Changing Times

freedman_lincoln

I’ve been writing nonfiction books for young readers, mainly history and biography, for more than fifty years — since the days of typewriters and invented dialogue. Along the way I’ve seen some major changes in the way the historical record is researched, interpreted, and presented. One huge change is the look of today’s nonfiction. Back […]

Freedom Summer and Black History

rubin_freedom summer

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Freedom Summer, a touchstone in the civil rights movement. The following nonfiction books highlight important turning points in African American history. And for more on Freedom Summer, read Kathleen T. Horning’s Five Questions interview with Don Mitchell (author of the new The Freedom Summer Murders, Scholastic, 14–17 years) […]

Review of The Pilot and the Little Prince

sis_pilot and the little prince

The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry by Peter Sís; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Foster/Farrar    48 pp. 5/14    978-0-374-38069-4    $18.99    g On glorious blue endpapers, an airplane loops across a map of the world, its contrail made of words that seem to dissolve on the page. The pointillist […]

How I learned to stop worrying and write curriculum about Bomb

Bomb by Steve Sheinkin

One of the projects I am involved in is a program where a group of retired folks work in schools to facilitate after-school reading groups with middle graders. One piece of my work is to write curriculum about books that (we hope) are high-interest and wide-ranging in subject, so groups will have many options as […]

Review of Mysterious Patterns

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Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature by Sarah C. Campbell; photos 
by Sarah C. Campbell and 
Richard P. Campbell Primary    Boyds Mills    32 pp. 4/14    978-1-62091-627-8    $16.95 Bring up the math term fractals in a roomful of adults, and it’s likely quite a few eyes will glaze over. Yet wife-and-husband team Sarah and Richard Campbell […]

Kids Discover: Ancient Egypt app review

ancient egypt menu

Long-running children’s nonfiction magazine Kids Discover has made an admirable jump to digital — twenty-one of their issues on natural and social sciences are currently available as apps. I took a look at the digital version of volume 11: Ancient Egypt (Joe Zeff Design, 2013). The app offers eight content chapters: “The Gift of the […]

Books mentioned in the May 2014 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book

Folklore Duffy, Chris, Editor Fairy Tale Comics Gr. K–3    128 pp.     Roaring Brook/First Second    2013 Trade ISBN 978-1-59643-823-1 Goldman, Judy Whiskers, Tails & Wings: Animal Folktales from Mexico Illustrated by Fabricio VandenBroeck Gr. 4–6    58 pp.    Charlesbridge    2013 Trade ISBN 978-1-58089-372-5 Lee, H. Chuku, Reteller Beauty and the Beast Illustrated by Pat Cummings Gr. K–3    32 pp.    HarperCollins/Amistad    2014 Trade ISBN 978-0-688-14819-5 […]

Insects and arachnids

arnosky_creep and flutter

Arnosky, Jim Creep and Flutter: The Secret World of Insects and Spiders Gr. 4–6   40 pp. Sterling This introductory volume encourages readers to be “mindful of the small.” Arnosky highlights specimens in labeled groupings that he presents — textually and visually — in accurate, captivating, and even tender detail. Conversational prose is illustrated with the author’s […]

Folklore

duffy_fairy tale comics

Duffy, Chris, Editor Fairy Tale Comics Gr. K–3   128 pp. Roaring Brook/First Second In this fine companion to Nursery Rhyme Comics, editor Duffy has chosen seventeen tales (“Puss in Boots,” “Rapunzel,” and “Hansel and Gretel,” among others) to be adapted by seventeen illustrators and cartoonists, including Raina Telgemeier, Brett Helquist, Charise Mericle Harper, and Jillian Tamaki. […]

Sports and recreation

hudson_girls' golf

Hudson, Maryann Girls’ Golf Gr. 4–6    48 pp. ABDO Lawrence, Blythe Girls’ Gymnastics Gr. 4–6    48 pp. ABDO Peters, Chris Girls’ Hockey Gr. 4–6    48 pp. ABDO Williams, Doug Girls’ Basketball Gr. 4–6    48 pp. ABDO Girls’ SportsZone series. These volumes survey four sports and the female athletes at their forefronts. Each chapter pairs a […]