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Review of The Old Truck

The Old Truck by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey; illus. by the authors Preschool, Primary    Norton    40 pp. 1/20    978-1-324-00519-3    $17.95 e-book ed.  978-1-324-00520-9    $12.15 The author-illustrator brothers tell the story of a family farm and the truck that assists with chores. As the hard-working truck ages, so does the...

Review of The List of Things That Will Not Change

 The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead Intermediate    Lamb/Random    218 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-101-93809-6    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-101-93810-2    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-101-93811-9    $9.99 From the outside it appears that Bea lives a charmed life. She has loving (albeit divorced) parents; an involved extended family; a kindly, funny teacher; a loyal...

Review of Vow of Thieves

Vow of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson High School    Holt    484 pp. 8/19    978-1-250-16265-6    $19.99 Jase and Kazi (from Dance of Thieves, rev. 11/18) are on their way back to Hell’s Mouth with news that Tor’s Watch is to be recognized as a kingdom and that Jase’s family, the Ballengers,...

Review of The Empire of Dreams

The Empire of Dreams by Rae Carson High School    Greenwillow    442 pp.    g 4/20    978-0-06-269190-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-269192-7    $10.99 Set in the world of The Girl of Fire and Thorns, this engrossing fantasy follows two threads about protagonist Red. In the present, the teenager is devastated when her planned...

Review of The Queen of Nothing

The Queen of Nothing [Folk of the Air] by Holly Black High School    Little, Brown    293 pp.   g 11/19    978-0-316-31042-0    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-31040-6    $12.99 In a stunning act of betrayal, the High King, Cardan, exiled Jude (secretly his wife and the ostensible Queen of Faerie) to the mortal world...

Review of Kingdom of Souls

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron High School    HarperTeen    490 pp. 9/19    978-0-06-287095-7    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-287097-1    $8.99 Arrah was born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, though magic has always evaded her. But when children are abducted and omens of death appear in the market streets, Arrah doesn’t need...

Review of Children of Virtue and Vengeance

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi High School    Holt    405 pp. 12/19    978-1-250-17099-6    $19.99 In Orïsha, where magic has recently been restored (Children of Blood and Bone, rev. 5/18), Princess Amari tries to unite the kingdom to prevent it being torn apart by the magic-using rebels called the...

Review of York: The Clockwork Ghost

York: The Clockwork Ghost by Laura Ruby Middle School    Walden Pond/HarperCollins    449 pp. 5/19    978-0-06-230696-8    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-230698-2    $7.99 Despite the destruction of their beloved apartment building at the end of the previous book (York: The Shadow Cipher, rev. 5/17), codebreaking twins Theo and Tess Biedermann, along with artistic...

Review of The Peacock Detectives

The Peacock Detectives by Carly Nugent Intermediate, Middle School    Harper/HarperCollins    282 pp. 1/20    978-0-06-289670-4    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-289672-8    $7.99 Cassie is enlisted by her neighbors to find their missing peacocks — again — because of her skill at noticing details. But there are plenty of other things for the Australian...

Review of The Thief Knot: A Greenglass House Story

The Thief Knot: A Greenglass House Story by Kate Milford; illus. by Jaime Zollars Intermediate, Middle School    Clarion    456 pp. 1/20    978-1-328-46689-1    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-16427-2    $9.99 In the Liberty, a part of Nagspeake (Greenglass House, rev. 9/14, and sequels) where retired rogues and smugglers find sanctuary from the long...

Review of Her Fearless Run: Kathrine Switzer's Historic Boston Marathon

Her Fearless Run: Kathrine Switzer’s Historic Boston Marathon by Kim Chaffee; illus. by Ellen Rooney Primary    Page Street    40 pp. 4/19    978-1-62414-654-1    $17.99 This stirring picture-book biography introduces Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon with an official race number. “Running was magic” to twelve-year-old Kathrine, but...

Review of A Life Made by Hand: The Story of Ruth Asawa

A Life Made by Hand: The Story of Ruth Asawa by Andrea D’Aquino; illus. by the author Primary    Princeton    40 pp. 9/19    978-1-61689-836-6    $17.95 D’Aquino offers young readers “the story of an artist you may have never heard of”: Ruth Asawa (1926–2013), a Japanese American creator of nature-inspired wire sculptures....

Review of Rise!: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou

Rise!: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou by Bethany Hegedus; illus. by Tonya Engel Primary, Intermediate    Lee & Low    48 pp. 8/19    978-1-62014-587-6    $20.95 In propulsive free verse and vibrant illustrations, Hegedus and Engel present the life and legacy of Maya Angelou (1928–2014). The book opens...

Review of Prairie Lotus

Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park Middle School   Clarion    260 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-328-78150-5    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-33083-7    $9.99 In 1880, fourteen-year-old Hanna and her father settle in the (fictional) town of LaForge, in Dakota Territory. Papa is white; Hanna’s late mother immigrated from China and had both Chinese and...

Review of A Girl like Me

A Girl like Me by Angela Johnson; illus. by Nina Crews Preschool, Primary    Millbrook    40 pp.    g 2/20    978-1-5415-5777-2    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5415-7891-3    $18.99 It seems not even the sky’s the limit for the imaginative, adventurous, inventive girls depicted in this inspirational picture book. Johnson’s upbeat text, paired with Crews’s...

Review of Just like a Mama

Just like a Mama by Alice Faye Duncan; illus. by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow Preschool, Primary    Millner/Simon    32 pp. 1/20    978-1-5344-6183-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-6184-0    $10.99 An homage to all the African American women who are mothering children not biologically their own. Carol Olivia Clementine lives with Mama Rose because “Mommy...

Review of Johnny's Pheasant

Johnny’s Pheasant by Cheryl Minnema; illus. by Julie Flett Primary    Minnesota    32 pp.    g 11/19    978-1-5179-0501-9    $16.95 Minnema (a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe) and Flett (of Cree-Métis descent) present an engaging and humorous intergenerational story of patience, hope, and surprise. Johnny spots a motionless pheasant in...

Review of The Summer of the Swans

The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars 142 pp.    Viking    3.95    Library edition 3.77 Illustrated by Ted CoConis. The demand for realism in children’s fiction continues to call forth a spate of problem books, some of them relatively successful, some scarcely more literary than case histories. But seldom are...

Review of Pluto Gets the Call

Pluto Gets the Call by Adam Rex; illus. by Laurie Keller Primary    Beach Lane/Simon    48 pp. 11/19    978-1-5344-1453-2    $17.99 e-book ed.   978-1-5344-1454-9    $10.99 Rex and Keller dramatize Pluto’s demotion to dwarf planet status in this smart and playful offering of informational comedy. Rex’s wry and engaging text is told completely...

Beyond Black History Month

Celebrate Black History Month beyond February with the following recent picture book biographies of inspiring Black figures, recommended for sharing with young readers all year long.   Anderson, Beth Lizzie Demands a Seat!: Elizabeth Jennings Fights for Streetcar Rights 32 pp. | Boyds Mills & Kane/Calkins | January, 2020 |...

Review of Not a Bean

Not a Bean by Claudia Guadalupe Martínez; illus. by Laura González Preschool, Primary    Charlesbridge    32 pp. 9/19    978-1-58089-815-7    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-63289-667-4    $9.99 “Jumping beans” are not in fact beans but moth larvae that have burrowed into the seedpods of the yerba de la flecha shrubs found alongside arroyos in...

Review of Black Is a Rainbow Color

Black Is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy; illus. by Ekua Holmes Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp. 1/20    978-1-62672-631-4    $17.99 A young girl sits on her stoop contemplating the colors of the rainbow, then notes, “But my color is black…and there’s no black in rainbows.” There is, however, black in...

Review of Nesting

Nesting by Henry Cole; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Tegen/HarperCollins    40 pp. 3/20    978-0-06-288592-0    $17.99 Every spring, across North America, robins mate, build nests, lay eggs, and nurture their young. Cole illustrates this sequence of events with a pair of robins, employing gentle black-and-white crosshatching and one dramatic pop...

Review of Ruth Objects: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Objects: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Doreen Rappaport; illus. by Eric Velasquez Primary, Intermediate    Disney-Hyperion    48 pp. 2/20    978-1-4847-4717-9    $17.99 Velasquez’s riveting jacket portrait of Ginsburg, superimposed on a facsimile of the U.S. Constitution, conveys a woman of purpose; Rappaport’s biography, largely focused on Ginsburg’s work for...

Review of The Next President: The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America's Presidents

The Next President: The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America’s Presidents by Kate Messner; illus. by Adam Rex Primary    Chronicle    48 pp. 3/20    978-1-4521-7488-4    $18.99 “No matter who holds the job right now, the presidents of tomorrow are always out there somewhere.” There are picture books aplenty about United...

Review of Deathless Divide

Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland Middle School, High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    554 pp. 2/20    978-0-06-257063-5    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-257065-9    $10.99 Irascible Jane McKeene and posh Katherine Deveraux, zombie-dispatching graduates of Miss Preston’s School of Combat for Negro Girls, are back in this suspenseful, satisfying sequel to Dread Nation (rev....

Review of Not So Pure and Simple

Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles High School    HarperTeen    391 pp. 1/20    978-0-06-234919-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-234921-7    $9.99 Del’s forever crush on schoolmate Kiera comes to a head when she finally becomes single in their junior year of high school. Del is poised to do whatever it takes...

Review of Infinite Hope: A Black Artist's Journey from World War II to Peace

Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey from World War II to Peace by Ashley Bryan; illus. by the author Middle School, High School    Dlouhy/Atheneum    107 pp. 10/19    978-1-5344-0490-8    $21.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-0491-5    $10.99 Ashley Bryan was a nineteen-year-old art student when he was drafted into a segregated army unit of...

Review of Dear Haiti, Love Alaine

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite High School    Inkyard    428 pp.    g 9/19    978-1-335-77709-6    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-488-05133-3    $9.99 To avoid being expelled after a school presentation accidentally lands a classmate in the hospital, Alaine Beauparlant is sent to Haiti, her parents’ birthplace, to participate in...

Review of The Revolution of Birdie Randolph

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert High School    Little, Brown    327 pp.    g 8/19    978-0-316-44856-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-44857-4    $9.99 African American sixteen-year-old Dove Randolph, Birdie to her family, is on the “right” track, with good grades and a clear plan for her life after high school. The...

Review of Jackpot

Jackpot by Nic Stone High School    Crown    341 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-9848-2962-7    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-9848-2963-4    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-2964-1    $10.99 School, work, home; repeat. Such is the life of Rico, high school senior, part-time convenience-store clerk, and full-time caregiver to her nine-year-old brother. In Rico’s life, there is not...

Review of Someday We Will Fly

Someday We Will Fly by Rachel DeWoskin Middle School, High School    Viking    360 pp.    g 1/19    978-0-670-01496-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-101-61788-5    $10.99 In 1940, Lillia’s Jewish family plans to escape the Nazi threat in Warsaw for Shanghai. Her parents are acrobats, and when their circus is raided, Lillia and her...

Review of An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz; adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese Middle School, High School    Beacon    270 pp. 7/19    Paper ed.  978-0-8070-4939-6    $18.95 e-book ed.  978-0-8070-4940-2    $14.99 Mendoza and Reese, children’s literature scholars and bloggers at American Indians in Children’s...

Review of Octopus Stew

Octopus Stew by Eric Velasquez; illus. by the author Primary    Holiday    40 pp. 9/19    978-0-8234-3754-2    $17.99 With love and humanity — and humor — Velasquez (Looking for Bongo, Grandma’s Gift) once again affirms young Black Latinx boys’ identities and family experiences. Inspired by her cape-wearing grandson’s painting of an octopus...

ALA Awards 2020: Horn Book reviews of the winners

The most prestigious honors in children’s literature, the Newbery and Caldecott medals, were awarded to Jerry Craft for New Kid and Kadir Nelson for The Undefeated on January 27, 2020, at the American Library Association’s midwinter meeting in Philadelphia. Also announced at the gathering were the winners of the Coretta...

Additional ALA Awards 2020

  Alex Award [for the ten best adult books that appeal to teen audiences] A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher (Orbit/Hachette) Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh (Saga Press/Gallery Books/Simon) Dominicana by Angie Cruz (Flatiron/Macmillan) Gender Queer: A Memoir by...

Review of To Dance

To Dance by Siena Cherson Siegel; illus. by Mark Siegel Intermediate, Middle School    Atheneum    86 pp. 10/19    978-1-4814-8663-7    $19.99 Paper ed.  978-1-4814-8664-4    $11.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-8665-1    $8.99 Even more effectively than the original, this special edition of the 2006 graphic memoir about Cherson Siegel’s youth as a School of American...

Reviews of the 2020 Geisel Award winners

Winner Stop! Bot! by James Yang; illus. by the author Preschool    Viking    40 pp.    g 7/19    978-0-42528-881-8    $17.99 After a child's remote-control robot flies away in front of an apartment building, the building's residents try to help retrieve it ("My broom may reach that bot!"). The book's tall trim size...

Reviews of the 2020 Pura Belpré Author Award winners

Winner Sal & Gabi Break the Universe [Rick Riordan Presents] by Carlos Hernandez Intermediate, Middle School Disney-Hyperion    389 pp. 3/19    978-1-368-02282-8    $16.00 REVIEW TO COME         Honor Books Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise; illus. by Paola Escobar...

Review of Across the Bay

Across the Bay by Carlos Aponte; illus. by the author Primary    Penguin Workshop    32 pp.    g 9/19    978-1-5247-8662-5    $17.99  Aponte explores a young child’s physical and emotional journey coping with his father’s absence from his life and learning to love all that is around him. Carlitos lives with his mother,...

Reviews of the 2020 Sibert Award winners

Winner Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard; illus. by Juana Martinez-Neal Preschool, Primary    Roaring Brook    48 pp. 10/19    978-1-62672-746-5    $18.99 This affectionate picture book depicts an intergenerational group of Native American family members and friends as they make fry bread together. The text begins: “Fry...

Review of All in a Drop: How Antony van Leeuwenhoek Discovered an Invisible World

All in a Drop: How Antony van Leeuwenhoek Discovered an Invisible World by Lori Alexander; illus. by Vivien Mildenberger Intermediate    Houghton    94 pp. 8/19    978-1-328-88420-6    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-03619-7    $9.99 In the prosperous city of Delft, in seventeenth-century Netherlands, Antony van Leeuwenhoek was a cloth merchant. But even without formal...

Review of Dancing Hands

Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln by Margarita Engle; illus. by Rafael López Primary    Atheneum    40 pp. 8/19    978-1-4814-8740-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-8741-2    $10.99  Engle and López (Drum Dream Girl, rev. 5/15) bring us another engaging story about a young, successful, female musician of Latinx...

Reviews of the 2020 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winners

Winner Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln by Margarita Engle; illus. by Rafael López Primary    Atheneum    40 pp. 8/19    978-1-4814-8740-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-8741-2    $10.99  Engle and López (Drum Dream Girl, rev. 5/15) bring us another engaging story about a young, successful, female musician of...

Reviews of the 2020 Printz Award winners

Winner Dig. by A.S. King High School    Dutton    394 pp.    g 3/19    978-1-101-99491-7    $17.99 David has never met his father and is tired of constantly moving around with his mom. Malcolm has already lost his mother and is about to lose his beloved father to cancer. Katie deals drugs out...

Review of Genesis Begins Again

Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams Middle School    Dlouhy/Atheneum    386 pp.    g 1/19    978-1-4814-6580-9    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-6582-3    $10.99 Regina and the popular girls are coming over after school to hang out, eat snacks, and watch music videos. It’s a dream day for thirteen-year-old Genesis. That is, until she...

Review of The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh

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The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh by Candace Fleming Middle School, High School    Schwartz & Wade/Random    364 pp.    g 2/20    978-0-525-64654-9    $18.99 Library ed.  978-0-525-64655-6    $21.99 e-book ed.  978-0-525-64656-3    $10.99 Stitching together important life events, insightful anecdotes, and primary sources, Fleming (Amelia Lost, rev. 3/11; The Family Romanov, rev....

Reviews of the 2020 CSK Illustrator Award winners

Winner The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander; illus. by Kadir Nelson Primary, Intermediate, Middle School     Versify/Houghton     40 pp.    g 4/19     978-1-328-78096-6     $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-05761-1     $12.99 Alexander and Nelson honor the achievements, courage, and perseverance of ordinary black people as well as prominent black artists, athletes, and activists. The free-verse poem...

Reviews of the 2020 CSK Author Award winners

Winner New Kid by Jerry Craft; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Harper/HarperCollins    249 pp.    g 2/19    978-0-06-269120-0    $21.99     Paper ed.  978-0-06-269119-4    $12.99     e-book ed.  978-0-06-269121-7    $10.99  Craft’s engaging graphic novel follows Jordan Banks (an African American seventh grader from Washington Heights) through his first year at the prestigious...

Review of Sulwe

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o; illus. by Vashti Harrison Preschool, Primary    Simon    48 pp. 10/19    978-1-5344-2536-1    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-2537-8    $10.99 In a story partially based on the author’s childhood in Kenya, “Sulwe was born the color of midnight.” So begins a journey to self-love for a little girl whose name...

Reviews of the 2020 Caldecott Medal winners

Winner The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander; illus. by Kadir Nelson Primary, Intermediate, Middle School     Versify/Houghton     40 pp.    g 4/19     978-1-328-78096-6     $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-05761-1     $12.99 Alexander and Nelson honor the achievements, courage, and perseverance of ordinary black people as well as prominent black artists, athletes, and activists. The free-verse poem...

Reviews of the 2020 Newbery Medal Winners

Winner New Kid by Jerry Craft; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Harper/HarperCollins    249 pp.    g 2/19    978-0-06-269120-0    $21.99     Paper ed.  978-0-06-269119-4    $12.99     e-book ed.  978-0-06-269121-7    $10.99  Craft’s engaging graphic novel follows Jordan Banks (an African American seventh grader from Washington Heights) through his first year at the prestigious...

Happy Lunar New Year!

Happy Year of the Rat! We wish all who are celebrating a new year full of joy and prosperity. We've updated our Lunar New Year reading list with fiction and nonfiction books featuring the holiday for preschool, primary, and intermediate readers. All of the titles below were recommended by The...

Review of King and the Dragonflies

King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender Intermediate, Middle School    Scholastic    263 pp.    g 2/20    978-1-338-12933-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-12935-9    $10.99 In their second middle-grade novel (Hurricane Child, rev. 5/18), set in contemporary small-town Louisiana, Callender masterfully balances resonant themes of grief, love, family, friendship, racism, sexuality, and coming-of-age. Twelve-year-old...

Board Book Roundup: Board Books Build Brains

They rarely win awards. Few make it to the annual “best of” lists. They get stepped on, chewed, drooled on, and thrown. Their core audiences may not remember a word of them in a few scant years. Their pages are frequently viewed out of order. But board books are some...

Board Books for Holiday Travel

It's that time of year when families with children board planes, trains, and automobiles for holiday travel — and sometimes lugging their favorite full-size picture books can be a strain. That's when board book editions of those picture books come in handy. In Rachel G. Payne’s excellent board book round up in...

Review of Light It Up

Light It Up by Kekla Magoon Middle School, High School    Holt    359 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-250-12889-8    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-250-12890-4    $9.99 In this follow-up to How It Went Down (rev. 11/14), Peach Street is seething. Two years after a young man was gunned down by police on the same street,...

Review of Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse

Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse by Jane Godwin; illus. by Blanca Gómez Preschool    Dial    40 pp.    g 8/19    978-0-525-55381-6    $16.99 “Red house / Blue house / Green house / Tree house! / See the tiny mouse / in her little brown house?” A small mouse packs her...

Review of The Year We Fell from Space

The Year We Fell from Space by Amy Sarig King Intermediate, Middle School    Levine/Scholastic    264 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-338-23636-1    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-23646-0    $10.99 Twelve-year-old “amateur creative astronomer” Liberty Johansen, having memorized all the constellations, makes up her own and meticulously maps them. Her love of the cosmos comes from...

Review of Lalani of the Distant Sea

Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly; illus. by Lian Cho Intermediate    Greenwillow    388 pp. 9/19    978-0-06-274727-3    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-274729-7    $9.99 Kelly turns from the contemporary realistic settings of the Newbery-winning Hello, Universe (rev. 3/17) and of You Go First (rev. 3/18) to a tropical island–set fantasy...

Review of Home in the Woods

Home in the Woods by Eliza Wheeler; illus. by the author Primary    Paulsen/Penguin    40 pp.    g 10/19    978-0-399-16290-9    $17.99 When six-year-old Marvel, her seven siblings, and their newly widowed mother are forced to leave their farm and move into an abandoned tar-paper shack deep in the woods, it “doesn’t seem...

Holiday High Notes 2019

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Grab a candy confection and read our selection of books filled with cheer — new or just reissued from yesteryear.* *with apologies to lyricist Edward Pola   My Baby Loves Christmas by Jabari Asim; illus. by Tara Nicole Whitaker Preschool    HarperFestival    20 pp. 9/19    978-0-06-288462-6    $7.99 In this cozy board book, Asim (Preaching to the Chickens, rev....

Review of Birdsong

Birdsong by Julie Flett; illus. by the author Primary    Greystone Kids    56 pp. 9/19    978-1-77164-473-0    $17.95 e-book ed.  978-1-77164-474-7    $17.95 In spring Katherena, her mother, and their dog Ôhô pack up their “little home in the city by the sea” and move to their “new home [that] sits on a...

Review of Penny and Her Sled

Penny and Her Sled by Kevin Henkes; illus. by the author Primary    Greenwillow    56 pp. 10/19    978-0-06-293453-6    $14.99 Library ed.  978-0-06-293454-3    $15.89 In her first easy-reader outing in six years (most recently Penny and Her Marble, rev. 3/13), Penny waits for snow. It’s winter, and the young mouse wants nothing...

Review of Small in the City

Small in the City by Sydney Smith; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Porter/Holiday    40 pp. 9/19    978-0-8234-4261-4    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4395-6    $11.99 In Smith’s (Sidewalk Flowers, rev. 5/15; Town Is by the Sea, rev. 3/17) debut as both illustrator and author, an intrepid child on the move in the...

Review of Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds Intermediate, Middle School    Dlouhy/Atheneum    193 pp. 10/19    978-1-4814-3828-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-3830-8    $10.99 Ten blocks. Ten stories. Lots of middle-school kids doing many different things after school. Jasmine and TJ walk home together, wondering what they’re made of—dust...

Review of Firefighters' Handbook

Firefighters’ Handbook by Meghan McCarthy; illus. by the author Primary    Wiseman/Simon    48 pp. 9/19    978-1-5344-1733-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-1734-2    $10.99 McCarthy (Astronaut Handbook, rev. 7/08; All That Trash, rev. 5/18) brings her recognizable illustration style (bug-eyed humans with sideways grins) to the kid-captivating topic of firefighting. Friendly, direct-address text covers...

Veterans Day 2019

Today, Veterans Day, is a good day to share books about veterans, their experiences and sacrifices, and their supportive families and communities on the homefront. These titles, both fiction and nonfiction for a range of reader ages, were recommended by The Horn Book Magazine and The Horn Book Guide at...

Review of The Shortest Day

The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper; illus. by Carson Ellis Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.    g 10/19    978-0-7636-8698-7    $17.99 “So the shortest day came, and the year died, / And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world / Came people singing, dancing / To drive the dark away.” Thus begins...

Review of Queen of the Sea

Queen of the Sea by Dylan Meconis; illus. by the author Middle School    Walker U.S./Candlewick    396 pp. 5/19    978-1-5362-0498-8    $24.99 In a graphic novel loosely inspired by sixteenth-century British history “during the reigns of King Henry VIII and his daughters, Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I,” young Margaret has...

Review of A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation

A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation by Barry Wittenstein; illus. by Jerry Pinkney Primary, Intermediate    Porter/Holiday    48 pp.    g 8/19    978-0-8234-4331-4    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4374-1    $11.99 This superbly executed picture book takes readers behind the scenes of the writing of Dr....

Review of A Place to Belong

A Place to Belong by Cynthia Kadohata; illus. by Julia Kuo Intermediate, Middle School    Dlouhy/Atheneum    405 pp. 5/19    978-1-4814-4664-8    $17.99    e-book ed.  978-1-4814-4666-2    $10.99 They had been such proud Americans—working hard at their San Francisco restaurant and hopeful for the future. Then came Pearl Harbor, and Hanako, her little brother,...

Review of The Fountains of Silence

 The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys High School    Philomel    498 pp.    g 10/19    978-0-399-16031-8    $18.99 Sepetys’s riveting historical epic examines the enduring effects of the Spanish Civil War through the perspectives of four young people living under the shadow of Franco’s fascist dictatorship in 1957 Madrid. Ana and Rafael...

Review of River

River by Elisha Cooper; illus. by the author Primary    Orchard/Scholastic    48 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-338-31226-3    $18.99 A woman says goodbye to her family and begins a three-hundred-mile canoe journey down a river. "In her canoe: tent, sleeping bag, guidebook, map, life jacket, first-aid kit, waterproof duffle with food, clothes, water...

Review of Liberty Arrives!: How America's Grandest Statue Found Her Home

Liberty Arrives!: How America’s Grandest Statue Found Her Home by Robert Byrd; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Dial    40 pp.    g 6/19    978-0-7352-3082-8    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-5255-5451-6    $10.99 Byrd (Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction Award winner for Electric Ben, rev. 11/12) approaches his topic as systematically and artistically as did...

Review of Crossing On Time: Steam Engines, Fast Ships, and a Journey to the New World

Crossing On Time: Steam Engines, Fast Ships, 
and a Journey to the New World by David Macaulay; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Roaring Brook    128 pp. 5/19    978-1-59643-477-6    $24.99 Macaulay chronicles his own mid-twentieth-century immigration story in full color and a wide trim size—along with plenty of diagrams...

Review of Double Bass Blues

Double Bass Blues by Andrea J. Loney; illus. by Rudy Gutierrez Primary    Knopf    32 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-5247-1852-7    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-5247-1853-4    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-1854-1    $10.99 Told entirely through dialogue and sound effects, the story follows double-bass player Nic as he performs an “epic solo” at band practice at...

Review of Ordinary Hazards: A Memoir

Ordinary Hazards: A Memoir by Nikki Grimes High School    Wordsong/Boyds Mills    325 pp. 10/19    978-1-62979-881-3    $19.99 As poetically written as Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming (rev. 9/14) with a story as hard-hitting as Sapphire’s Push. In her author’s note, poet Grimes (winner of the 2017 Children’s Literature Legacy Award) says that...

Review of Pumpkinheads

Pumpkinheads  by Rainbow Rowell; illus. by Faith Erin Hicks; 
color by Sarah Stern  High School    First Second/Roaring Brook    222 pp.  8/19    978-1-250-31285-3    $24.99      Paper ed.  978-1-62672-162-3    $17.99  Graduating high-school seniors Josiah and Deja have worked together at DeKnock’s World Famous Pumpkin Patch & Autumn Jamboree every fall for the past...

Review of Saturday

Saturday  by Oge Mora; illus. by the author  Preschool, Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp.    g  10/19    978-0-316-43127-9    $18.99  e-book ed.  978-0-316-43126-2    $9.99  Mora (Thank You, Omu!, rev. 11/18) follows up her Caldecott Honor winner with another story built around family and community connection. On Saturdays, Ava and her mother (who...

Review of Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of “The Children’s Ship”

Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of “The Children’s Ship” by Deborah Heiligman Intermediate, Middle School    Godwin/Holt    291 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-62779-554-8    $19.99 Nonfiction maestro Heiligman (Charles and Emma, rev. 1/09; Vincent and Theo, rev. 3/17) here tells a riveting wartime survival story. As World War...

Review of The Bridge Home audiobook

The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman; read by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Listening Library    Rev. 1/19    4 CDs    4.55 hrs.    978-1-9848-4509-2    $38.00 Venkatraman’s memorable middle-grade and middle-school novel follows homeless children trying to survive on the streets of Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, India. In this excellent audio...

Review of The Miracle & Tragedy 
of the Dionne Quintuplets

The Miracle & Tragedy 
of the Dionne Quintuplets by Sarah Miller Middle School, High School    
Schwartz & Wade/Random    309 pp.    8/19    978-1-5247-1381-2    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-5247-1382-9    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-1383-6    $10.99 The “miracle” referred to in the title was of course the birth of the five identical Dionne sisters in...

Review of The Language of Fire: Joan of Arc Reimagined

The Language of Fire: Joan of Arc Reimagined by Stephanie Hemphill High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    495 pp. 6/19    978-0-06-249011-7    $17.99 In this engrossing first-person, present-tense verse novel, Hemphill (Your Own, Sylvia, rev. 3/07; Hideous Love, rev. 9/13) reimagines the fifteenth-century life of French martyr Joan of Arc. Readers follow...

Reviews of 2019 Mind the Gap Award winners

Not all deserving books bring home ALA awards. Our annual Mind the Gap Awards pay tribute to our favorite books that didn’t win. Here’s how we reviewed our 2019 winners.   A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes; illus. by the author Preschool    Greenwillow    40 pp.    g 9/18    978-0-06-266827-1    $18.99...

Review of Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience

Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience edited by Patrice Vecchione and Alyssa Raymond Middle School, High School    Triangle Square/Seven Stories    183 pp. 3/19    Paper ed.  978-1-60980-907-2    $15.95    ebook ed. 978-1-60980-908-9    $13.99   Poems as piercing and reflective as the shards of a shattered mirror offer stunning...

"WE ARE HERE": queer books beyond subtext

Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City, an event that laid the groundwork for the first Gay Pride parade and celebrations that have evolved into a month-long recognition of LGBTQ+ identities and communities.During my 1990s childhood in a pervasively conservative, Christian, Southern environment, I...

Review of The Iliad

The Iliadadapted by Gareth Hinds; illus. by the adapterMiddle School, High School    Candlewick    264 pp.3/19    978-0-7636-8113-5    $27.99Paper ed.  978-0-7636-9663-4    $16.99As with his treatment of The Odyssey (rev. 11/10), Hinds offers an ambitious and compelling comics adaptation of a Homerian epic. This complex, winding tale picks up in the tenth year...

Review of To Night Owl from Dogfish

To Night Owl from Dogfishby Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg WolitzerIntermediate, Middle School    Dial/Dutton    311 pp.    g2/19    978-0-5255-5323-6    $17.99At the start of this epistolary (via email) novel, twelve-year-olds Bett Devlin, an adventure-loving California girl of African American and Brazilian descent, and Avery Bloom, a tightly wound New Yorker whose single...

Review of Hello

Helloby Fiona Woodcock; illus. by the authorPreschool    Greenwillow    40 pp.5/19    978-0-06-264456-6    $17.99In Look (rev. 7/18), Woodcock strung together a series of words with double os, more or less one per page, to tell a story of a brother and sister visiting the zoo. In this companion, double ls get the...

Review of Dissenter on the Bench: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Life & Work

Dissenter on the Bench: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Life & Workby Victoria OrtizMiddle School, High School    Clarion    184 pp.    g6/19    978-0-544-97364-0    $18.99e-book ed.  978-1-328-63990-5    $9.99Since her appointment to the Supreme Court in 1993, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has become a hero to many Americans for her progressive positions on cases involving free...

Review of Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Meby Mariko Tamaki; illus. by Rosemary Valero-O’ConnellHigh School    First Second/Roaring Brook    298 pp.5/19    978-1-250-31284-6    $24.99Paper ed.  978-1-62672-259-0    $17.99This relatable, heart-wrenching, and often funny graphic novel opens with seventeen-year-old Frederica (“Freddy”) Riley’s email to advice columnist Anna Vice. “For almost the past year I’ve been...

Review of Ogilvy

Ogilvyby Deborah Underwood; illus. by T. L. McBethPreschool, Primary    Godwin/Holt    40 pp.5/19    978-1-250-15176-6    $17.99Ogilvy, a wide-eyed, line-drawn bunny, is excited to make friends in a new town. But upon arrival, the rabbit’s sartorial choices are challenged; Ogilvy, clad in a knit article of clothing, is asked: “Is it a sweater...

2019 BGHB Nonfiction Award winners extras

Roger Sutton, editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc., announced the 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winners on May 29th, 2019, at School Library Journal's Day of Dialog in New York City. You can watch the announcement video here and read the press release here.Read reviews of all of the...

2019 BGHB Fiction & Poetry Award winners extras

Roger Sutton, editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc., announced the 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winners on May 29th, 2019, at School Library Journal's Day of Dialog in New York City. You can watch the announcement video here and read the press release here.Read reviews of all of the...

2019 BGHB Picture Book Award winners extras

Roger Sutton, editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc., announced the 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winners on May 29th, 2019, at School Library Journal's Day of Dialog in New York City. You can watch the announcement video here and read the press release here. Read reviews of all of...

Imaginative Spaces and Connecting Lines: SFF and the CSK

According to Nichelle Nichols, the first Black woman cast as a main character on a major television show, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Trekkie. In fact, she stated that it was his support that prompted her to continue her role as Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek even though...

Review of Moth: An Evolution Story

Moth: An Evolution Storyby Isabel Thomas; illus. by Daniel EgnéusPrimary    Bloomsbury    48 pp.    g6/19    978-1-5476-0020-5    $18.99e-book ed.  978-1-5476-0024-3    $13.29“This is a story of light and dark. Of change and adaptation, of survival and hope.” In a shadowy (pre-industrial) wood, a peppered moth — its “speckled, freckled” wing patterns wonderfully detailed...

BFFs back for more

Like Frog & Toad, Elephant & Piggie, and Ling & Ting, best friendship stories & easy readers are a perfect pair. These latest entries in noteworthy easy-reader series offer readers a chance to visit with some beloved sets of besties. For more recommended easy readers and articles about the format,...

Picture Books for Father's Day 2019

Father's Day is this Sunday, and if you are celebrating, here are some picture books to make Dad's or Granddad's day. Also be sure not to miss one of our faves of the year, My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Zeke Peña, and their Five Questions...
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