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From The Guide: Celebrating Music

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Troy Andrews’s Trombone Shorty, for which Bryan Collier took home the 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award (read his acceptance speech), is an inspirational musician’s-origin story. It’s also a celebration of music’s power to transform and uplift performers and to open doors. For more books to foster a love of and respect for music for […]

Review of Sabotage: The Mission to Destroy Hitler’s Atomic Bomb

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Sabotage: The Mission to Destroy 
Hitler’s Atomic Bomb by Neal Bascomb Middle School, High School    Levine/Scholastic    
306 pp. 6/16    978-0-545-73243-7    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-545-73533-9    $17.99 In this young readers’ edition of The Winter Fortress, Bascomb (The Nazi Hunters, rev. 9/13) turns his attention to a single, crucial Allied operation of WWII: the disruption of […]

Scientists as dreamers

Earmuffs for Everyone!

Can scientists be dreamers? They not only can, but should! The imagination pushes the boundaries of what can be discovered or created. The picture book biographies of the three subjects below — well-known Carl Sagan, and lesser-known Chester Greenwood and Jean-Henri Fabre — are intriguing examples of scientists who let their imaginations run away with […]

GoldieBlox and the Movie Machine app review

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I first became aware of toy start-up GoldieBlox when I saw its smart commercial “The Princess Machine,” in which a group of young girls engineer a complex Rube Goldberg machine using (mostly) stereotypically “girl” toys. The mission of GoldieBlox and inventor/CEO Debbie Sterling is “to disrupt the pink aisle and inspire the future generation of […]

Review of Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions

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Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton; illus. by Don Tate Primary, Intermediate    Charlesbridge   40 pp. 5/16    978-1-58089-297-1    $16.95 e-book ed.  978-1-60734-640-1    $9.99 From childhood, African American inventor Johnson was a tinkerer: 
“Lonnie loved building and creating. Ideas for inventions just kept on flowing.” We learn about how young Lonnie made model […]

Chris Barton on Whoosh!

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In our July/August 2016 issue, senior editor Elissa Gershowitz chatted with author Chris Barton about his new picture book biography Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions. Read the full review. Elissa Gershowitz: What is one of the challenges and/or rewards of writing a picture-book biography of a contemporary figure? Chris Barton: One big reward […]

Apps to beat the summer slump

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These nonfiction apps introduce new information, and reinforce familiar concepts with a fresh approach, and strengthen developing skills to encourage engaged learning throughout summer — and all year long. In Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System (based on the 2013 nonfiction book Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space), cat cosmonaut Professor Astro Cat takes you on […]

Review of The Great White Shark Scientist

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The Great White Shark Scientist [Scientists in the Field] by Sy Montgomery;
 photos by Keith Ellenbogen Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    70 pp. 6/16    978-0-544-35298-8    $18.99 Biologist Greg Skomal studies great white sharks off the coast of Cape Cod, using a variety of technologies, including video and telemetry, to document their burgeoning population as the marine […]

Review of Just a Lucky So and So: The Story of Louis Armstrong

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Just a Lucky So and So: The Story of Louis Armstrong by Lesa Cline-Ransome; 
illus. by James Ransome Primary    Holiday    40 pp. 4/16    978-0-8234-3428-2    $16.95 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-3598-2    $16.95 Today’s child may know Louis Armstrong only as the trumpeter of “What a Wonderful World” or as a character in an old movie; the Ransomes’ newest […]

Review of Crossing Niagara: The Death-Defying Tightrope 
Adventures of the Great Blondin

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Crossing Niagara: The Death-Defying Tightrope 
Adventures of the Great Blondin by Matt Tavares; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Candlewick    36 pp. 4/16    978-0-7636-6823-5    $17.99    g In 1859, Jean François Gravelet — the Great Blondin — was the world’s greatest tightrope walker. Niagara Falls, then as now one of the world’s most breathtaking natural attractions, […]