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Five questions for Deborah Noyes

In The Magician and the Spirits: Harry Houdini and the Curious Pastime of Communicating with the Dead (Viking, 11–14 years), Deborah Noyes homes in on the Spiritualist movement during the turn of the twentieth century (think séances, spirit photography, ectoplasm, etc.) — and on Harry Houdini’s efforts to debunk its claims. 1. What drew you […]

Review of Bound by Ice: A True North Pole Survival Story

Bound by Ice: A True North Pole Survival Story by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace Intermediate, Middle School    Calkins/Boyds Mills    192 pp.    g 9/17    978-1-62979-428-0    $17.95 e-book ed.  978-1-62979-915-5    $9.99 Ten thousand people cheered as the steamer Jeannette departed San Francisco, off to the North Pole, in 1879, seeking to expand human knowledge and […]

Of scientists and samurai

These nonfiction audiobooks, recommended for middle-school listeners and up, highlight a variety of memorable moments and important figures throughout human history. Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune is the bloody, heroic saga of an iconic twelfth-century samurai. Author Pamela S. Turner combines meticulous historical detail with conversational modernity and wry asides. Her narrative […]

Five questions for Anne Quirk

Anne Quirk’s The Good Fight: The Feuds of the Founding Fathers (And How They Shaped the Nation) (Knopf, 10–14 years) highlights four sets of venerable opponents whose disputes helped set America’s path during its formative years. And just like its author — who was former publisher of The Horn Book — the book is smart, […]

From The Guide: #goodtrouble

Congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis, coauthor of the March graphic novel memoir trilogy, preached to his chickens as a child (see right); in the July/August 2017 issue, Lewis’s March coauthor Andrew Aydin describes their mission to keep “preaching” to a new generation. The following nonfiction picture books about the civil rights movement and […]

Memorial Day 2017

Collier, Peter  Choosing Courage: Inspiring Stories of What It Means to Be a Hero Middle school, high school     226 pp.     Artisan Ranging from World War II through the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, this book offers compelling stories of selected Medal of Honor recipients who performed heroic acts in battle; vignettes of civilians awarded the […]

Review of Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism

Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism by Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos High School    Holt    294 pp. 3/17    978-0-8050-9835-8    $22.99 e-book ed.  978-1-2501-0967-5    $10.99 This passionate, sprawling, multilayered biography begins like a Robert Capa photograph: right in the middle of the action. […]

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

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 […]

History of war

“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 […]

Review of Brown v. Board of Education: A Fight for Simple Justice

Brown v. Board of Education: A Fight for Simple Justice by Susan Goldman Rubin Intermediate, Middle School    Holiday    132 pp. 10/16    978-0-8234-3646-0    $18.95    g e-book ed.  978-0-8234-3708-5    $18.95 In 1950, Thurgood Marshall was a young African American lawyer determined to “wipe out…all phases of segregation in education from professional school to kindergarten.” He and other […]