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Reviews of the 2021 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award Winners

Winner  ¡Vamos!: Let’s Go Eat  by Raúl the Third; illus. by the author; color by Elaine Bay  Primary    Versify/Houghton    40 pp.    g  3/20    978-1-328-55704-9    $14.99  e-book ed.  978-0-358-33070-7    $9.99  Little Lobo and his canine sidekick Bernabé, whom we met in ¡Vamos!: Let’s Go to the Market (rev. 3/19), are getting ready for another day...

Reviews of the 2021 Printz Award Winners

Winner Everything Sad Is Untrue: (A True Story) by Daniel Nayeri Middle School    Levine Querido    368 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-64614-000-8    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-64614-002-2    $9.99 Framed loosely as his twelve-year-old self’s responses to a series of school assignments, Nayeri’s fictionalized memoir swirls through his own memories as well as stories from his family...

Reviews of the 2021 CSK Illustrator Award Winners

Winner R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul  by Carole Boston Weatherford; illus. by Frank Morrison  Primary, Intermediate    Atheneum    48 pp.    g  8/20    978-1-5344-5228-2    $18.99  e-book ed.  978-1-5344-5229-9    $10.99  This impressionistic picture-book biography of Aretha Franklin (1942–2018) consists of a series of rhyming couplets following the iconic singer through her life. Weatherford employs...

Reviews of the 2021 CSK Author Award Winners

Winner  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 of tight...

Reviews of the 2021 Caldecott Medal Winners

Winner We Are Water Protectors  by Carole Lindstrom; illus. by Michaela Goade  Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp.    g  3/20    978-1-250-20355-7    $17.99  The book opens with a young Indigenous girl collecting water with her grandmother, who tells her that “water is the first medicine.” Vibrant blues, greens, and purples depict the river...

Reviews of the 2021 Newbery Medal Winners

Winner When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller Intermediate, Middle School    Random House    298 pp.    g 1/20    978-1-5247-1570-0    $16.99  e-book ed.  978-1-5247-1572-4    $9.99  Korean American middle schooler Lily thinks she has to take on a magical tiger in order to save her beloved Halmoni (grandmother), but the truth is much more...

Review of On Account of the Gum

On Account of the Gum by Adam Rex; illus. by the author Primary    Chronicle    56 pp.    g 10/20    978-1-4521-8154-7    $17.99 Shown wordlessly before the title page, our unnamed protagonist is in a sticky situation after falling asleep while chewing gum. Upon awakening, and after that unpleasant discovery, the child’s ­gum-removal...

Review of The Magic Fish

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen; illus. by the author Middle School    RH Graphic/Random    256 pp.   g 10/20    978-0-593-12529-8    $23.99 Library ed.  978-1-9848-5160-4    $26.99 Paper ed.  978-1-9848-5159-8    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-5161-1    $10.99 In this imaginative graphic novel, thirteen-year-old Vietnamese American boy Tin and his Vietnamese-refugee seamstress mother, Hin, have...

Review of Your House, My House

Your House, My House by Marianne Dubuc; illus. by the author; trans. from French by Yvette Ghione Preschool, Primary    Kids Can    24 pp.    g 10/20    978-1-5253-0490-3    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5253-0573-3    $9.99 “It’s the start of a new day at 3 Maple Street. But not just any day — it’s Little...

Review of All He Knew

All He Knew by Helen Frost Intermediate, Middle School    Farrar    272 pp.    g 8/20    978-0-374-31299-2    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-374-31300-5    $9.99 In free-verse poems, Frost tells the story of Henry, deafened by disease in 1937 at age four. Because Henry is deemed “unteachable” by the School for the Deaf, his family...

Review of The Big One: The Cascadia Earthquakes and the Science of Saving Lives

The Big One: The Cascadia Earthquakes and the Science of Saving Lives [Scientists in the Field] by Elizabeth Rusch Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    80 pp.    g 8/20    978-0-544-88904-0    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-33579-5    $9.99 Off the Pacific Northwest coast, running about six hundred miles from British Columbia to Northern California, lies...

Review of Plasticus Maritimus: An Invasive Species

Plasticus Maritimus: An Invasive Species by Ana Pêgo and Isabel Minhós Martins; illus. by Bernardo P. Carvalho; trans. from Portuguese by Jane Springer Intermediate, Middle School    Greystone Kids    176 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-77164-643-7    $19.95 e-book ed.  978-1-77164-644-4    $9.99 Pêgo, a marine biologist, warns of the impact of “invasive” plastics on...

Review of Mammoth Science: The Big Ideas That Explain Our World

Mammoth Science: The Big Ideas That Explain Our World by David Macaulay; illus. by the author Intermediate    DK    160 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-4654-9146-6    $19.99 A unique and amusing encyclopedia of general scientific topics from master draftsman Macaulay, geared to a slightly younger audience than the author’s The Way Things Work...

Review of Grasping Mysteries: Girls Who Loved Math

Grasping Mysteries: Girls Who Loved Math by Jeannine Atkins Intermediate, Middle School    Atheneum    320 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-5344-6068-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-6070-6    $10.99 Atkins’s (Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science, rev. 7/16) latest collective biography in verse spotlights seven “women who used math to frame and solve problems, fix...

Review of Skunk and Badger

Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake; illus. by Jon Klassen Primary, Intermediate    Algonquin    136 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-64375-005-7    $18.95 e-book ed.  978-1-64375-121-4    $15.95 Badger is perfectly content to live alone in a brownstone owned by Aunt Lula, which he’s arranged to suit his rather particular preferences, when a surprise roommate...

Review of Arlo & Pips: King of the Birds

Arlo & Pips: King of the Birds by Elise Gravel; illus. by the author Primary    HarperAlley/HarperCollins    64 pp.    g 10/20    978-0-06-298221-6    $12.99 Paper ed.  978-0-06-298222-3    $7.99 It’s an early chapter book! It’s a graphic novel! It’s a story about a creature with an overabundance of pride! It’s an unexpected friendship...

Review of Fox & Rabbit Make Believe

Fox & Rabbit Make Believe [Fox & Rabbit] by Beth Ferry; illus. by Gergely Dudás Primary    Amulet/Abrams    96 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-4197-4687-1    $12.99 e-book ed.  978-1-68335-983-8    $11.69 In their second volume, Fox and Rabbit return for five new loosely connected adventures as summer turns to fall. Flush with their lemonade-stand...

Review of The Left-Handed Booksellers of London

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix High School    Tegen/HarperCollins    416 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-06-268325-0    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-268327-4    $9.99 In an alternate version of 1983 England, eighteen-year-old Susan Arkshaw travels to London to search for the father she’s never known. Almost immediately, Susan encounters dashing Merlin St. Jacques...

Review of Burn

Burn by Patrick Ness High School    Quill Tree/HarperCollins    371 pp.    g 6/20    978-0-06-286949-4    $18.99 It’s 1957, and Sarah Dewhurst’s father has hired a dragon to work on their farm despite his prejudices against them. That’s not really big news; in this alternate universe, humankind has maintained an uneasy peace with...

Review of Igniting Darkness

Igniting Darkness by Robin LaFevers High School    Houghton    560 pp.    g 8/20    978-0-544-99109-5    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-33580-1    $9.99 In the second book of a duology (Courting Darkness, rev. 1/19) set in an alt-historical world of fifteenth-century Brittany and France (also the setting of several of her other novels), LaFevers returns...

Review of Daughters of Jubilation

Daughters of Jubilation by Kara Lee Corthron High School    Simon Pulse    352 pp.    g 10/20    978-1-4814-5950-1    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-5952-5    $10.99 In the summer of 1962 in an alternate-universe Jim Crow South, Black teenager Evalene Deschamps learns that the women in her family are blessed with magical abilities (including telekinesis,...

Review of How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories

How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories [Folk of the Air] by Holly Black; illus. by Rovina Cai Middle School, High School    Little, Brown    192 pp.    g 11/20    978-0-316-54088-9    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-54082-7    $9.99 Black returns to the world of her acclaimed Folk of the Air trilogy (beginning...

Review of Girl, Serpent, Thorn

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust High School    Flatiron    323 pp.    g 7/20    978-1-250-19614-9    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-250-19615-6    $9.99 “Stories always begin the same way. There was and there was not.” Soraya, sister of the Kingdom’s future shah, lives a privileged life in Golvahar Palace and loves to hear her...

Review of Return of the Thief

Return of the Thief [Queen’s Thief] by Megan Whalen Turner Middle School, High School    Greenwillow    480 pp.    g 10/20    978-0-06287-447-4    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06287-448-1    $12.99 Pheris, the heretofore-unknown heir of the traitorous Baron Erondites, is sent to be raised in the Attolian court. Possessing a keen intellect, Pheris has nevertheless...

Review of Sato the Rabbit

Sato the Rabbit by Yuki Ainoya; illus. by the author; trans. from Japanese by Michael Blaskowsky Primary    Enchanted Lion    64 pp.    g 2/21    978-1-59270-296-1    $16.95 Sato is a little boy in a rabbit costume, a kind of Japanese second cousin to Max in his wolf suit. In a set of...

Review of Pity Party

Pity Party by Kathleen Lane Middle School    Little, Brown    208 pp.    g 1/21    978-0-316-41736-5    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-41735-8    $9.99 Katya is a nervous middle schooler whose fertile imagination defaults to disaster. The voice in her head warns of poisoned Halloween candy, looming social ostracism, imminent acne, and rabid raccoons. In...

Review of Cave Paintings

Cave Paintings by Jairo Buitrago; illus. by Rafael ­Yockteng; trans. from Spanish by Elisa Amado Primary    Groundwood    48 pp.    g 10/20    978-1-773-06172-6    $19.95 e-book ed.  978-1-773-06173-3    $16.95 Buitrago and Yockteng (Walk with Me, rev. 5/17; On the Other Side of the Garden, rev. 7/18) turn to full-blown science fiction in...

Review of Class Act

Class Act by Jerry Craft; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    HarperAlley/Quill Tree/HarperCollins    256 pp.    g 10/20    978-0-06-288551-7    $22.99 Paper ed.  978-0-06-288550-0    $12.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-288552-4    $10.99 Puberty is on the horizon for thirteen-year-old Jordan Banks, who returns in this hilarious and heartfelt companion to New Kid (rev. 1/19),...

Review of Circle! Sphere!; The Last Marshmallow; Up to My Knees!; What Will Fit?

Circle! Sphere! [Storytelling Math] by Grace Lin; illus. by the author Preschool    Charlesbridge    16 pp.    g 10/20    978-1-62354-124-8    $6.99 The Last Marshmallow [Storytelling Math] by Grace Lin; illus. by the author Preschool    Charlesbridge    16 pp.    g 10/20    978-1-62354-126-2    $6.99 Up to My Knees! [Storytelling Math] by Grace Lin; illus. by...

Review of Chance: Escape from the Holocaust

Chance: Escape from the Holocaust by Uri Shulevitz; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Farrar    336 pp.    g 10/20    978-0-374-31371-5    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-0-374-31370-8    $9.99 Shulevitz was just four when the Nazis invaded Poland in September of 1939, forcing his family members to flee their homeland. Thus began nearly...

Review of Becoming Muhammad Ali: Based on the Story of Young Cassius Clay

Becoming Muhammad Ali: Based on the Story of Young Cassius Clay by James Patterson and Kwame Alexander; illus. by Dawud Anyabwile Intermediate, Middle School    Patterson/Little, Brown/Houghton    320 pp.    g 10/20    978-0-316-49816-6    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-49818-0    $9.99 Patterson and Alexander, two heavyweights in the world of books (and their respective publishing...

Review of The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore; illus. by Loren Long Primary    Harper/HarperCollins    40 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-06-286946-3    $18.99 Long’s inclusive take on Moore’s poem focuses on four different families in four diverse dwellings: a country farmhouse, a city apartment, a trailer home, and a house in the tropics....

Review of Once upon a Winter Day

Once upon a Winter Day by Liza Woodruff; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Ferguson/Holiday    40 pp.    g 11/20    978-0-8234-4099-3    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4404-5    $10.99 Milo’s mother is too busy to read him a story, so the boy reluctantly heads out to play in the snow. Under the bird feeder...

Review of They Threw Us Away

They Threw Us Away [The Teddies Saga] by Daniel Kraus; illus. by Rovina Cai Intermediate    Holt    256 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-250-22440-8    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-250-22441-5    $9.99 Buddy the teddy bear wakes up in a garbage dump: the toy store that’s been his home has thrown him away. Together with a...

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...

Review of Traitor

Traitor by Amanda McCrina High School    Farrar    368 pp.    g 8/20    978-0-374-31352-4    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-374-31354-8    $9.99 In 1939, instigating World War II, Germany and subsequently the Soviet Union invaded Poland and divided it between themselves along the Curzon Line. But Germany later swept past the Line, attacked Soviet forces,...

Review of A Thousand Questions

A Thousand Questions by Saadia Faruqi Intermediate    Quill Tree/HarperCollins    320 pp.    g 10/20    978-0-06-294320-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-294322-4    $8.99 Issues of home and belonging form the cornerstones of Faruqi’s (author of the Yasmin early chapter books) first solo middle-grade novel. Mimi and her mother (her father left the family when...

Review of Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball

Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball by Jen Bryant; illus. by Frank Morrison Primary, Intermediate    Abrams    40 pp.    g 10/20   978-1-4197-4108-1    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-64700-161-2    $15.54 “Things can change in time.” For NBA great Elgin Baylor, named for his father’s favorite wristwatch, the segregated parks, playgrounds, schools, and...

Review of Flamer

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Flamer by Mike Curato; illus. by the author Middle School, High School    Godwin/Holt    368 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-62779-641-5    $25.99 Paper ed.  978-1-250-75614-5    $17.99 Aiden is not looking forward to starting public high school in the fall; his Catholic schooling heretofore has had its challenges — “jerks” — but at least...

Review of All Because You Matter

All Because You Matter by Tami Charles; illus. by Bryan Collier Preschool, Primary    Orchard/Scholastic    40 pp.    g 10/20    978-1-338-57485-2    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-67474-3    $10.99 A richly illustrated affirmation for Black children — especially boys. An African American expectant mother and father eagerly await the arrival of their child, embracing him...

What Makes a Good Hanukkah Picture Book?

Let’s say, for some reason, you wanted to read the worst Hanukkah picture book ever written. Why would you wish to do this? Well, such a book could serve as a fine blueprint for how not to write a lousy Hanukkah book and/or how not to choose a lousy Hanukkah...

Review of Feathered Serpent and the Five Suns: A Mesoamerican Creation Myth

Feathered Serpent and the Five Suns: A Mesoamerican Creation Myth by Duncan Tonatiuh; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Abrams    40 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-4197-4677-2    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-64700-154-4    $15.29 The Feathered Serpent, known as ­Quetzalcóatl among Nahuatl-speaking peoples, is a principal figure in ­Mesoamerican cosmology and often features in...

Review of You Poop Here

You Poop Here by Paul Meisel; illus. by the author Preschool    Holiday    32 pp.    g 11/20    978-0-8234-4601-8    $17.99 A parade of animals pooping in their natural habitats leads to human toddlers proudly sitting on the potty. No, this isn’t a rehash of Taro Gomi’s classic Everyone Poops (1993), though the...

Review of How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity's Greatest Adventure

How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity’s Greatest Adventure by John Rocco; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Crown    264 pp.    g 10/20    978-0-525-64741-6    $29.99 Library ed.  978-0-525-64742-3    $32.99 e-book ed.  978-0-525-64743-0    $17.99 In seven parts arranged chronologically, Rocco delivers...

Review of The Snow Fell Three Graves Deep: Voices from the Donner Party

The Snow Fell Three Graves Deep: Voices from the Donner Party by Allan Wolf Middle School, High School    Candlewick    416 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-7636-6324-7    $21.99 As in his previous works of historical fiction, including The Watch That Ends the Night (rev. 9/11), Wolf here deploys a cast of characters (a...

Review of I Talk like a River

I Talk like a River by Jordan Scott; illus. by Sydney Smith Primary    Porter/Holiday    40 pp. 9/20    978-0-8234-4559-2    $18.99 In this lyrical and empowering picture book, Canadian poet Scott tells a story based on his own experiences as a boy who stuttered. In simple, evocative language, he captures the isolation,...

Review of Prairie Days

Prairie Days by Patricia MacLachlan; illus. by Micha Archer Primary    McElderry    40 pp. 5/20    978-1-4424-4191-0    $17.99 In this nostalgic idyll set on the American prairie (judging by clues in the illustrations, in the mid-twentieth-century), a young girl describes summertime farm life as she and the other children ride horses, take...

Review of Night Walk to the Sea

Night Walk to the Sea: A Story About Rachel Carson, Earth's Protector by Deborah Wiles; illus. by Daniel Miyares Primary   Schwartz & Wade/Random    40 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-5247-0147-5    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-5247-0148-2    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-0149-9    $10.99 A boy shouts, stomps, and plays monsters to hide his fear of a...

Review of Your Place in the Universe

Your Place in the Universe by Jason Chin; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Porter/Holiday    40 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-8234-4623-0    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4878-4    $11.99 The relative sizes of objects can be endlessly fascinating to curious young minds. How many books tall is an eight-year-old? How many eight-year-olds standing on...

Review of Twins

Twins by Varian Johnson; illus. by Shannon Wright Intermediate, Middle School    Graphix/Scholastic    256 pp.    g 10/20    978-1-338-23617-0    $24.99 Paper ed.  978-1-338-23613-2    $12.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-23619-4    $7.99 It’s the first day of sixth grade for the identical Carter twins, and while Maureen is more than content to face the year with...

Review of The Bear and the Moon

The Bear and the Moon by Matthew Burgess; illus. by Cátia Chien Preschool, Primary    Chronicle    48 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-4521-7191-3    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4521-8125-7    $11.99 A wide-eyed bear — a furry stand-in for toddlers learning to manage strong emotions, as well as readers of all ages dealing with sorrow —...

Review of Loretta Little Looks Back: Three Voices Go Tell It

Loretta Little Looks Back: Three Voices Go Tell It by Andrea Davis Pinkney; illus. by Brian Pinkney Intermediate, Middle School    Little, Brown    224 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-316-53677-6    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-53676-9    $9.99 Spanning roughly three generations, covering the years 1927 to 1968, this lyrical oral history of the fictional Little...

Review of Our Little Kitchen

Our Little Kitchen by Jillian Tamaki; illus. by the author Primary    Abrams    48 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-4197-4655-0    $17.99 Our narrator explains, with great enthusiasm and gusto, how “every Wednesday, we come together in this little kitchen” to prepare a communal meal for all who are hungry. Meal prep begins with...

Review of Three Keys: A Front Desk-Novel

Three Keys: A Front Desk Novel by Kelly Yang Intermediate, Middle School    Scholastic    288 pp.    g  9/20    978-1-338-59138-5    $17.99  Library ed.  978-1-4328-8326-3    $20.99  e-book ed.  978-1-338-64816-4    $10.99  In this sequel to Front Desk (rev. 7/18), eleven-year-old Chinese American Mia Tang continues helping to run her now family-and-worker-owned motel in ­California. ­Business is going well, but...

Review of No Vacancy

No Vacancy by Tziporah Cohen Intermediate, Middle School    Groundwood    144 pp.    g  9/20    978-1-77306-410-9    $16.95  e-book ed.  978-1-77306-411-6    $14.95  Eleven-year-old Miriam’s family buys a motel in a tiny upstate New York town and moves there from Manhattan. When it becomes clear that the motel isn’t as lucrative as her parents had...

Review of Sun Flower Lion

Sun Flower Lion by Kevin Henkes; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Greenwillow    40 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-06-286610-3    $18.99 Library ed.  978-0-06-286611-0    $19.89 Meet the sun, “as bright as a flower”; a flower that looks like a lion; and a lion, who sees the flower and dreams about a field...

Review of Wishbone

Wishbone by Anna Garcia Schaper High School    Piñata    317 pp.    g 5/20    Paper ed.  978-1-55885-894-7    $12.95 In dual timelines, Schaper presents a story of culture, love, and feminism that crosses generations. Pili is a Mexican American teen in 1970s Laredo, Texas. Pilar is her namesake and her sister’s granddaughter, living...

Review of Zora and Me: The Summoner

Zora and Me: The Summoner by Victoria Bond Middle School    Candlewick    256 pp.    g 10/20    978-0-7636-4299-0    $17.99 Paper ed.  978-1-5362-1667-7    $7.99 This final entry in the Zora and Me trilogy (most recently, The Cursed Ground, rev. 9/18) is the darkest, with “an epistolary prologue” noting the year in which the...

Review of Ana on the Edge

Ana on the Edge by A. J. Sass Intermediate, Middle School    Little, Brown    240 pp.    g 10/20    978-0-316-45861-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-45863-4    $9.99 After winning the title of U.S. Juvenile Girls Champion in figure skating, twelve-year-old Ana-Marie Jin is ready to start a new season on the ice, competing at...

Review of Lupe Wong Won't Dance

Lupe Wong Won’t Dance by Donna Barba Higuera Intermediate, Middle School    Levine Querido    272 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-64614-003-9    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-64614-004-6    $17.99 The only thing standing between Lupe Wong and her chance to meet fellow Chinacan (or is it Mexinese?) Fu Li Hernandez, “the first Asian/Latino pitcher in the...

Review of Your Name Is a Song

Your Name Is a Song by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow; illus. by Luisa Uribe Preschool, Primary    Innovation    40 pp.    g 7/20    978-1-943147-72-4    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-943147-91-5    $10.99 Roll call can be difficult for a child with an unusual name. A young girl describes how her name “got stuck” in her teacher’s mouth...

Review of Sound: Shhh...Bang...POP...BOOM!

Sound: Shhh…Bang…POP…BOOM! by Romana Romanyshyn and Andriy Lesiv; illus. by the authors; trans. from Ukrainian by Vitaly Chernetsky Primary    Handprint/Chronicle    64 pp.    g 10/20    978-1-4521-7978-0    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-7972-0271-6    $13.99 With a color scheme featuring bright pink, teal blue, lemon yellow, and pops of orange, this attention-grabbing informational book starts...

Review of Ten Ways to Hear Snow

Ten Ways to Hear Snow by Cathy Camper; illus. by Kenard Pak Preschool, Primary    Kokila/Penguin    32 pp.    g 10/20    978-0-399-18633-2    $23.99 e-book ed.  978-0-593-11123-9    $11.99 When she wakes to discover that it blizzarded the night before, Lina isn’t deterred from her plans to walk to see her grandmother (in Arabic,...

Review of Can Bears Ski?

Can Bears Ski? by Raymond Antrobus; illus. by Polly Dunbar Primary    Candlewick    40 pp.    g 11/20    978-1-5362-1266-2    $16.99 Bear’s home is loud — full of Dad Bear’s rumbling, shaking, and trembling — and our protagonist enjoys the commotion. Perplexingly, though, Dad and everyone else seems to keep asking, “Can bears...

Veterans Day 2020

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. The Guide/Reviews Database is honoring them with three new booklists of recent recommended fiction and nonfiction titles for primary, intermediate, and older readers. Grade levels...

Holiday High Notes 2020

’Twas the holiday issue, and all across Boston... the remote-working Horn Bookers were writing reviews of recommended new and reissued Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas books. (See also Marjorie Ingall’s article “What Makes a Good Hanukkah Book?” in the November/December 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.)   Jack and Santa...

Review of Show Me a Sign

Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte Intermediate, Middle School    Scholastic    288 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-338-25581-2    $18.00 e-book ed.  978-1-338-25583-6    $11.99 In 1805 Chilmark, on Martha’s Vineyard, eleven-year-old Mary Lambert’s family is grieving the death of her brother George in a horse-cart accident. In the larger picture, English-settler residents...

Review of All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys' Soccer Team

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat Intermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    288 pp.    g 10/20    978-1-5362-0945-7    $24.99 An author of picture books, easy readers, and middle-grade novels, Soontornvat (A Wish in the Dark, rev. 5/20) here presents a compelling work of nonfiction....

Review of Fighting Words

Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley Intermediate, Middle School    Dial    269 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-9848-1568-2    $17.99 Ten-year-old Delicious Nevaeh Roberts, a.k.a. Della, doesn’t take “snow” from anyone (“Suki says whenever I want to use a bad word, I can say snow”). She’s learned to be tough from her fiercely protective...

Review of Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away

Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away by Meg Medina; illus. by Sonia Sánchez Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-5362-0704-0    $17.99 Spanish ed.  978-1-5362-1334-8    $17.99 Daniela knows she’s going to have to say goodbye to Evelyn, her next-door neighbor and “número uno best friend.” But first, the two girls...

Review of The Time of Green Magic

The Time of Green Magic by Hilary McKay Intermediate, Middle School    McElderry    225 pp.    g 7/20    978-1-5344-6276-2    $17.99 Everything changes for eleven-year-old North Londoner Abigail when her widower father marries Polly, mother of Max and Louis, and her beloved Granny Grace returns to Jamaica. Feeling both isolated and crowded at...

Review of I Am Every Good Thing

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes; illus. by Gordon C. James Preschool, Primary    Paulsen/Penguin    32 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-525-51877-8    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-525-51878-5    $10.99 Barnes and James reunite, after the multi-award-winning success of Crown (rev. 11/17), for this beautiful and necessary book that affirms Black boys and their...

Review of The Way Back

The Way Back by Gavriel Savit Middle School, High School    Knopf    368 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-98489-462-5    $18.99 Library ed.  978-1-9848-9463-2    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-9464-9    $10.99 In this dark fantasy set in a nineteenth-century shtetl in Eastern Europe, grieving teens Bluma (who’s lost her grandmother) and Yehuda Leib (who found and...

Review of Tigers, Not Daughters

Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry High School    Algonquin    280 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-61620-896-7    $17.95 The Torres family, always considered misfits in their San Antonio community, suffered tragedy a year ago when eldest sister Ana fell to her death from her bedroom window. That Ana was sneaking out to see...

Review of Elatsoe

Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger; illus. by Rovina Cai Middle School, High School    Levine Querido    368 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-64614-005-3    $18.99 This absorbing and haunting speculative fiction debut challenges expectations at every turn. Ellie (short for Elatsoe) is seventeen years old, Lipan Apache, and an aspiring paranormal investigator. She has...

Review of Watch over Me

Watch over Me by Nina LaCour High School    Dutton    240 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-593-10897-0    $17.99 After four years in foster care, recent high school graduate Mila begins an internship (“I would spend my weekdays teaching in the schoolhouse and my Sundays waking up at five a.m. to run the booth...

Review of A Song of Wraiths and Ruin

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    480 pp.    g 6/20    978-0-06-289149-5    $18.99 This tale, first in a West African–inspired duology, is narrated in the third person, from two points of view. The first protagonist, Malik, is an Eshran refugee fleeing his...

Review of Eleanor, Alice, and the Roosevelt Ghosts

Eleanor, Alice, and the Roosevelt Ghosts by Dianne K. Salerni Intermediate, Middle School    Holiday    240 pp.    g 8/20    978-0-8234-4697-1    $17.99 In an alternate-universe 1898 New York City, cousins Eleanor and Alice Roosevelt unite to solve the mystery of the ghost who has recently “erupted” in their aunt Bye’s house. Here...

Review of The Inkberg Enigma

The Inkberg Enigma by Jonathan King; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Gecko    129 pp.    g 9/20    Paper ed.  978-1-776572-66-3    $17.61 In this graphic novel set in and around the fictional contemporary New Zealand fishing town of Aurora, youngsters Miro and Zia witness something they weren’t supposed to: a...

Review of The Last Mirror on the Left

The Last Mirror on the Left by Lamar Giles; illus. by Dapo Adeola Intermediate, Middle School    Versify/Houghton    272 pp.    g 10/20    978-0-358-12941-7    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-13043-7    $9.99 After their supernatural successes in The Last Last-Day-of-Summer (rev. 3/19), Sheed and Otto must now live up to their status as the Legendary...

Review of Witches of Brooklyn

Witches of Brooklyn by Sophie Escabasse; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    RH Graphic/Random    240 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-593-12528-1    $20.99 Library ed.  978-0-593-11928-0    $23.99 Paper ed.  978-0-593-11927-3    $12.99 e-book ed.  978-0-593-11929-7    $8.99 In this lighthearted, sweet, and entertaining fantastical graphic novel, eleven-year-old Effie is (unexpectedly for all parties involved)...

Review of The Weird in the Wilds

The Weird in the Wilds [Tales of Triumph and Disaster!] by Deb Caletti; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Putnam    272 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-9848-1308-4    $13.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-1309-1    $8.99 In our introduction to Henry Early in A Flicker of Courage (rev. 1/20), the big reveal was that this...

Review of Feel the Fog

Feel the Fog by April Pulley Sayre; photos by the author Preschool, Primary    Beach Lane/Simon    40 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-5344-3760-9    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-3761-6    $10.99 Immersive photographs (most taken by the author) pull viewers into the experience of a foggy day in Sayre’s latest weather-focused title (Raindrops Roll and others)....

Review of Every Color of Light

Every Color of Light by Hiroshi Osada; illus. by Ryōji Arai; trans. from Japanese by David Boyd Preschool, Primary    Enchanted Lion    40 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-59270-291-6    $16.95 Poetic phrases and vibrant mixed-media illustrations capture the intensity of a thunderstorm across a natural landscape. The book begins with a small image...

Review of Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy

Desert Girl, Monsoon Boy by Tara Dairman; illus. by Archana Sreenivasan Preschool, Primary    Putnam    32 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-525-51806-8    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-525-51807-5    $10.99 In this beautifully rendered study of contrasts and commonalities, Dairman imagines a girl and boy from two different biomes in India. Split pages portray the girl...

Review of The Weather's Bet

The Weather’s Bet by Stephen Cowan; illus. by Ed Young Primary    Philomel    32 pp.    g 3/20    978-0-525-51382-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-525-51383-4    $10.99 “One day a shepherd was fast asleep / upon a hill with her flock of sheep.” The three powers who rule the Earth — Rain, Wind, and Sun...

Review of If Winter Comes Tell It I'm Not Here

If Winter Comes, Tell It I’m Not Here by Simona Ciraolo; illus. by the author Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.    g 10/20    978-1-5362-1530-4    $16.99 As a little boy sits on the side of a pool eating an ice-cream cone, his older sister informs him that he had better enjoy it, because...

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...

Horn BOO! 2020

Are you going on a (virtual) book hunt this Halloween? Our annual roundup has you covered, whether your treat of choice is spooky squids, not-so-spooky spiders, or anything in between. The Little Ghost Who Lost Her Boo! by Elaine Bickell; illus. by Raymond McGrath Preschool    Philomel    32 pp.    g 8/20   ...

Review of Julián at the Wedding

Julián at the Wedding by Jessica Love; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    40 pp.    g 10/20    978-1-5362-1238-9    $16.99 Love’s follow-up to Julián Is a Mermaid (rev. 5/18) features characters both familiar and new. At the start of the story, Julián and Abuela are strolling down the sidewalk, arm-in-arm...

Review of Cubs in the Tub: The True Story of the Bronx Zoo's First Woman Zookeeper

Cubs in the Tub: The True Story of the Bronx Zoo’s First Woman Zookeeper by Candace Fleming; illus. by Julie Downing Primary, Intermediate    Porter/Holiday    48 pp.    g 8/20    978-0-8234-4318-5    $18.99 “Helen and Fred Martini longed for a baby,” begins this engaging picture-book biography. Fred spends his days working at the...

Review of If You Come to Earth

If You Come to Earth by Sophie Blackall; illus. by the author Primary    Chronicle    80 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-4521-3779-7    $18.99 Quinn, a small child in a red gnome hat, writes a letter to potential visitors to our planet to explain to them what we’re about: our location in the universe,...

Review of Stay Curious!: A Brief History of Stephen Hawking

Stay Curious!: A Brief History of Stephen Hawking by Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer; illus. by Boris Kulikov Primary, Intermediate    Crown    40 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-399-55028-7    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-399-55029-4    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-399-55030-0    $10.99 Physicist Stephen Hawking (1942–2018) was brilliant and iconoclastic from the get-go: as a child, he...

Review of Punching the Air

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi with Yusef Salaam; illus. by Omar T. Pasha High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    400 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-06-299648-0    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-299650-3    $10.99 Sixteen-year-old Amal Dawud Shahid (who is African American) knows he didn’t throw the punch that left Jeremy Mathis (who is white)...

Review of Packs

Packs: Strength in Numbers by Hannah Salyer; illus. by the author Primary    Houghton    48 pp. 1/20    978-1-328-57788-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-16695-5    $12.99 For some animal species, there are evolutionary advantages to social groupings. “Packs, herds, huddles, and pods. Together, we are better.” Salyer introduces young readers to many of the...

Review of Overground Railroad

Overground Railroad by Lesa Cline-Ransome; illus. by James Ransome Primary, Intermediate    Holiday    48 pp. 1/20    978-0-8234-3873-0    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4390-1    $11.99 “Some walked. / Some drove. / But we took the train north.” In 1939, as part of the Great Migration, young Ruth Ellen and her parents leave North Carolina,...

Review of You Matter

You Matter by Christian Robinson; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Atheneum    40 pp.    g 6/20    978-1-5344-2169-1    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-2170-7    $10.99 No saccharine self-esteem book, this is a powerful affirmation of each reader’s worth. Robinson’s text is loaded with child appeal (“When everyone thinks you’re a pest. / When...

Review of The Complete and Original Norwegian Folktales of Asbjørnsen and Moe

The Complete and Original Norwegian Folktales of Asbjørnsen and Moe by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe; trans. from Norwegian by Tiina Nunnally Intermediate    University of Minnesota    320 pp.    g 9/19    978-1-5179-0568-2    $34.95 Asbjørnsen and Moe first published their Norske folkeeventyr (“Norwegian folktales”) as a pamphlet in 1841; through the...

Review of See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog

See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog by David LaRochelle; illus. by Mike Wohnoutka Primary    Candlewick    64 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-53620-427-8    $8.99 In three brief stories, this beginning reader inventively supports both traditional and visual literacies. The first chapter, “The Cat,” opens with the sentence “See the cat” on...

Review of Pepper & Boo: A Cat Surprise!

Pepper & Boo: A Cat Surprise! by Charise Mericle Harper; illus. by the author Primary    Little, Brown    64 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-368-04904-7    $9.99 The book opens with a tidy four-panel spread, the first showing a comfy-looking house made from simple shapes (“Twelve paws are in this house,” says the text);...
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