Review of The Inker’s Shadow

say_inker's shadow

The Inker’s Shadow by Allen Say; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School, High School   
Scholastic   80 pp. 10/15   
978-0-545-43776-9   $19.99   g This “patchwork of memories” (“and memories are unreliable, so I am calling this a work of fiction made of real people and places I knew”) sequel to Drawing from Memory (rev. 9/11) takes […]

Review of Inside Biosphere 2

carson_inside biosphere 2

Inside Biosphere 2: Earth Science Under Glass 
[Scientists in the Field] by Mary Kay Carson; 
photos by Tom Uhlman Middle School   Houghton   80 pp. 10/15   978-0-544-41664-2   $18.99 Carson takes readers into Biosphere 2, the research facility designed to be a self-sustaining model of Earth’s environments. There’s brief coverage of the innovative engineering and original mission of […]

Review of Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish

deutsch_hereville how mirka caught a fish

Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish by Barry Deutsch; illus. by the author; backgrounds by Adrian Wallace; 
colors by Jake Richmond Middle School   Amulet/Abrams   141 pp. 11/15   978-1-4197-0800-8   $17.95 Mirka is stuck babysitting her pesky six-year-old half-sister Layele while the rest of the family is away from their all-Hasidic community. Fruma, Mirka’s stepmother, leaves strict […]

The Thing About Jellyfish

The Thing Aboutu Jellyfish

Through NetGalley, I had the opportunity to read The Thing About Jellyfish, by Ali Benjamin, a middle grade book that will debut mid-September 2015. In this book, Suzy Swanson processes the death of her old friend Franny and the end of a friendship. She grieves the way that she and Franny grew apart before Franny […]

Five questions for Tim Wynne-Jones


At the start of Tim Wynne-Jones’s The Emperor of Any Place (Candlewick, 14 years and up), Evan, reeling from the death of his single father, has no choice but to contact his paternal grandfather, Griff — whom Evan’s dad called a murderer. A gripping story-within-the-story unfolds about a WWII Japanese soldier stranded on a haunted […]

Boys to remember

reynolds_all american boys

Four novels featuring teenage boys — in both contemporary and historical settings — take on big issues, with memorable results. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely is a ripped-from-the-headlines story written with nuance, sharp humor, and devastating honesty. When a quick stop at the corner store suddenly escalates into a terrifying scene […]

Sounds good

ryan_echo audio

Audio can add another layer to a story, whether through the addition of story-enhancing music, through a narrator’s command of tricky jargon, or the way he or she can make even the prickliest character seem lovable. Here are four audiobooks recommended for older intermediate and middle school readers. As Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan begins, […]

Don Brown on Drowned City

brown_drowned city

In our September/October issue, reviewer Betty Carter asked Don Brown, author/illustrator of nonfiction graphic novel Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans, about what we can learn from the events of Hurricane Katrina. Read the full starred review of Drowned City here. Betty Carter: So many of your books cover a pivotal moment in American […]

Review of Drowned City

brown_drowned city

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans by Don Brown; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School   Houghton   96 pp. 8/15   978-0-544-15777-4   $18.99 To date, the majority of children’s and young adult books about Hurricane Katrina are microcosmic stories or accounts of a single person or family. Here, in powerful comic-book format, Brown delivers the […]

Review of Mothman’s Curse

hayes_mothman's curse

Mothman’s Curse by Christine Hayes; illus. by James K. Hindle Intermediate, Middle School   Roaring Brook   311 pp. 6/15   978-1-62672-027-5   $15.99 e-book ed. 978-1-62672-028-2   $9.99 Spine-tingling mystery meets small-town gossip in this ghost story set in Athens, Ohio, “the most haunted town in America.” Josie Fletcher and her scheming brother Fox are no strangers to the […]