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Lynne Reid Banks: right for the wrong reasons

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I think we’ve all written letters like this one. Responding to the announcement that David Almond’s A Song for Ella Grey had won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award, author Lynne Reid Banks wrote to that publication: “Buoyed up by David Almond’s beautiful description (21 November) of his inspiration for writing A Song for Ella Grey, which  has […]

Review of A Song for Ella Grey

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A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond High School   Delacorte   268 pp. 10/15   978-0-553-53359-0   $16.99 Library ed. 978-0-553-53360-6   $19.99 e-book ed. 978-0-553-53361-3   $10.99 A celebration of the wonderful madness of youth, and of the bemusing, soul-confusing power of aesthetic experience, lies at the heart of Almond’s lyrical, contemporary-set take on the myth of Orpheus […]

Reviews of The Hunger Games trilogy

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The Hunger Games [Hunger Games] by Suzanne Collins Middle School, High School     Scholastic      374 pp. 10/08     978-0-439-02348-1      $17.99 Survivor meets “The Lottery” as the author of the popular Underland Chronicles returns with what promises to be an even better series. The United States is no more, and the new Capitol, high in the Rocky […]

Review of My Seneca Village

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 My Seneca Village by Marilyn Nelson Middle School, High School   Namelos   88 pp. 11/15   978-1-60898-196-0   $21.95 Paper ed. 978-1-60898-197-7   $11.95 e-book ed. 978-1-60898-198-4   $9.95 Seneca Village in Manhattan was founded in 1825 by free African Americans; by 1857 it had been razed to make way for the construction of Central Park. In forty-one poems Nelson […]

Review of Calvin

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Calvin by Martine Leavitt High School   Ferguson/Farrar   182 pp. 11/15   978-0-374-38073-1   $17.99   g Seventeen-year-old Calvin has recently been diagnosed as schizophrenic. Calvin believes that his life is inextricably linked to Bill Watterson, the famously reclusive artist behind the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes — a belief reinforced by the constant presence of the voice of […]

Review of The Amber Spyglass

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The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman Middle School, High School     Knopf     523 pp. 10/00     0-679-87926-9     $19.95 Armed with a rare numbered typescript copy of The Amber Spyglass, I’m tempted to roll up my shirtsleeves, light a cigar, splash some Tokay into a glass, and discuss fine points of reason, fancy, and theology before all hell […]

TBT

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I’m at home today reading and re-reading books the Magazine loved this year, in preparation for our final Fanfare meeting next week where we will determine that these, yes these, are the very best books of 2015. And without giving anything away I want to comment (again!) on just how different the young adult literature of today […]

Review of The Emperor of Any Place

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The Emperor of Any Place by Tim Wynne-Jones High School   Candlewick   328 pp. 10/15   978-0-7636-6973-7   $17.99 “So much of grief is unlearning,” observes Wynne-Jones in this perceptive and 
multi-layered page-turner. When Evan’s single father, Clifford, dies suddenly, the high-schooler must work through his own grief while dealing with Clifford’s estranged father Griff, a military man […]

Five questions for Tim Wynne-Jones

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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

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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 […]