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.

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

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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 […]

Review of The Emperor of Any Place

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The Emperor of Any Place by Tim Wynne-Jones High School   Candlewick   328 pp. 10/15   978-0-7636-6973-7   $17.99 “So much of grief is unlearning,” observes Wynne-Jones in this perceptive and 
multi-layered page-turner. When Evan’s single father, Clifford, dies suddenly, the high-schooler must work through his own grief while dealing with Clifford’s estranged father Griff, a military man […]

Review of Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March

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Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March by Lynda Blackmon Lowery, as told to Elspeth Leacock and Susan Buckley; illus. by PJ Loughran Middle School, High School   Dial   128 pp. 1/15   978-0-8037-4123-2   $19.99   g Lowery offers a revealing look at a childhood spent in the midst […]

Firebird: A Guest Post by Sam Bloom

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Is it possible for a guy who has won three BGHB Honors, four Coretta Scott King Honors, and one Caldecott Honor (in 1998, for Harlem) to be underrated? Why yes, yes it is. Christopher Myers continues to fly under the radar every year when it comes to Caldecott buzz, but I’m guessing the real committee will […]

Review of Sam & Dave Dig a Hole

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Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett; illus. by Jon Klassen Primary    Candlewick    40 pp. 10/14    978-0-7636-6229-5    $16.99 This adventure starts innocently enough: “On Monday Sam and Dave dug a hole.” The boys (indistinguishable save the color of their hats and Sam’s ever-present backpack) are fueled by chocolate milk, animal cookies, and a […]

Review of 100 Sideways Miles

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100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith High School    Simon    277 pp. 9/14    978-1-4424-4495-9    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-4424-4497-3    $10.99 High schooler Finn Easton has unusual scars on his back. Finn’s “emoticons” — so-called because they look like a colon, vertical slash, colon — are the result of a freak accident in which a dead horse […]

Review of The Little Bear Book

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The Little Bear Book by Anthony Browne; 
illus. by the author Preschool    Candlewick    24 pp. 5/14    978-0-7636-7007-8    $15.99 Bear sets out on a walk through the forest, pencil in hand. Like Harold’s purple crayon and the girl’s red marker in Becker’s Journey (rev. 9/13), Bear’s writing utensil is a magical one. The lushly illustrated woods […]

Review of Tesla’s Attic

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Tesla’s Attic [Accelerati Trilogy] by Neal Shusterman and Eric Elfman Intermediate, Middle School    Disney-Hyperion    246 pp. 2/14    978-1-4231-4803-6    $16.99    g After his mother dies in a house fire, fourteen-year-old Nick, his younger brother Danny, and their father move into Great-aunt Greta’s old house. Finding the attic full of junk, Nick spearheads a garage sale where, […]