(Not-so) long ago or far away

hill_bo at iditarod creek

In these works of historical fiction for middle graders — taking place in 1920s Alaska, 1932 North Carolina, WWII England, or 1950s Illinois — the settings may be unfamiliar, but the feelings are timeless. At the start of Kirkpatrick Hill’s Bo at Iditarod Creek, Bo’s family has left Ballard Creek for the bigger and noisier […]

ABC, easy as 123

tullet_mix it up

Who says ABC books are just for babies? Why can’t you mix up some colors using just your finger, no paint? The following concept books defy conventions — and expectations. In Mix It Up!, Hervé Tullet follows the same format as in his hugely entertaining Press Here, but this time the play is focused on […]

Five questions for Lucy Cousins


If you know any little girls named Maisy (or Tallulah; or, for that matter, any little boys named Cyril), chances are good that it’s because of Lucy Cousins. Her indomitable little-girl-mouse is beloved by toddlers and their grownups the world over, making Cousins one proud mama. 1. Your latest Maisy book — Count with Maisy, […]

The first Notes of the year

notes jan 2015

In January’s issue of Notes from the Horn Book, Jennifer Brabander asks Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future author A. S. King about that bat and lots more. You’ll also find: more fierce female YA protagonists snowy-day picture books intermediate series graphic-novel memoirs Read the issue online or subscribe to receive the monthly Notes from […]

Five questions for A. S. King

as king_240x300

A. S. King’s books are one of a kind: strange, sometimes surrealistic, but always grounded in truth. Her latest YA novel — Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future (Little, Brown, 14 years and up) — is most likely the only children’s book you’ll ever read in which a protagonist ingests desiccated bat remains — and […]

From the Editor – January 2015


As we all peruse the best of the year lists from the various review journals (here’s ours) and look forward to ALA’s announcements later this month of the Newbery Medal, etc., I’d like to call your attention to something I glanced at in my editorial in this month’s issue of The Horn Book Magazine. In […]

Graphic-novel memoirs


The creators of these graphic-novel memoirs use words and pictures to revisit experiences from their youth. Their work relates sometimes-difficult, sometimes-comical stories with poignancy, bittersweet humor, and expressive art. At the age of four, in 1975, Cece Bell contracted meningitis, leaving her severely to profoundly deaf. In her characterful, often amusing graphic-novel memoir El Deafo, […]

Books mentioned in the January 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for A.S. King Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future by A.S. King, Little, Brown, 14 years and up. Fierce females Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle, Houghton, 14 years and up. Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld, Simon Pulse, 14 years and up. Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer, Dutton, 14 years […]

Snowy days


Winter in New England (and in picture books) usually means one thing: snow. Here are a few stories to put readers in the mood for sledding, snowmen, and hot chocolate. While the city’s “brave trucks” perform flashy tasks such as fixing power lines and fighting fires, our unassuming, bespectacled hero — star of Stephen Savage’s […]

Fierce females


Katniss, they feel your pain. The following protagonists have the weight of the world on their shoulders — and, in at least one case, it’s just as the world may be ending. Katie Coyle’s Vivian Apple at the End of the World takes place in a near-future America where the cultish Church of America has […]