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Monthly Archives: December 2016

Hidden Figures- Young Reader’s Edition

hidden-figures

Title: Hidden Figures
Author: Margot Lee Shetterly
Series: N/A

Recommended for: 8-12 years old

Pages: 231

 

Call Number/Link:  J 629.4 LEE

 

 

Synopsis: Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. This book brings to life the stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, four African-American women who lived through the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the movement for gender equality, and whose work forever changed the face of NASA and the country.

Review: I think this is a very interesting book that highlights what women were doing behind the scenes in the equal rights movement.  A real revelation that it is never how it seems and always nice to see people being given recognition for their contributions to society.   This would be a great read aloud for an elementary school classroom and will undoubtly be a book to reach for during Black History Month this coming year.

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2016 in Historical, Juv, Non-Fiction

 

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Some Writer! : The Story of E. B. White

some-writer-cover

Title:   Some Writer!:  The Story of E. B. White
Author:   Melissa Sweet
Series:   —
Recommended for:   kids in grades 3 and up, especially fans of Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little.  And…  kids who love books, writing and creating art.  Not to mention teens and adults who love E.B. White and his books.
Pages:   161 pages
Call Number/Link:  J B WHITE, E.

Rating:   *****

 

 

 

Synopsis:

SOME PIG,” Charlotte the spider’s praise for Wilbur, is just one fondly remembered snippet from E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. In Some Writer!, the two-time Caldecott Honor winner Melissa Sweet mixes White’s personal letters, photos, and family ephemera with her own exquisite artwork to tell his story, from his birth in 1899 to his death in 1985. Budding young writers will be fascinated and inspired by the journalist, New Yorker contributor, and children’s book author who loved words his whole life. This authorized tribute is the first fully illustrated biography of E. B. White and includes an afterword by Martha White, E. B. White’s granddaughter.

Comments:

After reading this book, I wanted to read (or reread) every book that E.B. White has ever written – Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, Trumpet of the Swans, his collected essays, even (possibly) his revised version of Elements of Style.  I can’t pinpoint the last time that I loved a book so much.

I was interested in E.B. White’s life, but even more fascinated by his creative process – his inspirations, attempts to find the perfect first line for a book, conversations with his editor.  The combination of Melissa Sweet’s words and artwork created one of those synergies where one plus one equals much more than two.

1030 lexile, Reading Counts 9.2

 

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2016 in Juv, Non-Fiction

 

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Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean

Coral ReefsTitle: Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean
Author: Maris Wicks
Series: Science Comics
Recommended for: Grades 4-9
Pages: 120
Call Number/Link:  GN J 577.789 WIC

Synopsis: As the series title suggests, this introduction to coral is given the graphic-novel treatment. The panel illustrations are bright and colorful; a clean design makes the information accessible. The content is somewhat advanced, making this appropriate for upper-elementary-age readers. The lighthearted text, narrated by a fish, includes humorous asides along with a solid presentation of the facts.

Comments: Did you know that a coral reef has more biodiversity than a rainforest? Did you know that even if you lived far from the ocean, you still depend on coral reefs? Did you know that coral is not a plant but an animal?  This book is an excellent introduction to the topic of coral reefs. It is bright, colorful and tries to use a little humor to keep the reader engaged. It is narrated by a cute bespecticled yellow fish and covers ocean life, biodiversity, scientific names, the water cycle and more.

This would be a great read for a reluctant reader in junior high or a advanced middle schooler. It skews for older kids just because of the scientific jargon, but it does sound out a lot of the scientific words and has a glossary in the back. It is broken up into five chapters, but refers back to the main points learned in previous chapters, which helped me remember things like: coral gets it’s color from a symbiotic relationship with an algae. The final chapter talks about climate change, and it’s impact on coral reefs, and how people can help.

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2016 in Graphic Novels, Non-Fiction

 

Colors

colors-shanti-sparrow-book-cover

Title:   Colors
Author:   Shanti Sparrow
Series:   —
Recommended for:   babies and toddlers
Pages:   20
Call Number/Link:  E TINY SPARROW, S.

Rating:  *****

 

 

Synopsis:

Pink flamingos, white Arctic foxes, a yellow lion, and gorgeous black swans: journey through Shanti Sparrow’s enchanting world of colors and animals. Blending beautiful patterns and textures with vibrant hues and bold shapes, Sparrow creates magical, distinctive illustrations that will captivate children and adults alike. The gorgeous design and retro, graphic style make an eye-catching introduction to some of nature’s most fascinating creatures.

Comments:

I loved the vivid colors in this book’s illustrations.  I loved them so much that I did not obsess over the purple owl or blue wolf (too much).  I look forward to seeing the author’s concept book about shapes!

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2016 in Concepts, Picture Books

 

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Animals by the Numbers : A Book of Infographics

animals-by-the-numbers-cover

Title:   Animals by the Numbers : A Book of Infographics
Author:   Steve Jenkins
Series:   —
Recommended for:  kids in third grade and up, including tweens, teens and possibly adults
Pages:   48 p.
Call Number/Link:   J 590.7 JEN

Rating:   ****

 

 

 

Synopsis:

How many species are there across the globe?    How much do all of the insects in the world collectively weigh?   How far can animals travel?  Steve Jenkins answers these questions and many more with numbers, images, innovation, and authoritative science in his latest work of illustrated nonfictionJenkins layers his signature cut-paper illustrations alongside computer graphics and a text that is teeming with fresh, unexpected, and accurate zoological information ready for readers to easily devour. The level of scientific research paired with Jenkins’ creativity and accessible infographics is unmatched and sure to wow fans old and new.

Comments:

This book didn’t grab me right away, partly due to it having fewer of Steve Jenkins’ usual cool animal illustrations.  However, I was drawn in by the interesting information provided and think it will be a big hit with animal lovers and kids who like to learn odd facts like the world’s most poisonous animal.  (Or the breed of animal that most frequently kills humans.  It turns out that we should be more afraid of dogs than sharks.  Who knew?)

This book works best for independent reading, and I can imagine kids poring over it for hours. It would also be a great classroom book, both to teach about infographics (diagrams, charts, graphs, statistics) and animals and for pleasure reading.  It could also work well for one-on-one sharing with a younger child who is fascinated with animals, infographics and other nonfiction.

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2016 in Juv, Non-Fiction

 

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Mary Had a Little Glam

mary-had-a-little-glam-cover

Title:   Mary Had a Little Glam
Author:   Tammi Sauer
Series:   —
Recommended for:   Kids ages 4-8
Pages:   26 unnumbered pates
Call Number/Link:  E SAUER, T.

Rating:   ****

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Mary had a little glam that grew into a lot. And everywhere that Mary went, she wasn’t hard to spot. But on the day she started school, she caught some by surprise. Sweet Mary shrugged and hugged her mom. “I must accessorize.”‘ –Page 4 of dust jacket.

Comments:

This fun variant of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” has Mary the fashionista starting kindergarten. Her classmates were other nursery rhyme characters that children could have fun identifying.  I think kids would need to be at least 4 to understand the humor, and the book would probably work best for students in grades K-2.  It would be a good classroom readaloud, and also work well for independent reading.  I can also imagine it being used for a comparative nursery rhyme project for older students and even college students taking Children’s Lit.

 

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2016 in Funny, Picture Books

 

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Dragon Was Terrible

dragon-was-terrible-cover

Title:   Dragon Was Terrible
Author:   Kelly DiPucchio
Series:   –
Recommended for:   Ages 4-8
Pages:   32 p.
Call Number/Link:   E DIPUCCHIO, K.

Rating:   ****

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

When a dragon has a temper tantrum, no one can tame him, except for a little boy with a good book.

Comments:

More accurately, when a dragon consistently engages in very bad behavior, the king tries to find someone who can tame him.  How bad is this behavior, you ask?  He spit on cupcakes, TP’d the castle, victimized ducklets and baby unicorns, burped loudly in church, put graffiti on walls, and that’s just a start.  Knights and other adults did not have any success.  Thank goodness for the little boy who decided to read the dragon (and everyone else) a good book!

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2016 in Funny, Manner/Behaviors, Picture Books

 

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If I Was Your Girl

26156987Title: If I Was Your Girl
Author: Meredith Russo
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 8th grade and up
Pages: 288
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Russo, M. 

Synopsis: Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school in Lambertville, Tennessee. Like any other girl, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret. There’s a reason why she transferred schools for her senior year, and why she’s determined not to get too close to anyone.

And then she meets Grant Everett. Grant is unlike anyone she’s ever met—open, honest, kind—and Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself…including her past. But she’s terrified that once she tells Grant the truth, he won’t be able to see past it.

Because the secret that Amanda’s been keeping? It’s that she used to be Andrew.

Review: This was another book club book and hands down all my teens (and I) loved it. Not only is it about a trans teen, but it’s written by a trans author as well. (OH, and the model is a transwoman!) One of my trans teens was in attendance and he had nothing but positive things to say. As someone who has gone through the transition and had to deal with schools/classmates/etc the overwhelming response was how realistic it was. Not everything is perfect go-lucky for Amanda. She has to go through some tough crap, including being outed by a friend in front of the whole school at homecoming. However, with the help of friends and family, she manages to keep moving forward. I do like that she doesn’t forgive the person who outed her. Too often, in books, we get the outing and things are still sunshine and rainbows. This is much more realistic. I also adore how the people you think are the least likely to support you are really the people who have your back. And of course, some of the reactions and thought processes are highly realistic as well. All in all, this is a highly recommended book by me and my teens.

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2016 in Realistic, Teen

 

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The Nerdy and the Dirty

27779274Title: The Nerdy and the Dirty
Author: B.T. Gottfred
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 9th grade and up
Pages: 304
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Gottfred, B.

Synopsis: Pen Lupo is sick and tired of hiding who she is. On the outside, Pen is popular, quiet, and deferential to her boyfriend. On the inside, however, Pen is honest, opinionated–and not quite sure that she’s like other girls. Do they have urges like she does?

His classmates may consider him a nerd, but Benedict Pendleton knows he’s destined for great things. All he has to do is find a worthy girlfriend, and his social station will be secured. Sure, Benedict is different–but that’s what he likes about himself.

When fate intervenes, both Pen and Benedict end up at the same vacation resort for winter break. Despite their differences, the two are drawn together. But is there such a thing as happily ever after for a nympho and a nerd?

My Review: I wanted to like this book. I did. It had two stars. I thought, yes! And updated Forever by Judy Blume type book. Instead, I got a book full of abuse (which is explained away), trying to make a kid most likely on the spectrum “normal”, & casually uses words like crazy, whore, and retard. Seriously, it’s 2016. Let’s not use the r-word as an insult, okay? Even worse, the possible autistic teen starts to use the word internally at himself. (Seriously, don’t know how this book got two stars! Reviewers do better!)

The only positive this book holds is that sex, at least between Benedict and Pen, is straightforward and very consensual. However, it does feel a bit too mature for a first time experience, but I can still appreciate it. It’s very insta-love though (read three days). Also, Pen thinks she’s a freak because she thinks about sex/likes to masturbate. Benedict does say something to the contrary, but there’s still a sense that Pen has an unhealthy look at how she thinks.

Bottom line. This is a high “do not recommend” book for me. If you want to see a more in-depth of why you can see my review at my personal blog.

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2016 in Realistic, Teen, Uncategorized

 

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Teacup

Title: Teacup
Author: Rebecca Young
Series: N/A
Recommended for: Preschoolers on up, and anyone who likes beauty and adventure.
Pages: 40
Call Number/Link:  E YOUNG, R. 

Synopsis: 

Teacup is a beautiful book in more ways than one.

Firstly, the illustrations are the best I have seen in quite some time. I could pore over some of the spreads for ages, and the color palettes are stunning.

Second, the story is refreshing: a boy (almost a young man) sets out from home to make his way in the world, a theme that evokes classic fairy tales and great epics alike, and promises just the right amount of exciting adventure without being too much for more sensitive children.
Furthermore, the illustrations are lovely, and support the story very well: for instance, the passage “some days the sea was kind, gently rocking him to sleep” is accompanied by a bright-white illustration, with some dolphins and the interior of the boat being the only source of color besides the text. On the very next page, however, “Some days the sea was bold, and the boy held tightly to his teacup.” This sea is stormy, full of dark blues and greens, and the little white boat seems very small indeed.
I’ll finish here for fear of spoiling the ending, but let it suffice for me to say that it is a good one. I highly recommend this book.

 

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