February 19, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles | SLJ Review

Gr 9 Up –Narrated by 17-year-old Marvin Johnson, this novel gives readers a glimpse into the life and the tragic death of his identical twin Tyler.

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty | SLJ Review

Gr 4-6 –McAnulty (Brave) makes a big splash with this series opener. Twelve-year-old Lucy, a.k.a. Lightning Girl, has been homeschooled by her grandmother since she was eight; she’s been a math genius ever since she was hit by lightning and survived.

I Got It! by David Wiesner | SLJ Review

PreS-Gr 3 –Set against the backdrop of a pick-up baseball game, Wiesner’s nearly wordless picture book expertly layers elements of relatable emotion, boundless imagination, eye-popping action, and out-and-out fun.

Photographic by Isabel Quintero | SLJ Review

Quintero and Peña have set a new standard in artist biographies.

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.

They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki | SLJ Review

PreS-Gr 1 –Tamaki’s picture book debut explores color and the seasons in a lyrical, philosophical way that is rooted in a child’s sensibilities.

Americanized by Sara Saedi | SLJ Review

Gr 9 Up –Readers will laugh, cry, and empathize with Saedi’s adolescent journey as an undocumented Iranian immigrant living in the United States.

Islandborn/Lola by Junot Díaz | SLJ Review

K-Gr 3 –When Ms. Obi asks her students to draw a picture of the country they are originally from, the children are excited. All except for Lola, “What if you left before you could start remembering?”

Jazz Owls by Margarita Engle | SLJ Review

Gr 7 Up –Set during the Zoot Suit riots, this novel in verse tells a fictional account of a dark time in American history.

Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You by Marley Dias | SLJ Review

Gr 5 Up –Dias pens an eminently readable and nuanced personal narrative of her #1000BlackGirlsBooks campaign and her tips, tools, and strategies for effecting positive change in the representation of Black girls in children’s literature and beyond.

Drum Roll, Please by Lisa Jenn Bigelow | SLJ Review

Gr 5-8 –The day before 13-year-old drummer Melly heads to Camp Rockaway, her parents drop a bombshell: They’re getting divorced.

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.

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland | SLJ Review

Gr 9 Up –Slavery comes to a halt when the dead on Civil War battlefields begin to rise and eat their compatriots.

Trash Revolution by Erica Fyvie | SLJ Review

Gr 3-6 –Using the contents of an average kid’s backpack as a starting point, the author explores the production, use, and eventual end of products involving water, paper, food, plastic, clothing, metals, and electronics.

Deej | SLJ DVD Review

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

A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena | SLJ Review

Gr 8 Up –When Zarin and her friend Porus die in a car accident in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, everyone, from the religious police to Zarin’s classmates, is suspicious—was Porus one of Zarin’s many romantic liaisons? Only the deceased teens know the truth, and as their spirits hover above the wreckage, they look back on what led up to this point.

Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare | SLJ Review

Gr 9 Up –Elsa is a scripted being. She was called into existence as subtext by a scriptologist, a maker of worlds who made Veldana, the place where she lives.

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. […]

Tradition by Brendan Kiely | SLJ Review

Gr 9 Up –Traditions at Fullbrook Academy: seniors escort freshmen to the Winter Ball; hockey players stack a puck in their window for each sexual conquest; and rich kids rule.

Was the Cat in the Hat Black? by Philip Nel | SLJ Review

In five essays, children’s lit expert and Seuss scholar Nel (The Annotated Cat) critiques the insidious nature of racism in kids’ books.