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Preview September/October 2019 Horn Book Magazine

Cover art from Click, Clack, Boo!: A Tricky Treat by Doreen Cronin, illustration copyright 2013 by Betsy Lewin.  Kirkus children’s editor Vicky Smith considers book discussion guidelines for the twenty-first century.  “Black Kids Camp Too…Don’t They?”: Michelle H. Martin on why #WeNeedDiverseOutdoorBooks.  Kitty Flynn wishes a happy twenty-fifth anniversary to Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley’s It’s Perfectly Normal.  Cathryn M. Mercier, director...

Lift Every Voice: In the Presence of Royalty

My heart was racing like Secretariat, even though I had practiced my acceptance speech, as I nervously approached the podium. They had called my name to receive the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for my work on The Origin of Life on Earth: An African Creation Myth. The CSK Breakfast...

Lift Every Voice: History Comes Alive

It was an adult book — The Chaneysville Incident by David Bradley — that inspired me to try my hand at writing historical fiction for children. I’ll never forget the author’s harrowing description of one of the characters fleeing a pack of slave hunters. I have always been a history...

2019 CSK–Virginia Hamilton Award Acceptance by Pauletta Brown Bracy

Good Coretta-Scott-King-Book-Awards-Breakfast-Sunday morning! I stand before you as the fifth recipient of the Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement in the category of practitioner and in the company of the distinguished colleagues who have come before me: Dr. Henrietta Mays Smith, Demetria Tucker, Deborah D. Taylor, and Dr....

2019 CSK Illustrator Award Acceptance by Ekua Holmes

Ekua Holmes. Photo courtesy of Ekua Holmes.Congratulations to all of the 2019 awardees on the podium today. Along with you, I am deeply honored to receive this award, on its fiftieth anniversary, given in the name of Coretta Scott King — a woman whom I deeply admire for her work...

Profile of 2019 CSK Illustrator Award winner Ekua Holmes

Ekua Holmes is love. I am but one grateful member of an immense and inspired community that cherishes, and is beloved by, Ekua. At its heart, this community is local, centered on the place of Ekua’s birth — Roxbury, Massachusetts — via Arkansas and the U.S. American South, via Africa....

2019 CSK Author Award Acceptance by Claire Hartfield

When I was a young girl, growing up on the South Side of Chicago, I was lucky enough to have weekly visits with my grandmother, Thelma Shepherd Rone, whom the adults called Dearest or Day but whom I always knew as Grammie. I was a quiet little girl, but I...

Profile of 2019 CSK Author Award winner Claire Hartfield

Claire Hartfield is a storyteller. It might be fair to say that she is a born storyteller, just-right words flowing through her pen with ease, creating images that allow her readers to see, to hear, even to breathe just as Claire did while writing. This gift might have come to...

2019 Caldecott Medal Acceptance by Sophie Blackall

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Hello, hello, hello!Members of the 2019 Caldecott committee, my agents, my family, fellow authors and illustrators, publishers, librarians, beacons of the community—As the 2019 Caldecott committee gathered around a phone, early on a cold January morning in Seattle, I was having dinner in sweltering Myanmar, trying not to picture them....

Hello Studio: A Profile of 2019 Caldecott Medal winner Sophie Blackall

On the highest floor of an old factory at the edge of Brooklyn, overlooking the water, is a skylit artists’ studio. This profile is drawn from interviews with the seven children’s book creators who, over the years, have shared that studio with Sophie Blackall.“Drawn in Brooklyn,” 2010 Photo: Matt Carr.Sergio...

Review of The Iliad

The Iliadadapted by Gareth Hinds; illus. by the adapterMiddle School, High School    Candlewick    264 pp.3/19    978-0-7636-8113-5    $27.99Paper ed.  978-0-7636-9663-4    $16.99As with his treatment of The Odyssey (rev. 11/10), Hinds offers an ambitious and compelling comics adaptation of a Homerian epic. This complex, winding tale picks up in the tenth year...

2019 Newbery Medal Acceptance by Meg Medina

Photo: Petite Shards Productions.Good evening. Muy buenas noches.I’m so happy to be with all of you here tonight, and to share this incredible moment on stage with Sophie [Blackall] and to help honor the enormous legacy of Walter Dean Myers. My deepest congratulations to all the winners and honorees of...

Profile of 2019 Newbery Medal winner Meg Medina

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Meg Medina and R. J. Palacio at Niagara Falls, circa 1979. Photo: Marco Jaramillo.Imagine a girl, wavy brown hair, big smile, bright eyes, on the tall side, long legs and arms, in constant motion. (If she were a baby animal, she’d be a colt.) Imagine this girl is your best...

Review of To Night Owl from Dogfish

To Night Owl from Dogfishby Holly Goldberg Sloan and Meg WolitzerIntermediate, Middle School    Dial/Dutton    311 pp.    g2/19    978-0-5255-5323-6    $17.99At the start of this epistolary (via email) novel, twelve-year-olds Bett Devlin, an adventure-loving California girl of African American and Brazilian descent, and Avery Bloom, a tightly wound New Yorker whose single...

2019 Children’s Literature Legacy Award Acceptance by Christopher Myers on behalf of Walter Dean Myers

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Hey Pop,It’s been a minute since I’ve written you a proper letter, mostly because I don’t know your address or even if they have email wherever you are.When you were around, we’d write each other lots of letters, even if we knew we’d be meeting up for breakfast the next...

Review of Hello

Helloby Fiona Woodcock; illus. by the authorPreschool    Greenwillow    40 pp.5/19    978-0-06-264456-6    $17.99In Look (rev. 7/18), Woodcock strung together a series of words with double os, more or less one per page, to tell a story of a brother and sister visiting the zoo. In this companion, double ls get the...

Lift Every Voice: On My Fire Escape

The path leading to Ray Charles began on the fire escape of a rent-controlled apartment in Bedford-Stuyvesant. It was here that I discovered Paul Laurence Dunbar’s Little Brown Baby, Shakespeare’s “Et tu, Brute?” and Willard Motley’s Knock on Any Door; scurried down a rabbit hole; and walked on Gwendolyn Brooks’s...

Review of Dissenter on the Bench: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Life & Work

Dissenter on the Bench: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Life & Workby Victoria OrtizMiddle School, High School    Clarion    184 pp.    g6/19    978-0-544-97364-0    $18.99e-book ed.  978-1-328-63990-5    $9.99Since her appointment to the Supreme Court in 1993, Ruth Bader Ginsburg has become a hero to many Americans for her progressive positions on cases involving free...

Lift Every Voice: "You Are the Author!"

Photo: Bill McGuinnessI can’t remember a time when I have not been drawing and painting!As a child I loved picture books and memorized Mother Goose poems. I attended public elementary school in the Bronx, New York. In kindergarten, the teacher taught us the alphabet. She asked the students to draw a picture...

Review of Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Meby Mariko Tamaki; illus. by Rosemary Valero-O’ConnellHigh School    First Second/Roaring Brook    298 pp.5/19    978-1-250-31284-6    $24.99Paper ed.  978-1-62672-259-0    $17.99This relatable, heart-wrenching, and often funny graphic novel opens with seventeen-year-old Frederica (“Freddy”) Riley’s email to advice columnist Anna Vice. “For almost the past year I’ve been...

Fresh Ginger and Garlic: A Conversation with Nikki Giovanni

Kwame and Nikki. Photo: Beatrice Saba.Over the past twenty years, I’ve been a vegan, a vegetarian, and a pescatarian. There have been only three periods in my adult life when I’ve indulged in the pleasures of meat. One was right after winning the Newbery, when I found myself craving cheeseburgers....

Review of Ogilvy

Ogilvyby Deborah Underwood; illus. by T. L. McBethPreschool, Primary    Godwin/Holt    40 pp.5/19    978-1-250-15176-6    $17.99Ogilvy, a wide-eyed, line-drawn bunny, is excited to make friends in a new town. But upon arrival, the rabbit’s sartorial choices are challenged; Ogilvy, clad in a knit article of clothing, is asked: “Is it a sweater...

Lift Every Voice: Dreams Never Realized

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My mom and dad truly laid the foundation for my writing life by reading to me and my siblings every night — giving me a heart for stories. And there were many moments that followed that inspired my literary journey. Here is one.In February of 1991, my father showed me...

Review of Moth: An Evolution Story

Moth: An Evolution Storyby Isabel Thomas; illus. by Daniel EgnéusPrimary    Bloomsbury    48 pp.    g6/19    978-1-5476-0020-5    $18.99e-book ed.  978-1-5476-0024-3    $13.29“This is a story of light and dark. Of change and adaptation, of survival and hope.” In a shadowy (pre-industrial) wood, a peppered moth — its “speckled, freckled” wing patterns wonderfully detailed...

Black Creators for Children

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The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are part of a profoundly rich history of African American children’s literature. It is a history that stretches back into the nineteenth century through the early-twentieth century Brownies’ Book magazine and the mid-twentieth-century Ebony Jr! publication.It is a history that encompasses the bibliographies of...

Review of The Runaways

The Runawaysby Ulf Stark; illus. by Kitty Crowther; trans. from the Swedish by Julia MarshallPrimary, Intermediate    Gecko    134 pp.4/19    978-1-77652-33-5    $17.99Paper ed.  978-1-776572-34-2    $11.88The portrait of old age and infirmity in this Swedish import is considerably more unvarnished than we’re used to in books for children. Grandpa is no lovable...

Review of The Fisherman & the Whale

The Fisherman & the Whaleby Jessica Lanan; illus. by the authorPrimary    Simon    48 pp.5/19    978-1-5344-1574-4    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-5344-1575-1    $10.99In this dramatic wordless tale, a commercial fisherman and what appears to be his son collect fish in the large net thrown from their boat. They sail on — that is, until...

Lift Every Voice: Necessary Foundations

The sound of her voice. The comfort of her lap. The colors and words on the pages of the books tucked around us. My mother read to me from the time I was born. I vaguely remember a poem called “The Rock-a-By Lady.” I found out later it was by...

Lift Every Voice: “Four Women” and Me

Photo: Jati LindsayWhen I was fourteen, my mother caught me lumbering down the hallway toward my room cradling a turntable. The turntable was hers and had been in the family for decades, stored in the basement of our house. I’d never heard any sound come from it. Not at the...

A Vision for the CSK: Past, Present, and Future

My first novel came out ten years ago, and one year later, in 2010, it was honored with the John Steptoe Award for New Talent by the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Jury. I was surprised and delighted on a number of levels when I got the call that January...

Review of Viral: The Fight Against AIDS in America

Viral: The Fight Against AIDS in Americaby Ann BausumMiddle School, High School    Viking    166 pp.    g6/19    978-0-425-28720-0    $17.99“The first to die left behind little more than their names and brief stories of chaotic, terrifying deaths. Individual by individual, they went from being seemingly well to perplexingly ill in a matter...

Happy Anniversary: Stevie

Stevie by John Steptoe (1950–1989) was published by Life magazine and then by Harper & Row in 1969. It celebrates its fiftieth anniversary in 2019.I locate the beginning of what I’ve come to call #blackboylit — literature for children and young adults that centers the experiences of boys of African...

Review of The Music of What Happens

The Music of What Happensby Bill KonigsbergHigh School    Levine/Scholastic    346 pp.1/19    978-1-338-21550-2    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-338-21552-6    $10.99In order to help his unstable mother make delinquent mortgage payments, Jordan tries his hand at the food truck business, using his late father’s old truck, Coq Au Vinny. Things don’t go too well until...

Preview July/August 2019 Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: ALA Awards

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Special Issue: ALA Awards.Original cover art by 2019 Caldecott Medal winner Sophie Blackall.Pauletta Brown Bracy’s Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Award Acceptance speech.“The Year in Words and Pictures”: Horn Book editors Elissa Gershowitz and Martha V. Parravano discuss the children’s book landscape of 2018.Meg Medina’s Newbery Medal acceptance speech.Author R. J....

Review of Bear Came Along

Bear Came Alongby Richard T. Morris; illus. by LeUyen PhamPreschool    Little, Brown    40 pp.6/19    978-0-316-46447-5    $17.99e-book ed.  978-0-316-46445-1    $9.99This boisterous adventure is a story about discovery, the twists and turns a day can take, and the ways in which friendships can be forged when least expected — all in the...

Horn Book Magazine starred reviews, July/August 2019

illustration from Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai. The following books will receive starred reviews in the July/August 2019 Horn Book Magazine. Each year our July/August issue celebrates the ALA Youth Media Awards; this time around you can look forward to original cover art by (second-time!) Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall,...

Review of We Are Here to Stay: Voices of Undocumented Young Adults

We Are Here to Stay: Voices of Undocumented Young Adultsby Susan Kuklin; photos by the authorMiddle School, High School    Candlewick    182 pp.1/19    978-0-7636-7884-5    $19.99The Trump administration’s 2017 repeal of DACA put photojournalist Kuklin (Beyond Magenta, rev. 3/14) and her work-in-progress, about undocumented immigrants, in an awkward place: would she be...

An Interview with George and Bernette Ford

George and Bernette Ford are two icons of African American children’s literature. George is the winner of the first Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, in 1974, for Ray Charles (written by Sharon Bell Mathis) and a past president of the Council on Interracial Books for Children. He and Bernette were...

Review of Charlie & Mouse Even Better

Charlie & Mouse Even Betterby Laurel Snyder; illus. by Emily HughesPrimary    Chronicle    48 pp.5/19    978-1-4521-7065-7    $14.99This third Charlie & Mouse picture book/easy reader hybrid (Charlie & Mouse, rev. 7/17; Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy, rev. 11/17) shines the spotlight on Mom’s approaching birthday. The first chapter sets the scene, with...

Review of My Papi Has a Motorcycle

My Papi Has a Motorcycleby Isabel Quintero; illus. by Zeke PeñaPrimary    Kokila/Penguin    40 pp.    g5/19    978-0-525-55341-0    $17.99Spanish ed.  978-0-525-55494-3    $17.99Quintero’s picture-book text acts as an evocative love letter to her apá and to the interconnected web of Mexican immigrant working-class people who built her hometown of Corona, California. When Papi...

Review of I Am Hermes!: Mischief-Making Messenger of the Gods

I Am Hermes!: Mischief-Making Messenger of the Godsby Mordicai Gerstein; illus. by the authorPrimary, Intermediate    Holiday    72 pp.    g4/19    978-0-8234-3942-3    $18.99e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4203-4    $11.99Following I Am Pan! (rev. 5/16), here comes Pan’s father, Hermes, the messenger god, eager to tell his own story. This Hermes is handsome, insouciant, impulsive, and...

Lift Every Voice: My Own Origin Story

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Growing up, I always loved magic. It was exciting, because I was a curious kid who devoted a good deal of brainpower to figuring out the whys of the world. This love of magic eventually manifested in a love of science — and with it science fiction — which permeated...

Review of Where the Heart Is

Where the Heart Isby Jo KnowlesIntermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    294 pp.    g4/19    978-1-5362-0003-4    $16.99On Rachel’s thirteenth birthday, new neighbors move in, affluent dilettante “farmers” who engage her, at minimum wage, to look after their animals while they’re away during the week. She comes to love the menagerie, even Lucy, the...

Review of You Are New

You Are Newby Lucy Knisley; illus. by the authorPreschool    Chronicle    48 pp.3/19    978-1-4521-6156-3    $17.99Knisley chronicled her wedding in her 2016 adult graphic-novel memoir Something New; her latest, Kid Gloves (2019), is about pregnancy; and concurrently she has authored her first picture book — about a newborn baby. In lilting, lighthearted...

Happy anniversary, CSK!

As you know (and if you don't, you must be new here 😉), the Coretta Scott King Book Awards celebrate their 50th anniversary this year, and the Horn Book's annual special issue is themed around that anniversary. We are honored to have a roster of more than thirty African American...

Lift Every Voice: Words and Music

Because I was running away from anything that required being in the public eye, I am sure that any early motivation to be a writer was deeply buried in my subconscious and lay there, unrecognized, for many years. Writing this article has sent me back to pull those memories together...

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...

Review of Enemy Child: The Story of Norman Mineta, a Boy Imprisoned in a Japanese American Internment Camp During World War II

Enemy Child: The Story of Norman Mineta, a Boy Imprisoned in a Japanese American Internment Camp During World War IIby Andrea WarrenIntermediate, Middle School    Ferguson/Holiday    214 pp.3/19    978-0-8234-4151-8    $22.99Continuing her theme of children in peril because of governmental policies outside of their control, Warren (Surviving Hitler, rev. 3/01; Escape from...

Review of Darius the Great Is Not Okay

Darius the Great Is Not Okayby Adib KhorramHigh School    Dial    313 pp.    g8/18    978-0-5255-5296-3    $17.99 Sophomore Darius Kellner doesn’t fit in at his Oregon high school, where he’s bullied by Trent Bolger and his “Soulless Minions of Orthodoxy.” But Darius also doesn’t fit comfortably in his own life due to clinical...

Lift Every Voice: Walking My Own Path

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Courtesy NCAAP.I was used to getting red-ink marks in the margins of my school essays until I met my high school English teacher, Linda Christensen. For our final projects, Ms. Christensen would write two-page letters with praise and feedback about revisions. I had never had a teacher be so thoughtful...

Lift Every Voice: The Greatest Review I'll Ever Get

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Memory is a very inexact and unreliable process, and it’s tricky to try to point to one event in our past and say it was somehow life-changing. That said, if the question is: what set me on the road to becoming an author? I have a memory that is as...

Review of Harold & Hog Pretend for Real!

Harold & Hog Pretend for Real! [Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!]by Dan Santat; illus. by the author; with additional illustrations by Mo WillemsPrimary    Hyperion    64 pp.    g5/19    978-1-368-02716-8    $9.99Santat takes the already-meta Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series to new heights of self-awareness in this easy reader starring Harold and...

Review of B Is for Baby

B Is for Babyby Atinuke; illus. by Angela BrooksbankPreschool    Candlewick    40 pp.3/19    978-1-5362-0166-6    $16.99Atinuke and Brooksbank (Baby Goes to Market) reunite for another tenderly funny slice-of-life story set in an unspecified African village and starring a winsome baby girl, who is dearly loved. This alphabet book sticks with the letter...

Horn Book Magazine — May/June 2019: Special Issue: The CSK Book Awards at 50

Cover art by Kadir Nelson Table of Contents   Features "Let Our Rejoicing Rise" by Rudine Sims Bishop Celebrating fifty years of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards. "An Interview with George and Bernette Ford" by Roger Sutton Two icons of Black children’s literature reflect on its history and future....

Lift Every Voice: A Matter of Choice

Though many things in life are set to autopilot, we thrive when we are choosing. I made the choice to be an artist when I was around seven and realized I could copy Fred Flintstone pretty accurately. It was a spark of magic that I wanted more of.As an only...

Review of Nine Months: Before a Baby Is Born

Nine Months: Before a Baby Is Bornby Miranda Paul; illus. by Jason ChinPrimary    Porter/Holiday    32 pp.4/19    978-0-8234-4161-7    $18.99e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4213-3    $18.99A pithy quintain describes the moment a fertilized human egg becomes a two-celled zygote: “Small. / Ball. / The point of a pin. / Then it divides… / Our story begins.” It’s the first...

What’s So Funny, Mr. Scieszka? — The Zena Sutherland Lecture

The voice flew across the room and nailed me to the back of my seat.“What’s so funny, Mr. Scieszka?”The voice belonged to Sister Margaret Ann. And it had just flown across our fifth-grade religion class at St. Luke’s Elementary School to find me in what I had thought was the...

Lift Every Voice: From One Book to Many

When I was in sixth grade, my elementary school hired a new librarian. I don’t remember her name. I only know that she was young, white, and had been a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa. This new librarian taught us African songs and dances, and would then put on music...

Review of With the Fire on High

With the Fire on Highby Elizabeth AcevedoHigh School    HarperTeen    392 pp.5/19    978-0-06-266283-5    $17.99e-book ed.  978-0-06-266285-9    $9.99High school senior Emoni Santiago, whose “Puerto Rican side is as Black as [her] Black American side,” is many things — an aspiring chef, a proud North Philly native, a reserved student who keeps to...

Review of The Little Guys

The Little Guysby Vera Brosgol; illus. by the authorPreschool, Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp.4/19    978-1-62672-442-6    $17.99The “strongest guys in the whole forest” are the Little Guys — small pastel-colored creatures with acorn-cap hats; red, nose-like appendages; and stick arms and legs. Together there is nothing they cannot conquer. For example,...

Let Our Rejoicing Rise: Celebrating Fifty Years of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards originated as a response to the failure of the children’s literature establishment to acknowledge the talents and contributions of African American writers and illustrators. As late as 1969, forty-seven years after the first Newbery Medal had been awarded, and thirty-one years after the awarding...

Writer vs. Author — The Zena Sutherland Lecture by Linda Sue Park

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Photo by Sonya Sones“Writer vs. Author.” This dichotomy is one I deal with on a daily basis, sometimes on a minute-by-minute basis. I grew up in the age before social networking, so typing out words on a keyboard has long been a private activity for me. Even if the finished...

CSK: 50 Years Strong

Claudette S. McLinnOn behalf of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee, welcome to The Horn Book’s special issue commemorating the Coretta Scott King (CSK) Book Awards’ fiftieth anniversary. I was delighted to learn that The Horn Book would feature a special commemorative issue devoted to this historic golden anniversary,...

Review of Wildheart: The Daring Adventures of John Muir

Wildheart: The Daring Adventures of John Muirby Julie Bertagna; illus. by William GoldsmithIntermediate, Middle School    Yosemite Conservancy    128 pp.3/19    978-1-930238-94-7    $17.99This creatively rendered biography-in-comics-format of John Muir (1838–1914) is filled with the naturalist’s adventures, from his childhood in Scotland to his pioneering conservation work and formation of America’s National Parks....

Review of The Vanishing Stair

The Vanishing Stair [Truly Devious]by Maureen JohnsonHigh School    Tegen/HarperCollins    373 pp.1/19    978-0-06-233808-2    $17.99In this absorbing continuation of Truly Devious (rev. 1/18), amateur gumshoe and anxiety sufferer Stevie Bell is still trying — from afar, her parents having removed her from Ellingham Academy at the end of the first book —...

Review of There Are No Bears in This Bakery

There Are No Bears in This Bakeryby Julia Sarcone-Roach; illus. by the authorPreschool, Primary    Knopf    40 pp.1/19    978-0-399-55665-4    $17.99Library ed.  978-0-399-55666-1    $20.99e-book ed.  978-0-399-55667-8    $10.99Sarcone-Roach’s previous bear-centric picture book, The Bear Ate Your Sandwich (rev. 1/15), featured an unreliable offstage narrator, a cover-up, and — spoiler alert — no bears....

They're here!

photo by Katie BircherAdvance office copies of our May/June special issue, that is, which means that if you are a subscriber it is also on the way to you. If you are not a subscriber, first, shame on you, but, second, you can order single copies of this issue of...

Review of Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons

Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasonsby Laura Purdie Salas; illus. by Mercè LópezPrimary    Millbrook    32 pp.4/19    978-1-5124-9809-7    $19.99e-book ed.  978-1-5415-4383-6    $19.99Salas presents a volume of “riddle-ku” poems, a form that is a cross between riddles, haiku, and “mask poems” (poems narrated by “something nonhuman”). The book is divided...

Review of Beware of the Crocodile

Beware of the Crocodileby Martin Jenkins; illus. by Satoshi KitamuraPrimary    Candlewick    32 pp.    g3/19    978-0-7636-7538-7    $16.99Heeding the old adage “when introducing a topic to children, start with what they know,” Jenkins initiates his discussion of crocodiles with their most prominent feature: those fascinating and intimidating teeth, which Kitamura depicts in...

Review of Dealing in Dreams

Dealing in Dreamsby Lilliam RiveraHigh School    Simon    328 pp.    g3/19    978-1-4814-7214-2    $18.99e-book ed.  978-1-4814-7216-6    $10.99Rivera (The Education of Margot Sanchez) presents an action-filled dystopian novel about loyalty, power, and losing and finding oneself. Nalah, a.k.a. Chief Rocka, is the leader of the all-girl gang Las Mal Criadas, which owns the...

Review of Poetree

Poetreeby Shauna LaVoy Reynolds; illus. by Shahrzad MaydaniPrimary    Dial    32 pp.    g3/19    978-0-399-53912-1    $17.99To celebrate the end of winter, young poetry lover Sylvia writes a poem about spring and ties it to a birch tree in the park. The next day her poem is gone; in its place is another...

Review of The Undefeated

The Undefeatedby Kwame Alexander; illus. by Kadir NelsonPrimary, Intermediate, Middle School     Versify/Houghton     40 pp.    g4/19     978-1-328-78096-6     $17.99e-book ed.  978-0-358-05761-1     $12.99Alexander and Nelson honor the achievements, courage, and perseverance of ordinary black people as well as prominent black artists, athletes, and activists. The free-verse poem begins: “This is for the unforgettable. /...

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We are just dotting the is of the May/June issue celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Awards. Phew! I don't think we've published an issue with quite so many moving parts. I speak literally, figuratively, and emotively.I hope our subscribers appreciate this landmark issue, and I wanted...

Review of Two Brothers, Four Hands: The Artists Alberto and Diego Giacometti

Two Brothers, Four Hands: The Artists Alberto and Diego Giacomettiby Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan; illus. by Hadley HooperPrimary, Intermediate    Porter/Holiday    64 pp.    g4/19    978-0-8234-4170-9    $21.99e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4224-9    $16.99Experts at accessibly describing art and exploring the often-complex lives of its creators, Greenberg and Jordan (most recently Meet Cindy Sherman, rev....

Review of The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. Jamesby Ashley Herring BlakeIntermediate, Middle School    Little, Brown    373 pp.    g3/19    978-0-316-51553-5    $16.99e-book ed.  978-0-316-51550-4    $9.99After receiving a heart transplant, twelve-year-old Sunny decides it’s time for a “New Life” with specific components — including finding a boy to kiss and finding a new best...

Review of Carl and the Meaning of Life

Carl and the Meaning of Lifeby Deborah Freedman; illus. by the authorPreschool, Primary    Viking    48 pp.    g4/19    978-0-451-47498-8    $17.99Carl is an earthworm, always moving under the ground, digesting leaves and “turning hard dirt into fluffy soil.” When a field mouse asks him why he does...

Review of Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc

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Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arcby David ElliottHigh School    Houghton    191 pp.    g3/19    978-1-328-98759-4    $17.99e-book ed.  978-0-358-04915-9    $9.99In this verse novel, “voices” refers to Joan of Arc’s messages from the saints; to the various people who testified for and against her; to Joan herself; and to the objects...

Review of Dogs in Space

Dogs in Spaceby Vix Southgate; illus. by Iris DeppePrimary    Kane Miller    32 pp.3/19    978-1-61067-824-7    $14.99With a happier ending than that of their legendary predecessor Laika, dogs Belka and Strelka became, in 1960, among the first animals to return, alive, from orbital flight. That does not, however, deny the suspense with...

Review of Lovely War

Lovely Warby Julie BerryHigh School    Viking    471 pp.3/19    978-0-451-46993-9    $18.99When the Greek god of fire, Hephaestus, catches his wife Aphrodite, goddess of love, in 1942 Manhattan in a passionate affair with his brother Ares, god of war, Aphrodite defends her actions by showing the two gods what real love looks...

Review of Home Is a Window

Home Is a Windowby Stephanie Parsley Ledyard; illus. by Chris SasakiPreschool, Primary    Porter/Holiday    40 pp.4/19    978-0-8234-4156-3    $18.99e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4156-3    $18.99Ledyard offers a meditation of sorts on the sense of comfort and belonging that home should evoke, whether it’s a place we know well or a new home to which we’ve...

Review of Another

Anotherby Christian Robinson; illus. by the authorPreschool, Primary    Atheneum    56 pp.3/19    978-1-5344-2167-7    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-5344-2168-4    $10.99For his solo picture book debut, Robinson (illustrator of Last Stop on Market Street, rev. 3/15; School’s First Day of School, rev. 3/16; When’s My Birthday?, rev. 9/17; and more) offers a smart, sly, and...

Review of Snowman − Cold = Puddle: Spring Equations

Snowman − Cold = Puddle: Spring Equationsby Laura Purdie Salas; illus. by Micha ArcherPrimary    Charlesbridge    32 pp.2/19    978-1-58089-798-3    $16.99e-book ed.  978-1-63289-643-8    $9.99This whimsical celebration of spring-time features a playful equation poem on every page. Take the titular “snowman – cold = puddle.” It’s a subtraction sentence — minus the usual...

Review of The Last Last-Day-of-Summer

The Last Last-Day-of-Summerby Lamar Giles; illus. by Dapo AdeolaIntermediate, Middle School    Versify/Houghton    289 pp.    g4/19    978-1-328-46083-7    $16.99e-book ed.  978-0-358-04721-6    $9.99African American cousins Otto and Sheed Alston are local legends in their small Virginia town, often featured in the Logan County Gazette for their daring exploits — getting rid of ghosts,...

Review of ¡Vamos!: Let's Go to the Market

¡Vamos!: Let’s Go to the Marketby Raúl the Third; color by Elaine BayPrimary    Versify/Houghton    40 pp.    g4/19    978-1-328-55726-1    $14.99e-book ed.  978-0-358-06340-7    $9.99Waking up when the rooster crows is not hard to do if the day ahead includes a trip to the mercado. Rooster Kooky Dooky’s cries (“¡Vamos!”) wake up Little...

Review of Titanosaur: Discovering the World’s Largest Dinosaur

Titanosaur: Discovering the World’s Largest Dinosaurby José Luis Carballido and Diego Pol; illus. by Florencia GigenaPrimary, Intermediate    Orchard/Scholastic    40 pp.    g3/19    978-1-338-20739-2    $18.99The paleontologists who discovered the fossilized bones of a group of seven of the largest-known (“for now”) dinosaurs take readers step-by-step through the careful and time-consuming process of...

Review of A Good Kind of Trouble

A Good Kind of Troubleby Lisa Moore RaméeMiddle School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    368 pp.    g3/19    978-0-06-283668-7    $16.99e-book ed.  978-0-06-283670-0    $9.99Shayla’s goals for her first year of junior high are simple. Attract the attention of the cute guy. Avoid the class bully. Don’t make waves. Stay close to her two best...

Horn Book Magazine Starred reviews, May/June 2019

Illustration from The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol.The following books will receive starred reviews in the May/June 2019 Horn Book Magazine. Do NOT miss this issue: it is our annual special issue, this time around devoted to the 50th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Awards. With history, interviews, and...

Preview May/June 2019 Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: The CSK Book Awards at 50

Special Issue: The Coretta Scott King Book Awards at 50 On the cover: original artwork by Kadir Nelson, a gatefold portrait of Coretta Scott King. Editorial page by special guests Rudine Sims Bishop and Andrea Davis Pinkney. A welcome letter from Claudette S. McLinn, current Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee Chair."Let Our Rejoicing...

Review of The Great Indoors

The Great Indoorsby Julie Falatko; illus. by Ruth ChanPrimary    Disney-Hyperion    40 pp.    g4/19    978-1-368-00083-3    $17.99The tables are turned in this mischievous comedy about the highs and lows of camping. As a camper van full of humans drives away from a house, two bears in the front yard come out of...

Muslim Women's Day 2019

In honor of Muslim Women's Day, here is Julie Hakim Azzam's "Books in the Home" article: "'Mommy, Do I Have White Skin?': Skin Color, Family, and Picture Books," from the November/December 2016 Horn Book Magazine. See below for other ways to celebrate and amplify Muslim Women's voices during Women's History...

Review of A Ray of Light: A Book of Science and Wonder

A Ray of Light: A Book of Science and Wonderby Walter Wick; photos by the authorIntermediate    Scholastic    40 pp.    g2/19    978-0-439-16587-7    $17.99Wick explores the concepts of light and color in a sophisticated yet comprehensible format. As in his masterful A Drop of Water (rev. 3/97; winner of the 1997 Boston...

Review of Dig.

Dig.by A.S. KingHigh School    Dutton    394 pp.    g3/19    978-1-101-99491-7    $17.99David has never met his father and is tired of constantly moving around with his mom. Malcolm has already lost his mother and is about to lose his beloved father to cancer. Katie deals drugs out of a fast-food drive-thru window...

Review of Hey, Water!

Hey, Water!by Antoinette Portis; illus. by the authorPreschool, Primary    Porter/Holiday    48 pp.    g3/19    978-0-8234-4155-6    $17.99e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4201-0    $17.99A girl named Zoe explores water in this playful and informative book. Speaking directly to water (“Hey, water! I know you! You’re all around”), Zoe considers the role of water inside a home...

Review of The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog: And Other How-To Poems

The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog: And Other How-To Poemsselected by Paul B. Janeczko; illus. by Richard JonesPrimary    Candlewick    48 pp.    g3/19    978-0-7636-8168-5    $17.99The thirty-three poems in this “how-to” collection range from the whimsical, such as Monica Shannon’s “How to Tell Goblins from Elves,” to the very practical, such...

Review of Unpresidented: A Biography of Donald Trump

Unpresidented: A Biography of Donald Trumpby Martha BrockenbroughMiddle School, High School    Feiwel    416 pp.11/18    978-1-250-30803-0    $19.99e-book ed.  978-1-250-30804-7    $9.99Brockenbrough opens her critical biography of Donald Trump with a sampling of events leading up to the surprising (to most) results of the 2016 presidential election. She then takes readers back to...

Review of Internment

Internmentby Samira AhmedHigh School    Little, Brown    304 pp.    g3/19    978-0-316-52269-4    $17.99e-book ed.  978-0-316-52266-3    $9.99Xenophobic fear-mongering, book burnings, terrified families rounded up in the middle of the night to be thrown into internment camps — all painfully familiar elements of America’s past and present — descend upon Layla Amin’s near-future dystopian...

Review of Lubna and Pebble

Lubna and Pebbleby Wendy Meddour; illus. by Daniel EgnéusPrimary    Dial    32 pp.    g3/19    978-0-525-55416-5    $17.99Wide-eyed Lubna befriends a pebble when she and her father arrive by boat at an unspecified refugee settlement she calls “a World of Tents.” She personalizes the small stone by drawing a happy face on it,...

Review of No More Poems!: A Book in Verse That Just Gets Worse

No More Poems!: A Book in Verse That Just Gets Worseby Rhett Miller; illus. by Dan SantatPrimary, Intermediate    Tingley/Little, Brown    48 pp.3/19    978-0-316-41652-8    $17.99e-book ed.  978-0-316-41649-8    $9.99Miller, lead singer/songwriter of the alt-country band Old 97’s, knows how to grab an audience’s attention. This collection of twenty-three kid-pleasing poems opens with...

Review of SHOUT: A Poetry Memoir

SHOUT: A Poetry Memoirby Laurie Halse AndersonHigh School    Viking    290 pp.    g3/19    978-0-670-01210-7    $17.99“This is the story of a girl who lost her voice and wrote herself a new one.” So opens Anderson’s three-part autobiographical collection of dynamic, mostly free-verse poems that serves as a potent poetic endnote for her...

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...
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