We need (more) diverse authors

#WNMDB

In the Age of Testing, it seems creativity is often left by the wayside. Professional development for teachers these days focuses on practices that supposedly raise test scores. Practice questions. Test-prep software. Data analysis. Incentives. To make room for these practices, it seems that many high schools no longer teach creative writing. We teach reading […]

Learning from mistakes

everyone ride bicycle

My second graders, like most kids, hate making mistakes. Often, when students begin the year with me, they see mistakes as something bad and rarely seem more embarrassed than when they make mistakes in class. Throughout the course of the year, I ask my students to work on honing a growth mindset and try to […]

59 ways to get writing

messner_59 reasons to write

The Internet is full of writers talking about writing. Plenty of authors support each other and exchange advice online. But not all of these writers share wisdom extensively enough, or in a format organized enough, that those thoughts can be gathered into a book. That’s what Kate Messner’s done — with the help of fellow […]

Board Book Roundup: Spring 2015 Edition

buzzeo_whose tools

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. Whose Tools? by Toni Buzzeo; illus. by Jim Datz […]

Behind the Scenes of the Little House books

pioneer girl

How much time do you devote to researching the books you give your students to read? If you have the time or are really interested in the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Pioneer Girl may be for you. This scholarly book with notes and appendices, edited by Pamela Smith Hill, is for true fans of […]

Prehistoric life

aronson_griffin and the dinosaur

Aronson, Marc  The Griffin and the Dinosaur: How Adrienne Mayor Discovered a Fascinating Link Between Myth and Science Gr. 4–6     48 pp.     National Geographic With Adrienne Mayor. Illustrated by Chris Muller. Mayor is a scholar whose fascination with mythical creatures led her to uncover a scientific basis for the existence of the legendary griffin. Hard […]

Social issues

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Behnke, Alison Marie  Up for Sale: Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Middle school, high school     72 pp.     Twenty-First Century This slim volume takes on human trafficking all over the world, covering debt bondage, forced domestic servitude, the sex trade, organ and adoption trafficking, forced military service, and more. Although the text takes a thorough, businesslike […]

Human body

burmingham_tastes like music

Birmingham, Maria  Tastes like Music: 17 Quirks of the Brain and Body Gr. 4–6     40 pp.     Owlkids Illustrated by Monika Melnychuk. The eccentric neurological conditions outlined here are usually classified as “diseases” or “disorders,” but Birmingham treats them matter-of-factly and even — with the aid of the cartoon illustrations — lightly. The science of phenomena […]

Books mentioned in the May 2015 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book

Creepy-crawlies Burns, Loree Griffin  Beetle Busters: A Rogue Insect and the People Who Track It Photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz Gr. 4–6, middle school     64 pp.     Houghton     2014 Trade ISBN 978-0-547-79267-5 Carson, Mary Kay  How Strong Is an Ant?: And Other Questions About Bugs and Insects [Good Question! series] Gr. K–3    32 pp.     Sterling     2014 Trade […]

Creepy-crawlies

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Burns, Loree Griffin  Beetle Busters: A Rogue Insect and the People Who Track It Gr. 4–6, middle school     64 pp.   Houghton Photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz. Scientists in the Field series. The Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), an invasive species, threatens “the entire northeastern hardwood forest.” In Worcester, Massachusetts, scientists and residents hypothesize that destroying all of […]