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Review of Meet Cindy Sherman: Artist, Photographer, Chameleon

Meet Cindy Sherman: Artist, Photographer, Chameleon by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan Intermediate, Middle School    Porter/Roaring Brook    64 pp. 10/17    978-1-62672-520-1    $19.99 “She is a chameleon, changing her appearance from photograph to photograph, so that she is many people but never Cindy.” Prolific biographers-of-artists Greenberg and Jordan (Ballet for Martha, rev. 7/10; The Mad Potter, […]

Graphic-novel friendships and family

These realistic graphic novels (and one graphic memoir) offer a reminder to upper-elementary and middle-school readers that they are not alone when it comes to dealing with school and/or family drama. In her graphic memoir Real Friends, author Shannon Hale recounts her elementary-school years, focusing on the theme of childhood friendships. Young Shannon feels a […]

Review of The Wrong Train

The Wrong Train by Jeremy de Quidt; illus. by Dave Shelton Middle School    Fickling/Scholastic    209 pp.    g 7/17    978-1-338-12125-4    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-12126-1    $11.99 This unsettling collection of eight ghost stories, framed by a ninth, will surely delight fans of the eerie and the macabre. A British boy hurriedly boards a train one night, but […]

Review of The Magician and the Spirits: Harry Houdini and the Curious Pastime of Communicating with the Dead

The Magician and the Spirits: Harry Houdini and the Curious Pastime of Communicating with the Dead by Deborah Noyes Middle School    Viking    152 pp. 8/17    978-0-8037-4018-1    $18.99 In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Spiritualist movement swept the nation. Noyes (Ten Days a Madwoman, rev. 1/16) uses Harry Houdini’s attempts to discredit the […]

Review of Elizabeth and Zenobia

Elizabeth and Zenobia by Jessica Miller; illus. by Yelena Bryksenkova Intermediate, Middle School    Amulet/Abrams    202 pp.    g 9/17    978-1-4197-2724-4    $16.99 Elizabeth’s father is gloomy since her mother left; Witheringe House, his childhood home to which he returns with his daughter, is gloomier. Elizabeth’s main company is Zenobia, a vivacious, morbid, obsessed-with-clairvoyance friend who, although no […]

Review of The Champions’ Game: A True Story

The Champions’ Game: A True Story by Saul Ramirez, 
as told to John Seidlitz Middle School    Canter Press    152 pp.    g 5/17    978-0-9977402-4-0    $21.99 Paper ed.  978-0-9977402-3-3    $14.99 In 2010 Saul Ramirez got a job as an art teacher at Henderson Middle School in an impoverished neighborhood in El Paso, Texas. Chess was another of […]

The great unknown

Adventure awaits not only those intrepid real-life explorers who brave the great unknown…but also the readers of these captivating historical narratives about the exploration of space, the Amazon rainforest, the high seas, and the Arctic. Exploring Space: From Galileo to the Mars Rover and Beyond is a thoughtful, informative guide to the history of space […]

Five questions for Deborah Noyes

In The Magician and the Spirits: Harry Houdini and the Curious Pastime of Communicating with the Dead (Viking, 11–14 years), Deborah Noyes homes in on the Spiritualist movement during the turn of the twentieth century (think séances, spirit photography, ectoplasm, etc.) — and on Harry Houdini’s efforts to debunk its claims. 1. What drew you […]

Supernaturally good scares

From a collection of ghost stories-within-a-ghost-story to classic tales of the macabre reimagined for a new format, these new books offer a fresh take on the usual suspects of supernatural horror. Graphic novelist Gareth Hinds adapts three of Edgar Allan Poe’s poems (“Annabel Lee,” “The Bells,” and “The Raven”) and four stories (“The Masque of […]

Review of Miles Morales

Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds Middle School, High School    Marvel/Disney    263 pp.    g 8/17    978-1-4847-8748-9    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-368-00137-3    $10.99 In this tale based on a 2011 Marvel comic, sixteen-year-old Miles Morales is Spider-Man, but his spidey-sense feels broken, and he isn’t feeling much like anyone’s hero. Black and Puerto Rican, he’s from a “neighborhood […]