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Review of Mel Fell

Mel Fell by Corey R. Tabor; illus. by the author Primary    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    40 pp.    g 2/21    978-0-06-287801-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-308952-5    $12.99 This playful and innovatively designed book tells the story of a small bird who is eager to fly. When Mama leaves the tree one day, Mel...

Review of The Book of Not Entirely Useful Advice

The Book of Not Entirely Useful Advice by A. F. Harrold; illus. by Mini Grey Intermediate    Bloomsbury    160 pp.    g 3/21    978-1-5476-0677-1    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5476-0678-8    $13.99 Harrold (The Song from Somewhere Else, rev. 5/17) presents poems (a few repurposed from previous collections) full of practical and not-so-practical insights on...

Five questions for Linda Sue Park

The One Thing You’d Save (Clarion, 9–13 years) written by Linda Sue Park begins with a teacher’s question: “Imagine that your home is on fire. You’re allowed to save one thing. Your family and pets are safe, so don’t worry about them. Your Most Important Thing. Any size. A grand...

Review of Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood

Gone to the Woods: Surviving a Lost Childhood by Gary Paulsen Intermediate, Middle School    Farrar    368 pp.    g 1/21    978-0-374-31415-6    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-374-31416-3    $10.99 The prolific Paulsen dips into his seemingly inexhaustible well of memories to pen yet another memoir. Employing the same third-person narrative voice he used in...

Books mentioned in the April 2021 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Linda Sue Park The One Thing You'd Save by Linda Sue Park, illus. by Robert Sae-Heng; Clarion. New for National Poetry Month 2021 Niños: Poems for the Lost Children of Chile by María José Ferrada, illus. by María Elena Valdez, trans. from Spanish by Lawrence Schimel; Eerdmans....

From the Editor - April 2021

It is National Poetry Month, and the books selected by our editors for this issue of Notes remind me of how pliable our definition of poetry has had to become: it can be poetry-poetry, as in the collections by Naomi Shihab Nye, Jack Prelutsky, and Nikki Grimes reviewed above; but...

AAPI stories and voices

The following six YA titles center Asian American and Pacific Islander stories and voices, both in fiction and nonfiction — especially vital in a climate of rising violence. May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and we’ll be posting more links and booklists throughout the month. See also this year’s...

For Earth Day: Protecting animals

With Earth Day just around the corner (April 22), look to these engaging and accessible nonfiction picture books to demonstrate the importance of appreciating animal species. See also our 50th anniversary celebration of Earth Day, from last year, and look for more from us on the day itself. Crossings: Extraordinary...

Review of Dear Treefrog

Dear Treefrog by Joyce Sidman; illus. by Diana Sudyka Primary    Houghton    40 pp.    g 5/21    978-0-358-06476-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-06671-2    $12.99 In what is in essence a nonfiction early-chapter-book in verse, a young girl moves to a new home. She’s lonely, but when she explores the garden, she observes a...

Review of Starfish

Starfish by Lisa Fipps Intermediate, Middle School    Paulsen/Penguin    256 pp.    g 3/21    978-1-9848-1450-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-1451-7    $10.99 Since she was five, Ellie (now eleven) has lived by a list of Fat Girl Rules: “Make yourself small”; “Move slowly so / your fat doesn’t jiggle”; “When you hear laughter, /...

New for National Poetry Month 2021

April is National Poetry Month, and the following seven titles, for middle-grade and up, represent the variety — and appeal — of the form. See also our Five Questions interview with Linda Sue Park about her new illustrated verse novel The One Thing You’d Save; along with Jacqueline Woodson’s 2021...

Review of The One Thing You'd Save

The One Thing You’d Save by Linda Sue Park; illus. by Robert Sae-Heng Intermediate, Middle School    Clarion    72 pp.    g 3/21    978-1-328-51513-1    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-52601-8    $9.99 Ms. Chang has asked her students to think about what one thing they would save — beyond their families and pets — if...

Review of Amber & Clay

Amber & Clay by Laura Amy Schlitz; illus. by Julia Iredale Middle School, High School    Candlewick    544 pp.    g 3/21    978-1-5362-0122-2    $22.99 Curation, historical fiction, performance piece — Schlitz (Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!, rev. 11/07) brings a bundle of learning, artifice, and intentionality to this highly stylized tale of ancient...

Ramadan

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The Islamic month of Ramadan is a solemn holiday of fasting, charity, and additional prayer, culminating in the joyous feasting of Eid al-Fitr. Ramadan mubarak to those observing, and Happy Eid! We’d like to call your attention to reading suggestions from our friends at KitaabWorld, who review and recommend children’s...

Review of Keeping the City Going

Keeping the City Going by Brian Floca; illus. by the author Primary    Dlouhy/Atheneum    40 pp.    g 4/21    978-1-5344-9377-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-9378-0    $10.99 Caldecott winner Floca (Locomotive, rev. 9/13) presents a love letter to New York City and its essential workers during COVID-19. “We are here at home now, watching...

Reading for Holocaust Remembrance Day

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International Holocaust Remembrance Day (established by the United Nations General Assembly) is January 27 and Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel, the United States, and other countries) is in April or May (in 2021 it's April 8). All of the following titles were recommended by The Horn Book Magazine and...

Review of Hard-Boiled Bugs for Breakfast: And Other Tasty Poems

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Hard-Boiled Bugs for Breakfast: And Other Tasty Poems by Jack Prelutsky; illus. by Ruth Chan Intermediate    Greenwillow    144 pp.    g 1/21    978-0-06-301913-3    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-301915-7    $9.99 Prelutsky fans specifically, and fans of humorous poetry generally, should find just what they’re looking for here: nonsense confidently delivered in lines that...

Review of Separate No More: The Long Road to Brown v. Board of Education

Separate No More: The Long Road to Brown v. Board of Education by Lawrence Goldstone Middle School, High School    Focus/Scholastic    288 pp.    g 1/21    978-1-338-59283-2    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-59285-6    $11.99 Goldstone (Unpunished Murder, rev. 9/18) takes a long view of the historic 1954 civil rights case Brown v. Board of...

Review of The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas

The Ambassador of Nowhere Texas by Kimberly Willis Holt Intermediate, Middle School    Ottaviano/Holt    320 pp.    g 1/21    978-1-250-23410-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-250-23411-7    $9.99 The narrator of this sequel to National Book Award winner When Zachary Beaver Came to Town (rev. 11/99) is Rylee Wilson, daughter of the first book’s protagonist,...

Review of The Rock from the Sky

The Rock from the Sky by Jon Klassen; illus. by the author Primary    Candlewick    96 pp.    g 4/21    978-1-5362-1562-5    $18.99 In this collection of five connected short stories, clocking in at over ninety pages and composed solely of dialogue, Klassen introduces readers to a turtle, an armadillo, and a snake...

Review of The Three Billy Goats Gruff: The FULL Story

The Three Billy Goats Gruff: The FULL Story by Richard Jackson; illus. by Katherine Tillotson Preschool, Primary    Dlouhy/Atheneum    48 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-4814-1573-6    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-1574-3    $10.99 It’s “the FULL story” of the classic tale of the three billy goats and the menacing troll, or what late author Jackson...

Review of Osnat and Her Dove: The True Story of the World's First Female Rabbi

Osnat and Her Dove: The True Story of the World’s First Female Rabbi by Sigal Samuel; illus. by Vali Mintzi Primary, Intermediate    Levine Querido    40 pp.    g 2/21    978-1-64614-037-4    $17.99 Osnat Barzani (1590–1670) convinced her father, a rabbi, to teach her to read Hebrew, unusual as that was for a...

Review of Last Night at the Telegraph Club

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo High School    Dutton    416 pp.    g 1/21    978-0-525-55525-4    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-525-55526-1    $10.99 High school senior Lily Hu lives in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1954 with her medical professional parents; she behaves obediently and dreams of working at the Jet Propulsion...

Review of Bear Island

Bear Island by Matthew Cordell; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Feiwel    48 pp.    g 1/21    978-1-250-31716-2    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-250-82193-5    $10.99 As in his Caldecott Medal–winning Wolf in the Snow (rev. 11/16), Cordell begins his story before the title page, a series of wordless images telling of loss and...

Review of The Art of Ramona Quimby: Sixty-Five Years of Illustrations from Beverly Cleary's Beloved Books

The Art of Ramona Quimby: Sixty Five Years of Illustrations from Beverly Cleary's Beloved Books by Anna Katz Chronicle    256 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-4521-7695-6    $40.00 This homage explores Cleary's beloved character through artwork by her five primary illustrators: Louis Darling, Alan Tiegreen, Joanne Scribner, Tracy Dockray, and Jacqueline Rogers. After...

Review of The Sea-Ringed World: Sacred Stories of the Americas

The Sea-Ringed World: Sacred Stories of the Americas by María García Esperón; illus. by Amanda Mijangos; trans. from Spanish by David Bowles Intermediate, Middle School, High School    Levine Querido    240 pp.    g 2/21    978-1-64614-015-2    $21.99 In this ambitious and expansive compendium, Esperón collects and presents lore and legend from a...

Review of Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston

Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston by Alicia D. Williams; illus. by Jacqueline Alcántara Primary, Intermediate    Dlouhy/Atheneum    48 pp.    g 1/21    978-1-5344-1913-1    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-1914-8    $10.99 “In a town called Eatonville…lived a girl who was attracted to tales like mosquitos to...

Review of Too Small Tola

Too Small Tola by Atinuke; illus. by Onyinye Iwu Primary    Candlewick    96 pp.    g 3/21    978-1-5362-1127-6    $15.99 Tola is small, but she is mighty. In three episodic chapters, Tola uses her not-inconsequential perseverance to help her grandmother, other family members, and those in her wider Lagos community. As she does...

Review of The Passover Guest

The Passover Guest by Susan Kusel; illus. by Sean Rubin Primary    Porter/Holiday    40 pp.    g 1/21    978-0-8234-4562-2    $18.99 This reimagining of I. L. Peretz’s 1904 Yiddish story “Der Kunzen-Macher” (“The Magician”) follows Muriel, a young girl living in Washington, D.C., during the Great Depression. On the first night of Passover,...

Review of Thanks to Frances Perkins: Fighter for Workers' Rights

Thanks to Frances Perkins: Fighter for Workers’ Rights by Deborah Hopkinson; illus. by Kristy Caldwell Primary, Intermediate   Peachtree    40 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-68263-136-2    $18.99 Not only was workers’ rights advocate and public servant Frances Perkins (1880–1965) the first woman to serve in a presidential cabinet, she also improved the welfare...

Review of She Rides like the Wind: The Story of Alfonsina Strada

She Rides like the Wind: The Story of Alfonsina Strada by Joan Negrescolor; illus. by the author; trans. from Portuguese by Jethro Soutar Primary    Little Gestalten    48 pp.    g 8/20    978-3-89955-853-1    $19.95 Spare first-person text describes Alfonsina Strada’s early childhood explorations with a bicycle and lightly sketches her groundbreaking career...

Review of Grace Banker and Her Hello Girls Answer the Call: The Heroic Story of WWI Telephone operators

Grace Banker and Her Hello Girls Answer the Call: The Heroic Story of WWI Telephone Operators by Claudia Friddell; illus. by Elizabeth Baddeley Primary, Intermediate    Calkins/Boyds Mills & Kane   40 pp.    g 2/21    978-1-68437-350-5    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-63592-371-1    $11.99 Already a college graduate and an instructor at a switchboard operators’...

Review of Sylvie

Sylvie by Sylvie Kantorovitz; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School, High School    Walker US/Candlewick    352 pp.    g 2/21    978-1-5362-0762-0    $24.99 Paper ed.  978-1-5362-0763-7    $16.99 Author-illustrator Kantorovitz’s (Zig and the Magic Umbrella, rev. 5/15) graphic memoir is an engaging and thoughtful story of an observant child who grows into a...

Review of Girl on a Motorcycle

Girl on a Motorcycle by Amy Novesky; illus. by Julie Morstad Primary, Intermediate    Viking    48 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-593-11629-6     $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-593-11630-2    $10.99 This picture-book biography of the first woman to complete a solo motorcycle trip around the world begins in 1973 Paris. Wishing to see and write about...

Review of Lift as You Climb: The Story of Ella Baker

Lift as You Climb: The Story of Ella Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell; illus. by R. Gregory Christie Primary, Intermediate    McElderry    48 pp.    g 6/20    978-1-5344-0623-0    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-0624-7    $10.99 “Church said / Help your neighbor. / Mama said / Lift as you climb.” So began the lifework of...

Review of A Hopeful Heart: Louisa May Alcott Before Little Women

A Hopeful Heart: Louisa May Alcott Before Little Women by Deborah Noyes Middle School, High School    Schwartz & Wade/Random    304 pp.    g 10/20    978-0-525-64623-5    $18.99 Library ed.  978-0-525-64624-2    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-525-64625-9    $11.99 Before he actually had children, Bronson Alcott wondered, “Can parents limit ­outside influences and raise a perfect...

Céad míle fáilte!

Céad míle fáilte to all those celebrating St. Patrick's Day today. We've compiled three new Guide/Reviews Database booklists recommending books for primary, intermediate, and older readers on all things Irish. Sláinte!...

Review of Building Zaha: The Story of Architect Zaha Hadid

Building Zaha: The Story of Architect Zaha Hadid by Victoria Tentler-Krylov; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Orchard/Scholastic    48 pp.    g 12/20    978-1-338-28283-2    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-67489-7    $11.99 With fittingly bold, whimsical, flowing illustrations, this picture-book biography showcases Iraqi British architect Zaha Hadid, who “dreamed big and defied convention.” Born...

Review of Kate's Light: Kate Walker at Robbins Reef Lighthouse

Kate’s Light: Kate Walker at Robbins Reef Lighthouse by Elizabeth Spires; illus. by Emily Arnold McCully Primary, Intermediate    Ferguson/Holiday    40 pp.    g 1/21    978-0-8234-4348-2    $18.99 This thorough and visually evocative picture-book biography tells the story of Kate Walker (1848–1931), who became one of the first women to serve as an...

Review of Winterkeep

Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore High School    Dial    528 pp.    g 1/21    978-0-8037-4150-8    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-0-6981-5890-0    $10.99 Cashore returns to the world of Graceling (rev. 11/08), Fire (rev 9/09), and Bitterblue (rev. 5/12) for the first time in some years and introduces Winterkeep, a nation distinctive for its higher education,...

Review of Mary Seacole: Bound for the Battlefield

Mary Seacole: Bound for the Battlefield by Susan Goldman Rubin; illus. by Richie Pope Primary, Intermediate    Candlewick    48 pp.    g 10/20    978-0-7636-7994-1    $17.99 Mary Seacole was raised by a Jamaican Creole mother who taught her herbal medicine and a Scottish soldier father whose stories inspired her to see the world....

Review of Outside, Inside

Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham; illus. by the author Primary    Roaring Brook    48 pp.    g 1/21    978-1-250-79835-0    $18.99 “Something strange happened on an unremarkable day just before the season changed. Everybody who was OUTSIDE…went INSIDE.” The “something strange” is, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic, as safety protocols were put into...

Review of Nice Try, Charlie!

Nice Try, Charlie! by Matt James; illus. by the author Primary    Groundwood    48 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-77306-180-1    $18.95 e-book ed.  978-1-77306-181-8    $16.95 Sporting a full beard, shaggy hair, and a wide-brimmed hat, Charlie roams his neighborhood finding things: an old television, a pair of mismatched oven mitts (and Aunt Myrtle’s...

Review of Meltdown: Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Disaster in Fukushima

Meltdown: Earthquake, Tsunami, and Nuclear Disaster in Fukushima by Deirdre Langeland Middle School, High School    Roaring Brook    208 pp.    g 2/21    978-1-62672-700-7    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-62672-699-4    $10.99 In time for the tenth anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster (March 2011), Langeland chronicles the largest nuclear disaster of the twenty-first century....

Review of Max & the Midknights: Battle of the Bodkins

Max & the Midknights: Battle of the Bodkins by Lincoln Peirce; illus. by the author Intermediate    Crown    258 pp.    g 12/20    978-0-593-12590-8    $13.99 Library ed.  978-0-593-12591-5    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-593-12592-2    $8.99 This Max & the Midknights (rev. 1/19) sequel finds Max enrolled at KSB (Knight School of Byjovia), Millie learning...

Review of The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. (as Told to His Brother)

The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. (as Told to His Brother) by David Levithan Intermediate, Middle School    Knopf    224 pp.    g 2/21    978-1-9848-4859-8    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-9848-4860-4    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-4861-1    $9.99 Lucas’s brother Aidan goes missing, which leads to the worried, sympathetic response one would expect from his community....

Review of Measuring Up

Measuring Up by Lily LaMotte; illus. by Ann Xu; color by Sunmi Intermediate, Middle School    HarperAlley/HarperCollins    208 pp.    g 10/20    978-0-06-297387-0    $22.99 Paper ed.  978-0-06-297386-3    $12.99 In this encouraging — and nourishing — graphic novel, twelve-year-old Cici’s family moves to Seattle from Taiwan, taking her away from her beloved A-má,...

Review of Marjory Saves the Everglades: The Story of Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Marjory Saves the Everglades: The Story of Marjory Stoneman Douglas by Sandra Neil Wallace; illus. by Rebecca Gibbon Primary    Wiseman/Simon    56 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-5344-3154-6    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-3155-3    $10.99 Marjory Stoneman Douglas, journalist and fierce champion of Florida’s natural environment, spent her long life (1890–1998) advocating for the protection...

Review of The Stuff Between the Stars: How Vera Rubin Discovered Most of the Universe

The Stuff Between the Stars: How Vera Rubin Discovered Most of the Universe by Sandra Nickel; illus. by Aimée Sicuro Primary, Intermediate    Abrams    48 pp.    g 3/21    978-1-4197-3626-1    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-64700-321-0    $15.54 Like many astronomers (think Edwin Hubble, for example), Vera Rubin (1928–2016) showed a youthful passion for this...

Review of Letters from Cuba

Letters from Cuba by Ruth Behar Intermediate, Middle School    Paulsen/Penguin    272 pp.    g 8/20    978-0-525-51647-7    $17.99 In 1938, eleven-year-old Jewish girl Esther is the first of her siblings to emigrate from Poland to Cuba, joining her father, who went three years earlier. Her letters to her sister, kept in a...

Review of War and Millie McGonigle

War and Millie McGonigle by Karen Cushman Intermediate    Knopf    224 pp.    g 4/21    978-1-9848-5010-2    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-9848-5011-9    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-5011-9    $9.99 Cushman (The Ballad of Lucy Whipple) sets her WWII home front novel in 1941 San Diego, where feisty and headstrong Millie McGonigle is coping with…a lot. Grief...

Review of In a Flash

In a Flash by Donna Jo Napoli Intermediate    Lamb/Random    400 pp.    g 1/21    978-1-101-93413-5    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-101-93414-2    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-101-93415-9    $9.99 Narrator Simona is eight years old in 1940, and her younger sister five, when they leave their home outside Rome for Tokyo — their father has been...

Review of The Daughters of Ys

The Daughters of Ys by M. T. Anderson; illus. by Jo Rioux Middle School    First Second/Roaring Brook    208 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-62672-878-3    $24.99 e-book ed.  978-1-25079-036-1    $11.99 In graphic novel form, Anderson (Yvain, rev. 3/17; The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge, rev. 9/18) and Rioux (The Golden Twine) tell the traditional...

Review of The Water Lady: How Darlene Arviso Helps a Thirsty Navajo Nation

The Water Lady: How Darlene Arviso Helps a Thirsty Navajo Nation by Alice B. McGinty; illus. by Shonto Begay Primary, Intermediate    Schwartz & Wade/Random    40 pp.    g 3/21    978-0-525-64500-9    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-525-64501-6    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-525-64502-3    $10.99 In this illuminating story about a contemporary child’s experience with water insecurity,...

Books mentioned in the March 2021 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Lesa Cline-Ransome and Andrea Davis Pinkney Claudette Colvin by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illus. by Gillian Flint, and Harriet Tubman by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illus. by Gillian Flint; Philomel. Persistent women The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee by Julie Leung, illus. by Julie Kwon; Little, Brown. The Water...

From the Editor - March 2021

Welcome to Women’s History Month, which we are celebrating at the Horn Book through March. Really, given the influence Bertha Mahony Miller and her Horn Book sistren still hold upon this company, it’s always Women’s History Month for us, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. I may joke...

YA mythology and folktales

From ancient Greece and Brittany to the Americas and Vietnam, traditional storytelling provides rich inspiration for these YA re-visionings. The Daughters of Ys by M. T. Anderson; illus. by Jo Rioux Middle School    First Second/Roaring Brook    208 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-62672-878-3    $24.99 e-book ed.  978-1-25079-036-1    $11.99 In graphic novel form,...

Resilient girls

The young female protagonists of the following six historical fiction novels demonstrate strength and resilience when faced with family challenges, societal limitations, and dramatic world events. March is Women’s History Month. For more, click the tag Women’s History Month and follow #HBWomensHistoryMonth on Twitter and Facebook. Letters from Cuba by...

Persistent women

For young readers not quite ready for illustrated chapter-book biographies such as Claudette Colvin and Harriet Tubman, which are discussed in our Five Questions interview with authors Lesa Cline-Ransome and Andrea Davis Pinkney, here are picture-book biographies about seven tenacious, inspiring, and diverse women. March is Women’s History Month. For...

Review of Claudette Colvin and Harriet Tubman

Claudette Colvin [She Persisted] by Lesa Cline-Ransome; illus. by Gillian Flint Primary, Intermediate    Philomel    80 pp.    g 2/21    978-0-593-11583-1    $14.99 Paper ed.  978-0-593-11584-8    $5.99 e-book ed.  978-0-593-11585-5    $5.99 Harriet Tubman [She Persisted] by Andrea Davis Pinkney; illus. by Gillian Flint Primary, Intermediate    Philomel    80 pp.    g 1/21     978-0-593-11565-7     $14.99 Paper...

Five questions for Lesa Cline-Ransome and Andrea Davis Pinkney

The new chapter book series She Persisted (Philomel, 6-9 years) is spun off from the picture books of the same name written by Chelsea Clinton and illustrated by Alexandra Boiger. Each entry explores the life of a strong and courageous woman who has helped change the world, with the first...

Review of Love Is a Revolution

Love Is a Revolution by Renée Watson High School    Bloomsbury    400 pp.    g 2/21    978-1-5476-0060-1    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5476-0061-9    $13.29 All Nala has on her summer agenda is to pick a new hairstyle, spend time with her “cousin-sister-friend” Imani, and find love. Nala is not very inspired by Imani’s activism...

Review of The Lion Queens of India

The Lion Queens of India by Jan Reynolds Primary, Intermediate    Lee & Low    32 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-64379-051-0    $18.95 Gir Wildlife Sanctuary’s first female forest ranger and original “Lion Queen,” Rashila Vadher, narrates this compelling introduction to her life’s work. The sanctuary is home to more than five hundred Asiatic...

Review of Watercress

Watercress by Andrea Wang; illus. by Jason Chin Primary    Porter/Holiday    32 pp.    g 3/21    978-0-8234-4624-7    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-5054-1    $11.99 Transcending space and time, memories bring a Chinese American family together. A girl in cutoffs and a T-shirt is embarrassed when her parents stop the car to pick wild watercress...

Review of The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee

The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee by Julie Leung; illus. by Julie Kwon Primary, Intermediate    Little, Brown    48 pp.    g 2/21    978-0-7595-5495-5    $18.99 As a child, Hazel Ying Lee (1912–1944) pushed limits to be the best at everything — the fastest at footraces, the hardest hitter in handball, and,...

Review of Concrete Rose

Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    368 pp.    g 1/21    978-0-06-284671-6    $19.99 Library ed.  978-1-4328-8474-1    $24.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-284675-4    $12.99 One of the most dynamic characters in Thomas’s acclaimed The Hate U Give (rev. 3/17) is Starr’s father, Maverick Carter. In this prequel, seventeen-year-old Mav has...

Review of Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier

Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier by Jim Ottaviani; illus. by Maris Wicks Middle School    First Second/Roaring Brook    168 pp. 2/20    978-1-62672-877-6    $19.99 Paper ed.  978-1-250-76003-6    $12.99 At the attention-grabbing start of ­Ottaviani and Wicks’s second graphic ­collaboration (Primates, rev. 5/13), a series of panels shows a “famous astronaut” (gender...

Review of Milo Imagines the World

Milo Imagines the World by Matt de la Peña; illus. by Christian Robinson Primary    Putnam    40 pp.    g 2/21    978-0-399-54908-3    $18.99 Spanish ed.  978-0-593-35462-9    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-399-54909-0    $10.99 Harold and the Purple Crayon meets twenty-first-century urban realism in this picture book by the Last Stop on Market Street (rev....

Review of Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance

Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes; illus. by various artists Intermediate, Middle School, High School    Bloomsbury    144 pp.    g 1/21    978-1-68119-944-3    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-68119-945-0    $13.29 Grimes returns to the Harlem Renaissance (One Last Word, rev. 3/17) to showcase the works of some female poets whose...

Review of The Highest Tribute: Thurgood Marshall’s Life, Leadership, and Legacy

The Highest Tribute: Thurgood Marshall’s Life, Leadership, and Legacy by Kekla Magoon; illus. by Laura Freeman Primary, Intermediate    Quill Tree/HarperCollins    40 pp.    g 1/21    978-0-06-291251-0    $17.99 “Thurgood would become the first to do a lot of things that a Black person had never done before.” When he attended Lincoln University,...

Review of Red Stars: The Case of Viktor and Nadya's Notebooks

Red Stars: The Case of Viktor and Nadya’s Notebooks by Davide Morosinotto; trans. from Italian by Denise Muir Intermediate, Middle School    Delacorte    432 pp.    g 11/20    978-1-9848-9332-1    $19.99 Library ed.  978-1-9848-9333-8    $22.99 e-book ed.  978-1-9848-9334-5    $10.99 Viktor and Nadya are twelve-year-old twins living in Leningrad during World War II. In...

Review of Northbound: A Train Ride Out of Segregation

Northbound: A Train Ride Out of Segregation by Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein; illus. by James E. Ransome Primary    Candlewick    40 pp.    g 10/20    978-0-7636-9650-4    $17.99 In this picture book set in the 1960s (and inspired by the author’s childhood memories), Michael and his granddaddy are fascinated by the...

Review of Finding a Way Home: Mildred and Richard Loving and the Fight for Marriage Equality

Finding a Way Home: Mildred and Richard Loving and the Fight for Marriage Equality by Larry Dane Brimner Middle School, High School    Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills & Kane    112 pp.    g 11/20    978-1-62979-751-9    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-63592-450-3    $11.99 Brimner (Twelve Days in May, rev. 1/17) presents another compelling story of civil...

Review of Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel

Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel by Jason Reynolds; adapted and illus. by Danica Novgorodoff High School    Dlouhy/Atheneum    208 pp.    g 10/20    978-1-53444-495-9    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-4497-3    $8.99 Skillful editing and rearranging of Reynolds’s original verse novel (Long Way Down, rev. 7/17) creates room for Novgorodoff’s impressionistic ink and watercolor...

Review of Time for Kenny

Time for Kenny by Brian Pinkney; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Greenwillow    40 pp.    g 1/21    978-0-06-073528-9    $17.99 Four brief stories take us through young Kenny’s day as he gets dressed, has an encounter with a monster-like vacuum cleaner, learns “no hands!” soccer skills, and resists bedtime. Pinkney’s text...

Review of Everything Naomi Loved

Everything Naomi Loved by Katie Yamasaki and Ian ­Lendler; illus. by Katie Yamasaki Primary    Norton    48 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-324-00491-2    $18.95 e-book ed.  978-1-324-00492-9    $17.48 Naomi lives on busy, bustling 11th Street — “It wasn’t pretty but it was alive!” — where she and her best friend Ada love to...

Review of Off to See the Sea

Off to See the Sea by Nikki Grimes; illus. by Elizabeth Zunon Preschool    Sourcebooks    32 pp.    g 1/21    978-1-4926-3829-2    $17.99 It’s bath time for the child we first met in Bedtime for Sweet Creatures (rev. 1/20), and once again the youngster’s mother is the narrator. As in many households, here...

Happy Lunar New Year!

Happy Year of the Ox! We wish all who are celebrating a new year full of joy and prosperity. Here is our Lunar New Year reading list with fiction and nonfiction books featuring the holiday for preschool, primary, and intermediate readers. All of the titles below were recommended by The...

Review of Where We Go from Here

Where We Go from Here by Lucas Rocha; trans. from Brazilian Portuguese by Larissa Helena High School    PUSH/Scholastic    288 pp.    g 6/20    978-1-338-55624-7    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-63375-7    $11.99 In this translated novel from Brazilian debut author Rocha, three young gay men (two protagonists are eighteen, one is twenty-one) living in...

Review of You Should See Me in a Crown

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson High School    Scholastic    336 pp.    g 6/20    978-1-338-50326-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-50362-3    $10.99 Senior Liz Lighty has successfully stayed out of the spotlight and off of Campbell County High School’s new social networking app, Campbell Confidential. Being poor and Black...

Review of The Henna Wars

The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar Middle School, High School    Page Street    400 pp.    g 5/20    978-1-62414-968-9    $17.99 Nishat is a Bengali Muslim teen attending a conservative Catholic school in Dublin. When she comes out as lesbian to her parents, she is met with near-silence. Meanwhile, Nishat creates a henna...

Review of A Complicated Love Story Set in Space

A Complicated Love Story Set in Space by Shaun David Hutchinson High School    Simon    464 pp.    g 1/21    978-1-5344-4853-7    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-4855-1    $10.99 Noa wakes up to find himself, inexplicably, in a spacesuit floating outside a spaceship, with no recollection of how he got there. Neither does DJ, another...

Review of Love Is for Losers

Love Is for Losers by Wibke Brueggemann High School    Farrar    352 pp.    g 2/21    978-0-374-31397-5    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-374-31398-2    $9.99 “I hate people,” declares fifteen-year-old Phoebe, and perhaps with good reason: her mother abruptly left her (again) to care for sick people in Syria (“Mum’s a doctor first and a...

Review of Root Magic

Root Magic by Eden Royce Intermediate, Middle School    Walden/HarperCollins    352 pp.    g 1/21    978-0-06-289957-6    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-289960-6    $8.99 Eleven-year-old Jezebel’s family has done “rootwork” for generations. In 1963, many of the people on their South Carolina island frequent her grandmother and uncle’s cabin for the healing potions they make,...

Review of Ikenga

Ikenga by Nnedi Okorafor Intermediate, Middle School    Viking    229 pp.    g 8/20    978-0-593-11352-3    $16.99 His father, the police chief, is dead, and eleven-year-old Nnamdi knows who murdered him — the Chief of Chiefs, an infamous criminal in their Nigerian province. Vowing to bring justice, Nnamdi is unsure how to proceed...

Review of Tristan Strong Destroys the World

Tristan Strong Destroys the World by Kwame Mbalia Intermediate, Middle School    Riordan/Disney-Hyperion    320 pp.    g 10/20    978-1-368-04238-3    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-4328-8471-0    $21.99 e-book ed.   978-1-368-06802-4    $10.99 In the sequel to CSK honoree Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (rev. 7/20), Tristan once again finds himself responsible for saving...

Review of Maya and the Rising Dark

Maya and the Rising Dark by Rena Barron Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    304 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-328-63518-1    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-10622-7    $9.99 Twelve-year-old Maya is seeing things, or so she thinks, as weird creatures start appearing in her Chicago neighborhood. Add to that her dreams about a scary shadow-man, and...

Review of William Still and His Freedom Stories: The Father of the Underground Railroad

William Still and His Freedom Stories: The Father of the Underground Railroad by Don Tate; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Peachtree    40 pp.    g 11/20    978-1-56145-935-3    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-68263-277-2    $8.99 Tate introduces readers to the African American abolitionist known as the Father of the Underground Railroad in this...

Review of She Was the First!: The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm

She Was the First!: The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm by Katheryn Russell-Brown; illus. by Eric Velasquez Primary, Intermediate    Lee & Low    40 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-62014-346-9    $19.95 “Unbought and Unbossed”: Shirley Chisholm’s 1968 campaign slogan, still relevant today. Russell-Brown (Little Melba and Her Big Trombone, rev. 11/14) engagingly presents...

Review of One Step Further: My Story of Math, the Moon, and a Lifelong Mission

One Step Further: My Story of Math, the Moon, and a Lifelong Mission by Katherine Johnson with Joylette Hylick and Katherine Moore; illus. by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow Primary    National Geographic Kids    48 pp.    g 1/21    978-1-4263-7193-6    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-4263-7194-3    $27.90 This picture-book biography isn’t just the story of NASA...

Five questions for Frank Morrison

In Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball (Abrams, 6–10 years), written by Jen Bryant, artist Frank Morrison (the 2021 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner for R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, written by Carole Boston Weatherford) depicts the life of the NBA great and civil rights...

Review of This Is Your Time

This Is Your Time by Ruby Bridges Primary, Intermediate    Delacorte    64 pp.    g 11/20    978-0-593-37852-6    $15.99 Library ed.  978-0-593-37853-3    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-593-37854-0    $9.99 A letter of love and care from civil rights icon Ruby Bridges to twenty-first-century children marks the sixtieth anniversary of her integration of William Frantz Elementary...

Books mentioned in the February 2021 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Frank Morrison Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball by Jen Bryant, illus. by Frank Morrison; Abrams. #OwnVoices biographies for Black History Month 2021 This Is Your Time by Ruby Bridges; Delacorte. One Step Further: My Story of Math, the Moon, and a Lifelong Mission by...

From the Editor - February 2021

Welcome to Black History Month 2021! As several of the books reviewed here remind us, you can’t have American history without it. Please go see all of our BHM coverage on the website, where the indefatigable Cindy and Elissa are posting related reviews, interviews, articles, and essays every day throughout...

Middle-grade sci-fi/fantasy for Black History Month

Read S. R. Toliver’s 2019 Horn Book article on why representation matters in sci-fi/fantasy, then dip into the following fantastical middle-grade novels by Black authors and starring Black protagonists. See also our Black History Month 2021 coverage. Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston Intermediate, Middle School    Balzer...

Black history, American history

Take it from Ruby Bridges — one person can make a difference in the fight for civil rights, a fight that continues today. The following illustrated biographies (all #OwnVoices) highlight important figures in Black — and American — history. See also our Black History Month 2021 coverage. This Is Your...

Review of Arlo & Pips: King of the Birds

Arlo & Pips: King of the Birds by Elise Gravel; illus. by the author Primary    HarperAlley/HarperCollins    64 pp.    g 10/20    978-0-06-298221-6    $12.99 Paper ed.  978-0-06-298222-3    $7.99 It’s an early chapter book! It’s a graphic novel! It’s a story about a creature with an overabundance of pride! It’s an unexpected friendship...

Queer romance

This Valentine’s Day, find book love with the following recent YA titles centering queer romance. for more on romantic love, click the tag "love stories" and see also Katrina Hedeen and Rachel L. Smith’s 2013 Horn Book Magazine article: “What Makes a Good YA Love Story?” Love Is for Losers...

Review of Me & Mama

Me & Mama  by Cozbi A. Cabrera; illus. by the author  Preschool, Primary    Millner/Simon    40 pp.    g  8/20    978-1-5344-5421-7    $17.99  e-book ed.  978-1-5344-5422-4    $10.99  In the early morning, a young unnamed Black girl tiptoes through the house and past various sleeping family members, to be greeted by the smell of...

Review of Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre

Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Boston Weatherford; illus. by Floyd Cooper Primary, Intermediate    Carolrhoda    32 pp.    g 2/21    978-1-5415-8120-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-7284-1738-7    $27.99 In 1921, over the course of sixteen hours, the Black community of Greenwood, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was all but destroyed, with most of its...
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