Throwing Strikes: My Quest for Truth and the Perfect Knuckleball, by R. A. Dickey. Dial, 2013, 296 pages. Age/interest level: 12-16. Last year Dickey’s autobiography, Wherever I Wind Up, won fulsome praise across the reviewing spectrum, from Publishers Weekly to ESPN to WORLD Magazine. The particular qualities praised were the author’s literary style, humility, and [...]
The False Prince (2012) and The Runaway King (2013), by Jennifer A. Nielson. Scholastic, about 350 pages each. Age/interest level: 10-up. When we first encounter the orphan known as Sage, he’s running full-tilt with a cleaver-waving butcher at his back and a stolen beef roast clutched in his arms. It seemed like a good idea [...]
This post should have gone up during March Madness, but even if the NCAA tournament is over this weekend, the NBA has few months to run. And we have new basketball books, from the history of the game to the joy of playing! H.O.R.S.E.: A Game of Basketball and Imagination, by Christopher Meyer. Edgemont, 2012, [...]
These three books have nothing in common except their general category and the fact that the first two won honors in the ALA Youth Media awards for nonfiction this year. The fact that both Titanic and Moonbird won in two age categories–middle-grade readers and young adults–makes me wonder if there’s not that much quality nonfiction [...]
For some folks, graphic novels are actually a discipline to be learned—their eyes don’t know where to go first and they tend to jump from word to word. It takes a little effort for them (okay–for me) to slow down and glean from the pictures. But we all know people, of the male persuasion particularly, [...]
Robin Hood, by David Calcutt, illustrated by Graham Baker-Smith. Barefoot Books, 2012, 112 pages. Age/interest level: 9-up. Everyone knows—or do they?–how the hooded stranger showed up at Nottingham Fair and challenged the Sheriff’s men to an archery contest. He landed three arrows—whizz whizz whizz–in the black center of the target—according to some accounts, his second [...]
Now for something a little different, with Super Bowl weekend upon us. Sports novels for young readers often have the same virtues as sports themselves: an emphasis on team effort, fair play, self-discipline, and doing your best. Real-life sports don’t always measure up to that ideal of course, but there’s enough virtue in them to [...]
Jeff Kinney currently sits at the top of a $550 million empire, and it all started with a web comic. When Kinney’s ambition to write a comic strip for syndication floundered on his limited art ability, he started posting a strip called “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” on FunBrain.com, the website arm of the educational [...]
In a campaign season, especially a big general election like this one, parents and teachers want to give the kids a clue what’s going on. We’re also supposed to be training responsible citizens who will someday take part in the political process. If you’re checking the library for books on the subject, it’s best to [...]
Artemis Fowl: the Last Guardian, by Eoin Coffer. Hyperion, 2012, 336 pages. Age/interest level: 10-up Teenage criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl first appeared in 2001, and was immediately acclaimed as “another Harry Potter.” This was exaggeration—the author rejected it firmly and rightly. Harry, despite his growing pains and existential struggles, is basically a good kid. Artemis [...]
Remarkable, by Lizzie K. Foley. Dial, 2012, 325 pp. Age/interest level: 9-13 Jane is remarkable in her town for being unremarkable. In fact, she and her grandpa are the only people she knows who aren’t world famous or incredibly gifted. But “everybody is so busy being talented, or special, or gifted, or wonderful at something [...]
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