Customs and lifestyles

customs_bullard_my clothes your clothes

Bullard, Lisa My Clothes, Your Clothes Illustrated by Renée Kurilla Gr. K–3     24 pp.     Millbrook Bullard, Lisa My Home, Your Home Illustrated by Paula Becker Gr. K–3     24 pp.     Millbrook Cloverleaf Books: Alike and Different series. Young Jayden is thinking about “the right home for my family.” He considers apartments, single-family houses, mobile homes, and […]

Immigration

freedman_angel island

Freedman, Russell Angel Island: Gateway to Gold Mountain Gr. 4–6     81 pp.     Clarion Chinese poems translated by Evans Chan. Freedman’s slender volume on the history and importance of California’s Angel Island Immigration Station — the portal for Asian immigration to the U.S. — covers a lot of ground. He weaves a clear and straightforward narrative […]

Adolescent lit class begins tomorrow

lockhart_we were liars

This year both the adolescent lit and children’s lit classes at Harvard Graduate School of Education (where I moonlight when I’m not designing, reviewing, and blogging here at the Horn Book) will be taught in the spring semester. That means we’re running them back-to-back and holding our book discussions out in the open with all […]

The world around us

sayre_woodpecker wham

Preschoolers’ curiosity makes them an ideal audience for books about animals and the natural world. These nonfiction picture books communicate information at a preschool-perfect pace — and with plenty of wonder. In Woodpecker Wham!, author April Pulley Sayre uses a rhyming, sound word–filled text to introduce the distinctively noisy woodpecker and the rhythmic cadences that […]

Get a move on

pinkney_on the ball

Whether kicking a soccer ball, dancing ballet, tiptoeing through the…jungle, or belly-sliding on the ice, these feisty protagonists know how to keep things moving. Get on up! Brian Pinkney’s On the Ball begins on a soccer field, then takes flight as a young boy’s imagination soars. The opening text reads, “Owen loved playing ball,” and […]

Survival adventures

bancks_on the run

These high-stakes survival tales feature bad-ass boys braving the elements, racing the clock, battling villains, and fending off wild creatures, all while learning a little something about themselves and nature. Thrill-seekers should be enthralled. Tristan Bancks’s On the Run begins with twelve-year-old Ben’s parents fleeing the police, leaving Ben and his younger sister, Olive, on […]

Identifying with history

nelson_american ace

In poetry or prose, these works of historical fiction for middle graders delve into the search for identity during hard times, offering paths to self-fulfillment through connecting with family or the arts. In American Ace, a novel in verse, Marilyn Nelson tells the story of Connor Bianchini, who discovers that his biological grandfather was a […]

Are you following Calling Caldecott?

huntsman_callingcaldecott_small

I hope so. If not, here’s the link. At this time of year — from Labor Day to the beginning of the American Library Association’s Midwinter conference — my blog attention is divided because I also write for Calling Caldecott, a mock Caldecott blog. I hope some of you teachers have tried mock Caldecotts in […]

How the Grinch stole the show

Grinch stole Christmas

Every classroom teacher has a special tradition that gets pulled out each holiday season. In devising my own tradition, I fell back on what I know: Dr. Seuss. I spent my senior year of college becoming a Seuss-ologist (a term coined by my now-fiancé) while working on a research project that explored the language use […]

Going back in time: The graphic novel version of A Wrinkle in Time

wrinkle_time

The best stories really stick with you. And since I remembered really liking A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle as a child, I decided to read Hope Larson’s graphic novel version to see how the story was adapted. I’d been thinking that I barely remembered this book and reading the jacket flap didn’t help…but a […]