Review of The War That Saved My Life

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The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley Intermediate   Dial   316 pp. 1/15   978-0-8037-4081-5   $16.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-101-63780-7   $10.99 Ten-year-old Ada has suffered almost unimaginable deprivation and abuse due to an unrepaired clubfoot: she has never been outside her squalid London flat; she’s hit, underfed, belittled, and locked inside a dark cupboard […]

Reviews of selected books by Patrick Jennings

jennings_odd weird and little

Putnam and Pennyroyal by Patrick Jennings; illus. by Jon J Muth Intermediate     Scholastic     165 pp. 11/99     0-439-07965-9     $15.95 From the beginning of his narrative, it’s evident that Cora Lee’s Uncle Frank is possessed by a contrary streak. Cora always spends New Year’s with Frank, fishing in one of Arizona’s rare ponds, because he won’t visit […]

Geography Drive Arcade app review

geography arcade matching

Spinlight Studio’s Geography Drive Arcade app (2013) quizzes users on their United States geography knowledge in an engaging way. The app has six sections: Study Map: This streamlined map of the U.S. shows the states color-coded by region, with all fifty capitals marked and labeled. Tap each state to go in-depth, accessing a page where […]

Review of Draw What You See

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Draw What You See: The Life and Art of Benny Andrews by Kathleen Benson; illus. with paintings by Benny Andrews Primary, Intermediate   Clarion   32 pp. 1/15   978-0-544-10487-7   $16.99 Benson opens in New Orleans in 2005, where Benny Andrews traveled after Hurricane Katrina to teach children “to use art to express their feelings about what they […]

Review of Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust

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Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loïc Dauvillier; illus. by Marc Lizano; color by Greg Salsedo; trans. from the French by Alexis Siegel Primary, Intermediate    First Second/Roaring Brook    78 pp. 4/14    978-1-59643-873-6    $16.99 In this graphic novel for younger readers, Elsa wakes up in the night and discovers her grandmother sitting in the […]

Review of Stella by Starlight

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Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper Intermediate   Atheneum   324 pp. 1/15   978-1-4424-9497-8   $16.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-4424-9499-2   $10.99 Eleven-year-old Stella Mills may have trouble getting words on paper for school, but she’s a deep thinker, “a gemstone hiding inside a rock,” her mother tells her. Even on the coldest of nights, she sneaks out […]

Sharon Draper on Stella by Starlight

sharon m. draper

In the January/February 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, editor Martha Parravano talked to Sharon M. Draper about her new intermediate novel Stella by Starlight. Read the full review here. Martha V. Parravano: Have you ever tried to write by starlight? Sharon M. Draper: I’ve marveled at the moon — the phases intrigue me […]

Series for the elementary set

beauvais_sleuth on skates

Discover some new favorite characters or keep up with old ones. These series installments can stand on their own or perhaps start a new series obsession. Sleuth on Skates, first in the Sesame Seade Mystery series by Clémentine Beauvais, introduces a type-A, roller-skating kid detective from Cambridge, England with a large vocabulary and a highly […]

Review of Once Upon an Alphabet

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Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate   Philomel   112 pp. 10/14   978-0-399-16791-1   $26.99 Each letter of the alphabet gets its own little story in this picture book that is much more than a simple set of ABCs. Whimsical, funny, occasionally tragic, and highly entertaining, this collection of (sometimes) interlocking […]

Sushi Monster app review

sushi monster menu

Blobby, colorful monsters with insatiable appetites for sushi are the stars of entertaining — and challenging! — math-centric game-app Sushi Monster (Scholastic, 2012). Begin by selecting either Addition or Multiplication and a level (Addition has seven, Multiplication five). A gong sounds to move you on to the next screen and into the game. A hungry […]