February 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

SLJ Multimedia Reviews

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Democracy in America | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 8 Up –This series contains many primary source documents including images of period maps, political cartoons, paintings, and newspaper headlines.

Stories for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day | SLJ DVD Review

K-Gr 5 –This DVD contains two picture book adaptations that highlight the contributions of Martin Luther King Jr. to the civil rights movement: March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World by Dr. Christine King Farris and Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport, with art by Bryan Collier.

Education, Inc. | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 9 Up –Filmmaker Brian Malone presents cautionary evidence of the stealth privatization movement of public schools across the country.

Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 4-8 –A teacher discounted young African-Puerto Rican student Arturo Schomburg’s heritage, stating, “There were no Negro heroes worth noting.” Rather than discourage him, that comment spurred his lifelong quest for the facts.

Deej | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 9 Up –David James Savarese, or Deej, was adopted at age three after his abandonment by his birth mother.

Danza! Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México | SLJ DVD Review

Danza! Amalia Hernández and El Ballet Folklórico de México. 22 min. Dreamscape. 2017. $38.99. ISBN 9781520081144.

Gr 2 Up –Animation brings to life Duncan Tonatiuh’s biography of Amalia Hernández, the talented dancer and founder of the Ballet Folklórico de México. Tonatiuh’s distinctive art style is combined with the different folkloric dances of various regions of Mexico. The vibrant illustrations leap off the screen as Hernández begins to learn ballet and travels through Mexico to study the histories and dances of the regions. […]

The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 9 Up –This first in a companion series to Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy introduces listeners to a familiar world through the eyes of Malcolm Polstead, an innkeeper’s son in Oxford.

Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown | SLJ Review

Gr 3-6 –Morris and Brown share the story of their daughter, 12-year-old Maddie, a charming young lady who loves mustaches, potatoes, and performing on stage—especially while wearing a mustache!

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 7 Up –After the sudden death of her Aunt Magnolia, 18-year-old Jane is orphaned, directionless, and alone.

Refugee by Alan Gratz | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 3-7–The term “refugee” is constantly in the news. In direct response, Gratz gets personal with desensitizing statistics, policies, and politics by giving names, families, and histories to three tweens fleeing three countries during three time periods.

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 9 Up –Eighteen-year-old Marin is paralyzed with grief. Following the unexpected death of the beloved grandfather who raised her, Marin flees California to New York and college, abandoning her support system.

School’s First Day of School | SLJ DVD Review

K-Gr 2 –School has just been built and he is looking good. However, now that it’s the first day of school, he’s a bit nervous. What’s going to happen?

You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 9 Up –An immigration story spanning three generations of women is told in moving ways through multiple perspectives.

The Uncommoners: The Crooked Sixpence by Jennifer Bell | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 4-6 –When their grandmother ends up in the emergency room, 11-year-old Ivy and her 14-year-old brother Seb are whisked into a secret underground city called Lundinor hidden beneath streets of London.

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 9 Up –While high school jock Rafe is okay with being gay, he’s tired of being the go-to LGBT celebrity in his supportive Colorado town.

Because They Marched by Russell Freedman | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 7 Up –This is the powerful account of the events in 1965, in Selma, AL, that influenced a larger movement to win voting rights for black citizens across the country.

Top 10 DVDs | 2017

Environmental studies and early language arts were the dominant themes this year. However, there were plenty of surprises from an eclectic range of subject matter.

This article was published in School Library Journal's December 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

The Farthest: Voyager in Space | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 6 Up –In the late 1960s, NASA scientists started work on the Voyager Program to send two space probes to photograph and study the little-known outer planets.

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 8 Up –Porter takes the story of Vasilisa the Beautiful and Baba Yaga, sets it in New York, and turns it on its chicken legs.

The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 5-8 –Twelve-year-old Wallace, whom everyone calls Lolly, resides in Harlem with his mother. His older brother’s recent gang-related murder has left Lolly with raw, unresolved emotions.