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They can do it!

kelly_skunked

Primary readers will cheer these determined everygirl heroines as they face — and conquer — relatable challenges, from learning a new language to speaking up to clueless parents. Author Jacqueline Kelly first introduced readers to aspiring naturalist/veterinarian Callie in the middle-grade novels The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate. Now […]

Books mentioned in the January 2017 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Andrea Davis Pinkney A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of The Snowy Day by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illus. by Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson, Viking, 7–9 years. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, Viking, 3—5 years. The wonders of winter First Snow by Bomi […]

Embracing cultural identity

latham_dreamland-burning

The following YA stories feature teens struggling with family, friendship, and cultural identity in ways that feel organic to their experiences and are relatable to a variety of readers. Alternating between the voices of two seventeen-year-olds — a contemporary biracial (her mother is black, her father is white) young woman named Rowan Chase, and Will […]

History of war

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“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The following books for middle schoolers describe the horrors of twentieth-century wars and urge readers to learn from history’s mistakes. Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience During World War II by Albert Marrin opens briefly with a prologue set on the day of the attack […]

The wonders of winter

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From joyful treks through gently drifting snow to the aftermath of a storm to suspenseful adventures in the icy wilderness, these picture books show many meteorological (and emotional) facets of winter. In First Snow by Bomi Park, a small child takes a dreamlike nighttime walk through the snow with her puppy. She makes her way […]

Saving Sisters: Little Women, The Hunger Games, and Frozen

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Those who treasure Little Women often praise the rebel at its center or its theme of sisterhood. Louisa May Alcott helped build domestic realism with a novel set largely around a Massachusetts hearth during the Civil War, but she also might be credited with having the audacity to write a book in which young women […]

Recommended Picture Books: Picture Books for Older Readers

coy_game changer

Coy, John  Game Changer: John McLendon and the Secret Game Gr. K–3     32 pp.     Carolrhoda Illustrated by Randy DuBurke. Coy tells the dramatic story of an illegal, secret basketball game in Jim Crow–era North Carolina between the white Duke University Medical School team and the black North Carolina College of Negroes team. The succinct narrative […]

Recommended Picture Books: Picture Book Biographies

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Barton, Chris  Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions Gr. K–3     40 pp.     Charlesbridge Illustrated by Don Tate. Barton follows African American inventor Johnson, from his childhood tinkering through winning first place at a 1968 science fair, attending Tuskegee Institute, engineering for NASA, and developing a super-blast water gun. Barton describes Johnson’s ups and downs […]

Recommended Picture Books: Metafictive Picture Books

barnett_how this book was made

Barnett, Mac  How This Book Was Made: Based on a True Story Gr. K–3     48 pp.     Disney/Hyperion Illustrated by Adam Rex. Barnett and Rex tongue-in-cheekily describe the process of creating a book. “Ideas can come at funny times,” muses Barnett, shown as a cartoon character arm-wrestling a tiger. It only gets wackier from there, as […]

Recommended Picture Books: Wordless Picture Books

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Becker, Aaron  Return Gr. K–3    40 pp.     Candlewick This third wordless installment (Journey; Quest) brings the story full circle. The father of the lonely girl with a red crayon follows her into the steampunk-meets-fantasy kingdom to share in the adventure. Becker is at his best creating lush, mysterious landscapes. Return‘s plot is, happily, […]