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Twentieth-century friends

neri_tru & nelle

Here are four works of historical fiction with vivid characters whose relationship with friends and family will draw middle-grade readers into their stories. In G. Neri’s Tru & Nelle, Truman, an eccentric Little Lord Fauntleroy aspirant, and Nelle, a feisty girl with a boyish haircut, strike up an unlikely and unshakable friendship in Depression-era Monroeville, […]

Review of Booked

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Booked by Kwame Alexander Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    314 pp. 4/16    978-0-544-57098-6    $16.99    g Eighth grader Nick Hall is quite a wordsmith, thanks largely to his father, a linguistics professor and the author of Weird and Wonderful Words, which Nick is required to read page by page: “You’re the only kid / on your block / […]

Review of The Lie Tree

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The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge Middle School, High School    Amulet/Abrams    378 pp. 4/16    978-1-4197-1895-3    $17.95 Everything in this audacious novel is on the cusp or in limbo, setting up delicious tensions and thematic riches. The time is nineteenth-century England just after Darwin’s theory of evolution has thrown the scientific world into turmoil; the setting […]

Review of The Passion of Dolssa

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The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry Middle School, High School    Viking    482 pp. 4/16    978-0-451-46992-2    $18.99    g Berry (All the Truth That’s in Me, rev. 11/13) tells the story of (fictional) Catholic mystic Dolssa de Stigata after she escapes being burned as a heretic in 1241 Toulouse, France; mostly, however, it’s the story of […]

Julie Berry on The Passion of Dolssa

Photo: Bruce Lucier

In our March/April 2016 issue, Horn Book Magazine editor Martha V. Parravano talked with Julie Berry about how she researched and evoked thirteenth-century Provincia. Read the starred review of The Passion of Dolssa. Martha V. Parravano: An astounding amount of research went into this book — and surely you must now be the world’s leading […]

Review of A Dragon’s Guide to Making 
Your Human Smarter

yep_dragon's guide to making your human smarter

A Dragon’s Guide to Making 
Your Human Smarter by Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder; 
illus. by Mary GrandPré Intermediate    Crown    296 pp. 3/16    978-0-385-39232-7    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-385-39233-4    $19.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-385-39234-1    $10.99 Newly admitted to Spriggs Academy, Winnie Burton has more to contend with than the usual new-girl jitters. Winnie’s dragon-caretaker, Miss Drake, […]

Review of Andy & Sandy’s Anything Adventure and When Andy Met Sandy

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Andy & Sandy’s Anything Adventure by Tomie dePaola and Jim Lewis; illus. by Tomie dePaola Preschool, Primary   Simon   32 pp. 3/16   978-1-4814-4157-5   $8.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4814-4158-2   $8.99 When Andy Met Sandy by Tomie dePaola and Jim Lewis; illus. by Tomie dePaola Preschool, Primary   Simon   32 pp. 3/16   978-1-4814-4155-1   $8.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4814-4156-8   $8.99 Andy and […]

Review of Burn Baby Burn

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Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina High School   Candlewick   308 pp. 3/16   978-0-7636-7467-0   $17.99   g This vividly evoked coming-of-age story is set against actual events in 1977 New York City, when tensions rose throughout a city enduring an oppressive heat wave, culminating in the historic blackout of July 13th. Seventeen-year-old Nora López faces an insecure […]

New (and old) friends for beginning readers

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Many beginning readers love visiting familiar characters. Here are two continuations of existing series; one spinoff of an old favorite; and the beginning of a series whose characters may quickly feel like old friends. Tomie dePaola and Jim Lewis debut a series for just-beginning readers, with entertaining, expressive illustrations by dePaola. In the first entry, […]

Some audiobooks!

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Variously set long ago, far away and right here, right now, these audiobooks deeply engage middle-grade listeners in the struggles — and triumphs — of their protagonists. George, Alex Gino’s middle-grade novel about a transgender girl named George (who secretly thinks of herself as Melissa), gets a remarkable reading from narrator Jamie Clayton, herself transgender. […]