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August 2017 Back-to-School Horn Book Herald: Picture Books

Magnets Push, Magnets Pull by David A. Adler; illus. by Anna Raff (Holiday)
This informative, interactive exploration of magnets and magnetism encourages readers to track down materials and investigate on their own. Each physics concept is carefully explained at just the right level and anchored in visible phenomena. Adler addresses common misconceptions or skillfully constructs lines of reasoning that prevent them from developing. Illustrations provide a friendly and helpful orientation to the activities described in the text. Glos., ind.

Lucía the Luchadora by Cynthia Leonor Garza; illus. by Alyssa Bermudez (Pow!)
The boys on the playground claim that girls can’t be superheroes, making Lucía mad. Her abuela gives her a luchadora costume, which emboldens Lucía. Hidden behind the mask, she soars through the playground better than all the other children; after rescuing a puppy, Lucía reveals her identity. Energetic watercolors illuminate a diverse crowd of children led by a strong, dynamic personality unabashedly proud to be a girl.

The Street Beneath My Feet by Charlotte Guillain; illus. by Yuval Zommer (Quarto)
Turn the sturdy pages of this large book from bottom to top for an accordion-folded journey to the center of the Earth; now begin again from the end to head back up to the surface on the other side of the world. The earth science is simple but made glorious by the detail-packed illustrations, homely and fantastic at once.

This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from Around the World by Matt Lamothe; illus. by the author (Chronicle)
“This is me,” announces the opening spread, while seven children, ages seven to eleven, smile out at the viewer and introduce themselves with their names and nicknames. Successive spreads show panels of each child’s home, family, classroom, etc.; the countries represented are India, Iran, Italy, Japan, Peru, Russia, and Uganda. The neatly schematized organization plays nicely with the cozy digital illustrations. Glos.

I’m Smart by Kate McMullan; illus. by Jim McMullan (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins)
The McMullans’ latest tough-things-that-go books stars the school bus. While the braggart bus calls attention to its intelligence, the book focuses equally on its role as protector and caretaker; the bus explains laws and safety features unique to school buses. Watercolor illustrations use loose lines and shapes for the bus and other vehicles, making them seem as human as the passengers, who are thoughtfully differentiated.

The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, a Young Civil Rights Activist by Cynthia Levinson; illus. by Vanessa Brantley Newton (Atheneum)
Levinson tells the true story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, the youngest participant in the 1963 Birmingham Children’s March. The well-paced text captures a child’s voice and presents time and place realistically. Brightly colored digital collages clearly depict both the hopeful spirit and the rawer emotions of one community involved in the civil rights struggle. An author’s note provides additional background. Timeline. Bib.

From the August 2017 issue of The Horn Book Herald: Back to School.

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