The World That Changes

Susan Cooper delivers the Horn Book at Simmons keynote. Photo: Elissa Gershowitz.

The very day that Roger asked me to give this talk, my grand-daughter stopped by my house after a science lesson. She was full of information. “Nana,” she said, “did you know that after a caterpillar has gone into its chrysalis, there’s nothing inside except soup?” I said, “Soup?” “Yes!” said my granddaughter with relish. […]

Review of Game Changer: John McLendon and the Secret Game

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Game Changer: John McLendon and the Secret Game by John Coy; illus. by Randy DuBurke Primary, Intermediate   Carolrhoda   32 pp. 10/15   978-1-4677-2604-7   $17.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4677-8810-6   $17.99 Based closely on a 1996 New York Times article by Scott Ellsworth, this picture book tells the dramatic story of an illegal college basketball game planned and played […]

Review of City of Halves

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City of Halves by Lucy Inglis Middle School, High School   Chicken House/Scholastic   361 pp. 11/15   978-0-545-82958-8   $17.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-545-83054-6   $17.99 While on reconnaissance for her lawyer father in the City of London, sixteen-year-old Lily is viciously attacked by a two-headed dog and discovers the existence of the other half of the City she […]

Review of On the Ball

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On the Ball by Brian Pinkney; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Disney-Hyperion   32 pp. 9/15   978-1-4847-2329-6   $17.99 Pinkney’s latest picture-book offering begins on a soccer field, then takes flight as a young boy’s imagination soars. The opening text reads, “Owen loved playing ball,” and the accompanying illustrations show a boy first dribbling and then […]

Review of Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and 
Survivors in World War II Denmark

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Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and 
Survivors in World War II Denmark by Deborah Hopkinson Middle School   Scholastic   339 pp. 9/15   978-0-545-59220-8     $17.99   g e-book ed. 978-0-545-59222-2   $17.99 When Germany invaded Denmark in April 1940, the Nazis believed their small neighbor to the north would be a pushover. The Germans were partially right: […]

Review of Dark Shimmer

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Dark Shimmer by Donna Jo Napoli High School   Lamb/Random   358 pp. 9/15   978-0-385-74655-7   $16.99 Library ed. 978-0-385-90892-4   $19.99 e-book ed. 978-0-375-98917-9   $10.99 Napoli’s latest fairy-tale revisioning is set amongst the beautiful homes and mysterious waters of fifteenth-century Venice. Dolce grew up on a tiny island believing that she was a monster: larger than everyone else, […]

Review of Samurai Santa: A Very Ninja Christmas

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Samurai Santa: A Very Ninja Christmas by Rubin Pingk; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary   Simon   40 pp. 9/15   978-1-4814-3057-9   $17.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4814-3058-6   $10.99 It’s hard to be a ninja when no one will join your snowball fight for fear of landing on Santa’s naughty list. There’s only one thing for Yukio to do: […]

The Writer’s Page: On Writing the American Familia

medina_mango, abuela, and me

I’ve always been fascinated by how people become part of the American tapestry. Some had ancestors who were enslaved. Others fled persecution, poverty, or violence. Their stories are often a potent mix of hope and tragedy. My parents came to the United States during the mass political exodus of the Cuban upper and middle class […]

Shelf Lives: From Bookseller to Bestseller

The Books of Wonder mafia: George O'Connor, Julie Fogliano, Neal Porter (editor), Philip and Erin Stead, Nick Bruel with daughter Izzy, and store manager Jennifer Lavonier. Photo: Carina Vocisano.

When Brian Selznick first applied to work at Eeyore’s Books for Children on New York’s Upper West Side, he was given a children’s literature test by store manager Steve Geck. “I knew Where the Wild Things Are, the Remy Charlip book Fortunately, and some Dr. Seuss,” recalls Selznick. “One of the questions was, ‘What book […]

Review of W Is for Webster: Noah Webster and His American Dictionary

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W Is for Webster: Noah Webster and His American Dictionary by Tracey Fern; illus. by Boris Kulikov Primary   Ferguson/Farrar   32 pp. 11/15   978-0-374-38240-7   $17.99 This breezy picture-book biography introduces young readers to the man responsible for all those plain, sturdy dictionaries housed in elementary classrooms across America. Far from plain himself, Webster was tall with […]