From the Guide: Comics for Middle Graders

colossal_rutabega the adventure chef

This year’s ALA honorees El Deafo and This One Summer show that graphic novels and comics continue to soar in popularity and critical acclaim. In their article “Comics Are Picture Books: A (Graphic) Novel Idea,” Elisa and Patrick Gall urge audiences to look at the form with fresh (and less intimidated) eyes; and on our […]

From the Guide: YA Horror


This year’s “Horn BOO!,” our annual roundup of Halloween-y books, will satisfy the spook-loving picture-book set. Teen readers — those with a more mature taste in fright, greater immunity to fear, and, in some cases, seriously strong stomachs — should check out these horror novels from the spring and fall 2015 issues of The Horn […]

From the Guide: YA Memoirs

andrews_some assembly required

Adolescence is a time of transition that for many teens is characterized by hurdles big and small. These new memoirs, written by and/or for young adults, and all recommended by The Horn Book Guide, offer teenage readers real-life stories of hardship and hard-won triumph. —Katrina Hedeen Associate Editor, The Horn Book Guide Andrews, Arin  Some […]

From the Guide: Board Book Transformations

baker_no two alike

In his article “Hijacking the Pumpkin Coach” (beginning on page 14), Gregory Maguire starts with a contemplation on the meaning of the word transformations, as well as some useful near-synonyms, among them “shape-changers” and “old wine in new skins.” In keeping with this theme, here are some recent Horn Book Guide–recommended examples of popular or […]

From the Guide: Books to Fill the Gaps

ashburn_i had a favorite hat

In Vaunda Micheaux Nelson’s Horn Book at Simmons keynote address, “Mind the Gaps,” she laments the shortage of good children’s books featuring African American protagonists. What is there consists largely of books about the African American historical experience, not “books with black characters experiencing what children of any culture might.” As Nelson asserts, though, “we […]

From The Guide: Math Picture Books


In “What Makes a Good Math Storybook?”, Audrey M. Quinlan explores some “classic picture books that can be enjoyed as works of literature and also to painlessly introduce math concepts to children.” As recent issues of The Horn Book Guide have shown, the math-is-fun picture-book model is alive and well today. The following Guide-recommended books […]

From The Guide: Steampunk for Tweens and Teens

cremer_inventor's secret

Airships, automatons, futuristic gadgets, alternate history, and action galore: these are some of the key elements of the speculative-fiction subgenre known as steampunk. All recommended by The Horn Book Guide, these current novels (plus a new illustrated collection of works by genre-influencer and -precursor H. G. Wells) will satisfy devoted steampunk fans and win over […]

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. […]