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Graphic novels that grab you

hatke_mighty-jack

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

byrne_this-book-is-out-of-control

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

dowell_sam-the-man-the-chicken-plan

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

school

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

alsenas_beyondclueless

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 […]

Recommended School Stories: Middle School

alexander_booked

Alexander, Kwame Booked 314 pp. Houghton 2016. ISBN 978-0-544-57098-6 Nick is a wordsmith, thanks to his linguistics-professor father, but he would rather be shining on the soccer field. He’s blindsided when his parents separate; things worsen at school, too, as he and best friend Coby are targeted by the racist Eggleston twins. With accessible forms […]

Recommended School Stories: Intermediate

barnett and john_terrible two

Barnett, Mac and John, Jory The Terrible Two 220 pp. Abrams/Amulet 2015. ISBN 978-1-4197-1491-7 Ebook ISBN 978-1-61312-763-6 Illustrated by Kevin Cornell. Forced to leave behind his proud reputation as class prankster, Miles Murphy dreads starting over in a new town. Miles finds himself paired up with do-gooder Niles at Yawnee Valley Science and Letters Academy […]

Recommended School Stories: Easy Readers and Chapter Books

Y_Cheng_Year-of-the-Book

Cheng, Andrea The Year of the Book 148 pp. Houghton 2012. ISBN 978-0-547-68463-5 Illustrated by Abigail Halpin. Nine-year-old Anna, who always has her head stuck in a book, sometimes uses reading as a shield against social exclusion (of the specialized fourth-grade-girl kind) and her own lack of confidence. Cheng’s telling is as straightforward yet sympathetic […]