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Review of Giant Squid

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Giant Squid by Candace Fleming; 
illus. by Eric Rohmann Primary    Porter/Roaring Brook    40 pp. 9/16    978-1-59643-599-5    $18.99 A mysterious giant squid lurks in the dark corners of the ocean depths. Page-turn by page-turn, parts of the squid are revealed: first, a few tentacles sweep across the blue/black-hued ocean environment; then, a few more emerge, and […]

Review of Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story

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Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story by Arun Gandhi and Bethany 
Hegedus; illus. by Evan Turk Primary    Atheneum    48 pp. 8/16    978-1-4814-4265-7    $18.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-4814-4266-4    $10.99 The creators of Grandfather Gandhi (rev. 3/14) here share another episode featuring the groundbreaking civil rights figure. Young Arun Gandhi and his family live “simply and […]

Review of March: Book Three

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March: Book Three by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin; illus. by Nate Powell Middle School, High School  Top Shelf Productions  254 pp. 8/16    978-1-60309-402-3    $19.99    g This final volume (March: Book One, rev. 1/14; March: Book Two, rev. 5/15) includes the expected and necessary set pieces from the civil rights movement: the […]

Historical crossroads

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Scratch the surface of history and you’ll sometimes find the stories behind the stories of accepted record. The following works of nonfiction encourage teens to critically examine the narrative that is history. In Presenting Buffalo Bill: The Man Who Invented the Wild West, Candace Fleming sets her sights on two connected myths of American history: […]

Review of My Book of Birds

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My Book of Birds by Geraldo Valério; 
illus. by the author Primary    Groundwood    60 pp. 4/16    978-1-55498-800-6    $24.95 e-book ed.  978-1-55498-801-3    $19.95 In an introductory note, amateur birdwatcher Valério describes this book as “my album of artistic impressions of North American birds.” Each species is introduced with its common name, scientific name, and a descriptive […]

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 […]