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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 Fangsgiving

Fangsgiving by Ethan Long; illus. by the author Primary    Bloomsbury    32 pp. 9/18    978-1-68119-825-5    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-68119-826-2    $11.89 The Fright Club (rev. 9/15) monsters are cooking up a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, from sweet potato casserole to turkey. But what to do when vampire Vladimir’s family shows up unexpectedly? Invite them in — the more […]

The CCBC’s Diversity Statistics: Spotlight on LGBTQ+ Stories

This is the third column in a series examining statistics gathered by the newly expanded database of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (a research library of the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Education). Previous columns (interviews with CCBC Director Kathleen T. Horning) can be found in the July/August 2017 and March/April 2018 issues. In 2017, […]

Review of Piecing Me Together audiobook

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson; read by the author Middle School, High School    Recorded Books    Rev. 7/17 5 CDs    5.5 hrs    978-1-5019-9779-2    $51.75 Watson (winner of the 2018 Coretta Scott King Author Award and a 2018 Newbery Honor for this novel) movingly conveys the emotions of her thoughtful, bright, artistic, African American protagonist Jade. […]

From The Guide: We Need Middle-Grade LGBTQ+ Books

Publishers take note. According to Madeline Tyner’s article “The CCBC’s Diversity Statistics: Spotlight on LGBTQ+ Stories”: “We received very little LGBTQ+ fiction for middle-grade readers [in 2017]…The lack of this literature is unfortunate, as children in upper elementary and middle school are often beginning to question their sexual orientations or gender identities.” The following books, […]

Review of What Do You Do with a Voice like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan

What Do You Do with a Voice like That?: The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan by Chris Barton; illus. by Ekua Holmes Primary, Intermediate    Beach Lane/Simon    48 pp. 9/18    978-1-4814-6561-8    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-6562-5    $10.99 This large book, with its lush, vivid, mixed-media illustrations, makes an artistic statement as bold as groundbreaking African American […]

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

Five questions for Traci Sorell and Frané Lessac We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell, illus. by Frané Lessac, Charlesbridge, 5–8 years. Noticing nature’s cycles They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki, Abrams, 5–8 years. Look at the Weather by Britta Teckentrup, trans. by Shelley Tanaka, 5–8 years. Quiet by Tomie dePaola, Greenwillow, 3–7 years. Winter […]

Foreseeable futures

Speculative fiction can provide an effective vehicle for authors to comment on and critique the state of our own world. The following new YA novels examine timely social issues in new settings, whether far-flung galaxies or uncomfortably close-to-home dystopian societies. (And by the way, did you know The Hunger Games just celebrated its tenth publication […]

Historical heroes and heroines

These novels for intermediate and middle-school readers show landmark moments in history through the eyes of perceptive preteens. Young Zora Neale Hurston and her friend Carrie are pulled into another mystery involving their tight-knit African American community in Zora and Me: The Cursed Ground. The main narrative, set in 1903, alternates with that of a […]

Noticing nature’s cycles

These picture books invite readers to reflect upon the cycles of our environment (i.e., weather patterns, seasons) and to pay close attention to marvels of the natural world. In They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki, a girl considers the wondrousness of the world around her, prompted by the colors she encounters throughout her day. The […]

The Hate U Give movie review

Two weeks ago we saw The Hate U Give (Fox, October 2018; PG-13), the new film adaptation of Angie Thomas’s bestselling young adult novel. The story follows African American teenager Starr Carter, who witnesses a police officer’s shooting of her unarmed friend and must decide whether to speak out in the aftermath. It was an […]