Rock ‘n’ roll

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Anniss, Matt  The Story of Hip-Hop Gr. 4–6     32 pp.     Smart Apple Anniss, Matt  The Story of Pop Music Gr. 4–6     32 pp.     Smart Apple Anniss, Matt  The Story of Punk and Indie Gr. 4–6     32 pp.     Smart Apple Anniss, Matt  The Story of Rock Music Gr. 4–6      32 pp.     Smart Apple Anniss, Matt  The Story […]

Best book bracketology

March Madness- Picture Books

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. A fresh, clean bracket has names neatly penciled into open slots, representing optimism and promise for excitement. Meanwhile, the sweetness of the beginning is quickly thrown into tumult, as surprises abound and unpredicted losses become the talk of Twitter. The competition is fierce, […]

Summer Reading List 2015

Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Here are our top ten books for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — all published 2014–2015 and ideal for the season.

Deliciously creepy fantasy

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Magical alter egos, parallel worlds, and uncanny situations add a bit of atmospheric creepiness to these four intermediate and middle-school fantasy adventures. Twig Fowler and her mother keep to themselves so that their neighbors in Sidwell, Massachusetts, won’t discover their secret: Twig’s older brother James has wings, thanks to a generations-old curse laid upon all […]

Hooray for Grandma!

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Four new picture books celebrate the special place grandmothers have in their grandchildren’s lives. Being a new big sister’s much-needed ally, introducing a young child to the pleasures of gardening, getting serious about pretend play as a custodial grandparent, or nurturing a budding artist’s creative spark, grandmothers’ roles are vibrant and varied. Just like the […]

Teens meet history

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Adolescence is always a time of transition. For the characters in these YA historical novels, that transition takes place while the world is changing as well. Black Dove, White Raven is set mostly in Ethiopia in the 1930s. Em (who is white) and Teo (who’s black) have grown up together, their mothers American stunt-pilots who […]

They’ve got the beat

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Picture-book biographies can be an instrumental way to introduce children to musical figures. Whether they’re breaking new ground or slapping the skins — or both! — the following real-life performers will inspire kids to march to their own beat. The protagonist of Margarita Engle’s poetic picture book Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed […]

Field Notes: Alice, the Transformer

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She began life as Alice Liddell, the daughter of an Oxford college dean, who in 1856, along with her brother and two sisters, was befriended by mathematics tutor Charles Dodgson, later better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll. A few years later, on a summer boat trip, the first transformation occurred when Carroll told […]

“Dear Mr. Zelinsky”

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This is a lesson in overcoming assumptions. The mail I receive from readers trends strongly to the appreciative; it’s rare that anything remotely critical comes in, so I’m sure I’m completely spoiled. When I read this letter from a class near Philadelphia and saw that they were questioning a scene in the background of one […]

Updated Earth Day reading

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The books recommended below were reviewed by The Horn Book Magazine. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.   Picture books Suggested grade level listed with each entry The Promise written by Nicola Davies, illus. by Laura Carlin (Candlewick) A girl, “mean and hard” as the city she lives in, […]