Newbery Medal Winners
2019
Merci Suarez Changes Gears
Book Jacket   Meg Medina
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763690496 Cuban American Merci's life in south Florida consists of spending time with her extended family (including her abuelo, Lolo, who no longer seems like himself) and attending elite Seaward Pines Academy, where she does community service to pay for her tuition. Medina brings depth, warmth, and heart to her characters, never shying away from portraying this family's flaws. Accurate, natural use of Spanish builds authenticity. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Merci navigates the challenges of being a scholarship kid at a posh South Florida private school and the expectations of and responsibilities to her intergenerational family.Eleven-year-old Merci Surez isn't the typical Seaward Pines Academy sixth-grader. Instead of a stately mansion, Merci lives with her parents and older brother, Roli, in one of three identical homes next to her Cuban-American extended family: Abuela and Lolo, Ta Inz, and her rambunctious little twin cousins. At school, Merci has to deal with condescending mean girl Edna Santos, who loves to brag, boss around her friends, and throw out hurtful comments that start with "No offense." Although Merci wants to earn money so that she can afford a new bike, she's stuck volunteering for Sunshine Buddies, in which current students mentor new ones. What's worse is that her assigned buddy is Michael Clark, a new tall white boy in her class. At home, Merci's beloved Lolo begins to act erratically, and it becomes clear something secret and serious is happening. Medina writes about the joys of multigenerational home life (a staple of the Latinx community) with a touching, humorous authenticity. Merci's relationship with Lolo is heartbreakingly beautiful and will particularly strike readers who can relate to the close, chaotic, and complicated bonds of live-in grandparents.Medina delivers another stellar and deeply moving story. (author's note) (Fiction. 9-13) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2019
The Night Diary
Book Jacket   Veera Hiranandani
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780735228511 Half-Hindu, half-Muslim twelve-year-old Nisha's family is forced to leave home after the Partition of India in 1947 places their city in the newly created Muslim state of Pakistan. Hiranandani flawlessly renders a world-altering historical event through the diary of a perceptive child, providing enough detail for readers who may not be familiar with the history while keeping focus on Nisha's arduous literal and emotional journeys. Glos. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. In 1947, Nisha's beloved country is being torn apartand so is her family.Nisha and her twin brother, Amil, celebrate their 12th birthday in their beloved town of Mirpur Khas, India, a month before their country receives independence from the British and splits into India and Pakistan. Painfully shy, Nisha, who lost her mother in childbirth and feels distant from her stern father and her elderly grandmother, is only able to speak freely with the family cook, a Muslim man named Kazi. Although Nisha's mother was Muslim, her family is Hindu, and the riots surrounding Partition soon make it impossible for them to live in their home safely despite their mixed faith. They are forced to leave their townand Kazi. As Nisha and her family make their way across the brand-new border, Nisha learns about her family history, not to mention her own strength. Hiranandani (The Whole Story of Half a Girl, 2013) compassionately portrays one of the bloodiest periods in world history through diary entries Nisha writes to her deceased mother. Nisha's voice is the right mix of innocence and strength, and her transformation is both believable and heartbreaking. Nisha's unflinching critiques of Gandhi, Nehru, and Jinnah are particularly refreshing in their honesty.A gripping, nuanced story of the human cost of conflict appropriate for both children and adults. (Historical fiction. 11-adult) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2019
The Book of Boy
 Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062686206 Secundus, a pilgrim, and Boy, a goatherd, travel together from France to Rome in 1350, each mysterious character on a quest. Murdock is in complete control of her medieval material, limning a world of bleak, plague-decimated villages and steeped in religious belief. The fantastical story is beautifully served by its generous page design, thick deckle-edged paper, and gorgeous woodcut-style illustrations. Most remarkable is the complex, compelling character of Boy. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Light and darkness have never clashed with such fierce majesty and eloquent damnation.Murdock weaves an engrossing tale set in medieval France, filled with charismatic characters, daring deeds, and more sinister duplicity than a certain serpent in the Garden of Eden. The titular Boy is thought a simpleton, a disfigured child who has lived a life of ridicule. Accepting of his sorry lot in life, the humble servant wants nothing more than to live in the shadows and avoid the ill-tempered attention of the likes of town bully Ox. That is, he accepts it until the arrival of the shadowy pilgrim, Secundus, enlarges Boy's world beyond the small boundaries of his village and introduces him to a world filled with greed, hunger, joy, deceit, and victory. Along with a story that unravels to reveal that not everything in the world is as it appears, Murdock delivers a wickedly fun-filled quest that twists and turns with lyrical fire. Boy ponders: "Pilgrim he might be but this man has sin stitched into his soul." The story is, among other things, an exploration of religion, Secundus' thieving quest for relics a counterpoint to Boy's stalwart faith.Blend epic adventure with gothic good and evil, and add a dash of sly wit for a tale that keeps readers turning the page, shaking their heads, and feeling the power of choice. (Historical fiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2018
Hello, Universe
 Erin Entrada Kelly
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062414151 Virgil is bullied by classmate Chet, who calls him "retardo." Valencia feels like an outsider because she's deaf. Kaori is a self-proclaimed psychic. When Chet drops Virgil's backpack into an abandoned well, Virgil gets stuck trying to retrieve it; Kaori and Valencia investigate Virgil's whereabouts. Told in alternating perspectives of the three kid-heroes and one villain, the children's inner lives are distinctive. (c) Copyright 2017. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062414151 Virgil is bullied by classmate Chet, who calls him "retardo." Valencia feels like an outsider because she's deaf. Kaori is a self-proclaimed psychic. When Chet drops Virgil's backpack into an abandoned well, Virgil gets stuck trying to retrieve it; Kaori and Valencia investigate Virgil's whereabouts. Told in alternating perspectives of the three kid-heroes and one villain, the children's inner lives are distinctive. (c) Copyright 2017. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2018
An Ode to the Fresh Cut
Book Jacket   Derrick Barnes
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Safe to say, there's nothing like the feeling of the fresh cut. You feel so extra visible with a fresh new cut, and this book built from that experience translates it in a way never before brought to the children's bookshelf. Basquiat-inspired king insignias and a bit of Kehinde Wiley flair shape portraits of all the various ways men (and women too!) come into the black barbershop to restore their cool, leaving the chair with high self-esteem, self-pride, and confidenceif only for as long as their hairlines remain crisp. It's sacred. The all-important line and the diverse styles take center stage here. The Big Daddy Kane-homage flat-top. The part. The light shape-up surrounded by cornrows and locs. The taper. The classic wavy dark Caesar. Barnes' imaginative prose mirrors the hyperbole and swagger of the barbershop. No cut is just good. It will have you looking "presidential," "majestic." Like you own "a couple of acres of land on Saturn." The swagger is on a million. The sauce is drippin'. James' oil-based portraiture will send many readers reminiscing. This book oozes black cool and timely, much-needed black joy, using the unique and expansive experience of the barbershop to remind young boys that their inner lives have always mattered there. One of the best reads for young black boys in years, it should be in every library, media center, and, yes, barbershop. (Picture book. 5-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781572842243 The unnamed black protagonist tells of his barbershop haircut from start to finish, narrating most of it in the second person. James's color-saturated illustrations capture the boy's bravado, swagger, and even his humility, which he needs in accepting a post-cut kiss from his admiring mother. Alternately precise, metaphorical, and culturally specific, Barnes's descriptions make each page a serendipity. A not-to-be-missed portrayal of the beauty of black boyhood. (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2018
Long Way Down
Book Jacket   Jason Reynolds
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. After 15-year-old Will sees his older brother, Shawn, gunned down on the streets, he sets out to do the expected: the rules dictate no crying, no snitching, and revenge. Though the African-American teen has never held one, Will leaves his apartment with his brother's gun tucked in his waistband. As he travels down on the elevator, the door opens on certain floors, and Will is confronted with a different figure from his past, each a victim of gun violence, each important in his life. They also force Will to face the questions he has about his plan. As each "ghost" speaks, Will realizes how much of his own story has been unknown to him and how intricately woven they are. Told in free-verse poems, this is a raw, powerful, and emotional depiction of urban violence. The structure of the novel heightens the tension, as each stop of the elevator brings a new challenge until the narrative arrives at its taut, ambiguous ending. There is considerable symbolism, including the 15 bullets in the gun and the way the elevator rules parallel street rules. Reynolds masterfully weaves in textured glimpses of the supporting characters. Throughout, readers get a vivid picture of Will and the people in his life, all trying to cope with the circumstances of their environment while expressing the love, uncertainty, and hope that all humans share. This astonishing book will generate much needed discussion. (Verse fiction. 12-adult) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2018
Piecing Me Together
 Renee Watson
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Sixteen-year-old Jade dreams of success beyond her neighborhood despite the prejudices that surround her For two years, Jade has been a scholarship student at a predominantly white private high school where she is one of few African-American studentsthe only one from her "bad" neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. Jade's mom struggles to make ends meet. At school, Jade has many opportunities, steppingstones to move beyond her neighborhood someday, maybe even travel the world. But sometimes these opportunities and her white guidance counselor make Jade feel like a charity case. Junior year brings yet another opportunity that leaves Jade feeling judged and pitied: the Woman to Woman mentorship program, which promises a full college scholarship to mentees. Jade's mentor, Maxine, is both well-intentioned and also black, but she's from a wealthy family. Jade chafes against the way Maxine treats her as though she needs to be saved. Through Jade's insightful and fresh narration, Watson presents a powerful story that challenges stereotypes about girls with "coal skin and hula-hoop hips" who must contend with the realities of racial profiling and police brutality. Jade's passion for collage and photography help her to find her voice and advocate not only for herself, but for her community. A timely, nuanced, and unforgettable story about the power of art, community, and friendship. (Fiction. 12 up) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2017
The Girl Who Drank the Moon
 Kelly Barnhill
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2017
Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life
Book Jacket   Asheley Bryan
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781481456906 Bryan restores humanity to ten real-life slaves listed for sale on an 1828 document (plus one fictional slave), giving them ages, African names, relationships, talents, and dreams. Each individual receives two spreads of poetry: the first serves as introduction (accompanied by a wood carvinglike portrait, suggesting the mask each wears for day-to-day life on the plantation); the second (illustrated in brilliant colors) is devoted to his or her dreams. (c) Copyright 2017. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781481456906 Bryan restores humanity to ten real-life slaves listed for sale on an 1828 document (plus one fictional slave), giving them ages, African names, relationships, talents, and dreams. Each individual receives two spreads of poetry: the first serves as introduction (accompanied by a wood carvinglike portrait, suggesting the mask each wears for day-to-day life on the plantation); the second (illustrated in brilliant colors) is devoted to his or her dreams. (c) Copyright 2017. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2017
The Inquisitors Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog
Book Jacket   Adam Gidwitz>
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780525426165 In thirteenth-century France, peasant Jeanne has visions of the future; William, illegitimate son of a crusader knight and an African "Saracen," has supernatural strength; Jacob, a learned Jewish boy, has healing powers. Together they try to thwart King Louis's plan to burn all the Jewish texts in France. An ambitious mash-up of medieval saints' lives, the Joan of Arc legend, and elements of The Canterbury Tales. Bib. (c) Copyright 2017. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2017
Wolf Hollow
 Lauren Wolk
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2016
Last Stop on Market Street
 Matt De La Pena
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A young boy yearns for what he doesn't have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live. CJ doesn't want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana's playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ's lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana's special gift to see "beautiful where he never even thought to look." Through de la Pea's brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson's exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ's journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility. This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399257742 CJ, a young black boy, has a flurry of questions for his grandmother one rainy day. "How come we always gotta go here after church?" "Here" is a soup kitchen, where they work every Sunday. Nana has bottomless look-on-the-sunny-side answers, but she isn't dispensing bromides; the exquisitely composed collage illustrations showing a glamour-free urban setting forbid a glib reading. A quietly remarkable book. (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2015
The War that Saved My Life
Book Jacket   Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Ada discovers there are worse things than bombs after she escapes her Mam's cruelty during a children's evacuation of World War II London. Crippled by an untreated club foot and imprisoned at home by Mam, Ada has survived, but she hasn't thrived. Only caring for her brother, Jamie, has made life tolerable. As he grows, goes out and tells Ada about the world, her determination to enter it surges. She secretly begins learning to walk and joins Jamie when Mam sends him to the country. Ada narrates, recalling events and dialogue in vivid detail. The siblings are housed with Susan, a reluctant guardian grieving the death of her friend Becky. Yet Susan's care is life-changing. Ada's voice is brisk and honest; her dawning realizations are made all the more poignant for their simplicity. With Susan's help and the therapeutic freedom she feels on horseback, Ada begins to work through a minefield of memories but still harbors hope that Mam will accept her. In interesting counterpoint, Susan also knows what it is like to be rejected by her parents. With the reappearance of Mam, things come to an explosive head, metaphorically and literally. Ignorance and abuse are brought to light, as are the healing powers of care, respect and love. Set against a backdrop of war and sacrifice, Ada's personal fight for freedom and ultimate triumph are cause for celebration. (Historical fiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780803740815 Ten-year-old Ada, abused by her cruel, ignorant mam due to an unrepaired clubfoot, has never been outside her squalid London flat. With WWII imminent, her brother, Jamie, is evacuated to the countryside, and Ada determines to go with him. The emotional content feels completely true, especially in recognition of how far Ada's journey will be to both physical and mental health. (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2015
Roller Girl
Book Jacket   Victoria Jamieson
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. One summer changes everything for two 12-year-old girls whose friendship is tested when their interestsand attitudesdiverge.Astrid and Nicole have been BFFs truly forever. When the girls go to the roller derby one night, Astrid is immediately hooked and jumps at the chance to attend a roller-derby camp, skating alongside the tough, dyed girls. Nicole, however, who's passionate about ballet, decides not to follow along with Astrid, creating the first real rift the girls have known. The two quickly make new friends in their new circles: Astrid with her roller-derby cohorts and Nicole with the popular ballet crowd. As Astrid navigates the rough-and-tumble sport she's fallen in love with (and the bumps and bruises that come with it), she must also deal with what happens when friends just stop being friends and grow apart. Jamieson captures this snapshot of preteen angst with a keenly decisive eye, brilliantly juxtaposing the nuances of roller derby with the twists and turns of adolescent girls' friendships. Clean, bright illustrations evince the familiar emotions and bring the pathos to life in a way that text alone could not. Fans of Raina Telgemeier or Jimmy Gownley's Amelia series should certainly skate on over to this gem. Full of charm and moxiedon't let this one roll past. (Graphic fiction. 9-13) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780803740167 At summer roller derby boot camp, coaches, teammates, and celebrity roller Rainbow Bite cheer on twelve-year-old Astrid as she faces the challenges of derby as well as tweendom. When time comes for her big end-of-summer bout, "Asteroid" is ready to roll. Jamieson's dialogue captures coming-of-age within a subculture authentically; the graphic-novel format is used resourcefully. Have this at the ready for Telgemeier fans. (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2015
Echo
 Pam Munoz Ryan
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A multilayered novel set in turbulent times explores music's healing power. Sweeping across years and place, Ryan's full-bodied story is actually five stories that take readers from an enchanted forest to Germany, Pennsylvania, Southern California and finally New York City. Linking the stories is an ethereal-sounding harmonica first introduced in the fairy-tale beginning of the book and marked with a mysterious M. In Nazi Germany, 12-year-old Friedrich finds the harmonica in an abandoned building; playing it fills him with the courage to attempt to free his father from Dachau. Next, the harmonica reaches two brothers in an orphanage in Depression-era Pennsylvania, from which they are adopted by a mysterious wealthy woman who doesn't seem to want them. Just after the United States enters World War II, the harmonica then makes its way to Southern California in a box of used instruments for poor children; as fifth-grader Ivy Lopez learns to play, she discovers she has exceptional musical ability. Ryan weaves these stories together, first, with the theme of musicsymbolized by the harmonicaand its ability to empower the disadvantaged and discriminated-against, and then, at the novel's conclusion, as readers learn the intertwined fate of each story's protagonist. A grand narrative that examines the power of music to inspire beauty in a world overrun with fear and intolerance, it's worth every moment of readers' time. (Historical fiction. 9-14) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780439874021 A boy is mesmerized by a story about three princesses trapped under a witch's spell until they save a life through a special harmonica. This story within a story is prelude to three more. Ryan's storytelling prowess and vivid voice lead readers through a hefty tome illuminated by layers of history, adventure, and the seemingly magical but ultimately very human spirit of music. (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2015
The Crossover
 Kwame Alexander
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Basketball-playing twins find challenges to their relationship on and off the court as they cope with changes in their lives. Josh Bell and his twin, Jordan, aka JB, are stars of their school basketball team. They are also successful students, since their educator mother will stand for nothing else. As the two middle schoolers move to a successful season, readers can see their differences despite the sibling connection. After all, Josh has dreadlocks and is quiet on court, and JB is bald and a trash talker. Their love of the sport comes from their father, who had also excelled in the game, though his championship was achieved overseas. Now, however, he does not have a job and seems to have health problems the parents do not fully divulge to the boys. The twins experience their first major rift when JB is attracted to a new girl in their school, and Josh finds himself without his brother. This novel in verse is rich in character and relationships. Most interesting is the family dynamic that informs so much of the narrative, which always reveals, never tells. While Josh relates the story, readers get a full picture of major and minor players. The basketball action provides energy and rhythm for a moving story. Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch. (Verse fiction. 9-12)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780544107717 Twelve-year-old twins Josh and Jordan (JB) are a well-oiled machine on the basketball court. But then JB gets a girlfriend, and before Josh knows it, things start to change. Josh's narration is a combination of exciting play-by-play game details, insightful observations on middle school, and poignant meditations on sibling dynamics and familial love. This verse novel has massive appeal for reluctant readers. (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2014
El Deafo
Book Jacket   Cece Bell
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A humorous and touching graphic memoir about finding friendship and growing up deaf. When Cece is 4 years old, she becomes "severely to profoundly" deaf after contracting meningitis. Though she is fitted with a hearing aid and learns to read lips, it's a challenging adjustment for her. After her family moves to a new town, Cece begins first grade at a school that doesn't have separate classes for the deaf. Her nifty new hearing aid, the Phonic Ear, allows her to hear her teacher clearly, even when her teacher is in another part of the school. Cece's new ability makes her feel like a superherojust call her "El Deafo"but the Phonic Ear is still hard to hide and uncomfortable to wear. Cece thinks, "Superheroes might be awesome, but they are also different. And being different feels a lot like being alone." Bell (Rabbit Robot: The Sleepover, 2012) shares her childhood experiences of being hearing impaired with warmth and sensitivity, exploiting the graphic format to amplify such details as misheard speech. Her whimsical color illustrations (all the human characters have rabbit ears and faces), clear explanations and Cece's often funny adventures help make the memoir accessible and entertaining. Readers will empathize with Cece as she tries to find friends who aren't bossy or inconsiderate, and they'll rejoice with her when she finally does. Worthy of a superhero. (author's note) (Graphic memoir. 8 up) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781419710209 At age four Bell contracted meningitis, leaving her deaf. This graphic-novel memoir relates how she adapted to deafness, others' attitudes toward it, and to a cumbersome assistive device. At the heart of her story is an experience relevant to most children: finding the "True Friend," a falling out, a reunion. Bell combines humor and charm (her characters are anthropomorphized bunnies) with emotional complexity. (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2014
Brown Girl Dreaming
Book Jacket   Jacqueline Woodson
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399252518 A memoir-in-verse so immediate, readers will feel they are experiencing Woodson's childhood along with her. We see young Jackie grow up not just in historical context but also in the context of extended family, community, and religion (she was raised Jehovah's Witness). Most notably, we trace her development as a nascent writer. The poetry here sings: specific, lyrical, and full of imagery. (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A multiaward-winning author recalls her childhood and the joy of becoming a writer.Writing in free verse, Woodson starts with her 1963 birth in Ohio during the civil rights movement, when America is "a country caught / / between Black and White." But while evoking names such as Malcolm, Martin, James, Rosa and Ruby, her story is also one of family: her father's people in Ohio and her mother's people in South Carolina. Moving south to live with her maternal grandmother, she is in a world of sweet peas and collards, getting her hair straightened and avoiding segregated stores with her grandmother. As the writer inside slowly grows, she listens to family stories and fills her days and evenings as a Jehovah's Witness, activities that continue after a move to Brooklyn to reunite with her mother. The gift of a composition notebook, the experience of reading John Steptoe's Stevie and Langston Hughes' poetry, and seeing letters turn into words and words into thoughts all reinforce her conviction that "[W]ords are my brilliance." Woodson cherishes her memories and shares them with a graceful lyricism; her lovingly wrought vignettes of country and city streets will linger long after the page is turned.For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2014
Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures
 Kate DiCamillo
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. When a cynical comic-book fanatic discovers her own superhero, life becomes wonderfully supercharged. Despite the contract her mother made her sign to "turn her face away from the idiotic high jinks of comics," 10-year-old Flora avidly follows her favorite superhero's adventures. Flora's mother writes romance novels and seems more in love with her books than with her lonely ex-husband or equally lonely daughter. When a neighbor accidentally vacuums a squirrel into a Ulysses 2000X vacuum cleaner, Flora resuscitates him into a "changed squirrel," able to lift the 2000X with a single paw. Immediately assuming he's a superhero, Flora names the squirrel "Ulysses" and believes together they will "[shed] light into the darkest corners of the universe." Able to understand Flora, type, compose poetry and fly, the transformed Ulysses indeed exhibits superpowers, but he confronts his "arch-nemesis" when Flora's mother tries to terminate him, triggering a chain of events where Ulysses becomes a real superhero. The very witty text and droll, comic-bookstyle black-and-white illustrations perfectly relay the all-too-hilarious adventures of Flora, Ulysses and a cast of eccentric characters who learn to believe in the impossible and have "capacious" hearts. Original, touching and oh-so-funny tale starring an endearingly implausible superhero and a not-so-cynical girl. (Fantasy. 8-12)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763660406 Ten-year-old Flora Belle Buckman's life changes when she befriends a squirrel with superpowers. There's only one problem: Flora's self-absorbed, romance novelwriting, squirrel-hating mother. DiCamillo imbues her novel with warmth, humor, and emotion, focusing on large life issues such as loss and abandonment, acceptance of differences, and the complexity of relationships. Full-page and spot pencil illustrations accentuate the mood. (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2014
Doll Bones
 Holly Black
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781416963981 Twelve-year-old Zach and his friends Poppy and Alice play an elaborate game with their dolls. When Poppy is haunted by dreams of a girl whose ashes are inside the game's queen doll, they embark on an adventure to lay the girl's ghost to rest. The story contains ample thrills, but it also takes on the changes adolescence brings and the tests friendships face. (c) Copyright 2013. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A middle-grade fantasy dons the cloak of a creepy ghost tale to deliver bittersweet meditations on the nature of friendship, the price of growing up and the power of storytelling. The lifelong friendship of Zach, Poppy and Alice revolves around their joint creation, an epic role-playing saga of pirates and perils, queens and quests. But now they are 12, and their interests are changing along with their bodies; when Zach's father trashes his action figures and commands him to "grow up," Zach abruptly quits the game. Poppy begs him to join her and Alice on one last adventure: a road trip to bring peace to the ghost possessing her antique porcelain doll. As they travel by bus and boat (with a fateful stop at the public library), the ghost seems to take charge of their journey--and the distinctions between fantasy and reality, between play and obligation, begin to dissolve....Veteran Black packs both heft and depth into a deceptively simple (and convincingly uncanny) narrative. From Zach's bitter relationship with his father to Anna's chafing at her overprotective grandmother to Poppy's resignation with her ramshackle relations, Black skillfully sketches their varied backgrounds and unique contributions to their relationship. A few rich metaphors--rivers, pottery, breath--are woven throughout the story, as every encounter redraws the blurry lines between childishness and maturity, truth and lies, secrecy and honesty, magic and madness. Spooky, melancholy, elegiac and ultimately hopeful; a small gem. (Fantasy. 10-14)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2014
The Year of Billy Miller
Book Jacket   Kevin Henkes
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062268129 Billy Miller starts off on the wrong foot with his second-grade teacher; his seat isn't next to his best friend; and he worries he may not be smart enough for school. Henkes divides his nuanced novel into four parts, each with a focus on someone in Billy's life: Teacher, Father, Sister, Mother. Together they offer a vivid portrait of a boy coming into his confidence. (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Billy Miller's second-grade year is quietly spectacular in a wonderfully ordinary way. Billy's year begins with his worry over the lump on his head, a souvenir of a dramatic summer fall onto concrete: Will he be up to the challenges his new teacher promises in her letter to students? Quickly overshadowing that worry, however, is a diplomatic crisis over whether he has somehow offended Ms. Silver on the first day of school. Four sections--Teacher, Father, Sister and Mother--offer different and essential focal points for Billy's life, allowing both him and readers to explore several varieties of creative endeavor, small adventures, and, especially, both challenges and successful problem-solving. The wonderfully self-possessed Sal, his 3-year-old sister, is to Billy much as Ramona is to Beezus, but without the same level of tension. Her pillowcase full of the plush yellow whales she calls the Drop Sisters (Raindrop, Gumdrop, etc.) is a memorable prop. Henkes offers what he so often does in these longer works for children: a sense that experiences don't have to be extraordinary to be important and dramatic. Billy's slightly dreamy interior life isn't filled with either angst or boisterous silliness--rather, the moments that appear in these stories are clarifying bits of the universal larger puzzle of growing up, changing and understanding the world. Small, precise black-and-white drawings punctuate and decorate the pages. Sweetly low-key and totally accessible. (Fiction. 7-10)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2014
One Came Home
Book Jacket   Amy Timberlake
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. In 1871, in the small town of Placid, Wis., a sister goes missing and a great adventure begins. Disconsolate over the end of a promising courtship, Agatha Burkhardt runs off without so much as a goodbye to her younger sister, Georgie. When the sheriff attempts to locate and retrieve Agatha, he brings home not the vibrant sister that Georgie adores, but an unidentifiable body wearing Agatha's ball gown. Alone in her belief that the body is not her sister's, Georgie sneaks away in the dead of night, determined to retrace Agatha's steps in order to solve the mystery of her disappearance and, she hopes, to bring her home. To Georgie's surprise, she's joined on the journey by her sister's former flame. And what a journey it is, fraught with mountain lions, counterfeiters and marriage proposals. The truly memorable characters and setting--particularly descriptions of the incredible phenomenon of passenger-pigeon nesting and migration--and the gradual unraveling of the mystery of Agatha's disappearance make this one hard to put down. The icing on the cake, though, is Georgie's narration, which is fresh, laugh-out-loud funny and an absolute delight to read. Georgie's story will capture readers' imaginations with the very first sentences and then hold them hostage until the final page is turned. (Historical fiction. 9-12)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780375869259 When her older sister Agatha is found dead (but unrecognizable), Georgie is certain that there has been a mistake. With her sister's unwelcome suitor Billy McCabe, Georgie sets off to find her sister, or, at least, to find out how she died. The adversarial relationship between Georgie and Billy provides superb comic relief in a gripping, gritty story set in 1870s Wisconsin. (c) Copyright 2013. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2014
Paperboy
 Vince Vawter
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Little Man, whose real name isn't revealed until the conclusion, stutters badly, a situation that presents new difficulties now that he's taken over his friend's paper route for a month. Debut author Vawter depicts a harshly segregated 1959 Memphis, and since the tale is highly autobiographical, he captures a full and realistic flavor of the time. Little Man, as he's called by his brave, black live-in housekeeper, Mam, has a few less-than-effective strategies that he employs to control his stutter, but it dominates his life nonetheless. Along the paper route, he encounters three fully rounded characters who make their mark on the story: Mrs. Worthington, a young, attractive and abused wife who drinks too much and awakens in Little Man a new, albeit very safe, interest in the opposite sex; Mr. Spiro, a widely read retired seaman who offers Little Man heartfelt advice and insightful support; and scary junkman Ara T, who steals Little Man's knife and evolves into a looming threat both to the boy and Mam. Carefully crafted language, authenticity of setting and quirky characters that ring fully true all combine to make this a worthwhile read. Although Little Man's stutter holds up dialogue, that annoyance also powerfully reflects its stultifying impact on his life. An engaging and heartfelt presentation that never whitewashes the difficult time and situation as Little Man comes of age. (Historical fiction. 10-14)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780385742443 Because of his stuttering, the eleven-year-old narrator seldom speaks. When he takes over his friend's paper route, the task is Herculean: he must talk to strangers. With heartbreaking detail, in a near-stream-of-consciousness narrative, he describes his difficulties: how he uses the "Gentle Air" method or shouts certain words. An eloquent debut novel set in 1959 Memphis. (c) Copyright 2013. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2013
The One and Only Ivan
 Katherine Applegate
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. (Fiction. 8-12)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780061992254 In short chapters that have the look and feel of prose poems, Applegate captures the voice of Ivan, a captive gorilla who lives at the "Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade." When a new baby elephant arrives, Ivan realizes they deserve more than their restrictive environment. Ivan's range of thoughts and emotions poses important questions about kinship and humanity. (c) Copyright 2012. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062425249 The Newbery Medalwinning novel about a gorilla and an elephant, kept captive on display in a shopping mall, is reissued in an oversize edition in which the original illustrations are printed in full color. Larger trim size means larger font and expanses of white space--and a serious heft factor. Back matter includes Applegate's acceptance speech and a letter from the real Ivan's zookeeper. (c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2013
Splendors and Glooms
Book Jacket   Laura Amy Schlitz
2013
Bomb
Book Jacket   Steve Sheinkin
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. In late December 1938, German chemist Otto Hahn discovered that uranium atoms could be split, and just a few months later the race to build an atomic bomb was on. The story unfolds in three parts, covering American attempts to build the bomb, how the Soviets tried to steal American designs and how the Americans tried to keep the Germans from building a bomb. It was the eve of World War II, and the fate of the world was at stake, "[b]ut how was a theoretical physicist supposed to save the world?" It's a true spy thriller, ranging from the football stadium at the University of Chicago to the mountains of Norway, from the deserts of New Mexico to laboratories in East Tennessee, and all along the way spies in the United States were feeding sensitive information to the KGB. Groups of photographs are sprinkled throughout the volume, offering just enough visual support for the splendid character development in the writing, and thorough documentation is provided in the backmatter. It takes a lot of work to make a complicated subject clear and exciting, and from his prodigious research and storytelling skill, Sheinkin has created a nonfiction story young people will want to read. A superb tale of an era and an effort that forever changed our world. (source notes, quotation notes, acknowledgments, photo credits, index) (Nonfiction. 10 up)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2013
Three Times Lucky
 Sheila Turnage
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. What do you get when you combine Because of Winn-Dixie's heart with the mystery and action of Holes? You get an engaging, spirit-lifting and unforgettable debut for young readers. Turnage introduces readers to the homey yet exotic world of Tupelo Landing, N.C., well-populated with one-of-a-kind characters. A stranger with justice on his mind has just arrived in town, and Hurricane Amy is on its way. Rising sixth-grader Mo LoBeau leads the cast through a series of clues as the whole town tries to figure out who among them might be a murderer. The novel's opening lines reveal the unflappable Mo LoBeau as a latter-day Philip Marlowe: "Trouble cruised into Tupelo Landing at exactly seven minutes past noon on Wednesday, the third of June, flashing a gold badge and driving a Chevy Impala the color of dirt." This is the first of many genius turns of phrases. Pairing the heartbreaking sadness of children who don't get their fair share from parents with the hilarity of small-town life, Turnage achieves a wickedly awesome tale of an 11-year-old girl with more spirit and gumption than folks twice her age. Mo LoBeau is destined to become a standout character in children's fiction. Readers may find they never want to leave Tupelo Landing. (Mystery. 10-14)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780803736702 The center of rural Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, is a cafi owned by the Colonel, who rescued and adopted Mo when she washed up during a hurricane as a baby. Completing their unconventional family is Miss Lana, the cafi's hostess. All is well--until a stranger comes to town. Humor sweetens the mix in this dandy, leisurely plotted mystery. (c) Copyright 2012. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2013
Dead End in Norvelt
 Jack Gantos
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. An exhilarating summer marked by death, gore and fire sparks deep thoughts in a small-town lad not uncoincidentally named "Jack Gantos."The gore is all Jack's, which to his continuing embarrassment "would spray out of my nose holes like dragon flames" whenever anything exciting or upsetting happens. And that would be on every other page, seemingly, as even though Jack's feuding parents unite to ground him for the summer after several mishaps, he does get out. He mixes with the undertaker's daughter, a band of Hell's Angels out to exact fiery revenge for a member flattened in town by a truck and, especially, with arthritic neighbor Miss Volker, for whom he furnishes the "hired hands" that transcribe what becomes a series of impassioned obituaries for the local paper as elderly town residents suddenly begin passing on in rapid succession. Eventually the unusual body count draws thejustified, as it turns outattention of the police. Ultimately, the obits and the many Landmark Books that Jack reads (this is 1962) in his hours of confinement all combine in his head to broaden his perspective about both history in general and the slow decline his own town is experiencing.Characteristically provocative gothic comedy, with sublime undertones.(Autobiographical fiction. 11-13)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780374379933 In 1962 Norvelt, Pennsylvania (a town founded by Eleanor Roosevelt), Jack's summer job keeps him busy. Jack's work--typing up obituaries for his arthritic neighbor--chronicles the history of the community: a "museum of freaks." There's more than laugh-out-loud gothic comedy here. This is a richly layered semi-autobiographical tale, an ode to a time and place, to history and the power of reading. (c) Copyright 2012. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2013
Inside Out and Back Again
Book Jacket   Thanhha Lai
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780061962783 Recounting events that resemble her own family's 1975 flight from Saigon, Lai pens a novel in vividly imagined verse. In Alabama, Ha is daunted by challenges including mastering idiosyncratic English. Many people are cruelly antagonistic, but Ha soon finds allies at school. Spare language captures the sensory disorientation of changing cultures as well as a refugee's complex emotions and kaleidoscopic loyalties. (c) Copyright 2011. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2013
Breaking Stalins Nose
Book Jacket   Eugene Yelchin
Kirkus Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. "There's no place for the likes of you in our class," Sasha Zaichik's teacher tells him, and that seems to be the motto of the whole Stalinist nation.Yelchin's debut novel does a superb job of depicting the tyranny of the group, whether residents of a communal apartment, kids on the playground, students in the classroom or government officials. It's the readiness of the group to create outsidersbad ones, "unreliables," "wreckers"by instilling fear in everyone that chills. Not many books for such a young audience address the Stalinist era, when, between 1923 and 1953, leaving a legacy of fear for future generations. Joseph Stalin's State Security was responsible for exiling, executing or imprisoning 20 million people. Sasha is 10 years old and is devoted to Stalin, even writing adoring letters to Comrade Stalin expressing his eagerness at becoming a Young Pioneer. But his mother has died mysteriously, his father has been imprisoned and Sasha finds he has important moral choices to make. Yelchin's graphite illustrations are an effective complement to his prose, which unfurls in Sasha's steady, first-person voice, and together they tell an important tale.A story just as relevant in our world, "where innocent people face persecution and death for making a choice about what they believe to be right," as that of Yelchin's childhood. (author's note) (Historical fiction. 9-12)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780805092165 Ten-year-old Sasha Zaichik loves Stalin and the Communist party. He's especially proud of his father, a member of the secret police. Sasha's worldview shifts after his father is arrested. Although the story takes place over just two days, it is well paced, peeling off the layers of Sasha's naiveti. Appropriately menacing illustrations add a sinister tone. (c) Copyright 2012. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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