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Pictures / Visual literacy | Class #5, 2018

This week’s class (Feb. 28) focuses on visual literacy: pictures in young adult literature, in works of both fiction and nonfiction. Students will read two picture books and a choice of graphic novels. The prompts below address the role of these books in the classroom; you might also respond to the interplay of text and […]

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

Five questions for Ilyasah Shabazz & Renée Watson X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon, Candlewick, 14 years and up. Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz and Renée Watson, Farrar, 11–14 years. When the weather outside is frightful… Chirri & Chirra: The Snowy Day by Kaya Doi, trans. by Yuki Kaneko, Enchanted Lion, […]

Love, friendship, and fashion

For Valentine’s Day, here are some new YA stories featuring friendship, romance, purported space aliens, and fabulous fashion. See also Katrina Hedeen and Rachel L. Smith’s 2013 Horn Book Magazine article: “What Makes a Good YA Love Story?” Edan, star of Cecil Castellucci’s Don’t Cosplay with My Heart, is a devotee of the (fictitious) comic […]

Fantastic (graphic-novel) voyages

These engaging new graphic-novel adventures draw intermediate and middle-school readers in to fantastical worlds that are variously beautiful and bizarre. The Sand Warrior kicks off the 5 Worlds series, a sweeping, sci-fi/fantasy graphic-novel saga written by Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel and illustrated by Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller, and Boya Sun. Three kids from very […]

#HBBlackHistoryMonth18

Our commemoration of Black History Month continues with the following new picture books for older readers that recognize African American, Afro Caribbean, and South African trailblazers and pioneers. (And huge congratulations to all of this year’s Coretta Scott King Award winners!) Throughout February The Horn Book is highlighting articles, speeches, and reviews from our archive […]

When the weather outside is frightful…

A little imagination can go a long way towards alleviating snow-day cabin fever. These wintry picture books celebrate thinking outside the box (or, in one case, thinking a box into outer space), making them perfect companions to preschoolers’ indoor imaginative play. In their third outing, Chirri & Chirra: The Snowy Day, Kaya Doi’s rosy-cheeked (and, […]

Beyond the world we know | Class #4, 2018

This week’s topic is “Beyond the World We Know” — a category that encompasses an extensive range of books, from magical realism to science fiction to the far-away places of other worlds. Jane Langton’s classic piece on fantasy from the 1973 Horn Book, “The Weak Place in the Cloth” provides an apt and lovely metaphor […]

Reading for Groundhog Day

Six more weeks of winter?! Say it ain’t so! Groundhog Day Winter End GIF from Groundhogday GIFs Warm up (and cheer up) with these Groundhog Day–themed books. All of the titles below were recommended for by The Horn Book Magazine and The Horn Book Guide at the time of their publication; reviews reprinted from The […]

Animal-human relationships

Castaldo, Nancy F.  Beastly Brains: Exploring How Animals Think, Talk, and Feel Middle school, high school     152 pp.     Houghton Castaldo explores the scientific evidence for animal intelligence, emotions, and communication—from early observational studies to contemporary experiments that show the cognitive capabilities of monkeys, dogs, dolphins, and crows. The ethics of animal-human interactions are also considered. […]

Graphic-novel biographies and memoirs

Chandler, Matt  Outrunning the Nazis: The Brave Escape of Resistance Fighter Sven Somme Illustrated by Daniele Nicotra. Gr. 4–6, middle school     32 pp.     Capstone/Graphic Library Yomtov, Nel  Death Camp Uprising: The Escape from Sobibor Concentration Camp Illustrated by Wilson Tortosa. Gr. 4–6, middle school     32 pp.     Capstone/Graphic Library Great Escapes of World War II series. […]