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

Five questions for Rainbow Rowell Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell, illus. by Faith Erin Hicks, Roaring Brook/First Second, 14 years and up. Meet-cute love stories Somewhere Only We Know by Maureen Goo, Farrar, 14 years and up. Love from A to Z by S. K. Ali, Simon/Salaam, 14 years and up....

From the Editor - October 2019

We are celebrating the 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards, which were presented in a ceremony at Simmons University on October 4th. It was great fun, with two unprompted standing ovations (plus a third I accidentally set off); a group sing-along video "Happy Birthday to You" for award chair Monica Edinger,...

Eerie and uncanny

Starring ghosts, ghost hunters, goblins, and changelings, these new adventures for intermediate and middle-school readers are atmospherically spooky (but not-too-scary) books to snuggle up with on a gloomy fall day. Find more Halloween recommendations in Friday's Horn Book Herald e-newsletter. Mollie sets out to return Guest, a changeling child, to...

Offbeat pet picture books

Four picture books feature stories of unusual pets, from a ghost cat to a balloon puppy to a dog who thinks he's a baked potato. Also check out Jon Agee's hilarious new picture book I Want a Dog, reviewed in the upcoming November/December Horn Book Magazine, in which a determined...

Meet-cute love stories

Read our Five Questions interview with Rainbow Rowell, about pumpkin patch employees strolling toward love in the delicious graphic novel Pumpkinheads (Roaring Brook/First Second, 14 years and up). Then enjoy the following YA love stories in which the protagonists similarly meet-cute — and realize their feelings for each other —...

Five questions for Rainbow Rowell

Photo: Augusten Burroughs. Rainbow Rowell's graphic-novel debut Pumpkinheads (Roaring Brook/First Second, 14 years and up) takes place in a theme park–like pumpkin patch (petting zoo, pumpkin slingshot, haunted graveyard, s'mores pit), where over the course of their last day at work, college-bound employees and BFFs Deja and Josiah search for...

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

Five questions for Raina Telgemeier Guts by Raina Telgemeier, color by Braden Lamb, Scholastic/Graphix, 9–12 years. Smile by Raina Telgemeier, color by Stephanie Yue, Scholastic/Graphix, 9–12 years. Sisters by Raina Telgemeier, color by Braden Lamb, Scholastic/Graphix, 9–12 years. School-set graphic novels Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai, Holt, 8–11...

From the Editor - September 2019

The September/October issue of The Horn Book Magazine takes an unusually practical turn for us, with how-to articles about facilitating effective book discussions, sharing books with refugees and developmentally disabled children, and producing readers' theater in the classroom as well as a call for more black faces in books about nature and the outdoors. Plus, Cathie Mercier and I remember our great friend and colleague Susan Bloom. Please...

Five questions for Raina Telgemeier

Guts is the latest graphic memoir from Raina Telgemeier, whose previous titles — Smile and Sisters (all Scholastic/Graphix, 9–12 years) — blazed a path for middle-grade confessional nonfiction in comics form. This story, which takes place during her fifth-grade year, focuses on childhood anxiety and chronicles young Raina's difficulties with...

YA anthologies and you

Four recent anthologies that celebrate racial, cultural, and religious identities (among others) help address the need for teens to see both themselves — and a spectrum of their peers — represented on shelves.  In Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America, compiler Ibi Zoboi presents seventeen short stories by an impressive collection...

New year, new possibilities

Starting a new school year—and especially starting school, period—can be nerve-wracking, but it also presents opportunities for new friendships and experiences. These lighthearted picture books validate first-day worries while also celebrating this significant moment.    In The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes, vignettes follow a boy through his first day of big-kid school. Dubbed the "King of Kindergarten" by his mother, the...

School-set graphic novels

The following graphic- and illustrated novels for middle graders and middle schoolers, set in and around school, are great for those students eager to return — and those who may need a little coaxing to get back into the swing of things. See also in this issue our Five Questions...

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

Five questions for George Takei They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, and Steven Scott, illus. by Harmony Becker, Top Shelf, 12 years and up. Japanese internment Enemy Child: The Story of Norman Mineta, a Boy Imprisoned in a Japanese American Internment Camp During World War II by...

From the Editor - August 2019

Back to SCHOOL? Already? Sheesh. You still have time to take some of our summer reading suggestions* and on Friday we will be bringing you — yup — the back-to-school issue of The Horn Book Herald with recommendations, survival tips, and an interview with Celia C. Pérez about her new...

Amazing animals

These approachable science books introduce primary and intermediate readers to two extraordinary animals, one species' survival story, and the everyday dynamics between predator and prey. Inky's Amazing Escape: How a Very Smart Octopus Found His Way Home tells how a real octopus was caught in a Pacific Ocean lobster trap...

Five questions for George Takei

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He's gone to the stars and back via the starship Enterprise as Hikaru Sulu on the classic television show Star Trek. With an influential social media presence, he's a passionate advocate and activist for social justice and LGBTQ rights. He's the author of several books for adults. Now George Takei...

Fueling imagination

These recent picture books for preschool- and primary-age children celebrate "things that go" as a vehicle (heh) for daydreaming and imaginative play. It's "a fine evening for a drive," and Annie, protagonist of Vroom! by Barbara McClintock, has a plan — and a big imagination. In her sleek racing car, Annie...

Japanese internment

In his comics-format memoir They Called Us Enemy (Top Shelf, 12 years and up), actor and activist George Takei describes his childhood years in two Japanese American internment camps during World War II (read our Five Questions interview with Takei here). The following books, both nonfiction and fiction (YA and...

Social issues today

For today's activist teens who are engaging with tough issues in the world around them, here are four recent YA nonfiction titles (three print and one audiobook version) to provide further context and enhance understanding — and compassion. In Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience,...

From the Editor - July 2019

Last month I invited you to take a look at our new iteration of The Horn Book Guide, and now I ask you to visit the all-new Hbook.com, the Horn Book's home address on the internet. It is a work in progress — aren't we all? — but there is...

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

Five questions for Kyle Lukoff When Aidan Became a Brother by Kyle Lutkoff, illustrated by Kaylani Juanita, Lee & Low, 4–7 years. B is for babies You Are New by Lucy Knisley, Chronicle, 2–5 years. Baby Goes to Market by Atinuke, illus. by Angela Brooksbank, Candlewick, 2–5 years. B Is...

Five questions for Kyle Lukoff

School librarian Kyle Lukoff's heartfelt picture book When Aidan Became a Brother (illustrated by Kaylani Juanita; Lee & Low, 4–7 years) begins, "When Aidan was born, everyone thought he was a girl" — perfectly encapsulating the disconnect many very young transgender/gender-creative kids feel. As his family prepares to welcome a...

More magic!

These sequels encourage intermediate and middle-school readers to return to favorite fantasy worlds…or to go back and start each series from the beginning. In Love Sugar Magic: A Sprinkle of Spirits, the second book set in and around the Logroño family's Amor y Azúcar Panaderia bakery, Leonora's friend Caroline tries...

B is for babies

Babies need good books, and so do their big siblings! Together, these warm and reassuring new picture books for preschool and primary-age children celebrate a baby's growth from in utero to first birthday. See also our Five Questions interview with Kyle Lukoff, author of When Aidan Became a Brother, in...

Five questions for Mariko Tamaki

Photo: Shawnee Custalow.Charismatic, too-cool Laura Dean is many things — but a good girlfriend is not one of them. Mariko Tamaki (author of Skim and This One Summer, both illustrated by Jillian Tamaki) and Rosemary Valero-O'Connell's relatable, warm, and witty graphic novel Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me (Roaring...

From the Editor: June 2019

We are thrilled — yes, thrilled — to announce the (re)launch of The Horn Book Guide, begun in 1990 as a semiannual print publication. It's been through a few iterations (anyone remember the CD-ROMs?) and we are happy to give its latest a home here. Please go over and poke...

2019 Summer Reading Recommendations

What could be better than icy-cold raspados on a hot summer day? Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña’s new picture book My Papi Has a Motorcycle has had us dreaming of shave ice since our Five Questions Summer Reading interview revealed their favorite flavors (limon for Zeke; for Isabel: “Strawberry and...

Five questions for Christian Robinson

Photo: John Kwiatkowski.Another (Atheneum, 3–7 years) is the debut of acclaimed illustrator Christian Robinson working as both author and illustrator…in a wordless, sci-fi picture book about cats, wormholes (or maybe parallel universes?), friendship, and play. Filled with color and joy, the book alters perceptions and stretches imaginations.1. Another is your first solo...

From the Editor - April 2019

If you haven't already had the chance, please look at the gorgeous cover, by Kadir Nelson, of our upcoming May/June Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: CSK Book Awards at 50. Called "the gold issue" by guest editors Andrea Davis Pinkney and Rudine Sims Bishop, this special issue of the Magazine...

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...

From the Editor - March 2019

March is Women’s History Month, and we’d like to wish a very happy birthday to KidLitWomen*, a group started in March 2018 by Friends of the Horn Book Grace Lin (read her Magazine article “Speak with Us, Not for Us”) and Karen Blumenthal (read her Calling Caldecott interview with Julie...

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...

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...

February Notes from the Horn Book newsletter

Notes from the Horn Book subscribers are receiving our February issue right...about...now. In this month's newsletter we interview 2019 CSK Author Award winner Claire Hartfield about A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919. You'll also find more intermediate/middle-school nonfiction for Black History Month picture books that model...

Star-crossed love

Space, time, war, death, capricious gods: teen protagonists defy cosmic forces to be together in these out-of-the-ordinary love stories.On a Sunbeam, Tillie Walden's serial webcomic turned epic graphic novel, follows two alternating, far-future timelines. In the first, eighteen-year-old Mia seeks her place among the tight-knit crewmates of a spacecraft; five...

Picture book love and community

These new picture books model self-love, strength in community, and pride in identity for very young children of color.Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel, illustrated by Shane W. Evans, is an affirmation of self-love for children of color. An exuberant brown-skinned girl recounts many situations in which she puts her...

Celebrating Black History 2019

February is Black History Month. The following nonfiction titles present informative, inspirational, and moving stories about notable African American people and events, to be shared with readers all year long. See also our Five Questions interview with Claire Hartfield, winner of the 2019 Coretta Scott King Author Award for A...

From the Editor - February 2019

You may know this from your copy of the latest issue of The Horn Book Herald, but I want again to direct you to our bounteous content about all the ALA award winners announced late last month. There are an interview with and five questions for Newbery Medalist Meg Medina;...

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

Five questions for Claire HartfieldA Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 by Claire Hartfield, Clarion, 12–16 years.Celebrating Black History 2019The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illus. by Kadir Nelson, Houghton/Versify, 8–14 years.We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices, ed. by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson, illus....

Five questions for Claire Hartfield

Photo: Brian McConkey.With painstaking historical detail, Claire Hartfield’s nonfiction book  A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 (Clarion, 12–16 years) recounts the week of violence in 1919 Chicago that left thirty-eight people dead and 537 wounded (two-thirds of the casualties were black; one-third, white) and the underlying...

New year, new Notes issue!

This afternoon subscribers to Notes from the Horn Book are receiving the first issue of 2019! This month you’ll find an interview with Caroline Cala about her series-starter Best Babysitters Ever, as well as lively picture books for snazzy storytimes early chapter books about mysteries and madcap schemes eye-opening YA...

Non-snoozy storytimes

Need some inspiration for a new year of storytimes? Learn how to shake things up with Julie Roach's classic tips for reading aloud, then choose one of these lively new picture books and invite participants to vroom, roar, bark, and awoooooooo along.The latest of Kate and Jim McMullan's things-that-go books,...

Schemers, sleuths, and spies

The familiar characters and structures of these early-chapter-book series entries will help emerging readers build confidence; plots featuring mysteries and madcap plans will keep them turning pages.The Infamous Ratsos return in Project Fluffy. BMOC Chuck Wood seeks Louie Ratso's advice in winning over his crush, Fluffy Rabbitski. Thrilled by Chuck's...

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

Five questions for Caroline CalaBest Babysitters Ever by Caroline Cala, Houghton, 10–12 years.Non-snoozy storytimes I’m Tough! by Kate McMullan, illus. by Jim McMullan, HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, 3–5 years.Bigger Than You by Hyewon Kyung, Greenwillow, 3–5 years.Bark Park! by Trudy Krisher, illus. by Brooke Boynton-Hughes, Simon/Beach Lane, 3–5 years.Lost and Found Ducklings...

Eye-opening history

The following works of narrative nonfiction for middle schoolers and high schoolers focus on events that may be overlooked by school curricula but can help make history come alive.In 1873, a mob of armed white men massacred more than one hundred black "freedmen" in the town of Colfax in central...

Five questions for Caroline Cala

If you were a young reader in the nineties (or even if you weren’t), there’s a good chance you remember Ann M. Martin’s Baby-Sitters Club books. Author Caroline Cala definitely does, and her hilarious series-starter Best Babysitters Ever (Houghton, 10–12 years) brings Kristy’s great idea of yore to modern readers...

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, everybody. I hope you got some good reading done over the holidays. Me, I shuttled among Tim Mohr's Burning Down the Haus (a history of punk rock in East Germany), Ruth Ware's The Death of Mrs. Westaway, and Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, those latter choices, each about...

Horn Book Fanfare 2018

Here is Fanfare, the Horn Book’s annual list of the books we really loved the most. I wish I could tell you there was some more objective criteria, but there isn’t: these are the books the Horn Book editors, in consultation with our reviewers, are happiest to have read. They...

November's Notes newsletter

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This afternoon subscribers to Notes from the Horn Book are receiving the November issue. This month you'll find an interview with We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga author Traci Sorell and illustrator Frané Lessac, plus picture books about nature's cycles intermediate historical fiction dystopian YA fictionMissing out? Read the full issue online...

Books mentioned in the November 2018 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Traci Sorell and Frané LessacWe Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell, illus. by Frané Lessac, Charlesbridge, 5–8 years.Noticing nature's cyclesThey Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki, Abrams, 5–8 years.Look at the Weather by Britta Teckentrup, trans. by Shelley Tanaka, 5–8 years.Quiet by Tomie dePaola, Greenwillow, 3–7 years.Winter Is...

From the Editor - November 2018

As award-speculation season begins, don't forget you can join in the chatter about the Caldecott Medal on our Calling Caldecott blog, and about the Newbery on the Heavy Medal blog over at SLJ. We are in the midst of reading and discussion for Fanfare, the Horn Book's own choices for...

Foreseeable futures

Speculative fiction can provide an effective vehicle for authors to comment on and critique the state of our own world. The following new YA novels examine timely social issues in new settings, whether far-flung galaxies or uncomfortably close-to-home dystopian societies. (And by the way, did you know The Hunger Games...

Historical heroes and heroines

These novels for intermediate and middle-school readers show landmark moments in history through the eyes of perceptive preteens.Young Zora Neale Hurston and her friend Carrie are pulled into another mystery involving their tight-knit African American community in Zora and Me: The Cursed Ground. The main narrative, set in 1903, alternates...

Noticing nature's cycles

These picture books invite readers to reflect upon the cycles of our environment (i.e., weather patterns, seasons) and to pay close attention to marvels of the natural world.In They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki, a girl considers the wondrousness of the world around her, prompted by the colors she encounters...

Five questions for Traci Sorell and Frané Lessac

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We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frané Lessac (Charlesbridge, 5–8 years), is a lushly illustrated, through-the-seasons look at a contemporary Cherokee community's daily life, pausing for celebrations of traditional observances (e.g., Cherokee New Year) and making special note of gratitude.1. "Cherokee people say otsaliheliga to express gratitude....

Girls, ghosts, and ghouls

In four new shiver-inducing middle-school and YA novels perfect for the Halloween season, young women come face-to-face with the restless dead, who are variously mindless and hungry or self-aware and in need of assistance — and not so different from their living counterparts. For more, see this recommended YA reading...

From the Editor - October 2018

We presented the 2018 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards on October 5th, and, as far as anyone has told me, a good time was had by all. Please look at our online BGHB coverage for photos of the event and for more about this year’s winners.Roger SuttonEditor in Chief...

Poetry with pictures

These illustrated poetry collections touch on a variety of topics — from the everyday to the prehistoric to the supernatural — but all provide inviting ways to introduce primary readers to poetry.In Did You Hear What I Heard?: Poems About School, thirty-five poems follow the months of the school year,...

Finding home

Four novels for middle-grade readers feature memorable and likable protagonists who face economic hardship, homelessness, and prejudice in addition to the usual challenges of growing up. For an author’s perspective on narratives of children finding — or making — home, read E. Lockhart’s Horn Book Magazine Writer’s Page article “On...

Five questions for Kate DiCamillo

Fans of Kate DiCamillo’s Raymie Nightingale will remember Louisiana Elefante as the perceptive friend (and orphaned daughter of trapeze artists) who reassures the others: “We’ll rescue each other.” In companion book Louisiana’s Way Home (both Candlewick, 8–11 years), it seems that Louisiana may need rescuing — from the “care” of...

Books mentioned in the October 2018 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Kate DiCamilloRaymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo, Candlewick, 8–11 years.Louisiana's Way Home by Kate DiCamillo, Candlewick, 8–11 years.Finding homeFront Desk by Kelly Yang, Scholastic/Levine, 8–11 years.Just Under the Clouds by Melissa Sarno, Knopf, 9–12 years.Why Can't I Be You by Melissa Walker, HarperCollins/Harper, 9–12 years.No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen,...

September Notes is on the way!

This afternoon subscribers to Notes from the Horn Book will receive the September issue, in which we chat with Zetta Elliott about her middle-grade urban fantasy series-starter Dragons in a Bag. This issue also boasts more fantasy/magical realism stories for intermediate readers concept books with creative twists YA dramas about...

Learning curves

A new school year means emotional challenges in addition to academic ones. The teen protagonists of these nuanced YA dramas navigate the complex intersections of their school, familial, and social identities. See also our recommendations for middle-school and high-school readers in the 2018 Back-to-School Herald.Sophomore Darius Kellner doesn't fit in...

Everyday — and otherworldly — wonders

In these new books for intermediate readers, the boundaries between our reality and more fantastical realms blur, allowing protagonists and magical beings alike to walk between worlds.My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder, author-illustrator Nie Jun's graphic novel for young readers, begins with a girl, Yu'er, who dreams of swimming...

Five questions for Zetta Elliott

Zetta Elliott's Dragons in a Bag (Random, 8–11 years) kicks off a new middle-grade fantasy series starring Jaxon, a young African American Brooklynite who gets a glimpse of the magical possibilities of our world (and others) when he spends a day with new acquaintance Ma.1. In the acknowledgements of Dragons...

Books mentioned in the September 2018 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Zetta ElliottDragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott, illus. by Geneva B, Random House, 8–11 years.Everyday — and otherworldly — wondersMy Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder by Nie Jun, trans. by Edward Gauvin, Lerner/Graphic Universe, 8–11 years.The Tale of Angelino Brown by David Almond, illus. by...

Creative concepts

Crafting a fresh concept book is no easy task, but the creators of these new picture books introduce fundamental topics in imaginative ways."Look! Elephants! / One, two, three, four, five…" Five elephants, each rendered in a different pastel color with a thick brown outline, march across the pages of A...

From the Editor - September 2018

As a subscriber to Notes from the Horn Book you also receive Talks with Roger, a series of interviews with authors and illustrators of new books, sponsored by their publishers. You can find the archive here — including my first-ever live Talks, with newly minted National Book Award long-lister Jarrett...

August's Notes from the Horn Book newsletter

In this month's issue of Notes from the Horn Book, Shoshana and Cindy talk with Sergio Ruzzier about his new picture book–graphic novel–easy reader hybrid The Party and Other Stories, first in the Fox + Chick series. In this issue you'll also find four more uncommon graphic novels for beginners...

From the Editor - August 2018

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It's still summer, and we all should remain as relaxed as possible, so let me just take a moment to happily acknowledge how relaxed everybody is getting about book boundaries, especially when it comes to a book for beginning readers. As Shoshana and Cindy ask of Fox + Chick: The...

Groundbreaking women in STEM

Four new picture-book biographies introduce primary readers to female scientists and mathematicians who wouldn't let anything stand in the way of their pursuit of knowledge. Also look for a review of Spring After Spring: How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement by Stephanie Roth Sisson in the upcoming September/October Horn...

Five questions for Sergio Ruzzier

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Photo: Matt Carr.The Party and Other Stories [Fox + Chick] (Chronicle; 5–8 years) stars two friends whose relationship isn’t always so smooth. It looks like a picture book from the outside, but simply structured panels and spare, repetitive text make it work just as effectively as an easy reader and...

Books mentioned in the August 2018 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Sergio RuzzierFox + Chick: The Party and Other Stories by Sergio Ruzzier, Chronicle, 5–8 years.Two Mice by Sergio Ruzzier, Clarion, 3–5 years.Uncommon graphic novels for beginnersThe Itchy Book by LeUyen Pham, Hyperion, 5–8 years.New Shoes by Sara Varon, Roaring Brook/First Second, 5–8 years.The Dragon Slayer: Folktales from...

The art of deception

The protagonists of the following new YA fantasies all face complex societal structures which force them to hide, lie, or deceive others in some fashion. Along the way, this leads each character to re-examine her or his own identity and prior beliefs…and also makes for compelling reading.Rachel Hartman returns to...

Uncommon graphic novels for beginners

Difficult to classify — and entertaining to read. Here are four new graphic novels for beginning readers and middle graders. See also “Five Questions for Sergio Ruzzier” about his Fox + Chick series (in this issue), “New for New Readers: An Easy Reader Renaissance,” and Brian Selznick and David Serlin's...

Five questions for Catherine Gilbert Murdock

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Photo courtesy of Catherine Gilbert Murdock.In The Book of Boy (Greenwillow, 9–12 years), we meet a young goatherd accompanying the pilgrim Secundus on his quest for relics, traveling from France to Rome in 1350. Boy is on a quest of his own…and as readers gradually learn (and Boy learns with...

From the Editor - July 2018

We are back from the ALA Conference in New Orleans and have the Newbery, Caldecott, and Coretta Scott King Awards speeches for you over at hbook.com; Jackie Woodson's Children's Literature Legacy Award (formerly known as the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award) will come your way in September. My thoughts on the...

Books mentioned in the July 2018 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Catherine Gilbert Murdock    The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, illus. by Ian Schoenherr, Greenwillow, 9–12 years.The Mad Wolf's Daughter by Diane Magras, Dawson/Penguin, 9–12 years.The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz, illus. by Hatem Aly, Dutton, 12–16...

Truth and duty

Reading about difficult circumstances can be cathartic — and may enhance readers' feelings of empathy. The following YA novels tackle complex subject matter in authentic, thought-provoking ways.In Eric Gansworth's Give Me Some Truth, set in 1980 on the Tuscarora Indian Nation (the "Rez"), the alternating first-person narratives of two teens...

Deep blue sea

With activities such as beach trips, aquarium visits, and whale-watching on the agenda, summer is a great time for kids to learn more about our oceans, marine flora and fauna, and deep-water exploration. Here's a handful of new nonfiction picture-book titles to get primary and early-intermediate readers' feet wet.Die-cuts serve...

Summer staycations

These picture books show that summer vacations don't have to be elaborate going-away affairs — with a little imagination and some good friends, they can be a state of mind.In Deborah Underwood's Monster & Mouse Go Camping, outdoor enthusiast Mouse convinces her anxious pal Monster to go camping with her:...

Strange and magical middle-grade

What's summer without a vacation from the norm? These fantasy and sci-fi novels for intermediate and middle-school readers are anything but ordinary.You'd think it would be hard to forget a weird, green, diminutive creature dressed in a chicken costume, but Livy has since her last visit to her grandmother's in...

From the Editor - June 2018

Elissa, Martha, and I are all headed south later this month to ALA in New Orleans and I do hope you will say hello. The Horn Book can be found at booth 1425 in the exhibit hall, and we'll be giving away posters of Caldecott-winner Matthew Cordell's cover for the...

Five questions for Jessica Love

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In Jessica Love's picture book Julián Is a Mermaid (Candlewick, 4–7 years), the little-boy protagonist daydreams about becoming a mermaid. Left to his own devices, he fashions a mermaid costume from household items and applies a coat of lipstick…but what will Abuela think?1. This is the best type of "message...

Books mentioned in the June 2018 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Jessica LoveJulián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love, Candlewick, 4–7 years.Summer lessonsNo Swimming for Nelly by Valeri Gorbachev, Holiday House, 2–5 years.Saturday Is Swimming Day by Hyewon Yum, Candlewick, 4–7 years.Saffron Ice Cream by Rashin Kheiriyeh, Scholastic/Levine, 4–7 years.The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier, illus. by...

Summer lessons

The following new summery picture books for preschoolers and up touch on themes of overcoming fears, making new friends, defining home, and persevering, all in light-and-breezy summertime-friendly ways. For more recommended summertime reads, check out our Summer Reading list. See also our new Five Questions interviews with Julián Is a...

Summer listening

These recent speculative fiction favorites are now available as audiobooks — just in time for summer, when teens may be seeking escapist vacation listening or entertainment on that epic road trip with friends.In Kristin Cashore's Jane, Unlimited, recently bereaved Jane is unexpectedly invited to spend the weekend at a mysterious...

Summer adventures

These four entertaining, summertime-set novels (including one graphic novel) will have readers channeling their inner sleuths to find buried treasure, getting an insider's look at an (un)orthodox summer camp, revisiting a beloved family one last time, and gaining a deeper appreciation for the little things that can make a family...

Summer science

These new books for primary readers present scientifically accurate information about the birds and the bees (and the snails, and the…hippos?) with engaging formats and plenty of humor.In the factual and funny A Round of Robins, sixteen brief, easy-to-read poems follow a pair of robin parents as they raise their...

2018 Summer Reading Recommendations

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Pie Is for Sharing, as our Five Questions interviewees remind us, and so is this special issue of Notes from the Horn Book, which presents our 2018 Summer Reading list. We’ve selected our top ten suggestions, including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, for all age ranges — fifty books in all...

2018 Summer Reading List

For a handy take-along list of titles, download our printable PDF.Picture BooksSuggested grade level for all entries: PS–2Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes; illus. by Gordon C. James (Millner/Bolden/Agate)Windows by Julia Denos; illus. by E. B. Goodale (Candlewick)How Are You? / ¿Cómo estás? by Angela Dominguez...

2018 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 2017–2018 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.For a...

2018 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 2017–2018 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.For a...

2018 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 2017–2018 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.For a...

2018 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 2017–2018 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.For a...

2018 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 2017–2018 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.For a...

Five questions for Tomi Adeyemi

Tomi Adeyemi. Photo: Elena Seibert.Tomi Adeyemi's high-octane fantasy Children of Blood and Bone (Holt, 14 years and up) begins with a bang (and, like much classic fantasy, with a map) and ends with a cliffhanger. In between, readers follow three narrators with shifting loyalties and motivations as they attempt to...

Preschoolers' life lessons

The ways of the world can be mysterious for preschoolers; it always helps to have a laugh. The following picture books teach age-appropriate life lessons without losing their sense of humor.In People Don't Bite People, Lisa Wheeler enumerates (in subversively lilting rhymed verse) the reasons "people don't bite people" and...
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