February 20, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Review of the Day: The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras

The Mad Wolf’s Daughter By Diane Magras Kathy Dawson Books (an imprint of Penguin) $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-525-53134-0 Ages 9-12 On shelves March 6th Sometimes you just want to read a book that knows how to run. There are many way to define the term “great writing” as it applies to children’s literature. Eloquent. Ennobling. Distinguished. […]

Review of the Day: Hazelnut Days by Emmanuel Bourdier, ill. ZAÜ

Hazelnut Days By Emmanuel Bourdier Illustrated by ZAÜ minedition (an imprint of Michael Neugebauer Publishing Ltd.) $17.99 ISBN: 978-988-8341-54-2 For ages 6 and up On shelves May 1st I’m on a children’s book committee right now with an interesting mix of members. Some folks are old hands that have read more picture books in their […]

Review of the Day: Nothing Stopped Sophie by Cheryl Bardoe and Barbara McClintock

Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain By Cheryl Bardoe Illustrated by Barbara McClintock Little, Brown and Co. $17.99 ISBN: 978-0316278201 On shelves June 12th I think we’ve done it. I think we’ve finally moved completely into a new era of biographical picture books. High time, says I! Gone are the days […]

Newbery / Caldecott 2018: Final Prediction Edition

I was all prepped to begin today by saying that the entire reason I’m doing this post in January is because the ALA Youth Media Awards are slated to go live in February this year . . . but then I looked at last year’s Final Prediction Edition and saw that it was posted on […]

Review of the Day: Baby Monkey, Private Eye by Brian Selznick and David Serlin

Baby Monkey, Private Eye By Brian Selznick and David Serlin Illustrated by Brian Selznick Scholastic Press $16.99 ISBN: 978-1-338-18061-9 Ages 3 and up On shelves February 27th Brian Selznick. Honey. We’ve got to talk. Now look, it was all well and good when you started getting a little crazy and shaking up notions of what […]

Review of the Day: Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

Julián Is a Mermaid By Jessica Love Candlewick Press $16.99 ISBN: 978-0-7636-9045-8 Ages 4 and up On shelves May 22nd When you walk into another person’s home, there’s always a distinct smell to the place. Homes absorb the lives of their occupants, and the end result is as much an olfactory experience a visual one. […]

The Lost Reviews 2017: Books and Their Hooks

Julie Danielson calls it her Ghost File, and that’s as good a name as any for the books a blogger fails to talk up sufficiently in the previous year. 2017 was a pretty nice year for me personally, all things considered, so I’d like to pay it forward a bit and offer an homage to […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Thirty-One – 2017 Picture Books

And just like that . . . *poof!* It’s gone! Not gone, exactly. The 31 Days, 31 Lists series may indeed continue next year. Just so long as the books or my eyesight holds out. In the meantime, it’s been a blast, guys. I appreciate that not a single one of you pointed out to […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Thirty – 2017 Middle Grade Novels

Not a particularly complete list, or a very long one. Yet for 2017 these were the books that left a lasting impression on my little noggin. I read ’em. I liked ’em, every last one. I think they’re the bee’s knees. And I hope you like them too. Fiction for the masses! 2017 Middle Grade […]

The Year in SLJ Covers | 2017

It’s been quite a year. Here’s how we covered it in School Library Journal.

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Twenty-Eight – 2017 Nonfiction Chapter Books

Okay, folks. The rules are the same as yesterday. Books that have already appeared on previous lists won’t get a write-up. Newer inclusions that didn’t slot neatly onto another list will. And in some cases you’ll be wondering why a book that has a limited number of pages is on the “Chapter Books” list. If […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Twenty-Seven – 2017 Favorite Nonfiction Picture Books

Well folks, we’re reaching the end of this month-long party. There are only a few lists to go, and it looks like I’ve been saving some of the biggies to the end. And because there are only so many hours in a day, and because I’ve mentioned a lot of these titles before, I’m just […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Twenty-Six – 2017 Unique Biographies

In January of 2018 the cover story of SLJ will be one I penned summarizing the current crop of biographies for kids and teens of famous women and how this listing has changed over decades. In the past it was all Helen Keller, Amelia Earhart, and Rosa Parks as far as the eye could see. […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Twenty-Five – 2017 Transcendent Holiday Picture Books

The holiday picture book is a fascinating object in terms of artistic quality. Most public libraries, due to space issues, will create separate “Holiday” book sections where these books are sequestered away for all time. They are pigeonholed to a particular time of the year, sometimes to the good and sometimes to their detriment. And […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Twenty-Four – 2017 Science & Nature Books

Someday I long to see a breakdown of what kinds of nonfiction children’s books win the ALA Youth Media Awards. How many books that win are biographies? How many cover STEM topics? How many are about math? (I kid – those never win) But science and nature are awfully popular topics and with good reason. […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Twenty-Three – 2017 American History Books for Kids

Of all the lists on this blog this one may seem an odd little inclusion, but I have my reasons. A couple years ago I helped serve on the first committee selecting The New-York Historical Society Children’s History Book Prize. The requirements of the prize are simple: You and a group of schoolchildren must find […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Twenty-Two – 2017 Fictionalized Nonfiction for Kids

Okay. Fun with defining terms. So what exactly do I mean when I say that something is a work of “fictionalized nonfiction”? Well, let’s look at what makes a book a work of fiction or nonfiction. When writing for children, I personally believe that it is possible to write something fun and fabulous without relying […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Twenty-Two – 2017 Fictionalized Nonfiction for Kids

Okay. Fun with defining terms. So what exactly do I mean when I say that something is a work of “fictionalized nonfiction”? Well, let’s look at what makes a book a work of fiction or nonfiction. When writing for children, I personally believe that it is possible to write something fun and fabulous without relying […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Twenty-One – 2017 Funny Books for Older Readers

Considering the degree to which I beat the drum in honor of funny books for kids, you’re going to find today’s list a bit on the paltry side. As such, I’d like to assure you that it should not be considered complete in any way for the year of 2017. I liked a whole slew […]

31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Twenty – 2017 Comics for Kids

I’d be lying to you if I said that I wasn’t desperately reading graphic novels until lunchtime yesterday, in an effort to make darn certain that no comic has gone unconsidered for today’s list. Comics are my love and delight. Did you know that there’s a new comic award out there, by the way? The Excellence […]