Colonial America

story voyages through history

Arato, Rona Story Voyages Through History 1750–1899 Gr. 4–6  96 pp.  Owlkids Illustrated by Ben Shannon. On an American Day series. Nine chronological sections provide snapshots of life in early America. Short fictional narratives are followed by historical information illuminating the issues raised in the tales, from religious freedom to slavery to children’s rights. The […]

Review of The Nazi Hunters

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The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi by Neal Bascomb Middle School, High School Levine/Scholastic 240 pp.     9/13     978-0-545-43099-9     $16.99     g e-book ed. 978-0-545-56239-3     $16.99 Dismissing Hannah Arendt via footnote, Bascomb concisely establishes Adolf Eichmann as an enthusiastic and painstaking  enforcer of Hitler’s Final […]

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

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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 […]

Scientist biographies

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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 […]

Architecture

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 […]

Today’s Picture Book Biographies: Back Matter Matters

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Picture book biographies broke out of their formulaic cradle-to-grave structure in the late 1990s and began telling authentic stories with new verve. Fictionalized dialogue and made-up scenes gave way to well-researched, fact-based narratives, often focusing on a particular aspect of the subject’s life. Today’s picture book biographies also include, as a matter of course, supporting […]

I Love Mountains app review

i love mountains

Cute kid Sloan Graham, the bear-suit-clad main character of Forest Giant’s nonfiction app I Love Mountains (2012), has a passionate interest in the titular landforms. She shares fun geological facts about mountains through nineteen interactive pages, beginning by describing the three different types of mountains and the plate tectonics that form them over time. She […]

Five questions for Robert Byrd

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Robert Byrd took home the 2013 Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction Award for his picture book biography Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin (Dial, 2012). As the author/illustrator of Leonardo: Beautiful Dreamer (Dutton, 2003) and illustrator of Kathleen Krull’s Kubla Khan: The Emperor of Everything (Viking, 2010) and Steven Kroll’s Barbarians! (Dutton, […]