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Review of Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal’d

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Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton, Reveal’d by Mary Losure Intermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    164 pp. 2/17    978-0-7636-7063-4    $19.99    g In 1936, economist John Maynard Keyes bought a set of Isaac Newton’s manuscripts at auction only to discover that many of the pages had nothing to do with science, but rather alchemy. Newton, Keyes […]

Review of Well, That Was Awkward

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Well, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail Middle School    Viking    314 pp. 2/17    978-0-670-01308-1    $16.99    g As eighth grade comes to a close and her fourteenth birthday approaches, Gracie Grant discovers she has a problem. Out of the blue, Gracie realizes she like-likes longtime and suddenly very attractive classmate AJ Rojanasopondist. But that’s not the […]

Review of Me and Marvin Gardens

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Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King Intermediate, Middle School    Levine/Scholastic    250 pp. 2/17    978-0-545-87074-0    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-545-87077-1    $10.99 The middle-grade debut of YA novelist A.S. King (Still Life with Tornado, rev. 9/16) was bound to be a little weird — and it is. It’s also a smart, environmentally conscious underdog story […]

Dystopian teen heroes

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These four novels envision authoritarian societies, some in the future, some not-so-futuristic, that cause their teenage protagonists to take revolutionary action. Under Little Town’s strict Regime, no one crosses the border to or from Old Country — until the Duda family arrives as refugees. Protagonist Charlie befriends teenager Pavel Duda and tries to teach him […]

Notes on Black History Month 2017

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At the 2016 Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium, author Carole Boston Weatherford said, “Some people would like to close the book of our shared history around race because it is uncomfortable and seems ‘a long time ago.’ But we need to acknowledge realities of that history — from slavery to segregation to current police brutality […]

Review of The Silver Gate

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The Silver Gate by Kristin Bailey Intermediate, Middle School    Tegen/HarperCollins    313 pp. 1/17    978-0-06-239857-4    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-06-239859-8    $9.99 In Elric’s superstitious feudal village, people think children born with disabilities are changelings; even worse, that they bring down a curse on the community. That’s why Elric’s mother and younger sister, Wynn, with her strange […]

Patricia Hruby Powell on Loving vs. Virginia

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In our January/February 2017 issue, our editors asked author Patricia Hruby Powell about approaching a landmark historical event through a novelistic lens in Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case. Read the full review. Horn Book Editors: Why did you choose to write the Lovings’ story as a “documentary novel”? […]

Review of Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case

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Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case by Patricia Hruby Powell; illus. by Shadra Strickland Middle School, High School    Chronicle    260 pp. 2/17    978-1-4521-2590-9    $21.99 Organized chronologically, the alternating first-person narratives, written in free verse, begin in 1952 as Mildred Jeter enters sixth grade at the “colored” school; six years […]

Review of Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience During World War II

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Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience During World War II by Albert Marrin Middle School    Knopf    246 pp. 10/16    978-0-553-50936-6    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-553-50937-3    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-553-50938-0    $10.99 Marrin (FDR and the American Crisis, rev. 1/15) wanders far afield from the book’s subtitle in order to place his subject in a comprehensively broad context; readers […]

Review of Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story

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Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story by Caren Stelson Middle School, High School    Carolrhoda    144 pp. 10/16    978-1-4677-8903-5    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5124-1884-2    $9.99 The result of extensive interviews with Nagasaki atomic bomb survivor Sachiko Yasui, Stelson’s sensitively crafted account spans fifty years of Yasui’s life, starting in August 1945 when the bomb was dropped (she […]