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Review of Up Verses Down: Poems, Paintings, and Serious Nonsense

Up Verses Down: Poems, Paintings, and Serious Nonsense by Calef Brown; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Ottaviano/Holt    80 pp. 6/19    978-0-8050-9929-4    $19.99 Brown (Soup for Breakfast, rev. 3/09; Hypnotize a Tiger, rev. 3/15) presents poems categorized by subject (“People Are People”; “Foodstuffs”; “Sleepy Time”), and bracketed by poetry about...

Review of Predator and Prey: A Conversation in Verse

Predator and Prey: A Conversation in Verse by Susannah Buhrman-Deever; illus. by Bert Kitchen Primary, Intermediate    Candlewick Studio    32 pp.    g 4/19    978-0-7636-9533-0    $18.99 Buhrman-Deever imagines the relationships between predators and prey as poetic standoffs. Animal antagonists express their behaviors and needs in a variety of creative poetic formats, sometimes...

Review of Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me

Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me by Eloise Greenfield; illus. by Ehsan Abdollahi Primary    Sourcebooks Jabberwocky    40 pp.    g 4/19    978-1-4926-7724-6    $15.99 Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Award recipient Greenfield (Honey, I Love and Other Love Poems; Nathaniel Talking, rev. 9/90; The Great Migration, rev. 1/11) here presents a series of...

Review of Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons

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

Review of 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 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...

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...

Review of Snowman − Cold = Puddle: Spring Equations

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

National Poetry Month 2019

Bulion, Leslie  Leaf Litter CrittersGr. 4–6     56 pp.     PeachtreeIllustrated by Robert Meganck. Nineteen poems (in various forms) accompanied by bright digital illustrations provide information both whimsical and scientific about inhabitants of the brown food web — the layer of leaves and soil where organic matter breaks down and plants grow....

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

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

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

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

Review of 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...

Make a Circle

Children’s books are better today than they were when my own children were small. At least, I think they are. It’s possible that good books existed in the late- to mid-1970s and 1980s, and I lacked the leisure to find them on the shelves. Going to the library in those...

Review of The Ghostly Carousel: Delightfully Frightful Poems

The Ghostly Carousel: Delightfully Frightful Poemsby Calef Brown; illus. by the authorPrimary    Carolrhoda    32 pp.8/18    978-1-5124-2661-8    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-5415-2468-2    $17.99Brown (Soup for Breakfast, rev. 3/09; Hypnotize a Tiger, rev. 3/15) gives his quirky, funny verse and art a spooky twist here with seventeen poems celebrating ghosts, witches, demons, and even...

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 Friends and Foes: Poems About Us All

Friends and Foes: Poems About Us Allby Douglas Florian; illus. by the authorPrimary    Beach Lane/Simon    48 pp.7/18    978-1-4424-8795-6    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-4424-8796-3    $10.99This collection of twenty-five poems teases out many of friendship’s fundamentals, as well as its more nuanced complexities. Along with jealousy, bullies, and new and imaginary friends, the punchy...

Review of Vivid: Poems & Notes About Color

Vivid: Poems & Notes About Colorby Julie Paschkis; illus. by the authorPrimary    Godwin/Holt    32 pp.7/18    978-1-250-12229-2    $17.99Fourteen color poems pair with vibrant gouache illustrations, beginning with the color yellow: “Loudly, rowdy / daffodils yell hello. / Hot yellow.” The poem, set inside a bright sun, blazes above butterflies, birds, flowers, and a...

Review of Rebound

Reboundby Kwame Alexander; illus. by Dawud AnyabwileIntermediate, Middle School    Houghton    414 pp.4/18    978-0-544-86813-7    $16.99In this prequel to Alexander’s Newbery Medal–winning The Crossover (rev. 5/14), it’s the summer of 1988, and twelve-year-old Charlie Bell would rather roller-skate with his two best friends or escape into the pages of his beloved Fantastic...

Review of Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots

Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riotsby Margarita Engle; illus. by Rudy GutierrezMiddle School, High School    Atheneum    179 pp.    g5/18    978-1-5344-0943-9    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-5344-0945-3    $10.99In 1942 Los Angeles, after working all day at the canneries, teen sisters Lorena and Marisela can’t wait to put on their sharpest swing...

Reviews of the 2018 Boston Globe–Horn Book Fiction and Poetry Award Winner and Honor Books

Fiction and Poetry Winner The Poet Xby Elizabeth AcevedoHigh School    HarperTeen    361 pp.    g3/18    978-0-06-266280-4    $17.99e-book ed.  978-0-06-266282-8    $9.99Fifteen-year-old Xiomara, whose name means “one who is ready for war,” has been fighting her whole life. The self-described “brown and big and angry” Dominican girl from Harlem furiously confronts catcalling boys,...

Review of Did You Hear What I Heard?: Poems About School

Did You Hear What I Heard?: Poems About Schoolby Kay Winters; illus by Patrice BartonPrimary    Dial    40 pp.    g2/18    978-0-399-53898-8    $16.99Thirty-five poems cover the school year from “Bus Stop” to “Sing a Song of Summer,” with a fire drill, a snow day, April Fool’s Day, and Earth Day in between....

The Book That Changed My Life: At Home in the Pages

My mother, now ninety — the first person who ever read poems to me — must have given me this book, but she does not remember the occasion. By the time I was seven (1959), my copy was hand-worn and familiar. I toted it proudly. At 608 pages, containing more...

Review of A Round of Robins

A Round of Robinsby Katie Hesterman; 

illus. by Sergio RuzzierPrimary    Paulsen/Penguin    40 pp.    g3/18    978-0-399-54778-2    $16.99Sixteen poems follow a pair of robin parents as they raise not one but two sets of baby robins in this factual and funny volume. The story begins with “Defender Dad” telling three annoyed-looking birds...

Review of Jabberwalking

Jabberwalkingby Juan Felipe HerreraMiddle School, High School    Candlewick    138 pp.3/18    978-1-5362-0140-6    $22.99Paper ed.  978-0-7636-9264-3    $14.99In a loose and jazzy style (and with a nod to Lewis Carroll), the former U.S. Poet Laureate offers instructions for “Jabberwalking,” or writing poetry while in motion: “You have to move fast! / Move, move,...

Review of Between the Lines

Between the Linesby Nikki GrimesMiddle School, High School    Paulsen/Penguin    213 pp.    g2/18    978-0-399-24688-3    $17.99“Just step up, step up to the mike / and let your truth fly, loud, / proud, raw.” That’s what students are preparing to do in Mr. Ward’s high school class in the Bronx. Through poetry, they...

Haiku: A Small Poem with Great Potential

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snow meltingthe village brimming over…with children!--Issa (1763-1828)(translated by David Lanoue)Yes, I was taught that a haiku, a short poem that originated in Japan centuries ago, was supposed to consist of three lines of five, seven, and five syllables. And yes, because of the way haiku have been taught historically, they...

April 2018 Horn Book Herald: Spring News: Five questions for Margarita Engle

Poet Margarita Engle is the author of poetry collections (Bravo!: Poems About Amazing Hispanics), picture-book biographies (Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music; The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano), memoir (Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings), and works of historical fiction (Lion Island,...

April 2018 Horn Book Herald: Spring News: Poetry Month

• Five Questions for Young People's Poet Laureate Margarita Engle• The Power of Poetry (from Notes from the Horn Book), National Poetry Month 2018 (from Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book), and Poetry Reviews of the Week• How I Discovered YA Poetry by Marilyn Nelson• Haiku: A Small Poem with...

The power of poetry

April is National Poetry Month! The following books show how poetry can combine with illustrations to express all kinds of feelings, from love to uncertainty to pride in one's heritage. For more, click the tag poetry and see our upcoming Horn Book Herald: Spring News e-newsletter, featuring our Five Questions...

On Rising

Fifty years ago today — April 4, 1968 — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Andrea Davis Pinkney’s transcendent Martin Rising: Requiem for a King (Scholastic, 2018), brilliantly illustrated by her husband, Brian Pinkney, honors the civil rights icon's life and work by shining light on...

National Poetry Month 2018

Alexander, Kwame  Animal Ark: Celebrating Our Wild World in Poetry and PicturesGr. K–3     48 pp.     National GeographicPhotographs by Joel Sartore. With Mary Rand Hess and Deanna Nikaido. Striking, detailed photographs of animals appear against black or white backgrounds as descriptive, sometimes metaphorical text plays loosely with the haiku form. Word...

Review of In the Past

In the Pastby David Elliott; 
illus. by Matthew TruemanPrimary    Candlewick    48 pp.    g3/18    978-0-7636-6073-4    $17.99This collection of imaginative, clever poems about ancient animals, all but one extinct, moves chronologically from trilobites in the Cambrian era to woolly mammoths from our current geologic time period (Quaternary), with good representation across dinosaur,...

Review of Voices in the Air

Voices in the Air: Poems for Listenersby Naomi Shihab NyeMiddle School    Greenwillow    208 pp.    g2/18    978-0-06-269184-2    $17.99e-book ed.  978-0-06-269186-6    $9.99Many of Nye’s ninety-four original poems speak to historical and contemporary figures, from storied poets such as Yehuda Amichai, Lucille Clifton, José Emilio Pacheco, and Walt Whitman to a trusted Honolulu...

Review of Martin Rising: Requiem for a King

Martin Rising: Requiem for a Kingby Andrea Davis Pinkney; 
illus. by Brian PinkneyIntermediate, Middle School    Scholastic    128 pp.1/18    978-0-545-70253-9    $19.99A creative poetic celebration of the contributions of Martin Luther King Jr. that also, as a song for the dead, includes a meticulous explanation of how and why he died. Henny...

Last class, works in verse | Class #6, 2018

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Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline WoodsonAdolescent novels in verse have steadily increased in popularity since Virginia Euwer Wolff’s groundbreaking Make Lemonade was published in 1993. The best of these marry form and subject in a way that enriches both. Jacqueline Woodson’s eloquent free-verse memoir traces her family history and the...

Review of Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship

Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendshipby Irene Latham and Charles Waters; illus. by Sean Qualls and Selina AlkoPrimary, Intermediate    Carolrhoda    40 pp.1/18    978-1-5124-0442-5    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-5124-7214-1    $9.99This clever book of poetry is about finding an unexpected friend. Classmates Irene and Charles (also the names of...

Review of Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Up

Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Upby Sally M. Walker; illus. by William GrillPrimary, Intermediate    Candlewick    48 pp.    g2/18    978-0-7636-7512-7    $17.99Nonfiction writer Walker (winner of the 2006 Sibert Award for Secrets of a Civil War Submarine) and illustrator Grill (winner of the 2015 Kate Greenaway Medal for Shackleton’s Journey) team...

Review of I Am Loved

I Am Lovedby Nikki Giovanni; illus. by Ashley BryanPrimary    Dlouhy/Atheneum    32 pp.1/18    978-1-5344-0492-2    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-5344-0493-9    $10.99A legendary pair presents a volume of verse worth remembering. Bryan’s recognizably vibrant, colorful, and moving illustrations accompany a selection of Giovanni’s poems (both new and previously published). The electric blue, sunny yellow, warm...

Review of Family Poems for Every Day of the Week

Family Poems for Every Day of the Week / Poemas familiares para cada día de la semanaby Francisco X. Alarcón; illus. by Maya Christina GonzalezPrimary, Intermediate    
Children’s Book Press/Lee & Low    40 pp.9/17    978-0-89239-275-9    $18.95Alarcón uses simple verse (printed in both Spanish and English) to explain the origins of the days...

Review of Grandma’s Tiny House: A Counting Story!

Grandma’s Tiny House: A Counting Story!by JaNay Brown-Wood; illus. by Priscilla BurrisPreschool    Charlesbridge    32 pp.8/17    978-1-58089-712-9    $16.99e-book ed.  978-1-60734-868-9    $9.99No matter how big Grandma’s extended family grows, she always finds room for relatives and friends. The young, brown-skinned narrator describes in (generally) metered verse a gathering at Grandma’s house. The...

Review of That Is My Dream!

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That Is My Dream!by Langston Hughes; illus. by Daniel MiyaresPrimary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    32 pp.10/17    978-0-399-55017-1    $17.99Library ed.  978-0-399-55018-8    $20.99e-book ed.  978-0-399-55019-5    $10.99Langston Hughes’s 1924 poem “Dream Variation” tells of a wish “to fling my arms wide / In some place of the sun, / To whirl and to dance / Till the...

Review of Martí’s Song for Freedom / Martí y sus versos por la libertad

Martí’s Song for Freedom / Martí y sus versos por la libertadby Emma Otheguy; illus. by Beatriz Vidal; with excerpts from Versos sencillos by José Martí; trans. into Spanish by Adriana DomínguezPrimary    Children’s/Lee & Low    32 pp.    g7/17    978-0-89239-375-6    $17.95“I come from every place, / And I’m on the road to everywhere: /...

Nikki Giovanni and Ashley Bryan Talk with Roger

Talks with Roger is a sponsored supplement to our free monthly e-newsletter, Notes from the Horn Book. To receive Notes, sign up here.Sponsored byThe equally eminent poet Nikki Giovanni and artist Ashley Bryan, longtime friends, first collaborated more than twenty years ago for The Sun Is So Quiet. In I...

Review of I’m Just No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups

I’m Just No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Upsby Chris Harris; illus. by Lane SmithPrimary, Intermediate    Little, Brown    228 pp.9/17    978-0-316-26657-4    $19.99e-book ed.  978-0-316-26659-8    $9.99“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— / I took the one less traveled by… / Since then I’ve been completely...

Poetry and folklore | class #5, fall 2017

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For our class on November 1, we will read four books and one article. Since this class only meets six times, we have to double up on some genres. These two go together better than some because they both need to be read aloud.Successful folklore books must have a strong...

Nikki Giovanni: "The Rosa Parks (A Song in Rhythm)"

Listen to poet Nikki Giovanni perform "The Rosa Parks (A Song in Rhythm)"[audio wav="https://www.hbook.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/NikkiGiovanni-TheRosaParks-Version2-1-2.wav"][/audio]Read Nikki Giovanni and Ashley Bryan Talk with Roger....

Review of Long Way Down

Long Way Downby Jason ReynoldsHigh School    Dlouhy/Atheneum    306 pp.    g10/17    978-1-4814-3825-4    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-4814-3827-8    $10.99Fifteen-year-old Will, immobilized with grief when his older brother Shawn is shot and killed, slowly comes to mull The Rules in his head. There are three: don’t cry, don’t snitch, and “if someone you love / gets...

Review of In Your Hands

In Your Handsby Carole Boston Weatherford; illus. by Brian PinkneyPreschool, Primary    Atheneum    32 pp.9/17    978-1-4814-6293-8    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-4814-6294-5    $10.99It looks like a baby-shower book, and it is a baby-shower book — but with a difference. On pastel backgrounds amidst the soft, swirling swoops of Pinkney’s gentle lines and colors, Weatherford...

Review of Flashlight Night

Flashlight Nightby Matt Forrest Esenwine; illus. by Fred KoehlerPrimary    Boyds Mills    32 pp.9/17    978-1-62979-493-8    $16.95On any dark night, a flashlight illuminating shadows can create delicious thrills. Here, a trio of kids is seen on the title page crossing a dark backyard toward a tree house. A boy carries a stack...

Review of When's My Birthday?

When’s My Birthday?by Julie Fogliano; illus. by Christian RobinsonPreschool   Porter/Roaring Brook    40 pp.9/17    978-1-62672-293-4    $17.99When it comes to young children, there is one day that supersedes all others: the birthday. Fogliano understands the singular focus children have for this day and captures that intensity by repeating the word birthday with...

Review of Yo Soy Muslim: A Father’s Letter to His Daughter

Yo Soy Muslim: A Father’s Letter to His Daughterby Mark Gonzales; illus. by Mehrdokht AminiPrimary    Salaam/Simon    32 pp.8/17    978-1-4814-8936-2    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-4814-8937-9    $10.99Gonzales pens an honest, heartfelt text about the beauty of cultural identity, a loving, compassionate exhortation to his daughter to embrace all that she is. Although written in...

Review of The Memory of Things

The Memory of Thingsby Gae PolisnerHigh School    St. Martin’s Griffin    275 pp.9/16    978-1-250-09552-7    $18.99    ge-book ed.  978-1-250-09553-4    $9.99It’s the morning of September 11, 2001, in Manhattan, and the first tower has just fallen. Sixteen-year-old Brooklynite Kyle, fleeing toward home, stumbles upon a teenage girl wearing a pair of costume wings...

Review of All Ears, All Eyes

All Ears, All Eyesby Richard Jackson; 
illus. by Katherine TillotsonPreschool, Primary    Dlouhy/Atheneum    40 pp.3/17    978-1-4814-1571-2    $17.99    ge-book ed.  978-1-4814-1572-9    $10.99“An owl hoots in our dim-dimming woods. / Who-who.” As the sun sets 
in a forest, viewers must keep their senses alert to catch all the activity in 
Tillotson’s atmospheric pictures,...

Review of 5 Little Ducks

5 Little Ducksby Denise Fleming; 
illus. by the authorPreschool    Beach Lane/Simon    40 pp.11/16    978-1-4814-2422-6    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-4814-2423-3    $10.99Listeners familiar with the traditional nursery rhyme and song know the general plotline: every day ducks go out; every day the returning group shrinks by one. But the particulars — highlighted in glorious...

Review of Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets

Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poetsby Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth; illus. by Ekua HolmesIntermediate, Middle School, High School    Candlewick    50 pp.3/17    978-0-7636-8094-7    $16.99The title of this innovative poetry collection comes from Lucille Clifton, who wrote, “Poems come out of wonder, not out...

Review of Cricket in the Thicket: Poems About Bugs

Cricket in the Thicket: Poems About Bugsby Carol Murray; illus. by Melissa SweetPrimary    Ottaviano/Holt    40 pp.5/17    978-0-8050-9818-1    $17.99Twenty-nine common insects and arachnids (from ants to spiny-back spiders) are on display in Murray’s lively poems and Sweet’s inviting mixed-media illustrations. The titular cricket opens the proceedings in a poem mimicking an...

Review of Garvey's Choice

Garvey’s Choiceby Nikki GrimesIntermediate, Middle School    WordSong/Boyds Mills    108 pp.10/16    978-1-62979-740-3    $16.95e-book ed.  978-1-62979-747-2    $7.99In a little book of little poems, Grimes tells a big-hearted story of Garvey (named after Marcus Garvey), an overweight boy tormented by name-calling at school: “lard butt, fatso, Mister Tubs.” Of his size, he says,...

Review of When My Sister Started Kissing

When My Sister Started Kissingby Helen FrostIntermediate, Middle School    Ferguson/Farrar    195 pp.3/17    978-0-374-30303-7    $16.99    gClaire and Abigail have few memories of their mother — she died when they were very young — but at their family’s lakeside cabin, the girls are surrounded by the poetry,...

Review of Are You an Echo?: The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko

Are You an Echo?: The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kanekopoems by Misuzu Kaneko; narrative by David Jacobson; illus. by Toshikado Hajiri; trans. from the Japanese by Sally Ito and Michiko TsuboiPrimary, Intermediate, Middle School    Chin Music Press    64 pp.9/16    978-1-634905-962-6    $19.50Part biography, part poetry collection, this book introduces Japanese children’s...

Review of We Come Apart

We Come Apartby Brian Conaghan and Sarah CrossanHigh School    Bloomsbury    312 pp.    g6/17    978-1-68119-275-8    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-68119-276-5    $12.99Two troubled UK teens forge an unlikely romance in this novel in verse. Jess, a jaded tough girl, nicked some cosmetics with friends who let her take...

Review of Poems in the Attic

Poems in the Atticby Nikki Grimes; illus. by Elizabeth ZunonPrimary, Intermediate    Lee & Low    48 pp.5/15    978-1-62014-027-7    $19.95    gOn a visit to her grandmother’s house, a little girl finds her mother’s stash of childhood poems in the attic. The poems written by the mom in this story are tanka poems,...

Review of Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal

Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canalby Margarita EngleMiddle School    Houghton    260 pp.3/14    978-0-544-10941-4    $17.99    gOf the thousands of people from around the world who helped build the Panama Canal, the voices of the dark-skinned workers have been seldom heard. Known as the “silver people” because they were paid in...

Review of One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance

One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissanceby Nikki Grimes; illus. by various artistsIntermediate, Middle School, High School   Bloomsbury   120 pp.1/17    978-1-61963-554-8    $18.99e-book ed.  978-1-61963-555-5    $12.99The vibrancy of the Harlem Renaissance is illuminated in Grimes’s provocative poetry collection. In a tribute to the great poets of the...

Poem in Your Pocket Day 2017

Today is Poem in Your Pocket Day — part of the National Poetry Month celebration. Here are two favorite poems, tucked into the pockets of Horn Bookers Shoshana and Katie: Shoshana's pocket poem: "Invitation" by Shel Silverstein Katie's pocket poem: "The Journey" by Mary OliverEditor in chief Roger Sutton says...

Poetry Month

Anyone who is Facebook friends with Roger Sutton knows about his abiding love for poetry; he posts a poem and accompanying photograph nearly every day. Here's The Horn Book's answer to the question "What Makes Good Poetry?"• From the Editor: "Treat a poem like a picture book: read it, read...

Review of Anywhere Farm

Anywhere Farmby Phyllis Root; illus. by G. Brian KarasPrimary    Candlewick    32 pp.3/17    978-0-7636-7499-1    $16.99    g“For an anywhere farm, / here’s all that you need: / soil / and sunshine, / some water, / a seed.” Root’s upbeat Green Eggs and Ham–esque rhyming text details all the...

Review of A Song About Myself

A Song About Myselfby John Keats; illus. by Chris RaschkaPreschool, Primary    Candlewick    40 pp.3/17    978-0-7636-5090-2    $17.99    gRaschka’s exuberant pictures and Keats’s playful nonsense poem make an irresistible combination from the very first page, which begins, “There was a naughty Boy…” A thick band of color...

Chris Raschka on A Song About Myself

Photo by Catherine Wink.In our March/April 2017 issue, reviewer Susan Dove Lempke spoke with Chris Raschka about his free-spirited paintings for a new illustrated edition of John Keats's A Song About Myself. Read the full review.Susan Dove Lempke: Your free-flowing illustrations are a perfect match for this type of child-friendly...

Spring into poetry

Bodden, Valerie  Finding the Rhyme in a PoemIllustrated by Monique FelixGr. K–3     24 pp.     Creative EducationBodden, Valerie Picturing Words in a PoemIllustrated by Monique FelixGr. K–3     24 pp.     Creative EducationBodden, Valerie  Poking Fun in a PoemIllustrated by Etienne DelessertGr. K–3     24 pp.     Creative EducationBodden, Valerie Who Is a Poet?Illustrated by...

At the bottom of my garden

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Oh, I owe some of you fantasy writers an apology. Over on Twitter, I've been pretty hard on your  Capital Letters and apostrophes and archaisms and spelling. Mostly spelling, like "magick," or, gilding the lily, "enmagick."And then there's faery. That's a spelling that has been the fingernails on my personal chalkboard...

Kenn Nesbitt on One Minute till Bedtime

In our January/February 2017 issue, our editors asked poet and selector Kenn Nesbitt about the wide (and somewhat surprising) range of contributors to his new anthology One Minute till Bedtime. Read the full review.Horn Book editors: Not everyone in the collection is someone you’d necessarily think of as a poet....

Review of One Minute till Bedtime: 60-Second Poems to 
Send You Off to Sleep

One Minute till Bedtime: 60-Second Poems to 
Send You Off to Sleepselected by Kenn Nesbitt; 
illus. by Christoph NiemannPreschool, Primary    Little, Brown    168 pp.11/16    978-0-316-34121-9    $19.99A former Children’s Poet Laureate has compiled over 120 short and engaging poems by an impressive number of today’s children’s writers. Here you won’t find...

Review of Somos como las nubes / 
We Are like the Clouds

Somos como las nubes / 
We Are like the Cloudsby Jorge Argueta; illus. by 
Alfonso Ruano; trans. from the Spanish by Elisa AmadoPrimary, Intermediate    Groundwood    32 pp.10/16    978-1-55498-849-5    $18.95e-book ed.  978-1-55498-850-1    $16.95Argueta’s bilingual collection of poems gives voice to the many refugee children who emigrate from Central American countries to...

On Naomi Shihab Nye's "Delicious rhythms" (from March 1997)

Happy New Year! The first morning back to school after winter break was a hard one in our house. No one, including the grownups, wanted to get out of bed, accustomed as we've all been to staying up late and sleeping in. Day two (today) was worse. I don't like...

Teaching poetry

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In a short 6-week module like the one I teach at Harvard Ed School, time is the enemy. My quixotic goal for this too-short class is to expose students to all aspects of children's literature, in breadth and in depth. Of course, every year and there is something I wish...

Folklore and poetry | Class #5, fall 2016

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For our class on November 16, we are reading four books and one article. I like combining these two genres because both need to be read aloud in order to really appreciate them.Folklore has to have a strong voice, as it comes from an oral tradition where storytellers have individual...

Review of Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life

Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Lifeby Ashley Bryan; illus. by the authorPrimary, Intermediate, Middle School    Dlouhy/Atheneum    56 pp.9/16    978-1-4814-5690-6    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-4814-5691-3    $10.99A historical document dated July 5, 1828, lists the property to be sold from the Fairchilds’ estate. Hogs. Cattle. A handmill. Men....

Happy 100th birthday, Roald Dahl!

Roald Dahl wrote a lot, from short stories for adults to fantastical novels for kids. But what I love best about his work is the poetry, which he often tucked into his novels in the form of characters bursting into song. (Those Oompa Loompas had songs in the books with...

How I Discovered Young Adult Poetry - The Zena Sutherland Lecture

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A couple of weeks ago, at a dinner with several poets, one of them said, “You’re lucky, Marilyn: you know how to write poems for the young adult audience.” I laughed and told him he was entirely wrong. I have absolutely no idea how to write for the young adult...

Review of Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science

Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Scienceby Jeannine AtkinsIntermediate, Middle School    Atheneum    198 pp.9/16    978-1-4814-6565-6    $16.99    ge-book ed.  978-1-4814-6567-0    $10.99Atkins (Borrowed Names: Poems About Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C. J. Walker, Marie Curie, and Their Daughters, rev. 5/10) here tells the stories, again in poetry, of three real-life self-taught female...

Review of You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen

You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmenby Carole Boston Weatherford; 
illus. by Jeffery Boston WeatherfordIntermediate, Middle School    Atheneum    82 pp.5/16    978-1-4814-4938-0    $16.99e-book ed.  978-1-4814-4940-3    $10.99Thirty-two poems written in the second person bring to life the experiences of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. Pilots, bombardiers, instructors, maintenance workers, and navigators...

Axel Scheffler’s Flip Flap Jungle app review

A companion to Axel Scheffler’s flip book of the same name, Flip Flap Jungle (Nosy Crow, 2015; iOS only) allows you to create seemingly infinite animals by combining the top half of one and the bottom half of another.Want to see what a parakeet might look like with four furry legs?...

Review of Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks

Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharksby Skila Brown; illus. by Bob KolarPrimary    Candlewick    32 pp.3/16    978-0-7636-6543-2    $16.99Brown begins this playful and illuminating collection by taking a bite out of the most infamous of these ocean predators, the great white shark: “you’re no bully, / just a big attention hog. So /...

Books mentioned in the April 2016 issue of What Makes a Good…?

What Makes Good Poetry?Picture BooksArgueta, Jorge  Salsa: Un poema para cocinar / A Cooking PoemIllustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh32 pp.     Groundwood     2015     ISBN 978-1-55498-442-8Ebook ISBN 978-1-55498-443-5Brown, Skila  Slickety Quick: Poems About SharksIllustrated by Bob Kolar32 pp.     Candlewick     2016     ISBN 978-0-7636-6543-2Greenfield, Eloise  The Great Migration: Journey to the NorthIllustrated by Jan Spivey...

From the Editor - April 2016

I can't think of a genre that scares more book reviewers than poetry (maybe sports books). Perhaps they are afraid that some eagle-eyed reader is going to find out the reviewer doesn't know the difference between a spondee and a dactyl, but, really, this is making the task more difficult...

Recommended Poetry: Young Adult

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Block, Francesca Lia How to (Un)cage a Girl119 pp. HarperCollins/Cotler 2008. ISBN 978-0-06-135836-4Library binding ISBN 978-0-06-135837-1This three-part collection includes forty-five autobiographical poems. Part one details Block's teenage years; part two follows her as an adult; part three contains "Love Poems for Girls." Readers will welcome advice from someone who not...

Recommended Poetry: Preschool and Primary

Argueta, Jorge Salsa: Un poema para cocinar / A Cooking Poem32 pp. Groundwood 2015. ISBN 978-1-55498-442-8Ebook ISBN 978-1-55498-443-5Illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh. This bilingual cooking poem plays on the multiple meanings of salsa for a musical recipe. As a boy and his family prepare salsa roja, his imagination runs wild, with...

Recommended Poetry: Intermediate

Fogliano, Julie When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons56 pp. Roaring Brook/Porter 2016. ISBN 978-1-59643-852-1Illustrated by Julie Morstad. The book begins and ends on "march 20" with a blue bird on a flowering tree branch (and with the same poem). In between are poems for days throughout the year....

Five questions for Joyce Sidman

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Today's foremost nature poet for children, Joyce Sidman published her first lyrical, observant, and scrupulously annotated nature study in 2005, with Song of the Water Boatman & Other Pond Poems, illustrated by Beckie Prange. But Joyce is at home with all manner of subjects, with Before Morning, out this fall,...

Review of Among a Thousand Fireflies

Among a Thousand Firefliesby Helen Frost; photos by Rick LiederPreschool, Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.3/16    978-0-7636-7642-1    $15.99    gFrost and Lieder (Step Gently Out; Sweep Up the Sun) collaborate on a third picture book featuring a poem by Frost illustrated with Lieder’s luminous photographs, this time on the subject 
of fireflies. Frost’s...

An open letter for National Poetry Month

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Dear Mr. Silverstein,dear Ms. Goose,dear Mr. Prelutsky,dear Dr. Seuss,dear Mr. Hughes,and dear Ms. Frost,I’m writing to confessthat I’ve sometimes lostwhatever connects meto a chapbook or a slamthough a big fan of poetryI am. Iamb!It’s just that the volumeof volumes of plotcan fill every bookshelfand schedule slotand sequels and prequelsin pages...

Folklore and poetry | Class #5, 2016

For our class on April 2, we are reading four books and one article. I like combining these two genres because both need to be read aloud in order to really appreciate them.Folklore has to have a strong voice, as it comes from an oral tradition where storytellers have individual...

Poetrees | Class #5, 2016

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As you know if you've read Susan Lempke's article, there are lots and lots of books with poems about a particular subject — enough to read one every day of the school year. As she says, some work better than others as poems.What do you think of this one? Florian...

A Kick In the Head | Class #5, 2016

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This is one of those books for kids that tends to be an eye-opener for most adults, too. Who knew there were this many poetry forms out there?!Notice how the book could be enjoyed by just reading the poems. OR, if you want to learn more, you can see what...

Bob Raczka on Wet Cement

In our May/June 2016 issue, reviewer Sarah Ellis asked Bob Raczka about poetry in unconventional places. Read the starred review of Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems.Sarah Ellis: Have you ever, yourself, written in wet cement or indulged in any other sneaky poetry?Bob Raczka: Sneaky poetry? Hmmm. In my...

Review of Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems

Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poemsby Bob RaczkaPrimary, Intermediate     Roaring Brook    44 pp.3/16     978-1-62672-236-1     $17.99     gGraphic design meets riddle meets visual wordplay in this collection of sturdy and joyful perspectives on the ordinary stuff of the world. Each of the twenty-one offerings consists of a one-word title...

A variety of verses

Poetry can rhyme, or not. It can take interesting shapes, or just use straightforward lines. These collections for primary and intermediate readers are great examples of the many forms poetry can take. Look for our What Makes Good Poetry? newsletter in your inbox on April 27, 2016.When Green Becomes Tomatoes:...

Five questions for Roxane Orgill

Art Kane's spectacular 1958 photograph of fifty-seven jazz greats, Harlem 1958, was the inspiration for Roxane Orgill's poetry collection Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph (Candlewick, 6–9 years), illustrated by Francis Vallejo. With equal measure warmth and humor, confidence and awe, Orgill's poems capture a thrilling moment in...

Marilyn's great speech

Here's a link to the speech Marilyn Nelson gave when she won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Carver in 2001. The awards were given in Burlington, Vermont that October, a very fraught time, as you will recall. I remember that Marilyn's son, then a student at McGill in Montreal,...
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