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Review of Booked

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Booked by Kwame Alexander Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    314 pp. 4/16    978-0-544-57098-6    $16.99    g Eighth grader Nick Hall is quite a wordsmith, thanks largely to his father, a linguistics professor and the author of Weird and Wonderful Words, which Nick is required to read page by page: “You’re the only kid / on your block / […]

Review of Twenty Yawns

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Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley; 
illus. by Lauren Castillo Preschool    Two Lions    32 pp. 4/16    978-1-4778-2635-5    $17.99    g Lucy and her parents stay late at the beach, playing in the waves, walking the length of the shore, rolling down dunes, building a sandcastle. Everyone is happily worn out, and Mom decrees an early bedtime. So […]

Review of The Lie Tree

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The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge Middle School, High School    Amulet/Abrams    378 pp. 4/16    978-1-4197-1895-3    $17.95 Everything in this audacious novel is on the cusp or in limbo, setting up delicious tensions and thematic riches. The time is nineteenth-century England just after Darwin’s theory of evolution has thrown the scientific world into turmoil; the setting […]

Review of The Passion of Dolssa

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The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry Middle School, High School    Viking    482 pp. 4/16    978-0-451-46992-2    $18.99    g Berry (All the Truth That’s in Me, rev. 11/13) tells the story of (fictional) Catholic mystic Dolssa de Stigata after she escapes being burned as a heretic in 1241 Toulouse, France; mostly, however, it’s the story of […]

Review of Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph

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Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxane Orgill; 
illus. by Francis Vallejo Intermediate    Candlewick    54 pp. 3/16    978-0-7636-6954-6    $18.99    g On August 12, 1958, fifty-plus jazz musicians, famous and emerging, gathered together in front of a brownstone in Harlem for a group photo shoot. The resulting photograph has become iconic, a single […]

Review of Burn Baby Burn

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Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina High School   Candlewick   308 pp. 3/16   978-0-7636-7467-0   $17.99   g This vividly evoked coming-of-age story is set against actual events in 1977 New York City, when tensions rose throughout a city enduring an oppressive heat wave, culminating in the historic blackout of July 13th. Seventeen-year-old Nora López faces an insecure […]

Review of When Spring Comes

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When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes; 
illus. by Laura Dronzek Preschool   Greenwillow   40 pp. 2/16   978-0-06-233139-7   $17.99 Library ed. 978-0-06-233140-3   $18.89 “Before Spring comes, / the trees look like / black sticks against the sky. // But if you wait, / Spring will bring / leaves and blossoms.” In a gently rhythmic text and lush, […]

Review of Ling & Ting: Together in All Weather

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Ling & Ting: Together in All Weather by Grace Lin; illus. by the author Primary   Little, Brown   44 pp. 11/15   978-0-316-33549-2   $16.00 In this fourth book in the sweet and funny easy-reader series (Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same, rev. 7/10, and sequels), six brief chapters take the twins through the 
seasons, together. In […]

Review of Emma and Julia Love Ballet

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Emma and Julia Love Ballet by Barbara McClintock; 
illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Scholastic   32 pp. 3/16   978-00-439-89401-2   $16.99   g “Emma wakes up early. Julia wakes up early, too…They both have ballet lessons this morning.” McClintock follows young Emma as she goes to her ballet lesson and professional dancer Julia as she attends company […]

Review of A Year Without Mom

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A Year Without Mom by Dasha Tolstikova; 
illus. by the author Middle School   Groundwood   168 pp. 10/15   978-1-55498-692-7   $19.95 e-book ed. 978-155498-693-4   $16.95 Tolstikova’s illustrated memoir recounts the time when her mother relocated to America for graduate school and she, twelve years old, was left in the care of her grandparents in Moscow. Through present-tense […]