Claire Gross

About Claire Gross

Claire Gross is the youth librarian at the Egleston branch of the Boston Public Library and a former associate editor of The Horn Book Magazine.

Review of Voice of Freedom

weatherford_voice of freedom

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of 
the Civil Rights Movement by Carole Boston Weatherford; 
illus. by Ekua Holmes Intermediate   Candlewick   45 pp. 8/15   978-0-7636-6531-9   $17.99 Weatherford’s latest picture-book biography (Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, rev. 11/06; I, Matthew Henson, rev. 3/08; among many others) chronicles the life of civil […]

Review of Water Is Water

paul_water is water

Water Is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle by Miranda Paul; illus. by Jason Chin Preschool, Primary   Porter/Roaring Brook   40 pp. 5/15   978-1-59643-984-9   $17.99 An evocative rhyming text and verdant watercolors introduce the water cycle to young readers by linking water’s forms — from water to steam to clouds to fog to rain to […]

Review of Completely Clementine

pennypacker_completely clementine

Completely Clementine by Sara Pennypacker; illus. by Marla Frazee Primary, Intermediate   Disney-Hyperion   181 pp. 3/15   978-1-4231-2358-3   $14.99   g In this series-ender, third grade is almost over, but Clementine is far from ready to say goodbye to her familiar classmates and supportive teacher. Mr. D’Matz keeps trying to tell her about all the ways she’s grown […]

Review of Smick!


Smick! by Doreen Cronin; illus. by Juana Medina Preschool, Primary   Viking   32 pp. 2/15   978-0-670-78578-0   $16.99   g With minimal text, a clever use of sight words and word families, and a bounty of playfulness, Cronin introduces preschoolers (and early readers) to their new best friend: good-natured, tail-wagging, droopy-eared dog Smick. A game of fetch between […]

Review of First Snow

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First Snow by Peter McCarty; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins   40 pp. 1/15   978-0-06-218996-7   $16.99 Genial siblings Sancho, Bella, Lola, Ava, and Maria welcome their cousin Pedro, visiting from warmer climes, and introduce him to the joys of snow. The siblings are thrilled with an overnight snowfall and excitedly proclaim their […]

Review of Fiendish


Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff High School    Razorbill/Penguin    341 pp. 6/14    978-1-59514-638-0    $17.99    g Yovanoff (The Space Between, rev. 1/12; Paper Valentine, rev. 3/13) here weaves a haunting tale of old magic in a changing world. When Clementine was a child, a torch-bearing mob burned out her family; Clementine escaped by virtue of a magical coma […]

Review of The Screaming Staircase

screaming staircase

The Screaming Staircase [Lockwood & Co.] by Jonathan Stroud Intermediate, Middle School     Disney-Hyperion     374 pp. 9/13     978-1-4231-6491-3     $16.99     g With a morbidly cheery tone and sure-footed establishment of characters and setting, Stroud (the Bartimaeus trilogy; Heroes of the Valley, rev. 1/09) kicks off a new series that is part procedural and part ghost story, with […]

Review of Openly Straight

openly straight

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg High School     Levine/Scholastic     328 pp. 6/13     978-0-545-50989-3     $17.99     g e-book ed. 978-0-545-50990-9     $17.99 Rafe is sick of being the poster child for all things gay at his uber-liberal Colorado high school: no matter how accepting everyone is, it feels like they only […]

What Makes a Good YA Coming-Out Novel?

i'll get there

Since John Donovan’s groundbreaking 1969 I’ll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip, young adult novels featuring gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning teens have come a long way. Once few and far between, they have enjoyed a steady rise in numbers and prominence, particularly over the last decade, as prolific and acclaimed queer* […]

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One

deathly hallows part one movie poster

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has a lot riding on it. The final installment of the wildly popular series, it’s the story of the boy hero’s final showdown with the ultimate villain. Voldemort has severed pieces of his soul and placed them in Horcruxes, which must be found and destroyed in order for his […]