Bookends

YORK: A Treasure Hunt in an Alternate NYC

YORK: A Treasure Hunt in an Alternate NYC

Lynn: Just when I started to feel a little jaded—March does that to me—I read Laura Ruby’s wonderful new book, York: The Shadow Cipher (May 2017). This new series-opener is the perfect antidote to my grumpy case of the blahs that accompany the mud, temperature swings, and general brownness of my least-favorite month. The story […]

Posted in: Bookends, Young Adult
Against Bedtime: Picture Books for Sleep-Averse Toddlers

Against Bedtime: Picture Books for Sleep-Averse Toddlers

Lynn: I haven’t mentioned the Focus Group in a while. Currently, the oldest members are 13, the youngest three. They are all still highly opinionated about books. Little Oscar, definitely his own person, trundles around entertaining himself and doing his own thing. Oscar loves books, favoring anything about cars, trucks, and machines. He does not […]

Encouraging Young Naturalists: THE SEARCH FOR OLINGUITO

Encouraging Young Naturalists: THE SEARCH FOR OLINGUITO

Lynn: Sometimes, the most surprising discoveries have been right under our noses for years! Being observant, curious and asking questions can lead to valuable new knowledge. This is an important lesson for young naturalists, who sometimes think all nature is known by science. Sandra Markle’s fascinating new book, The Search for Olinguito: Discovering a New Species […]

THE LOTTERYS PLUS ONE: Emma Donoghue Writes for Middle-Graders

THE LOTTERYS PLUS ONE: Emma Donoghue Writes for Middle-Graders

Cindy: I grew up watching The Brady Bunch, but I can only imagine what fun someone could have with the new, millennial version of a blended family presented in The Lotterys Plus One (2017). When Lynn and I learned that Emma Donoghue (The Wonder, Room) had written her first middle-grade novel, we weren’t sure what to expect. […]

Hats Off to Farmers, Starting with JOHN DEERE, THAT’S WHO

Hats Off to Farmers, Starting with JOHN DEERE, THAT’S WHO

Lynn: I think it’s sad that so few kids now have any real understanding, or even an acquaintance with farming and farm life. Children think food comes from grocery stores, and many adults seem to have an unconscious snobbery toward the people who put that food on the shelves. Farming has always been hard work, but I would […]

Last of the Magicians: ISAAC THE ALCHEMIST

Last of the Magicians: ISAAC THE ALCHEMIST

Lynn: In 1936, the economist John Maynard Keynes purchased a set of Isaac Newton’s papers. To his great surprise, Keynes found that many of them related to Newton’s intense study of alchemy. To those of us in the modern world, alchemy is a discredited pursuit, the stuff of magical thinking and ignorance. Keynes wrote that […]

Posted in: Bookends, Young Adult
These Book Covers Need a Manicure

These Book Covers Need a Manicure

Cindy and Lynn: Here in cold, cloudy Michigan, many schools are on spring break, and local salons have been busy making hands and feet pretty for the sunny, warm destinations we’ve been dreaming about all winter. Teen books are a different story altogether. While the occasional teen book, like Bella Thorne’s Autumn Falls, features a hand […]

SEA OTTER HEROES to the Rescue

SEA OTTER HEROES to the Rescue

Lynn: In schools these days, we talk about science in terms of the scientific method, theories, observation, and conclusions. Pedagogically, this is excellent, but it is important not to lose sight of something that both drives and excites kids: asking questions. Young biologist Brent Hughes did just that. His question? Why was the fertilizer-polluted Elkhorn Slough […]

THE HATE U GIVE: A Powerful Debut Teen Novel

THE HATE U GIVE: A Powerful Debut Teen Novel

Cindy: I doubt that there are many people who haven’t heard about Angie Thomas’s powerful debut novel, The Hate U Give (2017), which is collecting rave reviews and even has a movie adaptation in the works. Booklist intern Amanda Shepard—who just happens to be a past student and teen book club member of mine—wrote about […]

Posted in: Bookends, Young Adult
The Real Story from MRS. WHITE RABBIT

The Real Story from MRS. WHITE RABBIT

Lynn: Alice in Wonderland fans all remember the White Rabbit in his waistcoat, holding his pocket watch, and muttering about being late. Did you ever wonder what was actually going on?  Gilles Bachelet steps up to reveal the real story in Mrs. White Rabbit (2017), a shocking revelation of the facts behind the public figure. That’s […]