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Using Books

Bringing books and people together.

Help! My newborn hates to read.

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By now, we all know the benefits of reading to children from birth. The emotional bonding, the language development, the cognitive skills. Plus, there’s a sleep benefit, as Dr. Robert Needlman of Reach Out and Read discussed at the Horn Book’s Fostering Lifelong Learners symposium a few years ago. Tiny babies need to learn to […]

Welcome, families!

Family Reading

Welcome to The Horn Book’s newest blog, Family Reading, a place to find children’s book recommendations, vigorous discussion and debate, advice, and humor about sharing books in the home. We are using both the words family and reading in the broadest possible sense. If, as Sister Sledge sings it, “We Are Family,” then “family” expands […]

Listening in on the past

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These engaging audio productions of four excellent historical nonfiction titles give teens another entry point into the profound (and profoundly personal) tales of courage and determination they relate. Steve Sheinkin‘s Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War uses Ellsberg as a focal point to tell the story of the Vietnam […]

Graphic novels that grab you

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These new graphic novels — two fairy-tale retellings, a mistaken-identity high-seas adventure, and a magical-realism ghost story — will captivate intermediate and middle-school readers. At the start of Mighty Jack, young Jack, while visiting a flea market with his single mother and younger sister Maddy (who does not speak), foolishly trades the family car for […]

Books behaving badly

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Some books sit quietly and do what they’re told. Others seem to have minds of their own. The following picture books feature picture books themselves as the stars of the show. Ben, Bella, and Bella’s dog star in a new book — This Book Is Out of Control! — which is no better behaved than […]

Friends to the animals

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The following chapter books feature kids — and kids at heart — whose animal-loving ways lead to beautiful interspecies friendships. In Frances O’Roark Dowell’s Sam the Man & the Chicken Plan, seven-year-old Sam Graham is too young to have a real job. But when neighbor Mrs. Kerner tries to hire Sam’s too-busy older sister to […]

How I Discovered Young Adult Poetry – The Zena Sutherland Lecture

Marilyn Nelson

A couple of weeks ago, at a dinner with several poets, one of them said, “You’re lucky, Marilyn: you know how to write poems for the young adult audience.” I laughed and told him he was entirely wrong. I have absolutely no idea how to write for the young adult audience. I just write what […]

A Second Look: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

RollofThunder_KadirNelson

It was one of those rickety paperback book racks that creak when you turn it. It listed to one side, so I made sure to stand on the side it was leaning away from, in order to see the books better. Spin. Creak. Spin. Creak. I’d read most of these books already. But I had […]

School’s first day and yours

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The first day of school is coming soon! Here are some resources from The Horn Book to make it a great one. August 2016: “What Makes a Good School Story?” From the Editor Five Questions for Adam Rex and Christian Robinson about School’s First Day of School Recommended School Stories: Picture Books Recommended School Stories: […]

Recommended School Stories: High School

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Alsenas, Linas Beyond Clueless 249 pp. Abrams/Amulet 2015. ISBN 978-1-4197-1496-2 Ever since fifth grade, Martha “Marty” Sullivan has been happy with just one friend: flamboyantly gay Jimmy. But now she’s attending an all-girls’ Catholic high school, which expands her social horizons both among girls (rebellious new friend Xiang) and guys. This mostly light comedy of […]