The Horn Book http://www.hbook.com Publications about books for children and young adults Wed, 10 Feb 2016 15:00:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.7 From the Editor – February 2016 http://www.hbook.com/2016/02/opinion/editorials/from-the-editor-february-2016/ http://www.hbook.com/2016/02/opinion/editorials/from-the-editor-february-2016/#respond Wed, 10 Feb 2016 15:00:02 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=57574 In honor of Black History Month, we are daily posting key articles from the Horn Book archives about the African American experience in children’s and young adult literature. Up today: Augusta Baker’s “The Changing Image of the Black in Children’s Literature,” a speech she gave in 1974 in honor of the Horn Book’s fiftieth anniversary, […]

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Roger_EdBriant_191x300In honor of Black History Month, we are daily posting key articles from the Horn Book archives about the African American experience in children’s and young adult literature. Up today: Augusta Baker’s “The Changing Image of the Black in Children’s Literature,” a speech she gave in 1974 in honor of the Horn Book’s fiftieth anniversary, and an excellent summation of how far African American children’s literature had come since she compiled her first bibliography on the topic in 1938. I hope you enjoy Baker’s astute survey and all the valuable contributions website editors Elissa Gershowitz and Katie Bircher are uncovering, each tagged HBBlackHistoryMonth16.

roger_signature
Roger Sutton
Editor in Chief

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Fantasy and science fiction | Class #4, 2016 http://www.hbook.com/2016/02/blogs/lollys-classroom/fantasy-and-science-fiction-class-4-2016-3/ http://www.hbook.com/2016/02/blogs/lollys-classroom/fantasy-and-science-fiction-class-4-2016-3/#respond Tue, 09 Feb 2016 22:03:20 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=57520 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 imaginary worlds. Jane Langton’s classic piece on fantasy from the 1973 Horn Book, “The Weak Place in the Cloth” provides an apt and lovely […]

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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 imaginary worlds. Jane Langton’s classic piece on fantasy from the 1973 Horn Book, “The Weak Place in the Cloth” provides an apt and lovely metaphor for the various ways that authors peek through, or break open, the barrier between reality and fantasy.

This week we are reading two novels: Far Far Away by Tom McNeal and Feed by M. T. Anderson. Students will also read Kristin Cashore’s piece “Hot Dog, Katsa!” on the pitfall-laden task of world-building. Please do your commenting on the three individual posts.

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Feed | Class #4, 2016 http://www.hbook.com/2016/02/blogs/lollys-classroom/feed-class-4-2016/ http://www.hbook.com/2016/02/blogs/lollys-classroom/feed-class-4-2016/#respond Tue, 09 Feb 2016 22:02:58 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=57524 At first perusal, M.T. Anderson’s Feed is an entertaining tale of privileged futuristic teens who spend spring break on the moon. Their carelessness about the environment, their pitiful lack of knowledge, and technology-induced overstimulation seems so exaggerated as to invite easy laughter. Not far into the book, however, we start to recognize every aspect of […]

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feedAt first perusal, M.T. Anderson’s Feed is an entertaining tale of privileged futuristic teens who spend spring break on the moon. Their carelessness about the environment, their pitiful lack of knowledge, and technology-induced overstimulation seems so exaggerated as to invite easy laughter. Not far into the book, however, we start to recognize every aspect of their lives as a mirror for the foibles in our own — satire at its best. As a high school teacher, I am hard-pressed to find a novel more provocative of rich discussion than Feed—about the dangers of technology, about the evolution (or devolution) of language, about our obligations as global citizens. But as technology catches up with the 2002 publication’s originally far-fetched vision of an internet-chip implanted in our brains, is the novel running out of time? What does it have to say to the techno-saturated generations of today?

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Far Far Away | Class #4, 2016 http://www.hbook.com/2016/02/blogs/lollys-classroom/far-far-away-class-4-2016/ http://www.hbook.com/2016/02/blogs/lollys-classroom/far-far-away-class-4-2016/#respond Tue, 09 Feb 2016 22:01:52 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=57522 Folk and fairy tales have long been fodder for writers, who re-tell, borrow, fracture, and invert the original stories in their own. I would suggest that Tom McNeal bends the relationship between fairy tale and novel in a new way in his suspenseful tale Far Far Away. What do others think about blending of new […]

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far far awayFolk and fairy tales have long been fodder for writers, who re-tell, borrow, fracture, and invert the original stories in their own. I would suggest that Tom McNeal bends the relationship between fairy tale and novel in a new way in his suspenseful tale Far Far Away. What do others think about blending of new and old? What does the novel suggest about the power of story? About the role of folklore in both literature and our psyche?  What else strikes you about this story that is wholly original yet draws deeply on common lore?

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Of magic and moxie http://www.hbook.com/2016/02/choosing-books/recommended-books/of-magic-and-moxie/ http://www.hbook.com/2016/02/choosing-books/recommended-books/of-magic-and-moxie/#respond Tue, 09 Feb 2016 19:16:28 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=57572 These books take place in fantastical worlds, but the protagonists’ pluck may feel familiar to many intermediate and middle-school readers. Twelve-year-old Gracie Lockwood, the high-spirited heroine of Jodi Lynn Anderson‘s My Diary from the Edge of the World, lives in a world that’s like ours but with a few key differences (involving dragons and poltergeists, […]

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These books take place in fantastical worlds, but the protagonists’ pluck may feel familiar to many intermediate and middle-school readers.

anderson_my diary from the edge of the worldTwelve-year-old Gracie Lockwood, the high-spirited heroine of Jodi Lynn Anderson‘s My Diary from the Edge of the World, lives in a world that’s like ours but with a few key differences (involving dragons and poltergeists, for example). When an ominous Dark Cloud seems to portend her brother’s death, Gracie, her family, and a classmate set off on a cross-country Winnebago trip in search of a guardian angel and a ship that will help them escape. Anderson lets the intricate details of Gracie’s world emerge gradually through her protagonist’s sharp, sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant diary entries. (Simon/Aladdin, 9–12 years)

nesbet_wrinkled crownIn the village in Anne Nesbet’s The Wrinkled Crown, girls mustn’t touch the traditional stringed instrument, the lourka, before they’re twelve for fear of death. Linny, full of “music fire,” has secretly built a lourka and expects to die, but instead, it’s her friend Sayra who begins to fade into the unreachable realm called Away. Nesbet’s fable explores the relationship of science, logic, and imagination; a cozy, personable narrative voice punctuates the drama with light humor. (HarperCollins/Harper, 9–12 years)

jinks_last boglerIn Catherine Jinks’s The Last Bogler, bogling is now respectable, and Ned Roach has signed on as Alfred Bunce’s apprentice. Ned must lure child-eating bogles with song so Alfred can dispatch them—and that’s only one of the dangers, for Alfred has drawn the attention of London’s criminal underworld. Fans of How to Catch a Bogle and A Plague of Bogles will appreciate Jinks’s accessible prose, colorful with Victorian slang; her inventive, briskly paced plot; and the gloom and charm of this trilogy-ender’s quasi-Victorian setting. (Houghton, 9–12 years)

deutsch_hereville how mirka caught a fishMirka, star of Barry Deutsch‘s humorous, fantastical, Orthodox-Jewish-themed Hereville graphic novel series is back in Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish. Her stepmother, Fruma, warns her to stay out of the woods while babysitting her half-sister Layele; so of course, curious Mirka drags Layele right in there with her. The girls encounter a wishing fish who once lost a battle of wits with a young Fruma and who now has a wicked plan to gain power through Layele. Expressive, often amusing comic-style illustrations do much to convey each scene’s tone and highlight important characters and objects. The eventual solution requires verbal gymnastics as much as heroics and compassion from Mirka. (Abrams/Amulet, 9–14 years)

From the February 2016 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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Winning sports picture books http://www.hbook.com/2016/02/choosing-books/recommended-books/winning-sports-picture-books/ http://www.hbook.com/2016/02/choosing-books/recommended-books/winning-sports-picture-books/#respond Tue, 09 Feb 2016 19:10:15 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=57570 Cheating marathoners; a trailblazing sports reporter; a girl shortstop; and an illegal integrated b-ball game. Here are some nonfiction sports picture books that capture the dramatic action both on and off the track/field/court. Meghan McCarthy’s The Wildest Race Ever: The Story of the 1904 Olympic Marathon describes America’s first Olympic marathon, which took place in […]

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Cheating marathoners; a trailblazing sports reporter; a girl shortstop; and an illegal integrated b-ball game. Here are some nonfiction sports picture books that capture the dramatic action both on and off the track/field/court.

mccarthy_wildest race everMeghan McCarthy’s The Wildest Race Ever: The Story of the 1904 Olympic Marathon describes America’s first Olympic marathon, which took place in St. Louis during the World’s Fair. It was a zany one, with cheating runners (one caught a ride in a car), contaminated water, pilfered peaches, and strychnine poisoning. McCarthy’s chatty text focuses on a few of the frontrunners and other colorful characters, shown in her recognizable cartoonlike acrylic illustrations. A well-paced — and winning — nonfiction picture book. (Simon/Wiseman, 5–8 years)

vernick_kid from diamond streetEdith Houghton was “magic on the field,” a baseball legend of the 1920s. Playing starting shortstop for the all-women’s professional team the Philadelphia Bobbies, she drew fans to the ballpark with her impressive talent. Besides that, Edith — “The Kid” — was just ten years old. The Kid from Diamond Street: The Extraordinary Story of Baseball Legend Edith Houghton by Audrey Vernick relates, in conversational text, Houghton’s life on the team. Appealing digitally colored charcoal, ink, and gouache illustrations by Steven Salerno evoke a bygone era of baseball. (Clarion, 5–8 years)

macy_miss mary reporting“It seemed that Mary was born loving sports,” writes Sue Macy in her affectionate portrait of a pioneering journalist, Miss Mary Reporting: The True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber. It was during WWII that Garber “got her big break” running the sports page of Winston-Salem’s Twin City Sentinel while the (male) sportswriters were fighting in the war. For much of the next six decades, she worked in sports reporting, blazing trails for female journalists. Macy’s succinct text is informative and engaging, her regard for her subject obvious. C. F. Payne’s soft, sepia-toned, mixed-media illustrations — part Norman Rockwell, part caricature — provide the right touch of nostalgia. (Simon/Wiseman, 5–8 years)

coy_game changerJohn Coy’s Game Changer: John McLendon and the Secret Game (based on a 1996 New York Times article by Scott Ellsworth) tells the dramatic story of an illegal college basketball game planned and played in secret in Jim Crow–era North Carolina. On a Sunday morning in 1944, the (white) members of the Duke University Medical School basketball team (considered “the best in the state”) slipped into the gym at the North Carolina College of Negroes to play the Eagles, a close-to-undefeated black team coached by future Hall of Famer John McClendon. Coy’s succinct narrative is well paced, compelling, and multilayered, focusing on the remarkable game but also placing it in societal and historical context. Illustrations by Randy DuBurke nicely capture the story’s atmosphere and its basketball action. (Carolrhoda, 6–9 years)

From the February 2016 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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Apps for morning, noon, and night http://www.hbook.com/2016/02/choosing-books/recommended-books/apps-for-morning-noon-and-night/ http://www.hbook.com/2016/02/choosing-books/recommended-books/apps-for-morning-noon-and-night/#respond Tue, 09 Feb 2016 18:51:18 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=57567 Whether following friendly characters through a day of fun or settling users down for sweet dreams, these apps make perfect additions to preschoolers’ own busy days. In Fiete: A Day on the Farm, children help sailor Fiete and his farmer friends, Hein and Hinnerk, throughout their busy day. Users wake the snoring men in the […]

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Whether following friendly characters through a day of fun or settling users down for sweet dreams, these apps make perfect additions to preschoolers’ own busy days.

fiete day at the farmIn Fiete: A Day on the Farm, children help sailor Fiete and his farmer friends, Hein and Hinnerk, throughout their busy day. Users wake the snoring men in the quiet early morning, then assist them as they gather eggs, shear sheep, pick apples, milk a cow, and, finally, load each item into a delivery truck before settling in around a campfire. It’s all very low-key and low-stress; the sound effects are quiet nature noises, and background movement is generally of the gentle swaying-in-the-breeze variety. The visuals are all rounded shapes and subdued colors (until the glorious pink sunset). (Ahoiii, 3–6 years)

goldilocks and little bearGoldilocks and Little Bear gives Little Bear a plot of his own, parallel to Goldilocks’s: he wanders off and finds himself at Goldilocks’s house, where he samples her family’s pancakes, wardrobes, and reading material. Hold the device one way for a scene in Goldilocks’s tale, then flip it upside down for a complementary scene in Little Bear’s. The stories converge when Goldilocks and Little Bear, fleeing each other’s parents, run smack into each other and strike up a friendship. Engaging narration, dialogue by child voice actors, plenty of visual and textual humor, and upbeat music round out the app. (Nosy Crow, 3–6 years)

sago mini fairy talesSago Mini Fairy Tales invites users to guide a fairy-winged kitty horizontally and vertically through a nighttime fairyland scene, discovering fairy-tale and folklore–related surprises along the way. These interactive moments occasionally mash up fairy-tale tropes, with very funny results (e.g., an ogre tries on Cinderella’s glass slipper). While full of preschool-perfect humor, this not-too-rambunctious app is a great choice for bedtime: the landscape is all purples, blues, and greens, and the screen dims a bit at the edges; subtle cricket chirping provides the background sound. (Sago Mini, 3–6 years)

steam train dream trainSherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld, of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site fame, chug along with the digital book app edition of their goodnight-train picture book Steam Train, Dream Train. Just as with the Construction Site digital book app, this one includes soothing narration that can be turned on or off; you can also record your own. There’s some dynamic motion and zooming in and out of the scenes, but it’s all fairly subdued, as befitting a bedtime book for lovers of: trains, monkeys, other zoo animals, dinosaurs, ice cream, hula hoops, balls, and most other kid-friendly items. (Oceanhouse Media, 3–6 years)

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Not your average problem novel http://www.hbook.com/2016/02/choosing-books/recommended-books/not-your-average-problem-novel/ http://www.hbook.com/2016/02/choosing-books/recommended-books/not-your-average-problem-novel/#respond Tue, 09 Feb 2016 18:48:07 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=57565 Facing illness, sexuality, family issues, and life-and-death situations, the following teen protagonists maturely and deeply explore the world around them while also looking within themselves. Until the hospital called, asking her mother to pick up elderly Mary, seventeen-year-old Katie — star of Jenny Downham’s Unbecoming — didn’t even know she had a grandmother. Katie, her […]

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Facing illness, sexuality, family issues, and life-and-death situations, the following teen protagonists maturely and deeply explore the world around them while also looking within themselves.

downham_unbecomingUntil the hospital called, asking her mother to pick up elderly Mary, seventeen-year-old Katie — star of Jenny Downham’s Unbecoming — didn’t even know she had a grandmother. Katie, her brother, and their mum bring home Mary, who is suffering from dementia. As Katie learns more about her grandmother’s and mother’s pasts, she struggles with her own secret: she is pretty certain she is gay. Told from a limited third-person perspective, the book offers implicit commentary on the historical and contemporary constraints on young women’s lives and their freedom to love freely. (Scholastic/Fickling, 14 years and up)

mcgovern_rules for 50-50 chancesIn Kate McGovern’s Rules for 50/50 Chances, Rose’s mom has advanced Huntington’s disease and Caleb’s mom and little sisters have sickle cell disease. The teens meet at the annual Walk for Rare Genes fundraiser, and their immediate attraction soon develops into something more meaningful. Rose spends much of the novel locked in indecision about whether or not to be tested for the Huntington’s gene, and what the results will mean for her future plans: college, a dance career, a relationship with Caleb. Rose’s realistically confused and complex anger and grief about her mother’s decline adds poignancy to the teen’s dilemma. (Farrar, 14 years and up)

kain_instructions for the end of the worldIn Instructions for the End of the World by Jamie Kain, Nicole’s father is a survivalist who believes wilderness skills are the surest protection from a dangerous world. When Dad decides to leave the grid altogether, moving the family to a ramshackle forest homestead, Mom balks and runs off. Dad goes after her, leaving Nicole and her younger sister, Izzy, behind. Nicole worries about Izzy’s involvement with teens living at a nearby commune; at the same time a brooding resident there named Wolf stirs up her own rebellious yearnings. Most chapters feature multiple narrators (Nicole, Izzy, Wolf, and others), but Nicole’s voice provides a steady through line to follow her genuine and compelling struggle. (St. Martin’s Griffin, 14 years and up)

hitchcock_smell of other people's housesSensory details (especially scents) evoke the physical and emotional landscape — 1970s Birch Park, Alaska — in Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock’s The Smell of Other People’s Houses. Four distinct first-person narrative voices breathe life into the adolescent protagonists. Escaping her alcoholic father’s abuse, Dora finds a welcome haven in Dumpling’s family’s fish camp. A few stolen nights with handsome Ray Stevens leaves sixteen-year-old Ruth pregnant and alone. The characters’ engaging individual stories, thematically linked by loss and yearning, are enriched by the tales’ intersections, and are grounded in emotional honesty. (Random/Lamb, 14 years and up)

From the February 2016 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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Five questions for Tanita S. Davis http://www.hbook.com/2016/02/authors-illustrators/interviews/five-questions-for-tanita-s-davis/ http://www.hbook.com/2016/02/authors-illustrators/interviews/five-questions-for-tanita-s-davis/#respond Tue, 09 Feb 2016 18:38:00 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=57560 Coretta Scott King Author Award honoree (for Mare’s War in 2010; Knopf, 13–16 years) Tanita S. Davis’s fourth novel, Peas and Carrots (Knopf, 13–16 years), is told through the alternating perspectives of prickly Dess, whose mother is in jail, and privileged Hope, whose family has fostered Dess’s half-brother since he was a baby and is […]

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Tanita Davis_credit David T. MacknetCoretta Scott King Author Award honoree (for Mare’s War in 2010; Knopf, 13–16 years) Tanita S. Davis’s fourth novel, Peas and Carrots (Knopf, 13–16 years), is told through the alternating perspectives of prickly Dess, whose mother is in jail, and privileged Hope, whose family has fostered Dess’s half-brother since he was a baby and is now caring for Dess. Issues of class, race (Dess is white, Hope and her family are black), family loyalty, and sibling rivalry are raised throughout, with no easy answers but satisfying food for thought.

1. Each of your YA novels is so different from the others in terms of setting, voice, issues faced by your protagonists. Do you usually start with a story or with the characters?

TD: I usually have a story I want to tell and a situation I want to explore. The characters almost grow out of the situation, then take it in hand and run with it.

2. In Peas and Carrots, did you write each girl’s narrative one at a time? Or did you alternate, the way we’re reading them in the book?

TD: I tend to write the story in alternating sections as I first approach it, then spend separate time with one character then the other, refining, checking that each of the voices is as distinct as it needs to be, and ensuring their individual narrative arcs hold together.

davis_peas and carrots3. The foster care system can get a bad rap in YA books. What made you want to focus on the positive?

TD: Fostering was a family mission. I was a foster sister from the age of nine or ten to the age of twenty-four, when I got new “for-keeps” siblings. Many friends of my family are also foster families, and some of my students were foster children. I have seen evidence of both highly positive and deeply negative experiences with foster care, and I wanted to honor those people who are doing it well.

4. The Horn Book Magazine review [by Sarah Hannah Gómez] points out: “The book could easily be described as a touching story about different ways to make a family, but it’s also a complex look at race, class, bodies, and the judgments people make.” How did you balance this particular, complicated family story with a broader social commentary?

TD: Balancing story and social commentary isn’t exactly a conscious effort. I’m not driven to Make a Statement in any book: I’m writing to tell a story, full stop. I am, however, fascinated by sociology; I am constantly drawn to observing people and their values, their attitudes, biases, and beliefs, and trying to make sense of them, as I’m sure every author, as well as every person, is, to a certain extent. All of us wonder why we act the ways that we do, in social, cultural, religious, gender, or ethnic groups, and what makes some things acceptable, and others so open to criticism or policing by others. The things I ponder in the wider world just naturally make their way into my stories, as my characters strive to “tell the true,” as Jane Yolen puts it, about their lives.

5. Of course we love our children just the same — but did your heart go out especially to any of your characters?

TD: Growing up I had to share my mother with a great many other children, so my heart, in so many ways, goes out to Hope in Peas and Carrots. Throughout all my books, I think Octavia in Mare’s War is the character with whom I empathize the most. She wants so badly to be bright and showy and extroverted like her grandmother Mare and like her sister Tali, to be someone she thinks Mare might admire, or that Tali might at least tolerate. But she has to accept that she is quiet, not a risk-taker, and often only seen as the “good kid” because she is too nervous to be bad. Still, there is something admirable and worthy and awesome about her — she just has to take her courage into her hands and dig a bit more to find and appreciate it. That takes heart and belief and work!

From the February 2016 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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Books mentioned in the February 2016 issue of Notes from the Horn Book http://www.hbook.com/2016/02/choosing-books/recommended-books/books-mentioned-in-the-february-2016-issue-of-notes-from-the-horn-book/ http://www.hbook.com/2016/02/choosing-books/recommended-books/books-mentioned-in-the-february-2016-issue-of-notes-from-the-horn-book/#respond Tue, 09 Feb 2016 18:21:46 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=57374 Five questions for Tanita Davis Peas and Carrots by Tanita S. Davis, Knopf, 13–16 years. Mare’s War by Tanita S. Davis, Knopf, 13–16 years. Not your average problem novel Unbecoming by Jenny Downham, Scholastic, 14 years and up. Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern, Farrar, 14 years and up. The Smell of Other People’s […]

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Five questions for Tanita Davis
Peas and Carrots by Tanita S. Davis, Knopf, 13–16 years.
Mare’s War by Tanita S. Davis, Knopf, 13–16 years.

Not your average problem novel
Unbecoming by Jenny Downham, Scholastic, 14 years and up.
Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern, Farrar, 14 years and up.
The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, Random/Lamb, 14 years and up.
Instructions for the End of the World by Jamie Kain, St. Martin’s Griffin, 14 years and up.

Apps for morning, noon, and night
Fiete: A Day on the Farm, Ahoiii, 3–6 years.
Goldilocks and Little Bear, Nosy Crow, 3–6 years.Sago Mini Fairy Tales, Sago Mini, 3–6 years.
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illus. by Tom Lichtenheld, Oceanhouse Media, 3–6 years.
Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illus. by Tom Lichtenheld, Oceanhouse Media, 3–6 years.

Winning sports picture books
The Wildest Race Ever: The Story of the 1904 Olympic Marathon by Megan McCarthy, Simon/Wiseman, 5–8 years.
The Kid from Diamond Street: The Extraordinary Story of Baseball Legend Edith Houghton written by Audrey Vernick, illus. by Steven Salerno, Clarion, 5–8 years.
Miss Mary Reporting: The True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber written by Sue Macy, illus. by C. F. Payne, Simon/Wiseman, 5–8 years.
Game Changer: John McLendon and the Secret Game written by John Coy, illus. by Randy DuBurke, Carolrhoda, 6–9 years.

Of magic and mettle
My Diary from the Edge of the World by Jodi Lynn Anderson, Simon/Aladdin, 9–12 years.
The Wrinkled Crown by Anne Nesbet, HarperCollins/Harper, 9–12 years.
The Last Bogler written by Catherine Jinks, illus. by Sarah Watts, Houghton, 9–12 years.
Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish by Barry Deutsch, Abrams/Amulet, 9–14 years.

These titles were featured in the February 2016 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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