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Using Books

Bringing books and people together.

Trailblazing Latinx women

Quintero, Isabel  Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide Middle school, high school     96 pp.     Getty 2018 Boston Globe–Horn Book Nonfiction Award winner. Illustrated by Zeke Peña. Photographer Iturbide’s story is told in comic-panel format, with striking black-and-white illustrations, high-quality reproductions of her own photographs, and spare first-person narration drawing upon her writing and interviews; interspersed […]

Learning curves

A new school year means emotional challenges in addition to academic ones. The teen protagonists of these nuanced YA dramas navigate the complex intersections of their school, familial, and social identities. See also our recommendations for middle-school and high-school readers in the 2018 Back-to-School Herald. Sophomore Darius Kellner doesn’t fit in at his Oregon high […]

Everyday — and otherworldly — wonders

In these new books for intermediate readers, the boundaries between our reality and more fantastical realms blur, allowing protagonists and magical beings alike to walk between worlds. My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder, author-illustrator Nie Jun’s graphic novel for young readers, begins with a girl, Yu’er, who dreams of swimming in the Special Olympics. […]

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

Five questions for Zetta Elliott Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott, illus. by Geneva B, Random House, 8–11 years. Everyday — and otherworldly — wonders My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder by Nie Jun, trans. by Edward Gauvin, Lerner/Graphic Universe, 8–11 years. The Tale of Angelino Brown by David Almond, illus. by Alex […]

Creative concepts

Crafting a fresh concept book is no easy task, but the creators of these new picture books introduce fundamental topics in imaginative ways. “Look! Elephants! / One, two, three, four, five…” Five elephants, each rendered in a different pastel color with a thick brown outline, march across the pages of A Parade of Elephants. Counting […]

Rosh Hashanah 2018/5779

Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (year 5779!); Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins next Tuesday, September 18, at sundown. These are times in the year for family, community, and self-reflection (and our thoughts are with Shoshana’s family!). My family started a new, anachronistic “tradition” by making purple-potato latkes — with applesauce, […]

Grandparents Day 2018

Grandparents Day is Sunday, September 9. Here are some recent books for young readers and listeners about grandparents, grandchildren, and intergenerational friendships that celebrate the special bond between children and their elders. Reviews are from current or forthcoming issues of The Horn Book Guide. Brantley-Newton, Vanessa  Grandma’s Purse 32 pp. Knopf 2018 ISBN 978-1-5247-1431-4 LE […]

August 2018 Back-to-School Horn Book Herald: High School

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo HarperTeen     361 pp 3/18     978-0-06-266280-4     $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-266282-8     $9.99 Fifteen-year-old Xiomara, a self-described “brown and big and angry” Dominican girl from Harlem, finds peace in writing poetry. The slow-burning suspense of what will transpire when devoutly Catholic Mami discovers Xiomara’s clandestine relationship with a classmate is eclipsed only […]

August 2018 Back-to-School Horn Book Herald: Middle School

March Forward, Girl: From Young Warrior to Little Rock Nine by Melba Pattillo Beals; illus. by Frank Morrison Houghton     214 pp. 1/18     978-1-328-88212-7     $16.99 As one of the Little Rock Nine, Beals helped integrate Central High School in 1957; here she recounts the childhood years that led up to that important step (described in the […]

August 2018 Back-to-School Horn Book Herald: Intermediate

Stella Díaz Has Something to Say by Angela Dominguez; illus. by the author Roaring Brook     202 pp. 1/18     978-1-62672-858-5     $16.99 Shy, artistic third grader Stella Díaz, who emigrated from Mexico to Chicago, is self-conscious about her accent and occasional English blunders. She’s also worried about being in a different class than best friend Jenny. Supportive […]