By Anita Silvey
“A magazine devoted to books must always consider ways of keeping its character vital and fresh . . . . But the artist wants and needs the resistance of the intelligent, appreciative, but honest and salty judge of his work,” Bertha Mahony Miller once wrote.
To continue the ideal of keeping Horn Book vital, we are pleased to announce a new publication, Horn Book Guide: Children’s and Young Adult Books. To be published in February of 1990, the first Guide will contain a review of all hard cover trade children’s and young adult books published from July to December of 1989 and will be issued semiannually thereafter. I have often believed that some of the best thinking of the review staff never sees the light of print, because we may not want for a variety of reasons to review in The Horn Book certain books being discussed. Now readers will benefit from all of our deliberation. The new publication will be of inestimable value in collection building, lesson planning, selecting books for bookstores, and finding books for children. Everything has been designed — from extensive author, title, illustrator, and subject indexes to the organization of nonfiction by general Dewey Decimal System headings — to make the Guide extremely useful. To bring Horn Book’s consistency of vision to the Guide, Ann A. Flowers — for over twenty years a children’s librarian in the Wayland, Massachusetts, Public Library, long-time Horn Book reviewer, instructor at Simmons College, and children’s book critic par excellence — has been named editor of the new publication. Ann brings to this new position the perfect combination of common sense and literary and artistic sensibility. As she has said, “I want the Guide to be something so practical and so valuable that professionals will keep it on their desks to use all the time. For them it means one source for buying and reference.” Not only are we fortunate to have Ann in these offices, we are also pleased that Jill Smilow, with her enthusiasm, knowledge of children’s literature, and publishing experience, is here to help market the Guide and The Horn Book.
In both publications we plan to provide for you that salty appreciation of books. Like Henry James we believe that “art lives upon discussion . . . upon the exchange of views and the comparisons of standpoints.”
From the July/August 1989 issue of The Horn Book Magazine