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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

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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

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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, […]

Mock book awards | Class #6, fall 2016

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During our last class on November 30, students will meet in mock award groups. At the first class, we formed five award committees based on students’ personal preferences. We’ve got a Geisel committee, a Sibert committee, and three Caldecott committees. Each student nominated one or two 2016 books which they will present to their group […]

Books mentioned in the November 2016 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book

Native American Heritage Month Behnke, Alison  A Timeline History of the Trail of Tears [Timeline Trackers: Westward Expansion series] Gr. K–3     48 pp.     Lerner     2015 Library binding ISBN 978-1-4677-8582-2 Paperback ISBN 978-1-4677-8640-9 Ebook ISBN 978-1-4677-8641-6 Peoples of North America series Bodden, Valerie  Apache Gr. 4–6     48 pp.     Creative Education     2015 Library binding ISBN 978-1-60818-550-4 Paperback […]

Music makers

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Deans, Karen  Swing Sisters: The Story of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm Gr. K–3     32 pp.     Holiday Illustrated by Joe Cepeda. This book recounts the highs (performing for soldiers overseas) and lows (dealing with Jim Crow laws in the South) for the Sweethearts, an all-female jazz band started in 1939 at a school for African […]

Psychology and empowerment

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Cain, Susan  Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts Gr. 4–6     259 pp.     Dial Illustrated by Grant Snider. With Gregory Mone and Erica Moroz. This distillation of the concepts in Cain’s adult book Quiet focuses on situations likely to affect kids and teens, with anecdotes from young introverts. Quiet Power discusses the challenges of introversion […]