Books mentioned in the July 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Varian Johnson The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson, Scholastic/Levine, 12–16 years. Middle-grade capers Skies Like These by Tess Hilmo, Farrar, 10–13 years. Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chicken by Julie Mata, Hyperion, 10–13 years. I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora, Roaring Brook, 12–16 years. The Vigilante Poets of […]

Review of Jake at Gymnastics

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Jake at Gymnastics by Rachel Isadora; illus. by the author Preschool    Paulsen/Penguin    32 pp. 6/14    978-0-399-16048-6    $14.99    g As she did with Bea at Ballet (rev. 7/12), Isadora shows a group of roly-poly toddlers enjoying a beginning class, this time in gymnastics, with an Asian American boy as the focus. Teachers Dave and Toshi lead […]

Review of The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra

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The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra: The Sound of Joy Is Enlightening by Chris Raschka; illus. by the author Primary    Candlewick    40 pp. 5/14    978-0-7636-5806-9    $15.99    g Jazz pioneer and self-proclaimed space case Sun Ra (born Herman P. Blount) gets a portrait as bemusing and sparkly as the man himself in this fantastical tribute. Raschka begins […]

Review of Fiendish

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Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff High School    Razorbill/Penguin    341 pp. 6/14    978-1-59514-638-0    $17.99    g Yovanoff (The Space Between, rev. 1/12; Paper Valentine, rev. 3/13) here weaves a haunting tale of old magic in a changing world. When Clementine was a child, a torch-bearing mob burned out her family; Clementine escaped by virtue of a magical coma […]

Review of Thank You, Octopus

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Thank You, Octopus by Darren Farrell; illus. by the author Preschool    Dial    40 pp. 6/14    978-0-8037-3438-8    $16.99    g “Bedtime, ahoy,” Octopus declares. His young shipmate isn’t thrilled. “Aw pickles.” Doting Octopus knows that a warm bath, cozy jammies, and a favorite story can help make the end-of-the-day transition easier, and he’s all prepared — in […]

Freedom Summer reading

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This year marks the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer, the 1964 grassroots campaign to register black voters in Mississippi — the state with the lowest percentage of black voters registered and a history of disenfranchisement through intimidation and violence. These books about that significant and bloody summer are all recommended by The Horn Book Magazine […]

Review of A Pond Full of Ink

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A Pond Full of Ink by Annie M. G. Schmidt; trans. 
from the Dutch by David Colmer; illus. by Sieb Posthuma Intermediate    Eerdmans    40 pp. 3/14    978-0-8028-5433-9    $16.00    g A skinny, long-nosed poet fills his pen from the ink pond in his garden and offers the reader a selection of story poems featuring personalities old […]

Review of Chasing the Milky Way

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Chasing the Milky Way by Erin E. Moulton Intermediate, Middle School    Philomel    279 pp. 6/14    978-0-399-16449-1    $16.99    g Just-turned-twelve Lucy Peevey lives with her mom and sister in the Sunnyside Trailer Park. Though she thinks of it as “a black hole of a place,” it’s not all bad; next door is her best friend Cam, […]

Review of All Different Now

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All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson; 
illus. by E. B. Lewis Primary    Simon    40 pp. 5/14    978-0-689-87376-8    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-0647-5    $10.99 Juneteenth — commemorating June 19th, 1865, the date slaves in Texas finally learned of their emancipation — is a day of celebration for many African Americans. In […]

Review of Leaving China

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Leaving China: An Artist Paints His 
World War II Childhood by James McMullan; 
illus. by the author Middle School, High School    Algonquin    113 pp. 3/14    978-1-61620-255-2    $19.95 McMullan was born in Tsingtao, North China, in 1934 to an Irish-English missionary family. His privileged childhood was disrupted by the 1937 Japanese occupation; by 1941, he and […]