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Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book

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Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book is a quarterly supplement to our monthly e-newsletter Notes from the Horn Book. Nonfiction Notes provides recommendations of recently published nonfiction books, by topic, across grade levels, ability levels, and all areas of interest. All reviews are from The Horn Book Guide and The Horn Book Guide Online.

The Common Core State Standards Initiative will help guide our selections. More importantly, though, good books are good books — and we’re highlighting the best of the best for use in school, libraries, or at home.

Some introductory resources are below. We will update this site regularly with links and blog posts. Send questions, comments, or feedback to: Sign up here. And enjoy Nonfiction Notes!


Nonfiction resources

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal

Orbis Pictucs Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children

“Nonfiction: What’s Really New and Different — and What Isn’t” by Barbara Bader (November/December 2011 issue of The Horn Book Magazine)

“The Importance of Being Wrong” by Steve Jenkins (March/April 2011 special issue of The Horn Book Magazine)

“Narrative Nonfiction: Kicking Ass at Last” by Elizabeth Partridge (March/April 2011 special issue of The Horn Book Magazine)

“Sing a Song of Science: Scientists in the Field” by Erica Zappy (March/April 2011 special issue of The Horn Book Magazine)

“The Amorphous Genre” by Jonathan Hunt (May/June 2013 issue of The Horn Book Magazine)

“Danger! Dialogue Ahead” by Marc Tyler Nobleman (May/June 2013 issue of The Horn Book Magazine)

“What Teachers Need to Know About the ‘New’ Nonfiction” by Sharon Ruth Gill (Reading Rockets)

“Persons of Interest: The Untold Rewards of Picture Book Biographies” by Barbara Bader (September/October 2013 issue of The Horn Book Magazine)

“Today’s Picture Book Biographies: Back Matter Matters” by Tracy Nelson Maurer and Ann Henkens Matzke (September 20th, 2013 at The Horn Book’s website)

“Changing Times” and more by NF great Russell Freedman

What Makes Good… Narrative Nonfiction? including Five Questions for Steve Sheinkin.

What Makes a Good Nonfiction Adaptation? by Betty Carter. (May/June 2015 special issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Transformations)

Candace Fleming’s 2015 Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Award speech for The Family Romanov.

Common Core resources

The Common Core State Standards Initiative

all posts tagged “Common Core” on

“What Common Core Means for Publishers” by Karen Springen (July 16th, 2012 issue of Publishers Weekly)

“Common Core Ready?” by Roger Sutton (July/August 2013 issue of The Horn Book Magazine)

On Common Core — Getting Real by Marc Aronson and Sue Bartle (October 18th, 2012 School Library Journal webcast)

“Who’s Minding the Schools?” by Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus (June 8th, 2013 New York Times Sunday Review)

“I Want a Real Picture of a Dinosaur” by Marc Aronson (September 18th, 2013 at School Library Journal‘s Consider the Source)

“A School and Public Librarian Find Common Ground on the Common Core” by Nina Lindsay and Olga Nesi in conversation; moderated by Daryl Grabarek (October 21th, 2013 at School Library Journal‘s website)



January 2016
• Immigration
• Customs and lifestyles
• Inspirational athletes
• Investigating crime
• Psychology and mindfulness

March 2016
• Inspiring women
• Earth Day 2016
• National Poetry Month 2016
• Robotics
• Botany

May 2016
• Art appreciation
• Activism
• Inventions and inventors
• Wildlife rescue
• War and peace



January 2015
• Black History Month
• Presidents and their families
• Archaeology
• Language and literature
• Physics and chemistry

March 2015
• Trailblazing women
• Earth Day 2015
• National Poetry Month
• Folklore from around the world
• Sporting life

May 2015
• Creepy-crawlies
• Prehistoric life
• Human body
• Rock ‘n’ roll
• Social issues

September 2015
• Economics and money
• Social revolutionaries
• Stories behind the stories
• Inventions and innovations
• Extracurriculars

October 2015
• Research and information science
• Ancient and medieval history
• Sea life
• Vehicles
• Pop culture

November 2015
• World religions
• Natural history
• Medicine and diseases
• Space and space exploration
• Food and cooking



January 2014
• U.S. presidents
• Civil rights
• Endangered species
• Space
• Snow day

March 2014
• Women’s History
• Poetry
• Earth Day
• Migration
• Math concepts

May 2014
• Folklore
• Insects and arachnids
• Oceanography
• Gardening and outdoor discovery
• Sports and recreation

September 2014
• All about animals
• Disasters
• Performing artists
• Careers and community helpers
• After-school activities

October 2014
• Unexplained phenomena
• Memoir
• Domestic animals
• Big ideas
• Cookery

November 2014
• Social change
• How things work
• Indigenous cultures
• Geography and maps
• Medicine and the human body



January 2013
• “Science and the Common Core”
• Earth science
• Animal behavior
• Health and the human body
• Machines and technology
• Books for Presidents’ Day
• The Civil War
• Discovering ancient and medieval history
• Music
• Dance
• Snow day activities

April 2013
• Remembering the Holocaust
• Exploration
• Habitats and wildlife
• Farm life, husbandry, and gardening
• Life skills and wellness

June 2013
• Social issues
• Poetry
• Myths and legends
• Oceanography and marine life
• Sports and recreation

September 2013
• Scientist biographies
• Architecture
• Social reformers and activists
• Folklore
• Math is elementary

October 2013
• Colonial America
• Literary biographies
• Technology innovations, past and present
• Visual arts
• Sports season

November 2013
• World religions
• Native Americans
• Cookery
• Handicrafts
• Exotic creatures



October 2012
• “Common Ground”
• Government, politics, and leaders
• The Civil Rights movement
• World cultures
• Pollution and conservation
• Experiments and science projects
• Astronomy
• Dinosaurs and prehistoric life
• Language arts
• The arts
• After-school fun



Sandy Westbrook: “Thanks for publishing this! I’ve read them all and find them to be really helpful. We’ve done a lot of weeding in our nonfiction area and now I’m looking for great books to restock. I always find your reviews to be helpful.” (email September 26, 2013)

Janet Larscheid: “So far, so good. It’s great to be informed of new nonfiction works. I hope you continue with this venture.” (email September 26, 2013)

Beth Staiger: “I love Nonfiction Notes! Keep it coming. These books are really good to hear about and there isn’t another place for recommendations as wonderful as Horn Book.” (email September 25, 2013)

Sandra Fletcher: “As a librarian in a Catholic School, I really need recommendations on nonfiction books. Thank you for the Nonfiction Notes.” (email June 26, 2013)

Katy Mann: “Just to let you know that this is the first of your Nonfiction Notes newsletters that I’ve taken the time to read and I’m thrilled with it. Loved reading all of it. Please continue. Anything coming out on the history and science of how we’re coming to know our universe for middle school children?” (email April 25, 2013)

Donna Jamison: “I’d always like to read more, especially science and engineering, and educational core standards for K-12.” (email April 25, 2013)

Mary Neville Hood: “I think Nonfiction Notes is a great idea. Although a retired school librarian, I am always on the look out for well-reviewed nonfiction… I also like a quick email update because I savor the magazine and read it slowly — these updates are read quickly BUT with just as much interest.” (email October 29, 2014)

Christine Wilson: “Thanks for this update! Nonfiction doesn’t always get the publicity that fiction does, but it’s equally important for a school library.” (email March 28, 2016)