Author Archive: Julia Smith

Julia Smith is an associate editor for Books for Youth at Booklist. She is a graduate of the MLIS program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is also trained in aerial acrobatics. Follow her on Twitter at @JuliaKate32.

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Don’t Eat Your Friends: Picture Books with Bite
By October 3, 2018 0 Comments Read More →

Don’t Eat Your Friends: Picture Books with Bite

There’s a cannibalistic theme running through picture books at the moment, with several offering lessons in not eating your friends or classmates. This, of course, is plated up with humor and a side of manners, but sometimes not even the best etiquette can save the day. It’s not all heartless carnage, however. Unconventional diets are also […]

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That Girl Is Poison: Books about Chemicals and Foul Play

That Girl Is Poison: Books about Chemicals and Foul Play

Growing up, I leapt from children’s books directly to adult novels, and found Agatha Christie and Elizabeth Peters to be marvelous company. I must admit that I was, and remain, more of a Poirot girl than Miss Marple devotee, but I’d happily lose myself in Christie’s novels whoever the detective happened to be. It is […]

The Amy Krouse Rosenthal Reader

The Amy Krouse Rosenthal Reader

The first thing you learn about Amy Krouse Rosenthal when you visit her website is that she “is a person who likes to make things.” And make things, she did: picture books, essays, films, lectures. Lucky for us, the things she made, she also shared, and with them an inspirational and inspired dose of life […]

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Gumdrop the Elf’s Christmas Confessions
By December 12, 2016 0 Comments Read More →

Gumdrop the Elf’s Christmas Confessions

My first job in Chicago—my first job as a college graduate, for that matter—was as a Christmas elf for Marshall Field’s in its final year of existence. My best friend and I drove here from Baltimore in a little Penske truck so that she could pursue her improv dreams at Second City. I tagged along as […]

Posted in: Books and Movies
Miss Peregrine’s Prettier, Less Violent Theatrical Debut
By October 14, 2016 0 Comments Read More →

Miss Peregrine’s Prettier, Less Violent Theatrical Debut

Well, I’ve done it. I entered the Riggs-Burton time loop and emerged intact and, on the whole, pleased. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, you’re clearly not among the Peculiar initiate. Yet. I’m referring, of course, to Tim Burton’s new film adaptation of Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for […]

Science vs. Romance: Stories of Robot Love
By September 8, 2016 0 Comments Read More →

Science vs. Romance: Stories of Robot Love

Facts versus romance You go and call yourself the boss But we’re not robots inside a grid Text versus romance You go and add it all you want Still we’re not robots inside a grid Zeros and ones —”Science vs. Romance,” by Rilo Kiley But what if you are a robot? Are you not capable of love, […]

All the Young Punks: Punk Rock Primers
By September 1, 2016 0 Comments Read More →

All the Young Punks: Punk Rock Primers

I have a confession. If I were to have an alter ego, it would be a punk-rock chick. I am about as far from punk rock as you can get, which, perhaps, accounts for my fascination with this culture. I love rules; I’m not very political; and I hate wearing black, though I’d happily dye […]

Sowing Seeds of Doubt: Frances Hardinge’s The Lie Tree

Sowing Seeds of Doubt: Frances Hardinge’s The Lie Tree

Faith, magic, and science converge in Frances Hardinge’s The Lie Tree. On the small island of Vale, something unnatural this way comes. Is it wicked? Perhaps, but it is quickly evident in Hardinge’s newest tale—following her acclaimed Cuckoo Song (2015)—that things are not what they seem, and the answers to such questions are rarely black and white. As […]

The Power of a Burning Wish: Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee’s Maybe a Fox

The Power of a Burning Wish: Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee’s Maybe a Fox

Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee’s collaborative novel entwines the story of one girl’s grief with that of a fox with a rare but important destiny. Among Jules and Sylvie Sherman’s dad’s Do Not rules is that they are never to go near the Slip, a dangerous point where the Whippoorwill River surges beneath the ground […]

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Scarred for Life: Scary Books from My Childhood
By October 22, 2015 2 Comments Read More →

Scarred for Life: Scary Books from My Childhood

I’m in the midst of packing up my apartment to move, and by far the biggest undertaking has been boxing up my books. It is a fun chance to look through everything—I’ve even convinced myself to donate at least a few of the books I’d forgotten about entirely. But one book that surfaced is one that […]