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Review of One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance

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One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes; illus. by various artists Intermediate, Middle School, High School   Bloomsbury   120 pp. 1/17    978-1-61963-554-8    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-61963-555-5    $12.99 The vibrancy of the Harlem Renaissance is illuminated in Grimes’s provocative poetry collection. In a tribute to the great poets of the […]

Review of Mission to Pluto: The First Visit to an Ice Dwarf and the Kuiper Belt

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Mission to Pluto: The First Visit to an Ice Dwarf and the Kuiper Belt [Scientists in the Field] by Mary Kay Carson; photos by Tom Uhlman Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    73 pp. 1/17    978-0-544-41671-0    $18.99 In 2015, after nine years in transit from Earth, the New Horizons spacecraft successfully flew past […]

Reflex app review

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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

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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 Yvain: The Knight of the Lion

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Yvain: The Knight of the Lion by M. T. Anderson; illus. by Andrea Offermann Middle School, High School    Candlewick    134 pp. 3/17    978-0-7636-5939-4    $19.99    g The storyline of this graphic novel retelling of a twelfth-century epic poem is straightforward enough: after slaying Sir Esclados, Sir Yvain, a young knight-errant from […]

Review of Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team

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Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team by Steve Sheinkin Middle School, High School    Roaring Brook    280 pp. 1/17    978-1-59643-954-2    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-59643-955-9    $9.99 Football icon Jim Thorpe is the indisputable star of Undefeated, although other compelling narratives come into play, including those of the infamous […]

Review of Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World

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Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World edited by Kelly Jensen Middle School, High School    Algonquin    228 pp. 1/17    Paper ed.  978-1-61620-586-7    $16.95    g This lively anthology, edited by Book Riot associate editor Jensen, broaches the subject of “feminism for the real world” through forty-four essays, comics, poems, interviews, […]

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 […]

A collection of collections

jensen_here we are

Each of these books combines the voices of lots of inspiring people, whether in stories, essays, comics, or thought-provoking quotes, in order to inform and enlighten readers. Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World, a lively anthology edited by Book Riot associate editor Kelly Jensen, broaches the subject of “feminism for the real world” […]

There — and back again?

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The protagonists of these adventures undertake perilous journeys (three of them via ship) in search of fantastical destinations or legendary objects — or just somewhere to belong. Kate Milford’s The Left-Handed Fate begins in 1812, with ship-captain’s daughter Lucy Bluecrowne, her nine-year-old half-brother Liao, and teenage scholar Max Ault aboard the Left-Handed Fate. England is […]