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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 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 Pet

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi Middle School    Make Me a World/Random    204 pp. 9/19    978-0-525-64707-2    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-525-64708-9    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-525-64709-6    $10.99 A haunting and poetic work of speculative fiction—the first for young readers by adult author Emezi. Jam, the adolescent protagonist, is a transgender hearing person who communicates...

Review of Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All

Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    367 pp. 10/19    978-0-06-231764-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-231766-7    $10.99 At first, this seems to be the story of Frankie, a girl in a Catholic orphanage in Chicago in the 1940s. She and her sister and brother...

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 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 Chick and Brain: Smell My Foot!

Chick and Brain: Smell My Foot! by Cece Bell; illus. by the author Primary    Candlewick    70 pp.    g 3/19    978-0-7636-7936-1    $12.99 Gone are the days of Dick and Jane easy readers, with their boring characters and their notably unthreatening dog. Bell’s (El Deafo, rev. 11/14; the Rabbit & Robot books)...

Review of Butterfly Yellow

Butterfly Yellow by Thanhhà Lai Middle School, High School    Harper/HarperCollins    296 pp.    g 9/19    978-0-06-222921-2    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-222923-6    $9.99 During the 1975 fall of Saigon, twelve-year-old Hang determines that she and her younger brother, Linh, should escape to America. They attempt to impersonate orphans to join Operation Babylift, but...

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 It’s a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories

It’s a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories edited by Katherine Locke and Laura Silverman High School    Knopf    311 pp.    g 9/19    978-0-525-64616-7    $17.99    Library ed.  978-0-525-64617-4    $20.99    e-book ed.  978-0-525-64618-1    $10.99 In this anthology of fourteen short stories by Jewish authors and about Jewish teens, youth trips,...

Review of More to the Story

More to the Story by Hena Khan Intermediate, Middle School    Salaam/Simon    262 pp.    g 9/19    978-1-4814-9209-6    $17.99    e-book ed.  978-1-4814-9211-9    $10.99 In a novel inspired by Little Women, thirteen-year-old Pakistani American Jameela Mirza, second oldest of four sisters and an aspiring journalist, lives with her family in Atlanta. This Eid...

Review of Becoming Beatriz

Becoming Beatriz by Tami Charles High School    Charlesbridge Teen    262 pp.    g 9/19    978-1-58089-778-5    $17.99 Charles (Like Vanessa, rev. 3/18) presents the story of an Afro–Puerto Rican teen, Beatriz Mendez, who is torn between her own desire to be a dancer and the expectations of her blood and chosen families...

Review of Beverly, Right Here

 Beverly, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo Intermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    243 pp.    g 9/19    978-0-7636-9464-7    $16.99 In this companion volume to DiCamillo’s Raymie Nightingale (rev. 3/16) and Louisiana’s Way Home (rev. 9/18) — together the books make up a trilogy in which DiCamillo introduces three girls, each meeting individual challenges...

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...

Review of My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich

My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich by Ibi Zoboi; illus. by Anthony Piper Intermediate, Middle School    Dutton    252 pp.    g 8/19    978-0-3991-8735-3    $16.99 In the summer before seventh grade, in 1984, Ebony-Grace Norfleet Freeman — also known as E-Grace Starfleet, space cadet, in the comics she imagines — is...

Review of Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers

Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers by Celia C. Pérez Intermediate, Middle School    Kokila/Penguin    367 pp.    g 9/19    978-0-425-29043-9    $16.99 In alternating chapters, readers meet lonely, artistic Lane DiSanti; bird-lover Cat Garcia; cooking whiz Aster Douglas; and aspiring journalist Ofelia Castillo. Spending an enforced summer vacation in sleepy...

Review of The Hero Next Door

The Hero Next Door edited by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich Intermediate, Middle School    Crown    266 pp.    g 7/19    978-0-525-64630-3    $16.99    Library ed.  978-0-525-64631-0    $19.99    e-book ed.  978-0-525-64632-7    $9.99 Rhuday-Perkovich, in partnership with We Need Diverse Books, has compiled thirteen short stories (by fourteen authors) about “everyday heroes in our midst.” The entries...

Review of Love Sugar Magic: A Sprinkle of Spirits

Love Sugar Magic: A Sprinkle of Spirits by Anna Meriano Intermediate    Walden Pond/HarperCollins    320 pp. 2/19    978-0-06-249849-6    $16.99   Following her discovery in Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble (rev. 3/18) that she (like all the females in her family) is a bruja, Leonora Logroño is busy learning about...

Review of The Lost Coast

The Lost Coast by Amy Rose Capetta High School    Candlewick    342 pp.    g 5/19    978-1-5362-0096-6    $17.99 High schooler Danny and her mom arrive in Tempest, California, under mysterious circumstances (Danny: “I was the one who had begged for a new life, my tears salted with guilt”). There, where the redwoods...

Review of Let Me Hear a Rhyme

Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson; with lyrics by Malik “Malik-16” Sharif High School    Tegen/HarperCollins    380 pp. 5/19    978-0-06-284032-5    $17.99    e-book ed.  978-0-06-284034-9    $9.99 It’s 1998, and hip-hop reigns supreme on the music charts and in the streets of Brooklyn. Unfortunately, the violence plaguing the community claims...

Review of Juana & Lucas: Big Problemas

Juana & Lucas: Big Problemas by Juana Medina; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Candlewick    89 pp. 5/19    978-1-5362-0131-4    $14.99 This sequel to Juana & Lucas (rev. 11/16) offers welcome narrative continuity for fans of Bogotá–dwelling protagonist Juana Medina Rosas and her beloved pet dog Lucas, while skillfully balancing changes...

Review of Pie in the Sky

Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai; illus. by the author Intermediate    Holt    380 pp. 5/19    978-1-250-31409-3    $21.99    Paper ed.  978-1-250-31410-9    $12.99 It’s been almost two years since Jingwen lost his father in a tragic accident; he now finds himself starting over in a new country. The novel begins with...

Review of Other Words for Home

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga Intermediate, Middle School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    342 pp. 5/19    978-0-06-274780-8    $16.99    e-book ed.  978-0-06-274782-2    $8.99 Warga’s (My Heart and Other Black Holes, rev. 1/15) latest book is a middle-grade and middle-school novel written in free verse and narrated by a Syrian girl named...

"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 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 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...

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...

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...

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,...

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...

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 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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 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 With the Fire on High

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

Review of The Vanishing Stair

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

Review of Dealing in Dreams

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

Review of 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 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...

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...

Review of The Last Last-Day-of-Summer

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

Review of A Good Kind of Trouble

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

Review of Dig.

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

Review of Internment

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

Review of On the Come Up

On the Come Upby Angie ThomasHigh School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    453 pp.    g2/19    978-0-06-249856-4    $18.99e-book ed.  978-0-06-249857-1    $12.99If reading The Hate U Give (rev. 3/17) was like listening to 2Pac, intent on capturing the emotional impact of injustice, On the Come Up is more like Biggie, focusing on the experience...

Review of Fresh Ink audiobook

Fresh Inkedited by Lamar Giles; read by various artistsMiddle School    Listening Library    Rev. 9/184 CDs    5.08 hrs.    978-0-525-59565-6    $38.00Giles opens this anthology of twelve short works with a foreword containing this message: “I hope you find [a hero] who looks like you, or thinks like you, or feels like you....

Review of Sweeping Up the Heart

Sweeping Up the Heartby Kevin HenkesIntermediate, Middle School    Greenwillow    184 pp.    g3/19    978-0-06-285254-0    $16.99Library ed.  978-0-06-285255-7    $17.89e-book ed.  978-0-06-285257-1    $9.99The elegiac spirit of Emily Dickinson’s poem “The Bustle in a House” (from which this book’s title is taken) reverberates throughout Henkes’s story of people struggling to cope with love, loss,...

Books for Black Future Month

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This February, as in previous years, we've been commemorating Black History Month by highlighting articles, speeches, and reviews from The Horn Book archive that are by and/or about Black authors, illustrators, and luminaries in the field. New additions this year include “'To Be Great, Heroic or Beautiful': The Enduring Legacy...

Review of The Bridge Home

The Bridge Home by Padma VenkatramanIntermediate, Middle School    Paulsen/Penguin    194 pp.    g2/19    978-1-5247-3811-2    $16.99 In a drunken rage, the father of eleven-year-old narrator Viji breaks her mother’s arm. Viji decides, “If I wanted a better future, I needed to change the life we had. Now.” The next morning, she and her sister...

Review of Duck & Goose: A Gift for Goose

Duck & Goose: A Gift for Goose [Step into Reading]by Tad Hills; illus. by the authorPrimary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    32 pp.1/19    978-0-525-64490-3    $4.99    Library ed.  978-0-525-64491-0    $12.99    e-book ed.  978-0-525-64492-7    $4.99 For certain kids, the box can be the best part of a gift — especially when it’s as enticing as the one Duck...

Review of The Mad Wolf's Daughter audiobook

The Mad Wolf’s Daughterby Diane Magras; read by Joshua ManningIntermediate, Middle School    Listening Library    Rev. 7/186 CDs    6.62 hrs.    978-0-525-53134-0    $50.00Drest is determined to free her captured older brothers and father from Faintree Castle, where they soon will be hanged, and she means to use the young knight she rescued...

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...

Review of New Kid

New Kidby Jerry Craft; illus. by the authorIntermediate, Middle School    Harper/HarperCollins    249 pp.    g2/19    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 Riverdale Academy Day School (RAD). Jordan has...

Happy Anniversary: I'll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip.

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Our new column celebrates noteworthy book anniversaries. I’ll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip. by John Donovan (1928–1992) was published by Harper & Row in 1969. It celebrates its fiftieth anniversary in 2019.Happy birthday, I’ll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip.! You’re fifty years old in...

Review of Before the Devil Breaks You: A Diviners Novel audiobook

Before the Devil Breaks You: A Diviners Novelby Libba Bray; read by January LaVoyHigh School    Listening Library    Rev. 3/1817 CDs    21.35 hrs.    978-0-449-80883-2    $70.00LaVoy reprises her excellent narration for this third volume in the series starring a diverse group of teens with extrasensory abilities in 1920s New York City. Here...

Review of Pay Attention, Carter Jones

Pay Attention, Carter Jonesby Gary D. SchmidtMiddle School    Clarion    216 pp.    g2/19    978-0-544-79085-8    $16.99    e-book ed.  978-1-328-52691-5    $9.99 Sixth grader Carter Jones misses his soldier father, currently deployed in Germany; he misses his dead brother; he misses any semblance of normalcy in his life. When Mr. Bowles-Fitzpatrick, a butler bequeathed to his...

Review of Inventing Victoria

Inventing Victoriaby Tonya BoldenMiddle School    Bloomsbury    264 pp.    g1/19    978-1-68119-807-1    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-68119-808-8    $12.59Set during the post-Reconstruction era, this novel offers an intriguing view of nineteenth-century African American upper-echelon society. Fourteen-year-old Essie longs to escape her miserable life in Savannah, Georgia, where her mother earns her living as a prostitute....

Review of A Heart in a Body in the World

A Heart in a Body in the Worldby Deb CalettiHigh School    Simon Pulse    358 pp.9/18    978-1-4814-1520-0    $18.99e-book ed.  978-1-4814-1523-1    $10.99Nine months ago, the boy whom eighteen-year-old long-distance runner Annabelle calls “The Taker” irrevocably changed her life for the worse. Now she has embarked on a run from Seattle to Washington,...

Review of Damsel

Damselby Elana K. ArnoldHigh School     Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins     312 pp.10/18     978-0-06-274232-2     $17.99e-book ed. 978-0-06-274234-6     $9.99This original fairy tale begins with Prince Emory on the dangerous quest required to prove himself worthy of his father’s recently vacated throne: saving a damsel from a dragon. But following the successful (off-page) rescue, it...

Review of See Pip Flap

See Pip Flap [Ready-to-Read: Adventures of Otto]by David Milgrim; illus. by the authorPrimary    Simon Spotlight    32 pp.8/18    978-1-5344-1636-9    $17.99Paper ed.  978-1-5344-1635-2    $4.99e-book ed.  978-1-5344-1637-6    $4.99The latest in Milgrim’s early reader series about robot Otto, mouse Pip, and their creature friends begins with an exit: “See Tweet flap. / See Tweet...

Review of They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid’s Poems

They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid’s Poemsby David BowlesMiddle School    Cinco Puntos    109 pp.    g9/18    978-1-947627-06-2    $18.95Paper ed.  978-1-947627-07-9    $12.95The dynamic complexity of the Rio Grande borderlands pulses in the poetry of twelve-year-old Güero — a nickname commonly given to light-skinned, freckled Mexican and Chicano boys. Inspired by the...

Review of Moxie audiobook

Moxieby Jennifer Mathieu; read by Suzy JacksonHigh School     Recorded Books     Rev. 11/178 CDs     8.75 hrs.     978-1-5019-6805-1     $87.75Vivian Carter, frustrated with the systemic sexism of her small-town Texas high school, secretly distributes a zine proclaiming, “Moxie girls fight back!” Though she’s shy in real life, Viv draws...

Review of Max & the Midknights

Max & the Midknightsby Lincoln Peirce; illus. by the authorIntermediate    Crown    280 pp.    g1/19    978-1-101-93108-0    $13.99Library ed.  978-1-101-93109-7    $16.99e-book ed.  978-1-101-93110-3    $8.99It’s the Middle Ages, and redheaded Max is Uncle Budrick’s troubadour apprentice. Max longs to become a knight, but there’s just one problem: Max is a girl, a fact...

Review of Checked audiobook

Checkedby Cynthia Kadohata; read by John KroftIntermediate, Middle School     Recorded Books    Rev. 5/187 CDs     7.75 hrs.     978-1-5019-8278-1 $20.99Conor MacRae’s life is consumed with elite hockey. Nothing can overtake his obsession — not his growing concerns about his elderly neighbor Mr. Reynolds, not the strained...

Review of The Wicked King

The Wicked King [Folk of the Air]by Holly BlackHigh School     Little, Brown     325 pp.     g1/19     978-0-316-31035-2     $18.99e-book ed. 978-0-316-31033-8     $9.99A mortal raised in the realms of Faerie by the devious General Madoc, Jude Duarte has learned to play games of politics and intrigue quite well. By manipulating her...

Review of The Night Diary audiobook

The Night Diaryby Veera Hiranandani; read by Priya AyyarIntermediate, Middle School    Listening Library    Rev. 7/185 CDs    5.92 hrs.    978-0-525-53044-2    $45.00Twelve-year-old Nisha, whose mother was Muslim and father is Hindu, begins writing a diary in the form of letters to her mother, who died when Nisha and her twin Amil were...

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...

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...

Review of Best Babysitters Ever

Best Babysitters Everby Caroline CalaIntermediate, Middle School     Houghton     246 pp.     g2/19     978-1-328-85089-8     $16.99e-book ed. 978-1-328-52788-2     $9.99In this series opener, Malia stumbles across an old copy of Kristy’s Great Idea, the first of Ann M. Martin’s Baby-Sitters Club books, and appropriates the central business model. But unlike Kristy and...

Review of I Lost My Tooth!

I Lost My Tooth! [Unlimited Squirrels]by Mo Willems; illus. by the authorPrimary    Hyperion    86 pp.10/18    978-1-368-02457-0    $12.99Willems hands the reins of this new early reader series to fifteen cartoony squirrels, a yellow bird (a.k.a. Flappy Squirrel), and a couple of joke-telling acorns. The series is a step up in complexity...

Review of The Penderwicks at Last audiobook

The Penderwicks at Lastby Jeanne Birdsall; read by Susan DenakerIntermediate     Listening Library     Rev. 7/187 CDs     8.37 hrs.     978-0-525-59559-5     $55.00This closing volume in the beloved Penderwick series, featuring two sisters’ marriages and one’s heartbreak, is told from the point of view of eleven-year-old Lydia, the youngest Penderwick half-sister. Denaker...

Review of Harbor Me

Harbor Meby Jacqueline WoodsonIntermediate     Paulsen/Penguin     179 pp.     g8/18     978-0-399-25252-5     $17.99One day, Ms. Laverne gathers her small class of fifth and sixth graders and walks them over to the old art room, where she invites them to talk to one another — without her. Every Friday at two o’clock,...

Small print

Some of your favorite novels have just been miniaturized...and flipped sideways. “Penguin Minis” present unabridged texts in a horizontal format with a trim size of roughly 5” x 3”. First introduced in the Netherlands as "Flipbacks" (primarily itty-bitty editions of popular adult books), the line launches in the United States...

Review of Rebound audiobook

Reboundby Kwame Alexander; read by Ron ButlerIntermediate, Middle School    Recorded Books    Rev. 7/183 CDs    3.5 hrs.    978-1-5019-4909-8    $30.75In this prequel to Alexander’s The Crossover (rev. 5/14), twelve-year-old Charlie Bell (future father of the first book’s twin protagonists) is sent to stay with his grandparents for the summer after his own...

Review of On a Sunbeam

On a Sunbeamby Tillie Walden; illus. by the authorHigh School    First Second/Roaring Brook    537 pp.10/18    978-1-250-17814-5    $32.99Paper ed.  978-1-250-17813-8    $21.99This serial webcomic turned epic graphic novel tells Mia and Grace’s story in two alternating, far-future timelines, each initially distinguished by a different limited palette. In the first timeline, depicted in...

Review of Refugee audiobook

Refugeeby Alan Gratz; read by Michael Goldstrom, Kyla Garcia, and Assaf CohenIntermediate, Middle School    Scholastic Audio    Rev. 11/177 CDs    7.62 hrs.    978-1-338-19107-3    $34.99The difficult plight of refugees is here represented by the stories of three children from different locations and time periods. Josef, a Jewish boy living in Nazi Germany,...

Review of Love to Everyone

Love to Everyoneby Hilary McKayIntermediate, Middle School    McElderry    330 pp.9/18    978-1-5344-2710-5    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-5344-2712-9    $10.99In Binny in Secret (rev. 7/15), McKay introduced us to Clarry, her brother Peter, and their beloved cousin Rupert in a subplot set during World War I in London. Here, McKay gives us the full story...

From The Guide: We Need Middle-Grade LGBTQ+ Books

Publishers take note. According to Madeline Tyner’s article “The CCBC’s Diversity Statistics: Spotlight on LGBTQ+ Stories”: “We received very little LGBTQ+ fiction for middle-grade readers [in 2017]…The lack of this literature is unfortunate, as children in upper elementary and middle school are often beginning to question their sexual orientations or...

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...

The Hate U Give movie review

Two weeks ago we saw The Hate U Give (Fox, October 2018; PG-13), the new film adaptation of Angie Thomas’s bestselling young adult novel. The story follows African American teenager Starr Carter, who witnesses a police officer’s shooting of her unarmed friend and must decide whether to speak out in...

Review of Saving Winslow

Saving Winslowby Sharon CreechIntermediate    Cotler/HarperCollins    165 pp.9/18    978-0-06-257070-3    $16.99Library ed.  978-0-06-257072-7    $17.89e-book ed.  978-0-06-257073-4    $9.99Creech interweaves the stories of three fragile babies. Two strands are backstories, and one is front, center, present, and loud. Louie had been a premature baby. Now he’s eleven, but the family story of his infancy...

Review of If You Come Softly audiobook

If You Come Softlyby Jacqueline Woodson; read by Jorjeana Marie, Guy Lockard, and Jacqueline WoodsonHigh School    Listening Library3 CDs    3.72 hrs    978-0-525-63790-5    $45.00The twentieth anniversary audiobook of Woodson’s novel opens with her heartfelt introduction about the persistent relevance of this tragic story about an interracial teen couple, Jeremiah (Miah) and...

Review of Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monsterby Jonathan AuxierIntermediate    Amulet/Abrams    358 pp.9/18    978-1-4197-3140-2    $18.99As a “climbing girl” in Victorian London, forced up into dangerous, narrow chimneys to sweep out the soot for her abusive master, Wilkie Crudd, Nan Sparrow leads a miserable life. But she has precious memories...

Review of Give the Dark My Love

Give the Dark My Loveby Beth RevisMiddle School, High School    Razorbill/Penguin    451 pp.    g9/18    978-1-595-14717-2    $17.99When Nedra leaves home for Yûgen Academy to study medical alchemy, she’s most focused on curing the Wasting Death, a plague that begins with blackened necrotic extremities, only sometimes responding to the amputation of the...

Review of My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder

My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonderby Nie Jun; illus. by the author; trans. from the Chinese by Edward GauvinPrimary, Intermediate    Graphic Universe/Lerner    128 pp.9/18    978-1-5124-4590-9    $30.65Paper ed.  978-1-5415-2642-6    $9.99e-book ed.  978-1-5124-9859-2    $30.65In the first of four stories in this graphic novel for young readers, Yu’er, who walks with difficulty,...

Review of The Third Mushroom

The Third Mushroomby Jennifer L. Holm; illus. by Tad CarpenterIntermediate    Random    230 pp.    g9/18    978-1-5247-1980-7    $16.99Library ed.  978-1-5247-1981-4    $19.99e-book ed.  978-1-5247-1982-1    $10.99Grandpa Melvin returns in this sequel to The Fourteenth Goldfish, still stuck in the body of a teenager (thanks to his earlier anti-aging experiment) and ready to help granddaughter...

Review of Finding Langston

Finding Langstonby Lesa Cline-RansomeIntermediate, Middle School     Holiday     107 pp.8/18     978-0-8234-3960-7     $16.99e-book ed. 978-0-8234-4110-5     $16.99When Langston’s mother dies, his father relocates the two of them from rural Alabama to the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago, where they live in a cramped apartment, barely communicate with each other, and...

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...

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...

Review of The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone

The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestoneby Jaclyn MoriartyIntermediate    Levine/Scholastic    380 pp.    g10/18    978-1-338-25584-3    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-338-25585-0    $10.99In this highly entertaining and brilliantly plotted fantasy, orphaned ten-year-old Bronte must embark alone on a multi-kingdom visit to her many aunts, a trip minutely scripted by the terms of her parents’ will....

Review of Between the Lines audiobook

Between the Linesby Nikki Grimes; read by Cherise Boothe, Lori Gardner, Almarie Guerra, Sisi Aisha Johnson, Edward Lopez, Ruffin Prentiss, and James ShippyMiddle School, High School    Recorded BooksRev. 3/18    4 CDs    4 hrs.    978-1-5019-6261-5    $13.99Nine high school students take turns giving readers their impressions of a poetry class they’re all...

Review of The Season of Styx Malone

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 nemesis, Cory, leading to...
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