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Review of It Began with a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way

It Began with a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way by Kyo Maclear; illus. by Julie Morstad Primary    Harper/HarperCollins    48 pp. 10/19    978-0-06-244762-3    $17.99 "In early 1960s America, a country with laws that separated people by skin color," Japanese American artist Gyo Fujikawa (1908–1998) helped break the color barrier...

Review of Green on Green

Green on Green by Dianne White; illus. by Felicita Sala Preschool, Primary    Beach Lane/Simon    48 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-4814-6278-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-6279-2    $10.99 Do we need another picture book about the seasons? When it’s this good, the answer is an emphatic yes. White’s text is written in eminently readable...

Review of Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom Graphic Memoir

Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom Graphic Memoir by Tyler Feder; illus. by the author High School    Dial    202 pp.    g 4/20    978-0-525-55302-1    $18.99 This moving and candid graphic memoir offers a refreshingly honest portrayal of grief and growing into adulthood “for anyone struggling with loss who just...

Review of In My Anaana's Amautik

In My Anaana’s Amautik by Nadia Sammurtok; illus. by Lenny Lishchenko Preschool    Inhabit Media    24 pp. 4/20    978-1-77227-252-9    $16.95 A baby’s perspective of being held in its anaana’s (mother’s) amautik (“the pouch in the back of a woman’s parka where a baby can be carried”) is explored in lulling, sensory-rich...

Review of A New Green Day

A New Green Day by Antoinette Portis; illus. by the author Preschool    Porter/Holiday    40 pp. 4/20    978-0-8234-4488-5    $18.99 In this exuberant celebration of a summer day, readers engage with compelling page-turns to solve simple nature riddles. “Morning lays me on your pillow,” the book opens, “square and warm. Come out...

Review of Hike

Hike by Pete Oswald; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    40 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-5362-0157-4    $17.99 A new day dawns as a father wakes his child so they can head out from their city home into the country to go on a daylong hike. They see all sorts of...

Review of The Camping Trip

The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann; illus. by the author Primary    Candlewick    56 pp.    g 5/20    978-1-5362-0736-1    $17.99 City-dweller Ernestine has never been camping, but when Aunt Jackie and cousin Samantha invite her, she gets her dad’s okay and starts preparing: new flashlight and sleeping bag, a homemade batch...

Review of Summer Song

Summer Song by Kevin Henkes; illus. by Laura Dronzek Preschool    Greenwillow    40 pp. 4/20    978-0-06-286613-4    $18.99 Library ed.  978-0-06-286614-1    $19.89 Henkes and Dronzek complete their seasonal quartet (beginning with When Spring Comes, rev. 3/16) with a joyful ode celebrating summer and its myriad natural wonders and seasonal sights and sounds....

Review of Stepping Stones

Stepping Stones by Lucy Knisley; illus. by the author; color by Whitney Cogar Intermediate, Middle School    RH Graphic/Random    223 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-593-12524-3    $20.99 Paper ed.  978-1-9848-9684-1    $12.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-9686-5    $9.99 This tender graphic novel by Alex Award winner (for Relish) Knisley illuminates the challenges of finding oneself in...

Review of Home Base: A Mother-Daughter Story

Home Base: A Mother-Daughter Story by Nikki Tate; illus. by Katie Kath Primary    Holiday    32 pp. 3/20    978-0-8234-3663-7    $18.99 Although our two protagonists spend little of the book together, they are connected throughout by their hard work and achievement. This family of two starts the day in a groggy daze...

Review of My Mama

My Mama by Annemarie van Haeringen; illus. by the author; trans. from Dutch by Bill Nagelkerke Preschool    Gecko    32 pp. 3/20    978-1-776572-67-0    $17.99 Told from the baby’s point of view (“I’ve known my mama for a long time”), this playful offering explores, through two elephant characters, the strong emotional bond...

Review of Mama Baby

Mama Baby by Chris Raschka; illus. by the author Preschool    Candlewick    32 pp.    g 3/20    978-0-7636-9060-1    $14.99 In this artfully composed picture book, Raschka gets to the emotional core of the relationship between a young child and a trusted adult. Mama, on the verso, looks adoringly at her child, a...

Review of Dragon Hoops

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang; illus. by the author; color by Lark Pien High School    First Second/Roaring Brook    446 pp. 3/20    978-1-62672-079-4    $24.99 “I’m just not a sports kind of guy,” begins Yang in this comics-format offering that brilliantly combines journalism, memoir, and sports history. Yang, who taught math...

Review of The Enigma Game

The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein Middle School, High School    Little, Brown    426 pp.    g 5/20    978-1-368-01258-4    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-368-01651-3    $9.99 In this companion novel to Code Name Verity (rev. 5/12) and its prequel The Pearl Thief (rev. 5/17), and featuring characters from both, Wein takes her turn at...

Review of Kent State

Kent State by Deborah Wiles Middle School, High School    Scholastic    132 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-338-35628-1    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-35630-4    $10.99 On May 4, 1970, four students were killed by the National Guard on the campus of Kent State University during a protest against the Vietnam War and the bombing of...

Review of Jules vs. the Ocean

Jules vs. the Ocean by Jessie Sima; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Simon    48 pp. 5/20    978-1-5344-4168-2    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-4169-9    $10.99 Intent on impressing her older sister at the beach, Jules plans to build a big sandcastle. When the waves foil her plans, she assumes “the Ocean” is...

Review of Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera

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Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming; illus. by Eric Rohmann Primary    Porter/Holiday    40 pp. 2/20    978-0-8234-4285-0    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4304-8    $11.99 A worker bee breaks out of her honeycomb cell and begins a task-filled life in her colony. The “teeming, trembling flurry” of bees within the...

Review of The Blossom and the Firefly

The Blossom and the Firefly by Sherri L. Smith Middle School, High School    Putnam    311 pp.    g 2/20    978-1-5247-3790-0    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-3791-7    $10.99 Almost buried alive in a bombing by Allied forces in 1945 Chiran, Japan, fifteen-year-old Hana feels as though she is already dead, just going through the...

Ramadan 2020

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The Islamic month of Ramadan is a solemn holiday of fasting, charity, and additional prayer, culminating in the joyous feasting of Eid al-Fitr. Ramadan mubarak to those observing, and Happy Eid! We’d like to call your attention to reading suggestions from our friends at KitaabWorld, who review and recommend children’s...

Review of Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom

Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford; illus. by Michele Wood Primary, Intermediate    Candlewick    56 pp.    g 4/20    978-0-7636-9156-1    $17.99 “I entered the world a slave…I was a slave because my countrymen had made it lawful, in utter contempt of the declared will of heaven.” Our...

Review of When Stars Are Scattered

When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed; illus. by Victoria Jamieson; color by Iman Geddy Intermediate, Middle School    Dial    264 pp.    g 4/20    978-0-525-55391-5    $20.99 Paper ed.  978-0-525-55390-8    $17.99 This poignant graphic novel about growing up in a Kenyan refugee camp is based on co-author Mohamed’s experiences...

Reading for Holocaust Remembrance Day

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International Holocaust Remembrance Day (established by the United Nations General Assembly) is January 27 and Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel, the United States, and other countries) is in April or May (in 2020 it's April 21). All of the following titles were recommended by The Horn Book Magazine and...

Review of ¡Vamos!: Let's Go Eat

¡Vamos!: Let’s Go Eat by Raúl the Third; illus. by the author; color by Elaine Bay Primary    Versify/Houghton    40 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-328-55704-9    $14.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-33070-7    $9.99 Little Lobo and his canine sidekick Bernabé, whom we met in ¡Vamos!: Let’s Go to the Market (rev. 3/19), are getting ready...

Review of Leaving Lymon

Leaving Lymon by Lesa Cline-Ransome Intermediate, Middle School    Holiday    199 pp. 1/20    978-0-8234-4442-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4633-9    $10.99 Lymon Caldwell, a secondary character in Finding Langston (rev. 9/18), tells his story in this companion novel that explores the question, “Are bullies born or are they made?” Lymon lives with his...

Review of In the Woods

In the Woods by David Elliott; illus. by Rob Dunlavey Primary    Candlewick    40 pp.    g 4/20    978-0-7636-9783-9    $17.99 Once again Elliott (On the Farm, rev. 3/08; In the Sea, rev. 1/12; and others) captures the essence of a habitat and its creatures in poetry that manages to be both pithy...

Review of Village of Scoundrels: Based on a True Story of Courage During WWII

Village of Scoundrels: Based on a True Story of Courage During WWII by Margi Preus Middle School, High School    Amulet/Abrams    294 pp.    g 2/20    978-1-4197-0897-8    $16.99 In 1940s Vichy France, a remote mountain-plateau village known for sheltering refugees fleeing Nazi persecution houses a unique and innovative high school that draws...

Review of Fing's War

Fing’s War by Benny Lindelauf; trans. from the Dutch by John Nieuwenhuizen Intermediate, Middle School    Enchanted Lion    411 pp. 6/19    978-1-59270-269-5    $16.95 This sequel to Nine Open Arms (rev. 9/14) falls into two parts. In the early chapters we follow the fortunes and adventures of the Boon family, in 1938...

Review of Catherine's War

Catherine’s War by Julia Billet; illus. by Claire Fauvel; trans. from French by Ivanka Hahnenberger Intermediate, Middle School    HarperAlley/HarperCollins    168 pp. 1/20    978-0-06-291560-3    $21.99 Paper ed.  978-0-06-291559-7    $12.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-291561-0    $10.99 This graphic novel (adapted from a novel by Billet and inspired by her mother’s life) follows teenage Rachel...

Review of Feed Your Mind: A Story of August Wilson

Feed Your Mind: A Story of August Wilson by Jen Bryant; illus. by Cannaday Chapman Primary, Intermediate, Middle School    Abrams    48 pp. 11/19    978-1-4197-3653-7    $17.99 Beloved African American playwright August Wilson, known for his ten-play Pittsburgh Cycle and other dramas, is introduced to young readers in this elegant picture-book biography....

Review of What Color Is Night?

What Color Is Night? by Grant Snider; illus. by the author Preschool    Chronicle    48 pp. 11/19    978-1-4521-7992-6    $15.99 “What color is night? / Is it only black… / and white?” So begins an evocative picture book that urges young viewers to “look closer” at the night — to see, for...

Review of I'm Brave! I'm Strong! I'm Five!

I’m Brave! I’m Strong! I’m Five! by Cari Best; illus. by Boris Kulikov Preschool, Primary    Ferguson/Holiday    32 pp. 10/19    978-0-8234-4362-8    $18.99 In this intrepid bedtime story, an independent young girl confronts and overcomes her fear of the dark by reminding herself, “I’m brave! I’m strong! I’m five!” It’s time for...

Review of Brown Baby Lullaby

Brown Baby Lullaby by Tameka Fryer Brown; illus. by AG Ford Preschool    Farrar    32 pp.    g 1/20    978-0-374-30752-3    $16.99 Chronicling the nighttime routine of a family, Brown has penned a bedtime story that is immediately warm and relatable for families with young children. We follow an Afro-Latinx couple as they...

Review of Goodnight, Veggies

Goodnight, Veggies by Diana Murray; illus. by Zachariah OHora Preschool    Houghton    32 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-328-86683-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-33076-9    $12.99 As the sun sets over a rooftop community garden, it’s time for the garden’s vegetables to get some rest. “Turnips tucked in tightly. / Potatoes closing eyes. / Tuckered-out...

Review of Do I Have to Wear a Coat?: A Journey Through the Seasons

Do I Have to Wear a Coat?: A Journey Through the Seasons by Rachel Isadora; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Paulsen/Penguin    32 pp.    g 3/20    978-0-525-51660-6    $17.99 Isadora’s (I Hear a Pickle, rev. 1/16) characteristic ink and watercolor art uses vignettes set against white backgrounds to show children joyfully...

Review of Almost Time

Almost Time by Gary D. Schmidt and Elizabeth Stickney; illus. by G. Brian Karas Preschool, Primary    Clarion    32 pp.    g 1/20    978-0-544-78581-6    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-16693-1    $12.99 Waiting for spring can wear on one’s patience, but readers may find comfort sharing the burden with Ethan and his (apparently single-parent) father,...

Review of The Old Truck

The Old Truck by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey; illus. by the authors Preschool, Primary    Norton    40 pp. 1/20    978-1-324-00519-3    $17.95 e-book ed.  978-1-324-00520-9    $12.15 The author-illustrator brothers tell the story of a family farm and the truck that assists with chores. As the hard-working truck ages, so does the...

Review of The List of Things That Will Not Change

 The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead Intermediate    Lamb/Random    218 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-101-93809-6    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-101-93810-2    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-101-93811-9    $9.99 From the outside it appears that Bea lives a charmed life. She has loving (albeit divorced) parents; an involved extended family; a kindly, funny teacher; a loyal...

Review of Vow of Thieves

Vow of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson High School    Holt    484 pp. 8/19    978-1-250-16265-6    $19.99 Jase and Kazi (from Dance of Thieves, rev. 11/18) are on their way back to Hell’s Mouth with news that Tor’s Watch is to be recognized as a kingdom and that Jase’s family, the Ballengers,...

Review of The Empire of Dreams

The Empire of Dreams by Rae Carson High School    Greenwillow    442 pp.    g 4/20    978-0-06-269190-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-269192-7    $10.99 Set in the world of The Girl of Fire and Thorns, this engrossing fantasy follows two threads about protagonist Red. In the present, the teenager is devastated when her planned...

Review of The Queen of Nothing

The Queen of Nothing [Folk of the Air] by Holly Black High School    Little, Brown    293 pp.   g 11/19    978-0-316-31042-0    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-31040-6    $12.99 In a stunning act of betrayal, the High King, Cardan, exiled Jude (secretly his wife and the ostensible Queen of Faerie) to the mortal world...

Review of Kingdom of Souls

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron High School    HarperTeen    490 pp. 9/19    978-0-06-287095-7    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-287097-1    $8.99 Arrah was born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, though magic has always evaded her. But when children are abducted and omens of death appear in the market streets, Arrah doesn’t need...

Review of Children of Virtue and Vengeance

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi High School    Holt    405 pp. 12/19    978-1-250-17099-6    $19.99 In Orïsha, where magic has recently been restored (Children of Blood and Bone, rev. 5/18), Princess Amari tries to unite the kingdom to prevent it being torn apart by the magic-using rebels called the...

Review of York: The Clockwork Ghost

York: The Clockwork Ghost by Laura Ruby Middle School    Walden Pond/HarperCollins    449 pp. 5/19    978-0-06-230696-8    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-230698-2    $7.99 Despite the destruction of their beloved apartment building at the end of the previous book (York: The Shadow Cipher, rev. 5/17), codebreaking twins Theo and Tess Biedermann, along with artistic...

Review of The Peacock Detectives

The Peacock Detectives by Carly Nugent Intermediate, Middle School    Harper/HarperCollins    282 pp. 1/20    978-0-06-289670-4    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-289672-8    $7.99 Cassie is enlisted by her neighbors to find their missing peacocks — again — because of her skill at noticing details. But there are plenty of other things for the Australian...

Review of The Thief Knot: A Greenglass House Story

The Thief Knot: A Greenglass House Story by Kate Milford; illus. by Jaime Zollars Intermediate, Middle School    Clarion    456 pp. 1/20    978-1-328-46689-1    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-16427-2    $9.99 In the Liberty, a part of Nagspeake (Greenglass House, rev. 9/14, and sequels) where retired rogues and smugglers find sanctuary from the long...

Review of Her Fearless Run: Kathrine Switzer's Historic Boston Marathon

Her Fearless Run: Kathrine Switzer’s Historic Boston Marathon by Kim Chaffee; illus. by Ellen Rooney Primary    Page Street    40 pp. 4/19    978-1-62414-654-1    $17.99 This stirring picture-book biography introduces Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon with an official race number. “Running was magic” to twelve-year-old Kathrine, but...

Review of A Life Made by Hand: The Story of Ruth Asawa

A Life Made by Hand: The Story of Ruth Asawa by Andrea D’Aquino; illus. by the author Primary    Princeton    40 pp. 9/19    978-1-61689-836-6    $17.95 D’Aquino offers young readers “the story of an artist you may have never heard of”: Ruth Asawa (1926–2013), a Japanese American creator of nature-inspired wire sculptures....

Review of Rise!: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou

Rise!: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou by Bethany Hegedus; illus. by Tonya Engel Primary, Intermediate    Lee & Low    48 pp. 8/19    978-1-62014-587-6    $20.95 In propulsive free verse and vibrant illustrations, Hegedus and Engel present the life and legacy of Maya Angelou (1928–2014). The book opens...

Review of Prairie Lotus

Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park Middle School   Clarion    260 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-328-78150-5    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-33083-7    $9.99 In 1880, fourteen-year-old Hanna and her father settle in the (fictional) town of LaForge, in Dakota Territory. Papa is white; Hanna’s late mother immigrated from China and had both Chinese and...

Review of A Girl like Me

A Girl like Me by Angela Johnson; illus. by Nina Crews Preschool, Primary    Millbrook    40 pp.    g 2/20    978-1-5415-5777-2    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5415-7891-3    $18.99 It seems not even the sky’s the limit for the imaginative, adventurous, inventive girls depicted in this inspirational picture book. Johnson’s upbeat text, paired with Crews’s...

Review of Just like a Mama

Just like a Mama by Alice Faye Duncan; illus. by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow Preschool, Primary    Millner/Simon    32 pp. 1/20    978-1-5344-6183-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-6184-0    $10.99 An homage to all the African American women who are mothering children not biologically their own. Carol Olivia Clementine lives with Mama Rose because “Mommy...

Review of Johnny's Pheasant

Johnny’s Pheasant by Cheryl Minnema; illus. by Julie Flett Primary    Minnesota    32 pp.    g 11/19    978-1-5179-0501-9    $16.95 Minnema (a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe) and Flett (of Cree-Métis descent) present an engaging and humorous intergenerational story of patience, hope, and surprise. Johnny spots a motionless pheasant in...

Review of The Summer of the Swans

The Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars 142 pp.    Viking    3.95    Library edition 3.77 Illustrated by Ted CoConis. The demand for realism in children’s fiction continues to call forth a spate of problem books, some of them relatively successful, some scarcely more literary than case histories. But seldom are...

Review of Pluto Gets the Call

Pluto Gets the Call by Adam Rex; illus. by Laurie Keller Primary    Beach Lane/Simon    48 pp. 11/19    978-1-5344-1453-2    $17.99 e-book ed.   978-1-5344-1454-9    $10.99 Rex and Keller dramatize Pluto’s demotion to dwarf planet status in this smart and playful offering of informational comedy. Rex’s wry and engaging text is told completely...

Beyond Black History Month

Celebrate Black History Month beyond February with the following recent picture book biographies of inspiring Black figures, recommended for sharing with young readers all year long.   Anderson, Beth Lizzie Demands a Seat!: Elizabeth Jennings Fights for Streetcar Rights 32 pp. | Boyds Mills & Kane/Calkins | January, 2020 |...

Review of Not a Bean

Not a Bean by Claudia Guadalupe Martínez; illus. by Laura González Preschool, Primary    Charlesbridge    32 pp. 9/19    978-1-58089-815-7    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-63289-667-4    $9.99 “Jumping beans” are not in fact beans but moth larvae that have burrowed into the seedpods of the yerba de la flecha shrubs found alongside arroyos in...

Review of Black Is a Rainbow Color

Black Is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy; illus. by Ekua Holmes Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp. 1/20    978-1-62672-631-4    $17.99 A young girl sits on her stoop contemplating the colors of the rainbow, then notes, “But my color is black…and there’s no black in rainbows.” There is, however, black in...

Review of Ruth Objects: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Objects: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Doreen Rappaport; illus. by Eric Velasquez Primary, Intermediate    Disney-Hyperion    48 pp. 2/20    978-1-4847-4717-9    $17.99 Velasquez’s riveting jacket portrait of Ginsburg, superimposed on a facsimile of the U.S. Constitution, conveys a woman of purpose; Rappaport’s biography, largely focused on Ginsburg’s work for...

Review of The Next President: The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America's Presidents

The Next President: The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America’s Presidents by Kate Messner; illus. by Adam Rex Primary    Chronicle    48 pp. 3/20    978-1-4521-7488-4    $18.99 “No matter who holds the job right now, the presidents of tomorrow are always out there somewhere.” There are picture books aplenty about United...

Review of Deathless Divide

Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland Middle School, High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    554 pp. 2/20    978-0-06-257063-5    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-257065-9    $10.99 Irascible Jane McKeene and posh Katherine Deveraux, zombie-dispatching graduates of Miss Preston’s School of Combat for Negro Girls, are back in this suspenseful, satisfying sequel to Dread Nation (rev....

Review of Not So Pure and Simple

Not So Pure and Simple by Lamar Giles High School    HarperTeen    391 pp. 1/20    978-0-06-234919-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-234921-7    $9.99 Del’s forever crush on schoolmate Kiera comes to a head when she finally becomes single in their junior year of high school. Del is poised to do whatever it takes...

Review of Infinite Hope: A Black Artist's Journey from World War II to Peace

Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey from World War II to Peace by Ashley Bryan; illus. by the author Middle School, High School    Dlouhy/Atheneum    107 pp. 10/19    978-1-5344-0490-8    $21.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-0491-5    $10.99 Ashley Bryan was a nineteen-year-old art student when he was drafted into a segregated army unit of...

Review of Dear Haiti, Love Alaine

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite High School    Inkyard    428 pp.    g 9/19    978-1-335-77709-6    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-488-05133-3    $9.99 To avoid being expelled after a school presentation accidentally lands a classmate in the hospital, Alaine Beauparlant is sent to Haiti, her parents’ birthplace, to participate in...

Review of The Revolution of Birdie Randolph

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert High School    Little, Brown    327 pp.    g 8/19    978-0-316-44856-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-44857-4    $9.99 African American sixteen-year-old Dove Randolph, Birdie to her family, is on the “right” track, with good grades and a clear plan for her life after high school. The...

Review of Jackpot

Jackpot by Nic Stone High School    Crown    341 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-9848-2962-7    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-9848-2963-4    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-2964-1    $10.99 School, work, home; repeat. Such is the life of Rico, high school senior, part-time convenience-store clerk, and full-time caregiver to her nine-year-old brother. In Rico’s life, there is not...

Review of Someday We Will Fly

Someday We Will Fly by Rachel DeWoskin Middle School, High School    Viking    360 pp.    g 1/19    978-0-670-01496-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-101-61788-5    $10.99 In 1940, Lillia’s Jewish family plans to escape the Nazi threat in Warsaw for Shanghai. Her parents are acrobats, and when their circus is raided, Lillia and her...

Review of An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz; adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese Middle School, High School    Beacon    270 pp. 7/19    Paper ed.  978-0-8070-4939-6    $18.95 e-book ed.  978-0-8070-4940-2    $14.99 Mendoza and Reese, children’s literature scholars and bloggers at American Indians in Children’s...

Review of Octopus Stew

Octopus Stew by Eric Velasquez; illus. by the author Primary    Holiday    40 pp. 9/19    978-0-8234-3754-2    $17.99 With love and humanity — and humor — Velasquez (Looking for Bongo, Grandma’s Gift) once again affirms young Black Latinx boys’ identities and family experiences. Inspired by her cape-wearing grandson’s painting of an octopus...

ALA Awards 2020: Horn Book reviews of the winners

The most prestigious honors in children’s literature, the Newbery and Caldecott medals, were awarded to Jerry Craft for New Kid and Kadir Nelson for The Undefeated on January 27, 2020, at the American Library Association’s midwinter meeting in Philadelphia. Also announced at the gathering were the winners of the Coretta...

Additional ALA Awards 2020

  Alex Award [for the ten best adult books that appeal to teen audiences] A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher (Orbit/Hachette) Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh (Saga Press/Gallery Books/Simon) Dominicana by Angie Cruz (Flatiron/Macmillan) Gender Queer: A Memoir by...

Review of To Dance

To Dance by Siena Cherson Siegel; illus. by Mark Siegel Intermediate, Middle School    Atheneum    86 pp. 10/19    978-1-4814-8663-7    $19.99 Paper ed.  978-1-4814-8664-4    $11.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-8665-1    $8.99 Even more effectively than the original, this special edition of the 2006 graphic memoir about Cherson Siegel’s youth as a School of American...

Reviews of the 2020 Geisel Award winners

Winner Stop! Bot! by James Yang; illus. by the author Preschool    Viking    40 pp.    g 7/19    978-0-42528-881-8    $17.99 After a child's remote-control robot flies away in front of an apartment building, the building's residents try to help retrieve it ("My broom may reach that bot!"). The book's tall trim size...

Reviews of the 2020 Pura Belpré Author Award winners

Winner Sal & Gabi Break the Universe [Rick Riordan Presents] by Carlos Hernandez Intermediate, Middle School Disney-Hyperion    389 pp. 3/19    978-1-368-02282-8    $16.00 REVIEW TO COME       Honor Books The Other Half of Happy by Rebecca Balcárcel Middle School    Chronicle    332 pp. 8/19    978-1-4521-6998-9    $16.99 REVIEW TO COME...

Review of Across the Bay

Across the Bay by Carlos Aponte; illus. by the author Primary    Penguin Workshop    32 pp.    g 9/19    978-1-5247-8662-5    $17.99  Aponte explores a young child’s physical and emotional journey coping with his father’s absence from his life and learning to love all that is around him. Carlitos lives with his mother,...

Reviews of the 2020 Sibert Award winners

Winner Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard; illus. by Juana Martinez-Neal Preschool, Primary    Roaring Brook    48 pp. 10/19    978-1-62672-746-5    $18.99 This affectionate picture book depicts an intergenerational group of Native American family members and friends as they make fry bread together. The text begins: “Fry...

Review of All in a Drop: How Antony van Leeuwenhoek Discovered an Invisible World

All in a Drop: How Antony van Leeuwenhoek Discovered an Invisible World by Lori Alexander; illus. by Vivien Mildenberger Intermediate    Houghton    94 pp. 8/19    978-1-328-88420-6    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-03619-7    $9.99 In the prosperous city of Delft, in seventeenth-century Netherlands, Antony van Leeuwenhoek was a cloth merchant. But even without formal...

Review of Dancing Hands

Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln by Margarita Engle; illus. by Rafael López Primary    Atheneum    40 pp. 8/19    978-1-4814-8740-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-8741-2    $10.99  Engle and López (Drum Dream Girl, rev. 5/15) bring us another engaging story about a young, successful, female musician of Latinx...

Reviews of the 2020 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winners

Winner Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln by Margarita Engle; illus. by Rafael López Primary    Atheneum    40 pp. 8/19    978-1-4814-8740-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-8741-2    $10.99  Engle and López (Drum Dream Girl, rev. 5/15) bring us another engaging story about a young, successful, female musician of...

Reviews of the 2020 Printz Award winners

Winner Dig. by A.S. King High School    Dutton    394 pp.    g 3/19    978-1-101-99491-7    $17.99 David 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...

Review of Genesis Begins Again

Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams Middle School    Dlouhy/Atheneum    386 pp.    g 1/19    978-1-4814-6580-9    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-6582-3    $10.99 Regina and the popular girls are coming over after school to hang out, eat snacks, and watch music videos. It’s a dream day for thirteen-year-old Genesis. That is, until she...

Review of The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh

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The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh by Candace Fleming Middle School, High School    Schwartz & Wade/Random    364 pp.    g 2/20    978-0-525-64654-9    $18.99 Library ed.  978-0-525-64655-6    $21.99 e-book ed.  978-0-525-64656-3    $10.99 Stitching together important life events, insightful anecdotes, and primary sources, Fleming (Amelia Lost, rev. 3/11; The Family Romanov, rev....

Reviews of the 2020 CSK Illustrator Award winners

Winner The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander; illus. by Kadir Nelson Primary, Intermediate, Middle School     Versify/Houghton     40 pp.    g 4/19     978-1-328-78096-6     $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-05761-1     $12.99 Alexander 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...

Reviews of the 2020 CSK Author Award winners

Winner New Kid by Jerry Craft; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Harper/HarperCollins    249 pp.    g 2/19    978-0-06-269120-0    $21.99     Paper ed.  978-0-06-269119-4    $12.99     e-book ed.  978-0-06-269121-7    $10.99  Craft’s engaging graphic novel follows Jordan Banks (an African American seventh grader from Washington Heights) through his first year at the prestigious...

Review of Sulwe

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o; illus. by Vashti Harrison Preschool, Primary    Simon    48 pp. 10/19    978-1-5344-2536-1    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-2537-8    $10.99 In a story partially based on the author’s childhood in Kenya, “Sulwe was born the color of midnight.” So begins a journey to self-love for a little girl whose name...

Reviews of the 2020 Caldecott Medal winners

Winner The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander; illus. by Kadir Nelson Primary, Intermediate, Middle School     Versify/Houghton     40 pp.    g 4/19     978-1-328-78096-6     $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-05761-1     $12.99 Alexander 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...

Reviews of the 2020 Newbery Medal Winners

Winner New Kid by Jerry Craft; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Harper/HarperCollins    249 pp.    g 2/19    978-0-06-269120-0    $21.99     Paper ed.  978-0-06-269119-4    $12.99     e-book ed.  978-0-06-269121-7    $10.99  Craft’s engaging graphic novel follows Jordan Banks (an African American seventh grader from Washington Heights) through his first year at the prestigious...

Happy Lunar New Year!

Happy Year of the Rat! We wish all who are celebrating a new year full of joy and prosperity. We've updated our Lunar New Year reading list with fiction and nonfiction books featuring the holiday for preschool, primary, and intermediate readers. All of the titles below were recommended by The...

Review of King and the Dragonflies

King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender Intermediate, Middle School    Scholastic    263 pp.    g 2/20    978-1-338-12933-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-12935-9    $10.99 In their second middle-grade novel (Hurricane Child, rev. 5/18), set in contemporary small-town Louisiana, Callender masterfully balances resonant themes of grief, love, family, friendship, racism, sexuality, and coming-of-age. Twelve-year-old...

Board Book Roundup: Board Books Build Brains

They rarely win awards. Few make it to the annual “best of” lists. They get stepped on, chewed, drooled on, and thrown. Their core audiences may not remember a word of them in a few scant years. Their pages are frequently viewed out of order. But board books are some...

Board Books for Holiday Travel

It's that time of year when families with children board planes, trains, and automobiles for holiday travel — and sometimes lugging their favorite full-size picture books can be a strain. That's when board book editions of those picture books come in handy. In Rachel G. Payne’s excellent board book round up in...

Review of Light It Up

Light It Up by Kekla Magoon Middle School, High School    Holt    359 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-250-12889-8    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-250-12890-4    $9.99 In this follow-up to How It Went Down (rev. 11/14), Peach Street is seething. Two years after a young man was gunned down by police on the same street,...

Review of Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse

Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse by Jane Godwin; illus. by Blanca Gómez Preschool    Dial    40 pp.    g 8/19    978-0-525-55381-6    $16.99 “Red house / Blue house / Green house / Tree house! / See the tiny mouse / in her little brown house?” A small mouse packs her...

Review of The Year We Fell from Space

The Year We Fell from Space by Amy Sarig King Intermediate, Middle School    Levine/Scholastic    264 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-338-23636-1    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-23646-0    $10.99 Twelve-year-old “amateur creative astronomer” Liberty Johansen, having memorized all the constellations, makes up her own and meticulously maps them. Her love of the cosmos comes from...

Review of Lalani of the Distant Sea

Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly; illus. by Lian Cho Intermediate    Greenwillow    388 pp. 9/19    978-0-06-274727-3    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-274729-7    $9.99 Kelly turns from the contemporary realistic settings of the Newbery-winning Hello, Universe (rev. 3/17) and of You Go First (rev. 3/18) to a tropical island–set fantasy...

Review of Home in the Woods

Home in the Woods by Eliza Wheeler; illus. by the author Primary    Paulsen/Penguin    40 pp.    g 10/19    978-0-399-16290-9    $17.99 When six-year-old Marvel, her seven siblings, and their newly widowed mother are forced to leave their farm and move into an abandoned tar-paper shack deep in the woods, it “doesn’t seem...

Holiday High Notes 2019

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Grab a candy confection and read our selection of books filled with cheer — new or just reissued from yesteryear.* *with apologies to lyricist Edward Pola   My Baby Loves Christmas by Jabari Asim; illus. by Tara Nicole Whitaker Preschool    HarperFestival    20 pp. 9/19    978-0-06-288462-6    $7.99 In this cozy board book, Asim (Preaching to the Chickens, rev....

Review of Birdsong

Birdsong by Julie Flett; illus. by the author Primary    Greystone Kids    56 pp. 9/19    978-1-77164-473-0    $17.95 e-book ed.  978-1-77164-474-7    $17.95 In spring Katherena, her mother, and their dog Ôhô pack up their “little home in the city by the sea” and move to their “new home [that] sits on a...

Review of Penny and Her Sled

Penny and Her Sled by Kevin Henkes; illus. by the author Primary    Greenwillow    56 pp. 10/19    978-0-06-293453-6    $14.99 Library ed.  978-0-06-293454-3    $15.89 In her first easy-reader outing in six years (most recently Penny and Her Marble, rev. 3/13), Penny waits for snow. It’s winter, and the young mouse wants nothing...

Review of Small in the City

Small in the City by Sydney Smith; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Porter/Holiday    40 pp. 9/19    978-0-8234-4261-4    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4395-6    $11.99 In Smith’s (Sidewalk Flowers, rev. 5/15; Town Is by the Sea, rev. 3/17) debut as both illustrator and author, an intrepid child on the move in the...

Review of Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks

Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks by Jason Reynolds Intermediate, Middle School    Dlouhy/Atheneum    193 pp. 10/19    978-1-4814-3828-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-3830-8    $10.99 Ten blocks. Ten stories. Lots of middle-school kids doing many different things after school. Jasmine and TJ walk home together, wondering what they’re made of—dust...
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