Review of Winter Bees

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Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman; illus. by Rick Allen Primary, Intermediate    Houghton    32 pp. 11/14    978-0-547-90650-8    $17.99 In winter, bees (“we are nothing on our own”) keep their precious queen warm by massing together into a “sizzling ball.” Hibernating garter snakes, safe in a cave, “’round each other twist […]

Review of El Deafo

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El Deafo by Cece Bell; illus. by the author; 
color by David Lasky Intermediate, Middle School    Amulet/Abrams    242 pp. 9/14    978-1-4197-1020-9    $21.95 Paper ed.  978-1-4197-1217-3    $10.95 At the age of four, in 1975, Bell contracted meningitis, leaving her severely to profoundly deaf. In this characterful, vivid, often amusing graphic-novel memoir she recaptures the experiences of […]

Around the world

nye_turtle of oman

Reading can take children on journeys outside of their everyday realms. The following stories — some humorous, some tender — allow independent readers to spend time with characters from all over the globe. When Naomi Shihab Nye’s The Turtle of Oman opens, Aref and his mother are preparing to leave their home in Muscat, Oman, […]

Review of Unstoppable Octobia May

flake_unstoppable octobia may

Unstoppable Octobia May by Sharon G. Flake Intermediate, Middle School    Scholastic    281 pp. 9/14    978-0-545-60960-9    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-545-60961-6    $16.99 Unstoppable indeed is the dogged and imaginative protagonist of this fast-paced mystery novel set in 1953. Once narrator Octobia May gets an idea into her head, she follows it as far as it will take […]

Review of Strike!

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Strike!: The Farm Workers’ 
Fight for Their Rights by Larry Dane Brimner Intermediate, Middle School    Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills    172 pp. 10/14    978-1-59078-997-1    $16.95 Brimner turns his attention from one part of the 1960s — the civil rights movement in the South (Black & White) — to another, a parallel movement among migrant farm workers in […]

Review of Malala, a Brave Girl from 
Pakistan / Iqbal, a Brave 
Boy from Pakistan

winter_malala - iqbal

Malala, a Brave Girl from 
Pakistan / Iqbal, a Brave 
Boy from Pakistan by Jeanette Winter; 
illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Beach Lane/Simon    40 pp. 11/14    978-1-4814-2294-9    $17.99 This picture book tells two stories (one side is Malala’s story; flip it over for Iqbal’s), introducing young readers to Malala Yousafzai (recent winner of the […]

Review of Rain Reign

martin_reign rain

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin Intermediate    Feiwel    226 pp. 10/14    978-0-312-64300-3    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-250-06423-3    $9.99 Eleven-year-old Rose’s “official diagnosis is high-functioning autism.” She lives with her single dad, who does not have the resources, material or emotional, to be a parent. At school she is laughed at by her classmates. Her life […]

Eerie places

lindelauf_nine open arms

A creepy space can go a long way toward creating the tone for a scary story. These novels all transport readers to places that are likely to give them the willies. A building is the main character in Benny Lindelauf’s Dutch import Nine Open Arms. A family of nine moves into the titular rundown brick […]

Review of Ivan

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Ivan: The Remarkable True Story 
of the Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate; 
illus. by G. Brian Karas Primary, Intermediate    Clarion    40 pp. 10/14    978-0-544-25230-1    $17.99    g Applegate introduces young readers to the true story that inspired her Newbery Medal–winning novel The One and Only Ivan (rev. 1/12). “In leafy calm, / in gentle arms, […]

Review of Nest

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Nest by Esther Ehrlich Intermediate, Middle School    Lamb/Random    330 pp. 9/14    978-0-385-38607-4    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-385-38608-1    $19.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-385-38609-8    $9.99 In this debut novel set in the late 1960s, Naomi “Chirp” Orenstein’s sixth-grade teacher tells her, “Your mom is a very lucky lady to have such a responsible girl.” Chirp is very responsible, […]