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Martha V. Parravano

About Martha V. Parravano

Martha V. Parravano is book review editor of The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

Review of Rebound audiobook

Rebound by Kwame Alexander; read by Ron Butler Intermediate, Middle School    Recorded Books    Rev. 7/18 3 CDs    3.5 hrs.    978-1-5019-4909-8    $30.75 In this prequel to Alexander’s The Crossover (rev. 5/14), twelve-year-old Charlie Bell (future father of the first book’s twin protagonists) is sent to stay with his grandparents for the summer after his own father’s […]

The Wall in the Middle of the Book

Jon Agee is a brilliant picture book creator — who has never won a Caldecott. In this year of breathtaking contenders, it might seem a stretch to suggest that his The Wall in the Middle of the Book could put him over the top (that’s a little joke for those of you who already know this clever and surprise-twisty title). But hear me out. For ingenious […]

Pie Is for Sharing

Stephanie Parsley Ledyard and Jason Chin’s Pie Is for Sharing does that thing picture books are supposed to do — text and art work interdependently. Ledyard’s rather philosophical text (an extended musing on the nature of sharing) is given a specific setting (a lakeside, summertime, community picnic) in Chin’s detailed watercolor and gouache illustrations; the pictures support the text […]

Review of We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices

We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices edited by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson; illus. by various artists Intermediate, Middle School    Crown    88 pp. 9/18    978-0-525-58042-3    $18.99 Library ed.  978-0-525-58043-0    $21.99 e-book ed.  978-0-525-58044-7    $10.99 The Hudsons (founders of Just Us Books) created this timely and powerful anthology to help young people face […]

They Say Blue

Have you noticed? This is a powerhouse year for the Caldecott. We are seeing so many spectacular books worthy of Caldecott recognition — and many are illustrated by women. Jillian Tamaki’s They Say Blue is one of those extraordinary picture books. Although we know Tamaki’s work from of the Caldecott Honor-winning graphic novel This One Summer, They Say Blue is her first picture book […]

Finding home

Four novels for middle-grade readers feature memorable and likable protagonists who face economic hardship, homelessness, and prejudice in addition to the usual challenges of growing up. For an author’s perspective on narratives of children finding — or making — home, read E. Lockhart’s Horn Book Magazine Writer’s Page article “On Home, Empathy, and Voice.” In […]

Review of The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone

The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn Moriarty Intermediate    Levine/Scholastic    380 pp.    g 10/18    978-1-338-25584-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-25585-0    $10.99 In this highly entertaining and brilliantly plotted fantasy, orphaned ten-year-old Bronte must embark alone on a multi-kingdom visit to her many aunts, a trip minutely scripted by the terms of her parents’ will. […]

Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten

Our first book post this Calling Caldecott season is Libba, a picture-book biography of African American folk musician Elizabeth Cotten, written by Laura Veirs and illustrated by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. The flap copy refers to the book’s artist as a “debut illustrator.” Technically, that’s true—this is Fazlalizadeh’s first picture book—but of course she is also an internationally known artist, acclaimed for such […]

Review of Zora and Me: The Cursed Ground

Zora and Me: The Cursed Ground by T. R. Simon Intermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    261 pp.    g 9/18    978-0-7636-4301-0    $16.99 This second novel featuring a young Zora Neale Hurston and her friend Carrie Brown is once again set in the girls’ hometown of Eatonville, Florida, in 1903, less than forty years after the end of […]

Review of I Really Want to See You, Grandma

I Really Want to See You, Grandma by Taro Gomi; illus. by the author Preschool     Chronicle     40 pp. 4/18     978-1-4521-6158-7     $16.99 Here is a sweet and funny picture book (first published forty years ago in Japan) about missed connections, determination, and intergenerational devotion. “Yumi’s house is on a hill. It has […]