Review of What Are You Glad About? 
What Are You Mad About?: Poems for When a Person 
Needs a Poem

viorst_what are you glad about

What Are You Glad About? 
What Are You Mad About?: Poems for When a Person 
Needs a Poem by Judith Viorst; illus. by Lee White Primary, Intermediate   Dlouhy/Atheneum   102 pp. 2/16   978-1-4814-2355-7   $17.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-4814-2355-1   $10.99 Viorst’s most famous book is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, and this […]

Review of American Ace

nelson_american ace

American Ace by Marilyn Nelson Intermediate   Dial   122 pp. 1/16   978-0-8037-3305-3   $17.99   g Nelson’s talent for undergirding her poetry with historical empathy (Fortune’s Bones, rev. 1/05; A Wreath for Emmett Till, rev. 5/05) is once again present in this verse novel. In forty-five poems, Nelson tells the story of Connor Bianchini, who finds out that […]

Review of Amazing Places

hopkins_amazing places

Amazing Places selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins; illus. by Chris Soentpiet and 
Christy Hale Primary, Intermediate   Lee & Low   40 pp. 10/15   978-1-60060-653-3   $18.95 The amazing places mentioned in the title of this poetry collection are all in the United States, with their locations marked on a map on the endpapers. The specificity of the […]

Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System app review

Astro_ipad

Cats in space? Sign me up! Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System (Minilab Ltd., December 2015), a digital adaptation of Dr. Dominic Walliman and Ben Newman’s 2013 nonfiction book Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space, introduces users to our solar system — with plenty of humor and a retro, space-race vibe. Choose a kitty-cosmonaut (cat-stronaut, if […]

Review of The Skeleton Tree

lawrence_skeleton tree

The Skeleton Tree by Iain Lawrence Intermediate, Middle School   Delacorte   281 pp. 1/16   978-0-385-73378-6   $16.99 Library ed. 978-0-385-90395-0   $19.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-307-97489-1   $10.99 Chris’s uncle Jack is a “daredevil” who “can’t be happy unless he’s facing danger.” Nevertheless, Chris’s mother allows the boy to go with Jack and another boy, Frank, on a sailing […]

Identifying with history

nelson_american ace

In poetry or prose, these works of historical fiction for middle graders delve into the search for identity during hard times, offering paths to self-fulfillment through connecting with family or the arts. In American Ace, a novel in verse, Marilyn Nelson tells the story of Connor Bianchini, who discovers that his biological grandfather was a […]

Review of Game Changer: John McLendon and the Secret Game

coy_game changer

Game Changer: John McLendon and the Secret Game by John Coy; illus. by Randy DuBurke Primary, Intermediate   Carolrhoda   32 pp. 10/15   978-1-4677-2604-7   $17.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4677-8810-6   $17.99 Based closely on a 1996 New York Times article by Scott Ellsworth, this picture book tells the dramatic story of an illegal college basketball game planned and played […]

Review of The Wolf Wilder

rundell_wolf wilder

The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell Intermediate   Simon   232 pp. 8/15   978-1-4814-1942-0    $16.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4814-1944-4   $10.99 Feodora and her mother, Marina, are “wolf wilders” in early-twentieth-century Russia: when aristocrats tire of their pet wolves (a status symbol thought to bring good luck), the girl and her mother reverse the wolves’ forced domestication, teaching the […]

Review of Oskar and the Eight Blessings

simon_oskar and the eight blessings

Oskar and the Eight Blessings by Richard Simon and Tanya Simon; illus. by Mark Siegel Primary, Intermediate   Roaring Brook   40 pp. 9/15   978-1-59643-949-8   $17.99 In 1938, the last night of Hanukkah coincided with Christmas Eve, and for a young Jewish refugee in Manhattan, both holidays provided blessings. Following Kristallnacht, Oskar’s parents had put him on […]

Review of The Inker’s Shadow

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The Inker’s Shadow by Allen Say; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School, High School   
Scholastic   80 pp. 10/15   
978-0-545-43776-9   $19.99   g This “patchwork of memories” (“and memories are unreliable, so I am calling this a work of fiction made of real people and places I knew”) sequel to Drawing from Memory (rev. 9/11) takes […]