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Exploring our oceans

Cottman, Michael H.  Shackles from the Deep: Tracing the Path of a Sunken Slave Ship, a Bitter Past, and a Rich Legacy Gr. 4–6, middle school     127 pp.     National Geographic The ship Henrietta Marie transported enslaved Africans from 1698 until its sinking in 1700. The African American author traces the ship’s path from port to […]

General knowledge

13½ Incredible Things You Need to Know About Everything Gr. 4–6, middle school     176 pp.     DK This browsable compendium serves up random trivia on eighty wide-ranging subjects. Each busy, colorful double-page spread focuses on a topic, including earth science, plants, animals, communication, water, philosophy, ancient civilizations, movies, helicopters, and much more. Crisp photos compete for […]

Review of Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré

Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise; illus. by Paola Escobar Primary     Harper/HarperCollins     40 pp. 1/19     978-0-06-274868-3     $17.99 In her native Puerto Rico, a young Pura Belpré retells folk stories to children under a tamarind tree; when she visits Nueva York in 1921 and decides to stay, obtaining […]

Review of Sea Bear: A Journey for Survival

Sea Bear: A Journey for Survival by Lindsay Moore; illus. by the author Primary     Greenwillow     48 pp.     g 1/19     978-0-06-279128-3     $17.99 A polar bear wanders alone through icy northern landscapes and across the seasons in search of food, her survival practices described as she hunts seals and paddles past sharks, narwhals, and whales. […]

Eye-opening history

The following works of narrative nonfiction for middle schoolers and high schoolers focus on events that may be overlooked by school curricula but can help make history come alive. In 1873, a mob of armed white men massacred more than one hundred black “freedmen” in the town of Colfax in central Louisiana. In his book […]

Review of Chasing King’s Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassin audiobook

Chasing King’s Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassin by James L. Swanson; read by Kim Staunton Middle School, High School    Scholastic Audio 5 CDs    5.67 hrs.    978-1-338-22724-6    $29.99 With intensity and clarity, Swanson documents the lives of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and James Earl Ray — King’s assassin — and the […]

Review of Carlos Santana: Sound of the Heart, Song of the World and When Angels Sing: The Story of Rock Legend Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana: Sound of the Heart, Song of the World by Gary Golio; illus. by Rudy Gutierrez Primary    Ottaviano/Holt    40 pp. 9/18    978-1-62779-512-8    $18.99 When Angels Sing: The Story of Rock Legend Carlos Santana by Michael Mahin; illus. by Jose Ramirez Primary    Atheneum    48 pp. 9/18    978-1-5344-0413-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-0414-4    $10.99 Carlos Santana’s 1971 […]

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 Hammering for Freedom: The William Lewis Story

Hammering for Freedom: The William Lewis Story by Rita Lorraine Hubbard; illus. by John Holyfield Primary    Lee & Low    32 pp.    g 9/18    978-1-60060-969-5    $17.95 William “Bill” Lewis (1810?–1896) was born into slavery in Tennessee on a plantation owned by Colonel Lewis. As a boy toiling alongside his mother, aunt, and siblings in the fields, […]

Review of Backyard Bears: Conservation, Habitat Changes, and the Rise of Urban Wildlife

Backyard Bears: Conservation, Habitat Changes, and the Rise of Urban Wildlife [Scientists in the Field] by Amy Cherrix Middle School    Houghton    73 pp.    g 10/18    978-1-328-85868-9    $18.99 The human population of western North Carolina is encroaching on the natural habitat of the region’s black bears. In this encouraging case study of efforts to manage black […]