Archive for February, 2011

It’s the end of the month.
These are the books that have received starred reviews from two or more major review sources so far this year.

Review Codes:
B – Booklist
BCCB – Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
HB – Horn Book
K – Kirkus
PW – Publishers Weekly
SLJ – School Library Journal

Five Starred Reviews
Chime by Franny Billingsley   B, BCCB, HB, K, PW   (Gr. 9+)
Great Migration, The: Journey to the North by Eloise Greenfield     Illus. by Jan Spivey Gilchrist   BCCB, B, HB, PW   (Gr. 3-6)

Four Starred Reviews
Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai  B, K, BCCB, PW   (Gr. 4-8)
Roots and Blues by Arnold Adoff     Illus. by Christie, R. Gregory   B, K, PW, SLJ   (Gr. 3-6)

Three Starred Reviews
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys   B, K, PW  (Gr. 7+)
Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones   K, SLJ, PW   (Gr. 9+)
Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems by Kristine O’Connell George     Illus. by Nancy Carpenter   BCCB, PW, SLJ   (Gr. 2-4)
I Am J by Cris Beam   B, BCCB, K   (Gr.9+ )
Nation’s Hope, A: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis by Matt de la Peña     Illus. by Kadir Nelson   B, PW, SLJ   (Gr. 1-5)
Pick-Up Game by Aronson, Marc & Charles R. Smith, Jr.   BCCB, K, SLJ   (Gr. 7-12)
Where’s Walrus? by Stephen Savage   HB, K, PW   (K-Gr. 2)
Won Ton by Lee Wardlaw   Illus. by Eugene Yelchin   B, K, SLJ   (K-Gr. 4)

Two Starred Reviews
All the Way to America: The Story of a Big Italian Family and a Little Shovel by Dan Yaccarino   K, PW  (K-Gr. 4)
Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming   HB, K  (Gr. 3-7)
Angry Young Man by Chris Lynch   PW, SLJ  (Gr. 9-12)
Big Crunch, The by Pete Hautman   B, PW   (Gr. 8-11)
Can We Save the Tiger? by Martin Jenkins   Illus. by Vickie White     K, PW   (K-Gr. 4)
Delirium by Lauren Oliver   BCCB, K   (Gr. 9-12)
For the Love of Music: The Remarkable Story of Maria Anna Mozart by Elizabeth Rusch   K, PW   (Gr. 2-4)
Little White Rabbit by Kevin Henkes   HB, SLJ   (K-Gr. 2 )
Look! A Book! by Bob Staake   PW, SLJ   (K-Gr. 2)
Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell   HB, K   (K-Gr. 3)
Miles from Ordinary by Carol Williams   K, PW   (Gr. 7+)
Peaceful Pieces by Anna Grossnickle Hines   B, PW   (Gr. 2-5)
Press Here by Hervé Tullet   K, PW   (Gr. All ages)
Queen of France, The by Tim Wadham   PW, SLJ   (K-Gr. 3)
Queen of Water, The by Laura Resau   B, K   (Gr. 8+)
Recovery Road by Blake Nelson   HB, PW    (Gr. 7+)
Secret Box, The by Barbara Lehman   K, PW   (K-Gr. 3)
Strings Attached by Judy Blundell   K, PW   (Gr. 8+)           
Tall Story by Candy Gourlay   B, K   (Gr. 6-9)  
Unforgettable Season, The by Phil Bildner and S. D. Schinder   K, PW   (Gr. 1-6)

All Amazon links are affiliate links for Linda’s Links to Literature.


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Did you know Shaun Tan has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Short Film (Animated) based on his picture book, The Lost Thing. Read an interview with the author about his nomination.
Take a look at the trailer.

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The SFWA(Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America) have announced the 2010 Nebula Award Nominees that include the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. The nominees include:
Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
White Cat by Holly Black
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch
The Boy from Ilysies by Pearl North
I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett
A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld
Check this against the list of winners from Locus Magazine to see which books are coming out on top.
See my post from February 17 for the books I liked best.

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One of my favorite go to sites with an instant list of websites about contemporary events is Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day.
Yesterday, he listed The Best Sites To Learn About The Christchurch Earthquake.

The book database at Linda’s Links to Literature has teaching resources related to books about earthquakes.
A few of the nonfiction earthquake books:
Changing Earth Beck Olien
Earthquakes by Franklyn Branley
Earthquakes by Seymour Simon     Teaching Unit
Earthquakes by Time for Kids    Teacher Guide
Leveled by an Earthquake by Adam Reingold

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I love listening to pop music, but I never know the name of the song or the artist….only that I like it. Today’s teens, however, know everything about the song…title, artist, words, names of band members, where they’re performing….everything.
That’s why I especially liked the recent blog post at YALSA’ s The Hub – Playlist from the pages of Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. In the post, Mia Cabana explains how she developed a playlist for the 2011 Printz Award winner. Since Ship Breaker was one of my favorite books from last year, I was fascinated with the thought behind the music choices.
In case you’re not familiar with a playlist, you could actually call it the book’s soundtrack. Sometimes it’s the songs the author listened to while writing the book, but the selected music might also focus on the characters, themes and other literary elements.
After reading Mia’s blog post, I started thinking how creating a playlist for a YA novel would be a perfect alternative to the boring written book report. Teens wouldn’t just choose the music, but they would also have to explain their choices as they relate to the literary elements in the novel. I know the teens I worked with would thoroughly enjoy a project like this. And they couldn’t do it unless they had read the book.

Finding YA authors creating playlists
I found many playlists while visiting YA author websites this past summer including Patrick Jones, Stephenie Meyer, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Libba Bray.
More examples of playlists can be found on the ReaderGirlz website. Check books in the archives and scroll to the bottom of each book for the playlist. Also check this page on ALA’s YALSA website.

Finding online music and playlist creation sites
Where can you go to find the music and create a playlist online? Here’s a few, but there’s way too many to list.
Just Google “create a playlist.”
Yahoo Music

Hope a creative teacher gives this a try!

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Locus Magazine has printed their selections for the best science fiction/fantasy books for 2010 in the February issue.

Six of my science fiction favorites were on the list. Middle and high school students will love these.


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Each year, bloggers select the best children’s and young adult titles with the Cybils Awards. This year’s winners were announced on February 14. The choices combine literary appeal with reader appeal…something I sometimes think other awards miss entirely. This year’s winners are phenomenal. The judges did a great job!

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