Subscribe to The Horn Book

From the Editor – August 2016

What Makes a Good...?

Perhaps it was only ever a fantasy of mine that every child in America started the school year on the same day I always did (the Tuesday after Labor Day) but now, all over the map, it’s all over the map. And for those unfortunates who attend “year-round school” — do they still get a […]

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

What Makes a Good School Story? Picture Books Bean, Jonathan This Is My Home, This Is My School 48 pp.     Farrar     2015     ISBN 978-0-374-38020-5 Bell, Cece Chuck and Woodchuck 32 pp.     Candlewick     2016     ISBN 978-0-7636-7524-0 Bottner, Barbara Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I don’t) Illustrated by Michael Emberley 32 pp.     Knopf     2010     ISBN 978-0-375-84682-3 Library […]

Five Questions for Adam Rex and Christian Robinson

rex and robinson

School’s First Day of School (Roaring Brook/Porter, 2016) by Adam Rex, illustrated by Christian Robinson, provides a new perspective on the first day of school — that of the building itself. From worry and anticipation to excitement, jealousy, and, finally, contentment and eagerness for the next day, the school’s childlike reactions will be understood by […]

Recommended School Stories: High School


Alsenas, Linas Beyond Clueless 249 pp. Abrams/Amulet 2015. ISBN 978-1-4197-1496-2 Ever since fifth grade, Martha “Marty” Sullivan has been happy with just one friend: flamboyantly gay Jimmy. But now she’s attending an all-girls’ Catholic high school, which expands her social horizons both among girls (rebellious new friend Xiang) and guys. This mostly light comedy of […]

Recommended School Stories: Middle School


Alexander, Kwame Booked 314 pp. Houghton 2016. ISBN 978-0-544-57098-6 Nick is a wordsmith, thanks to his linguistics-professor father, but he would rather be shining on the soccer field. He’s blindsided when his parents separate; things worsen at school, too, as he and best friend Coby are targeted by the racist Eggleston twins. With accessible forms […]

Recommended School Stories: Intermediate

barnett and john_terrible two

Barnett, Mac and John, Jory The Terrible Two 220 pp. Abrams/Amulet 2015. ISBN 978-1-4197-1491-7 Ebook ISBN 978-1-61312-763-6 Illustrated by Kevin Cornell. Forced to leave behind his proud reputation as class prankster, Miles Murphy dreads starting over in a new town. Miles finds himself paired up with do-gooder Niles at Yawnee Valley Science and Letters Academy […]

Recommended School Stories: Easy Readers and Chapter Books


Cheng, Andrea The Year of the Book 148 pp. Houghton 2012. ISBN 978-0-547-68463-5 Illustrated by Abigail Halpin. Nine-year-old Anna, who always has her head stuck in a book, sometimes uses reading as a shield against social exclusion (of the specialized fourth-grade-girl kind) and her own lack of confidence. Cheng’s telling is as straightforward yet sympathetic […]

Recommended School Stories: Picture Books


Bean, Jonathan This Is My Home, This Is My School 48 pp. Farrar 2015. ISBN 978-0-374-38020-5 The boy from Building Our House welcomes readers back into his home — and school. Our narrator — the author/illustrator’s stand-in — gives a whirlwind tour of homeschooling life, and the warmhearted, cheerfully cluttered illustrations show how home and […]

Books for back to school


Summer is winding to a close (boo!), which means it’s almost time for school to start (yay?). We’ve updated our recommended back-to-school reading list with picture books, easy readers, chapter books, and novels so students from preschool to high school can get back in the swing of things. All of the titles were published in […]

Back-to-school reading


The books recommended below were published within the last several years. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion. Picture books Suggested grade level listed with each entry Bailey written and illus. by Harry Bliss (Scholastic) Bailey loves school. Then again, he’s the only dog at Champlain Elementary. Straightforward sentences tell […]