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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...

Review of Firefighters' Handbook

Firefighters’ Handbook by Meghan McCarthy; illus. by the author Primary    Wiseman/Simon    48 pp. 9/19    978-1-5344-1733-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-1734-2    $10.99 McCarthy (Astronaut Handbook, rev. 7/08; All That Trash, rev. 5/18) brings her recognizable illustration style (bug-eyed humans with sideways grins) to the kid-captivating topic of firefighting. Friendly, direct-address text covers...

Veterans Day 2019

Today, Veterans Day, is a good day to share books about veterans, their experiences and sacrifices, and their supportive families and communities on the homefront. These titles, both fiction and nonfiction for a range of reader ages, were recommended by The Horn Book Magazine and The Horn Book Guide at...

Review of The Shortest Day

The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper; illus. by Carson Ellis Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.    g 10/19    978-0-7636-8698-7    $17.99 “So the shortest day came, and the year died, / And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world / Came people singing, dancing / To drive the dark away.” Thus begins...

Review of Queen of the Sea

Queen of the Sea by Dylan Meconis; illus. by the author Middle School    Walker U.S./Candlewick    396 pp. 5/19    978-1-5362-0498-8    $24.99 In a graphic novel loosely inspired by sixteenth-century British history “during the reigns of King Henry VIII and his daughters, Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I,” young Margaret has...

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 A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation

A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation by Barry Wittenstein; illus. by Jerry Pinkney Primary, Intermediate    Porter/Holiday    48 pp.    g 8/19    978-0-8234-4331-4    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4374-1    $11.99 This superbly executed picture book takes readers behind the scenes of the writing of Dr....

Review of A Place to Belong

A Place to Belong by Cynthia Kadohata; illus. by Julia Kuo Intermediate, Middle School    Dlouhy/Atheneum    405 pp. 5/19    978-1-4814-4664-8    $17.99    e-book ed.  978-1-4814-4666-2    $10.99 They had been such proud Americans—working hard at their San Francisco restaurant and hopeful for the future. Then came Pearl Harbor, and Hanako, her little brother,...

Review of The Fountains of Silence

 The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys High School    Philomel    498 pp.    g 10/19    978-0-399-16031-8    $18.99 Sepetys’s riveting historical epic examines the enduring effects of the Spanish Civil War through the perspectives of four young people living under the shadow of Franco’s fascist dictatorship in 1957 Madrid. Ana and Rafael...

Review of River

River by Elisha Cooper; illus. by the author Primary    Orchard/Scholastic    48 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-338-31226-3    $18.99 A woman says goodbye to her family and begins a three-hundred-mile canoe journey down a river. "In her canoe: tent, sleeping bag, guidebook, map, life jacket, first-aid kit, waterproof duffle with food, clothes, water...

Review of Liberty Arrives!: How America's Grandest Statue Found Her Home

Liberty Arrives!: How America’s Grandest Statue Found Her Home by Robert Byrd; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Dial    40 pp.    g 6/19    978-0-7352-3082-8    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-5255-5451-6    $10.99 Byrd (Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction Award winner for Electric Ben, rev. 11/12) approaches his topic as systematically and artistically as did...

Review of Crossing On Time: Steam Engines, Fast Ships, and a Journey to the New World

Crossing On Time: Steam Engines, Fast Ships, 
and a Journey to the New World by David Macaulay; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Roaring Brook    128 pp. 5/19    978-1-59643-477-6    $24.99 Macaulay chronicles his own mid-twentieth-century immigration story in full color and a wide trim size—along with plenty of diagrams...

Review of Double Bass Blues

Double Bass Blues by Andrea J. Loney; illus. by Rudy Gutierrez Primary    Knopf    32 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-5247-1852-7    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-5247-1853-4    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-1854-1    $10.99 Told entirely through dialogue and sound effects, the story follows double-bass player Nic as he performs an “epic solo” at band practice at...

Review of Ordinary Hazards: A Memoir

Ordinary Hazards: A Memoir by Nikki Grimes High School    Wordsong/Boyds Mills    325 pp. 10/19    978-1-62979-881-3    $19.99 As poetically written as Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming (rev. 9/14) with a story as hard-hitting as Sapphire’s Push. In her author’s note, poet Grimes (winner of the 2017 Children’s Literature Legacy Award) says that...

Review of Pumpkinheads

Pumpkinheads  by Rainbow Rowell; illus. by Faith Erin Hicks; 
color by Sarah Stern  High School    First Second/Roaring Brook    222 pp.  8/19    978-1-250-31285-3    $24.99      Paper ed.  978-1-62672-162-3    $17.99  Graduating high-school seniors Josiah and Deja have worked together at DeKnock’s World Famous Pumpkin Patch & Autumn Jamboree every fall for the past...

Review of Saturday

Saturday  by Oge Mora; illus. by the author  Preschool, Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp.    g  10/19    978-0-316-43127-9    $18.99  e-book ed.  978-0-316-43126-2    $9.99  Mora (Thank You, Omu!, rev. 11/18) follows up her Caldecott Honor winner with another story built around family and community connection. On Saturdays, Ava and her mother (who...

Review of Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of “The Children’s Ship”

Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of “The Children’s Ship” by Deborah Heiligman Intermediate, Middle School    Godwin/Holt    291 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-62779-554-8    $19.99 Nonfiction maestro Heiligman (Charles and Emma, rev. 1/09; Vincent and Theo, rev. 3/17) here tells a riveting wartime survival story. As World War...

Review of The Bridge Home audiobook

The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman; read by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Listening Library    Rev. 1/19    4 CDs    4.55 hrs.    978-1-9848-4509-2    $38.00 Venkatraman’s memorable middle-grade and middle-school novel follows homeless children trying to survive on the streets of Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, India. In this excellent audio...

Review of The Miracle & Tragedy 
of the Dionne Quintuplets

The Miracle & Tragedy 
of the Dionne Quintuplets by Sarah Miller Middle School, High School    
Schwartz & Wade/Random    309 pp.    8/19    978-1-5247-1381-2    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-5247-1382-9    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-1383-6    $10.99 The “miracle” referred to in the title was of course the birth of the five identical Dionne sisters in...

Review of The Language of Fire: Joan of Arc Reimagined

The Language of Fire: Joan of Arc Reimagined by Stephanie Hemphill High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    495 pp. 6/19    978-0-06-249011-7    $17.99 In this engrossing first-person, present-tense verse novel, Hemphill (Your Own, Sylvia, rev. 3/07; Hideous Love, rev. 9/13) reimagines the fifteenth-century life of French martyr Joan of Arc. Readers follow...

Reviews of 2019 Mind the Gap Award winners

Not all deserving books bring home ALA awards. Our annual Mind the Gap Awards pay tribute to our favorite books that didn’t win. Here’s how we reviewed our 2019 winners.   A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes; illus. by the author Preschool    Greenwillow    40 pp.    g 9/18    978-0-06-266827-1    $18.99...

Review of Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience

Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience edited by Patrice Vecchione and Alyssa Raymond Middle School, High School    Triangle Square/Seven Stories    183 pp. 3/19    Paper ed.  978-1-60980-907-2    $15.95    ebook ed. 978-1-60980-908-9    $13.99   Poems as piercing and reflective as the shards of a shattered mirror offer stunning...

"WE ARE HERE": queer books beyond subtext

Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City, an event that laid the groundwork for the first Gay Pride parade and celebrations that have evolved into a month-long recognition of LGBTQ+ identities and communities.During my 1990s childhood in a pervasively conservative, Christian, Southern environment, I...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

2019 BGHB Nonfiction Award winners extras

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

2019 BGHB Fiction & Poetry Award winners extras

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

2019 BGHB Picture Book Award winners extras

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

Imaginative Spaces and Connecting Lines: SFF and the CSK

According to Nichelle Nichols, the first Black woman cast as a main character on a major television show, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Trekkie. In fact, she stated that it was his support that prompted her to continue her role as Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek even though...

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...

BFFs back for more

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

Picture Books for Father's Day 2019

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

Middle grade and YA for Pride Month 2019

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

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

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

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...

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...

Review of D-Day: The World War II Invasion That Changed History

D-Day: The World War II Invasion That Changed Historyby Deborah HopkinsonIntermediate, Middle SchoolScholastic Focus/Scholastic    376 pp.    g8/18    978-0-545-68248-0 $16.99e-book ed.    978-0-545-68249-7 $16.99D-Day marked the beginning of the end for Hitler’s stranglehold on Europe. A massive, coordinated attack that was months in the planning, Operation Overlord saw Allied forces land on...

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...

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,...

The 2019 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winners...for families!

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Yesterday Roger announced the 2019 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winners, and they are GREAT! My youngest, age six, will be most drawn to the picture books, some of which he's already seen, some he hasn't. Picture Book Award winner The Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke, illustrated by Van Thanh...

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...

Reviews of 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Picture Book Award Winner and Honor Books

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Picture Book Winner The Patchwork Bikeby Maxine Beneba Clarke; illus. by Van Thanh RuddPrimary    Candlewick    40 pp.9/18    978-1-5362-0031-7    $15.99A child in an unnamed “village where we live inside our mud-for-walls home” describes the diversions of daily life: “whooping and shrieking and laughing” on the sand hill, exploring the desert, and...

Presenting the 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winners

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On Wednesday, May 29, 2019, at SLJ's Day of Dialog, Horn Book editor in chief Roger Sutton announced the 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winners. If you missed the Facebook Live stream (or if you just want to relive the excitement!), you can watch the archived video here:    ...

Reviews of the 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Fiction and Poetry Award Winner and Honor Books

Fiction and Poetry Winner The Season of Styx Maloneby Kekla MagoonIntermediate, Middle School    Lamb/Random    298 pp.    g10/18    978-1-5247-1595-3    $16.99Library ed.  978-1-5247-1596-0    $19.99e-book ed.  978-1-5247-1597-7    $10.99It’s summertime, and the living is easy. At least it was before narrator Caleb and his older brother Bobby Gene make a bad deal with their...

Reviews of the 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction Award Winner and Honor Books

Nonfiction WinnerThis Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equalityby Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debbie LevyIntermediate, Middle School    Bloomsbury    311 pp.    g1/19    978-1-68119-852-1    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-68119-853-8    $12.59 In 1956 in the small town of Clinton, Tennessee, twelve African American students integrated the all-white high school. Jo Ann...

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...

The Sun Is Also a Star movie review

In Nicola Yoon’s YA novel The Sun Is Also a Star (Delacorte, 2016), Natasha Kingsley and her family are a day from being deported to Jamaica after nine years living in New York City. Natasha is doing everything she can to get that decision overturned — and then she meets...

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

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

Sustainable eating

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

Evolution

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

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...

Activists and activism

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

Life skills

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

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...

Game of Thrones read-alikes

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Welp, I dunno about you, but I was Not Happy with the most recent episode of Game of Thrones. And given that it was the penultimate episode — ever — I'm getting pretty nervous about the finale on Sunday.Whether you're sticking out the season and looking for something to help...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Two picture-book, read-alike suggestions for the new royal parents (it's a boy!)

His Royal Highness, King Baby: A Terrible True Storyby Sally Lloyd-Jones; illus. by David RobertsPrimary    Candlewick    48 pp.9/17    978-0-7636-9793-8    $16.99“Once upon a time, there was a Happy Family” consisting of a mother, father, daughter (shown with tights on her head simulating long, blonde, princess-y hair), and pet gerbil. Life was...

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,...

Review of His Royal Highness, King Baby: A Terrible True Story

His Royal Highness, King Baby: A Terrible True Storyby Sally Lloyd-Jones; illus. by David RobertsPrimary    Candlewick    48 pp.9/17    978-0-7636-9793-8    $16.99“Once upon a time, there was a Happy Family” consisting of a mother, father, daughter (shown with tights on her head simulating long, blonde, princess-y hair), and pet gerbil. Life was...

Ramadan 2019

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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 began last night at sunset. Ramadan mubarak to those observing!We’d like to call your attention to reading suggestions from our friends at KitaabWorld, who review and...

2019 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 2018–2019 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.For a...

2019 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 2018–2019 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.For a...

2019 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 2018–2019 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.For a...

2019 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 2018–2019 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.For a...

2019 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 2018–2019 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.For a...

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 —...

Happy International Dance Day!

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January/February 2000 Horn Book Magazine cover: dancer Bill T. Jones photographed by Susan Kuklin.Today is International Dance Day, a day to "to celebrate dance, revel in the universality of this art form, cross all political, cultural and ethnic barriers, and bring people together with a common language — dance."We hope...

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....

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...

Earth Day 2019

Today (as every day should be!) is Earth Day, and this year's theme is:  "Protect Our Species."The books below celebrate our precious planet, educate about the crises it faces, and offer age-appropriate models for environmental activism. The list includes both fiction and nonfiction titles for a range of ages, all...

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. /...

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...

Journeys through grief

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

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...

Happy National Poetry Month 2019!

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

Spring into nature

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