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2020 Summer Reading Recommendations

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If there’s one book on our 2020 Summer Reading list that speaks best to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s Remy Lai’s Pie in the Sky, about two brothers who find communion in baking, of all things, in order to “adjust to life in an ‘alien’ world.” Sound familiar? Otherwise, my eye...

"Give Me a Decent Bottle of Poison": Writing a Mystery

My most recent book is a middle-grade mystery, my first. I realized, after only a few days of struggling to construct a murder, that I didn’t know how to do it. I’d written plenty of novels, but I’d always begun with a person, not the plot. The person, in this...

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....

Cinco de Mayo 2020

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Celebrate (virtually!) with three new 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...

Happy Anniversary: The Janitor's Boy

The Janitor’s Boy by Andrew Clements was published by Simon & Schuster in 2000. We look back on it on its twentieth anniversary.   Published twenty years ago, The Janitor’s Boy was the third middle-grade novel by the late Andrew Clements, following a bestselling debut with Frindle and then The...

Middle-Grade Graphic Novels Make Good

In 2012 the Horn Book published a special issue on the theme “Books Remixed: Reading in the Digital Age.” Of course graphic novels weren’t new at the time; but books such as The Arrival and The Invention of Hugo Cabret, with their copious illustrations and hard-to-classify format, were spurring us...

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...

We Need Diverse Jewish and Muslim Books: A Conversation

In recent years, we have seen a welcome increase in books that center diversity in race, class, ability, sexuality, and more. As members of religious minority groups (Sadaf is Muslim, Heidi is Jewish) — and at a time when both Islamophobia and antisemitism are on the rise (deeply troubling and...

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...

The Writer's Page: Compassion, as Well as Correctness

As a writer who is identifiable as “diverse” (I’m a South Asian Indian woman) and who has fought for diversity in our industry for over a decade, I’m often asked to offer an opinion about whether a specific book got a diversity-related issue “right.” While it’s easy for me to...

Books in the Home: The Joys of Cooking: Good Books About Good Food

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How does a person learn to cook? My mother prepared family meals every evening. She didn’t involve us in the making of the meal, but she was my model of a home cook who knew the importance of ­families eating together. She relied on a 1940s edition of The Boston...

The Birds and the Bees

Birds of a Feather. Helen’s Birds. Johnny’s Pheasant. Strange Birds. The Parrot and the Merchant. Fly! Sometimes, particular subjects take off in children’s books. Lately, bird books are soaring, and the office hivemind has noticed bee books gathering, too. See Nesting by Henry Cole and Honeybee: The Busy Life of...

Five questions for A.S. King about Dig.

A.S. King’s Dig. (Dutton, 14 years and up) was the winner of the 2020 Printz Award. The story focuses on five teens with a startling connection that is only gradually revealed. Constantly shifting perspectives — between the unforgettable teens themselves, along with an outsized cast — keep readers off-balance and...

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

Five Questions for A.S. King Dig. by A.S. King, Dutton, 14 years and up. I Crawl Through It by A.S. King, Little, Brown, 14 years and up. Reviews of the 2020 ALA Youth Media Award winners YA love stories for Black History Month 2020 With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo,...

From the Editor - February 2020

Yes, Notes from the Horn Book looks and works a little different/ly and we hope you find it works for you! (Send any complaints or compliments to newsletter@hbook.com.) It’s a very busy time in the Horn Book office: the March/April issue of the Magazine goes to the printer today and...

Picture books for Presidents' Day 2020

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The following recent picture books provide engaging looks at the U.S. presidency; the people a president might work with, meet, or appoint; and the office’s power for good. The Next President: The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America’s Presidents by Kate Messner; illus. by Adam Rex Primary    Chronicle    48...

YA love stories for Black History Month 2020

For Valentine’s Day, here are some thoughtful (and swoon-worthy) YA love stories that center Black protagonists and focus on love in various forms — including passion for dance and relationships tested by a zombie apocalypse. Throughout February we’ve been celebrating Black History Month with articles, interviews, book recommendations, and more...

Happy World Read Aloud Day

...one of our favorite days of the year! To help you celebrate, here are some recommended books, Horn Book Fanfare 2019 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winners 2020 ALA Youth Media Award winners Board Book Roundup: Treasure Hunting in the Public Library by Julie Roach (September/October 2018 Magazine) The 2020...

2019 Booklists and Resources Master List

Booklists and resources for holidays, special events, seasons, social justice...and Grumpy Cat? We've covered a wide range of topics for all age levels in 2019, so we've compiled them together for readers to find some great new books to enjoy and share. The reviews — and many more — are also...

Five questions for Kacen Callender

In King and the Dragonflies (Scholastic, 10–14 years), our grieving twelve-year-old protagonist is convinced that his recently deceased older brother has transformed into a dragonfly. He is also, reluctantly, keeping secrets for his sort-of friend, Sandy, who is gay and has run away from an abusive home. Via dreamlike imagery,...

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

Five questions for Kacen Callender King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender, Scholastic, 10–14 years. Sense of place Some Places More than Others by Renée Watson, Bloomsbury, 9–12 years. All the Ways Home by Elsie Chapman, Feiwel, 9–12 years.    Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by...

From the Editor - January 2020

Happy New Year, everybody, and I hope you all found some time for reading — by which I mean reading for the fun of it — over the December holidays. (Mine was divided between The Turn of the Key, Ruth Ware’s recent homage to The Turn of the Screw, and...

Fascinating figures from twentieth-century history

The lives of these fascinating figures should engage young adult readers while providing unique entry points into twentieth-century history. In Torpedoed: The True Story of the WWII Sinking of "The Children's Ship," Deborah Heiligman tells the riveting tale of the SS City of Benares. Carrying two hundred passengers, half of...

Intergenerational warmth and wisdom

These recent picture books center the warmth, wisdom, and love of family members across generations. In Love and the Rocking Chair, the final collaboration between Diane and Leo Dillon (much of the book had been finished before Leo's death in 2012), a rocking chair bought in anticipation of a baby's...

Sense of place

As in King and the Dragonflies, setting is a key part of these recent intermediate and middle-school realistic stories. In Some Places More than Others, Amara's twelfth birthday trip with her dad becomes a whirlwind of highs and lows as she's introduced to the rich history of African Americans in...

Books mentioned in the December 2019 Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book

Language and Literature Fact Finders: Why Do We Say That? series. Berne, Emma Carlson  What Is an Idiom When It's at Home? Gr. 4–6    32 pp.    Capstone    2017 Library binding ISBN 978-1-5157-6388-8 Paper ISBN 978-1-5157-6393-2 Ebook ISBN 978-1-5157-6405-2 Stefoff, Rebecca  Me, Myself, and I: The More Grammar Changes, the More...

Language and Literature

Berne, Emma Carlson  What Is an Idiom When It's at Home? Gr. 4–6    32 pp.    Capstone    2017 Stefoff, Rebecca  Me, Myself, and I: The More Grammar Changes, the More It Remains the Same Gr. 4–6    32 pp.    Capstone    2017 Fact Finders: Why Do We Say That? series. Beginning with a...

War and Peacemakers

Goldsmith, Connie  Women in the Military: From Drill Sergeants to Fighter Pilots Middle school, high school    120 pp.    Twenty-First Century    2019 This in-depth and refreshingly inclusive text looks at the history and current state of women in the military. Illuminating first-person accounts and biographical profiles are interspersed with descriptions of...

U.S. Landmarks

Brown, Carron  Wonders of the USA: A Shine-a-Light Book Gr. K–3    40 pp.    Kane/Miller    2017 Illustrated by Bee Johnson. "Shine a flashlight behind the page...to reveal the amazing sights in and around our country. Discover a land of great surprises." This Shine-a-Light installment presents a very broad tour of American...

Poetry and Poetry Collections

Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience Middle school, high school    183 pp.    Seven/Triangle    2019 Edited by Patrice Vecchione and Alyssa Raymond. This piercing poetry collection's sixty-four pieces (many previously published) in a variety of forms mourn loss, celebrate survival, and explore breaking and remaking self...

Fanfare 2019 Annotations

Welcome to Fanfare, our choices of the best books of 2019. I believe we first published this list in 1939, recommending the best of 1938. Many of the titles are now mostly forgotten (or notorious: see The Five Chinese Brothers), but look: there is Andy and the Lion, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, and The Hobbit....

Transgender Awareness Week

Transgender Awareness Week is November 13-19, leading to Transgender Day of Remembrance / Trans Day of Resilience on November 20th, today. We join our trans, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary family members, friends, and neighbors near and far in celebrating the lives of trans people, remembering those lost to transphobic hate...

Books mentioned in the October 2019 Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book

Creepy things Fly!: Hollywood Monsters series Abdo, Kenny  Chucky  Gr. K–3, 4–6    24 pp.    ABDO/Zoom    2019      Library binding ISBN 978-1-5321-2744-1  Ebook ISBN 978-1-5321-2842-4  Abdo, Kenny  Freddy Krueger  Gr. K–3, 4–6    24 pp.    ABDO/Zoom    2019      Library binding ISBN 978-1-5321-2745-8  Ebook ISBN 978-1-5321-2843-1  Abdo, Kenny  Jason Voorhees  Gr. K–3, 4–6    24 pp.    ABDO/Zoom    2019      Library binding ISBN 978-1-5321-2746-5  Ebook ISBN 978-1-5321-2844-8  Abdo, Kenny  Leatherface  Gr. K–3, 4–6    24 pp.    ABDO/Zoom    2019      Library binding ISBN 978-1-5321-2747-2  Ebook ISBN 978-1-5321-2845-5  Abdo, Kenny  Michael Myers   Gr. K–3,...

Cool inventions

Alkire, Jessie  Hot Wheels Developer: Elliot Handler  Gr. 4–6    32 pp.    ABDO  Borgert-Spaniol, Megan  Lincoln Logs Creator: John Lloyd Wright  Gr. 4–6    32 pp.    ABDO Borgert-Spaniol, Megan  My Little Pony Pioneer: Bonnie Zacherle  Gr. 4–6    32 pp.    ABDO Thomas, Rachael L.  Nerf Genius: Reyn Guyer  Gr. 4–6    32 pp.    ABDO Thomas, Rachael L.  Nintendo Innovator: Hiroshi Yamauchi  Gr. 4–6    32 pp.    ABDO Thomas, Rachael L.  The Slime Queen: Karina...

Unusual Crafts

Alkire, Jessie  Construct It!: Architecture You Can Build, Break, and Build Again Gr. 4–6    32 pp.    ABDO Checkerboard Library: Cool Makerspace Gadgets & Gizmos series. This short volume introduces makerspaces and architecture, providing instructions for six projects that use Legos, K'NEX, and cardboard. Photographs accompany clear instructions, and brightly colored...

Creepy things

Abdo, Kenny  Chucky  Gr. K–3, 4–6    24 pp.    ABDO/Zoom Abdo, Kenny  Freddy Krueger  Gr. K–3, 4–6    24 pp.    ABDO/Zoom Abdo, Kenny  Jason Voorhees  Gr. K–3, 4–6    24 pp.    ABDO/Zoom Abdo, Kenny  Leatherface  Gr. K–3, 4–6    24 pp.    ABDO/Zoom Abdo, Kenny  Michael Myers   Gr. K–3, 4–6    24 pp.    ABDO/Zoom Abdo, Kenny  Pennywise  Gr. K–3, 4–6    24 pp.    ABDO/Zoom Fly!: Hollywood Monsters series. These slight volumes provide brief information (including broad plot summaries) about...

Sports, Sports, and More Sports

Bailer, Darice  Kickball Gr. K–3    32 pp.    Child's Bailer, Darice  Street Football Gr. K–3    32 pp.    Child's Bailer, Darice  Ultimate Gr. K–3    32 pp.    Child's Ellenport, Craig  Pick-Up Basketball Gr. K–3    32 pp.    Child's Laughlin, Kara L.  Capture the Flag Gr. K–3    32 pp.    Child's Laughlin, Kara L.  Four Square...

All Woman Spacewalk

If you were inspired by this morning's history-making all-woman spacewalk -- like we were! -- here are some booklists about: strong women making an impact,  picture-book biographies of pioneering women, collective biographies of "brazen" women, and groundbreaking women in STEAM. And don't miss the new picture book Astro Girl, by...

Yom Kippur 2019/5780

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins this evening, October 8, at sundown. Following Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, these are times for family, community, and self-reflection. The following books could be useful for sharing with children and/or for generating discussions. All reviews are from The Horn Book Guide....

Black Kids Camp, Too...Don't They?: Embracing "Wildness" in Picture Books

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My mother was a Girl Scout leader, my father was a Boy Scout leader, and my brother was a Tiger Cub in the Boy Scouts. Practically from the time I could walk, I tagged along with family to scout meetings and events. When I became a Girl Scout, and eventually...

Louise Payson Latimer: Pioneer of Library Service to Children in Washington, DC

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Portrait of Louise Latimer, 1914, painted by Suzanne Warriner Most children’s book connoisseurs have heard of New York Public Library’s Anne Carroll Moore, if only for her outspoken opinions on what was not good literature (including E. B. White’s Stuart Little). Many know of Boston Public Library’s Alice M. Jordan,...

Newsletter Archives

[See also our Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book archives]   2020 January 2020 Five questions for Kacen Callender Sense of place Intergenerational warmth and wisdom Fascinating figures from twentieth-century history From the Editor February 2020 Five questions for A.S. King about Dig. ALA Awards 2020: Horn Book reviews of...

Aristotle and Dante Discover an Alternate Universe

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I'm quite taken with Michelle Ann Abate's essay about Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secret of the Universe in the hot-off-the-pixels new issue of Research on Diversity in Youth Literature, whose theme this time around is "Queer Futurities." Much to my shame, Abate points out something about that novel that...

Five questions for 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Picture Book Award winners Maxine Beneba Clarke and Van Thanh Rudd

A talented pair from Down Under, author Maxine Beneba Clarke and illustrator Van Thanh Rudd are the co-creators of this year’s Boston Globe–Horn Book Picture Book Award winner The Patchwork Bike (Candlewick, 5–8 years). Rudd’s playful, tactile illustrations (done on scrap cardboard) perfectly complement the childlike sensibility of Clarke’s spare,...

2019 BGHB Nonfiction Award winners extras

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

2019 BGHB Fiction & Poetry Award winners extras

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

2019 BGHB Picture Book Award winners extras

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

BFFs back for more

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

Picture Books for Father's Day 2019

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

Middle grade and YA for Pride Month 2019

These novels — some upper-middle grade and some young adult — reflect a range of experiences among LGBTQIA+ young people. Happy Pride! Find more recommendations for Pride Month reading in these featured lists of picture books, middle grade, and YA on the shiny and new Horn Book Guide Online.In The...

Books mentioned in the June 2019 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Mariko TamakiSkim by Mariko Tamaki, illus. by Jillian Tamaki, Groundwood, 14 years and up.This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, illus. by Jillian Tamaki, Roaring Brook/First Second, 10–13 years.Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki, illus. by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell, Roaring Brook/First Second, 14 years and...

Because of course. #Pride

Massachusetts #LibrariansWithSuperpowers at Boston #Pride 2019...

Feeling mighty lonesome, haven't slept a wink

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On my desk this morning.Spurred by Globe columnist Devra First's thoughts, Boston is a-bubble with discussion about whether it is ethically okay to buy Peet's coffee, given the company's Nazi history. The column specifically references, as the columnist's favorite, Major Dickason's Blend, which to my ears has always sounded ineffably...

Books mentioned in the May 2019 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book

Life skillsAlexander, Kwame  The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called LifePhotographs by Thai NeaveGr. 4–6, middle school     172 pp.     Houghton     2017Trade ISBN 978-0-544-57097-9Ebook ISBN 978-1-328-69892-6Groban, Betsy, Editor  Totally Middle School: Tales of Friends, Family, and Fitting InGr. 4–6, middle school     181 pp.     Delacorte     2018Trade...

Sustainable eating

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Archer, Joe and Craig, Caroline  Plant, Cook, Eat!: A Children's CookbookGr. 4–6     112 pp.     CharlesbridgeArcher and Craig provide an overview of different plant food sources (including roots, leaves, flowers, and stems) and then, with an emphasis on the process, explain how to grow and cook them yourself. Readers are encouraged...

Evolution

Bonner, Hannah  When Fish Got Feet, When Bugs Were Big, & When Dinos Dawned: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life on EarthGr. 4–6     128 pp.     National GeographicNew ed. Bonner's excellent trilogy (published between 2004 and 2012) of the evolution of life from 430 to 65 million years ago — the rise...

Activists and activism

Easton, Emily  Enough!: 20 Protesters Who Changed AmericaGr. K–3     48 pp.     CrownIllustrated by Ziyue Chen. Each spread of this book features a person, pair, or group that became known for their change-making actions, which are briefly described in a line of text (e.g., "Colin took a knee") and ably represented...

Life skills

Alexander, Kwame  The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called LifeGr. 4–6, middle school     172 pp.     HoughtonPhotographs by Thai Neave. Alexander turns motivational speaker in this collection organized like a basketball game, with four quarters and rules. Alexander's narrative of his early life in...

Field Notes: A Family Affair: Connecting Community to Books

On a rainy day in July 2017, a group of teachers, librarians, and community activists gathered at Frugal Bookstore, Boston’s only Black-owned bookstore, to participate in a discussion of Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give (which would go on to be named a 2018 Coretta Scott King Author Award Honor...

Happy International Dance Day!

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January/February 2000 Horn Book Magazine cover: dancer Bill T. Jones photographed by Susan Kuklin.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...

Peeps and People

  Debbie ReeseDebbie Reese's Arbuthnot Lecture is up if you want to give a look and listen; I haven't listened yet but will; the lecture will also be published in a forthcoming issue of ALSC's Children and Libraries.         Peep Family MoomintrollThen, for fun, see Kitty Flynn's Peep-driven crisis of parenthood....

April 2019 Horn Book Herald: Spring News: National Poetry Month

• Five Questions for Margarita Engle• "How I Discovered YA Poetry" by Marilyn Nelson• What Makes Good Poetry? e-newsletter• Roger Talks with Andrea Davis Pinkney (video) and with Nikki Giovanni and Ashley Bryan• Be "the Hero and the Author" of Your Story: Elizabeth Acevedo at Simmons University• Recommended Poetry Titles...

April 2019 Horn Book Herald: Spring News: Signs of Springtime

March/April Horn Book Magazine Spring into Nature, Earth Day (April 22), and Conservation April Fools' Day KidLitCon 2019 More Signs of Springtime: themed booklists about bikes (and 5Qs with a librarian on one!), bunnies, birdies, and baseballFrom the April 2019: Spring News issue of The Horn Book Herald....

April 2019 Horn Book Herald: Spring News: National Library Week

The theme of this year's National Library Week (April 7-13, 2019) is: Libraries = Strong Communities.• Upcoming May/June Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: The CSK Book Awards at 50• Roger Sutton's 2018 interview with Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden• ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo at Cambridge Public Library• Librarianship and...

April 2019 Horn Book Herald: Spring News

Spring is here, and with it comes this Spring News edition of our Horn Book Herald e-newsletter, a bimonthly supplement to Notes from the Horn Book. Five Questions for Raúl the Third National Library Week National Poetry Month Signs of SpringtimeFrom the April 2019: Spring News issue of The Horn...

Journeys through grief

Though each of the protagonists of these middle-grade and middle-school stories navigates grief in her or his own way, their paths to healing are all poignant and relatable.In Kwame Alexander's Rebound, the 1988-set prequel to Newbery Medal winner The Crossover, twelve-year-old Charlie Bell is spending the summer with his grandparents...

Happy National Poetry Month 2019!

April is National Poetry Month. These illustrated collections for primary and intermediate readers show the variety of forms poetry can take (hello, riddle-ku!) and topics it can cover — from melting snowmen to creativity-unlocking pencils and more. For more on poetry from The Horn Book, see the tags National Poetry...

Spring into nature

Spring is a season of rebirth, which makes it a great time to discover Mother Nature's many wonders. These new picture books will inspire inquisitive preschoolers-and-up to venture outside and explore.The Home Builders by Varsha Bajaj invites children to observe nature as a variety of creatures busily create homes to...

Books mentioned in the April 2019 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Christian RobinsonAnother by Christian Robinson, Atheneum, 3–7 years.Spring into natureThe Home Builders by Varsha Bajaj, Simona Mulazzani, Penguin/Paulsen, 3–5 years.Carl and the Meaning of Life by Deborah Freedman, Viking, 3–5 years.Olive & Pekoe: In Four Short Walks by Jacky Davis, illus. by Giselle Potter, Greenwillow, 4–8 years.Hey,...

Books mentioned in the March 2019 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book

Collective biographies for Women's History MonthBagieu, Pénélope  Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the WorldTranslated by Montana KaneMiddle school, high school     296 pp.     Roaring Brook/First Second     2018Trade ISBN 978-1-62672-868-4Paperback ISBN 978-1-62672-869-1Clinton, Chelsea  She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed HistoryIllustrated by Alexandra BoigerGr. K–3     32 pp.     Philomel     2018Trade ISBN...

Librarianship and information science

Agard, John  Book: My AutobiographyGr. 4–6     138 pp.     CandlewickIllustrated by Neil Packer. This is a quirky history of the codex (with a brief glimpse at ebooks), narrated in an alternately whimsical and lyrical style by the personified Book. Packer's illustrations, many of which resemble woodcuts, punctuate the brief narratives, as...

Animals on the move

Bierregaard, Rob  Belle's Journey: An Osprey Takes FlightGr. 4–6     106 pp.     CharlesbridgeIllustrated by Kate Garchinsky. Belle, an osprey born on Martha's Vineyard, is tracked by two scientists as she migrates to South America and back. Bierregaard (one of the scientists) writes engagingly about Belle's adventure — over eighteen months and...

National Poetry Month 2019

Bulion, Leslie  Leaf Litter CrittersGr. 4–6     56 pp.     PeachtreeIllustrated by Robert Meganck. Nineteen poems (in various forms) accompanied by bright digital illustrations provide information both whimsical and scientific about inhabitants of the brown food web — the layer of leaves and soil where organic matter breaks down and plants grow....

Collective biographies for Women's History Month

Bagieu, Pénélope  Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the WorldMiddle school, high school     296 pp.     Roaring Brook/First SecondTranslated by Montana Kane. French artist Bagieu's brief vignettes of sequential comics art expose readers to brazen women of all fields, times, and places, both famous and little-known. Each entry gives just enough information...

Pi Day 2019

Today is Pi Day (get it? March 14? 3/14? 3.14...?). To celebrate, here are two recent picture books about pie (and sharing and social justice and community and...). March being Women's History Month, check out these two recommended booklists about women in STEM and computing; this Notes from the Horn Book piece...

Five questions for Laurie Halse Anderson

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Photo: Randy Fontanilla.This year marks the twentieth anniversary of Laurie Halse Anderson’s landmark novel Speak (Farrar, 12–16 years), about Melinda, a teenage rape victim who reclaims her voice. Now in SHOUT (Viking, 14 years and up), the author presents a “poetry memoir” that explores frequently painful events in her own...

Brave girls in audiobooks

These audiobooks starring brave and resilient female protagonists will appeal to middle-grade fans of historical fiction featuring strong and lively young women. March is Women’s History Month. See also our Five Questions interview with Laurie Halse Anderson and the "Strong women making an impact 2019" section in this issue of...

Embracing friendship and community

The following picture books provide models for warmth, friendship, community-building, and inclusivity in ways that very young children can understand and embrace.David Soman's inviting How to Two is a counting book that could also serve as a set of inclusivity instructions. A lone boy plays on a slide (“how to...

Strong women making an impact 2019

For Women’s History Month, here are four new memoirs and biographies of women who have made a lasting impact in their respective fields. See also our Five Questions interview with Laurie Halse Anderson in this issue; our list of new picture-book bios; the tag women's history; and KidLitWomen* for more...

New for New Readers: What (Exactly) IS an Easy Reader?

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Why are high-quality books for emerging readers so challenging to find? I ask this question as a parent of an emerging reader, as well as in my professional capacity as an elementary school librarian. I’m also asked this same question by teachers, other parents, and professional colleagues. After ruminating about...

Books mentioned in the March 2019 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Laurie Halse AndersonSpeak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Farrar, 12–16 years.SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson, Viking, 14 years and up.Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson, illus. by Emily Carroll, Farrar, 12–16 years.Strong women making an impact 2019Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket...

My Characters Don’t Wear Shoes in the House

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Photo courtesy of Sayantani DasGupta.This article is not meant as a judgment upon people who wear shoes in the house. Some of my closest friends wear shoes in the house. I fully support the rights of people to have different shoe-wearing practices in their own houses.That said, I don’t wear...

Books for Black Future Month

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This February, as in previous years, we've been commemorating Black History Month by highlighting articles, speeches, and reviews from The Horn Book archive that are by and/or about Black authors, illustrators, and luminaries in the field. New additions this year include “'To Be Great, Heroic or Beautiful': The Enduring Legacy...

Stand Up! with Anastasia Higginbotham at CPL

On Saturday, February 23, author Anastasia Higginbotham was the special guest at the Cambridge Public Library's Stand Up! Storytime for Social Justice event organized by children's librarian and Friend of the Horn Book Hillary Saxton. Higginbotham is the author of the Ordinary Terrible Things picture book series, including Death Is...
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