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Choosing Books

Promoting good books for children and young adults is the heart of The Horn Book’s editorial mission.

Review of The Undefeated

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander; illus. by Kadir Nelson Primary, Intermediate, Middle School     Versify/Houghton     40 pp.    g 4/19     978-1-328-78096-6     $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-05761-1     $12.99 Alexander and Nelson honor the achievements, courage, and perseverance of ordinary black people as well as prominent black artists, athletes, and activists. The free-verse poem begins: “This is for the unforgettable. / […]

Peeps and People

  Debbie Reese’s Arbuthnot Lecture is up if you want to give a look and listen; I haven’t listened yet but will; the lecture will also be published in a forthcoming issue of ALSC’s Children and Libraries.                 Then, for fun, see Kitty Flynn’s Peep-driven crisis of parenthood. […]

Review of Two Brothers, Four Hands: The Artists Alberto and Diego Giacometti

Two Brothers, Four Hands: The Artists Alberto and Diego Giacometti by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan; illus. by Hadley Hooper Primary, Intermediate    Porter/Holiday    64 pp.    g 4/19    978-0-8234-4170-9    $21.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4224-9    $16.99 Experts at accessibly describing art and exploring the often-complex lives of its creators, Greenberg and Jordan (most recently Meet Cindy Sherman, rev. […]

“Informational children’s books” FTW

Jeopardy! fans know that record-smashing contestant James Holzhauer’s secret is reading “informational children’s books.” Perhaps James — or wannabe Jameses — might benefit from a subscription to The Horn Book Guide. Or maybe he should sign up for Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book; our latest issue featured “Collective biographies for Women’s History Month,” “National […]

Review of The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake Intermediate, Middle School    Little, Brown    373 pp.    g 3/19    978-0-316-51553-5    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-51550-4    $9.99 After receiving a heart transplant, twelve-year-old Sunny decides it’s time for a “New Life” with specific components — including finding a boy to kiss and finding a new best […]

Review of Carl and the Meaning of Life

Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Viking    48 pp.    g 4/19    978-0-451-47498-8    $17.99 Carl is an earthworm, always moving under the ground, digesting leaves and “turning hard dirt into fluffy soil.” When a field mouse asks him why he does that, […]

Review of Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc

Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott High School    Houghton    191 pp.    g 3/19    978-1-328-98759-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-04915-9    $9.99 In this verse novel, “voices” refers to Joan of Arc’s messages from the saints; to the various people who testified for and against her; to Joan herself; and to the objects […]

Review of Dogs in Space

Dogs in Space by Vix Southgate; illus. by Iris Deppe Primary    Kane Miller    32 pp. 3/19    978-1-61067-824-7    $14.99 With a happier ending than that of their legendary predecessor Laika, dogs Belka and Strelka became, in 1960, among the first animals to return, alive, from orbital flight. That does not, however, deny the suspense with which […]

Journeys through grief

Though each of the protagonists of these middle-grade and middle-school stories navigates grief in her or his own way, their paths to healing are all poignant and relatable. In Kwame Alexander‘s Rebound, the 1988-set prequel to Newbery Medal winner The Crossover, twelve-year-old Charlie Bell is spending the summer with his grandparents following the sudden death […]

Review of Lovely War

Lovely War by Julie Berry High School    Viking    471 pp. 3/19    978-0-451-46993-9    $18.99 When the Greek god of fire, Hephaestus, catches his wife Aphrodite, goddess of love, in 1942 Manhattan in a passionate affair with his brother Ares, god of war, Aphrodite defends her actions by showing the two gods what real love looks like. […]