In a publishing era where too many authors and illustrators are being urged to repeat themselves (quick: what’s the last YA novel you saw that neither was nor promised a sequel?), it’s just plain terrific to see a book like Jonathan Bean’s Building Our House. Of course, any new book chock-full of artistic interest, useful information, and plenty of child appeal is welcome, but let’s also savor the contrast with the author-illustrator’s last book, At Night. That book is small and still and square, a cozy nocturne of a bedtime story. Bean won the 2008 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for At Night, a surprising choice only if you disregard the fact that the BGHB judges make surprising choices all the time. Featured in the January/February issue of the Horn Book Magazine and on video at our website, the 2012 winners are not only titles that stand firmly on their own, they each celebrate an individual (one real, one fictional, one a bit of both) determined to go his or her own way. Is it a paradox to ask others to follow their lead?
Editor in Chief
From the January 2013 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.