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History of war

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The following books for middle schoolers describe the horrors of twentieth-century wars and urge readers to learn from history’s mistakes. Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience During World War II by Albert Marrin opens briefly with a prologue set on the day of the attack […]

Review of Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy

Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy by Richard Michelson; 
illus. by Edel Rodriguez Primary    Knopf    40 pp. 9/16    978-1-101-93330-5    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-101-93331-2    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-1-101-93332-9    $10.99 Adam Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song” reminds us: “You can spin a dreidel / with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock — both Jewish!” Michelson delves a little deeper […]

Flora and the Peacocks

Oh, how I love Flora and the Flamingo, the first Flora book by Molly Idle, published in 2013. Those amazing flaps, like nothing we’d seen; the gracefulness of the illustrations, with infusions of humor; the lyricism of the story, without using any words. I was thrilled when it won a Caldecott Honor (and as we learned […]

Happy Birthday, FableVision!

As a pre-Thanksgiving treat, I attended FableVision Studios‘ 20th-Anniversary Bash at their beautiful office above the Boston Children’s Museum. FableVision is the media company cofounded by Peter H. Reynolds, children’s author/illustrator of The Dot and many, many other books, as well as being owner of the Blue Bunny Bookstore in Massachusetts [read the Horn Book […]

Massachusetts Book Awards 2016

On Tuesday, December 6th, I was lucky to be the plus-one, with amazing school librarian Liz Phipps Soeiro, at the sixteenth annual Massachusetts Book Awards ceremony at the State House, in recognition of “significant works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children’s/young adult literature published by Commonwealth residents or about Massachusetts subjects.” The award is administered […]

Ashley Bryan at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum

Who could use a little beauty? The deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA, is running its New England Biennial exhibition through March 26, 2017. The exhibit features sixteen New England-based fine artists — including children’s lit’s own Ashley Bryan. On display in the gallery space are several of Bryan’s picture-book collages, including several […]

Trailblazers in the arts

The following books highlight groundbreaking figures in the arts and society at large: a beloved author of children’s books and witty (and useful) works for adults; a folksinger who stood strong for his beliefs; a graffiti artist turned fine artist; and a little-known turn-of-the-twentieth-century female magician. In Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White, […]

Disco fish

I cannot see this new picture book (which was starred in the November/December 2016 Horn Book Mag) and not have this song in my head. Oddly fitting, given the book’s subject — evolution. “At first I was a fish / I was petrified…” Which of course makes me think of this. And so the day […]

Revenge of the Little Free Libraries

Remember how all those Little Free Libraries were in the news, with people being forced to take them down because of zoning laws and such? Here’s one Little Free Library (preemptively) striking back: Those suckers can be prickly!

Review of Still Life with Tornado

Still Life with Tornado by A.S. King High School    Dutton    296 pp. 10/16    978-1-101-99488-7    $17.99    g “There is no such thing as an original idea,” sixteen-year-old Sarah’s teacher tells the class, a dictum that sticks with the once-promising art student. Sarah had an original idea, and she executed it beautifully, but Something Happened at school […]