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Talented tweens

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Discovering new talents — from running to writing to pranking — helps these middle-school protagonists figure out who they are and what their futures could be. In Ghost, the first volume of Jason Reynolds’s Track series, seventh grader Castle “Ghost” Cranshaw has a talent for running as well as a tendency to get into trouble, […]

Trailblazers in the arts

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The following books highlight groundbreaking figures in the arts and society at large: a beloved author of children’s books and witty (and useful) works for adults; a folksinger who stood strong for his beliefs; a graffiti artist turned fine artist; and a little-known turn-of-the-twentieth-century female magician. In Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White, […]

YA love stories in troubling times

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Love can flourish in even the most challenging of circumstances. In the following stories, teens fall in love in the shadow of the September 11th attacks, at a self-harm therapy group, and despite cultural and familial pressures. In Gae Polisner’s The Memory of Things, it’s the morning of September 11, 2001, in Manhattan, and the […]

Review of The Bossier Baby

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The Bossier Baby by Marla Frazee; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Beach Lane/Simon    32 pp. 11/16    978-1-4814-7162-6    $17.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-4814-7163-3    $10.99 The Boss Baby (rev. 7/10) finds himself sidelined when a new CEO, a string of pearls adding just the right touch to her sleek black onesie, takes over. This Bossier Baby […]

Review of Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life

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Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate, Middle School    Dlouhy/Atheneum    56 pp. 9/16    978-1-4814-5690-6    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-5691-3    $10.99 A historical document dated July 5, 1828, lists the property to be sold from the Fairchilds’ estate. Hogs. Cattle. A handmill. Men. […]

Review of The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog

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The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz; illus. by Hatem Aly Middle School, High School    Dutton    365 pp. 9/16    978-0-525-42616-5    $17.99    g An ambitious mash-up of medieval saints’ lives, the Joan of Arc legend, thirteenth-century French history, and elements of The Canterbury Tales, Gidwitz’s hopeful story of […]

Review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two based on an original new story by J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne; written by Jack Thorne 7/16    Levine/Scholastic    328 pp. Middle School, High School    978-1-338-09913-3    $29.99 This “Special Rehearsal Edition Script” of the two-part play that opened in London’s West End in […]

Board Book Roundup: Fall 2016 Edition: Halloween

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This column is part of a series of recommended board book roundups, formerly published twice a year, now published every season. You can find the previous installments here. Don’t miss Viki Ash’s primer “What Makes a Good Board Book?” from the March/April 2010 Horn Book Magazine. The youngest children can join in on the Halloween […]

Review of Rudas: Niño’s Horrendous Hermanitas

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Rudas: Niño’s Horrendous Hermanitas by Yuyi Morales; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Porter/Roaring Brook    40 pp. 10/16    978-1-62672-240-8    $17.99    g This follow-up to Niño Wrestles the World (rev. 7/13) is brimming with action, humor, and heart. It’s técnicos (“‘Good guys’ who play by the rules”) vs. rudos (“‘Tough guys’ who bend or break the […]

Horn BOO! 2016

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Not sure what to read on Halloween? Never fear! 
We’ve got you covered with picture books about ghosts, bats, and…trucks? Boo! Haiku by Deanna Caswell; illus. by Bob Shea Preschool    Abrams Appleseed    24 pp. 8/16    978-1-4197-2118-2    $12.95 Caswell and Shea return to the format of their earlier book, Guess Who, Haiku, and make it spooky […]