How to find free and cheap books

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I just had an email from Samantha Song, a former student now teaching first grade in Somerville, MA, with a universal question that that I want to pass along to all of you. Here’s what she said: I’d like to pick your brain on an issue I’m having. I was a last minute hire and […]

Seeing yourself in literature

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I can’t really remember if I looked for literature with kids like me as a child. Did I read books about quiet, geeky girls because I could relate? Or did I read books about quiet, geeky girls because that’s what was available? Did I search for a character with whom I could identify? Or could […]

God forbid?

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He doesn’t really, but some incoming Duke University students are objecting to the pre-freshman year assignment of Fun Home, Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel memoir of growing up gay (and the basis for the wonderful musical of the same name). If I were God–or Duke chancellor–I would immediately revoke these kids’ admission, given the evidence that they […]

2014-2015 yearbook superlatives

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Summer is winding down (say it ain’t so!) and the new school year is approaching. Get into the back-to-school mood with our senior superlatives for characters in the class of 2014-2015. What superlative would you award your favorite character? Best friends: Sam and Dave (Sam & Dave Dig a Hole); Pom and Pim (Where Is […]

Billy’s Booger app review

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The Billy’s Booger storybook app (Moonbot Studios, June 2015) begins with an introduction, straight from the front flap of Billy’s Booger: A Memoir (Sorta) (Atheneum, also released in June): “This is Billy…one day Billy entered a contest. He made a book. About Me!” The “me” in question? A little green guy in a superhero cape […]

Oh look, another newsletter

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Look for The Horn Book’s new quarterly newsletter, WHAT MAKES A GOOD…? debuting on August 26th with “What Makes Good Narrative Nonfiction?” The issue features Five Questions for Steve Sheinkin, an essay about how to select NNF by the Junior Library Guild’s Deborah Brittain Ford, and brief reviews of our choices for the best narrative nonfiction published for kids […]

Trimming down a classroom library

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I recently found myself facing the dreaded task of packing up my entire classroom. Trying to see this as an opportunity to reduce the number of boxes labeled only with question marks, I sorted through papers and miscellany, recycling and tossing with gusto. Math papers that I never used? Recycled without a second thought. A […]

“What do you think of my labyrinth?” part 2

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I don’t know anything about this book, but it came across my desk the other day and I had to point it out. Look: You, dear cover, are not a labyrinth. You are a puzzle. Or a maze. You look neat. Really neat. But you’re still not a labyrinth. The title page, however, has totally […]

Toca Band app review

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Having just experienced the sheer bizarre joy that is Toca Band (Toca Boca, 2012), I fear it may be impossible to express exactly why this app is so much fun. But I will try. Oh, I will try. The setting is simple: we are in a park. A large, boldly-hued stage with three tiers is […]

Tales as old as time

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It should hardly come as a surprise to anyone that when it comes to the Disney princesses, I find myself identifying most with Belle, the brunette bookworm from Beauty and the Beast. The notion of a girl longing to escape her world through the pages of a story presented a strong parallel to my own […]