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Reflex app review

reflex title

In addition to hearing the Duran Duran song in my head, I know Reflex (ExploreLearning, iPad app released 2014; iOS and desktop) as a program that my child’s teacher uses to supplement the class’s math curriculum…and with which my kid is obsessed. While it’s geared toward classroom use (and homeschooling), we play it happily on […]

For animal lovers only

king_me and marvin gardens

Four middle-grade novels feature animals (and one mysterious creature) that change the protagonists’ lives. From an inventive, slightly mystical environmental fable to a compelling work of historical fiction, these are all recommended for the animal lovers in your life. Me and Marvin Gardens is a smart, environmentally conscious fable with a lot of heart and […]

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 The House of Months and Years

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The House of Months and Years by Emma Trevayne Intermediate, Middle School    Simon    274 pp. 2/17    978-1-4814-6255-6    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-4814-6257-0    $10.99 After the tragic deaths of her aunt and uncle, Amelia and her parents move out of their own home and in with Amelia’s orphaned cousins. Nudiustertian House (nudiustertian meaning “relating to the […]

Review of Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal’d

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Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal’d by Mary Losure Intermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    164 pp. 2/17    978-0-7636-7063-4    $19.99    g In 1936, economist John Maynard Keyes bought a set of Isaac Newton’s manuscripts at auction only to discover that many of the pages had nothing to do with science, but rather alchemy. Newton, Keyes […]

Review of Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out!: Games, Songs & Stories from an African American Childhood

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Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out!: Games, Songs & Stories from an African American Childhood by Patricia C. McKissack; illus. by Brian Pinkney Preschool, Primary, Intermediate    Schwartz & Wade/Random    171 pp. 1/17    978-0-375-87088-0    $24.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-97088-7    $27.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-307-97495-2    $12.99 Children’s book royalty and storyteller supreme, […]

Snow day reading

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Most of New England has been buried in snow over the past few days, and many schools and workplaces are closed today. It’s a perfect excuse to cuddle up on the couch with a hot drink and a good book. Here are some suggestions for chilly reads to warm the heart — and help keep kids […]

Review of Grand Canyon

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Grand Canyon by Jason Chin; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Porter/Roaring Brook    56 pp. 2/17    978-1-59643-950-4    $19.99    g Vacationing in Grand Canyon provides a father and daughter — and readers — numerous opportunities to explore this National Park’s geology and ecology. Travel guide–like narration (“After climbing out of the Inner Gorge, you’ll find yourself […]

Review of Me and Marvin Gardens

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Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King Intermediate, Middle School    Levine/Scholastic    250 pp. 2/17    978-0-545-87074-0    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-545-87077-1    $10.99 The middle-grade debut of YA novelist A.S. King (Still Life with Tornado, rev. 9/16) was bound to be a little weird — and it is. It’s also a smart, environmentally conscious underdog story […]

Notes on Black History Month 2017

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At the 2016 Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium, author Carole Boston Weatherford said, “Some people would like to close the book of our shared history around race because it is uncomfortable and seems ‘a long time ago.’ But we need to acknowledge realities of that history — from slavery to segregation to current police brutality […]