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About Betty Carter

Betty Carter, an independent consultant, is professor emerita of children’s and young adult literature at Texas Woman’s University.

Review of A Clatter of Jars

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A Clatter of Jars by Lisa Graff Intermediate    Philomel    218 pp. 5/16    978-0-399-17499-5    $16.99    g Graff returns to the magical world introduced in A Tangle of Knots (rev. 7/13), where citizens are either Talented (possessing gifts that range from asparagus cooking to memory manipulation) or Fair, with no extraordinary abilities. Here, children with Singular Talents […]

Review of Raymie Nightingale

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Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo Intermediate    Candlewick    264 pp. 4/16    978-0-7636-8117-3    $16.99    g When ten-year-old Raymie Clarke’s father runs away with a dental hygienist, Raymie has no idea how to take charge of her life. Her mother’s no help, and her father’s secretary simply assures her that “most things work out right in the end.” […]

Field Notes: Escaping Series Mania

building our house

Last spring I worked, temporarily, as a school librarian, a position I hadn’t held since Reagan was president. There were lots of adjustments, some easier than others. But the biggest surprise of all was that in this elementary school in an affluent suburb in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, almost every child was really reading, with […]

Review of Ten Days a Madwoman: The Daring Life and Turbulent Times of the Original “Girl” Reporter Nellie Bly

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Ten Days a Madwoman: The Daring Life and Turbulent Times of the Original “Girl” Reporter Nellie Bly by Deborah Noyes Middle School   Viking   135 pp. 2/16   978-0-803-74017-4   $18.99   g With a title ripped from the headlines of Joseph Pulitzer’s late-nineteenth-century New York World, Noyes invites readers into the life and times of legendary journalist Nellie […]

Review of W Is for Webster: Noah Webster and His American Dictionary

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W Is for Webster: Noah Webster and His American Dictionary by Tracey Fern; illus. by Boris Kulikov Primary   Ferguson/Farrar   32 pp. 11/15   978-0-374-38240-7   $17.99 This breezy picture-book biography introduces young readers to the man responsible for all those plain, sturdy dictionaries housed in elementary classrooms across America. Far from plain himself, Webster was tall with […]

Review of Sitting Bull: Lakota Warrior and 
Defender of His People

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Sitting Bull: Lakota Warrior and 
Defender of His People by S. D. Nelson; illus. by the author Intermediate   Abrams   56 pp. 11/15   978-1-4197-0731-5   $19.95 e-book ed. 978-1-61312-855-8   $15.54 This handsome biography combines the story of Sitting Bull’s life with a brief history of the Lakota people in the nineteenth century. Sitting Bull (who belonged to […]

Don Brown on Drowned City

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In our September/October issue, reviewer Betty Carter asked Don Brown, author/illustrator of nonfiction graphic novel Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans, about what we can learn from the events of Hurricane Katrina. Read the full starred review of Drowned City here. Betty Carter: So many of your books cover a pivotal moment in American […]

Review of Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans

brown_drowned city

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans by Don Brown; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School   Houghton   96 pp. 8/15   978-0-544-15777-4   $18.99 To date, the majority of children’s and young adult books about Hurricane Katrina are microcosmic stories or accounts of a single person or family. Here, in powerful comic-book format, Brown delivers the […]

Review of Old Wolf

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Old Wolf by Avi; illus. by Brian Floca Intermediate, Middle School   Jackson/Atheneum   147 pp. 8/15   978-1-4424-9921-8   $16.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4424-9924-9   $10.99 As winter wanes in the mountain regions of Colorado, Nashoba, an aging wolf, struggles to find fresh game for his pack, all the while desperately trying to hold on to his alpha status. He […]

Review of Noah Webster: Man of Many Words

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Noah Webster: Man of Many Words by Catherine Reef Middle School, High School   Clarion   214 pp. 8/15   978-0-544-12983-2   $18.99   g Think of what it would be like to create the first American dictionary: selecting the words, including those used in science and math as well as those from everyday speech; determining spelling, such as favor […]