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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 Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots

Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots by Margarita Engle; illus. by Rudy Gutierrez Middle School, High School    Atheneum    179 pp.    g 5/18    978-1-5344-0943-9    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-0945-3    $10.99 In 1942 Los Angeles, after working all day at the canneries, teen sisters Lorena and Marisela can’t wait to put on their sharpest swing […]

Review of The Creativity Project

The Creativity Project edited by Colby Sharp Intermediate    Little, Brown    278 pp. 3/18    978-0-316-50781-3    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-50778-3    $9.99 It’s a good premise. Forty-four contemporary children’s book people each contribute a writing prompt. Then each one responds to someone else’s prompt. The result is a combination anthology and inspiring craft manual. It’s diverse all ’round, […]

Review of Be Prepared

Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol; illus. by the author; 

color by Alec Longstreth Intermediate    First Second/Roaring Brook    256 pp. 4/18    978-1-62672-444-0    $22.99 Paper ed.  978-1-62672-445-7    $12.99 “This book is a true story. And also made up.” Brosgol’s (Anya’s Ghost, rev. 7/11; Leave Me Alone, rev. 9/16) fictionalized graphic memoir captures the ups and downs (let’s […]

From The Guide: Be an Everyday Un-Hero

Sometimes it feels like the average person can’t make much of an impact on the world. But in her Writer’s Page column, “The Un-Hero’s Journey”, Kekla Magoon says, “The key to making a difference is to be someone who participates, someone who tries hard to do the right thing. It is about effort, not magic. […]

Review of Alma and How She Got Her Name

Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.    g 4/18    978-0-7636-9355-8    $15.99 Spanish ed.  978-0-7636-9358-9    $15.99 Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela feels self-conscious about her long name until her father tells her about the family members she is named after. Use of the […]

“The Book That Changed My Life” series roundup

For the May/June 2018 Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: Making a Difference (gorgeous cover at right by Yuyi Morales), we asked fifteen-plus children’s book creators to write about the book that changed their lives. The answers were heartfelt, touching, sometimes humorous, always thoughtful — and a welcome reminder about the enduring power of books and […]

The Book That Changed My Life: Write What’s Missing

It started in seventh grade, the day my best friend brought a beat-up paperback to school and asked me to hold it for her. Garla’s mom was very religious, so at times I found myself keeping stuff for her at my house, things her mother wouldn’t approve of, like her DeBarge and Prince records. That […]

Review of Champion: The Comeback of the 

American Chestnut Tree

Champion: The Comeback of the 

American Chestnut Tree by Sally M. Walker Intermediate, Middle School    Holt    136 pp. 3/18    978-1-250-12523-1    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-250-12524-8    $9.99 The American chestnut tree once dotted the landscape in the eastern United States, but a mysterious blight began to wipe the trees out in the early twentieth century due to […]

Reach Out and Read: A Life-Changing Idea

Nearly thirty years ago, an idea came to me that changed my life and my profession. I was a young pediatrician working at Boston City Hospital (now Boston Medical Center), training to be a specialist in child development. The idea was that picture books are important in the lives of children, and can be an […]