Subscribe to The Horn Book

Happy 100th birthday, Roald Dahl!


Roald Dahl wrote a lot, from short stories for adults to fantastical novels for kids. But what I love best about his work is the poetry, which he often tucked into his novels in the form of characters bursting into song. (Those Oompa Loompas had songs in the books with nary a “doopity doo.”) So […]

How I Discovered Young Adult Poetry – The Zena Sutherland Lecture

Marilyn Nelson

A couple of weeks ago, at a dinner with several poets, one of them said, “You’re lucky, Marilyn: you know how to write poems for the young adult audience.” I laughed and told him he was entirely wrong. I have absolutely no idea how to write for the young adult audience. I just write what […]

Review of Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science

atkins_finding wonders

Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science by Jeannine Atkins Intermediate, Middle School    Atheneum    198 pp. 9/16    978-1-4814-6565-6    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-4814-6567-0    $10.99 Atkins (Borrowed Names: Poems About Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C. J. Walker, Marie Curie, and Their Daughters, rev. 5/10) here tells the stories, again in poetry, of three real-life self-taught female […]

Review of You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen

weatherford_you can fly

You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen by Carole Boston Weatherford; 
illus. by Jeffery Boston Weatherford Intermediate, Middle School    Atheneum    82 pp. 5/16    978-1-4814-4938-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-4940-3    $10.99 Thirty-two poems written in the second person bring to life the experiences of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. Pilots, bombardiers, instructors, maintenance workers, and navigators […]

Axel Scheffler’s Flip Flap Jungle app review

flip flap jungle title

A companion to Axel Scheffler’s flip book of the same name, Flip Flap Jungle (Nosy Crow, 2015) allows you to create seemingly infinite animals by combining the top half of one and the bottom half of another. Want to see what a parakeet might look like with four furry legs? Swipe the bottom of the brightly […]

Review of Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks

brown_slickety quick

Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks by Skila Brown; illus. by Bob Kolar Primary    Candlewick    32 pp. 3/16    978-0-7636-6543-2    $16.99 Brown begins this playful and illuminating collection by taking a bite out of the most infamous of these ocean predators, the great white shark: “you’re no bully, / just a big attention hog. So / move […]

Books mentioned in the April 2016 issue of What Makes a Good…?

What Makes Good Poetry? Picture Books Argueta, Jorge  Salsa: Un poema para cocinar / A Cooking Poem Illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh 32 pp.     Groundwood     2015     ISBN 978-1-55498-442-8 Ebook ISBN 978-1-55498-443-5 Brown, Skila  Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks Illustrated by Bob Kolar 32 pp.     Candlewick     2016     ISBN 978-0-7636-6543-2 Greenfield, Eloise  The Great Migration: Journey to the […]

From the Editor – April 2016

What Makes a Good...?

I can’t think of a genre that scares more book reviewers than poetry (maybe sports books). Perhaps they are afraid that some eagle-eyed reader is going to find out the reviewer doesn’t know the difference between a spondee and a dactyl, but, really, this is making the task more difficult than it needs to be. […]

Recommended Poetry: Young Adult

block_how to uncage a girl

Block, Francesca Lia How to (Un)cage a Girl 119 pp. HarperCollins/Cotler 2008. ISBN 978-0-06-135836-4 Library binding ISBN 978-0-06-135837-1 This three-part collection includes forty-five autobiographical poems. Part one details Block’s teenage years; part two follows her as an adult; part three contains “Love Poems for Girls.” Readers will welcome advice from someone who not only understands […]

Recommended Poetry: Picture Books


Argueta, Jorge Salsa: Un poema para cocinar / A Cooking Poem 32 pp. Groundwood 2015. ISBN 978-1-55498-442-8 Ebook ISBN 978-1-55498-443-5 Illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh. This bilingual cooking poem plays on the multiple meanings of salsa for a musical recipe. As a boy and his family prepare salsa roja, his imagination runs wild, with ingredients becoming […]