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Recommended Books

Promoting good books for children and young adults is the heart of The Horn Book’s editorial mission. Archived here are annotated lists of recommended titles.

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 […]

Rosh Hashanah 2018/5779

Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (year 5779!); Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins next Tuesday, September 18, at sundown. These are times in the year for family, community, and self-reflection (and our thoughts are with Shoshana’s family!). My family started a new, anachronistic “tradition” by making purple-potato latkes — with applesauce, […]

Review of A Home in the Barn

A Home in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown; illus. by Jerry Pinkney Preschool, Primary    Harper/HarperCollins    32 pp. 9/18    978-0-06-623787-9    $17.99 This cozy (previously unpublished) story from the late, legendary Margaret Wise Brown opens and closes with the same playful rhyme: “Here is the barn / Hear the wind rattle / Open the door / And see all […]

Grandparents Day 2018

Grandparents Day is Sunday, September 9. Here are some recent books for young readers and listeners about grandparents, grandchildren, and intergenerational friendships that celebrate the special bond between children and their elders. Reviews are from current or forthcoming issues of The Horn Book Guide. Brantley-Newton, Vanessa  Grandma’s Purse 32 pp. Knopf 2018 ISBN 978-1-5247-1431-4 LE […]

Review of Vivid: Poems & Notes About Color

Vivid: Poems & Notes About Color by Julie Paschkis; illus. by the author Primary    Godwin/Holt    32 pp. 7/18    978-1-250-12229-2    $17.99 Fourteen color poems pair with vibrant gouache illustrations, beginning with the color yellow: “Loudly, rowdy / daffodils yell hello. / Hot yellow.” The poem, set inside a bright sun, blazes above butterflies, birds, flowers, and a bee, […]

Review of Unpunished Murder: Massacre at Colfax and the Quest for Justice

Unpunished Murder: Massacre at Colfax and the Quest for Justice by Lawrence Goldstone Middle School, High School   Scholastic Focus/Scholastic    266 pp.    g 8/18    978-1-338-23945-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-23948-5    $17.99 In 1873, a mob of armed white men massacred more than one hundred black “freedmen” in the town of Colfax in central Louisiana. Setting the stage […]

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 Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous: A First-Day-of-School Dilemma

Lena’s Shoes Are Nervous: A First-Day-of-School Dilemma by Keith Calabrese; illus. by Juana Medina Preschool, Primary    Atheneum    40 pp. 7/18    978-1-5344-0894-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-0895-1    $10.99 Young Lena is totally prepared, and excited to start kindergarten. She’s not nervous…but her shoes are. Lena enlists her headband (who is “friends with everybody” and “a good listener”) […]

Review of Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Merci Suárez Changes Gears by Meg Medina Intermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    361 pp.    g 9/18    978-0-7636-9049-6    $16.99 Working-class Cuban American girl Mercedes “Merci” Suárez’s life in South Florida consists of spending time with her extended family and attending elite Seaward Pines Academy, where the sixth grader does community service to pay for her tuition. Now […]