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Review of Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey

Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Greenwillow    160 pp.    g 5/21    978-0-06-297042-8    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-297044-2    $8.99 Kelly (Newbery medalist for Hello, Universe, rev. 3/17, and honoree for We Dream of Space, rev. 5/20) reaches out to a younger audience in an...

Lighting the Candle: Mrs. Miller's Magic

From the May/June 2021 special issue of The Horn Book Magazine: The Pura Belpré Award at 25. Find more in the "Lighting the Candle" series here....

Lighting the Candle: The Kindness of Time

A page from one of the author's notebooks. The kindness of time allows us to elucidate and inhabit memories from our childhoods that have shaped us into becoming who we are. I have always loved words, their sounds and textures. When I was a young girl, my grandfather Joseph would...

The Latinx KidLit Book Festival

The year 2020 was challenging — and will forever be associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. But there were some bright spots. The inaugural Latinx KidLit Book Festival, brought to viewers by Las Musas Books — a collective of women and nonbinary Latinx middle-grade, picture book, and YA authors — is...

Review of Early One Morning

Early One Morning by Mem Fox; illus. by Christine Davenier Preschool    Beach Lane/Simon    32 pp.    g 2/21    978-1-4814-0139-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-0140-1    $10.99 Fox (Where Is the Green Sheep?, rev. 5/04; Ducks Away!, rev. 1/18) delivers another impeccably paced book, hitting every beat and every page-turn perfectly. A little boy...

A Note from Me (Jun 18, 2021)

Dear friends: Slinging on my bowtie to announce the winners of the 2021 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards on Wednesday at noon EDT on Hbook.com. I like ʼem and hope that you do, too. (Note to self: also remember to shave.) You can review the winners since 1967 here to see...

LGBTQIA+ books that I have read

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Editor’s note: Thirteen-year-old Onyx (they/them) has been keeping track of the books they’ve read during their pandemic year. Onyx notes the gender identities and/or sexual orientations represented in the books, their recommendation for age level, and whether or not the stories include romance. They’ve even created their own rating system, explained below. We’re delighted that Onyx has given us permission to share their list with our readers.   YA means young adult books, middle grade means middle-school books, kids means kids books.  The star✨ means...

Review of Beyond: Discoveries from the Outer Reaches of Space

Beyond: Discoveries from the Outer Reaches of Space by Miranda Paul; illus. by Sija Hong Primary, Intermediate    Millbrook    32 pp.    g 4/21    978-1-5415-7756-5    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-7284-1898-8    $30.65 Paul’s (Nine Months, rev. 5/19) resonant verse examines phenomena in the far reaches of the universe: “Stretching the limits / of what...

National Caribbean American Heritage Month

June is National Caribbean American Heritage Month, which celebrates “the significance of Caribbean people and their descendants in the history and culture of the United States.” There are many ways to participate — see the calendar of events. The May/June Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: The Pura Belpré Award at 25 offers...

Review of A Sitting in St. James

A Sitting in St. James by Rita Williams-Garcia High School    Quill Tree/HarperCollins    480 pp.    g 5/21    978-0-06-236729-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-236732-7    $10.99 Williams-Garcia, whose YA titles include the 1995 classic Like Sisters on the Homefront and Jumped (rev. 3/09), offers an unusual angle on the subject of slavery with this...

Review of America My Love, America My Heart

America My Love, America My Heart by Daria Peoples-Riley; illus. by the author Primary    Greenwillow    40 pp.    g 4/21    978-0-06-299329-8    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-308934-1    $12.99 In an immediate, evocative text, a child of color asks America — her country, which she loves — if America loves her back. Against black,...

Review of The Night Walk

The Night Walk by Marie Dorléans; illus. by the author; trans. from French by Polly Lawson Primary    Floris    32 pp.    g 4/21    978-1-78250-639-3    $17.95 Awakened by their mother’s voice and a sliver of light through their bedroom door, two children sleepily dress so they can “get there on time.” Where...

A Note from Me (Jun 11, 2021)

Dear friends: So sorry to have missed you last week (dummy-reading-duty called!), but I hope everyone had an enjoyable long weekend/Memorial Day holiday. One of your number took perplexing exception to something anodyne I wrote here referencing Kamala Harris; I think our Vice President is in all ways wonderful, and...

Review of What Are Little Girls Made Of?

What Are Little Girls Made Of? by Jeanne Willis; illus. by Isabelle Follath Primary    Nosy Crow/Candlewick    32 pp.    g 2/21    978-1-5362-1733-9    $14.99 What are little girls made of? More than “sugar and spice and everything nice” in Willis’s narrative-flipping revision of the classic rhyme. Her update? “Sun and rain and...

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...

Simple and Unassuming: Seeing Myself in the Story of a Bossy Rooster

You never know what it is about a book that an individual reader will connect with. It could be a character’s personality or interests. It could be the setting, a shared home. And sometimes it is something as simple and unassuming as an object. Let’s say, a box. When my...

Review of Just Being Dalí: The Story of Artist Salvador Dalí

Just Being Dalí: The Story of Artist Salvador Dalí by Amy Guglielmo; illus. by Brett Helquist Primary, Intermediate    Putnam    40 pp.    g 2/21    978-1-9848-1658-0    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-1659-7    $10.99 This picture-book biography paints the Spanish surrealist artist as an imaginative, quirky person right from the start. As a child, he...

Lighting the Candle: Blank Page Spark

From the May/June 2021 special issue of The Horn Book Magazine: The Pura Belpré Award at 25. Find more in the "Lighting the Candle" series here....

Lighting the Candle: The Sun Always Came Out Tomorrow

Miss Hannigan’s purple dress peeked out from behind the mulberry tree, the breeze pushing it against her calf and slightly above her black heels. She was good at hiding, but we were aware of her presence and that she’d been on our trail for the last twenty minutes and was...

Review of Tag Team and Training Day

Tag Team [El Toro & Friends] by Raúl the Third; illus. by the author; color by Elaine Bay Primary    Versify/Houghton    56 pp.    g 5/21    978-0-358-38039-9    $9.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-39372-6    $6.99 Training Day [El Toro & Friends] by Raúl the Third; illus. by the author; color by Elaine Bay Primary    Versify/Houghton   ...

Lighting the Candle: The Moments That Inspired the Journey

Alma Flor Ada at age five, in front of the Quinta Simoni in 1943. Photo courtesy of Alma Flora Ada. Growing up in Cuba at my grandmother’s home, the Quinta Simoni, surrounded by family and nature, was a most magical time. My parents, aunts, and uncles were all still young,...

AfroLatin@ Children's Literature, Education, and the Black Diaspora

While working as a young adult information assistant at the Countee Cullen Library, located behind the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City, I visited the James Weldon Johnson Reference Collection, on the children’s floor. The collection consists of an impressive array of Black children’s books,...

Review of We All Play

We All Play by Julie Flett; illus. by the author Preschool    Greystone Kids    40 pp.    g 5/21    978-1-77164-607-9    $17.95 e-book ed.  978-1-77164-608-6    $17.99 In Flett’s lively and beautifully illustrated story, animals engage in all sorts of playful behaviors, on land and in the water. Each spread depicts one or two...

Preview July/August 2021 Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: ALA Awards

Special Issue: ALA Awards. Original cover art by 2021 Caldecott Medal winner Michaela Goade. “2020 in Pictures and Words”: The Horn Book editors discuss the children’s book landscape in an unusual and groundbreaking year. Michaela Goade’s Caldecott Medal acceptance speech. A profile of Michaela Goade by her agent, Kirsten Hall....

Ask Family Reading: Non-wicked stepparents

Shannon writes: There's something that's been bothering me about children's books (and movies) and I was hoping that you would let me know what you know about this. In what children's books are stepparents portrayed in a non-negative way? I feel like I rarely see them depicted, and when they are there, they...

Lighting the Candle: Tato's Tales

From the May/June 2021 special issue of The Horn Book Magazine: The Pura Belpré Award at 25. Find more in the "Lighting the Candle" series here....

Review of Niños: Poems for the Lost Children of Chile

Niños: Poems for the Lost Children of Chile by María José Ferrada; illus. by María Elena Valdez; trans. from Spanish by Lawrence Schimel Intermediate, Middle School    Eerdmans    80 pp.    g 3/21    978-0-8028-5567-1    $18.99 During General Pinochet’s dictatorship, thousands of Chilean citizens were “disappeared,” including thirty-four children. Ferrada’s (Mexique: A Refugee...

Lighting the Candle: Thinking About the Verb

When I speak to groups of young people, I say, “I’m going to ask you a question. I’ll give you three seconds to think of an answer, and right now, I’m going to tell you that you will be wrong.” The question I ask is: “What do you want to...

Notes from Our Backyard

The Cinco Puntos Press office in El Paso.   Let us begin by congratulating REFORMA and all the wonderful activist librarians who have made the Pura Belpré Award such a great success. Twenty-five years! They have fought for Latinx culture in its many forms and in doing so have brought...

Review of A Shot in the Arm!

A Shot in the Arm! [Big Ideas That Changed the World] by Don Brown; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Amulet/Abrams   144 pp.    g 3/21    978-1-4197-5001-4    $13.99 e-book ed.  978-1-64700-090-5    $12.59 In this third installment of his Big Ideas That Changed the World comic-format series, Brown lays out the...

Lighting the Candle: A Wild Ride

From left: Carmen's father, Carlos Agra; sister, Tersi Agra Bendiburg; Carmen Agra Deedy; and mother, Esther Ponz Agra, several years after arriving in the United States. Photo courtesy of Carmen Agra Deedy. When I was in middle school, my social studies teacher encouraged me to enter a writing contest, sponsored...

July/August 2021 Horn Book Magazine starred reviews

Illustration by Michael Emberley and Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, from I Can Make a Train Noise. The following books will receive starred reviews in the July/August 2021 Horn Book Magazine: My Two Border Towns; by David Bowles; illus. by Erika Meza (Kokila/Penguin). I Can Make a Train Noise; by Michael Emberley and Marie-Louise...

Review of Ophie's Ghosts

Ophie’s Ghosts by Justina Ireland Intermediate, Middle School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    336 pp.    g 5/21    978-0-06-291589-4    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-291585-6    $9.99 “When she was twelve, Ophelia Harrison saw her first ghost” — that of her father. Having been lynched for voting as a Black man in 1920s Georgia, he appears...

Review of Someone Builds the Dream

Someone Builds the Dream by Lisa Wheeler; illus. by Loren Long Primary    Dial    48 pp.    g 3/21    978-1-9848-1433-3    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-1434-0    $10.99 Written in aptly propulsive verse and illustrated with aptly muscular art, this is a paean to people who work with their hands. To make a house, an...

Memorial Day 2021: The Great Reset and Tomb Guard Values

On the evening the Centers for Disease Control announced that fully vaccinated people could essentially eschew their masks indoors and out, I was in Manhattan keeping vigil with my ailing father. As I walked north on Riverside Drive after a visit to his bedside, what struck me most was the...

A Note from Me (May 28, 2021)

Dear friends: ALA is upon us! At least in HB land — I was just looking at layouts of The Speeches, gorgeous, and great speeches as well. That’s all you’ll get out of me. In her tenure as HB editor, Anita Silvey limited herself to saying “they aren’t too long,”...

Goodbye to Two of the Greats

We were sorry to lose Lois Ehlert (May 25th) and Eric Carle (May 23rd), both of whose picture books for young children are everywhere in library collections and tucked into strollers, piled on night tables, scattered among toys and best beloved stuffies. Master collagists and colorists both, Eric and Lois added...

Lighting the Candle: Labyrinth

I came to the U.S. when I was a teenager. As I spent more time away from Mexico, where I grew up, I began to feel a little lost. I missed the food, the music, and the traditions. One of my high school teachers noticed this and loaned me a...

Review of Taking Care of Mama Rabbit

Taking Care of Mama Rabbit by Anita Lobel; illus. by the author Preschool    Wiseman/Simon    24 pp.    g 3/21    978-1-5344-7064-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-7063-7    $10.99 Mama Rabbit (from Lobel’s 10 Hungry Rabbits, rev. 1/12) is sick in bed, so, one at a time, the little rabbits bring small items to cheer...

Nidhi Chanani Talks with Roger

Talks with Roger is a sponsored supplement to our free monthly e-newsletter, Notes from the Horn Book. To receive Notes, sign up here. Sponsored by   By the way of searching for her missing father, Shaheen and her cousin Tannaz find a mysterious Jukebox that sets them spinning into the past to hear whatever record...

Field Notes: Pandemic Diary: Bilingual Virtual Programming

Children’s literature has the unique ability to inspire a lifelong love of reading for children and their families. One of the books that shaped my own understanding of growing up biracial, as a Honduran American, was Arroz con leche: canciones y ritmos populares de América Latina / Rice with Milk:...

Review of The Floating Field: How a Group of Thai Boys Built Their Own Soccer Field

The Floating Field: How a Group of Thai Boys Built Their Own Soccer Field by Scott Riley; illus. by Nguyen Quang and Kim Lien Primary, Intermediate    Millbrook    40 pp.    g 3/21    978-1-5415-7915-6    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-7284-1900-8    $9.99 Young Prasit Hemmin and his friends loved soccer. But because their small island...

Lighting the Candle: The Year I Turned Ten

"Una vez que un objeto ha sido incorporado a una pintura, acepta un nuevo destino." —Georges Braque   The year I turned ten, my father moved us from my island of Puerto Rico to Buenos Aires, Argentina. For him, it was a long-awaited ­sabbatical. One he dreamt of spending in...

Lighting the Candle: Bagazo and El Josco

From the May/June 2021 special issue of The Horn Book Magazine: The Pura Belpré Award at 25. Find more in the "Lighting the Candle" series here....

Review of Merci Suárez Can’t Dance

Merci Suárez Can’t Dance by Meg Medina Intermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    384 pp.    g 4/21    978-0-7636-9050-2    $17.99 Merci navigates the troubles of home and seventh grade — and the gap between the two — with her irresistible combination of spirit and heart in this follow-up to the Newbery-winning Merci Suárez...

Lighting the Candle: One Story, One Day

Mr. Riley’s room was just past the bathrooms on the left side of the hall across from the lockers (which, for some reason, we were not allowed to use). He stood in the doorway, hands in pockets, and welcomed us into class every day. He was a nice enough guy,...

Un Poquito Complicated: Spanish and the Pura Belpré Award

When the Pura Belpré Award was established in 1996, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking (REFORMA) made clear that it was intended to recognize Latinx creators “whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work...

Review of Happy Springtime!

Happy Springtime! by Kate McMullan; illus. by Sujean Rim Preschool, Primary    Porter/Holiday    32 pp.    g 3/21    978-0-8234-4551-6    $18.99 Shades of icy blue suffuse the first double-page spread, with four kids all bundled up against a chilly, snowy day: “Here’s a message for school bus riders heading out on a cold,...

Lighting the Candle: Thinking in Pictures

For me, a trip to the grocery store is an adventure. Choosing between red and green peppers involves staving off ravenous zombies who want to snack on my earlobes. Hefting ten pounds of black beans into my cart requires hiding from reptilian-skinned aliens intent on harvesting my toenails. Picking up...

A Note from Me (May 21, 2021)

Dear friends: I need to pass along a curse. Last week I did a Talks with Roger interview with Nidhi Chanani about her new graphic novel Jukebox. And now this song is stuck in my head, but I figure if enough of you listen to it, it might leave me...

2021 Picture Books on the Radar

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Hello, Calling Caldecott readers! As we wave to you from our little corner of cyberspace, we are wiping off a bit of dust on the blog, since it's been a little over three months since we last saw you. But! We are here now to share glimpses of some of the notable...

Review of The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau

The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau by Jon Agee; illus. by the author Primary    Dial    40 pp.    g 2/21    978-0-593-11265-6    $17.99 In Agee’s 1988 picture book, a Horn Book Fanfare title, everyone at the Grand Contest of Art hates the title character’s painting — a simply drawn duck in a...

Pura Belpré Award by the Numbers

The Award The Pura Belpré Award (PBA) has been awarded on 20 occasions: every other year from 1996 to 2008, and annually since then. Each year, there is a Medal winner in the categories of Children’s Narrative, Youth Illustration, and (as of 2021) Young Adult Narrative. Honor Books may also...

Kosoko Jackson Talks with Roger

Talks with Roger is a sponsored supplement to our free monthly e-newsletter, Notes from the Horn Book. To receive Notes, sign up here. Sponsored by   As I told my husband while I was reading Yesterday Is History, “Well, it’s a time-travel novel with a gay love triangle, and it’s set down the street from...

Review of Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued

Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued by Peter Sís; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Norton    64 pp.    g 1/21    978-1-324-01574-1    $19.95 e-book ed.  978-1-324-01575-8    $17.48 At the end of 1938, when the Germans invaded the border region of Czechoslovakia, a young...

Lighting the Candle: Boom Box

I used to drive my mother dizzy with my never-ending stories. There was always something to share. A short TV cartoon I’d seen could turn into three hours of retelling. On my mother’s heels, from room to room, I would spin the smallest of daily events into an epic narrative...

Lighting the Candle: ¡Bórralo!

From the May/June 2021 special issue of The Horn Book Magazine: The Pura Belpré Award at 25. Find more in the "Lighting the Candle" series here....

Review of The One Thing You'd Save

The One Thing You’d Save by Linda Sue Park; illus. by Robert Sae-Heng Intermediate, Middle School    Clarion    72 pp.    g 3/21    978-1-328-51513-1    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-52601-8    $9.99 Ms. Chang has asked her students to think about what one thing they would save — beyond their families and pets — if...

Lighting the Candle: Pages of Pleasure

El Paso, Texas, a city on the U.S.–Mexico border, the city where Mom, my three siblings, my three children, and I were born. I grew up in a loving, bilingual home, English and Spanish — the second-most spoken language in the United States. Neither of Mom’s parents spoke English, though...

Titi Pura: A Conversation with Cristina Maduro and Lisa Fenstermacher

Anika Aldamuy Denise received a 2020 Pura Belpré narrative honor award for the picture-book biography Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré (art from which, by Paola Escobar, graces this issue’s cover). Anika spoke with Belpré’s great-nieces, sisters Cristina and Lisa, who share their personal recollections of...

Review of There Is a Rainbow

There Is a Rainbow by Theresa Trinder; illus. by Grant Snider Preschool, Primary    Chronicle    48 pp.    g 1/21    978-1-7972-1166-4    $15.99 A reassuring text and upbeat illustrations get to the heart of our shared COVID-19 experience — gently acknowledging loss and uncertainty while offering a message of hope and resilience. Trinder’s...

Read a book (with pictures!)

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Parental conversations often drift toward what our kids have (and haven’t) been reading. Friends recently told my wife and me that they were banning their kids from reading any “books with pictures,” specifically graphic novels and comic books. Their motivations were sensible: they wanted their kids to develop a love of text-only reading.   I...

A Note from Me (May 14, 2021)

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Dear friends: Jason Reynolds’s Zena Sutherland Lecture was a smashing success last Friday. As far as I could see, he spoke without a text or even notes, moving brilliantly and seamlessly from stories about his recently deceased father to just what those stories meant in terms of bringing him and...

Review of The Blind Colt

The Blind Colt by Glen Rounds; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Holiday    83 pp.    g 1/21    978-0-8234-4353-6    $17.99 “You can’t hurry a Glen Rounds book,” says artist Matt Myers, who opens this eightieth anniversary edition with a new appreciation of the author-illustrator. That’s certainly true of this quiet yet...

Lisa Fipps Talks with Roger

Talks with Roger is a sponsored supplement to our free monthly e-newsletter, Notes from the Horn Book. To receive Notes, sign up here. Sponsored by   Ellie, the protagonist of Lisa Fipps’s first novel, Starfish, has a very difficult relationship with her mother, who is constantly badgering Ellie about her weight. How much of Ellie’s...

Review of Saint Spotting; Or, How to Read a Church

Saint Spotting; Or, How to Read a Church by Chris Raschka; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Eerdmans    40 pp.    g 4/21    978-0-8028-5521-3    $17.99 Framing the book as an autobiographical recollection, Raschka provides a guide to “Saint Spotting,” a sort of game he and his mother would play while visiting...

Lighting the Candle: Unearthing a Writer

Mrs. Arnoldus (top row, third from left) and Donna Barba Higuera (second row from top, far left). Photo courtesy of Donna Barba Higuera. When word spread that homeroom assignments had gone out, every sixth grader at Roosevelt School waited by their mailbox, promising God they’d be good the rest of...

Lighting the Candle: El Paso to Pura Belpré

From the May/June 2021 special issue of The Horn Book Magazine: The Pura Belpré Award at 25. Find more in the "Lighting the Candle" series here....

Review of Firekeeper's Daughter

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley High School    Holt    496 pp.    g 3/21    978-1-250-76656-4    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-250-76657-1    $10.99 Recent high school graduate Daunis Firekeeper (known for much of the book by her white mother’s family name, Fontaine) decides to stay in Sault St. Marie, Michigan, and attend Lake State with...

Giving up...or giving over?  

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I just revisited Audrey Hinsdale’s post from 2016, My own discretion advised. Audrey was thirteen when she wrote that post; she’s almost eighteen now and headed to Bryn Mawr in September, so her own discretion (and hard work and talent) seems to have served her well.  Reading her post in 2021, after a year plus of remote learning and near constant screen time for my kids, is giving me perspective. Rather...

Lighting the Candle: Inherited Exile

When I was little, my mother read poetry to me in Spanish. José Martí’s Versos sencillos were the essence of my memories from those early years. Even though he died in battle, his rosa blanca of forgiveness for enemies had an enormous impact on my lifelong commitment to peacemaking. After...

What the Pura Belpré Award Means to Me

I was digging into a plate of masitas de puerco at a Cuban restaurant on 46th Street in Manhattan a couple of years ago when the doors opened and in walked Minnie and Mickey Mouse. Nothing is ever really surprising in New York, so I assumed they were on a...

Review of The Ramble Shamble Children

The Ramble Shamble Children by Christina Soontornvat; illus. by Lauren Castillo Preschool, Primary    Paulsen/Penguin    32 pp.    g 3/21    978-0-399-17632-6    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-399-54582-5    $10.99 “Down the mountain, across the creek, past the last curve in the road, five children lived together in a ramble shamble house.” From this first welcoming...

Mother's Day 2021

Mother’s Day 2021 (this Sunday, May 9, people) is, of course, the second one to fall during the pandemic. Boston Public Garden’s Duckling Day is virtual yet again, which means you don’t need to be local to be a part of the celebration. (Read more by and about the Ducklings' papa, Robert McCloskey, here.)  Here are some recommended books, articles, and blog...

A Note from Me (May 7, 2021)

Dear friends: Normally on this first Friday in May I’d be winging my way to Chicago for the Zena Sutherland Lecture tonight, but this year I’ll be watching from home along with everybody else as ZS lecturer Jason Reynolds does his inimitable thing. I’m looking forward to it — I...

Review of El Deafo: Superpowered Edition!

El Deafo: Superpowered Edition! by Cece Bell; illus. by the author; color by David Lasky Intermediate, Middle School    Amulet/Abrams    288 pp.    g 10/20    978-1-4197-4831-8    $19.99 Bell’s 2014 graphic memoir is here re-issued with a wealth of “superpowered extras.” Childhood photos with friendly hand-lettered captions, often showing key items referenced in...

Cinco de Mayo 2021

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Celebrate (virtually!) with three updated booklists from the Guide/Reviews Database starring the holiday itself, Mexican and Mexican American protagonists, and the Spanish language. We've got recommended fiction and nonfiction titles for primary, intermediate, and older readers. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real...

A Letter to Readers: ¡Celebremos!: 25 Years of the Pura Belpré Award

¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to this special issue of The Horn Book Magazine commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Pura Belpré Award and, more generally, Latinx literature for young people. As the 2020–21 vice president/president-elect of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and as past president of the National Association...

Review of From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial That Galvanized the Asian American Movement

From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial That Galvanized the Asian American Movement by Paula Yoo High School    Norton    384 pp.    g 4/21    978-1-324-00287-1    $19.95 e-book ed.  978-1-324-00288-8    $17.48 Who was Vincent Chin? The brutal 1982 killing of the young Chinese American...

Star Wars Day 2021

Nothing says "Happy Star Wars Day!" like a Baby Origami Yoda, folded last week by Horn Book executive editor Elissa's eight-year-old Jedi-in-training (a.k.a padawan) during the annual Margret & H. A. Rey Curious George Lecture, presented by the Cambridge Public Library, the Curious George Fund, and the Cambridge Public Library Foundation....

Teacher Appreciation 2021

This week marks Teacher Appreciation Week, with Tuesday, May 4, being National Teacher Day. If ever there was a year to celebrate educators, 2021 is that year. Please, #ThankaTeacher (including teacher librarians, if your district is lucky enough to have them).   Teachers, did you ever imagine the depths of resilience you would have...

May/June 2021 Horn Book Magazine cover surprise

Peek-a-boo! It's the complete May/June Horn Book Magazine Special Issue: The Pura Belpré Award at 25 cover. Art by Paola Escobar, gif by Horn Book designer Mark Tuchman.   Single copies of this special issue are available for $15.00 including postage and may be ordered from: Kristy South Administrative Coordinator,...

Review of Starfish

Starfish by Lisa Fipps Intermediate, Middle School    Paulsen/Penguin    256 pp.    g 3/21    978-1-9848-1450-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-1451-7    $10.99 Since she was five, Ellie (now eleven) has lived by a list of Fat Girl Rules: “Make yourself small”; “Move slowly so / your fat doesn’t jiggle”; “When you hear laughter, /...

Editorial: (Re)Claiming Our Literature (May/June 2021)

Welcome to our celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Pura Belpré Award, founded in 1996 by REFORMA and the American Library Association to honor Latino and Latina creators of children’s and young adult literature whose work “best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience.” But before I pass...

Table of Contents: May/June 2021 Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: The Pura Belpré Award at 25

Cover from Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré. Illustration © 2019 Paola Escobar. Used by permission from HarperCollins Publishers.   Features What the Pura Belpré Award Means to Me by Meg Medina Thoughts from a Belpré winner and Newbery medalist. Titi Pura by Anika Aldamuy Denise...

Review of Yes & No

Yes & No by Elisha Cooper; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp.    g 4/21    978-1-250-25733-8    $18.99 Cooper brings readers the sweet tale of a cat and a dog, different as can be, illustrated in the same unfussy, ­minimalistic style as his Caldecott Honor–­winning Big Cat, Little...

May Day 2021

In commemoration of International Workers' Day, or May Day, here are some book reviews and links to amplify the fight of workers and their efforts to secure better working conditions for all. This has special resonance in 2021 as we remember the struggle for protections that essential workers — grocery and...

Día 2021

Today is El día de los niños / El día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day), a "celebration of children, families, and reading...that emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds." This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of Día -- read about its history here and find resources for...

A Note from Me (Apr 30, 2021)

Dear friends: OMG did you hear about Kamala Harris making the government buy copies of her children’s book Superheroes Are Everywhere to put into the hands of every young terrorist at the border? April fool! We didn’t review the book, but SLJ gave it a so-so review if you’re thinking...

International Dance Day

Today is International Dance Day, a day to "to celebrate dance, revel in the universality of this art form, cross all political, cultural and ethnic barriers, and bring people together with a common language — dance." We hope you are movin' and groovin' in celebration, but when you need a...

International Jazz Day

Cover of the January/February 2017 Horn Book Magazine by Francis Vallejo.   Today is International Jazz Day. Over on the Guide/Reviews Database, search Music--Jazz for lots of great book recommendations, and below are some links and resources from The Horn Book about America's art form. Click the tag jazz for...

Review of The Shrinking of Treehorn: 50th Anniversary Edition

The Shrinking of Treehorn: 50th Anniversary Edition by Florence Parry Heide; illus. by Edward Gorey Primary, Intermediate    Holiday    80 pp.    g 10/20    978-0-8234-4703-9    $16.99 “Something very strange was happening to Treehorn.” And with that, we’re off, to follow young Treehorn’s tribulations as he wakes up one day to discover that...

Cynthia Levinson and Evan Turk Talk with Roger

Talks with Roger is a sponsored supplement to our free monthly e-newsletter, Notes from the Horn Book. To receive Notes, sign up here. Sponsored by   Author Cynthia Levinson (The Youngest Marcher; Fault Lines in the Constitution) and illustrator Evan Turk (Grandfather Gandhi; A Thousand Glass Flowers) bring to the picture book page a man...

Publishers' Preview: Spring 2021: Five Questions for Carole Boston Weatherford

This interview originally appeared in the March/April 2021 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Spring 2021, an advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a book from its current list. They choose the books; we ask the questions. Sponsored by Unspeakable indeed was...

Review of Meltdown: Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Disaster in Fukushima

Meltdown: Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Disaster in Fukushima by Deirdre Langeland Middle School, High School    Roaring Brook    208 pp.    g 2/21    978-1-62672-700-7    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-62672-699-4    $10.99 In time for the tenth anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster (March 2011), Langeland chronicles the largest nuclear disaster of the twenty-first century....

Publishers' Preview: Spring 2021: Five Questions for Graci Kim

This interview originally appeared in the March/April 2021 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Spring 2021, an advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a book from its current list. They choose the books; we ask the questions. Sponsored by The Last Fallen...

Review of Billy Miller Makes a Wish

Billy Miller Makes a Wish by Kevin Henkes Primary, Intermediate    Greenwillow    192 pp.    g 4/21    978-0-06-304279-7    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-304281-0    $8.99 When Billy Miller fell on his head at the beginning of The Year of Billy Miller (rev. 9/13), he worried about forgetting things and whether he was smart enough...

Publishers' Preview: Spring 2021: Five Questions for Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

This interview originally appeared in the March/April 2021 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Spring 2021, an advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a book from its current list. They choose the books; we ask the questions. Sponsored by In Ace of...

Review of The Midnight Fair

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The Midnight Fair by Gideon Sterer; illus. by Mariachiara Di Giorgio Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.    g 2/21    978-1-5362-1115-3    $16.99 Forest creatures emerge from the shadows to have their own nighttime fun at the county fairgrounds in this wordless and wondrous picture book. Once the humans head home for the evening,...

R.I.P. dear Henrietta

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Everyone at the Horn Book was sad to learn this morning that Dr. Henrietta M. Smith, Professor Emerita at the University of South Florida's School of Information, died on Wednesday at the age of ninety-eight. I first met Henrietta back in the 1980s at the summer program in children's literature sponsored...
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