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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Notes from the Horn Book, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 117
1. From the Editor – February 2016

Roger_EdBriant_191x300In honor of Black History Month, we are daily posting key articles from the Horn Book archives about the African American experience in children’s and young adult literature. Up today: Augusta Baker’s “The Changing Image of the Black in Children’s Literature,” a speech she gave in 1974 in honor of the Horn Book’s fiftieth anniversary, and an excellent summation of how far African American children’s literature had come since she compiled her first bibliography on the topic in 1938. I hope you enjoy Baker’s astute survey and all the valuable contributions website editors Elissa Gershowitz and Katie Bircher are uncovering, each tagged HBBlackHistoryMonth16.

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Roger Sutton
Editor in Chief

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2. Books mentioned in the February 2016 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Tanita Davis
Peas and Carrots by Tanita S. Davis, Knopf, 13–16 years.
Mare’s War by Tanita S. Davis, Knopf, 13–16 years.

Not your average problem novel
Unbecoming by Jenny Downham, Scholastic, 14 years and up.
Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern, Farrar, 14 years and up.
The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, Random/Lamb, 14 years and up.
Instructions for the End of the World by Jamie Kain, St. Martin’s Griffin, 14 years and up.

Apps for morning, noon, and night
Fiete: A Day on the Farm, Ahoiii, 3–6 years.
Goldilocks and Little Bear, Nosy Crow, 3–6 years.Sago Mini Fairy Tales, Sago Mini, 3–6 years.
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illus. by Tom Lichtenheld, Oceanhouse Media, 3–6 years.
Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illus. by Tom Lichtenheld, Oceanhouse Media, 3–6 years.

Winning sports picture books
The Wildest Race Ever: The Story of the 1904 Olympic Marathon by Megan McCarthy, Simon/Wiseman, 5–8 years.
The Kid from Diamond Street: The Extraordinary Story of Baseball Legend Edith Houghton written by Audrey Vernick, illus. by Steven Salerno, Clarion, 5–8 years.
Miss Mary Reporting: The True Story of Sportswriter Mary Garber written by Sue Macy, illus. by C. F. Payne, Simon/Wiseman, 5–8 years.
Game Changer: John McLendon and the Secret Game written by John Coy, illus. by Randy DuBurke, Carolrhoda, 6–9 years.

Of magic and mettle
My Diary from the Edge of the World by Jodi Lynn Anderson, Simon/Aladdin, 9–12 years.
The Wrinkled Crown by Anne Nesbet, HarperCollins/Harper, 9–12 years.
The Last Bogler written by Catherine Jinks, illus. by Sarah Watts, Houghton, 9–12 years.
Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish by Barry Deutsch, Abrams/Amulet, 9–14 years.

These titles were featured in the February 2016 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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3. From the Editor — November 2015

Roger_EdBriant_191x300People are already fighting about Starbucks’s holiday cups, there were Christmas tree ornaments on sale at CVS this morning, and The Horn Book is pulling together Fanfare, our list of the best books of the year. While I see that Publishers Weekly has already published its list of bests (which is really rushing the season, IMHO), rest assured that Fanfare will be finished and in your inbox on December 9th in plenty of time for gift-giving (and -getting!).

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Roger Sutton
Editor in Chief

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4. October’s Notes from the Horn BoooOOOOoook

The October issue of Notes from the Horn Book is here! This month (just in time for El Día de los Muertos!) we’ve got 5Q for Duncan Tonatiuh on Funny Bones, plus (just in time for Halloween):

  • picture book tricks and treats
  • books on mixed-up magic for intermediate readers
  • creepy middle-grade fantasy
  • YA horror short stories, novels, and a book that’s a bit of both

oct 2015 nfthb

Read the issue online or subscribe to receive the monthly Notes from the Horn Book newsletter — along with Nonfiction Notes, Talks with Roger, and other occasional treats — in your inbox. For more recommended books and interviews, check out the newsletter archives.

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5. From the Editor — October 2015

Roger_EdBriant_191x300I want to thank the Horn Book, Simmons College, and Boston Globe staff who worked so hard to make this year’s Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards and Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium: “Transformations” a big success. You can see a photo album of the events on our website, and look forward to the January/February 2016 issue of the Horn Book Magazine for coverage of the weekend (including, for the many who have asked, Susan Cooper’s inspiring keynote speech). Next year marks the fiftieth anniversary of BGHB and we are planning for a big celebration!

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Roger Sutton
Editor in Chief

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6. Books mentioned in the October 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Duncan Tonatiuh
Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras by Duncan Tonatiuh, Abrams, 6–9 years.
Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and & Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh, Abrams, 6–9 years.

Tricks and treats
I Used to Be Afraid by Laura Vaccaro Seeger, Roaring Brook/Porter, 3–6 years.
The Fun Book of Scary Stuff written by Emily Jenkins, illus. by Hyewon Yum, Farrar/Foster, 5–8 years.
Mummy Cat written by Marcus Ewert , illus. by Lisa Brown, Clarion, 5–8 years.
Written and Drawn by Henrietta by Liniers, TOON, 6–9 years.

Not-scary magic
Sadie’s Story [Backyard Witch] written by Christine Heppermann and Ron Koertge, illus. by Deborah Marcero, Greenwillow, 7–10 years.
Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater, illus. by Maggie Stiefvater, Scholastic, 7–10 years.
Upside-Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Emily Jenkins, and Lauren Myracle, Scholastic, 7–10 years.
Switch by Ingrid Law, Dial, 9–12 years.

Really scary middle grade
The Nest written by Kenneth Oppel, illus. by Jon Klassen, Simon, 10–12 years.
Took by Mary Downing Hahn, Clarion, 10–12 years.
Hoodoo by Ronald L. Smith, Houghton, 10–12 years.
The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden by Emma Trevayne, Simon, 10–12 years.

Pick your poison
Slasher Girls & Monster Boys, stories selected by April Genevieve Tucholke, Dial, 14 years and up.
Thirteen Chairs by Dave Shelton, Scholastic, 13–16 years.
13 Days of Midnight by Leo Hunt, Candlewick, 13–16 years.
This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee, HarperCollins/Tegen, 11–14 years.

These titles were featured in the October 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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7. From the Editor – February 2015

Roger_EdBriant_191x300The ALA has spoken, and this year’s roster of awards for children’s and young adult books is impressively diverse and Diverse. The forthcoming issue of The Horn Book Herald includes all the lowdown about the Newbery, Caldecott and other book awards announced earlier this month in Chicago — and 2015 Newbery medalist Kwame Alexander gets the Horn Book’s five-question treatment. Look for the Herald in your inbox next week.

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Roger Sutton,
Editor in Chief

From the February 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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8. Books mentioned in the February 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Lucy Cousins
Count with Maisy, Cheep, Cheep, Cheep! by Lucy Cousins, Candlewick, 2–5 years.
I’m the Best by Lucy Cousins, Candlewick, 2–5 years.

ABC, easy as 123

Mix It Up! by Herve Tullét, Chronicle, 2–5 years.
Press Here by Herve Tullét, Handprint/Chronicle, 2–5 years.
The Happy Little Yellow Box: A Pop-Up Book of Opposites by David A. Carter, Little Simon, 2–5 years.
B Is for Box: The Happy Little Yellow Box by David A. Carter, Little Simon, 2–5 years.
Once Upon an Alphabet: Stories for Each Letter by Oliver Jeffers, Philomel, 5–8 years.
Before After by Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthais Aregui, Candlewick, 5–8 years.

Be-bop-a-skoodley!
Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryne Russell-Brown, illus. by Frank Morrison, Lee & Low, 5–8 years.
Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century by Carole Boston Weatherford, illus. by Raúl Colón, Knopf, 5–8 years.
Mahalia Jackson: Walking with Kings and Queens by Nina Nolan, illus. by John Holyfield, Amistad/HarperCollins, 5–8 years.
Bird & Diz by Gary Golio, illus. by Ed Young, Candlewick, 5–8 years.

(Not-so) long ago or far away
Bo at Iditarod Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill, illus. by LeUyen Pham, Holt, 8–12 years.
Bo at Ballard Creek by Kirkpatrick Hill, illus. by LeUyen Pham, Holt, 8–12 years.
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Dial, 8–12 years.
Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper, Atheneum, 8–12 years.
The Paper Cowboy by Kristin Levine, Putnam, 8–12 years.

Bad company
On a Clear Day by Walter Dean Myers, Crown, 14 years and up.
The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi, Little, Brown, 14 years and up.
Denton Little’s Deathdate by Lance Rubin, Knopf, 14 years and up.
Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin, Egmont, 12–14 years.

These titles were featured in the February 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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9. Books mentioned in the April 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Nikki Grimes
Poems in the Attic by Nikki Grimes, illus. by Elizabeth Zunon, Lee & Low, 5–8 years.
A Pocketful of Poems by Nikki Grimes, illus. by Javaka Steptoe, Clarion, 5–8 years.

Versatile verse
Wonton and Chopstick by Lee Wardlaw, illus. by Eugene Yelchin, Holt, 5–8 years.
A Poem in Your Pocket by Margaret McNamara, illus. by G. Brian Karas, Random/Schwartz & Wade, 5–8 years.
Hypnotize a Tiger: Poems About Just About Everything by Calef Brown, Ottaviano/Holt, 7–10 years.
The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects selected by Paul B. Janeczko, illus. by Chris Raschka, Candlewick, 7–10 years.

The early bird
You Can Do It, Bert! by Ole Könnecke, trans. from the German by Catherine Chidgey, Gecko, 2–5 years.
Smick! by Doreen Cronin, illus. by Juana Medina, Viking, 2–5 years.
You Nest Here With Me by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple, illus. by Melissa Sweet, Boyds Mills, 2–5 years.
P. Zonka Lays an Egg by Julie Paschkis, Peachtree, 4–7 years.

Fearless females
Moonpenny Island by Tricia Springstubb, illus. by Gilbert Ford, Harper/Balzer + Bray, 9–12 years.
The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall, Knopf, 9–12 years.
Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy by Susan Vaught, Simon/Wiseman, 9–12 years.
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson, Dial, 9–12 years.

Life, death, and football
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, Penguin/Dutton, 14 years and up.
The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith, Penguin/Dutton, 14 years and up.
The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds, Atheneum, 14 years and up.
When I was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds, Atheneum, 14 years and up.
The Dead I Know by Scot Gardner, Houghton, 14 years and up.
Hit Count by Chris Lynch, Algonquin, 14 years and up.

These titles were featured in the April 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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10. From the Editor – April 2015

Roger_EdBriant_191x300The Academy of American Poets chose wisely back in 1996 when they designated April as National Poetry Month. A book of poetry is the perfect choice for outdoor reading in spring. You can open to one page and put your hands back in your pockets to warm while you read. You can pay attention to all the tiny things popping up about you without losing your place. You can stop reading and just look at the shape of the words on the page while you take in some bird talk. While poetry is often compared to (and paired with) music, I think its artistic equivalent is more like sculpture: the poem stays in one place while you wander around it, taking in not just its shape but how it sits in the world that surrounds it. So pick up a poem and find a bench.

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Roger Sutton
Editor in Chief

From the April 2015 issue of Notes from Horn Book.

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11. Versatile verse

National Poetry Month (better known as April) celebrates a form that can be used in myriad ways to explore any topic imaginable. Here are two collections of poems with themes in common, and two books that use poetry to help tell a larger story.

wardlaw_won ton and chopstickA kitty named Won Ton makes his second appearance in Lee Wardlaw’s Won Ton and Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku. Won Ton’s first-person haiku narrate his adjustment to the arrival of a new puppy. At first things do not go well — “Ears perk. Fur prickles. / Belly low, I creep…peek…FREEZE! / My eyes full of Doom.” — but eventually the two find common ground in their mutual love of their little-boy owner. The interrelated haiku together create a story of gradual friendship, but each can also stand alone, capturing Won Ton’s quintessential felineness (“Nap, play, bathe, nap, eat, repeat.”). Eugene Yelchin’s graphite and gouache illustrations contrast the sleek gray cat with the roly-poly brown puppy; pastel backgrounds highlight the pets’ expressive faces and body language. (Holt, 5–8 years)

mcnamara_poem in your pocketElinor, star of the picture book A Poem in Your Pocket, initially feels confident in her poetry-writing ability, but her firm grasp of terms like simile and metaphor doesn’t mean she can write great poetry herself. She gets more and more worried as the class prepares for a visit by a famous poet. Author Margaret McNamara slyly works in a lot of information about poetry while keeping the focus on Elinor’s dilemma. Examples of poetry the kids come up with may inspire young readers to attempt their own writing, especially since G. Brian Karas’s gouache, acrylic, and pencil pictures make the diverse group of classmates look like they’re having a great time. (Random/Schwartz & Wade, 5–8 years)

brown_hypnotize a tigerCalef Brown’s collection Hypnotize a Tiger: Poems About Just About Everything ends with an invitation to write your own poetry, but the whole book is such an invitation. Brown takes several kids’-book conventions — such as the celebration of the outlier, weird animals, and complaints about school — and gives them fresh energy. He even infuses the yucky-foods trope with original twists (the Loofah Torte is particularly startling). From the bottom margin, a peanut gallery of creatures much given to puns comment on the poems and offer their own. Black-and-white drawings add to the jauntiness and the welcoming, joyous mood. (Holt/Ottaviano, 7–10 years)

janczko_death of the hatIn their fourth collaboration, The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects, selector Paul B. Janeczko and illustrator Chris Raschka offer readers fifty poems whose origins range from the early Middle Ages to the postmodern and contemporary eras. The poems are unified by a common theme — each is about an object — and organized chronologically. Raschka’s soft, impressionistic watercolors showcase each poem, visually encouraging readers to keep reading. Expect variety in the selections, from old favorites such as “My Shadow” by Robert Louis Stevenson to “Grainfield” by Ibn ‘Iyād to Pablo Neruda’s “Ode to a Stamp Album.” (Candlewick, 7–10 years)

From the April 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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12. April’s Notes issue

In our April edition of Notes from the Horn Book, we’re celebrating National Poetry Month by chatting with poet Nikki Grimes about her new picture book, Poems in the Attic. Other goodies in this issue:

  • more poetry books for primary and intermediate readers
  • spring-y picture books about birds
  • grrl-power intermediate and middle-school fiction
  • YA about teen boys facing tough challenges

april 15 notes

Read the issue online or subscribe to receive the monthly Notes from the Horn Book newsletter — and its supplement Nonfiction Notes — in your inbox. For more recommended books and interviews, check out the newsletter archives.

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13. May Notes

The May edition of Notes from the Horn Book is on its way! An interview with Last Stop on Market Street illustrator Christian Robinson kicks it off, followed by

  • more picture books celebrating grandmas
  • picture-book musician biographies
  • intermediate fantasy with a hint of creepiness
  • historical fiction for teens

may 2015 notes

Read the issue online or subscribe to receive the monthly Notes from the Horn Book newsletter — along with Nonfiction Notes and Talks with Roger — in your inbox. For more recommended books and interviews, check out the newsletter archives.

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14. Books mentioned in the June 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Ann Bausum
Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights by Ann Bausum, Viking, 11–15 years.

Lives and times
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, illus. by Anna Hymas, Dial, 9–12 years.
March: Book Two by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illus. by Nate Powell, Top Shelf Productions, 11–15 years.
March: Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, illus. by Nate Powell, Top Shelf Productions, 11–15 years.
The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club by Phillip Hoose, Farrar, 11–15 years.
Tommy: The Gun That Changed America by Karen Blumenthal, Roaring Brook, 11–15 years.

Hoppy for Poppy
Tad and Dad by David Ezra Stein, Penguin/Paulsen, 2–5 years.
The Big Princess by Taro Miura, Candlewick, 3–6 years.
The Tiny King by Taro Miura, Candlewick, 3–6 years.
Ask Me by Bernard Waber, illus. by Suzy Lee, Houghton, 3–6 years.
Emu by Claire Saxby, illus. by Graham Byrne, Candlewick, 5–8 years.

In summer
Lost in NYC: A Subway Adventure by Nadja Spiegelman, illus. by Sergio Garcia Sanchez, colors by Lola Moral, TOON, 5–8 years.
Lulu and the Hamster in the Night by Hilary McKay, illus. by Priscilla Lamont, Whitman, 5–8 years.
Adventures with Waffles by Maria Parr, trans. from the Norwegian by Guy Puzey, illus. by Kate Forrester, Candlewick, 6–9 years.
Cody and the Fountain of Happiness by Tricia Springstubb, illus. by Eliza Wheeler, Candlewick, 6–9 years.

Listen, laugh, and learn
The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza by Jack Gantos, read by the author, Listening Library, 8–11 years.
Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff, read by Noah Galvin, Recorded Books, 8–11 years.
Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins, read by Jessica Almasy, Recorded Books, 9–12 years.
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm, read by Georgette Perna, Listening Library, 10–14 years.

From the June 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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15. From the Editor – July 2015

Roger_EdBriant_191x300I’m just back from ALA in San Francisco (conveniently also home to my two adorable grandchildren), where the term I kept hearing throughout the exhibit halls was narrative nonfiction (last year it was bullying). As is so often true of these trends, the term meant different things to different people, with definitions ranging from “like Steve Sheinkin” to “informational books with a beginning, middle, and end” to “Core Standards–ready with a story besides.” Me, I just kept thinking of Henrik Van Loon’s The Story of Mankind, but I suppose reinvention is what keeps us young!

Van Loon won the first Newbery Medal in 1922, too early for us to have included his acceptance speech in the Horn Book Magazine‘s pages. But this year’s winner’s speech (by Kwame Alexander, along with those for the Caldecott, Wilder, and Coretta Scott King awards) are all in our current July/August issue, itself graced with a cover created by 2015 Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat. I think it’s quite one of the most spectacular issues we’ve published; go here for information about how to get a copy for yourself.

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Roger Sutton
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16. From the Editor – August 2015

Roger_EdBriant_191x300I’m happy to announce that Susan Cooper will be keynoting “Transformations,” the 2015 Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium, to be held at Simmons College on October 3rd, following the presentation of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards the evening before. Susan, who won the BGHB Fiction Award in 1973 for The Dark Is Rising (and wrote about transformations in the May/June 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine) will be joined by Candace Fleming, Marla Frazee, and others in consideration of the theme, and we would love for you to join us. You can sign up for early-bird registration here; your ticket will also secure you a spot at the invitation-only BGHB ceremony on October 2nd.

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Roger Sutton
Editor in Chief

From the August 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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17. This is my life

Memoirs capture moments in time, those events that are formative or emblematic or otherwise meaningful for their subjects. Surprising, intimate, cathartic — Brown Girl Dreaming, El Deafo, Becoming Maria (see Randy Ribay’s interview with Sonia Manzano), the new books below, and these recommended by the Horn Book Guide, for example — memoirs offer glimpses into the larger picture of a life.

gantos_trouble in meFourteen-year-old Jack Gantos was a “drifty kid who was lost at sea…easily led off course.” Bored with his own life, he tried to be somebody else and fell into the orbit of juvenile delinquent neighbor Gary Pagoda. In The Trouble in Me, Gantos effectively narrates his own story, reviewing portions of his life to identify what led him to abandon his “better self” in favor of later becoming a drug smuggler who ended up in a federal penitentiary. As explained in the afterword, this volume acts as a preface to Hole in My Life, and readers who read both will experience the full arc of Jack’s wild behavior, severe consequences, and, ultimately, redemption. (Farrar, 14 years and up)

jimenez_taking holdIn Taking Hold: From Migrant Childhood to Columbia University — the fourth volume of Francisco Jiménez’s memoir series (starting with The Circuit) — the author delivers a moving account of his graduate school years at Columbia University during the turbulent 1960s, paying particular attention to those friends and mentors who helped shape his intellectual pursuits and academic career path. He also relates his courtship and marriage to his college sweetheart, Laura, and the birth of their two children. Throughout it all, Jiménez never forgets his beginnings as the child of migrant farm workers, frequently alluding to and briefly recapitulating events from earlier volumes. His ingratiating storytelling—who else could make these years of adulthood such a compelling read for teens?—makes us root for him to succeed. (Houghton, 14 years and up)

engle_enchanted airAuthor and poet Margarita Engle explores her own past in Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir, a collection of emotionally rich memory poems. The daughter of a Don Quixote–obsessed American artist of Ukrainian Jewish descent and a beautiful homesick Cuban émigrée, Engle describes joyful visits to her mother’s homeland as a child. She then vividly contrasts the smoggy air of sprawling Los Angeles with the enchanted air of that small, magical-seeming island, and at first going between the two cultures is fairly seamless. But then there’s the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and suddenly all is different. Engle’s personal reverie gives young readers an intimate view of a complicated time and life. (Atheneum, 12–16 years)

From the August 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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18. Oh look, another newsletter

WMAG_narrative_nonfiction_728x144Look for The Horn Book’s new quarterly newsletter, WHAT MAKES A GOOD…? debuting on August 26th with “What Makes Good Narrative Nonfiction?” The issue features Five Questions for Steve Sheinkin, an essay about how to select NNF by the Junior Library Guild’s Deborah Brittain Ford, and brief reviews of our choices for the best narrative nonfiction published for kids and teens in the last few years. If you are already a subscriber to any of our newsletters you will receive this one automagically; otherwise you can sign up here. It’s free!

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19. From the Editor – November 2014

Roger EdBriant 191x300 From the Editor   November 2014Please permit me to highlight two of the titles reviewed in this issue of Notes from the Horn Book, alike only in their consideration of the friendship possible between the old and the young, and — refreshingly — their resistance of current splashy publishing trends. That The Farmer and the Clown is wordless is the only on-trend thing about Marla Frazee’s latest picture book, and unlike so many of that ilk it is not about solving a puzzle or decrypting a mind-bending meta-plot. It is instead about caring and connection between human beings, with powerful emotions evoked, through posture and gesture alone, on every page. In contrast, Naomi Shihab Nye’s The Turtle of Oman could, I suppose, be called wordful, and like Nye’s wonderful poetry, this novel sneaks up on you. Its story and characters are soft-spoken, and there’s no grand galloping plot, just the unconditional friendship between a boy and his grandfather as they prepare to say goodbye for a while. As with The Farmer and Clown, you finish the book knowing that even when the characters part, each will keep the other in his heart — and you won’t forget them, either.

roger signature From the Editor   November 2014

Roger Sutton,
Editor in Chief

From the November 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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20. Books mentioned in the December 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Picture books
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, illus. by Jon Klassen, Candlewick, 5–8 years.
My Bus written and illus. by Byron Barton, Greenwillow, 2–4 years.
The Baby Tree written and illus. by Sophie Blackall, Penguin/Paulsen, 3–7 years.
Draw! written and illus. by Raúl Colón, Simon/Wiseman, 5–8 years.
Gaston written by Kelly DiPucchio, illus. by Christian Robinson, Atheneum, 3–7 years.
The Farmer and the Clown written and illus. by Marla Frazee, Simon/Beach Lane, 3–7 years.
Once Upon an Alphabet  written and illus. by Oliver Jeffers, Philomel, 6–9 years.
Viva Frida written and illus. by Yuyi Morales, with photos by Tim O’Meara, Roaring Brook/Porter, 5–8 years.
Bow-Wow’s Nightmare Neighbors written and illus. by Mark Newgarden and Megan Montague Cash, Roaring Brook/Porter, 2–4 years.

Fiction
The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis, Scholastic, 9–13 years.
The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza by Jack Gantos, Farrar, 8–11 years.
My Heart Is Laughing written by Rose Lagercrantz, illus. by Eva Eriksson, translated from the Swedish by Julia Marshall, Gecko, 5–8 years.
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, Delacorte, 13 years and up.
Egg & Spoon by Gregory Maguire, Candlewick, 12–14 years.
Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin, Feiwel, 8–11 years.
The Turtle of Oman written by Naomi Shihab Nye, illus. by Betsy Peterschmidt, Greenwillow, 8–11 years.
West of the Moon by Margi Preus, Abrams/Amulet, 9–13 years.
This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki, illus. by Jillian Tamaki, Roaring Brook/First Second, 12–16 years.

Folklore
Little Roja Riding Hood written by Susan Middleton Elya, illus. by Susan Guevara, Putnam, 5–8 years.

Poetry
Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko, illus. by Melissa Sweet, Candlewick, 3–7 years.
How I Discovered Poetry written by Marilyn Nelson, illus. by Hadley Hooper, Dial, 12–14 years.

Nonfiction
Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth written by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm, illus. by Molly Bang, Scholastic/Blue Sky, 8–11 years.
El Deafo written and illus. by Cece Bell, color by David Lasky, Abrams/Amulet, 9–13 years.
The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus written by Jen Bryant, illus. by Melissa Sweet, Eerdmans, 5–8 years.
The Story of Buildings: From the Pyramids to the Sydney Opera House and Beyond written by Patrick Dillon, illus. by Stephen Biesty, Candlewick, 12–14 years.
The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming, Random/Schwartz & Wade, 12–16 years.
Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker written by Patricia Hruby Powell, illus. by Christian Robinson, Chronicle, 9–13 years.
Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands written and illus. by Katherine Roy, Roaring Brook/Macaulay, 8–11 years.
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, Penguin/Paulsen, 9–13 years.

These titles were featured in the December 2014 special Fanfare issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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21. Fanfare 2014 Notes

Da-da-da-daaaaaa! It’s here: the Fanfare special edition of Notes is arriving in subscribers’ inboxes right now.

We began with a long longlist, then fought it ou— er, cordially discussed the options until we whittled it down to twenty-nine favorites of 2014. With picture books, fiction, folklore, poetry, and nonfiction, there’s something — probably several things — for everyone.

Notes (and its occasional supplements Nonfiction Notes and Talks With Roger) will be back to regularly scheduled programming in January.

fanfare notes 14 Fanfare 2014 Notes

Read the issue online or subscribe to receive the monthly Notes from the Horn Book newsletter. For more recommended books plus author and illustrator interviews, check out the newsletter archives.

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22. The first Notes of the year

In January’s issue of Notes from the Horn Book, Jennifer Brabander asks Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future author A. S. King about that bat and lots more. You’ll also find:

  • more fierce female YA protagonists
  • snowy-day picture books
  • intermediate series
  • graphic-novel memoirs

notes jan 2015

Read the issue online or subscribe to receive the monthly Notes from the Horn Book newsletter — and its supplement Nonfiction Notes — in your inbox. For more recommended books and interviews, check out the newsletter archives.

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23. Bad company

Conspiracy theory or everyday life? These new YA novels — three thrillers and one dark comedy — star teen protagonists finding their places in worlds manipulated by not-so-scrupulous corporations.

myers_on a clear dayWalter Dean Myers’s posthumously published On a Clear Day takes place in 2035. The Central Eight (C-8) companies rule everything, enriching themselves while the rest of society suffers. Millions are starving, schools have closed, and everyone seems to ignore the collateral damage caused by the seductive “marvelous gadgets” the companies sell. Hope lies in small bands of resistance such as the one joined by sixteen-year-old math whiz Dahlia Grillo. Dahlia is an appealing protagonist in a troubling world not far removed from our own. (Crown, 14 years and up)

bacigalupi_doubt factoryMoses Cruz, leader of a diverse group of orphan teens, has targeted Alix Banks in order to destroy his real objective: her father, whose PR firm defends harmful products sold by Fortune 500 companies. Moses shatters Alix’s sheltered, privileged existence — stalking and kidnapping her — in hopes that she’ll help expose her father’s corruption. In his compelling thriller The Doubt Factory, Paolo Bacigalupi excels at creating two fully rounded narrators: Alix, who transforms from naive rich-girl to activist, and Moses, enigmatic, dangerous, yet somehow likable. (Little, Brown, 14 years and up)

rubin_denton little's death dateIn seventeen-year-old Denton’s world, AstroThanatoGenetics makes it possible — and the U.S. government makes it mandatory — to know the date of a person’s death at the time of their birth. On the morning of his funeral, Denton wakes up in his best friend’s sister’s bed, unsure of whether he’s cheated on his girlfriend. He then spends his deathdate (also the day of his senior prom) wondering how he’ll go — and there are plenty of possibilities. Denton Little’s Deathdate by Lance Rubin has dark humor in spades, plus fully developed relationships and a mystery that will keep pages turning. (Knopf, 14 years and up)

lippert-martin_tabula rasaIn Kristen Lippert-Martin’s Tabula Rasa, Sarah is one of several young patients in a remote state-of-the-art hospital, living in isolation while doctors surgically remove their memories. Before her final treatment can be completed — and after Sarah has taken a covertly delivered pill that may release her damaged memories — soldiers attack the hospital, killing patients and doctors alike. Sarah taps into a forgotten cache of strength, agility, and tactical instinct to evade the intruders, but to escape the hospital she must ally herself with friendly-but-cagey hacker Thomas. Mysteries stack upon mysteries in this gripping, multifaceted thriller. (Egmont, 12–16 years)

From the February 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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24. ABC, easy as 123

Who says ABC books are just for babies? Why can’t you mix up some colors using just your finger, no paint? The following concept books defy conventions — and expectations.

tullet_mix it upIn Mix It Up!, Hervé Tullet follows the same format as in his hugely entertaining Press Here, but this time the play is focused on colors and what happens when you mix them. Children are directed to press on color splotches or to shake or tilt the book to make the colors “mix” or “run.” Turn the pages to see the results. For example, “If you rub the two colors [red and blue] together really hard…then what happens?” (Page-turn: purple!) Lots of fun, with no messy cleanup. (Chronicle/Handprint, 2–5 years)

carter_b is for boxThat bright, friendly cube from David A. Carter’s The Happy Little Yellow Box: A Pop-Up Book of Opposites is back in B Is for Box: The Happy Little Yellow Box. This time it’s taking a trip through the alphabet, encouraging children to use pull-tabs, lift-the-flaps, and other interactive features every step of the way. The white text and chalklike drawings on black backgrounds introduce multiple upper- and lowercase letters per page. The bold color contrasts and carefully engineered surprises make for a high-energy alphabet book. (Little Simon, 2–5 years)

jeffers_once-upon-an-alphabetEach letter of the alphabet gets its own little four-page story in Oliver Jeffers’s Once Upon an Alphabet. The tales are clever, silly, and thought-provoking; some of them overlap, with characters making their way in and out of one another’s stories. Jeffers’s loose-lined illustrations include lots of visual humor that will appeal to older children who already know their ABCs but can still appreciate a good alphabet book. (Philomel, 5–8 years)

ramstein_before afterThe wordless Before After by Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Arégui presents before-and-after sequences: night to day, acorn to oak tree, etc. As the book progresses, some of the sequences become longer (sheep to wool to knitting to sweater), as simple transitions make way for more complex or philosophical ones. Clean, subdued-palette digital illustrations help pave the way for thoughtful discussion. (Candlewick, 5–8 years)

From the February 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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25. Five questions for Lucy Cousins

lucycousinsIf you know any little girls named Maisy (or Tallulah; or, for that matter, any little boys named Cyril), chances are good that it’s because of Lucy Cousins. Her indomitable little-girl-mouse is beloved by toddlers and their grownups the world over, making Cousins one proud mama.

1. Your latest Maisy book — Count with Maisy, Cheep, Cheep, Cheep! (Candlewick, 2–5 years) — is a large-format, lift-the-flap book. You’ve also done Maisy board books, hardcovers, cloth books, Maisy First Science and Arts-and-Crafts books, books with stickers, etc., etc. How do you decide? Does form follow content?

LC: I like to try out any new ideas for Maisy that I can think of. Maybe it’s because she is quite a graphic character, she seems to work well in many different formats. Because the age range for Maisy is so wide, from a young baby who is just grasping things and looking intently to a child who enjoys stories and details, it means there is such a variety of book styles to create. A chunky book is great for a tiny child who might put the book in the mouth and drop it on the floor, whereas an older child will enjoy sitting quietly and studying the pictures and following a story. Whatever the age, I like there to be a choice of Maisy books, some just for fun, some for learning, some for stories. So I aim to create pictures and ideas or stories that are relevant to the format of the book.

2. You’ve introduced American children to some unusual-to-them names (Maisy, for one; also Tallulah, which is very cute to hear toddlers try to say!). How do you name your characters?

LC: I find naming characters a very difficult thing. I have a few dictionaries of names, which are usually for naming babies, and initially go through all the names starting with the same letter as the animal I’m trying to name. Or I think of names that sound nice phonetically. When I named Maisy, the name was familiar, but only really used by people of my grandparents’ generation. I just loved the sound of it, a soft and friendly name. Now it has become quite a popular name, and I sometimes meet children called Maisy and Tallulah when I am signing books. I was quite excited when my son came home after his first term at university and told us that his new girlfriend’s name is… Tallulah!

cousins_count with maisy cheep cheep cheep3. You’re well known for your work in those bright, bold colors. Have you done work in other styles, or using different media?

LC: I developed my style of illustration using bright blocks of color and a bold black outline while I was studying at art college. It feels very comfortable and natural to paint like that, so I enjoy mostly working in that style. Occasionally I have tried a slightly different approach. For example, my book I’m the Best (Candlewick, 2–5 years) was created with colored inks and a chunky graphite pencil. In the early days of Maisy, I had quite a lot of creative input into the developing of the TV series and merchandising, and I enjoyed working in those different mediums. I love doing creative things for fun, almost anything, from pottery to photography to knitting. But life has been so busy bringing up my four children and creating my books, that I haven’t had much time for experimenting.

4. Maisy is a toddler icon. Do you hear much from nostalgic ten-year-olds?

LC: Yes, it’s always lovely to hear memories of people enjoying Maisy. Especially from six-foot-tall teenage friends of my children. Parents sometimes tell me heartwarming stories about how a Maisy book has been very special to their child during a difficult time, like a hospital visit, or starting a new nursery school. I work in a solitary way, for weeks and months on my books, and sometimes it can be quite a struggle, so it means a lot when I hear about a child who loves Maisy.

5. Following Hello Kitty-gate, do you think of your character as a girl-sized mouse? Or a mouse-shaped girl? Or neither?

LC: I have to say that it is not something I think about, or am inclined to try and understand. For me, she is just Maisy, in Maisy’s world, and it’s completely separate from our world. When I did the very first drawing of Maisy about twenty-five years ago, I could picture her character and her world, and it’s always seemed to me that it’s best not to question that vision. If I start to think about why she is a mouse who behaves like a child, has no parents or family, can do things only adults can do, and is completely independent, it all seems rather confusing. Even her sex is rather ambiguous to me. She is officially a female, but that is a very unimportant part of who she is. She likes wearing trousers and mucking out pigs as much as dancing and baking.  So, Maisy is just Maisy. Simple.

From the February 2015 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

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