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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.

ALA Youth Media Announcement Report

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As promised, here’s my view of Monday morning’s YMAs in Atlanta. As a member of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Jury, my morning started at 6:30 AM, when I arrived at the convention center. Like many of the award committees, my committee was meeting before the 8 AM announcement ceremony in order to call our winners and […]

Review of Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille

Six Dots

Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille by Jen Bryant; illus. by Boris Kulikov Primary    Knopf    40 pp. 9/16    978-0-449-81337-9    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-449-81338-6    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-449-81339-3    $10.99 Bryant and Kulikov present the childhood of Louis Braille, from his 1809 birth to his invention, at fifteen, of his ingenious six-cell raised-dot system of […]

Review of Almost Autumn

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Almost Autumn by Marianne Kaurin; trans. from the Norwegian by Rosie Hedger High School    Levine/Scholastic    281 pp. 1/17    978-0-545-88965-0    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-545-88966-7    $10.99 Ilse Stern, a typical rebellious, lovelorn adolescent, lives with her Jewish family in 1942 Nazi-occupied Oslo, where her father, Isak, runs a tailor shop. A present-tense narration creates immediacy, while […]

Real Cowboys

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Most of us associate illustrator Jonathan Bean with a more representative style and a less saturated medium. (Think Building Our House and This Is My Home, This Is My School.) But of course the Real Committee can’t be thinking about that, and anyway Bean made the right artistic choice for this book’s impressionistic text. The art is composed of […]

Review of Egg

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 Egg by Kevin Henkes; illus. by the author Preschool    Greenwillow    40 pp. 1/17    978-0-06-240872-3    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-06-240873-0    $18.89    g In the latest offering from modern picture-book master Henkes (Waiting, rev. 9/15), we are introduced to four different eggs, each a different pastel color and each occupying its own separate quadrant of the page: “egg / […]

A list of great 2016 picture books

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Blogger (and Horn Book reviewer and Calling Caldecott poster) Minh Lê has just released his annual list of best picture books, sorted into his own unique categories. His lists are always terrific; this year especially! Check it out here.    

The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles

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This is not my kind of picture book. The story is too wispy for me, the language occasionally too twee, and the premise . . . well, I just don’t buy it. But one of the things committee members must do for an award like the Caldecott (or even a mock Caldecott!) is put aside their own personal likes […]

Review of The Branch

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The Branch by Mireille Messier; illus. by Pierre Pratt Primary    Kids Can    32 pp. 9/16    978-1-77138-564-0    $16.95 A little girl mourns when a large branch breaks off from her favorite tree during an ice storm: “That was the branch I sat on, jumped from, played under. It was my castle, my spy base, my ship…” […]

Review of Sleep Tight Farm: A Farm Prepares for Winter

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Sleep Tight Farm: A Farm Prepares for Winter by Eugenie Doyle; illus. by Becca Stadtlander Primary    Chronicle    32 pp. 8/16    978-1-4521-2901-3    $16.99 Here’s a unique look at the (considerable) work involved in putting a small farm to bed for the winter — covering strawberry plants with straw, cutting back and burning raspberry canes, chopping and […]

We Found a Hat

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Whole masters theses will be written about Jon Klassen’s Hat trilogy, if they haven’t been already. Here, of course, we can look only at this one book, since the actual Caldecott committee is not allowed to consider an illustrator’s previous work in its deliberations. We Found a Hat is a morality play in which (this time!) friendship and goodness and life […]