Shoshana Flax

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Cadenza: The Rules That "Jack" Broke

This is the house that Jack built… / This is the cat, / That killed the rat, / That ate the malt / that lay in the house that Jack built. This is the noun that noun verbed… / This is the noun, / That verbed the noun, / That...

Review of Red Hood

Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    357 pp. 2/20    978-0-06-274253-3    $18.99 After a consensual (and vividly described) sexual encounter with her boyfriend that, to her surprise, ends in her beginning to menstruate for the first time, sixteen-year-old Bisou is attacked by a wolf on her...

Five questions for Elizabeth Acevedo

In Clap When You Land (Quill Tree/HarperCollins, 14 years and up), two teens — Camino, who lives in the Dominican Republic, and Yahaira, who lives in New York City — discover they are half-sisters after their father perishes in a plane crash. Told in alternating verse, the story — winner...

Review of In the Role of Brie Hutchens...

In the Role of Brie Hutchens… by Nicole Melleby Middle School    Algonquin    265 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-61620-907-0    $16.95 When the novel opens, thirteen-year-old Brie’s mother almost stumbles upon Brie looking at a soap opera star’s Playboy photos online. Brie distracts her mom by claiming (falsely) that she’s been chosen to...

Review of Redwood and Ponytail

Redwood and Ponytail by K. A. Holt Middle School    Chronicle    417 pp. 10/19    978-1-4521-7288-0    $18.99 Seventh grader Kate’s (“Ponytail”) life is largely defined by pressure from her mom to become captain of the cheerleading squad and by her friends’ similar expectations; less popular, gangly girl Tam (“Redwood”) has had a...

Books beyond buildings: Support your local bookstore and library!

For book lovers everywhere — and particularly parents across the country trying to homeschool their children right now — the services of libraries and bookstores are essential. But this pandemic has left these institutions extremely vulnerable, and they need our support now more than ever. Back in February, when we...

Jewish American Heritage Month 2020

May is Jewish American Heritage Month -- and Happy Lag Ba'Omer today! The Boston Public Library's list from last year is a good place to start exploring the (varied) Jewish experience in the U.S. Check out The Knish War on Rivington Street for a glimpse into the early-twentieth-century Lower East...

Holocaust Remembrance Day 2020

Today is Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. I’ve written before about the valuable role children’s and YA books about the Holocaust have played in my reading life. In some ways, my views about Holocaust literature shifted during my two years on the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee, which concluded recently....

Review of Catherine's War

Catherine’s War by Julia Billet; illus. by Claire Fauvel; trans. from French by Ivanka Hahnenberger Intermediate, Middle School    HarperAlley/HarperCollins    168 pp. 1/20    978-0-06-291560-3    $21.99 Paper ed.  978-0-06-291559-7    $12.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-291561-0    $10.99 This graphic novel (adapted from a novel by Billet and inspired by her mother’s life) follows teenage Rachel...

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