News & information for the community of SLJ reviewers. 
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Phillip Taylor, our facilities & mail room coordinator, unpacking one of the many (many, many) packages of books that are delivered every day to SLJ headquarters.

The SLJ Reviewer Connection 
June 2015   |  Building a stronger community for reviewers

Summer's here, and while my eyes may drift toward the windows as I dream of lounging poolside with a great book in my hand, a large part of me is already casting my mind forward to fall, anticipating what titles might be star-worthy—even award worthy—that will publish at the tail-end of 2015. The other editors and I have already started talking about the best books of 2015, getting our personal lists together in anticipation of several months of intense discussion. If you've ever wondered how and why certain titles receive a star, be sure to read this recent post on the SLJ Reviewer Central site. Spoiler: it all starts with you.

Don't forget to wear sunscreen. And happy reading!
Kiera Parrott
Editor, SLJ reviews
Reviewing & Committee Work
On an ALSC or YALSA award committee? Congrats! But FYI: new rules mean you may not be able to review certain types of books during your tenure. Fill out the committee form to be sure the editors know. 
Meet the Reviewer: Maggie Knapp
Meet Maggie, a school librarian from Texas who reviews books, DVDs, and audiobooks for SLJ. Maggie works hard to get materials into the hands of readers—even running a "pop-up library" in study hall. It was an NPR program that first inspired her to become a librarian, and the rest, as they say, is history. 
Book Classifieds
Lonely books seeking reviewers
Fire Walker by Josephine Angelini. I'm the sequel to 2014's Trial by Fire, which SLJ called
"[a] series opener [that] combines the best elements of a magical fantasy with hints of sci-fi, history, and romance." My original reviewer in on hiatus, so I'm looking for a cool librarian who's read my previous installment. Sound like you? Email, and we'll get together. 
Life of Zarf, Bk. 2 by Rob Harrell. Hey, dudes. I'm just a middle school troll trying to climb my way up from the bottom of the social hierarchy. In this second installment of the goofy middle grade series, I've got to contend with a band of angry wolves and help protect my best friend. If you read the first book, maybe you'd like to review me? Email Kiera ( and she'll send me your way. 
Ungodly by Kendra Blake. Calling fans of fantasy, mythology, and kick-butt female protagonists, I'm the final book in the "Goddess War" trilogy. Want to take me on? Email Shelley ( 
You can find more lonely books in need of review by visiting the "Books Seeking Reviewers" topic in the SLJ Forum. (You'll need to be logged in to view and reply in the forum.)
ALSC members, especially those relatively new to book evaluation, can now apply to the 2016 Morris Book Evaluation Seminar, named in honor of the late, great William C. Morris. Competition is usually quite fierce, but those selected will have an opportunity to dig into the type of evaluation and book discussions designed to prepare librarians for high-level book award committee work.

Kiera was a past participant ("It was life-changing. I walked away with a new set of eyes, a different and deeper way of understanding art and literature."), and Luann has contributed as a past organizer. It's a fabulous event and one of the finest professional development experiences librarians can have.

The seminar will take place on January 8, 2016, at ALA's Midwinter Meeting in Boston, MA. For those selected to participate, the event is free and a stipend of $300 is given to help defray hotel and travel expenses. Application deadline is August 13, 2015.
Writing a "Bad" Review
You’ve read the book. You’ve taken notes. Your cursor blinks accusingly at you, waiting for the first line of your review. But here’s the thing: you didn’t like the book. Maybe you even hated it. How do you say that, knowing that your byline is attached? Read more...
Summer, summer, summertime...
Need a break from reviewing over the summer months? If you haven't already, be sure to fill out the hiatus form
Who's My Editor? 
Since becoming a reviewer for SLJ, chances are you’ve emailed with a few different staff members. But who is the person actually editing your reviews? Good question! It depends on the type of material you’re reviewing. Read more...
Vote on the Next Webinar/Chat
The editors' first foray into a live Google broadcast was a lot of fun. We'd like to follow up with either another Google Hangout or a more simple text-based chat.

We want to know, what topics would you like to see addressed? And what platform(s) are you most comfortable using? Let us know. 
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