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Review of The Spell Book of Listen Taylor

Jaclyn Moriarty The Spell Book of Listen Taylor 479 pp. Levine/Scholastic 9/07 isbn 978-0-439-84678-3 $16.99 g (High School) Moriarty (The Year of Secret Assignments, rev. 3/04; The Life Murder of Bindy Mackenzie, rev. 1/07) returns with another madly convoluted, over-the-top comedy-drama-mystery told from multiple points of view. Twelve-year-old Listen Taylor is too ashamed to tell […]

A Second Look: Annie on My Mind

garden_annie on my mind orig cover

Annie on My Mind and I grew up together. Published twenty-five years ago in 1982, this now-canonical lesbian-coming-of-age novel was one of the first books I ever reviewed. Sally Holmes Holtze was then assistant editor at School Library Journal’s book review section, working with Pam Pollack, and I was a new SLJ reviewer. I was […]

Review of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

 The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie; illus. by Ellen Forney Middle School, High School     Little     232 pp. 9/07     978-0-316-01368-0     $16.99     g The line between dramatic monologue, verse novel, and standup comedy gets unequivocally — and hilariously and  triumphantly — bent in this novel about coming of age on the rez. […]

Sexed: What Makes a Good Sex Ed Book?

harris_it's not the stork

Growing up Catholic, I was always afraid of something: unconfessed sins; demonic possession; Sister Alice, my grade school principal, who once clamped her talons on my shoulder and marched me to her office for having a boy’s name magic-markered across my palm while receiving Holy Communion. But the one thing that gave me recurring nightmares […]

The Genre of Gender: The Emerging Canon of Transgender-Inclusive YA Literature

wittlinger_parrotfish update

Contemporary young adult literature is a remarkably open universe, integrating controversial subjects and allowing topics earlier considered inappropriate for teen readers to become legitimate areas of exploration, conversation, and debate. Today’s teen readers are accustomed to novels containing drinking and drug use, gay and lesbian characters, active sexuality, teen pregnancy, and violence. Yet all of […]