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Using Books

Bringing books and people together.

Five questions for Catherine Gilbert Murdock

In The Book of Boy (Greenwillow, 9–12 years), we meet a young goatherd accompanying the pilgrim Secundus on his quest for relics, traveling from France to Rome in 1350. Boy is on a quest of his own…and as readers gradually learn (and Boy learns with them), both travelers have fascinating secrets. 1. We’ve seen some […]

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

Five questions for Catherine Gilbert Murdock     The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, illus. by Ian Schoenherr, Greenwillow, 9–12 years. The Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras, Dawson/Penguin, 9–12 years. The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz, illus. by Hatem Aly, Dutton, 12–16 years. The […]

Truth and duty

Reading about difficult circumstances can be cathartic — and may enhance readers’ feelings of empathy. The following YA novels tackle complex subject matter in authentic, thought-provoking ways. In Eric Gansworth’s Give Me Some Truth, set in 1980 on the Tuscarora Indian Nation (the “Rez”), the alternating first-person narratives of two teens — seventeen-year-old Carson Mastick […]

Deep blue sea

With activities such as beach trips, aquarium visits, and whale-watching on the agenda, summer is a great time for kids to learn more about our oceans, marine flora and fauna, and deep-water exploration. Here’s a handful of new nonfiction picture-book titles to get primary and early-intermediate readers’ feet wet. Die-cuts serve both useful and playful […]

Summer staycations

These picture books show that summer vacations don’t have to be elaborate going-away affairs — with a little imagination and some good friends, they can be a state of mind. In Deborah Underwood’s Monster & Mouse Go Camping, outdoor enthusiast Mouse convinces her anxious pal Monster to go camping with her: “Camping is great!” Mouse’s […]

Strange and magical middle-grade

What’s summer without a vacation from the norm? These fantasy and sci-fi novels for intermediate and middle-school readers are anything but ordinary. You’d think it would be hard to forget a weird, green, diminutive creature dressed in a chicken costume, but Livy has since her last visit to her grandmother’s in Australia five years ago. […]

“To Be Great, Heroic or Beautiful”: The Enduring Legacy of The Brownies’ Book

Heretofore the education of the Negro child has been too much in terms of white people. All through school life his text-books contain much about white people and little or nothing about his own race. All the pictures he sees are of white people. Most of the books he reads are by white authors, and […]

Five questions for Jessica Love

In Jessica Love’s picture book Julián Is a Mermaid (Candlewick, 4–7 years), the little-boy protagonist daydreams about becoming a mermaid. Left to his own devices, he fashions a mermaid costume from household items and applies a coat of lipstick…but what will Abuela think? 1. This is the best type of “message book” in that its […]

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

Five questions for Jessica Love Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love, Candlewick, 4–7 years. Summer lessons No Swimming for Nelly by Valeri Gorbachev, Holiday House, 2–5 years. Saturday Is Swimming Day by Hyewon Yum, Candlewick, 4–7 years. Saffron Ice Cream by Rashin Kheiriyeh, Scholastic/Levine, 4–7 years. The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier, illus. […]

Summer lessons

The following new summery picture books for preschoolers and up touch on themes of overcoming fears, making new friends, defining home, and persevering, all in light-and-breezy summertime-friendly ways. For more recommended summertime reads, check out our Summer Reading list. See also our new Five Questions interviews with Julián Is a Mermaid author/illustrator Jessica Love and […]