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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 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 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...

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...

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...

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

Five questions for Elizabeth Acevedo Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo, Quill Tree/HarperCollins. YA Pride fiction 2020 The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta, Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins. Redwood and Ponytail by K. A. Holt, Chronicle. In the Role of Brie Hutchens... by Nicole Melleby, Algonquin. The Midnight Lie by Marie...

Review of Where's Baby?

Where’s Baby? by Anne Hunter; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Tundra    40 pp. 1/20    978-0-7352-6498-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-7352-6499-1    $10.99 “Have you seen Baby, Mama Fox?” Mama Fox feels certain Baby is “somewhere,” and so Papa Fox begins the search, like a game of hide-and-seek. “Ba-by! Are you indoors?...

Review of A Stopwatch from Grampa

A Stopwatch from Grampa by Loretta Garbutt; illus. by Carmen Mok Primary    Kids Can    40 pp. 4/20    978-1-5253-0144-5    $17.99 “When summer started, I got Grampa’s stopwatch. I don’t want his stopwatch. I want him.” The accompanying illustration shows a child sitting all alone on a porch swing, bereft. We next...

Review of Kaia and the Bees

Kaia and the Bees by Maribeth Boelts; illus. by Angela Dominguez Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    40 pp. 3/20    978-1-5362-0105-5    $16.99 Kaia knows that she should appreciate bees, and she would if she weren’t so scared of them. It doesn’t help that her apiarist father cares for two hives on the roof...

Review of Big Papa and the Time Machine

Big Papa and the Time Machine by Daniel Bernstrom; illus. by Shane W. Evans Primary    Harper/HarperCollins    40 pp. 1/20    978-0-06-246331-9    $17.99 As Big Papa drives his (unnamed) grandson to school, he learns that the child would rather not go because he’s scared. The solution? Big Papa’s “time machine” — visually...

Review of In the Role of Brie Hutchens...

In the Role of Brie Hutchens… by Nicole Melleby Middle School    Algonquin    265 pp.    g 4/20    978-1-61620-907-0    $16.95 When the novel opens, thirteen-year-old Brie’s mother almost stumbles upon Brie looking at a soap opera star’s Playboy photos online. Brie distracts her mom by claiming (falsely) that she’s been chosen to...

Review of Redwood and Ponytail

Redwood and Ponytail by K. A. Holt Middle School    Chronicle    417 pp. 10/19    978-1-4521-7288-0    $18.99 Seventh grader Kate’s (“Ponytail”) life is largely defined by pressure from her mom to become captain of the cheerleading squad and by her friends’ similar expectations; less popular, gangly girl Tam (“Redwood”) has had a...

Review of The Black Flamingo

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    409 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-06-299029-7    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-299031-0    $9.99 Winner of the 2020 Stonewall Book Award, this British verse novel by a poet and drag performer offers a welcome exploration of the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality....

Review of What About Worms!?

What About Worms!? [Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!] by Ryan T. Higgins; illus. by the author; with additional illustrations by Mo Willems Primary    Hyperion    64 pp.    g 5/20    978-1-368-04573-5    $9.99 Tiger is BIG. Tiger is BRAVE. Tiger is afraid of nothing...“except worms.” Tiger, a plush Calvin and Hobbes-ian animal with...

Review of The Midnight Lie

The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski High School    Farrar    358 pp. 3/20    978-0-374-30638-0    $18.99 As a member of the Half Kith (the lowest, most oppressed caste in society), Nirrim is focused on avoiding the notice of the militia, who extract tithes of blood, hair, and teeth from Half Kith they...

Review of The Camping Trip

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

Review of Tiny Bird: A Hummingbird's Amazing Journey

Tiny Bird: A Hummingbird’s Amazing Journey by Robert Burleigh; illus. by Wendell Minor Primary    Ottaviano/Holt    40 pp. 4/20    978-1-62779-369-8    $18.99 In the late days of summer in the northeastern United States, a ruby-throated hummingbird (here called Tiny Bird) “feels a pull and knows it must go” on its migration journey...

Review of We Dream of Space

 We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly Intermediate, Middle School    Greenwillow    392 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-06-274730-3    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-274732-7    $9.99 In the foreground of this novel are three siblings. Twelve-year-old Fitch lives for video games and is angry through and through. His twin sister Bird is an amiable,...

Review of Rita & Ralph's Rotten Day

Rita & Ralph’s Rotten Day by Carmen Agra Deedy; illus. by Pete Oswald Preschool, Primary    Scholastic    48 pp. 3/20    978-1-338-21638-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-59927-5    $10.99 Rita and Ralph are best friends. Each day they meet at the apple tree midway between their houses and play games together. One day the...

Review of Tracking Pythons: The Quest to Catch an Invasive Predator and Save an Ecosystem

Tracking Pythons: The Quest to Catch an Invasive Predator and Save an Ecosystem by Kate Messner Intermediate, Middle School    Millbrook    64 pp. 3/20    978-1-5415-5706-2    $31.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5415-8379-5    $31.99 This thoroughly engrossing field guide takes readers into the “scrublands and swamps” of South Florida, where scientists are battling the explosive...

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

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

Review of Stand Up, Yumi Chung!

Stand Up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim Intermediate, Middle School    Kokila/Penguin    314 pp.    g 3/20    978-0-525-55497-4    $16.99 Eleven-year-old Yumi is spending the summer helping her family’s struggling Korean barbecue restaurant in L.A. and studying to earn an academic scholarship to the private school where she has just spent her sixth-grade...

Review of Green on Green

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

2020 Summer Reading Recommendations

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If there’s one book on our 2020 Summer Reading list that speaks best to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s Remy Lai’s Pie in the Sky, about two brothers who find communion in baking, of all things, in order to “adjust to life in an ‘alien’ world.” Sound familiar? Otherwise, my eye...

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

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

Review of Parachutes

Parachutes by Kelly Yang High School    Tegen/HarperCollins    485 pp.    g 5/20    978-0-06-294108-4    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-294113-8    $10.99 Claire lives in Shanghai with her wealthy, image-obsessed, and unhappy family. When Claire’s parents send her to prep school in America, she boards with a fellow student (who’s on scholarship), Filipina American teen...

Review of In My Anaana's Amautik

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

Review of The Crossover

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander; illus. by Dawud Anyabwile Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    218 pp. 9/19    978-1-328-96001-6    $22.99 Paper ed.  978-1-328-57549-4    $12.99 e-book ed.  978-1-358-12816-8    $8.99 Alexander's Newbery Medal–winning verse novel of the same name (rev. 5/14), about African American twins and middle-school b-ballers Josh and JB Bell, is an ideal choice for graphic-novel adaptation, with its on-court action, swaggering narrative voice, and poignant emotional pitches. Anyabwile's (of Alexander's Rebound,...

Review of Clean Getaway

Clean Getaway by Nic Stone; illus. by Dawud Anyabwile Intermediate    Crown    229 pp. 1/20    978-1-9848-9297-3    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-9848-9298-0    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-9299-7    $9.99 When G’ma asks Scoob to go on “a little adventure” during spring break, he doesn’t hesitate to say yes (especially since he’s been grounded for fighting...

Review of Indian No More

Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis with Traci Sorell Intermediate    Tu/Lee & Low    209 pp.    g 9/19    978-1-62014-839-6    $18.95 This novel (based on McManis's childhood) is set against the background of U.S. government actions beginning in the 1940s that terminated the status of many Native Nations and forced relocation of families living on reservations. With a stroke of the pen, in 1954, eight-year-old Regina Petit...

Review of The Dragon Thief

The Dragon Thief by Zetta Elliott; illus. by Geneva B Primary, Intermediate    Random    170 pp.    g 10/19    978-1-5247-7049-5    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-5247-7050-1    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-7051-8    $9.99 According to Aunty, "every problem has a solution." But what if your problem is a dragon that won't stop growing? This sequel to Dragons in a Bag (rev. 9/18) alternates between Jaxon, the previous book's protagonist, and Kavita, sister of Jaxon's best friend Vikram....

Review of Stella Díaz Never Gives Up

Stella Díaz Never Gives Up by Angela Dominguez; illus. by the author Intermediate    Roaring Brook    196 pp. 1/20    978-1-250-22911-3    $16.99 This sequel to Stella Díaz Has Something to Say (rev. 5/18) finds Stella wanting to do something big: save the oceans. After a family vacation to Mexico, Stella (less shy...

Review of Charlie & Mouse Outdoors

Charlie & Mouse Outdoors by Laurel Snyder; illus. by Emily Hughes Primary    Chronicle    48 pp. 3/20    978-1-4521-7066-4    $14.99 Their fourth outing (most recently Charlie & Mouse Even Better, rev. 5/19) takes the siblings into the Great Outdoors for a family camping trip…but first a “Boring” (the title of chapter 1)...

Review of The Quiet Boat Ride and Other Stories

The Quiet Boat Ride and Other Stories [Fox + Chick] by Sergio Ruzzier; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Chronicle    56 pp. 3/19    978-1-4521-5289-9    $14.99 Ruzzier presents three more brief adventures, in hybrid picture-book/early-chapter-book/comic form, about friends Fox and Chick (The Party and Other Stories, rev. 3/18). The first...

Review of Ants Don't Wear Pants!

Ants Don’t Wear Pants! [Giggle and Learn] by Kevin McCloskey; illus. by the author Primary    TOON    40 pp. 9/19    978-1-943145-45-4    $12.95 In this fifth entry in the Giggle and Learn series of nonfiction early-reader comics (most recently, Snails Are Just My Speed, rev. 7/18), two peppy young people investigate ants’...

Review of See Me Play

See Me Play [I Like to Read] by Paul Meisel; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Holiday    32 pp. 6/19    978-0-8234-3832-7    $15.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4314-7    $9.99 The amiable yellow dog from Meisel’s previous entries in the estimable I Like to Read series (including Meisel’s Geisel Honor–winning See Me Run) returns...

Review of Snail & Worm All Day

Snail & Worm All Day by Tina Kügler; illus. by the author Primary    Houghton    32 pp.    g 9/19    978-0-358-06364-3    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-16846-1    $12.99 The two inveterate invertebrate pals (Snail & Worm, rev. 5/16; Snail & Worm Again, rev. 5/17) return in another set of adventures in three easy-reader-style chapters. “Best Day Ever,” as described by...

Review of Hike

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

Review of Summer Song

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

Review of This Place: 150 Years Retold

This Place: 150 Years Retold by various authors; illus. by various artists Middle School, High School    HighWater    265 pp. 5/19    Paper ed.  978-1-55379-758-6    $36.00 
e-book ed.  978-1-55379-782-1    $29.00 This comics anthology celebrates Indigenous peoples and stories of Canada past, present, and future. In a foreword, writer Alicia Elliott asserts that Indigenous people have...

Review of SLAY

SLAY by Brittney Morris High School    Simon Pulse    323 pp. 9/19    978-1-5344-4542-0    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-4544-4    $10.99 "By day, I'm an honors student at Jefferson Academy. At night, I turn into the Nubian goddess most people know as Emerald." Seventeen-year-old narrator Kiera is not just a gamer; she is (secretly) the creator of the hugely popular multiplayer gaming community SLAY, which is...

Review of Wicked as You Wish

Wicked as You Wish by Rin Chupeco High School    Sourcebooks Fire    371 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-4926-7266-1    $17.99 Tala and Alexei are refugees from the magical kingdom of Avalon, living in the troublingly conservative Royal States of America. Alexei, the crown prince of Avalon, can use magic, while Tala has the...
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