April 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

SLJ Multimedia Reviews

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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.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 9 Up –Seventeen-year-old Minnow Bly is sentenced to juvenile detention for brutally assaulting a mentally disturbed man. Only 12 hours prior, her entire community had been burned to the ground and the Prophet, the leader of the cult to which her family belonged, had been murdered.

The Vietnam War | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 9 Up –Filmmakers Burns and Novick invested 10 years in making this documentary series, which clocks in at over 18 hours, including extras.

‘Wonder’ Movie Review

Author R.J. Palacio’s voice is heard loud and clear in the exceptionally sharp movie version of her popular 2012 novel.

Rare: Creatures of the Photo Ark | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 7 Up –Taking photographs of rare animals and habitats that might become extinct is the focus of this three-part program.

Great Yellowstone Thaw | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 5 Up –The unique ecosystem of Great Yellowstone National Park and the wildlife that survive its extreme temperatures is the focus of this three-part program.

‘Wonderstruck’ at the Movies

Fans of Brian Selznick’s book will have little to complain about in this often enthralling adaptation.

Joe’s Violin | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 4 Up –When New York City radio station WQXR put out a call for donations of instruments for schools, thousands responded. Every instrument has a story, but this documentary follows just one, Joe Feingold’s violin

‘Jane,’ the New Documentary on the Trailblazing Primatologist

Featuring never-before-seen footage of the early days of Jane Goodall’s landmark research and discoveries.

Book Jumper by Mechthild Gläser | SLJ Audio Review

Gr 7 Up –Amy Lennox and her mom, Alexis, decide they need a change, so the duo head to the family home in Stormsay, Scotland. There, Amy discovers her family’s book-jumping legacy.

‘The Big Bad Fox’ and ‘The Breadwinner’ Movies Premiere

Two book-to-screen adaptations recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Freedom in Congo Square | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 1-5 –This Coretta Scott King and Caldecott Honor Book by Carole Boston Weatherford, with illustrations by R. Gregory Christie, really takes flight in the lively DVD version.

SLJ’s September 2017 Popular Picks

Daniel José Older’s Shadowshaper sequel will thrill old and new fans; Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is illustrated for a young audience; and a city mouse finds food and adventure in this month’s Popular Picks!

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

The Playbook by Kwame Alexander | SLJ Audio Review

ALEXANDER, Kwame. The Playbook: 52 Rules To Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life. 1 CD. 1 hr. Recorded Bks. Feb. 2017. $15.75. ISBN 9781501949180. digital download.

Gr 5-8 –Alexander delivers 52 inspiring rules and motivational life lessons using notable sports figures, terminology, and stories. Sections include “Warm-Up: The Rules,” in which Alexander reminisces about his childhood involvement in sports and the lessons he learned. Four “Quarters,” with a “Half Time” and an “Overtime,” comprise the rest of the book. Each section […]

First Footprints | SLJ DVD Review

First Footprints. 3:49 hrs. Dreamscape. 2017. $24.99. $199.99 (PPR). ISBN 818506020268.

Gr 10 Up –This four-part, two-disc series illuminates Australia’s ancient human history. The episodes follow in historical order, beginning with the earliest migrations into Australia, which occurred some 50,000 years ago. The final segment concludes with contact between Indigenous Australians and European explorers and merchants. Viewers learn about Australia’s remote history, including the oldest discovered human remains on the continent, Lake Mungo Man, from tens of thousands of years ago. […]

Jazz Day | SLJ DVD Review

Jazz Day. 74 min. Dreamscape. 2017. $38.99. ISBN 9781520071053.

Gr 4-6 –It was a hot August day in 1955 when Art Kane gathered jazz musicians for a photograph for Esquire magazine. He wasn’t sure who, if anyone, would show up at the Harlem brownstone he’d chosen for his backdrop. He’d put out the word, and now he could only hold his two cameras and hope. The result was the iconic photograph—Harlem 1958—that features 57 jazz musicians of the time. Count Basie was there, […]