Nicholl Montgomery

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Review of You Should See Me in a Crown

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson High School    Scholastic    336 pp.    g 6/20    978-1-338-50326-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-50362-3    $10.99 Senior Liz Lighty has successfully stayed out of the spotlight and off of Campbell County High School’s new social networking app, Campbell Confidential. Being poor and Black...

Review of Root Magic

Root Magic by Eden Royce Intermediate, Middle School    Walden/HarperCollins    352 pp.    g 1/21    978-0-06-289957-6    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-289960-6    $8.99 Eleven-year-old Jezebel’s family has done “rootwork” for generations. In 1963, many of the people on their South Carolina island frequent her grandmother and uncle’s cabin for the healing potions they make,...

I Am Every Good Thing

One of the criteria for the Caldecott Medal is excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept. One look at Derrick Barnes's and Gordon C. James's I Am Every Good Thing and it is clear that the theme of the book is love for Black boys. The cover of the...

Review of Dear Justyce

Dear Justyce by Nic Stone High School    Crown    288 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-9848-2966-5    $18.99 Library ed.  978-1-9848-2967-2    $21.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-2968-9    $10.99 In this sequel to Dear Martin (rev. 11/17), we are reintroduced to Quan, best friend of that book’s protagonist. Dear Justyce opens with a flashback to Quan and...

An Interview with MacArthur Fellow Jacqueline Woodson

On October 19, 2020, Horn Book executive editor Elissa Gershowitz and Horn Book reviewers and contributors Monique Harris, Nicholl Denice Montgomery, and Dr. Kim Parker had a phone conversation with newly named MacArthur Fellow Jacqueline Woodson. Huge thanks to Moné Dixon, assistant to Jacqueline Woodson, and Edelman representative Amaya Starkey, for the...

Review of Before the Ever After

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson Intermediate    Paulsen/Penguin    176 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-399-54543-6    $17.99 In her latest novel in verse, Woodson (Locomotion, rev. 3/03; Brown Girl Dreaming, rev. 9/14) explores the impact of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) on football players and their families from the perspective of ZJ, son...

Overground Railroad

On June 24, 1944, my grandparents boarded a northbound train in Mount Olive, North Carolina, headed for New Haven, Connecticut, where my grandfather’s sister lived. For my grandparents, leaving Mount Olive meant opportunities for jobs other than working on the farm or cleaning someone’s house. It meant leaving behind the...

Review of The True Definition of Neva Beane

The True Definition of Neva Beane by Christine Kendall Intermediate, Middle School    Scholastic    240 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-338-32489-1    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-32493-8    $10.99 Twelve-year-old Neva Beane loves words and consults her dictionary to help find the right ones for any situation. But lately, with the changes that come with puberty,...

Happy Anniversary: The People Could Fly

The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales told by Virginia Hamilton, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1985. We look back on this iconic Coretta Scott King Author Award winner (also a CSK Illustrator honor) as it celebrates its thirty-fifth anniversary.   Since...

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