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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.

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 […]

Truth and duty

Reading about difficult circumstances can be cathartic — and may enhance readers’ feelings of empathy. The following YA novels tackle complex subject matter in authentic, thought-provoking ways. In Eric Gansworth’s Give Me Some Truth, set in 1980 on the Tuscarora Indian Nation (the “Rez”), the alternating first-person narratives of two teens — seventeen-year-old Carson Mastick […]

ALA 2018: The CSK Breakfast

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards Breakfast is always a memorable, moving, and transformative experience, the best event at ALA Annual — and this year more than ever (or do I say that every year?). The sold-out event (more on that later) began with a slight glitch — there were no microphones on the podia — […]

Review of The Field

The Field by Baptiste Paul; illus. by Jacqueline Alcántara Primary    NorthSouth    32 pp.    g 3/18    978-0-7358-4312-7    $17.95 The place: a verdant Caribbean islandscape. The day’s activity for the community’s children: a pickup game of futbol (soccer). Does it matter that the futbol field is a converted cow pasture? Does it matter that some of the […]

Review of Pie Is for Sharing

Pie Is for Sharing by Stephanie Parsley Ledyard; 

illus. by Jason Chin Preschool, Primary    Porter/Roaring Brook    32 pp. 5/18    978-1-62672-562-1    $17.99 This idyllic, joyously inclusive picture book takes an ordinary concept — 
sharing — and makes it extraordinary. A boy and his family bike to a lakeside picnic, bearing several homemade pies. Then the text […]

Five questions for Stephanie Parsley Ledyard and Jason Chin

In Pie Is for Sharing, written by Stephanie Parsley Ledyard and illustrated by Jason Chin (Porter/Roaring Brook, 4–8 years), an inclusive community gathers for a lakeside picnic as a contemplative but child-friendly text muses on the nature of sharing. Detailed illustrations capture the day (which is, as we gradually realize, a significant one) with a […]

Editorial: “Get Up from the Chair!”

Welcome to our seriously special issue on the theme of “making a difference.” With a deep sense of history and purpose and interconnection (how many times is Virginia Hamilton cited?), and with some thirty contributors, from Susan Cooper (on Ursula K. Le Guin) to Dhonielle Clayton (on Hamilton’s Willie Bea) to Kevin Henkes (on the […]