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Review of The Undefeated

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander; illus. by Kadir Nelson Primary, Intermediate, Middle School     Versify/Houghton     40 pp.    g 4/19     978-1-328-78096-6     $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-05761-1     $12.99 Alexander and Nelson honor the achievements, courage, and perseverance of ordinary black people as well as prominent black artists, athletes, and activists. The free-verse poem begins: “This is for the unforgettable. / […]

Review of The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James

The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James by Ashley Herring Blake Intermediate, Middle School    Little, Brown    373 pp.    g 3/19    978-0-316-51553-5    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-51550-4    $9.99 After receiving a heart transplant, twelve-year-old Sunny decides it’s time for a “New Life” with specific components — including finding a boy to kiss and finding a new best […]

Journeys through grief

Though each of the protagonists of these middle-grade and middle-school stories navigates grief in her or his own way, their paths to healing are all poignant and relatable. In Kwame Alexander‘s Rebound, the 1988-set prequel to Newbery Medal winner The Crossover, twelve-year-old Charlie Bell is spending the summer with his grandparents following the sudden death […]

Review of The Last Last-Day-of-Summer

The Last Last-Day-of-Summer by Lamar Giles; illus. by Dapo Adeola Intermediate, Middle School    Versify/Houghton    289 pp.    g 4/19    978-1-328-46083-7    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-04721-6    $9.99 African American cousins Otto and Sheed Alston are local legends in their small Virginia town, often featured in the Logan County Gazette for their daring exploits — getting rid of ghosts, […]

Review of A Good Kind of Trouble

A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée Middle School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    368 pp.    g 3/19    978-0-06-283668-7    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-283670-0    $9.99 Shayla’s goals for her first year of junior high are simple. Attract the attention of the cute guy. Avoid the class bully. Don’t make waves. Stay close to her two best […]

Review of Unpresidented: A Biography of Donald Trump

Unpresidented: A Biography of Donald Trump by Martha Brockenbrough Middle School, High School    Feiwel    416 pp. 11/18    978-1-250-30803-0    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-250-30804-7    $9.99 Brockenbrough opens her critical biography of Donald Trump with a sampling of events leading up to the surprising (to most) results of the 2016 presidential election. She then takes readers back to […]

Brave girls in audiobooks

These audiobooks starring brave and resilient female protagonists will appeal to middle-grade fans of historical fiction featuring strong and lively young women. March is Women’s History Month. See also our Five Questions interview with Laurie Halse Anderson and the “Strong women making an impact 2019” section in this issue of Notes from the Horn Book; […]

Strong women making an impact 2019

For Women’s History Month, here are four new memoirs and biographies of women who have made a lasting impact in their respective fields. See also our Five Questions interview with Laurie Halse Anderson in this issue; our list of new picture-book bios; the tag women’s history; and KidLitWomen* for more stories of amazing and inspirational […]

Review of Fresh Ink audiobook

Fresh Ink edited by Lamar Giles; read by various artists Middle School    Listening Library    Rev. 9/18 4 CDs    5.08 hrs.    978-0-525-59565-6    $38.00 Giles opens this anthology of twelve short works with a foreword containing this message: “I hope you find [a hero] who looks like you, or thinks like you, or feels like you. If […]

Review of Soaring Earth

Soaring Earth by Margarita Engle Middle School, High School    Atheneum    160 pp.    g 2/19    978-1-5344-2953-6    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-2955-0    $10.99 In this companion verse memoir to Enchanted Air (rev. 7/15), Engle provides a glimpse into her high school years in Los Angeles and early adulthood as a Cuban American person coming to an understanding of […]