scenario: Something has happened. A library (public or school) is destroyed or damaged, by fire, flood, wind, locust. “I know,” says a well-meaning person. “Let’s have a book drive!” And the books are gathered and sent to the library, so the kids have something. And the people who sent the books — whether […]

Flashback March 2006

A look back to what I reviewed in March 2006: Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) by Justina Chen Headley. From my review: “Patty Ho is half-Taiwanese, half white. She was born in the United States, but she feels like she doesn’t belong anywhere. At home, there is her ultra-strict mother and overachieving going-to-Harvard […]

Entertainment Weekly — Kid Lit’s Primary Color

Entertainment Weekly is one of my favorite magazines, so I was very excited to see this in the April 11, 2014 edition: Kid Lit’s Primary Color: White by Nina Terrero, illustration by David Schwen. A couple of weeks ago, I was doing a Skype visit with a class and the conversation turned to diversity and […]

Round 4: The Big Kahuna

My prediction: “Far Far Away v Rose Under Fire v (return from grave) Eleanor & Park, Judge Jennifer Holm. And what will win here? I think Eleanor & Park.” How close was I? Boxers & Saints vs P.S. Be Eleven vs Eleanor & Park judged by Jennifer Holm Alas, I wasn’t right enough to really matter — at this point, the odds were against me. […]

From the Grave

My prediction: “Return from grave guess: Eleanor & Park. See! See what I did? I didn’t pick this earlier in part because I’m convinced it’ll be the book that returns.” And was I right? WAS I RIGHT? Oh, I was. I was.  

Round 3, Match 2

My prediction: “P.S. Be Eleven v Rose Under Fire, Judge Robin LaFevers. I think Rose Under Fire will take this one.” What actually happened?  P.S. Be Eleven vs The Thing About Luck judged by Robin LeFevers. So, going in, half-right! Alas, the wrong half: P.S. Be Eleven moved on to Round 4. I think, much as it’s fun to read the decisions […]

Round 3, Match 1

My prediction: “Boxers & Saints v Far Far Away, Judge Patrick Ness. I’m putting my money on Far Far Away.” What it was: Boxers and Saints vs Far Far Away! YAY. What advanced: Boxers and Saints. BOO. I am not booing Ness’s decision; no, I’m booing myself and luck in that I didn’t guess the right title. Ah, […]

Round 2, Match 4

My prediction: “Rose Under Fire v True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, Judge Katherine Marsh. Another choice between two books I read; and so I’m picking Rose.” The actual match: The Thing About Luck vs The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp judged by Katherine Marsh. And for the third time, half-right. So all I needed was for True Blue […]

Review: Harriet the Spy

And now, after last week’s chapter by chapter readalong, and look at essays, my review of Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. The Plot: Harriet, eleven, writes down all she observes about her family, friends, and neighbors. When her private, and honest, notebook falls into the hands of her classmates, she has to face the […]

Round 2, Match 3

My prediction: “March Book One v P.S. Be Eleven, Judge Joseph Bruchac. Having not read either one, I’ll go with P.S. Be Eleven.” The actual match: Hokey Pokey vs P.S. Be Eleven judged by Joseph Bruchac And once again — I began half-right. What did Bruchac pick? P.S. Be Eleven! See, sometimes for brackets it doesn’t matter if you’re only half-right, as long […]

Round 2, Match 2

Once I realized it was going to be impossible to write up and post my reactions to the various matches, it became freeing! So yes, I’m a day (or more) late. But rest assured, late as my commentary is and will be — it’ll still be here! My prediction: “Doll Bones v Far Far Away, Judge Rae […]

Harriet The Spy: Essays

And now, the various essays about Harriet the Spy included in the 50th Anniversary Edition! These essays are much more for the adult reader, but that is OK. Again, I’m not recapping the essay, just jotting down my reactions. Judy Blume Read Harriet as an adult, and notes how the kids in here are real because they […]

Harriet The Spy Book Three

And now… the final chapters of Harriet the Spy! Book Three Chapter Fifteen Back in her spy route! Which, shows both Harriet back on her route but also gives the reader some resolution. (also just in general, I kind of like how often Harriet is home from school, home sick — that her parents let her. that […]