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About Dean Schneider

Dean Schneider teaches seventh and eighth grades at the Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee.

Review of Felix Yz

Felix Yz by Lisa Bunker Intermediate, Middle School    Viking    283 pp. 6/17    978-0-425-28850-4    $16.99 Thirteen-year-olds may sometimes seem like alien creatures, but how often do you meet one with an actual alien inside? Meet Felix Yz (pronounced like “is”). When Felix was three, his scientist father was vaporized in a lab accident and Felix himself […]

Review of Garvey’s Choice

Garvey’s Choice by Nikki Grimes Intermediate, Middle School    WordSong/Boyds Mills    108 pp. 10/16    978-1-62979-740-3    $16.95 e-book ed.  978-1-62979-747-2    $7.99 In a little book of little poems, Grimes tells a big-hearted story of Garvey (named after Marcus Garvey), an overweight boy tormented by name-calling at school: “lard butt, fatso, Mister Tubs.” Of his size, he says, […]

Review of Clayton Byrd Goes Underground

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia Intermediate, Middle School    Amistad/HarperCollins    166 pp.    g 5/17    978-0-06-221591-8    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-221594-9    $9.34 “Electric blues sparks jumped out into the night” when Cool Papa Byrd plays his guitar in Washington Square Park, and all grandson Clayton wants is to be waved […]

Review of Flying Lessons & Other Stories

Flying Lessons & Other Stories edited by Ellen Oh Intermediate, Middle School    Crown    225 pp. 1/17    978-1-101-93459-3    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-101-93460-9    $19.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-101-93461-6    $10.99 Edited by Oh, cofounder of We Need Diverse Books, ten stories by (mostly) well-known authors of diverse backgrounds present young protagonists dealing with common themes of growing up […]

Review of Brown v. Board of Education: A Fight for Simple Justice

Brown v. Board of Education: A Fight for Simple Justice by Susan Goldman Rubin Intermediate, Middle School    Holiday    132 pp. 10/16    978-0-8234-3646-0    $18.95    g e-book ed.  978-0-8234-3708-5    $18.95 In 1950, Thurgood Marshall was a young African American lawyer determined to “wipe out…all phases of segregation in education from professional school to kindergarten.” He and other […]

Freedom Over Me

What a thrill to see the finished copy of Ashley Bryan’s Freedom Over Me and to get the opportunity to write about it here. The book is a finalist for the Kirkus Prize and ought to get attention for both the Newbery and the Caldecott. Robin and I have been fortunate over the last few years […]

Review of You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen

You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen by Carole Boston Weatherford; 
illus. by Jeffery Boston Weatherford Intermediate, Middle School    Atheneum    82 pp. 5/16    978-1-4814-4938-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-4940-3    $10.99 Thirty-two poems written in the second person bring to life the experiences of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. Pilots, bombardiers, instructors, maintenance workers, and navigators […]

Review of The Kid from Diamond Street: The Extraordinary Story of Baseball Legend Edith Houghton

The Kid from Diamond Street: The Extraordinary Story of Baseball Legend Edith Houghton by Audrey Vernick; 
illus. by Steven Salerno Primary   Clarion   40 pp. 3/16   978-0-544-61163-4   $17.99   g Edith Houghton was “magic on the field,” a baseball legend of the 1920s. Playing starting shortstop for the 
all-women’s professional team the Philadelphia Bobbies, she drew fans […]

Audrey Vernick on The Kid from Diamond Street

In our January/February 2016 issue, reviewer Dean Schneider talked with author Audrey Vernick about her clear love of America’s favorite pastime. Read the full review of The Kid from Diamond Street: The Extraordinary Story of Baseball Legend Edith Houghton here. Dean Schneider: You’ve written a few books about baseball. Have you always been a fan? […]

Review of To Catch a Cheat

To Catch a Cheat by Varian Johnson Middle School   Levine/Scholastic   248 pp. 2/16   978-0-545-72239-1   $16.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-545-72241-4   $16.99 After his crew succeeded at foiling a corrupt student council election in The Great Greene Heist (rev. 7/14), Jackson Greene retired from his con-man antics. Until…someone floods the Maplewood Middle School bathrooms and hallways, and […]