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Using Books

Bringing books and people together.

Books mentioned in the November 2017 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book

Writing and reporting Bodden, Valerie  The Muckrakers: Ida Tarbell Takes on Big Business [Hidden Heroes] Middle school, high school     112 pp.     ABDO/Essential Library      2017 Library binding ISBN 978-1-68078-388-9 Ebook ISBN 978-1-68079-741-1 Giff, Patricia Reilly  Writing with Rosie: You Can Write a Story Too Gr. 4–6     69 pp.     Holiday     2016 Trade ISBN 978-0-8234-3656-9 Macy, Sue  […]

Native American history

Burling, Alexis  Occupying Alcatraz: Native American Activists Demand Change Middle school, high school     112 pp.     ABDO/Essential Library Hidden Heroes series. Well-paced chapters with archival photos examine Native American activists’ first attempt to occupy Alcatraz in 1964, the history of their struggles with non-Native settlers and the U.S. government, and the seeds of activism in the […]

Insects and invertebrates

Aston, Dianna Hutts  A Beetle Is Shy Gr. K–3     40 pp.     Chronicle Illustrated by Sylvia Long. Larger-than-life watercolor illustrations of colorful, gem-like beetles are framed by poetic text describing their features and behaviors. This exploration of beetle biodiversity showcases their “kaleidoscopic” colors; their range of stature (“A beetle is colossal… / or microscopic”); their lively […]


Baxter, Roberta  Sedimentary Rocks Gr. 4–6     24 pp.     Child’s McCarthy, Cecilia Pinto  Metamorphic Rocks Gr. 4–6     24 pp.     Child’s Watts, Pam  The Rock Cycle Gr. 4–6     24 pp.     Child’s York, M. J.  Igneous Rocks Gr. 4–6     24 pp.     Child’s Geology Rocks! series. These books present middle graders with basic information about rocks (in somewhat choppy […]

School days 2017

Allman, Toney  Food in Schools Gr. 4–6, middle school   64 pp.     Norwood Matters of Opinion series. This book examines three school lunch–related issues: what should be served, how much government control there should be, and what the schools’ involvement in nutrition should be. In addition to the pros and cons of each and a final writing […]

Writing and reporting

Bodden, Valerie  The Muckrakers: Ida Tarbell Takes on Big Business Middle school, high school     112 pp.     ABDO/Essential Library Hidden Heroes series. The life and work of journalist Ida Tarbell is just one of several topics in this inspiring and accessible volume. Bodden also examines the history of investigative journalism and its impact on the rise […]

Foreign Correspondence: The Little Bookroom

“When we heard that a young man was to open a specialist children’s bookshop…we were all amazed at his fortitude and foolhardiness. We very much feared the venture would not last long. Everyone was delighted…that it had not only lasted, but prospered.” Publisher and broadcaster, author of British Children’s Books in the Twentieth Century, Frank […]

With friends like these…

Like Malinda Lo’s A Line in the Dark, each of these YA mysteries masterfully employs structure to keep readers guessing as to characters’ true natures — and on the edges of their seats — until the shocking final reveal. Eighteen-year-old Jule, protagonist of E. Lockhart’s intoxicating psychological thriller Genuine Fraud, is cold, tough, and in […]

Architects and designers

Architects Maya Lin, Zaha Hadid, and Frank Lloyd Wright drew inspiration from science, nature, and the world around them to create iconic buildings and structures; artist and designer Mary Blair saw the possibility in color and embraced the motto: “It’s a Small World.” These picture-book biographies may similarly encourage budding architects and designers. Jeanne Walker […]

In the middle of fall

Celebrate the season with these four autumnal picture books, perfect for sharing with preschoolers as the days get chillier. For more, see last November’s Notes article “Wonderfall!” In Rachael Cole’s City Moon, a mother and child embark on an autumnal evening ritual: they take a walk through the city, looking for the moon. The sharp-eyed […]