About Martha V. Parravano

Martha V. Parravano is executive editor of The Horn Book Magazine and coauthor, with Roger Sutton, of A Family of Readers (Candlewick). She is coauthor of the Horn Book’s Calling Caldecott blog and has served on the 2008 Newbery committee and chaired the 2013 Laura Ingalls Wilder committee.

The mouse that roared

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The Little Mouse Santi, with a story by David Eugene Ray and illustrations by Santiago Germano, is a classic-feeling picture book for young readers. In it, the main character, a mouse named Santi, wants to be a cat. He studies the farm cats and copies their activities and attitudes until he has the whole cat […]

Review of X: A Novel

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 X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon High School   Candlewick   375 pp. 1/15   978-0-7636-6967-6   $16.99 e-book ed. 978-0-7636-7425-0   $16.99 Shabazz, Malcolm X’s third daughter, and YA author Magoon (Fire in the Streets, rev. 9/12; How It Went Down, rev. 11/14) team up to present a vivid, immediate fictionalized portrait of the civil rights […]

Ilyasah Shabazz on X

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In our May/June 2015 issue, reviewer Martha V. Parravano talks to author Ilyasah Shabazz about her approach to writing a novel about her father, Malcolm X. Read the starred review of X here. Martha V. Parravano: Why did you choose to present the story of Malcolm X’s formative years as fiction, rather than nonfiction — and […]

Review of My Bike

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 My Bike by Byron Barton; illus. by the author Preschool   Greenwillow   40 pp. 4/15   978-0-06-233699-6   $16.99 This latest installment in Barton’s transportation series (My Car, rev. 11/01; My Bus, rev. 3/14) may be the best one yet. Which is saying a lot. With bright primary colors, simple bold shapes, and the briefest of texts, Barton […]

Review of The War That Saved My Life

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The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley Intermediate   Dial   316 pp. 1/15   978-0-8037-4081-5   $16.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-101-63780-7   $10.99 Ten-year-old Ada has suffered almost unimaginable deprivation and abuse due to an unrepaired clubfoot: she has never been outside her squalid London flat; she’s hit, underfed, belittled, and locked inside a dark cupboard […]

Caldy swag

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Spotted in the Convention Center this morning by our woman-on-the-spot:      

The year in review

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What a difference a year makes. Last year’s picture book crop included such a strong group of front runners that it was possible to…no, not predict, but at least anticipate some of the Caldecott choices. This year, it seems to me, the field is WIDE OPEN. And this year’s committee has quite a job in front of them. […]

Sharon Draper on Stella by Starlight

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In the January/February 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, editor Martha Parravano talked to Sharon M. Draper about her new intermediate novel Stella by Starlight. Read the full review here. Martha V. Parravano: Have you ever tried to write by starlight? Sharon M. Draper: I’ve marveled at the moon — the phases intrigue me […]

Nana in the City

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This is a JUST RIGHT kind of book. Just the right size; just the right tone; just the right scope of experience/adventure for the audience. How does Lauren Castillo accomplish this just-rightness in the art? 1) Through the use of color. In the beginning she communicates the noise and smells and sheer overwhelming-ness of the big […]

Snowy days

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Winter in New England (and in picture books) usually means one thing: snow. Here are a few stories to put readers in the mood for sledding, snowmen, and hot chocolate. While the city’s “brave trucks” perform flashy tasks such as fixing power lines and fighting fires, our unassuming, bespectacled hero — star of Stephen Savage’s […]