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Recommended Books

Promoting good books for children and young adults is the heart of The Horn Book’s editorial mission. Archived here are annotated lists of recommended titles.

Review of The War I Finally Won

The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley Intermediate    Dial    388 pp.    g 10/17    978-0-5254-2920-3    $16.99 This sequel to Bradley’s Newbery Honor–winning The War That Saved My Life (rev. 1/15) begins with high drama: surgery for London-slum-born Ada to correct her clubfoot; the news that abusive Mam has died; Ada’s mistaken belief that she’ll […]

Review of Masterpiece Mix

Masterpiece Mix by Roxie Munro; illus. by the author Primary    Holiday    32 pp.    g 8/17    978-0-8234-3699-6    $16.95 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-3912-6    $16.95 Munro is known as both a picture-book illustrator and a painter of large, detailed cityscapes. Here, the two disciplines converge. We watch as an artist walks to her studio, stretches a new canvas, and […]

Review of The Champions’ Game: A True Story

The Champions’ Game: A True Story by Saul Ramirez, 
as told to John Seidlitz Middle School    Canter Press    152 pp.    g 5/17    978-0-9977402-4-0    $21.99 Paper ed.  978-0-9977402-3-3    $14.99 In 2010 Saul Ramirez got a job as an art teacher at Henderson Middle School in an impoverished neighborhood in El Paso, Texas. Chess was another of […]

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

Five questions for Deborah Noyes The Magician and the Spirits: Harry Houdini and the Curious Pastime of Communicating with the Dead by Deborah Noyes, Viking, 11–14 years. Supernaturally good scares Poe: Stories and Poems: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Gareth Hinds, Candlewick, 11–14 years. The Wrong Train by Jeremy de Quidt, illus. by Dave Shelton, […]

The great unknown

Adventure awaits not only those intrepid real-life explorers who brave the great unknown…but also the readers of these captivating historical narratives about the exploration of space, the Amazon rainforest, the high seas, and the Arctic. Exploring Space: From Galileo to the Mars Rover and Beyond is a thoughtful, informative guide to the history of space […]

Five questions for Deborah Noyes

In The Magician and the Spirits: Harry Houdini and the Curious Pastime of Communicating with the Dead (Viking, 11–14 years), Deborah Noyes homes in on the Spiritualist movement during the turn of the twentieth century (think séances, spirit photography, ectoplasm, etc.) — and on Harry Houdini’s efforts to debunk its claims. 1. What drew you […]

Family curses, grief, and fate

These recent books for middle graders dip into the supernatural (ancestral curses, spectral mothers, ghost frenemies, growing skeletons) to raise larger questions about family, friendship, memory, grief, and love. In Lauren DeStefano’s The Girl with the Ghost Machine, ten-year-old Emmaline Beaumont and her father Julien are devastated by Emmaline’s mother’s sudden death, and grief drives […]

Scared silly

The following picture books perfect for Halloween put their own silly spins on thrills, chills, and…creepy underwear? For more, see “From The (Ghoulish) Guide: Horn Boo!” In Boo Who? by Ben Clanton, a little ghost named Boo is new to the neighborhood. He isn’t very good at the games his new friends invite him to […]

Supernaturally good scares

From a collection of ghost stories-within-a-ghost-story to classic tales of the macabre reimagined for a new format, these new books offer a fresh take on the usual suspects of supernatural horror. Graphic novelist Gareth Hinds adapts three of Edgar Allan Poe’s poems (“Annabel Lee,” “The Bells,” and “The Raven”) and four stories (“The Masque of […]

Review of Genuine Fraud

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart High School    Delacorte    265 pp. 9/17    978-0-385-74477-5    $18.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-99184-4    $21.99 e-book ed.  978-0-385-39138-2    $10.99 As soon as Lockhart’s latest intoxicating psychological thriller (We Were Liars, rev. 5/14) opens in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, readers will be perversely enamored of eighteen-year-old narrator Jule. She’s cold — sociopathic, even — […]