Letter to the Editor from Martha Bennett Stiles, May/June 2013

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I was struck by Jon Klassen’s comment in discussing his delightful Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winner Extra Yarn: “In the stories we seem to remember most, we’re given a certain set of ingredients, and then we’re let loose to build on them and let them affect us.” Oh, yes. I remember finding that one of […]

Excerpt from The Chocolate Games

The Chocolate Games

“Hi, Mum! Hi, Pop!” Mike squeaks as he hops from the screen onto the table. “Look at me! I’m the first boy sent by television!” Mrs. Teavee shrieks. “You’re an inch tall! Oh, my sweet boy!” “Sweet?” Grandpa Joe whispers to me. “He blew Violet to bits!” True, Mike did chuck his flinty Everlasting Gobstopper […]

Review of We March

We March

We March by Shane W. Evans; 
illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Porter/Roaring Brook    32 pp. 1/12    978-1-59643-539-1    $16.99 Many young children know there was a march on Washington a long time ago and that Martin Luther King Jr. gave a famous speech that day. Some know why the march took place; fewer still know […]

Review of To the Mountaintop: My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement

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To the Mountaintop: My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement [New York Times Books] by Charlayne Hunter-Gault Middle School, High School    Flash Point/Roaring Brook    195 pp.    1/12    978-1-59643-605-3    $22.99 One of the first two students to successfully desegregate an all-white college in the South looks back at six pivotal years of the U.S. civil rights […]

Review of The Cabinet of Earths

The Cabinet of Earths

The Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet Intermediate    Harper/HarperCollins    260 pp. 1/12    978-0-06-196313-1    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-209919-8    $8.99 “Well! It is better to read fairy tales than to find yourself caught in them,” Nesbet’s narrator declares, a predictor of what is to be found in the subsequent pages — for Nesbet’s story is a-shimmer with […]

Review of The One and Only Ivan

One and Only Ivan

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate; 
illus. by Patricia Castelao Intermediate    Harper/HarperCollins    305 pp. 1/12    978-0-06-199225-4    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-06-210198-3    $9.99 “I am Ivan. I am a gorilla. / It’s not as easy as it looks.” In short chapters (the book has an open layout and frequent illustrations) that have the look […]

Review of 10 Hungry Rabbits

10 Hungry Rabbits

10 Hungry Rabbits: Counting & Color Concepts by Anita Lobel; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Knopf    24 pp. 2/12    978-0-375-86864-1    $9.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-96864-8    $12.99    g When Mama Rabbit announces her plans to make vegetable soup for dinner, her ten children—each one wearing a different color—gather ten matching colorful ingredients: one purple cabbage, two […]

What Makes a Good Rock-and-Roll Book?

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Every time critics and writers declare rock-and-roll dead, it rises again; re-tuned, rebranded, and repackaged for a new generation. Signs of life abound: Green Day’s Gen Y suburban angst, captured in their mini rock opera American Idiot, has sold 14 million copies internationally and became a smash adaptation for the Broadway stage. Folk singer Elizabeth […]

Books to Unite the Digitally Divided Family

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Ladies and gentlemen, winners of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards, people of the book…

We gather to ask our annual question: “Can there still be books for the young?” Even now, in these darkening days, while Barnes & Noble eats independent booksellers, and Amazon eats Barnes & Noble. New problems to mask the old ones we never solved, since you can still sit out twelve years of school in the “remedial” program not because you’re “learning disabled” but because you aren’t home at night. Can our books still tell their stories in the age of the “digitally reduced attention span”? Can we still reach a generation whose own parents lost eye contact with them long ago? In the full knowledge that there is no app for eye contact…

Oh, yes. The answer is yes because never have the young needed us more. Never has a young generation on their way to adulthood lived this far from adults. Never has a generation needed an adult voice more, if only on the page and well disguised.

Review of Cold Cereal

Cold Cereal

Cold Cereal by Adam Rex; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins 422 pp. 2/12 978-0-06-206002-0 $16.99 g In the town of Goodborough, home to the Goodco cereal company, new kid Scott Doe is seeing things. Specifically, a rabbit-headed man, a unicat, and a leprechaun named Mick. His only friends, brainy twins […]