Eerie places

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A creepy space can go a long way toward creating the tone for a scary story. These novels all transport readers to places that are likely to give them the willies. A building is the main character in Benny Lindelauf’s Dutch import Nine Open Arms. A family of nine moves into the titular rundown brick […]

Five questions for Julie Berry

Photo: Bruce Lucier

Julie Berry’s 2013 book All the Truth That’s In Me (Viking, 14 years and up) is a dark, claustrophobic — and beautiful — novel set seemingly out of time and narrated (in her own head) by a young woman whose tongue was cut out by a captor she escaped. The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place […]

Once upon a newsletter

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In September’s Notes from the Horn Book, Kitty asks past HB reviewer/contributor Christine Heppermann five questions about her new fairy tale–inspired YA poetry collection, Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty. This issue’s also got • girls on the edge in YA novels • sequels to beloved picture books • primary nonfiction on nature • […]

Five questions for Christine Heppermann

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Poet Christine Heppermann is a young adult book reviewer, a backyard chicken enthusiast, and the author of several nonfiction books for children and young adults. With her first YA poetry collection, Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty (Greenwillow, 14 years and up), Heppermann reveals herself to be a thoughtfully astute observer of — and […]

Picture book sequels you’ve been waiting for

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Young children often latch on to particular characters or stories they love, so it’s little surprise that we see many familiar faces return in new picture book adventures. Here are four entertaining sequels sure to delight fans. Quest — the second in Aaron Becker’s planned wordless trilogy — opens in the present-day city where we […]

Girls on the edge

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The protagonists of these pull-no-punches YA novels experience the dark side of adolescence, from mental illness to abuse to trauma to religious intolerance to the death of a loved one — but each one is given what she needs to overcome her challenges. After she is caught cutting herself in the school bathroom, fifteen-year-old Kenna, […]

Books mentioned in the September 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Christine Heppermann Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann, photos by various artists, Greenwillow, 14 years and up. City Chickens by Christine Heppermann, Houghton, 8–11 years. Girls on the edge Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeline Kuderick, HarperTeen, 14 years and up. The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie […]

Middle-grade BFFs

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The friends you make in childhood can be the best ones of your life. The following books highlight unlikely friendships that are made to last.    Christopher Paul Curtis’s The Madman of Piney Woods (companion to Newbery Honor Book Elijah of Buxton) takes place in 1901, with the American Civil War a not-so-distant memory for […]

Nature lovers

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Back-to-school blues? Give kids these engaging science books — which introduce primary readers to intriguing animals, habitats, natural processes, and conservation causes — to pique scientific curiosity and fuel imagination. Katherine Roy’s Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands examines the sometimes chilling, always fascinating details of what makes the great […]

From the Editor – September 2014

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I hope you will join us for the fifth annual Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium, “Mind the Gaps,” on October 11th at Simmons College in Boston. This year’s program will examine the various diversity gaps in children’s book publishing, whether they be underrepresentation of nonwhite perspectives or the decreasing proportion of nonfiction titles. The colloquium […]