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Archives for May 2012

It’s here…and it’s about time

When I came across this book, it made enough of an impression for me to want to mention it well past its August 2011 publication date. Peter H. Reynolds’s I’m Here (Atheneum) is a welcome addition to the growing body of (mostly mediocre) children’s literature dealing with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and Asperger’s Syndrome in […]

On onions and existentialism

Help! There is an onion trapped in this book, destined for certain death! It is up to us to save her from the Big Fry, the greatest fear of onions everywhere. But this onion has hope: “Yet I have been told / That there’s a way out / For an ONION who challenges, / Questions […]

Review of A Confusion of Princes

A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix Middle School, High School    Harper/HarperCollins    337 pp. 5/12    978-0-06-009694-6    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-06-009695-3    $18.89    g Nix’s gaming-inspired, sci-fi fantasy is a pleasing mix of high-adventure space drama, total bunkum (e.g., “it’s functioning on the tertiary backup level, without a holo…”), and wry, boyish charm. Khemri’s coming-of-age story begins […]

Leo Dillon (1933-2012)

Leo Dillon has passed away. Over a career that spanned five decades, the formidable illustrator, along with his collaborator and wife Diane, won numerous awards, including two Caldecott Medals (Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears, 1976 and Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions, 1977), a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, and several Coretta Scott King Honors. Editor […]

Ellen Levine (1939-2012)

Ellen Levine, award-winning children’s author and tireless advocate for social justice, has passed away. Here are some Horn Book reviews of her most influential works.

Ellen Levine book reviews

Ellen Levine Henry’s Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad; illus. by Kadir Nelson 40 pp. Scholastic 1/07 ISBN 978-0-439-77733-9 $16.99 g (Primary, Intermediate) Watch author Ellen Levine read from the 2008 Caldecott Honor book. In a true story that is both heartbreaking and joyful, Levine recounts the history of Henry “Box” Brown, […]

Grad school from your couch

Simmons grads Kristin Cashore, Deborah Kaplan, Rebecca Rabinowitz, and Amy Stern recorded their living-room discussion of E. Lockhart’s The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. Watch and learn. It’s making me remember the scene–also a living room– in 1978 where I had to present my senior thesis to all the other graduating English majors and our  […]


it was quite a shock when Peter D. Sieruta’s brother John posted Saturday evening on Peter’s Facebook account that Peter had suddenly died the previous night, complications from a fall, it seems. Peter was already a Horn Book legend when I came here in 1996; he was among the first reviewers for Anita Silvey’s new […]

July/August 2012 starred reviews

The following books will receive starred reviews in the July/August issue of The Horn Book Magazine:   Jimmy the Greatest!; by Jairo Buitrago; illus. by Rafael Yockteng; trans. from the Spanish by Elisa Amado (Groundwood) Bea at Ballet; written and illustrated by Rachel Isadora (Paulsen/Penguin) A Home for Bird; written and illustrated by Philip C. […]

Confessions of an audiobook addict

Hi, my name is Martha, and I’m an audiobook addict. I first became hooked early in the new millennium when serving on ALSC’s Notable Children’s Recordings committee (chaired by the inimitable Mary Burkey). Now, audiobooks are a daily presence in my life. I listen to new ones on my commute to work, and some favorites […]