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Reviews of the Week

Each week we publish three brand-new reviews of books people are — or should be — talking about. Look for recommended picture books on Mondays, fiction on Tuesdays, and nonfiction and poetry on Wednesdays.

Review of Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team

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Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin Middle School, High School    Roaring Brook    280 pp. 1/17    978-1-59643-954-2    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-59643-955-9    $9.99 Football icon Jim Thorpe is the indisputable star of Undefeated, although other compelling narratives come into play, including those of the infamous […]

Review of Bull

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Bull by David Elliott High School    Houghton    188 pp. 3/17    978-0-544-61060-6    $17.99    g There’s little grand or heroic in Elliott’s clever verse version of the classical story of the Minotaur: its title, Bull, is topically and colloquially apt. The story unrolls in the voices of seven characters, each with his […]

Review of Short Stories for Little Monsters

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Short Stories for Little Monsters by Marie-Louise Gay; illus. by the author Primary    Groundwood    48 pp. 3/17    978-1-55498-896-9    $19.95 Here’s a collection of super-short stories — one per double-page spread — in the growing tradition of such collections (recently, for instance, One Day, the End, rev. 9/15; Benjamin Bear in “Brain […]

Review of Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World

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Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World edited by Kelly Jensen Middle School, High School    Algonquin    228 pp. 1/17    Paper ed.  978-1-61620-586-7    $16.95    g This lively anthology, edited by Book Riot associate editor Jensen, broaches the subject of “feminism for the real world” through forty-four essays, comics, poems, interviews, […]

Review of Amina’s Voice

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Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan Intermediate, Middle School    Salaam/Simon    197 pp. 3/17    978-1-4814-9206-5    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-4814-9208-9    $10.99 Musically talented Amina struggles with shyness and, since she started middle school, with issues of assimilation. Her best friend Soojin, who is Korean American, is considering changing her name with […]

Review of When We Were Alone

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When We Were Alone by David Alexander Robertson; illus. by Julie Flett Primary    HighWater Press    32 pp. 12/16    978-1-55379-673-2    $18.95    g This quiet story is one of love and resistance during the decades-long era of oppressive residential schools for First Nations children in Canada. While spending the day with her […]

Review of One Minute till Bedtime: 60-Second Poems to 
Send You Off to Sleep

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One Minute till Bedtime: 60-Second Poems to 
Send You Off to Sleep selected by Kenn Nesbitt; 
illus. by Christoph Niemann Preschool, Primary    Little, Brown    168 pp. 11/16    978-0-316-34121-9    $19.99 A former Children’s Poet Laureate has compiled over 120 short and engaging poems by an impressive number of today’s children’s writers. Here you won’t find the […]

Review of The Hate U Give

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    453 pp. 2/17    978-0-06-249853-3    $17.99 Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter lives a life many African American teenagers can relate to: a life of double consciousness. Caught between her rough, predominantly black neighborhood and the “proper,” predominantly white prep school she attends, […]

Review of Big Cat, Little Cat

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Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp. 3/17    978-1-62672-371-9    $16.99 Spare in both text and illustration, this is an affecting, unsentimental picture book about the cycle of life. Cooper (Train, rev. 1/14; Farm, rev. 5/10) often takes detailed looks at broad […]

Review of Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer

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Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science: The First Computer Programmer by Diane Stanley; 
illus. by Jessie Hartland Primary    Wiseman/Simon    40 pp. 10/16    978-1-4814-5249-6    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-5250-2    $10.99 Stanley emphasizes Ada Lovelace’s right- and left-brain pedigree (her father, whom she never knew, was the poet Lord Byron; her mother, a scientist and mathematician) beginning with the […]