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Recommended Books

Promoting good books for children and young adults is the heart of The Horn Book’s editorial mission. Archived here are annotated lists of recommended titles.

Review of Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out!: Games, Songs & Stories from an African American Childhood

mckissack_let's clap, jump, sing & shout

Let’s Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout; Dance, Spin & Turn It Out!: Games, Songs & Stories from an African American Childhood by Patricia C. McKissack; illus. by Brian Pinkney Preschool, Primary, Intermediate    Schwartz & Wade/Random    171 pp. 1/17    978-0-375-87088-0    $24.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-97088-7    $27.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-307-97495-2    $12.99 Children’s book royalty and storyteller supreme, […]

Review of Well, That Was Awkward

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Well, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail Middle School    Viking    314 pp. 2/17    978-0-670-01308-1    $16.99    g As eighth grade comes to a close and her fourteenth birthday approaches, Gracie Grant discovers she has a problem. Out of the blue, Gracie realizes she like-likes longtime and suddenly very attractive classmate AJ Rojanasopondist. But that’s not the […]

Snow day reading

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Most of New England has been buried in snow over the past few days, and many schools and workplaces are closed today. It’s a perfect excuse to cuddle up on the couch with a hot drink and a good book. Here are some suggestions for chilly reads to warm the heart — and help keep kids […]

Review of North, South, East, West

pizzoli_north, south, east, west

North, South, East, West by Margaret Wise Brown; illus. by Greg Pizzoli Primary     Harper/HarperCollins     40 pp. 1/17     978-0-06-026278-5     $17.99 Pizzoli’s digital illustrations for this never-before-published text by Margaret Wise Brown follow a little red bird whose mother sings to her about taking flight. She sets out exploring […]

Review of Grand Canyon

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Grand Canyon by Jason Chin; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Porter/Roaring Brook    56 pp. 2/17    978-1-59643-950-4    $19.99    g Vacationing in Grand Canyon provides a father and daughter — and readers — numerous opportunities to explore this National Park’s geology and ecology. Travel guide–like narration (“After climbing out of the Inner Gorge, you’ll find yourself […]

Review of Me and Marvin Gardens

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Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King Intermediate, Middle School    Levine/Scholastic    250 pp. 2/17    978-0-545-87074-0    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-545-87077-1    $10.99 The middle-grade debut of YA novelist A.S. King (Still Life with Tornado, rev. 9/16) was bound to be a little weird — and it is. It’s also a smart, environmentally conscious underdog story […]

Creature-feature apps

little kitten

These preschool-oriented apps invite young users to explore and learn with new furry (and feathered and…googly-eyed?) friends. Little Kitten opens with a brief (and optional) wordless video introducing our hero, a gray tabby kitten. Following this intro, the kitten — now in a loving home and christened “Crumbs” — plays in the child-owner’s bedroom. In […]

Dystopian teen heroes

conaghan_bombs that brought us together

These four novels envision authoritarian societies, some in the future, some not-so-futuristic, that cause their teenage protagonists to take revolutionary action. Under Little Town’s strict Regime, no one crosses the border to or from Old Country — until the Duda family arrives as refugees. Protagonist Charlie befriends teenager Pavel Duda and tries to teach him […]

Notes on Black History Month 2017

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At the 2016 Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium, author Carole Boston Weatherford said, “Some people would like to close the book of our shared history around race because it is uncomfortable and seems ‘a long time ago.’ But we need to acknowledge realities of that history — from slavery to segregation to current police brutality […]

Review of Life on Mars

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Life on Mars by Jon Agee; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Dial    32 pp. 2/17    978-0-399-53852-0    $17.99    g It’s Only Stanley (rev. 5/15) was a star-crossed (canine) love story that ended on the moon. Now Agee brings readers to the Red Planet. What would you bring along on a trip to search for life […]