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Review of Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune

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Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner; 
illus. by Gareth Hinds Intermediate, Middle School    Charlesbridge    236 pp. 2/16    978-1-58089-584-2    $16.95 Turner (The Frog Scientist, rev. 9/09) is best known for her science books for children; here she delivers an excellent biography of Japan’s legendary samurai Minamoto Yoshitsune. Because he lived […]

Books in the Home: “Mommy, Do I Have White Skin?”: Skin Color, Family, and Picture Books

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When my son was five, he was watching TV when a commercial came on that showed a woman slathering her peach-colored arms with lotion. He glanced down at his own brown arm. After poking it with a finger, he asked: “Mommy, do I have white skin?” It was a moment that seemed straight out of […]

Review of Balcony on the Moon: Coming of Age in Palestine

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Balcony on the Moon: Coming of Age in Palestine by Ibtisam Barakat Middle School, High School    Ferguson/Farrar    223 pp. 10/16    978-0-374-30251-1    $17.99    g In this follow-up to her first memoir (Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood), and beginning where that book left off, Barakat leads readers through her adolescent years in the West Bank during […]

Review of The Sun Is Also a Star

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The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon High School    Delacorte    349 pp. 11/16    978-0-553-49668-0    $18.99 Library ed.  978-0-553-49669-7    $21.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-553-49670-3    $10.99 New York City high school senior Natasha believes in science and rationality. An undocumented immigrant from Jamaica, she and her family are facing immediate deportation thanks to her father’s […]

Review of I Used to Be a Fish

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I Used to Be a Fish by Tom Sullivan; illus. by the author Primary    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    48 pp. 10/16    978-0-06-245198-9    $17.99 A simple, cartoonlike fish prompts musings on the history of human evolution. The text fancifully traces a fish in the water who “got tired of swimming” all the way up in its evolution […]

Review of Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

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Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe; illus. by the author Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp. 10/16    978-0-316-21388-2    $17.99 Picture books about artists are tricky. Should the illustrator mimic the subject’s style, or instead attempt to capture his or her essence? Steptoe does a little of both in this introduction […]

Review of Juana & Lucas

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Juana & Lucas by Juana Medina; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Candlewick    90 pp. 9/16    978-0-7636-7208-9    $14.99 This brisk, episodic (in the best way) chapter book introduces Juana, a young girl living in Bogotá, Colombia, who loves many things: her city, her family, reading, Brussels sprouts, and her dog, Lucas. She does not like […]

On Patricia and Fredrick McKissack’s “You can be president” (from March 1997)

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“Our Sunday evening news conferences with the presidents were always intense, informative, and a whole lot of fun.” I don’t know about you, but on this Monday before election day, I’m in dire need of something hopeful. “You can be president,” from the March/April 1997 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, is just that. I […]

Review of The Bossier Baby

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The Bossier Baby by Marla Frazee; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Beach Lane/Simon    32 pp. 11/16    978-1-4814-7162-6    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-4814-7163-3    $10.99 The Boss Baby (rev. 7/10) finds himself sidelined when a new CEO, a string of pearls adding just the right touch to her sleek black onesie, takes over. This Bossier Baby […]

On Andrea Fox’s “The Secret Garden’s Perennial Wisdom…for Parents” (from September 2012)

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Writer, reader, and former English teacher Andrea Fox loved Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden when she was a child. She gained a new appreciation for the classic, however, when she reread it as a parent. In an article published in the September/October 2012 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, Andrea reflects on how her […]