(Not-so) long ago or far away

hill_bo at iditarod creek

In these works of historical fiction for middle graders — taking place in 1920s Alaska, 1932 North Carolina, WWII England, or 1950s Illinois — the settings may be unfamiliar, but the feelings are timeless. At the start of Kirkpatrick Hill’s Bo at Iditarod Creek, Bo’s family has left Ballard Creek for the bigger and noisier […]

ABC, easy as 123

tullet_mix it up

Who says ABC books are just for babies? Why can’t you mix up some colors using just your finger, no paint? The following concept books defy conventions — and expectations. In Mix It Up!, Hervé Tullet follows the same format as in his hugely entertaining Press Here, but this time the play is focused on […]

Review of Count with Maisy, Cheep, Cheep, Cheep!

cousins_count with maisy cheep cheep cheep

Count with Maisy, Cheep, Cheep, Cheep! by Lucy Cousins; illus. by the author Preschool   Candlewick   32 pp. 2/15   978-0-7636-7643-8   $15.99   g Maisy helps Mommy Hen track down her ten little chicks in time for bed. Starting at the stable, they make their way around the farm (“Are there any chicks in the trailer? Or in […]

Review of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

kamkwamba_boy who harnessed the wind

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Young Readers Edition by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer; illus. by Anna Hymas Intermediate, Middle School   Dial   294 pp. 2/15   978-0-8037-4080-8   $16.99   g As a young boy growing up in Malawi, William Kamkwamba believed in — and was fearful of — magic. As he got a bit older, he […]

Review of The War That Saved My Life

bradley_war that saved my life

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley Intermediate   Dial   316 pp. 1/15   978-0-8037-4081-5   $16.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-101-63780-7   $10.99 Ten-year-old Ada has suffered almost unimaginable deprivation and abuse due to an unrepaired clubfoot: she has never been outside her squalid London flat; she’s hit, underfed, belittled, and locked inside a dark cupboard […]

Additional ALA Awards 2015

Alex Awards for the ten best adult books that appeal to teen audiences • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Scribner) • Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia (Houghton) • Bingo’s Run by James A. Levine (Random House/Spiegel & Grau) • Confessions by Kanae Minato, trans. by Stephen Snyder (Little, Brown/Mulholland Books) • […]

ALA Awards 2015: Horn Book reviews of the winners

alexander_crossover

     The most prestigious honors in children’s literature, the Newbery and Caldecott medals, were awarded to Kwame Alexander and Dan Santat on February 2, 2015, at the American Library Association’s midwinter meeting in Chicago. Also announced at the gathering were the winners of the Coretta Scott King, Pura Belpré, Michael L. Printz, Robert F. Sibert, […]

Review of Home

ellis_home

Home by Carson Ellis; illus by the author Preschool, Primary   Candlewick   40 pp. 2/15   978-0-7636-6529-6   g Ellis presents a dreamy, painterly meditation on the diversity and range of dwellings around the world and across time and imagination. “Home is a house in the country,” the text begins, and the illustration shows a simple-looking house with […]

Reviews of the 2015 CSK Author Award winners

woodson_brown girl dreaming

Winner: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson Intermediate, Middle School     Paulsen/Penguin     328 pp. 8/14     978-0-399-25251-8     $16.99 g Here is a memoir-in-verse so immediate that readers will feel they are experiencing the author’s childhood right along with her. It starts out somewhat slowly, with Woodson relying on others’ memories to relate her (1963) birth and infancy […]

Reviews of the 2015 Newbery Award winners

alexander_crossover

Winner: The Crossover by Kwame Alexander Intermediate, Middle School   Houghton   235 pp. 3/14   978-0-544-10771-7   $16.99   g Josh and Jordan (JB), identical twin sons of former basketball phenom Chuck “Da Man” Bell, are ball legends themselves, and they aren’t yet thirteen; Josh is the only middle schooler around who can dunk, JB has a mean three-point […]