From the Guide: Folklore (and Fakelore)

andersen_snow queen

In her article “Folklore vs. Fakelore, the Epic Battle,” Jane Yolen rejects the derision of “fake folklore,” tracing the tangled and not-so-folky histories of many tales we think of as folklore. Whether they’re straight abridgments, tamed retellings, or silly twists on well-known tales, the following books, all recommended in the spring and fall 2014 issues […]

From the Guide: Cultural Diversity in Middle-Grade Fiction

agosin_i lived on butterfly hill

Children’s books that acknowledge, respect, and celebrate young people from a wide variety of racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds are still too few and far between. These Horn Book Guide–recommended novels from 2013 and 2014 are fine examples of books that do. And for a full day of thoughtful, in-depth discussion about diversity of all […]

From The Guide: Spy Novels

bradley_double vision

In his article “I Spy: Harriet and I,” Jack Gantos discusses “the thrill of being sneaky” (“I just liked knowing I had discovered something that was supposed to be a secret”). It’s a universal fascination — one that Harriet the Spy tapped into — which is why the ever-popular spy-novel genre continues to entice readers. […]

From the Guide: Wordless Picture Books

dematons_holland

Truly accomplished picture book art not only works with and complements a text but also expands on the story, sometimes even offering an alternate version — or stepping in completely when there are no words at all (as with the three wordless Caldecott Honors this year). With sweeping panoramic vistas, zippy gouache cartoons, photos of […]

From The Guide: Picture Book Builders

ashburn_fort that jack built

Judges and winners of the 2013 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards came together in early October for “The Horn Book at Simmons: Building Character,” a day-long event designed to give participants an opportunity to discuss how characters are constructed, and how they reach out from the page, building bridges to young readers in the process. In […]

From the Guide: Teen Problem Novels

revenge of a not-so-pretty girl

In his “What Makes a Good YA Urban Novel?” column, Horn Book Guide reviewer Randy Ribay discusses books about teens growing up in cities and the issues they face. On a larger scale, the problem novel can be a way for all teens, in any environment and of any background, to find their struggles explored […]

From the Guide: Slightly Spooky Middle-Grade Tales

wednesdays

It’s time for trick-or-treating, costuming-wearing, and embracing all things eerie. In “Horn BOO!” the Horn Book staff recommends spooky (or kooky) offerings, mostly picture books, for celebrating Halloween. The following books about ghosts, hauntings, monsters, and more will all appear in the forthcoming fall 2013 Horn Book Guide. These novels are lightly creepy, gently macabre, […]

From the Guide: Historical Fiction for Teens

jepp who defied the stars

Good historical fiction engages readers with different times, places, people, and cultures while still resonating today. In young adult books, this means raising issues that are universal for teens of any generation: overcoming social expectations, coming of age amidst struggle, and understanding one’s identity and place in the world. Here are some recent YA novels […]

From the Guide: Graphic Novels for Children

babymouse for president

Accessible text matched with dynamic illustrations in engaging cartoon-panel layouts help make graphic novels inviting packages for younger readers, struggling or reluctant readers, and comics-loving kids. The following sampling of recommended titles from the spring 2013 issue of The Horn Book Guide includes perennial-favorite characters, debut series, graphic-novel adaptations, and more. —Katrina Hedeen Assistant Editor, […]

From the Guide: Novels in Verse

The Wild Book by Margarita Engle

To honor National Poetry Month in April, we’re spotlighting notable novels in verse from the past year. From illustrated lighthearted verse to historical fiction to contemporary realism, this eclectic potpourri of Horn Book Guide–recommended novels showcases the form and gives readers — from primary-age kids to older teens — good reasons to celebrate poetry. —Katrina […]