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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.

The Airport Book


I suppose I should begin this post with the standard disclaimer about how this doesn’t look like a traditional Caldecott choice and blah blah and BLAH. But really, is there such a thing anymore? So I’ll just say, This book is brilliant and deserves Caldecott recognition. The fact that it manages to be, simultaneously, an informative report […]

Twenty Yawns


Having won a 2015 Caldecott honor for Nana in the City, Lauren Castillo will surely be on the Caldecott committee’s radar. This is a very different book in theme and even in palette, but once again she does here what she does best: keep the focus tightly on the child’s experience, and get it just right. […]

Emma and Julia Love Ballet


It’s always an interesting exercise to look closely at a book that isn’t a top favorite. Don’t get me wrong: I love this book; I just wasn’t thinking of it as a Caldecott contender. But Julie Danielson named it (here) as a book she’d like to see considered. And, in fact, the actual Caldecott committee will be […]

Welcome, new readers!


Four welcome books — two easy readers and two beginning chapter books — invite new readers in using humor and tried-and-true formats and structures. The Thank You Book is (sob!) the final entry in Mo Willems’s hugely popular series of easy readers featuring the free-spirited Piggie and her best friend, the reliable if sometimes officious […]

Review of Sabotage: The Mission to Destroy Hitler’s Atomic Bomb


Sabotage: The Mission to Destroy 
Hitler’s Atomic Bomb by Neal Bascomb Middle School, High School    Levine/Scholastic    
306 pp. 6/16    978-0-545-73243-7    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-545-73533-9    $17.99 In this young readers’ edition of The Winter Fortress, Bascomb (The Nazi Hunters, rev. 9/13) turns his attention to a single, crucial Allied operation of WWII: the disruption of […]

Review of We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler

freedman_we will not be silent

We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler by Russell Freedman Intermediate, Middle School    Clarion    104 pp. 5/16    978-0-544-22379-0    $17.99 Freedman’s latest photohistory is an excellent overview of the White Rose resistance movement, a group of university students who, beginning in June 1942 in Munich, Germany, risked their […]

Review of The Airport Book

brown_airport book

The Airport Book by Lisa Brown; illus. by the author Primary    Porter/Roaring Brook    40 pp. 5/16    978-1-62672-091-6    $17.99 As an (interracial) family of four scrambles to leave its city apartment for the airport, readers get used to the book’s approach: as narrated by the older brother, a straightforward but lively main text provides basic information […]

Lisa Brown on The Airport Book

brown_airport book

In our May/June 2016 issue, editor Martha Parravano chatted with Lisa Brown about the motley cast of characters in her high-flying new picture book. Read the starred review of The Airport Book. Martha V. Parravano: Who was your favorite character to follow through the book? Lisa Brown: My favorite character was one that my son […]

Editorial: &


Last fall Horn Book editor Roger Sutton interviewed wife-and-husband picture-book creators Erin E. Stead & Philip C. Stead for our Publishers’ Previews advertising section. Here’s one part of their exchange: Roger: I’ve always maintained that there’s a significant difference between “and” and “&.” Erin & Philip: Now that you mention it, there is something about […]

Twentieth-century friends

neri_tru & nelle

Here are four works of historical fiction with vivid characters whose relationship with friends and family will draw middle-grade readers into their stories. In G. Neri’s Tru & Nelle, Truman, an eccentric Little Lord Fauntleroy aspirant, and Nelle, a feisty girl with a boyish haircut, strike up an unlikely and unshakable friendship in Depression-era Monroeville, […]