Sylvia Vardell

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Review of Aniana del Mar Jumps In

Aniana del Mar Jumps In by Jasminne MendezIntermediate, Middle School    Dial    384 pp.3/23    9780593531815    $18.99e-book ed.  9780593531822    $10.99Aniana (Ani) del Mar lives on the Gulf Coast in ­Galveston, Texas, and the pull of the ocean is in her blood. But she must keep her passion for swimming secret from her...

Review of Where I Live: Poems About My Home, My Street, and My Town

Where I Live: Poems About My Home, My Street, and My Town selected by Paul B. Janeczko; illus. by Hyewon YumPrimary, Intermediate    Candlewick    48 pp.3/23    9781536200942    $18.99This collection of variously contemplative and playful poems offers an intimate picture of daily life from a child’s point of view. Thirty-four poems about...

Review of The Dream Train: Poems for Bedtime

The Dream Train: Poems for Bedtime by Sean Taylor; illus. by Anuska AllepuzPreschool    Candlewick    88 pp.3/23    9781536228342    $19.99British poet Taylor sends little ones to bed with thirty imaginative poems in three thematic sets: “Night Arrives,” “Shut-Your-Eyes Time,” and “Dream Wheels Turning.” With a mix of rhyming and free-verse poetry, along...

Review of The Hope of Elephants

The Hope of Elephants by Amanda Rawson HillIntermediate    Charlesbridge    480 pp.9/22    9781623542597    $17.99e-book ed.  978163289863    $10.99How does a family live with recurring cancer? Would you want to know if you had that same cancer gene? These questions anchor a powerful verse novel in which twelve-year-old Cass copes with her dad’s...

Review of Ode to a Nobody

Ode to a Nobody by Caroline Brooks DuBoisMiddle School    Holiday    304 pp.12/22     9780823451562    $18.99e-book ed.  9780823454044    $11.99In this verse novel, eighth grader Quinn is dealing with a lot of tension and change: her parents are constantly fighting, her best friend is drifting away, and her own sense of self is...

Review of Maya’s Song

Maya’s Song by Renée Watson ; illus. by Bryan Collier Primary, Intermediate     Harper/HarperCollins    48 pp.       g9/22     978-0-06-287158-9     $19.99 In free-verse poems, Watson describes key experiences in Maya Angelou’s life. She highlights influential family members, such as Maya’s brother (a source of strength) and Momma (grandmother...

A Place for Poetry

Poetry has so much to offer young readers: beautiful language, musical rhythms, creative formats, powerful emotions, and so much more. Yet, when it comes to award recognition, poetry has rarely had a place at the Newbery table. Just sixteen books of poetry have been recognized with Newbery Medals or Honors...

Dear Treefrog

Dear Treefrog gives us another wonderful collection of nature-themed poems by Joyce Sidman, but this time she has created a kind of novella in verse for the younger reader, with a story emerging across the spare, lyrical poems. With illustrations by Diana Sudyka that bridge the natural and the fantastical,...

Whoo-Ku Haiku: A Great Horned Owl Story

I often say that a nonfiction picture book for children is the best introduction to a new subject for readers of any age, especially when the illustrations are as richly informative as the text, and that is true for me about great horned owls and Maria Gianferrari’s Whoo-Ku Haiku: A...

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