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

kuderick_kiss of broken glass

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

curtis_madman of piney woods

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

roy_neigborhood sharks

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 […]

Five questions for Judith Viorst

judith viorst by milton viorst

Judith Viorst, creator of Alexander (he of the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day), writes about another little boy who might just wish he could curl back up in bed. The young protagonist of And Two Boys Booed (Farrar/Ferguson, 4–7 years) is excited to perform in the school talent show… until it’s almost his […]

For not-rotten new readers

gantos_rotten ralph's rotten family

Following your dreams and dealing with family: these topics get hilarious treatment for primary readers in the following early chapter books. An added bonus? Some familiar faces from popular series. In Jack Gantos and Nicole Rubel’s Rotten Ralph’s Rotten Family, the titular kitty finds a family photo album and, nostalgic for his childhood, decides to […]

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

Five questions for Judith Viorst Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day written by Judith Viorst, illus. by Ray Cruz, Atheneum, 4–7 years. And Two Boys Booed written by Judith Viorst, illus. by Sophie Blackall, Farrarr/Ferguson, 4–7 years. Back-to-school basics Dinosaur vs. Bedtime by Bob Shea, Disney-Hyperion, 3–5 years. Dinosaur vs. School by […]

Beyond biography

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With storytelling ease and pitch-perfect pacing, the following works of narrative nonfiction for older readers bring their subjects to brilliant life, elevating the sometimes-staid genre of biography to literary art form. Jacqueline Woodson’s memoir-in-verse Brown Girl Dreaming is so immediate that readers will feel they are experiencing the author’s childhood right along with her. Born […]