You’ve got to have friends

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Picture books about friendship can be a dime a dozen. However, these four new gems — about companions in adventure, in-sync skating partners, a tender odd-couple bond, and a freewheeling affection-giver — freshen things up. In Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, two boys set out to do just that — but unearth nothing. Eventually […]

Middle-grade mirth

gantos_key that swallowed joey pigza

Kids having strange and wacky adventures with their friends — what’s a more engaging topic for upper-intermediate and early-middle-school readers? Two of the books below will have readers saying goodbye to favorite characters, one is a (snarky) sequel, and one is an homage — albeit a strange one — to a beloved classic. The Key […]

Five questions for Sharon G. Flake

Photo: Richard Kelly

Is Mr. Davenport a vampire, as Octobia May insists? The answer is not so cut-and-dried in Sharon G. Flake’s Unstoppable Octobia May, a historical-fiction-cum-mystery-novel with more than a dash of social commentary (Scholastic, 9–12 years). From the 1950s boarding house setting to the vivid characters — some plucky, some humorous, some downright sinister — the […]

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

Five questions for Sharon Flake Unstoppable Octobia May by Sharon G. Flake, Scholastic, 9–12 years. Middle-school mirth The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza by Jack Gantos, Farrar, 9–12 years. He Laughed with His Other Mouths [Pals in Peril] by M.T. Anderson, illus. by Kurt Cyrus, Simon/Beach Lane, 9–12 years. Cartboy Goes to Camp by L.A. […]

From the Editor – October 2014

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When it comes to spooky stories, it’s always hard to know just how scared any given person wants to be. Maurice Sendak always said that children sent him drawings of Wild Things that terrified him; I, on the other hand, once drove a little girl screaming from a story hour with “The Three Billy Goats […]

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

Five questions for Julie Berry All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry, Viking, 14 years and up. The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry, Roaring Brook, 11–14 years. Eerie places Nine Open Arms by Benny Lindelauf, trans. by John Nieuwenhuizen, Enchanted Lion, 9–12 years. Greenglass House by Kate Milford, illus. by […]

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 […]