NF Notes: The 2013 Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Award Winners


Every fall, we give out the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards for excellence in children’s literature. To honor the tradition, this issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book includes reviews of all three 2013 nonfiction award recipients — winner Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by Robert Byrd and honor books […]

Math is elementary

how many jelly beans

Long, Ethan The Wing Wing Brothers Math Spectacular! Gr. K–3    32 pp.  Holiday In three acts, five performing duck brothers compete with one another and introduce basic math concepts by spinning plates, juggling pies, and disappearing in a box. The simple cartoony panels give the book a comic-book appearance, and humor abounds via sibling rivalry, slapstick […]


goldilocks variations

Ahlberg, Allan The Goldilocks Variations Gr. K–3    32 pp.  Candlewick Illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg. With six tongue-in-cheek variants, the Ahlbergs (father and daughter) progress from simple changes in the canonical tale’s details and repartee to a version with thirty-three bears. The verbal wit, the delicately limned pen and watercolor art with its plenitude of intriguing detail, and clever […]

Scientist biographies

berne_on a beam of light

Berne, Jennifer  On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein Gr. K–3    48 pp.  Chronicle Illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky. Berne and Radunsky — in a gorgeous piece of bookmaking — use the “biggest, most exciting thought Albert had ever had” as the focal point for their homage to the great physicist. Berne’s simple […]


dreaming up

Hale, Christy Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building Gr. K–3    40 pp.  Lee Fifteen childhood building projects are deftly rendered in concrete poems and mixed-media collages, each paired with a photo of an iconic building bearing a resemblance to the creative play. A toddler’s upside-down stack of graduated plastic doughnuts looks like Wright’s Guggenheim Museum; a […]

Social reformers and activists

elizabeth cady stanton and susan b. anthony

Colman, Penny Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship That Changed the World Middle school, high school    256 pp.  Holt/Ottaviano “Yes, our work is one, we are one in aim and sympathy,” Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote in an 1865 letter to Susan B. Anthony. Colman’s biography, rich in quotes from the women, details their […]

NF Notes: From the editor, June 2013

Roger Sutton

In this and every issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book, our aim is to give brief notice to good informational books that we think teachers and librarians will find useful in developing and enriching lesson plans across the curriculum. Are these books “Common Core Ready,” the latest buzz-phrase resounding from publishers’ promotional materials? […]

Sports and recreation

The Greatest Moments in Sports: Upsets and Underdogs by Len Berman

Berman, Len  The Greatest Moments in Sports: Upsets and Underdogs Gr. 4–6  124 pp.  Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky From an autistic high school basketball player setting a school record for three-pointers to the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team’s “miracle on ice,” this collection of true stories focuses on unlikely heroes in the sports arena. Play-by-play media reports, action […]

Oceanography and marine life

Bang Ocean Sunlight 255x300

Bang, Molly and Chisholm, Penny  Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas Gr. K–3  48 pp.  Scholastic/Blue Sky (Scholastic Trade Division) This fresh perspective on food chains focuses on the critical and voluminous ocean-based plant life—plankton—and the transfer of energy and nutrients from the sun to these microscopic plants to ocean animals and back. […]


Dare to Dream...Change the World by Jill Corcoran

Corcoran, Jill  Dare to Dream…Change the World Gr. 4–6  40 pp.  Kane/Miller Illustrated by J. Beth Jepson. Thirty well-known poets celebrate people from all walks of life who have changed the world; honorees include Jonas Salk, Georgia O’Keeffe, and even the YouTube creators. Each is spotlighted on a double-page spread with two poems and a […]