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Review of Midnight Without a Moon

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Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson Middle School    Houghton    310 pp. 1/17    978-0-544-78510-6    $16.99    g In the summer of 1955, thirteen-year-old Rose Lee Carter chafes at the daily drudgery of life in rural Mississippi. Rose, who lives with her sharecropper grandparents, suffers from low self-esteem fostered by her despotic grandmother, who incessantly reminds […]

They can do it!

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Primary readers will cheer these determined everygirl heroines as they face — and conquer — relatable challenges, from learning a new language to speaking up to clueless parents. Author Jacqueline Kelly first introduced readers to aspiring naturalist/veterinarian Callie in the middle-grade novels The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate. Now […]

Embracing cultural identity

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The following YA stories feature teens struggling with family, friendship, and cultural identity in ways that feel organic to their experiences and are relatable to a variety of readers. Alternating between the voices of two seventeen-year-olds — a contemporary biracial (her mother is black, her father is white) young woman named Rowan Chase, and Will […]

History of war

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“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The following books for middle schoolers describe the horrors of twentieth-century wars and urge readers to learn from history’s mistakes. Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience During World War II by Albert Marrin opens briefly with a prologue set on the day of the attack […]

The wonders of winter

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From joyful treks through gently drifting snow to the aftermath of a storm to suspenseful adventures in the icy wilderness, these picture books show many meteorological (and emotional) facets of winter. In First Snow by Bomi Park, a small child takes a dreamlike nighttime walk through the snow with her puppy. She makes her way […]

Review of Cat on the Bus

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Cat on the Bus by Aram Kim; illus. by the author Preschool    Holiday    32 pp. 10/16    978-0-8234-3647-7    $16.95 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-3710-8    $16.95 Paw prints cross the opening endpapers, and the title page gives a preview of what will eventually happen as a contented kitty sips milk beside a delighted-looking child. But before that, the calico […]

Review of Let Your Voice Be Heard: The Life and Times of Pete Seeger

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Let Your Voice Be Heard: The Life and Times of Pete Seeger by Anita Silvey Intermediate    Clarion    104 pp. 8/16    978-0-547-33012-9    $17.99 “Pete Seeger became the most important folk singer of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. But he might have chosen a very different path.” In addition to abundant primary source material, Silvey makes terrific […]

Review of Flying Lessons & Other Stories

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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 Egg

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 Egg by Kevin Henkes; illus. by the author Preschool    Greenwillow    40 pp. 1/17    978-0-06-240872-3    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-06-240873-0    $18.89    g In the latest offering from modern picture-book master Henkes (Waiting, rev. 9/15), we are introduced to four different eggs, each a different pastel color and each occupying its own separate quadrant of the page: “egg / […]

Review of Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy

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Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy by Richard Michelson; 
illus. by Edel Rodriguez Primary    Knopf    40 pp. 9/16    978-1-101-93330-5    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-101-93331-2    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-1-101-93332-9    $10.99 Adam Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song” reminds us: “You can spin a dreidel / with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock — both Jewish!” Michelson delves a little deeper […]