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Review of Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions

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Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton; illus. by Don Tate Primary, Intermediate    Charlesbridge   40 pp. 5/16    978-1-58089-297-1    $16.95 e-book ed.  978-1-60734-640-1    $9.99 From childhood, African American inventor Johnson was a tinkerer: 
“Lonnie loved building and creating. Ideas for inventions just kept on flowing.” We learn about how young Lonnie made model […]

Chris Barton on Whoosh!

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In our July/August 2016 issue, senior editor Elissa Gershowitz chatted with author Chris Barton about his new picture book biography Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions. Read the full review. Elissa Gershowitz: What is one of the challenges and/or rewards of writing a picture-book biography of a contemporary figure? Chris Barton: One big reward […]

Five questions for Lauren Wolk

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When twelve-year-old Annabelle’s small town is terrorized by a series of vicious attacks, many townsfolk blame World War I veteran and vagabond Toby. Only Annabelle knows that new girl Betty is actually responsible for the cruelty. Adult author and poet Lauren Wolk makes her (stunning!) middle-grade debut with the powerful historical novel Wolf Hollow (Dutton, […]

Review of Wolf Hollow

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Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk Intermediate, Middle School    Dutton    294 pp. 4/16    978-1-101-99482-5    $16.99    g Two story lines wind around each other in this novel set in rural Pennsylvania in the 1940s. The narrator, twelve-year-old Annabelle, is one of the objects of vicious attacks by new girl Betty, who has inexplicably but relentlessly taken against […]

Apps to beat the summer slump

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These nonfiction apps introduce new information, and reinforce familiar concepts with a fresh approach, and strengthen developing skills to encourage engaged learning throughout summer — and all year long. In Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System (based on the 2013 nonfiction book Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space), cat cosmonaut Professor Astro Cat takes you on […]

The past made personal

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Here are four historical novels about kids living through difficult times in the past, all recommended for intermediate readers. Marc Tyler Nobleman’s epistolary novel Brave like My Brother explores ten-year-old Charlie’s home-front uncertainty and the challenges of war for his older brother Joe. Joe’s letters describe life as a soldier stationed in Europe without sounding […]

Review of The Great White Shark Scientist

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The Great White Shark Scientist [Scientists in the Field] by Sy Montgomery;
 photos by Keith Ellenbogen Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    70 pp. 6/16    978-0-544-35298-8    $18.99 Biologist Greg Skomal studies great white sharks off the coast of Cape Cod, using a variety of technologies, including video and telemetry, to document their burgeoning population as the marine […]

Recommended Page-Turners: Intermediate Fiction and Nonfiction

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Anderson, Jodi Lynn  My Diary from the Edge of the World 421 pp.     Simon/Aladdin     2015     ISBN 978-1-4424-8387-3 Ebook ISBN 978-1-4424-8389-7 Twelve-year-old Gracie’s world is almost like ours — except that the planet is flat, dragons exist, and poltergeists stopped the Industrial Revolution. When the arrival of a Dark Cloud seems to portend her younger brother […]

Review of Grayling’s Song

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Grayling’s Song by Karen Cushman Intermediate    Clarion    210 pp. 6/16    978-0-544-30180-1    $16.99    g Cushman’s previous works (The Midwife’s Apprentice, rev. 7/95; Will Sparrow’s Road, rev. 11/12; etc.) fall into the realm of historical fiction; this novel is historically based but a fantasy, set in a culture inspired by, but not wedded to, medieval Europe. It’s […]

Review of Crossing Niagara: The Death-Defying Tightrope 
Adventures of the Great Blondin

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Crossing Niagara: The Death-Defying Tightrope 
Adventures of the Great Blondin by Matt Tavares; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Candlewick    36 pp. 4/16    978-0-7636-6823-5    $17.99    g In 1859, Jean François Gravelet — the Great Blondin — was the world’s greatest tightrope walker. Niagara Falls, then as now one of the world’s most breathtaking natural attractions, […]