Review of The Book Itch

nelson_book itch

The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem’s 
Greatest Bookstore by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson; illus. by R. Gregory Christie Primary, Intermediate   Carolrhoda   32 pp. 11/15   978-0-7613-3943-4   $17.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4677-4618-2   $17.99 If the central character of Nelson’s Boston Globe–Horn Book Award-winning No Crystal Stair (rev. 3/12) was the author’s great-uncle, Lewis Michaux, this picture book adaptation […]

Review of The Emperor of Any Place

wynne-jones_emperor of any place

The Emperor of Any Place by Tim Wynne-Jones High School   Candlewick   328 pp. 10/15   978-0-7636-6973-7   $17.99 “So much of grief is unlearning,” observes Wynne-Jones in this perceptive and 
multi-layered page-turner. When Evan’s single father, Clifford, dies suddenly, the high-schooler must work through his own grief while dealing with Clifford’s estranged father Griff, a military man […]

Lights, camera, chapter books!

davis_flop to the top

These lighthearted outings for early primary readers offer adventures both everyday (a run-in with a teacher, a classmate rivalry) and extraordinary (a dog’s rise to superstardom and…a ghost raccoon sighting). In Eleanor Davis and Drew Weing’s Flop to the Top!, young Wanda is a superstar — in her own mind. After posting a selfie taken […]

Family ties

petricic_my family tree and me

Families come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and configurations. The following nonfiction picture books present examples of this variety, with the common element being love. In My Family Tree and Me, Dušan Petričić creates an innovative introduction to the ordinary miracle of genealogy. Reading the book from front to middle, we meet the paternal line […]

Boys to remember

reynolds_all american boys

Four novels featuring teenage boys — in both contemporary and historical settings — take on big issues, with memorable results. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely is a ripped-from-the-headlines story written with nuance, sharp humor, and devastating honesty. When a quick stop at the corner store suddenly escalates into a terrifying scene […]

Review of Elephant in the Dark

Javaherbin_elephant in the dark

Elephant in the Dark: Based on a Poem by Rumi retold by Mina Javaherbin; 
illus. by Eugene Yelchin Primary   Scholastic   40 pp. 8/15   978-0-545-63670-4   $17.99   g Merchant Ahmad brings a mysterious creature to his village, “all the way from India!” While Ahmad sleeps, the curious villagers climb through a window in his barn and feel […]

Sounds good

ryan_echo audio

Audio can add another layer to a story, whether through the addition of story-enhancing music, through a narrator’s command of tricky jargon, or the way he or she can make even the prickliest character seem lovable. Here are four audiobooks recommended for older intermediate and middle school readers. As Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan begins, […]

Books mentioned in the November 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Tim Wynne-Jones The Emperor of Any Place by Tim Wynne-Jones, Candlewick, 14 years and up. Boys to remember All-American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, Atheneum/Dlouhy, 14 years and up. Calvin by Martine Leavitt, Ferguson/Farrar, 14 years and up. Show and Prove by Sofia Quintero, Knopf, 14 years and up. Orbiting […]

The Earth app review

tinybop earth title screen

At the start of The Earth app (Tinybop, September 2015), our blue planet rotates against a field of stars, with occasional comets flashing by (reminiscent of the opening to Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos). Scroll along a timeline at top of the screen to move through four geological eras, beginning with the Hadean Eon — the […]

Comics Are Picture Books: A (Graphic) Novel Idea

spiegelman_lost in nyc

Comic books are everywhere. Customers are purchasing them, readers of all ages are devouring them, teachers are using more and more of them in their classrooms, and they’re winning awards like crazy. Some people have applauded recent book-award committees’ open-mindedness to the comics format, while others remain conflicted. The recurrent question of whether ALA should […]