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Review of One Real American: They Life of Ely S. Parker, Seneca Sachem and Civil War General

One Real American: The Life of Ely S. Parker, Seneca Sachem and Civil War General by Joseph Bruchac Middle School    Abrams    248 pp.    g 10/20    978-1-4197-4657-4    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-64700-163-6    $15.54 Ely (“pronounced, he always said, to rhyme with freely”) Samuel Parker was “a man who more than any other...

2020 Booklists and Resources Master List

Booklists and resources on holidays, special events, seasons, social justice...and "mother forking space and time"? We've covered a wide range of topics for all age levels in 2020, so we've compiled them together for readers to find some great new books to enjoy and share. Don't miss out — subscribe...

Review of The Magic Fish

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

Review of Your House, My House

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

Review of All He Knew

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

Review of Mexique: A Refugee Story from the Spanish Civil War

Mexique: A Refugee Story from the Spanish Civil War by María José Ferrada; illus. by Ana Penyas; trans. from Spanish by Elisa Amado Primary, Intermediate    Eerdmans    40 pp.    g 10/20    978-0-8028-5545-9    $17.99 In the spring of 1937, the ship Mexique sailed from France to Mexico with 456 Spanish refugees, all...

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...

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

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

Review of Plasticus Maritimus: An Invasive Species

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

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

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

Review of Grasping Mysteries: Girls Who Loved Math

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

Review of Skunk and Badger

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

Review of Arlo & Pips: King of the Birds

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

Review of Fox & Rabbit Make Believe

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

Review of The Left-Handed Booksellers of London

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

Review of Burn

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

Review of Igniting Darkness

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

Review of Daughters of Jubilation

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

Review of How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories

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

Review of Girl, Serpent, Thorn

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

Review of Return of the Thief

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

Review of Sato the Rabbit

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

Review of Everything Comes Next: Collected & New Poems

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Everything Comes Next: Collected & New Poems by Naomi Shihab Nye; illus. by Rafael López Intermediate, Middle School    Greenwillow    256 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-06-301345-2    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-301347-6    $9.99 A substantial volume of poems by Nye, the Palestinian American poet and current Young People’s Poet Laureate, is a pleasure on...

Review of The Cat I Never Named: A True Story of Love, War, and Survival

The Cat I Never Named: A True Story of Love, War, and Survival by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess with Laura L. Sullivan High School    Bloomsbury    384 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-5476-0453-1    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5476-0455-5    $13.99 This suspenseful memoir, set between 1992 and 1998, opens just before the author’s northwestern Bosnian town of...

Review of Pity Party

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

Review of Cave Paintings

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

Review of A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart

A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart by Zetta Elliott; illus. by Noa Denmon Primary, Intermediate    Farrar    32 pp.    g 7/20    978-0-374-30741-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-374-38863-8    $9.99 In this powerfully lyrical poem, Elliott articulates what resides “deep down inside” of the African American, skateboard-loving, first-person protagonist:...

Review of My Bed: Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep Around the World

My Bed: Enchanting Ways to Fall Asleep Around the World by Rebecca Bond; illus. by Salley Mavor Preschool    Houghton    40 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-544-94906-5    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-35905-0    $13.99 “My bed rocks on the water. / My bed sways in the breeze. / My bed’s beneath a curtain. / My...

Review of Class Act

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

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

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

Review of Rise of the Halfling King

Rise of the Halfling King [Tales of the Feathered Serpent] by David Bowles; illus. by Charlene Bowles Intermediate, Middle School    Cinco Puntos    64 pp.    g 10/20    Paper ed.  978-1-947627-37-6    $12.95 e-book ed.  978-1-947627-38-3    $12.95 In this series starter, David Bowles, author of 2018’s Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: Myths...

Review of Chance: Escape from the Holocaust

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

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

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

Review of The Night Before Christmas

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

Review of Once upon a Winter Day

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

Review of They Threw Us Away

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

Review of Dear Justyce

Dear Justyce by Nic Stone High School    Crown    288 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-9848-2966-5    $18.99 Library ed.  978-1-9848-2967-2    $21.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-2968-9    $10.99 In this sequel to Dear Martin (rev. 11/17), we are reintroduced to Quan, best friend of that book’s protagonist. Dear Justyce opens with a flashback to Quan and...

Review of Traitor

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

Review of A Thousand Questions

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

Review of Nine: A Book of Nonet Poems

Nine: A Book of Nonet Poems by Irene Latham; illus. by Amy Huntington Primary, Intermediate    Charlesbridge    32 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-62354-116-3    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-63289-881-4    $9.99 A nonet, as the first poem explains, is a “Grand / poem / with nine lines / one-syllable / first line builds toward /...

Review of Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball

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

Review of Flamer

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

Review of All Because You Matter

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

What Makes a Good Hanukkah Picture Book?

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

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

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

Review of You Poop Here

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

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...

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

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

Fanfare 2020 extras

Read more by and about some of our Fanfare 2020 authors and illustrators below. Find our at-a-glance Fanfare 2020 booklist here and our newly annotated list here.   Picture Books Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James What the Hell Is Didactic Intent Anyway? by Elisa Gall and Jonathan Hunt Family...

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

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

Fanfare 2020 Booklist

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Below is Fanfare, a list of the books that the Horn Book editors and reviewers have selected as the best of 2020. The annotated list will be published in the December issue of Notes from the Horn Book (sign up!) and in the January/February 2021 issue of the Horn Book Magazine...

Review of I Talk like a River

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

Review of Prairie Days

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

Review of Night Walk to the Sea

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

Review of Night Wishes

Night Wishes selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins; illus. by Jen Corace Preschool, Primary    Eerdmans    40 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-8028-5496-4    $18.99 The late Lee Bennett Hopkins gathered these fourteen poems, written by such prominent children’s poets as Joyce ­Sidman, Nikki Grimes, and Eileen Spinelli, for this picture book of dreamy, comforting...

Review of Your Place in the Universe

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

Review of Twins

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

Review of The Bear and the Moon

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

Review of Quill Soup: A Stone Soup Story

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Quill Soup: A Stone Soup Story by Alan Durant; illus. by Dale Blankenaar Primary    Charlesbridge    40 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-62354-147-7    $16.99 This retelling of the traditional “Stone Soup” tale stars a porcupine named Noko, hungry, tired, and seeking hospitality in a small village; and features animals of South Africa —...

Review of Apple: Skin to the Core

Apple: Skin to the Core by Eric Gansworth; illus. by the author Middle School, High School    Levine Querido   352 pp.    g 10/20    978-1-64614-013-8    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-64614-004-6    $18.99 Gansworth, an enrolled member of the Onondaga Nation, grew up on the Tuscarora reservation, making him always “the outsider inside.” The theme...

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

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

Review of Our Little Kitchen

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

Review of Three Keys: A Front Desk-Novel

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

Review of No Vacancy

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

Review of I Heard a Sound

I Heard a Sound by David J. Ward; illus. by Eric Comstock Primary    Holiday    40 pp.    g 7/20    978-0-8234-3704-7    $18.99 Bright, eye-catching digital illustrations provide the first signs of a stimulating adventure. Ward delivers on this promise but also offers a solid and informative introduction to one of the five...

Review of Trowbridge Road

Trowbridge Road by Marcella Pixley Middle School    Candlewick    310 pp.    g 10/20    978-1-5362-0750-7    $17.99 Narrator June Bug Jordan watches “beanpole” Ziggy Karlo, with his “unruly mop of red hair,” arrive at his grandmother’s house on idyllic Trowbridge Road in the summer of 1983. The two loners quickly become friends, finding...

Review of Sun Flower Lion

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

Review of Wishbone

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

Review of Zora and Me: The Summoner

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

Review of Ana on the Edge

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

Review of Lupe Wong Won't Dance

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

Review of Your Name Is a Song

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

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

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

Review of Ten Ways to Hear Snow

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

Review of Can Bears Ski?

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

Veterans Day 2020

Today, Veterans Day, is a good day to share books about veterans, their experiences and sacrifices, and their supportive families and communities on the homefront. The Guide/Reviews Database is honoring them with three new booklists of recent recommended fiction and nonfiction titles for primary, intermediate, and older readers. Grade levels...

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...

Review of Marie's Ocean: Marie Tharp Maps the Mountains Under the Sea

Marie’s Ocean: Marie Tharp Maps the Mountains Under the Sea by Josie James; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Ottaviano/Holt    48 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-250-21473-7    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-250-80619-2    $9.99 This picture-book biography of geologist and oceanographic cartographer Marie Tharp (1920–2006), who revolutionized the world’s understanding of the ocean’s floor,...

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...

Holiday High Notes 2020

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

Review of Show Me a Sign

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

Review of Robobaby

Robobaby by David Wiesner; illus. by the author Primary    Clarion    32 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-544-98731-9    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-41605-0    $12.99 In his latest picture book told with comics panels, Wiesner (Mr. Wuffles!, rev. 9/13) presents a new-baby story; the twist here is that the family in question are robots. The...

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

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

Review of This Is My America

This Is My America by Kim Johnson High School    Random    416 pp.    g 7/20    978-0-593-11876-4    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-593-11877-1    $20.00 e-book ed.  978-0-593-11878-8    $10.99 Tracy is running out of time. It’s been seven years since her father was wrongly convicted of a double murder. Every week, Tracy writes to Innocence...

Review of In the City

In the City by Chris Raschka; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Jackson/Atheneum    40 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-4814-8627-9    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-8628-6    $10.99 In this inquisitive and celebratory story, Raschka explores the enigmatic nature of fledgling friendships, reflecting on how friends find each other. In separate spaces in a bustling...

Review of How Women Won the Vote: Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, and Their Big Idea

How Women Won the Vote: Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, and Their Big Idea by Susan Campbell Bartoletti; illus. by Ziyue Chen Primary, Intermediate    Harper/HarperCollins    80 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-06-284130-8    $18.99 This well-sourced account of the fight for American women’s suffrage begins in 1909 at a protest march in London. It...

Review of Fighting Words

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

Review of Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away

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

Review of Democracy for Dinosaurs: A Guide for Young Citizens

Democracy for Dinosaurs: A Guide for Young Citizens by Laurie Krasny Brown; illus. by Marc Brown Primary    Little, Brown    32 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-316-53452-9    $17.99 Sharing, fairness, choice, respect, ­truthfulness — most young people are well acquainted with these concepts; the Browns (Dinosaurs Divorce; Dinosaurs Go Green!; and many others)...

Review of The Time of Green Magic

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

Review of I Am Every Good Thing

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