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Using Books

Bringing books and people together.

Groundbreaking women in STEM

Four new picture-book biographies introduce primary readers to female scientists and mathematicians who wouldn’t let anything stand in the way of their pursuit of knowledge. Also look for a review of Spring After Spring: How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement by Stephanie Roth Sisson in the upcoming September/October Horn Book Magazine. An early, vivid […]

Five questions for Sergio Ruzzier

The Party and Other Stories [Fox + Chick] (Chronicle; 5–8 years) stars two friends whose relationship isn’t always so smooth. It looks like a picture book from the outside, but simply structured panels and spare, repetitive text make it work just as effectively as an easy reader and an introduction to the conventions of graphic […]

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

Five questions for Sergio Ruzzier Fox + Chick: The Party and Other Stories by Sergio Ruzzier, Chronicle, 5–8 years. Two Mice by Sergio Ruzzier, Clarion, 3–5 years. Uncommon graphic novels for beginners The Itchy Book by LeUyen Pham, Hyperion, 5–8 years. New Shoes by Sara Varon, Roaring Brook/First Second, 5–8 years. The Dragon Slayer: Folktales […]

The art of deception

The protagonists of the following new YA fantasies all face complex societal structures which force them to hide, lie, or deceive others in some fashion. Along the way, this leads each character to re-examine her or his own identity and prior beliefs…and also makes for compelling reading. Rachel Hartman returns to her fantastical medievalesque world […]

Uncommon graphic novels for beginners

Difficult to classify — and entertaining to read. Here are four new graphic novels for beginning readers and middle graders. See also “Five Questions for Sergio Ruzzier” about his Fox + Chick series (in this issue), “New for New Readers: An Easy Reader Renaissance,” and Brian Selznick and David Serlin’s Talks with Roger interview about […]

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 […]