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Using Books

Bringing books and people together.

Beyond the world we know | class #4, spring 2017

This week’s topic is “Beyond the world we know” — a category that encompasses an extensive range of books, from magical realism to science fiction to the far away places of other worlds. Jane Langton’s classic piece on fantasy from the 1973 Horn Book, “The Weak Place in the Cloth” provides an apt and lovely […]

Creature-feature apps

These preschool-oriented apps invite young users to explore and learn with new furry (and feathered and…googly-eyed?) friends. Little Kitten opens with a brief (and optional) wordless video introducing our hero, a gray tabby kitten. Following this intro, the kitten — now in a loving home and christened “Crumbs” — plays in the child-owner’s bedroom. In […]

Dystopian teen heroes

These four novels envision authoritarian societies, some in the future, some not-so-futuristic, that cause their teenage protagonists to take revolutionary action. Under Little Town’s strict Regime, no one crosses the border to or from Old Country — until the Duda family arrives as refugees. Protagonist Charlie befriends teenager Pavel Duda and tries to teach him […]

Notes on Black History Month 2017

At the 2016 Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium, author Carole Boston Weatherford said, “Some people would like to close the book of our shared history around race because it is uncomfortable and seems ‘a long time ago.’ But we need to acknowledge realities of that history — from slavery to segregation to current police brutality […]

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

Five questions for Nikki Grimes One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes, illus. by various artists, Bloomsbury, 11 years and up. Notes on Black History Month 2017 Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan, Atheneum/Dlouhy, 8–14 years. You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen […]

Writing for adults and adolescents

Last January, I was at the annual meeting of the School Reform Initiative, a wonderful organization that works to help schools find ways to communicate and collaborate more effectively.  I was thrilled to find out that the keynote speaker was Edwidge Danticat, a Haitian-American novelist I’ve loved for a long time. She delivered an important […]

The past made present | class #3, spring 2017

Next Tuesday (February 7), the YA literature class will be discussing several books on the theme “The past made present,” considering both nonfiction and historical fiction. A number of these works address the topic of Civil Rights. One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia No Crystal Stair: A Documentary Novel of the Life and Work of Lewis […]

Refugee children

The following recently published picture books focus on very young children’s experiences as refugees — fleeing war, unspeakable violence, destruction of all they’ve known — and hoping against hope they’ll be welcomed into a new country where their families can find better lives. In a piercing first-person account, one of the two children in the […]

Introducing ancient Egypt

How can you introduce children to history in an exciting and engaging way? As an Egyptian parent, more specifically, how do you encourage your children to celebrate their heritage if their curriculum doesn’t and the general media is unreliable? Personally, my thirst for exploring the mysteries of my heritage was never fully quenched in my […]

Windows and mirrors | class #2 spring 2017

Please join the adolescent lit class at HGSE as we discuss two recent YA books for our second class on January 31. The students are required to comment on one of the readings, but we hope any of you who have read one of these will want to join our discussion. The Absolutely True Diary of a […]