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Review of Clayton Byrd Goes Underground

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia Intermediate, Middle School    Amistad/HarperCollins    166 pp.    g 5/17    978-0-06-221591-8    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-221594-9    $9.34 “Electric blues sparks jumped out into the night” when Cool Papa Byrd plays his guitar in Washington Square Park, and all grandson Clayton wants is to be waved […]

Review of Poems in the Attic

Poems in the Attic by Nikki Grimes; illus. by Elizabeth Zunon Primary, Intermediate    Lee & Low    48 pp. 5/15    978-1-62014-027-7    $19.95    g On a visit to her grandmother’s house, a little girl finds her mother’s stash of childhood poems in the attic. The poems written by the mom in this story are tanka poems, an […]

2017 Summer Reading from The Horn Book: Intermediate

Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Here are our top ten books for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — all published 2016–2017 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion. For a handy take-along list of […]

Review of This Would Make a Good Story Someday

This Would Make a Good Story Someday by Dana Alison Levy Intermediate, Middle School    Delacorte    308 pp.    g 5/17    978-1-101-93817-1    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-101-93818-8    $19.99 e-book ed  978-1-101-93819-5    $10.99 Twelve-year-old aspiring writer Sara is less than thrilled when Mimi, one of her two mothers, wins a writing fellowship […]

Review of One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance

One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes; illus. by various artists Intermediate, Middle School, High School   Bloomsbury   120 pp. 1/17    978-1-61963-554-8    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-61963-555-5    $12.99 The vibrancy of the Harlem Renaissance is illuminated in Grimes’s provocative poetry collection. In a tribute to the great poets of the […]

How Many Saturdays? app review

What if we measured our lives in units other than hours, days, months, and years? Would life “feel shorter? Longer? More absurd? More precious?” The Exploratorium‘s app How Many Saturdays? (2015; iOS only) considers this idea by comparing the number of Saturdays in one’s lifespan to other, less common measurements of time. After a brief […]

Review of Mission to Pluto: The First Visit to an Ice Dwarf and the Kuiper Belt

Mission to Pluto: The First Visit to an Ice Dwarf and the Kuiper Belt [Scientists in the Field] by Mary Kay Carson; photos by Tom Uhlman Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    73 pp. 1/17    978-0-544-41671-0    $18.99 In 2015, after nine years in transit from Earth, the New Horizons spacecraft successfully flew past […]

Review of Forever, or a Long, Long Time

Forever, or a Long, Long Time by Caela Carter Intermediate    Harper/HarperCollins    311 pp. 3/17    978-0-06-238568-0    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-06-238570-3    $9.99 Eleven-year-old (but still in the fourth grade) narrator Flora and her younger brother Julian had been in foster care for as long as they could remember. Now they’ve […]

Reflex app review

In addition to hearing the Duran Duran song in my head, I know Reflex (ExploreLearning, iPad app released 2014; iOS and desktop) as a program that my child’s teacher uses to supplement the class’s math curriculum…and with which my kid is obsessed. While it’s geared toward classroom use (and homeschooling), we play it happily on […]

For animal lovers only

Four middle-grade novels feature animals (and one mysterious creature) that change the protagonists’ lives. From an inventive, slightly mystical environmental fable to a compelling work of historical fiction, these are all recommended for the animal lovers in your life. Me and Marvin Gardens is a smart, environmentally conscious fable with a lot of heart and […]