Category Archives: Retro Reviews

August 31

No longer hidden from history: The Life of Vivien Thomas, Medical Pioneer by Therese Nagi

Hidden historical pioneers who overcame great odds grab my attention, but not usually medical ones. However, Gwendolyn Hooks’s picture book Tiny Stitches – The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas, hooked me with Thomas’s perseverance to realize his dream. The biography begins with illustrator, Colin Bootman’s muted water color of a studious Thomas in a […]

August 21

Donald and Carol Carrick: Sepia Toned Understanding by Jake Nuckolls

I have a list in my head of currently touring bands that I don’t want to miss.  Some that I admit that I probably won’t see thanks to ticket pricing.  Josh Ritter, Wilco, Arcade Fire, James Taylor.  I have a similar list for authors.  It isn’t nearly as easy to see authors if you don’t […]

June 08

A Season-Dancing, Heart-Opening Retro Review of My Mama Had a Dancing Heart — by Rosanne L. Kurstedt

My Mama Had a Dancing Heart (Orchard Books, 1995) by Libba Moore Gray and illustrated by Raúl Colón is a fun-loving, hand-clapping, heart-happy book that never gets old.   Libba Moore Gray effortlessly tells the story of a mother and her daughter through season-specific dances. Her use of noun-verb and verb-verb phrases adds rhythm and […]

April 06

Why Poetry? by Susan Knell

“One of the richest gifts we can give children is the gift of poetry,” as stated by the great children’s poet/anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins  Sharing poetry is such an easy thing to do, but many times neglected by teachers who think they have to “teach” poetry and therefore feel inadequate to do so. However, they […]

October 20

The Fog of Forgetting by G. A. Morgan – Retro Review by Melissa Guerrette

I confess: Fantasy novels often get stuck in my Someday book stack.   No matter how many of my Nerdy friends profess their love for fantasy novels like The Chronicles of Narnia or how emphatically they recommend A Wrinkle in Time, delving into another world that expects me to leave behind the constructs I am […]

October 06

Make the Best of Your Reading Time: Retro Review of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Amanda Sass-Henke

“Baby, we have no choice of what color we’re born or who are parents are or whether we’re rich or poor. What we do have is some choice over what we make of our lives once we’re here…And I pray to God you’ll make the best of yours” (129). ***** “Why have I never read […]

September 29

Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley – Retro Review by Ginger Healy

Usually the kids react somewhat. We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal. They asked what Thomas Jefferson meant with this line. Why he said “all men” when not everybody was treated equally then. A stir is usually felt in the room. Then we move on to the other […]

September 22

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach – Review by Oona Marie Abrams

Whoever said “don’t judge a book by its cover” has never taught high school. Even a cursory glance at covers during independent reading reveals boys who choose books based exclusively on their dearth of pinkness. The cover of We All Looked Up offers images of the four narrators, two male and two female, their backs […]

July 21

GAGAS: Goblins and Goblets Avoidance Syndrome by Jeff Anderson

If you came to me looking for a fantasy book, you could be safe knowing anything with goblins or goblets in the title would always be available to loan because I sure wouldn’t be reading them. (And yes, that includes Harry Potter.) I own The Wizard of Earthsea and Harry Potter, but I haven’t read […]

July 14

Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff – Review by Amber McMath

It all started with a crucial decision and crates upon crates of novels. I was a new teacher digging through the school library storeroom hoping to strike gold with some forgotten but genius book for my seventh graders to read together. Crammed between Missing May and Al Capone Does My Shirts was a tattered class […]