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Choosing Books

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

Letters to the Editor, July/August 2017, and Response from Roger Sutton

May/June 2017 Horn Book I’m writing to comment on an article in your May/June 2017 issue titled “Laughter and Resistance: Humor as a Weapon in the Age of Trump.” My comment regarding this article is in regard to Philip Nel’s language and opinions presented as if facts about President Trump. It would be one thing […]

Review of Karl, Get Out of the Garden!: Carolus Linnaeus and the Naming of Everything

Karl, Get Out of the Garden!: Carolus Linnaeus and the Naming of Everything by Anita Sanchez; illus. by Catherine Stock Primary, Intermediate    Charlesbridge    48 pp. 3/17    978-1-58089-606-1    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-60734-832-0    $9.99 Carolus Linnaeus (née Karl Linné) pioneered a classification system for living things that is, for the most part, still in use today. In […]

On our own

Children make their own homes and families in these middle-grade novels. The stories range in tone from zany to poignant and highlight important elements of any family dynamic: love, loyalty, understanding, and, once in a while, cookies for dinner. For more on how child characters define their own versions of “home” in fiction, look for […]

Five questions for Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise

Sisters Kate and M. Sarah Klise created their first book together before either of them turned twelve! Since then, author Kate and illustrator Sarah have collaborated on many picture books and intermediate novels — all of which are seriously funny. Their newest picture book, Stay: A Girl, a Dog, a Bucket List (Feiwel, 5–8 years), […]

From The Guide: Darkly Funny YA

When Andrew Smith’s book Grasshopper Jungle won the 2014 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for Fiction, it was praised for its blending of catastrophic sci-fi with angsty teen-humor. The following books likewise rely heavily on dark comedy to appeal to the snarky, self-referential nature of teenagers themselves, creating an appealing subgenre for self-aware readers looking to […]

Review of Felix Yz

Felix Yz by Lisa Bunker Intermediate, Middle School    Viking    283 pp. 6/17    978-0-425-28850-4    $16.99 Thirteen-year-olds may sometimes seem like alien creatures, but how often do you meet one with an actual alien inside? Meet Felix Yz (pronounced like “is”). When Felix was three, his scientist father was vaporized in a lab accident and Felix himself […]

Life under siege

Growing up amidst political turmoil and war can have profound effects on any individual. These memoirs and biographies offer nuanced explorations of lives in such uncertain places and times. In How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child, Congolese refugee Sandra Uwiringiyimana recounts life before, during, and after war. Growing up in the […]

Outta this world

In these middle-grade and middle-school science-fiction novels, aliens variously come in peace or seek to destroy humanity — but either way, their existence forces characters to ponder deep philosophical questions and experience life-changing journeys. Frank Cottrell Boyce’s Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth begins with narrator Prez Mellows (who is electively mute) opening the front […]

Summer’s here

Climbing trees, getting wet, having outdoor adventures. The following picture books capture the mood of summertime exploration and fun. Even though he’s warned to stay safely inside the icebox, the titular star of Ice Boy escapes to the outside (“Hello, world!”). He loves the outside with its beach and its sun…and he soon becomes Water […]

Books mentioned in the July 2017 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Kate and M. Sarah Klise Stay: A Girl, a Dog, a Bucket List by Kate Klise, illus. by M. Sarah Klise, Feiwel, 5–8 years. Summer’s here Ice Boy by David Ezra Stein, Candlewick, 4–7 years. Wet by Carey Sookocheff, Holt/Godwin, 3–6 years. Another Way to Climb a Tree by Liz Garton Scanlon, […]