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Choosing Books

Promoting good books for children and young adults is the heart of The Horn Book’s editorial mission.

Review of The Squirrels’ Busy Year

The Squirrels’ Busy Year [A First Science Storybook] by Martin Jenkins; illus. by Richard Jones Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.    g 7/18    978-0-7636-9600-9    $16.99 A pair of squirrels and other residents of their pond-side community interact through four distinct seasons. In winter, the sleeping squirrels pop out quickly for acorns under the watchful eye of […]

Review of Louisiana’s Way Home

Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo Intermediate    Candlewick    230 pp.    g 10/18    978-0-7636-9463-0    $16.99 Readers first met Louisiana Elefante in Raymie Nightingale (rev. 3/16) as the orphaned daughter of famous trapeze artists and as one of the Three Rancheros, a steadfast trio of young friends who vowed to always have one another’s backs. In this […]

Review of Quiet

Quiet by Tomie dePaola; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Simon    32 pp. 10/18    978-1-4814-7754-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-7755-0    $10.99 A grandfather, a girl, a boy, and their dog out for a walk notice the busyness of the natural world around them: the bees buzz, the birds fly fast, a dragonfly zooms, all “busy as […]

Review of Friends and Foes: Poems About Us All

Friends and Foes: Poems About Us All by Douglas Florian; illus. by the author Primary    Beach Lane/Simon    48 pp. 7/18    978-1-4424-8795-6    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4424-8796-3    $10.99 This collection of twenty-five poems teases out many of friendship’s fundamentals, as well as its more nuanced complexities. Along with jealousy, bullies, and new and imaginary friends, the punchy […]

Review of Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide

Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide by Isabel Quintero; illus. by Zeke Peña Middle School, High School    Getty    96 pp. 3/18    978-1-947440-00-5    $19.95 This 2018 Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction Award–winning biography introduces readers to “an icon. Orgullo mexicano. Maestra.” Photographer Graciela Iturbide’s (b. 1942) story is told in comic-panel format, with striking black-and-white illustrations, high-quality […]

Learning curves

A new school year means emotional challenges in addition to academic ones. The teen protagonists of these nuanced YA dramas navigate the complex intersections of their school, familial, and social identities. See also our recommendations for middle-school and high-school readers in the 2018 Back-to-School Herald. Sophomore Darius Kellner doesn’t fit in at his Oregon high […]

Everyday — and otherworldly — wonders

In these new books for intermediate readers, the boundaries between our reality and more fantastical realms blur, allowing protagonists and magical beings alike to walk between worlds. My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder, author-illustrator Nie Jun’s graphic novel for young readers, begins with a girl, Yu’er, who dreams of swimming in the Special Olympics. […]

Books mentioned in the September 2018 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Zetta Elliott Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott, illus. by Geneva B, Random House, 8–11 years. Everyday — and otherworldly — wonders My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder by Nie Jun, trans. by Edward Gauvin, Lerner/Graphic Universe, 8–11 years. The Tale of Angelino Brown by David Almond, illus. by Alex […]

Creative concepts

Crafting a fresh concept book is no easy task, but the creators of these new picture books introduce fundamental topics in imaginative ways. “Look! Elephants! / One, two, three, four, five…” Five elephants, each rendered in a different pastel color with a thick brown outline, march across the pages of A Parade of Elephants. Counting […]

Review of Dragons in a Bag

Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott; illus. by Geneva B Primary, Intermediate    Random    154 pp.    g 10/18    978-1-5247-7045-7    $16.99 Library ed.  978-1-5247-7046-4    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-7047-1    $10.99 There are two things you should never do when dealing with dragons. First, do not let them out of the bag; and second, do not feed them […]