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Books mentioned in the July 2021 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Sarah Miller Violet and Daisy: The Story of Vaudeville’s Famous Conjoined Twins by Sarah Miller; Schwartz & Wade/Random The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden & the Trial of the Century by Sarah Miller; Schwartz & Wade/Random The Miracle & Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets by Sarah Miller; Schwartz & Wade/Random...

From the Editor - July 2021

I hope everyone is enjoying the summer and finding enough to read (we can help). That’s it; go forth and read. From the July 2021 issue of Notes from the Horn Book....

Pure imagination

The following imagination-centered picture books encourage readers’ own creative thoughts and ideas to take fanciful flight. When I Draw a Panda  by Amy June Bates; illus. by the author  Primary    Wiseman/Simon    40 pp.    g  9/20    978-1-4814-5148-2    $17.99  e-book ed.  978-1-4814-5149-9    $10.99  In this celebration of imagination, creativity, and friendship, a girl’s...

From an animal's perspective

Animal-loving middle graders and middle schoolers will appreciate these six novels, all featuring fascinating creatures — and told from the animals' own perspectives. The Hungry Place by Jessie Haas  Intermediate, Middle School    Boyds Mills/Boyds Mills & Kane    190 pp.    g  10/20    978-1-68437-794-7    $17.99  Princess, born a champion Connemara pony at Highover Farm, has...

YA performance

The main characters in these five arts-focused YA novels are talented, determined — and ready to leave their marks. For more YA arts-related recommendations, see Guide/Reviews Database booklists Theater Novels (Older) and Dance (Older). Muted  by Tami Charles  High School    Scholastic    400 pp.    g  2/21    978-1-338-67352-4    $18.99  e-book ed.  978-1-338-67353-1    $11.99 ...

Five questions for Sarah Miller

No stranger to well-rounded depictions of complex and notorious women from history, nonfiction author Sarah Miller, whose previous books include The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden & the Trial of the Century and The Miracle & Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets, explores the lives of Violet and Daisy: The Story of...

Five questions for Matt Ringler

Strollercoaster (Little, Brown, 2–5 years) written by Matt Ringler, illustrated by Raúl the Third and Elaine Bay, takes viewers on a high-octane adventure throughout a vibrant city…all from the comfort of an over-tired little girl’s stroller at naptime. Good thinking, Dad! Father’s Day is June 20; find more book recommendations...

Books mentioned in the June 2021 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Matt Ringler Strollercoaster by Matt Ringler, illus. by Raúl the Third and Elaine Bay; Little, Brown. Doing things with Dad My Two Border Towns by David Bowles, illus. by Erika Meza; Kokila/Penguin. The Great Whipplethorp Bug Collection by Ben Brashares, illus. by Elizabeth Bergeland; Little, Brown. Night...

From the Editor - June 2021

Mark the date, June 23rd, to come to Hbook.com and watch my announcement of the winners of the 2021 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards. Our three judges (Shoshana Flax, Nicholl Denice Montgomery, and Luann Toth as chair) worked thoughtfully and prodigiously to bring us a stellar roster of winners this year,...

In their own words

Learning about people through their own words can bring teens closer to fascinating subjects — as in these memoirs for middle schoolers and high schoolers. Find more in the Guide/Reviews Database, subject: Autobiographies. Walk Toward the Rising Sun: From Child Soldier to Ambassador of Peace by Ger Duany with Garen...

LGBTQIA+ tweens and young teens

These recent middle-grade and middle-school novels star tweens and young teens exploring their LGBTQIA+ identities. Read them during Pride Month — and all year round. See also our recent Guide/Reviews Database Book Bundle: Pride. Hazel Bly and the Deep Blue Sea by Ashley Herring Blake Intermediate, Middle School    Little, Brown   ...

Doing things with Dad

Celebrate Father’s Day on June 20 by sharing the following recent picture books about fathers and children enjoying the natural world, building things together, and helping others. Find more book recommendations and links from the Horn Book here; and don’t miss our Five Questions interview with Matt Ringler about Strollercoaster....

2021 Summer Reading List

  Picture Books Suggested grade level for all entries: PS–2   I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes; illus. by Gordon C. James (Paulsen/Penguin) Cave Paintings by Jairo Buitrago; illus. by Rafael ­Yockteng; trans. from Spanish by Elisa Amado (Groundwood) You’re Invited to a Moth Ball: A Nighttime Insect...

2021 Summer Reading: High School

  Need suggestions for summer reading? This year we've super-sized our lists, with a baker's dozen recommendations for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, folklore, and poetry — all published 2020–2021 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.  ...

2021 Summer Reading: Middle School

  Need suggestions for summer reading? This year we've super-sized our lists, with a baker's dozen recommendations for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, folklore, and poetry — all published 2020–2021 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.  ...

2021 Summer Reading: Intermediate

  Need suggestions for summer reading? This year we've super-sized our lists, with a baker's dozen recommendations for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, folklore, and poetry — all published 2020–2021 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.  ...

2021 Summer Reading: Easy Readers and Primary Grades

  Need suggestions for summer reading? This year we've super-sized our lists, with a baker's dozen recommendations for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, folklore, and poetry — all published 2020–2021 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.  ...

2021 Summer Reading: Picture Books

  Need suggestions for summer reading? This year we've super-sized our lists, with a baker's dozen recommendations for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, folklore, and poetry — all published 2020–2021 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.  ...

Five questions for Angeline Boulley

In Angeline Boulley’s YA debut, Firekeeper’s Daughter (Holt, 14 years and up), eighteen-year-old Daunis is dragged into an investigation of the meth infiltrating her family members’ Sugar Island Ojibwe tribe — and the tragic murder of her best friend. It’s a gripping thriller, a nuanced contemporary Native story, a twisty...

2021 Summer Reading Recommendations

Horn Book Summer Reading fans may notice something special about 2021’s list: it’s super-sized! Instead of recommending our usual top ten books for different age ranges (including fiction, nonfiction, folklore, and poetry), all published 2020–2021 and ideal for the season, we’re providing thirteen of each. With COVID-19 having upended summer...

Five questions for Linda Sue Park

The One Thing You’d Save (Clarion, 9–13 years) written by Linda Sue Park begins with a teacher’s question: “Imagine that your home is on fire. You’re allowed to save one thing. Your family and pets are safe, so don’t worry about them. Your Most Important Thing. Any size. A grand...

Books mentioned in the April 2021 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Linda Sue Park The One Thing You'd Save by Linda Sue Park, illus. by Robert Sae-Heng; Clarion. New for National Poetry Month 2021 Niños: Poems for the Lost Children of Chile by María José Ferrada, illus. by María Elena Valdez, trans. from Spanish by Lawrence Schimel; Eerdmans....

From the Editor - April 2021

It is National Poetry Month, and the books selected by our editors for this issue of Notes remind me of how pliable our definition of poetry has had to become: it can be poetry-poetry, as in the collections by Naomi Shihab Nye, Jack Prelutsky, and Nikki Grimes reviewed above; but...

AAPI stories and voices

The following six YA titles center Asian American and Pacific Islander stories and voices, both in fiction and nonfiction — especially vital in a climate of rising violence. May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and we’ll be posting more links and booklists throughout the month. See also this year’s...

For Earth Day: Protecting animals

With Earth Day just around the corner (April 22), look to these engaging and accessible nonfiction picture books to demonstrate the importance of appreciating animal species. See also our 50th anniversary celebration of Earth Day, from last year, and look for more from us on the day itself. Crossings: Extraordinary...

New for National Poetry Month 2021

April is National Poetry Month, and the following seven titles, for middle-grade and up, represent the variety — and appeal — of the form. See also our Five Questions interview with Linda Sue Park about her new illustrated verse novel The One Thing You’d Save; along with Jacqueline Woodson’s 2021...

Books mentioned in the March 2021 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Lesa Cline-Ransome and Andrea Davis Pinkney Claudette Colvin by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illus. by Gillian Flint, and Harriet Tubman by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illus. by Gillian Flint; Philomel. Persistent women The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee by Julie Leung, illus. by Julie Kwon; Little, Brown. The Water...

From the Editor - March 2021

Welcome to Women’s History Month, which we are celebrating at the Horn Book through March. Really, given the influence Bertha Mahony Miller and her Horn Book sistren still hold upon this company, it’s always Women’s History Month for us, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. I may joke...

YA mythology and folktales

From ancient Greece and Brittany to the Americas and Vietnam, traditional storytelling provides rich inspiration for these YA re-visionings. The Daughters of Ys by M. T. Anderson; illus. by Jo Rioux Middle School    First Second/Roaring Brook    208 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-62672-878-3    $24.99 e-book ed.  978-1-25079-036-1    $11.99 In graphic novel form,...

Resilient girls

The young female protagonists of the following six historical fiction novels demonstrate strength and resilience when faced with family challenges, societal limitations, and dramatic world events. March is Women’s History Month. For more, click the tag Women’s History Month and follow #HBWomensHistoryMonth on Twitter and Facebook. Letters from Cuba by...

Persistent women

For young readers not quite ready for illustrated chapter-book biographies such as Claudette Colvin and Harriet Tubman, which are discussed in our Five Questions interview with authors Lesa Cline-Ransome and Andrea Davis Pinkney, here are picture-book biographies about seven tenacious, inspiring, and diverse women. March is Women’s History Month. For...

Five questions for Lesa Cline-Ransome and Andrea Davis Pinkney

The new chapter book series She Persisted (Philomel, 6-9 years) is spun off from the picture books of the same name written by Chelsea Clinton and illustrated by Alexandra Boiger. Each entry explores the life of a strong and courageous woman who has helped change the world, with the first...

Five questions for Frank Morrison

In Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball (Abrams, 6–10 years), written by Jen Bryant, artist Frank Morrison (the 2021 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner for R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, written by Carole Boston Weatherford) depicts the life of the NBA great and civil rights...

Books mentioned in the February 2021 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Frank Morrison Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball by Jen Bryant, illus. by Frank Morrison; Abrams. #OwnVoices biographies for Black History Month 2021 This Is Your Time by Ruby Bridges; Delacorte. One Step Further: My Story of Math, the Moon, and a Lifelong Mission by...

From the Editor - February 2021

Welcome to Black History Month 2021! As several of the books reviewed here remind us, you can’t have American history without it. Please go see all of our BHM coverage on the website, where the indefatigable Cindy and Elissa are posting related reviews, interviews, articles, and essays every day throughout...

Middle-grade sci-fi/fantasy for Black History Month

Read S. R. Toliver’s 2019 Horn Book article on why representation matters in sci-fi/fantasy, then dip into the following fantastical middle-grade novels by Black authors and starring Black protagonists. See also our Black History Month 2021 coverage. Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston Intermediate, Middle School    Balzer...

Black history, American history

Take it from Ruby Bridges — one person can make a difference in the fight for civil rights, a fight that continues today. The following illustrated biographies (all #OwnVoices) highlight important figures in Black — and American — history. See also our Black History Month 2021 coverage. This Is Your...

Queer romance

This Valentine’s Day, find book love with the following recent YA titles centering queer romance. for more on romantic love, click the tag "love stories" and see also Katrina Hedeen and Rachel L. Smith’s 2013 Horn Book Magazine article: “What Makes a Good YA Love Story?” Love Is for Losers...

Books mentioned in the January 2021 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Megan Whalen Turner Return of the Thief [Queen's Thief] by Megan Whalen Turner; Greenwillow. YA world building Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust; Flatiron. How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories [Folk of the Air] by Holly Black, illus. by Rovina Cai; Little, Brown. Daughters...

From the Editor - January 2021

Though we won’t miss 2020 (good riddance), we will miss the world that Megan Whalen Turner created in her Queen’s Thief series, complete with political maneuvering, backstabbing, power grabs...oh, wait. World-building was perfected by Turner, and is used to great effect in these recent YA titles. If kindhearted skunks and...

Intermediate STEM

Hand the following entertaining and informative STEM-focused nonfiction titles to science-minded middle graders. 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...

Primary animal fantasy chapter books

These recent animal-fantasy chapter books will thrill, educate, and crack up new readers. Willa the Wisp [The Fabled Stables] by Jonathan Auxier; illus. by Olga Demidova Primary    Amulet/Abrams    96 pp.    g 10/20    978-1-4197-4269-9    $12.99 “At the top of the world sat an island. And at the heart of that island...

YA world building

The following YA titles feature strongly built worlds — some well-known to fans, some brand new — that will sweep readers up with their fantastical details and enthralling adventures. Don’t miss our “Five questions for Megan Whalen Turner,” author of the Queen’s Thief series, which concludes with Return of the...

Five questions for Megan Whalen Turner

Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief (with that never-to-be-bettered twist at the end!) was published in 1996. Now, after six books set in that unforgettably detailed world, full of political machinations, double crosses, dubious motivations, and familial obligations, the series comes to a close with Return of the Thief (Greenwillow, 12...

Fanfare 2020 Annotations

Welcome to Fanfare, our choices of the best books of 2020. When The Horn Book’s tiny office went from wall-to-wall books, ARCs, effin’ jeez, and piles and piles of still more books to fully remote, there was a lot of uncertainty. Overnight, our digital tag line — It’s virtually a...

Books mentioned in the November 2020 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Jordan Scott and Sydney Smith I Talk like a River by Jordan Scott, illus. by Sydney Smith; Porter/Holiday. The sound of sounds Can Bears Ski? by Raymond Antrobus, illus. by Polly Dunbar; Candlewick. Ten Ways to Hear Snow by Cathy Camper, illus. by Kenard Pak; Kokila/Penguin. Sound:...

From the Editor - November 2020

Ready to celebrate? I bet you are, and our annual Holiday High Notes list of recommended seasonal titles is here to help you get the party started. It’s not too early, he says, having picked up two boxes of chocolate peppermint cookies earlier today, and while to keep household peace...

YA American historical fiction

These five works of historical fiction for young adults are set during turbulent times in American history — and effectively interrogate those moments from our past. 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...

Fiction for sports fans

Some sports are seasonal, but reading novels about them is an all-year-round affair, and these four recent offerings for middle graders and middle schoolers are worth adding to the rotation. 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...

The sound of sounds

The following picture books — two nonfiction, three fictional — engagingly and informatively explore the topics of hearing, sound, and speech for young readers. See also Five questions for Jordan Scott and Sydney Smith about I Talk like a River centering a protagonist with a stutter. Can Bears Ski? by...

Five questions for Jordan Scott and Sydney Smith

I Talk like a River (Porter/Holiday) — a collaboration between poet Jordan Scott and award-winning illustrator Sydney Smith — has received multiple starred reviews. The story takes us into the psyche of a boy who struggles with stuttering. After a “bad speech day,” the boy’s father takes him for a...

Books mentioned in the October 2020 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Grace Lin Circle! Sphere!; The Last Marshmallow; Up to My Knees!; What Will Fit? [Storytelling Math] by Grace Lin, illus. by the author; Charlesbridge. Ever-changing weather and seasons If Winter Comes, Tell It I'm Not Here by Simona Ciraolo, illus. by the author; Candlewick. The Weather's Bet...

From the Editor - October 2020

We hope you’ve been enjoying attending our first-ever virtual Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards, with coverage of this year’s BGHB winners — videos, interviews, articles, and more — each week in October. It’s all archived, and everything is free — find the full schedule here. In this issue of Notes and...

YA ghosts and demons

Ghosts, demons, and hauntings — both metaphorical and spiritual — inhabit these eerie and atmospheric YA titles. 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...

Ever-changing weather and seasons

October in New England can be changeable. (Coats over costumes? This year stay home.) Similar to Grace Lin’s four season-themed Storytelling Math series of board books, these fiction and nonfiction picture books explore weather and seasons in entertaining, accessible, informative ways. If Winter Comes, Tell It I’m Not Here by...

Five questions for Grace Lin

Caldecott (for A Big Mooncake for Little Star in 2019), Newbery (for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon in 2010), and Geisel (for Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! in 2011) honoree Grace Lin’s new Storytelling Math board book series (Charlesbridge, 3-5 years) fulfills both parts of its name:...

Lighthearted supernatural stories

The following books should appeal to middle-graders and middle-schoolers who prefer their supernatural thrills with a side of humor. 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...

Books mentioned in the September 2020 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Evette Dionne Lifting as We Climb: Black Women's Battle for the Ballot Box by Evette Dionne, Viking. Be a change maker Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights by Karen Blumenthal; Roaring Brook. Ms. Gloria Steinem: A Life by Winifred Conkling;...

From the Editor - September 2020

The lyric “You can’t live with ’em, you can’t live without ’em” from The Muppet Movie got stuck in my head last week as I was working on our siblings section for this month’s Notes. Perhaps it was my subconscious’s way of telling me something (though my older sister and...

Animal friends (and frenemies)

Last week we highlighted the fiftieth anniversary edition of Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad Are Friends, a book which arguably introduced one of the most famous animal pairings in children’s literature. The following five recent offerings for primary readers (and “What (Exactly) IS an Easy Reader?” anyway?) continue in that...

Siblings: You can’t live with ’em, you can’t live without ’em

The relatable main characters in these five recent novels for middle-grade readers learn that siblings can go on magical adventures together, look after each other, provide inspiration, serve as unlikely allies, help one another find their place, and so much more. Check out the siblings tag on our website for...

Be a change maker

In addition to the Black women suffragists whom Evette Dionne spotlights in Lifting as We Climb, history is filled with people making a difference tackling important social issues by bringing awareness and/or being an activist. Here are six such nonfiction stories for middle school and teen readers. Jane Against the...

Five questions for Evette Dionne

Last month, in recognition of the Nineteenth Amendment’s centennial, we featured Lifting as We Climb (Viking, 12 years and up) by Evette Dionne among other books about women’s suffrage. The subtitle of Dionne’s book, however, focuses readers’ attention on a very specific, vital, and too-frequently overlooked — and/or whitewashed —...

Five questions for Ryan T. Higgins

In young dino Penelope Rex’s picture-book debut, she learned that We Don’t Eat Our Classmates. Now the pony-loving T. rex is back in Ryan T. Higgins’s We Will Rock Our Classmates (Disney-Hyperion, 4–7 years). Readers discover her equally passionate love of rock ’n’ roll when she signs up for the...

Books mentioned in the August 2020 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Ryan T. Higgins We Will Rock Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins, Disney-Hyperion. September learning One Golden Rule at School: A Counting Book by Selina Alko, Ottaviano/Holt. Swing by Michael Hall, Greenwillow. Field Trip to the Ocean Deep by John Hare, Ferguson/Holiday. Nana Akua Goes to School...

From the Editor - August 2020

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I can only laugh, mordantly, as we send you this, our annual Back-to-School issue of Notes from the Horn Book. There are some funny (We Will Rock Our Classmates), adventurous (Field Trip to the Ocean Deep), courageous (Something to Say), and sporting (Dragon Hoops) choices among them, but much as...

YA realism (for a weird year)

These YA books — three novels and a graphic memoir — document what can be a tumultuous and transitional time in people’s lives; this school year, especially, stories of tumult — and triumph — may be appreciated by readers. See also Go with the Flow by Lily Williams and Karen...

Middle-grade/middle-school stories and struggles

Middle-graders and middle-schoolers, who are on the cusp of adolescence during an especially challenging time, may take comfort or inspiration from the following school-set stories about young people dealing with personal challenges. See also We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly (Greenwillow); and for pure escapist ridiculousness, Louis Sachar’s...

September learning

No matter what form learning takes starting in the fall, the following picture books may entertain, and perhaps even enlighten, young readers. See also The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard; illus. by Oge Mora (Schwartz & Wade/Random); and for silliness The Cool Bean...

Five questions for Monica Brown

In the picture-book biography Sharuko: El arqueólogo Peruano Julio C. Tello / Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello, illustrated by Elisa Chavarri; translated into Spanish by Adriana Domínguez (Children’s/Lee & Low, 6–9 years), author Monica Brown tells the story of Julio C. Tello, “one of the most important archaeologists in all...

Books mentioned in the July 2020 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Monica Brown Sharuko: El arqueólogo Peruano Julio C. Tello / Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello by Monica Brown, illus. by Elisa Chavarri, trans. into Spanish by Adriana Domínguez, Children's/Lee. Exploration and curiosity Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner by Janice N. Harrington, illus....

From the Editor - July 2020

Did you miss the Speeches? We have them — the Coretta Scott King, Newbery, Caldecott, and Legacy acceptance speeches — in the latest issue of The Horn Book Magazine. Print subscribers should be receiving the issue per usual; it is also available in digital format for all comers for free....

Middle school and YA verse novels and poetry

Encourage middle- and high schoolers to read poetry beyond National Poetry Month by sharing with them these four historically set books in verse. And also check out 2020 Boston Globe–Horn Book Fiction and Poetry honor book verse novel Clap When You Land and our Five Questions interview with author Elizabeth...

Kids in summer

This may not be a typical summer for most kids, but that doesn’t mean middle-grade readers can’t embark on summertime adventures with the characters in these four new novels. And don’t miss Lucy Knisley’s recent summer-set graphic novel Stepping Stones or our Five Questions interview with the author/illustrator from the...

Exploration and curiosity

Channel the inquisitive Sharuko with the following nonfiction picture books, which encourage readers’ curiosity about the outdoors (city or country; in-person or virtually). Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner by Janice N. Harrington; illus. by Theodore Taylor III Primary    Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills    48 pp. 11/19    978-1-62979-558-4   ...

Big life changes

Change is never easy to deal with (and it’s particularly hard for everyone right now), but these recent books for middle-graders may help readers feel less alone in their experiences. Leaving Lymon by Lesa Cline-Ransome Intermediate, Middle School    Holiday    199 pp. 1/20    978-0-8234-4442-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4633-9    $10.99 Lymon Caldwell,...

YA Pride fiction 2020

June is Pride month. Here are some recent books for middle schoolers and high schoolers about LGBTQIA+ young people coming into their own identities. See also Elizabeth Acevedo’s Clap When You Land (a 2020 Boston Globe–Horn Book Fiction and Poetry honoree; read our review in the upcoming July/August Horn Book...

Five questions for Elizabeth Acevedo

In Clap When You Land (Quill Tree/HarperCollins, 14 years and up), two teens — Camino, who lives in the Dominican Republic, and Yahaira, who lives in New York City — discover they are half-sisters after their father perishes in a plane crash. Told in alternating verse, the story — winner...

From the Editor - June 2020

It is a tough time for celebration, that’s for sure. But in this issue of Notes we recommend books for "Pride" and books for "Father’s Day," and I hope those who observe these holidays find a way to do so amidst the at-once turbulent and static conditions we are facing....

Father's Day picture books 2020

For Father’s Day — June 21 — here are some recent picture books that celebrate loving fathers and father figures. See also The Blue House by Phoebe Wahl in the upcoming July/August issue of the Horn Book Magazine (“It’s notable to see a single-father, working-class household represented…”) and our recently...

Books mentioned in the June 2020 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Elizabeth Acevedo Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo, Quill Tree/HarperCollins. YA Pride fiction 2020 The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta, Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins. Redwood and Ponytail by K. A. Holt, Chronicle. In the Role of Brie Hutchens... by Nicole Melleby, Algonquin. The Midnight Lie by Marie...

2020 Summer Reading from The Horn Book: High School

  Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Here are our top ten books for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — all published 2019–2020 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion....

2020 Summer Reading from The Horn Book: Middle School

  Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Here are our top ten books for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — all published 2019–2020 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion....

2020 Summer Reading from The Horn Book: Intermediate

  Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Here are our top ten books for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — all published 2019–2020 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion....

2020 Summer Reading from The Horn Book: Easy Readers and Primary Grades

  Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Here are our top ten books for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — all published 2019–2020 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion....

2020 Summer Reading from The Horn Book: Picture Books

  Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Here are our top ten books for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — all published 2019–2020 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion....

2020 Summer Reading List

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  Picture Books Suggested grade level for all entries: PS–2   Summer Song by Kevin Henkes; illus. by Laura Dronzek (Greenwillow) The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann (Candlewick) Johnny’s Pheasant by Cheryl Minnema; illus. by Julie Flett (Minnesota) Goodnight, Veggies by Diana Murray; illus. by Zachariah OHora (Houghton) Hike...

Five questions for Lucy Knisley

Adult comics creator Lucy Knisley’s middle-grade graphic novel debut Stepping Stones (RH Graphic/Random, 9–12 years) follows city kid Jen and her mom to a small farm in the country. There she contends with new chores (feeding chickens!), tricky family dynamics (Mom’s annoying boyfriend and his daughters who visit on weekends),...

75th anniversary of WWII's VE Day

May 8, 2020 will be the seventy-fifth anniversary of VE (Victory in Europe) Day. Here are five recent novels about the war for middle school and high school readers; see also our starred review of The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein (Little, Brown) in the upcoming May/June Horn Book Magazine....

Books mentioned in the April 2020 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Diana Murray and Zachariah OHora Goodnight, Veggies by Diana Murray, illus. by Zachariah OHora, Houghton. Preschool bedtime books Brown Baby Lullaby by Tameka Fryer Brown, illus. by AG Ford, Farrar. I’m Brave! I’m Strong! I’m Five! by Cari Best, illus. by Boris Kulikov, Ferguson/Holiday. Bedtime for Sweet...

From the Editor - April 2020

I hope you are all healthy and managing at home, with — perhaps? — more time to read what you really want to. Even when your boss calls you into a Zoom meeting: just say your camera’s broken and keep those pages turning. A shoutout, too, to the libraries and...

National Poetry Month 2020

This April, enjoy poetry with middle-graders — and find more for all ages on hbook.com. Up Verses Down: Poems, Paintings, and Serious Nonsense by Calef Brown; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Ottaviano/Holt    80 pp. 6/19    978-0-8050-9929-4    $19.99 Brown (Soup for Breakfast, rev. 3/09; Hypnotize a Tiger, rev. 3/15) presents...

Preschool bedtime books

After saying goodnight to veggies (see Five questions for Diana Murray and Zachariah OHora), listeners can also enjoy these four recent bedtime books. For more, click the tag Bedtime Books. Brown Baby Lullaby by Tameka Fryer Brown; illus. by AG Ford Preschool    Farrar    32 pp.    g 1/20    978-0-374-30752-3    $16.99 Chronicling...

Five questions for Diana Murray and Zachariah OHora

In the adorable rhyming picture book Goodnight, Veggies (Houghton, 3–6 years), author Diana Murray’s tongue-in-cheek verse takes readers on a very special tour of an apartment rooftop garden as various vegetables get ready for bed. Zachariah OHora’s illustrations show friendly-faced veggies and a spiffily dressed worm, à la Richard Scarry...

Books mentioned in the March 2020 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five Questions for Alice Faye Duncan Just like a Mama by Alice Faye Duncan, illus. by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow, Millner/Simon. Women's History Month 2020 picture-book biographies Rise!: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou by Bethany Hegedus, illus. by Tonya Engel, Lee & Low. A Life Made...

From the Editor - March 2020

I hope you are all enjoying the March/April issue of the Magazine; here in the office we are busily pulling together the May/June special issue, whose theme is "Breaking the Rules." Jarrett J. Krosoczka is creating the cover; inside the issue fourteen authors and illustrators share stories (and comix) about...

YA magic for March 2020 Notes

These YA fantasy novels star strong and intelligent magic-wielding young women fighting to save their worlds. Read them during #HBWomensHistoryMonth — and every month. 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...

Middle-grade mystery & detective stories for March 2020 Notes

The following books will have middle-grade mystery fans puzzling through clues to determine "Whodunit?" See also Marthe Jocelyn’s upcoming article about Agatha Christie in the May/June Magazine — and what The Horn Book thought of Knives Out. Aggie Morton, Mystery Queen: The Body Under the Piano by Marthe Jocelyn; illus....

Women's History Month 2020 picture-book biographies

During Women’s History Month, and every month, we celebrate the accomplishments of women and female-identifying people in the arts, sciences, athletics, literacy, and more. Here are a few examples of picture-book biographies that do just that. For more follow #HBWomensHistoryMonth. Rise!: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya...

Five questions for Alice Faye Duncan

Alice Faye Duncan’s picture book Just like a Mama (Millner/Simon, 3–7 years), illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow, explores the special bond between a young girl and her “right now” caretaker Mama Rose, who is “just like a mama to me.” The story was inspired by Duncan’s own family and is...
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