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RIP Lois Duncan

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I was sorry to hear about Lois Duncan’s death yesterday. Lois had been writing for young people for a long time–her first novel, Debutante Hill, was published in 1958 (and republished in 2013 by Lizzie Skurnick Books). She is someone whose work I always point towards as a reminder that YA fiction did not begin […]

The pros and cons of leveled readers

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These days, if you enter any elementary school classroom, the chances are good that you’ll encounter leveled readers organized into colorful bins with letters or numbers indicating the challenge level of the books contained inside. With the rise of literacy approaches such as guided reading, many hail leveled readers as a critical component of effective […]

Review of The Best Man

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The Best Man by Richard Peck Intermediate, Middle School     Dial     232 pp. 9/16     978-0-8037-3839-3     $16.99     g e-book ed. 978-0-698-18973-7     $10.99 Rise and toast The Best Man, Peck’s story about Archer Magill, a boy growing from a raw dollop of kindergarten id into a functional middle-school kid, a budding citizen of the world. As a participant […]

Joshua Khan Talks with Roger

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Talks with Roger is a sponsored supplement to our free monthly e-newsletter, Notes from the Horn Book. To receive Notes, sign up here. When I emailed Joshua Khan to set up this interview, he wrote back that he had read the Frances Hardinge Talks with Roger and that he, too, had been a Dungeons & Dragons […]

CBB Trivia Night — or — You should always listen to Elissa

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We needed a lighthearted evening this Monday. A distraction. Some silliness. A challenge. We needed to meet our match in a trivia team called Frog and Toad Are Friends with Benefits. Lucky for us, Children’s Books Boston’s Wicked Boston Trivia Challenge at M. J. O’Connor’s Back Bay, hosted by the one and only Jack Gantos, […]

The power of the image: photographs in biographies

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Striking photographs in biographies can draw in, engage, and inform young readers on a deep level. In addition, they can serve as outstanding primary sources. Whether the photographs are current, colorful, high quality prints, or old, sepia, grainy shots, they reveal much about the subject, the setting, and the social/historical context. The two books below […]

HBook Podcast 1.16 – Drugs ‘n’ Booze in YA

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Horn Book Podcast the sixteenth in which Siân and Roger talk about booze, drugs, and young adult lit. Books we talk about John Montroll and Min Sung Ku, Wonder Woman Origami: Amazing Folding Projects Featuring the Warrior Princess (DC Origami) Justine Larbalestier, My Sister Rosa Maggie Stiefvater, Raven Boys series Anonymous, Go Ask Alice April […]

Bertha’s apartment

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I just discovered some new Horn Book history trivia. While putting away some papers that have been piling up, I found a printout of Horn Book founder Bertha Mahony’s March 12, 1924 passport. I’ve looked at it before, most recently when we needed to confirm her height (contemporaries’ accounts say she was under 5′, but […]

Doctor Who Comic Maker app review

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As a fan of both Doctor Who and comics, how could I resist the siren song of that familiar theremin theme emanating from BBC’s official Doctor Who Comic Maker app (March 2016)? Similar to HarperCollins/Night & Day Studio’s Big Nate: Comix by U!, this app lets you write your own adventures for the Doctor and […]

♫Notes is bustin’ out all over!♫

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It’s the second Wednesday of the month, and you know what that means: June’s Notes from the Horn Book newsletter — the 100th issue, in fact! — is headed your way. This issue has 5Q for author/Broadway veteran Tim Federle about his novel The Great American Whatever, other queer-centric books for young readers, and (of […]