Horn Book Fanfare 2018

The esteemed children’s literature journal Horn Book has released their Fanfare list that features their picks for the best books of the year. Here are the titles:


34362953 Blue

A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin

Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Dear Substitute Dreamers

Dear Substitute by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Chris Raschka

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

35297103 Fox & Chick: The Party: and Other Stories

The Field by Baptiste Paul, illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara

Fox + Chick: The Party and Other Stories by Sergio Ruzzier

Hello Lighthouse 35959973

Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

I Really Want to See You, Grandma by Taro Gomi

Julián Is a Mermaid A Parade of Elephants

Julian Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes

The Patchwork Bike Pie is for Sharing

The Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke, illustrated by Van Thanh Rudd

Pie Is for Sharing by Stephanie Parsley Ledyard, illustrated by Jason Chin

They Say Blue

They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki



The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge Be Prepared

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin

Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol

The Book of Boy Finding Langston

The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome

The Journey of Little Charlie Love to Everyone

The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis

Love to Everyone by Hilary McKay

Louisiana's Way Home Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Louisiana’s Way Home by Kate DiCamillo

Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina

The Parker Inheritance The Poet X

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Prince and the Dressmaker Rebound

The Price and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

Rebound by Kwame Alexander

The Season of Styx Malone Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster

The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier



Boots on the Ground: America's War in Vietnam Hey, Kiddo

Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam by Elizabeth Partridge

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees

Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide by Isabel Quintero

The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees by Don Brown

Water Land: Land and Water Forms Around the World

Water Land: Land and Water Forms around the World by Christy Hale

Review: Astrid the Unstoppable by Maria Parr

Astrid the Unstoppable by Maria Parr

Astrid the Unstoppable by Maria Parr (9781536200171)

Astrid loves living in her tiny village in the mountains. The only problem is that no other children live nearby. She does have a best friend, Gunnvald, a neighbor in his seventies who loves to play the fiddle and can be rather grumpy. Astrid spends her time playing outside, building prototype sleds with Gunnvald, and bothering the owner of the wellness retreat nearby. When some children do come to the retreat (where children are forbidden) Astrid becomes friends with them despite having a fight first. Astrid’s world is idyllic, but something is about to change. When Gunnvald has an accident and has to have surgery, the secret he has been keeping from Astrid is revealed. Could it be that nothing will ever go back to normal again?

This Norwegian book has been translated into languages and sold around the world. It’s wonderful to see it on American shelves. Parr writes with a delightful sense of merriment throughout her book. She speaks to the importance of children having freedom and an ability to make choices in their life (even if one of those choices can’t be missing school all the time). She also demonstrates what a life lived outdoors looks like and the importance of loving a place and identifying with it.

The book uses the story of Heidi as a central plot point, which is very interesting since I had been thinking of how much this tale was like Heidi from the start. It is partly the setting itself of a mountaintop with an older man who is grumpy yet warm. But another large component is the character at the heart of both stories. Astrid, like Heidi, is fiercely independent and loves with all her being.

Richly told, this book is a delightful wintry read that feels like a long-lost classic. Get it into the hands of fans of Heidi and Pippi Longstocking. Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from ARC provided by Candlewick Press.