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Archives for September 2018

Learning curves

A new school year means emotional challenges in addition to academic ones. The teen protagonists of these nuanced YA dramas navigate the complex intersections of their school, familial, and social identities. See also our recommendations for middle-school and high-school readers in the 2018 Back-to-School Herald. Sophomore Darius Kellner doesn’t fit in at his Oregon high […]

Everyday — and otherworldly — wonders

In these new books for intermediate readers, the boundaries between our reality and more fantastical realms blur, allowing protagonists and magical beings alike to walk between worlds. My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder, author-illustrator Nie Jun’s graphic novel for young readers, begins with a girl, Yu’er, who dreams of swimming in the Special Olympics. […]

Five questions for Zetta Elliott

Zetta Elliott’s Dragons in a Bag (Random, 8–11 years) kicks off a new middle-grade fantasy series starring Jaxon, a young African American Brooklynite who gets a glimpse of the magical possibilities of our world (and others) when he spends a day with new acquaintance Ma. 1. In the acknowledgements of Dragons in a Bag you […]

Books mentioned in the September 2018 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Zetta Elliott Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott, illus. by Geneva B, Random House, 8–11 years. Everyday — and otherworldly — wonders My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder by Nie Jun, trans. by Edward Gauvin, Lerner/Graphic Universe, 8–11 years. The Tale of Angelino Brown by David Almond, illus. by Alex […]

Creative concepts

Crafting a fresh concept book is no easy task, but the creators of these new picture books introduce fundamental topics in imaginative ways. “Look! Elephants! / One, two, three, four, five…” Five elephants, each rendered in a different pastel color with a thick brown outline, march across the pages of A Parade of Elephants. Counting […]

A Conversation with Matthew Cordell

Matthew Cordell is the author-illustrator of Wolf in the Snow, winner of the 2018 Randolph Caldecott Medal. Julie Danielson interviewed him by email for Calling Caldecott. Calling Caldecott: Hi, Matt! Before we kick off the new Caldecott season in earnest, we thought it’d be fun to have a brief chat (a Matt-chat, if you will) about what […]

Review of Dragons in a Bag

Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott; illus. by Geneva B Primary, Intermediate    Random    154 pp.    g 10/18    978-1-5247-7045-7    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-5247-7046-4    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-7047-1    $10.99 There are two things you should never do when dealing with dragons. First, do not let them out of the bag; and second, do not feed them […]

Meg Medina Talks with Roger

Talks with Roger is a sponsored supplement to our free monthly e-newsletter, Notes from the Horn Book. To receive Notes, sign up here. Sponsored by With Merci Suárez Changes Gears, Pura Belpré medalist Meg Medina introduces us to sixth grader Merci, who’s trying to find her place in a new school. Haven’t we all? Roger […]

Rosh Hashanah 2018/5779

Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (year 5779!); Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins next Tuesday, September 18, at sundown. These are times in the year for family, community, and self-reflection (and our thoughts are with Shoshana’s family!). My family started a new, anachronistic “tradition” by making purple-potato latkes — with applesauce, […]

Review of A Home in the Barn

A Home in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown; illus. by Jerry Pinkney Preschool, Primary    Harper/HarperCollins    32 pp. 9/18    978-0-06-623787-9    $17.99 This cozy (previously unpublished) story from the late, legendary Margaret Wise Brown opens and closes with the same playful rhyme: “Here is the barn / Hear the wind rattle / Open the door / And see all […]