Review of Tommy


Tommy: The Gun that Changed America by Karen Blumenthal Middle School, High School     Roaring Brook     223 pp. 6/15     978-1-62672-084-8     $19.99     g In this biography of a gun and the times in which it lived, Blumenthal traces the Thompson submachine gun, a.k.a. the Tommy. After the Spanish-American War, an Army officer, John […]

Review of Secrets of the Rainforest

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Secrets of the Rainforest: A Shine-a-Light Book by Carron Brown; illus. by Alyssa Nassner Preschool, Primary     Kane Miller     40 pp. 3/15     978-161067-325-9     $12.99 In Nassner’s eye-catching illustrations, the lush foliage of a tropical rainforest, filled with abstract, bright-green leaves and brown branches and trunks, hides a host of living organisms. To find out what kinds […]

Review of The Octopus Scientists

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The Octopus Scientists: Exploring the Mind of a Mollusk [Scientists in the Field] by Sy Montgomery; photos by Keith Ellenbogen Intermediate, Middle School     Houghton     71 pp. 5/15     978-0-544-232-70-9     $18.99 The French Polynesian island region of Moorea is home to the Pacific day octopus and to a research center that serves as home base […]

Apps for learning and fun

endless spanish_170x170

In these apps for preschool and primary users, interactivity adds an extra-engaging aspect to learning new concepts. The cute monsters from Endless Alphabet, Endless Reader, and Endless Numbers are back to teach basic Spanish vocabulary in Endless Spanish. A sight word beginning with each letter appears on the screen and is pronounced by the narrator, […]

Review of Stonewall


 Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights by Ann Bausum Middle School, High School     Viking     120 pp. 5/15     978-0-670-01679-2     $16.99 Bausum begins her history of the gay rights movement with a careful, detailed exposition of the June 1969 Stonewall riots, laying out the events leading up to the clash between the […]

Review of Gordon Parks

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Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured 
Black and White America by Carole Boston Weatherford; 
illus. by Jamey Christoph Primary   Whitman   32 pp. 3/15     978-0-8075-3017-7   $16.99   g Weatherford (Sugar Hill: Harlem’s Historic Neighborhood, rev. 5/14; Before John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltrane, rev. 5/08) presents the life of groundbreaking African American photographer […]

Review of The Case for Loving

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The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage by Selina Alko; illus. by 
Sean Qualls and Selina Alko Primary   Levine/Scholastic   32 pp. 1/15   978-0-545-47853-3   $18.99 The 1967 Supreme Court case that legalized interracial marriage throughout the country is here given a picture-book accounting. Richard Loving was white, Mildred Jeter’s skin was a “creamy caramel”; […]

Review of Untamed


Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall by Anita Silvey Intermediate, Middle School   National Geographic   
96 pp. 6/15   978-1-4263-1518-3   $18.99 Library ed. 978-1-4263-1519-0   $28.90   g Jane Goodall has spent a lifetime dedicated to understanding and protecting chimpanzees. This accessible account of her life (with a foreword by Goodall herself) emphasizes the qualities that will likely […]

Five questions for Ann Bausum

ann bausum

Ann Bausum has written nonfiction about U.S. presidents and first ladies, muckrakers, Freedom Riders, suffragists, immigrants, and world wars. Her latest book Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights (Viking, 11–15 years) focuses on the 1969 Stonewall riots, which helped kick things off (spectacularly; there was a kick-line) in NYC and galvanize the […]

Lives and times

kamkwamba_boy who harnessed the wind

The settings of these narrative nonfiction titles span decades and geography — from WWII Denmark to contemporary Malawi — but the issues they explore are incredibly timely. When heavy rains, then drought, devastated his country of Malawi and the corrupt government didn’t respond, young William Kamkwamba used his scientific ingenuity to help people in need. […]