Survival adventures

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These high-stakes survival tales feature bad-ass boys braving the elements, racing the clock, battling villains, and fending off wild creatures, all while learning a little something about themselves and nature. Thrill-seekers should be enthralled. Tristan Bancks’s On the Run begins with twelve-year-old Ben’s parents fleeing the police, leaving Ben and his younger sister, Olive, on […]

Identifying with history

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In poetry or prose, these works of historical fiction for middle graders delve into the search for identity during hard times, offering paths to self-fulfillment through connecting with family or the arts. In American Ace, a novel in verse, Marilyn Nelson tells the story of Connor Bianchini, who discovers that his biological grandfather was a […]

Books mentioned in the January 2016 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Barbara McClintock Adèle & Simon by Barbara McClintock, Farrar, 4–7 years. Where’s Mommy?, written by Beverly Donofrio, Schwartz & Wade, 4–7 years. Emma and Julia Love Ballet by Barbara McClintock, Scholastic, 4–7 years. Get a move on On the Ball by Brian Pinkney, Disney-Hyperion, 3–6 years. Tiptoe Tapirs by Hanmin Kim, Holiday, […]

ALA Awards 2016: Horn Book reviews of the winners

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The most prestigious honors in children’s literature, the Newbery and Caldecott medals, were awarded to Matt de la Peña for Last Stop on Market Street and Sophie Blackall for Finding Winnie on January 11, 2016, at the American Library Association’s midwinter meeting in Boston. Also announced at the gathering were the winners of the Coretta […]

Reviews of the 2016 Sibert Award winners

tonatiuh_funny bones

Winner: Funny Bones: Posada and His Day 
of the Dead Calaveras by Duncan Tonatiuh; 
illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate Abrams 40 pp. 8/15 978-1-4197-1647-8 $18.95 Artist José Guadalupe Posada (1852–1915) didn’t invent calaveras, the iconic skeletons associated with Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebration, but they attained their greatest popularity during the twenty-four years […]

Reviews of the 2016 Batchelder Award winners

alemagna_wonderful fluffy little squishy

Winner: The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy by Beatrice Alemagna; illus. by the author; trans. from the French by Claudia Zoe Bedrick Primary     Enchanted Lion     44 pp. 9/15     978-1-59270-180-3     $18.95 Review to come.     Honor Books: Adam & Thomas by Aharon Appelfeld; illus. by Philippe Dumas; trans. from the Hebrew by Jeffrey M. Green Intermediate     […]

Reviews of the 2016 Belpré Illustrator Award winners

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Winner: Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage 
Changed Music by Margarita Engle; 
illus. by Rafael López Primary    Houghton    40 pp. 3/15    978-0-544-10229-3    $16.99 A young girl dreams of becoming a drummer. Though she lives “on an island of music / in a city of drumbeats,” hers is an impossible dream: only boys play drums. […]

Reviews of the 2016 Belpré Author Award winners

engle_enchanted air

Winner: Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir by Margarita Engle Middle School   Atheneum   195 pp. 8/15   978-1-4814-3522-2   $17.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-4814-3524-6   $10.99 Well known for her portrayals of historic Cubans in verse novels such as The Surrender Tree (rev. 7/08) and The Poet Slave of Cuba (rev. 7/06), Engle explores her own […]

Reviews of the 2016 CSK Illustrator Award winners

andrew_trombone shorty

Winner: Trombone Shorty by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews; illus. by Bryan Collier Primary   Abrams   40 pp. 4/15   978-1-4197-1465-8   $17.95 In New Orleans parlance, “Where y’at?” means “hello.” As an opening greeting (repeated three times, creating a jazzy beat), it also signals the beginning of this conversational and personable 
autobiography. Andrews, a.k.a. Trombone Shorty, concentrates on […]

Reviews of the 2016 CSK Author Award winners

williams-gracia_gone crazy in alabama

Winner: Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia Intermediate, Middle School   Amistad/HarperCollins   291 pp. 4/15   978-0-06-221587-1   $16.99 Library ed. 978-0-06-221588-8   $17.89   g e-book ed. 978-0-06-221590-1   $9.99 Williams-Garcia says goodbye to the Gaither family (One Crazy Summer, rev. 3/10; P. S. Be Eleven, rev. 5/13) in this involving and emotional concluding installment. It’s been a year […]