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About Sam Bloom

Sam Bloom is a former elementary and middle school teacher. He is currently senior children's librarian at the Blue Ash branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County in Ohio.

Du Iz Tak?

du-iz-tak

Have you seen Du Iz Tak? Carson Ellis’s oversized gouache and ink spreads are impressive to be sure, but it’s her ear for entomological dialogue that shines in this one; well, I’ll let you be the judge. Not to give too much away, but at the emotional climax (***spoiler alert*** when the flowering plant that has […]

Review of The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes

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The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanoes by Duncan Tonatiuh; 
illus. by the author Primary    Abrams    40 pp. 10/16    978-1-4197-2130-4    $16.95 After a string of award-winning picture-book biographies (Separate Is Never Equal, rev. 7/14; Funny Bones, rev. 11/15), Tonatiuh turns to folklore for this adapted pourquoi story that explains the origins of […]

Review of How This Book Was Made: Based on a True Story

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How This Book Was Made: Based on a True Story by Mac Barnett; illus. by Adam Rex Primary    Disney-Hyperion    48 pp. 9/16    978-1-4231-5220-0    $17.99    g Barnett and Rex, no strangers to metafiction (Chloe and the Lion), have outdone themselves in terms of tongue-in-cheekiness as they describe the process of creating a book. “Ideas can come […]

Review of Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story

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Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story by Arun Gandhi and Bethany 
Hegedus; illus. by Evan Turk Primary    Atheneum    48 pp. 8/16    978-1-4814-4265-7    $18.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-4814-4266-4    $10.99 The creators of Grandfather Gandhi (rev. 3/14) here share another episode featuring the groundbreaking civil rights figure. Young Arun Gandhi and his family live “simply and […]

Review of Crossing Niagara: The Death-Defying Tightrope 
Adventures of the Great Blondin

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Crossing Niagara: The Death-Defying Tightrope 
Adventures of the Great Blondin by Matt Tavares; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Candlewick    36 pp. 4/16    978-0-7636-6823-5    $17.99    g In 1859, Jean François Gravelet — the Great Blondin — was the world’s greatest tightrope walker. Niagara Falls, then as now one of the world’s most breathtaking natural attractions, […]

Review of You Never Heard of 
Casey Stengel?!

winter_you never heard of casey stengel

You Never Heard of 
Casey Stengel?! by Jonah Winter; illus. by Barry Blitt Primary, Intermediate    Schwartz & Wade/Random    
40 pp. 3/16    978-0-375-87013-2    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-97013-9    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-375-98748-9    $10.99 Winter’s latest baseball book (You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?!, rev. 3/09; You Never Heard of Willie Mays?!, rev. 1/13) hits the shelves just […]

Review of The Wildest Race Ever: The Story of the 1904 Olympic Marathon

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The Wildest Race Ever: The Story of the 1904 
Olympic Marathon by Meghan McCarthy; 
illus. by the author Primary   Wiseman/Simon   48 pp. 3/16   978-1-4814-0639-0   $17.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4814-0640-6   $10.99 The year 1904 saw the running of the first Olympic marathon on American soil, taking place in St. Louis during the World’s Fair. How fitting that […]

Review of Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and 
Survivors in World War II Denmark

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Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and 
Survivors in World War II Denmark by Deborah Hopkinson Middle School   Scholastic   339 pp. 9/15   978-0-545-59220-8     $17.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-545-59222-2   $17.99 When Germany invaded Denmark in April 1940, the Nazis believed their small neighbor to the north would be a pushover. The Germans were partially right: […]

Review of Orbiting Jupiter

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Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt Middle School   Clarion   185 pp. 10/15   978-0-544-46222-9   $17.99 Jack’s new foster brother, Joseph, has a troubled past. The fourteen-year-old attacked a teacher, was subsequently incarcerated at a juvenile detention center, and has a baby daughter named Jupiter whom he’s never seen. At school, Joseph has a rough time, with […]

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans

drowned city

I was fortunate enough to be in the crowd when the Tamaki cousins’ This One Summer was announced as a Caldecott Honor book (at the Youth Media Awards, where the Coretta Scott King, Caldecott, Newbery, etc. are announced) this past January. I remember hearing more than a few audible gasps in the theater, and with […]