Review of The Next Wave

rusch_next wave

The Next Wave: The Quest to Harness the Power of 
the Oceans [Scientists in the Field] by Elizabeth Rusch Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    79 pp. 10/14    978-0-544-09999-9    $18.99 This entry in the excellent Scientists in the Field series describes a critical engineering challenge: the efficient capture of the energy produced by ocean waves and its […]

Review of Gracefully Grayson

polonsky_gracefully grayson

Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky Intermediate, Middle School    Hyperion    247 pp. 11/14    978-1-4231-8527-7    $16.99 Grayson, a sixth grader at Porter Middle School, passes the time doodling and daydreaming about what it would be like to go through life as a girl, despite being seen by everyone else as male. Struggling with the total isolation that […]

Review of The Spiritglass Charade

gleason_spiritglass charade

The Spiritglass Charade [Stoker & Holmes] by Colleen Gleason Middle School, High School    Chronicle    356 pp. 10/14    978-1-4521-1071-4    $17.99    g In the second Stoker & Holmes mystery (The Clockwork Scarab, rev. 9/13), the royal family enlists the teenage protagonists to investigate whether a young lady, Willa Ashton — who believes she can communicate with her […]

Review of El Deafo

eldeafo

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 […]

Review of The Red Pencil

pinkney_red pencil

The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney; illus. by Shane W. Evans Middle School    Little, Brown    324 pp. 9/14    978-0-316-24780-1    $17.00 e-book ed.  978-0-316-24781-8    $9.99 The first part of this vivid novel, set from September 2003 to March 2004, celebrates twelve-year-old Amira’s life on her family farm in Darfur, Sudan. Her first-person prose poems and […]

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 […]

One Crazy Summer

One Crazy Summer

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia In the “crazy summer” of 1968, three black sisters set out from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to reconnect with their estranged mother, an active member of the Black Panther political movement. How does Williams-Garcia balance historical events with the girls’ personal journeys? How do both these aspects of the […]

No Crystal Stair

No Crystal Stair by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis Michaux, Harlem Bookseller by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson; illustrated by R. Gregory Christie Documents, photos, fictionalized and true accounts of historical figures and events are woven together in this portrait of Nelson’s larger-than-life great uncle Lewis Michaux. What to you make of the […]

Three nonfiction books

Claudette Colvin

        Bomb: the Race to Build — and Steal — the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin Claudette Colvin by Phillip Hoose Marching For Freedom by Elizabeth Partridge Acclaimed author Jean Fritz, innovator in children’s nonfiction (and biography in particular), has said: “Children don’t need a perfect picture. They need to see what […]

Review of Because They Marched

freedman_because they marched

Because They Marched: The People’s Campaign for Voting Rights That Changed America by Russell Freedman Middle School    Holiday    83 pp. 8/14    978-0-8234-2921-9    $20.00 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-3263-9    $20.00 With characteristically clear prose sprinkled liberally with primary source quotes and carefully selected photographs, Freedman documents the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery march that featured the horrific Bloody Sunday confrontation between […]