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Review of Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh

Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh by Uma Krishnaswami Intermediate    Tu/Lee & Low    276 pp.    g 5/17    978-1-60060-261-0    $16.95 “Don’t let it stop you, honey. Don’t you let nothing stop you. Promise me.” In World War II California, women like protagonist Maria’s beloved auntie, Tía Manuela, are working in factories, and in elementary schools […]

Review of Checked audiobook

Checked by Cynthia Kadohata; read by John Kroft Intermediate, Middle School     Recorded Books    Rev. 5/18 7 CDs     7.75 hrs.     978-1-5019-8278-1 $20.99 Conor MacRae’s life is consumed with elite hockey. Nothing can overtake his obsession — not his growing concerns about his elderly neighbor Mr. Reynolds, not the strained relationship […]

Review of The Night Diary audiobook

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani; read by Priya Ayyar Intermediate, Middle School    Listening Library    Rev. 7/18 5 CDs    5.92 hrs.    978-0-525-53044-2    $45.00 Twelve-year-old Nisha, whose mother was Muslim and father is Hindu, begins writing a diary in the form of letters to her mother, who died when Nisha and her twin Amil were born. […]

Review of Best Babysitters Ever

Best Babysitters Ever by Caroline Cala Intermediate, Middle School     Houghton     246 pp.     g 2/19     978-1-328-85089-8     $16.99 e-book ed. 978-1-328-52788-2     $9.99 In this series opener, Malia stumbles across an old copy of Kristy’s Great Idea, the first of Ann M. Martin’s Baby-Sitters Club books, and appropriates the central business model. But unlike Kristy and […]

Review of The Bell Rang

The Bell Rang by James E. Ransome; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate     Dlouhy/Atheneum     40 pp. 1/19     978-1-4424-2113-4     $17.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4814-7671-3     $10.99 “The bell rings, / and no sun in the sky. / Daddy gathers wood. / Mama cooks. / We eat.” Ransome paints a heartbreaking picture of an enslaved family existing within the […]

Review of The Penderwicks at Last audiobook

The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall; read by Susan Denaker Intermediate     Listening Library     Rev. 7/18 7 CDs     8.37 hrs.     978-0-525-59559-5     $55.00 This closing volume in the beloved Penderwick series, featuring two sisters’ marriages and one’s heartbreak, is told from the point of view of eleven-year-old Lydia, the youngest Penderwick half-sister. Denaker voices […]

Review of Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist

Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist by Sylvia Acevedo Intermediate, Middle School     Clarion     311 pp. 9/18     978-1-328-80956-8     $17.99 e-book ed. 978-1-328-52690-8     $9.99 Spanish ed. 978-1-328-53481-1     $18.99 Acevedo defied expectations as a girl growing up in a working-class Mexican American family in 1960s and 1970s Las […]

Review of Harbor Me

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson Intermediate     Paulsen/Penguin     179 pp.     g 8/18     978-0-399-25252-5     $17.99One day, Ms. Laverne gathers her small class of fifth and sixth graders and walks them over to the old art room, where she invites them to talk to one another — without her. Every Friday at two o’clock, narrator Haley […]

Review of Rebound audiobook

Rebound by Kwame Alexander; read by Ron Butler Intermediate, Middle School    Recorded Books    Rev. 7/18 3 CDs    3.5 hrs.    978-1-5019-4909-8    $30.75 In this prequel to Alexander’s The Crossover (rev. 5/14), twelve-year-old Charlie Bell (future father of the first book’s twin protagonists) is sent to stay with his grandparents for the summer after his own father’s […]

Review of Refugee audiobook

Refugee by Alan Gratz; read by Michael Goldstrom, Kyla Garcia, and Assaf Cohen Intermediate, Middle School    Scholastic Audio    Rev. 11/17 7 CDs    7.62 hrs.    978-1-338-19107-3    $34.99 The difficult plight of refugees is here represented by the stories of three children from different locations and time periods. Josef, a Jewish boy living in Nazi Germany, departs […]