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Review of Packs

Packs: Strength in Numbers by Hannah Salyer; illus. by the author Primary    Houghton    48 pp. 1/20    978-1-328-57788-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-16695-5    $12.99 For some animal species, there are evolutionary advantages to social groupings. “Packs, herds, huddles, and pods. Together, we are better.” Salyer introduces young readers to many of the...

Review of Overground Railroad

Overground Railroad by Lesa Cline-Ransome; illus. by James Ransome Primary, Intermediate    Holiday    48 pp. 1/20    978-0-8234-3873-0    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4390-1    $11.99 “Some walked. / Some drove. / But we took the train north.” In 1939, as part of the Great Migration, young Ruth Ellen and her parents leave North Carolina,...

Review of Chicken Little: The Real and Totally True Tale

Chicken Little: The Real and Totally True Tale by Sam Wedelich; illus. by the author Primary    Scholastic    40 pp.    g 6/20    978-1-338-35901-5    $17.99 In this clever spin on the classic tale, Chicken Little makes it clear — right from the get-go — that she’s got plenty of pluck. “Who are...

Review of Lifting as We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box

Lifting as We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box by Evette Dionne Middle School, High School    Viking    176 pp.    g 4/20    978-0-45148-154-2    $19.99 In her preface, “Not the History You Learned in School,” Dionne sets the historical scene with the 2016 presidential campaign. Having...

Review of Willa the Wisp

Willa the Wisp [The Fabled Stables] by Jonathan Auxier; illus. by Olga Demidova Primary    Amulet/Abrams    96 pp.    g 10/20    978-1-4197-4269-9    $12.99 “At the top of the world sat an island. And at the heart of that island lived a boy named Auggie.” So begins this early chapter book full of...

Review of You Matter

You Matter by Christian Robinson; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Atheneum    40 pp.    g 6/20    978-1-5344-2169-1    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-2170-7    $10.99 No saccharine self-esteem book, this is a powerful affirmation of each reader’s worth. Robinson’s text is loaded with child appeal (“When everyone thinks you’re a pest. / When...

Review of The Complete and Original Norwegian Folktales of Asbjørnsen and Moe

The Complete and Original Norwegian Folktales of Asbjørnsen and Moe by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe; trans. from Norwegian by Tiina Nunnally Intermediate    University of Minnesota    320 pp.    g 9/19    978-1-5179-0568-2    $34.95 Asbjørnsen and Moe first published their Norske folkeeventyr (“Norwegian folktales”) as a pamphlet in 1841; through the...

Books mentioned in the September 2020 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Evette Dionne Lifting as We Climb: Black Women's Battle for the Ballot Box by Evette Dionne, Viking. Be a changemaker Jane Against the World: Roe v. Wade and the Fight for Reproductive Rights by Karen Blumenthal; Roaring Brook. Ms. Gloria Steinem: A Life by Winifred Conkling; Feiwel....

From the Editor - September 2020

The lyric “You can’t live with ’em, you can’t live without ’em” from The Muppet Movie got stuck in my head last week as I was working on our siblings section for this month’s Notes. Perhaps it was my subconscious’s way of telling me something (though my older sister and...

Animal friends (and frenemies)

Last week we highlighted the fiftieth anniversary edition of Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad Are Friends, a book which arguably introduced one of the most famous animal pairings in children’s literature. The following five recent offerings for primary readers (and “What (Exactly) IS an Easy Reader?” anyway?) continue in that...

Siblings: You can’t live with ’em, you can’t live without ’em

The relatable main characters in these five recent novels for middle-grade readers learn that siblings can go on magical adventures together, look after each other, provide inspiration, serve as unlikely allies, help one another find their place, and so much more. Check out the siblings tag on our website for...

Be a changemaker

In addition to the Black women suffragists whom Evette Dionne spotlights in Lifting as We Climb, history is filled with people making a difference tackling important social issues by bringing awareness and/or being an activist. Here are six such nonfiction stories for middle school and teen readers. Jane Against the...

Five questions for Evette Dionne

Last month, in recognition of the Nineteenth Amendment’s centennial, we featured Lifting as We Climb (Viking, 12 years and up) by Evette Dionne among other books about women’s suffrage. The subtitle of Dionne’s book, however, focuses readers’ attention on a very specific, vital, and too-frequently overlooked — and/or whitewashed —...

Review of Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks

Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Slade; illus. by Cozbi A. Cabrera Primary, Intermediate    Abrams    48 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-4197-3411-3    $17.99 Gwendolyn Brooks (1917–2000) grew up on the South Side of Chicago “with little money to spare,” but her childhood home was rich in volumes of...

Review of Baloney and Friends

Baloney and Friends by Greg Pizzoli; illus. by the author Primary    Disney-Hyperion    87 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-368-05454-6    $12.99 In this energetic and amusing comics-styled easy reader, Baloney — an amiable orange pig — interacts with his friends Bizz (a bumblebee), Peanut (a blue horse), and Krabbit (an often crabby and...

Review of One Golden Rule at School: A Counting Book

One Golden Rule at School: A Counting Book by Selina Alko; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Ottaviano/Holt    40 pp.    g 6/20    978-1-250-16381-3    $17.99 Within the familiar rhythms and routines of a school day, viewers count from one (“One backpack”) to ten (“Ten chickpeas lined up for lunch”) and back...

Review of Frog and Toad Are Friends

Frog and Toad Are Friends [I Can Read Book] by Arnold Lobel; illus. by the author Primary    Harper/HarperCollins    72 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-06-298343-5    $18.99 Here is a welcome new edition of this iconic, Caldecott Honor–winning easy reader, reissued with a section at the end of seven pages of background material....

Review of How to Solve a Problem: The Rise (and Falls) of a Rock-Climbing Champion

How to Solve a Problem: The Rise (and Falls) of a Rock-Climbing Champion by Ashima Shiraishi; illus. by Yao Xiao Primary    Make Me a World/Random    40 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-5247-7327-4    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-5247-7328-1    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-7329-8    $10.99 With a voice that’s distinctive, lyrical, and inspiring, teenage rock-climber Shiraishi...

Review of Eight Princesses and a Magic Mirror

Eight Princesses and a Magic Mirror by Natasha Farrant; illus. by Lydia Corry Intermediate    Norton    217 pp.    g 5/20    978-1-324-01556-7    $19.95 The framing structure for this collection of princess stories is elaborate. When an enchantress is invited to be the godmother to a princess, she realizes that she doesn’t know...

Review of 13 Stories About Harris

13 Stories About Harris by Amy Schwartz; illus. by the author Preschool    Holiday    40 pp.    g 7/20    978-0-8234-4249-2    $18.99 Thirteen short stories follow city dweller Harris on preschooler-sized adventures. A very few seem geared toward adult sensibilities; most tap directly into authentic early-childhood behaviors and experiences. Harris, completely absorbed in...

Review of We Are Not Free

We Are Not Free by Traci Chee Middle School, High School    Houghton    386 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-358-13143-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-33000-4    $9.99 Chee follows up her successful fantasy trilogy (The Reader and sequels) with this very different work of historical fiction, drawing on her personal family and cultural history for...

Review of A Thousand Glass Flowers: Marietta Barovier and the Invention of the Rosetta Bead

A Thousand Glass Flowers: Marietta Barovier and the Invention of the Rosetta Bead by Evan Turk; illus. by the author Primary    Atheneum    48 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-5344-1034-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-1035-0    $10.99 In fifteenth-century northern Italy, on the island of Murano, where glassmakers thrived, lived young Marietta Barovier. Marietta dreamed...

Review of One Year at Ellsmere

One Year at Ellsmere by Faith Erin Hicks; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    First Second/Roaring Brook    172 pp.    g 7/20    978-1-250-21909-1    $22.99 Paper ed.  978-1-250-21910-7    $14.99 Originally published as The War at Ellsmere in 2008 (by SLG Publishing) and now back in print with revamped art, this graphic...

Review of A Sporting Chance: How Ludwig Guttmann Created the Paralympic Games

A Sporting Chance: How Ludwig Guttmann Created the Paralympic Games by Lori Alexander; illus. by Allan Drummond Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    128 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-328-58079-5    $17.99 Before Dr. Ludwig Guttmann (1899–1980), there was no treatment for a broken spine; paraplegics were deemed incurable and usually died in a matter...

Review of The One and Only Bob

The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate; illus. by Patricia Castelao Intermediate    Harper/HarperCollins    338 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-06-299131-7    $18.99 Applegate revisits the beloved cast of characters from her Newbery Medal–winning The One and Only Ivan (rev. 1/12), but this time from a different viewpoint. Bob, the tenacious mutt (“some...

Review of Sun and Moon Have a Tea Party

Sun and Moon Have a Tea Party by Yumi Heo; illus. by Naoko Stoop Primary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    40 pp.    g 7/20    978-0-385-39033-0    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-385-39034-7    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-385-39035-4    $10.99 Sun and Moon meet for a late-afternoon tea party and discover the disparities between their worldviews. As they...

Review of Winter in Wartime

Winter in Wartime by Jan Terlouw; trans. from Dutch by Laura Watkinson Intermediate    NYRB    220 pp.    g Paper ed.  978-1-68137-426-0    $12.99 e-book ed.  978-1-68137-427-7    $9.99 In a village in the Netherlands, in the winter of 1944–45, teen Michiel van Beusekom becomes involved in anti-Nazi resistance activities — hiding and feeding...

Review of The Fabled Life of Aesop

The Fabled Life of Aesop by Ian Lendler; illus. by Pamela Zagarenski Primary    Houghton    64 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-328-58552-3    $18.99 Lendler gives depth to a collection of Aesop’s fables by incorporating them into the story of their teller’s life. Working off what few facts scholars have pieced together from historical...

Review of I Am Here Now

I Am Here Now by Barbara Bottner High School    Imprint/Macmillan    347 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-250-20769-2    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-250-20770-8    $9.99 Fourteen-year-old Maisie characterizes her 1960s coming-of-age in the Bronx as “one of those fairy tales / where the witch eats the child.” And for good reason. Her perfume mogul dad...

Review of Finish the Fight!: The Brave and Revolutionary Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote

Finish the Fight!: The Brave and Revolutionary Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote by Veronica Chambers and members of the staff of the New York Times; illus. by various artists Intermediate, Middle School    Versify/Houghton    144 pp.    g 8/20    978-0-358-40830-7    $18.99    e-book ed....

Review of How Women Won the Vote: Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, and Their Big Idea

How Women Won the Vote: Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, and Their Big Idea by Susan Campbell Bartoletti; illus. by Ziyue Chen Primary, Intermediate    Harper/HarperCollins    80 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-06-284130-8    $18.99 This well-sourced account of the fight for American women’s suffrage begins in 1909 at a protest march in London. It...

Review of The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story

The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story by Tina Cho; illus. by Jess X. Snow Primary    Kokila/Penguin    48 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-9848-1486-9    $17.99 Young Korean girl Dayeon admires her diver grandmother (“You are like a treasure-hunting mermaid”) and wants to be like her. Grandma is a haenyeo, one of many...

Five questions for Ryan T. Higgins

In young dino Penelope Rex’s picture-book debut, she learned that We Don’t Eat Our Classmates. Now the pony-loving T. rex is back in Ryan T. Higgins’s We Will Rock Our Classmates (Disney-Hyperion, 4–7 years). Readers discover her equally passionate love of rock ’n’ roll when she signs up for the...

Books mentioned in the August 2020 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Ryan T. Higgins We Will Rock Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins, Disney-Hyperion. September learning One Golden Rule at School: A Counting Book by Selina Alko, Ottaviano/Holt. Swing by Michael Hall, Greenwillow. Field Trip to the Ocean Deep by John Hare, Ferguson/Holiday. Nana Akua Goes to School...

From the Editor - August 2020

1
I can only laugh, mordantly, as we send you this, our annual Back-to-School issue of Notes from the Horn Book. There are some funny (We Will Rock Our Classmates), adventurous (Field Trip to the Ocean Deep), courageous (Something to Say), and sporting (Dragon Hoops) choices among them, but much as...

YA realism (for a weird year)

These YA books — three novels and a graphic memoir — document what can be a tumultuous and transitional time in people’s lives; this school year, especially, stories of tumult — and triumph — may be appreciated by readers. See also Go with the Flow by Lily Williams and Karen...

Middle-grade/middle-school stories and struggles

Middle-graders and middle-schoolers, who are on the cusp of adolescence during an especially challenging time, may take comfort or inspiration from the following school-set stories about young people dealing with personal challenges. See also We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly (Greenwillow); and for pure escapist ridiculousness, Louis Sachar’s...

September learning

No matter what form learning takes starting in the fall, the following picture books may entertain, and perhaps even enlighten, young readers. See also The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard; illus. by Oge Mora (Schwartz & Wade/Random); and for silliness The Cool Bean...

Review of Race Through the Skies: The Week the World Learned to Fly

Race Through the Skies: The Week the World Learned to Fly by Martin W. Sandler Middle School    Bloomsbury    185 pp.    g 7/20    978-1-5476-0344-2    $24.99 The rate of innovation during the first decade of flight is as astounding now as it must have been at the time. Sandler’s compelling look at...

Review of The Feminist Agenda of Jemima Kincaid

The Feminist Agenda of Jemima Kincaid by Kate Hattemer High School    Knopf    293 pp.    g 2/20    978-1-9848-4912-0    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-9848-4913-7    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-4914-4    $10.99 Jemima serves with the Senior Triumvirate at her tradition-steeped prep school, and though she’s invested in her role, she’s also eager to shake up...

Review of Brown Girl Ghosted

Brown Girl Ghosted by Mintie Das High School    Houghton    289 pp.    g 3/20    978-0-358-12889-2    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-13130-4    $9.99 Sixteen-year-old Violet Choudhury is a cheerleader; the best friend of Meryl, a popular iconoclast; and a daughter who never knew her dead mother and barely sees her largely absent father. She’s...

Review of We Didn't Ask for This

We Didn’t Ask for This by Adi Alsaid High School    Inkyard    352 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-335-14676-2    $18.99 At a worldly and diverse K–12 private school in an unnamed country outside the U.S., the high schoolers look forward to the school’s legendary lock-in, planning all year for sanctioned events such as...

Review of Something to Say

Something to Say by Lisa Moore Ramée; illus. by Bre Indigo Intermediate, Middle School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    373 pp.    g 7/20    978-0-06-283671-7    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-283673-1    $9.99 Janae is a loner and plans to keep it that way in middle school, that is, until she meets outgoing, audacious Aubrey, who...

Review of Things Seen from Above

Things Seen from Above by Shelley Pearsall; illus. by Xingye Jin Intermediate    Knopf    262 pp. 2/20    978-1-5247-1739-1    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-5247-1740-7    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-1741-4    $9.99 April, beginning sixth grade and dealing with her own friendship issues, takes an interest in a younger student with puzzling behaviors and a surprising...

Review of Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe

Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe by Carlos Hernandez Intermediate, Middle School    Riordan/Disney-Hyperion    421 pp.    g 5/20    978-1-368-02283-5    $16.99 Sal and Gabi are back in the sequel to Pura Belpré Award–winning Sal & Gabi Break the Universe, only this time they have to fix the universe — and during tech...

Review of One Time

One Time by Sharon Creech Intermediate   Cotler/HarperCollins    272 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-06-257074-1    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-06-257075-8    $17.89 e-book ed.  978-0-06-257077-2    $9.99 Gina Filomena, eleven, has been told that she has an overactive imagination. Few teachers or classmates have seen this as a gift until the new language arts teacher, Miss...

Review of Love, Love

Love, Love by Victoria Chang Intermediate, Middle School    Sterling    214 pp.    g 6/20    978-1-4549-3832-3    $16.95 This semiautobiographical verse novel begins with eleven-year-old Chinese American girl Frances Chin witnessing an attack on her older sister, Clara, behind their school. (Frances herself has endured taunts centered on race: “you’re SO SO ugly...

Review of Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero

Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero by Kelly J. Baptist Intermediate, Middle School    Crown    195 pp.    g 8/20    978-0-593-12136-8    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-593-12137-5    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-0-593-12138-2    $9.99 Isaiah Dunn is not your typical hero. Heroes usually win, but Isaiah seems to experience a lot of losses: losing his father on...

Review of Nana Akua Goes to School

Nana Akua Goes to School by Tricia Elam Walker; illus. by April Harrison Primary    Schwartz & Wade/Random    40 pp.    g 6/20    978-0-525-58113-0    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-525-58114-7    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-525-58115-4    $10.99 Although her grandmother, Nana Akua, is her “favorite person in the whole universe,” young Zura is not excited about...

Review of Field Trip to the Ocean Deep

Field Trip to the Ocean Deep by John Hare; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Ferguson/Holiday    40 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-8234-4630-8    $17.99 Hare’s follow-up to Field Trip to the Moon (rev. 9/19) again features a compelling setting, a not-too-scary adventure, and immersive illustrations. This wordless story begins on the book’s...

Review of Swing

Swing by Michael Hall; illus. by the author Preschool    Greenwillow    40 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-06-286617-2    $17.99 The title spread introduces a school — a place of learning and growth — where outside the classroom window a swing set stands empty and waiting. A letter L sits alone on one of...

Review of Clap When You Land

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo High School    Quill Tree/HarperCollins    422 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-06-288276-9    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-288278-3    $11.99 In this sharp and compelling verse novel (a 2020 Boston Globe–Horn Book honoree), sixteen-year-old Camino Rios lives in the Dominican Republic and dreams of medical school. Sixteen-year-old Yahaira Rios...

Review of We Will Rock Our Classmates

We Will Rock Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins; illus. by the author Primary    Disney-Hyperion    48 pp.    g 7/20    978-1-368-05959-6    $17.99 This second installment about T. rex Penelope (We Don’t Eat Our Classmates, rev. 9/18) centers on the school talent show. Penelope loves to rock and roll, and using her...

Review of Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom

Wayside School Beneath the Cloud of Doom [Wayside School] by Louis Sachar; illus. by Tim Heitz Intermediate    Harper/HarperCollins    182 pp.    g 3/20    978-0-06-296538-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-296542-4    $10.99 Yes, per the introductory author's note to this fourth book about the wacky elementary school, it's been forty years since the first...

Review of A Bowl Full of Peace: A True Story

A Bowl Full of Peace: A True Story by Caren Stelson; illus. by Akira Kusaka Intermediate, Middle School    Carolrhoda    40 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-5415-2148-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5415-8219-4    $18.95 Each evening Sachiko’s family gathers around their table in Nagasaki, Japan. Before the Second World War, Grandmother’s bowl is the centerpiece...

Review of War at the Snow White Motel and Other Stories

War at the Snow White Motel and Other Stories by Tim Wynne-Jones Intermediate, Middle School    Groundwood    245 pp.    g 5/20    978-1-77306-047-7    $16.95 e-book ed.  978-1-77306-048-4    $11.99 Most of the protagonists in these nine short stories are twelve years old and bumping into the realities of human nature — their own...

Review of Good Guys, Bad Guys

Good Guys, Bad Guys by Joanne Rocklin; illus. by Nancy Carpenter Preschool, Primary    Abrams    32 pp.    g 5/20    978-1-4197-3417-5    $16.99 Rocklin and Carpenter present a ­rollicking homage to neighborhood kid–­summertime play. The story begins on the title-page spread as two children get ready to greet the morning. On the left-hand...

Review of On the Horizon

On the Horizon by Lois Lowry; illus. by Kenard Pak Middle School, High School    Houghton    80 pp.    g 4/20    978-0-358-12940-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-12938-7    $9.99 In a poetry collection that’s as much structure as style and theme, Lowry considers two events: the bombings of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. In the...

Review of You're Invited to a Moth Ball: A Nighttime Insect Celebration

You’re Invited to a Moth Ball: A Nighttime Insect Celebration by Loree Griffin Burns; photos by Ellen Harasimowicz Primary    Charlesbridge    40 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-58089-686-3    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-63289-834-0    $9.99 With her latest book, Burns (Tracking Trash, rev. 3/07; The Hive Detectives, rev. 5/10) has earned the right to add...

Review of Echo Mountain

Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk Intermediate, Middle School    Dutton    359 pp.    g 4/20    978-0-525-55556-8    $17.99 Since the Great Depression forced twelve-year-old Ellie’s family to move from town up to Echo Mountain, she hasn’t known how to interact with her mother and older sister; they miss their former life and blame...

Review of Bo the Brave

Bo the Brave by Bethan Woollvin; illus. by the author Primary    Peachtree    32 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-68263-182-9    $17.99 When Bo’s two older brothers, Erik and Ivan, set off from the castle on a quest to hunt a monster, they refuse to allow her to join, sneering that she’s too little....

Reviews of 2020 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 2020 winners.   A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation by Barry Wittenstein; illus....

Review of Ms. Gloria Steinem: A Life

Ms. Gloria Steinem: A Life by Winifred Conkling Middle School, High School    Feiwel    305 pp.    g 6/20    978-1-250-24457-4    $19.99 Conkling (Radioactive!, rev. 3/16; Votes for Women!, rev. 3/18) opens this insightful biography of the feminist icon with a close call. In 1956, when she was twenty-two, Steinem called off wedding...

Review of Felix Ever After

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    357 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-06-282025-9    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-282027-3    $10.99 At seventeen, Felix Love feels marginalized as a Black teen, an aspiring artist, and a trans male. His mom left the family when he was ten, and although his...

Review of The Blue House

The Blue House by Phoebe Wahl; illus. by the author Primary    Knopf    40 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-9848-9336-9    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-9848-9337-6    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-9338-3    $10.99 Wahl’s picture book tells an affecting story about loss and starting over. In it, interdependent text and art channel a Molly Bang–like artistic style...

Review of How to Find a Bird

How to Find a Bird by Jennifer Ward; illus. by Diana Sudyka Preschool, Primary    Beach Lane/Simon    48 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-4814-6705-6    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-6706-3    $10.99 “There are a lot of ways to find a bird.” The two children in this enticing and beautiful picture book demonstrate how. After doing...

Review of Daring Darleen, Queen of the Screen

Daring Darleen, Queen of the Screen by Anne Nesbet Intermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    357 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-5362-0619-7    $18.99 “Sometimes the real danger is not what you thought it would be at all.” So begins the story of Darleen, young (fictional) star of silent movie serials. It is 1914, and...

Review of We Are Water Protectors

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom; illus. by Michaela Goade Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-250-20355-7    $17.99 The book opens with a young Indigenous girl collecting water with her grandmother, who tells her that “water is the first medicine.” Vibrant blues, greens, and purples depict the river...

Five questions for Monica Brown

In the picture-book biography Sharuko: El arqueólogo Peruano Julio C. Tello / Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello, illustrated by Elisa Chavarri; translated into Spanish by Adriana Domínguez (Children’s/Lee & Low, 6–9 years), author Monica Brown tells the story of Julio C. Tello, “one of the most important archaeologists in all...

Review of Sharuko: El arqueologo peruano Julio C. Tello / Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello

Sharuko: El arqueólogo Peruano Julio C. Tello / Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello by Monica Brown; illus. by Elisa Chavarri; trans. into Spanish by Adriana Domínguez Primary, Intermediate    Children’s/Lee & Low    40 pp.    g 8/20    978-0-89239-423-4    $19.95 This picture-book biography of Peruvian archaeologist and educator Julio C. Tello (1880–1947) forefronts...

Books mentioned in the July 2020 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Monica Brown Sharuko: El arqueólogo Peruano Julio C. Tello / Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello by Monica Brown, illus. by Elisa Chavarri, trans. into Spanish by Adriana Domínguez, Children's/Lee. Exploration and curiosity Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner by Janice N. Harrington, illus....

From the Editor - July 2020

Did you miss the Speeches? We have them — the Coretta Scott King, Newbery, Caldecott, and Legacy acceptance speeches — in the latest issue of The Horn Book Magazine. Print subscribers should be receiving the issue per usual; it is also available in digital format for all comers for free....

Review of With a Star in My Hand: Rubén Darío, Poetry Hero

With a Star in My Hand: Rubén Darío, Poetry Hero by Margarita Engle Middle School, High School    Atheneum    150 pp.    g 2/20    978-1-5344-2493-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-2495-1    $10.99 Written in first person, this heartfelt verse novel tells the fictionalized story of Rubén Darío (based on his autobiography), who was born...

Middle school and YA verse novels and poetry

Encourage middle- and high schoolers to read poetry beyond National Poetry Month by sharing with them these four historically set books in verse. And also check out 2020 Boston Globe–Horn Book Fiction and Poetry honor book verse novel Clap When You Land and our Five Questions interview with author Elizabeth...

Review of The Book of Fatal Errors

The Book of Fatal Errors by Dashka Slater Intermediate    Farrar    322 pp.    g 7/20    978-0-374-30119-4    $16.99 Slater (winner of a Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction honor for The 57 Bus, rev. 1/18) here presents an entertaining, fantastical summertime story. Twelve-year-old Rufus’s grandfather lives at Feylawn, an estate overtaken by nature and,...

Review of Worse Than Weird

Worse Than Weird by Jody J. Little Intermediate, Middle School    Harper/HarperCollins    265 pp. 3/20    978-06-285258-8    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-285253-3    $7.99 Expressing disapproval of one’s parents’ values and lifestyles is a rite of passage for many tweens, and Mac (short for MacKenna MacKensie MacLeod) is no exception. Her family lives off...

Kids in summer

This may not be a typical summer for most kids, but that doesn’t mean middle-grade readers can’t embark on summertime adventures with the characters in these four new novels. And don’t miss Lucy Knisley’s recent summer-set graphic novel Stepping Stones or our Five Questions interview with the author/illustrator from the...

Review of The Water Bears

The Water Bears by Kim Baker Intermediate    Lamb/Random    264 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-9848-5220-5    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-9848-5221-2    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-5222-9    $9.99 Newt Gomez dreams of leaving Murphy Island, his isolated home in the Pacific Northwest — especially after he was attacked by a bear a year ago, which left...

Review of Cityscape: Where Science and Art Meet

Cityscape: Where Science and Art Meet by April Pulley Sayre Preschool, Primary    Greenwillow    40 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-06-289331-4    $17.99 Sayre (Warbler Wave, rev. 3/18; Being Frog, rev. 1/20) has a knack for pairing minimalist poetry with dramatic photographs. Here she turns her attention to urban settings where “science, math, art...

Exploration and curiosity

Channel the inquisitive Sharuko with the following nonfiction picture books, which encourage readers’ curiosity about the outdoors (city or country; in-person or virtually). Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner by Janice N. Harrington; illus. by Theodore Taylor III Primary    Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills    48 pp. 11/19    978-1-62979-558-4   ...

Review of Whose Footprint Is THAT?

Whose Footprint Is THAT? by Darrin Lunde; illus. by Kelsey Oseid Preschool, Primary    Charlesbridge    32 pp. 10/19    978-1-58089-834-8    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-63289-721-3    $9.99 Following the format of Whose Poop Is THAT? (rev. 3/17), Lunde poses the title question seven times about seven different animals in a series of four-page sequences,...

Review of Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner

Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner by Janice N. Harrington; illus. by Theodore Taylor III Primary    Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills    48 pp. 11/19    978-1-62979-558-4    $18.99 This picture-book biography of renowned African American entomologist Turner (1867–1923) begins with a signature quote: “The study of biology trains the powers...

Review of Again Again

Again Again by E. Lockhart High School    Delacorte    293 pp.    g 6/20    978-0-385-74479-9    $18.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-99185-1    $21.99 e-book ed.  978-0-385-39139-9    $10.99 In this novel set in the same world as The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (rev. 5/08), Lockhart explores the intersection between love and the multiverse. The summer...

Review of Whoo-Ku Haiku: A Great Horned Owl Story

Whoo-Ku Haiku: A Great Horned Owl Story by Maria Gianferrari; illus. by Jonathan Voss Primary    Putnam    32 pp.    g 3/20    978-0-399-54842-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-399-54843-7    $9.99 Readers follow a pair of great horned owls and their owlets from winter into the next autumn in this life-cycle narrative told in haiku....

Review of Most Wanted: The Revolutionary Partnership of John Hancock & Samuel Adams

Most Wanted: The Revolutionary Partnership of John Hancock & Samuel Adams by Sarah Jane Marsh; illus. by Edwin Fotheringham Intermediate    Little, Brown    80 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-368-02683-3    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-368-06129-2    $12.99 Here readers meet the original American political odd couple: Samuel Adams, the serious and staunch patriot, and John...

Review of Red Hood

Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    357 pp. 2/20    978-0-06-274253-3    $18.99 After a consensual (and vividly described) sexual encounter with her boyfriend that, to her surprise, ends in her beginning to menstruate for the first time, sixteen-year-old Bisou is attacked by a wolf on her...

Review of Everyone's Awake

Everyone’s Awake by Colin Meloy; illus. by Shawn Harris Primary    Chronicle    48 pp. 3/20    978-1-4521-7805-9    $17.99 Meloy and Harris depict one family’s anarchical bedtime routine within their ramshackle lighthouse-esque domicile. ­Rollicking rhymes, narrated by a young family member, set the scene: “We all got / tucked in early. / A...

Review of In Search of Safety: Voices of Refugees

In Search of Safety: Voices of Refugees by Susan Kuklin; photos by the author Middle School, High School    Candlewick    246 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-7636-7960-6    $24.99 Hewing to a definition of refugees as “people who are forced to leave their country because they are being persecuted,” Kuklin profiles five such young...

Review of The Phantom Twin

The Phantom Twin by Lisa Brown; illus. by the author Middle School, High School    First Second/Roaring Brook    206 pp. 3/20    978-1-62672-925-4    $24.99 Paper ed.  978-1-62672-924-7    $17.99 In this dark graphic novel with an unconventional cast and setting — an ode to outsiders, “freaks,” and misfits everywhere — Jane and Isabel...

Review of Jules vs. the Ocean

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

Celebrate Juneteenth

Today is Juneteenth, a day of celebration for many, who commemorate June 19th, 1865, the date enslaved people in Texas finally learned of their emancipation. To view three recommended books on the subject, click here. For even more discussion of this day, read this Floyd Cooper Talks with Roger and also Robin...

Review of Solar Story: How One Community Lives Alongside the World's Biggest Solar Plant

Solar Story: How One Community Lives Alongside the World’s Biggest Solar Plant by Allan Drummond; illus. by the author Primary    Farrar    40 pp. 3/20    978-0-374-30899-5    $18.99 Expanding his series of picture books on environmentally friendly community projects (see Green City, rev. 1/16; and Pedal Power, rev. 1/17), Drummond takes readers...

Review of Mañanaland

Mañanaland by Pam Muñoz Ryan Intermediate, Middle School    Scholastic    254 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-338-15786-4    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-15788-8    $11.99 Growing up in Santa Maria, a (fictional) country “somewhere in the Américas,” Maximiliano Córdoba is familiar with the legends of the Guardians and the Hidden Ones they led to safety —...

Review of A New Green Day

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

Big life changes

Change is never easy to deal with (and it’s particularly hard for everyone right now), but these recent books for middle-graders may help readers feel less alone in their experiences. Leaving Lymon by Lesa Cline-Ransome Intermediate, Middle School    Holiday    199 pp. 1/20    978-0-8234-4442-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4633-9    $10.99 Lymon Caldwell,...

YA Pride fiction 2020

June is Pride month. Here are some recent books for middle schoolers and high schoolers about LGBTQIA+ young people coming into their own identities. See also Elizabeth Acevedo’s Clap When You Land (a 2020 Boston Globe–Horn Book Fiction and Poetry honoree; read our review in the upcoming July/August Horn Book...

Five questions for Elizabeth Acevedo

In Clap When You Land (Quill Tree/HarperCollins, 14 years and up), two teens — Camino, who lives in the Dominican Republic, and Yahaira, who lives in New York City — discover they are half-sisters after their father perishes in a plane crash. Told in alternating verse, the story — winner...

Review of Hello, Neighbor!: The Kind and Caring World of Mister Rogers

Hello, Neighbor!: The Kind and Caring World of Mister Rogers by Matthew Cordell; illus. by the author Primary    Porter/Holiday    40 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-8234-4618-6    $18.99 This authorized biography of Fred Rogers opens as did his iconic television program, with a stoplight flashing yellow, signaling that it is time to slow...

From the Editor - June 2020

It is a tough time for celebration, that’s for sure. But in this issue of Notes we recommend books for "Pride" and books for "Father’s Day," and I hope those who observe these holidays find a way to do so amidst the at-once turbulent and static conditions we are facing....

Father's Day picture books 2020

For Father’s Day — June 21 — here are some recent picture books that celebrate loving fathers and father figures. See also The Blue House by Phoebe Wahl in the upcoming July/August issue of the Horn Book Magazine (“It’s notable to see a single-father, working-class household represented…”) and our recently...
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