The Horn Book Magazine — May/June 2013

Table of Contents



Caroline Fraser 10 Peter Rabbit and the Tale 
of a Fierce Bad Publisher
The bunnysploitation of a 
children’s literature icon.

Jeanne Birdsall 27 Middle Grade Saved My Life
In praise of middle grade novels—and 
why not to confuse them with YA.

Jonathan Hunt 31 The Amorphous Genre
Needed: a gateway drug for nonfiction.


Roger Sutton
Everybody Wants to Be a Teenager
Has contemporary YA literature 
outgrown our caretaking?

Karen Jameyson
Foreign Correspondence
Jeannie Baker: Mirror, Mirror…
The hows and whys of a remarkable 
cross-cultural picture book

Kathleen T. Horning 35 Caldecott at 75
Madeline’s Rescue and the Question of Audience
Third in a series on the Caldecott Medal at 
seventy-five—one winner per decade, here the 1950s.

Marc Tyler Nobleman 43 The Writer’s Page
Danger! Dialogue Ahead
Should nonfiction authors let their 
subjects speak for themselves?

Katrina Hedeen and
Rachel L. Smith
48 What Makes a Good…?
What Makes a Good YA Love Story?

From The Guide
Graphic Novels for Children
A selection of reviews from The Horn Book Guide.

Peter Jennings
In a word, touchstone novels get title updates.




Letters to the editor
May/June Starred Books
Index to Advertisers
Index to Books Reviewed

Cover from Mirror. © 2010 by Jeannie Baker. 
Reproduced by permission of the publishers, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf 
of Walker Books, London.


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  1. A huge shout out to Jonathan Hunt who was somehow able to encapsulate all of my hopes for the future of nonfiction into one article. As a middle school librarian, I’m always looking for engaging narrative nonfiction for my students to read. It’s hard! And it’s not that there aren’t great books already out there. It’s that the trim size in which publishers are putting the books makes them seem like they are for small children. My original copy of Claudette Colvin hasn’t circulated once since I bought it, despite numerous book talks. My second copy, the novel-sized copy, has circulated several times. By far, the most popular nonfiction title in my library is Pete Nelson’s Left for Dead. It looks and reads like narrative nonfiction for adults, but it’s written with major middle school appeal. And can Pete Nelson please write more for middle school? Here’s hoping that publishers are taking note and that changes are coming for nonfiction!

  2. Anita Young says:

    Jonathan, at Stanislaus County Library we have been busy selecting narrative nonfiction titles for our beginning reader section. Your Horn Book article made me start to think about what to do for older readers. Yikes! You made many good points – and our public library readers are almost identical to your students, interested in a narrow range of topics. I think helping kids with common core reading is going to be a huge challenge for the public library, and I hope that publishers will heed your suggestions about single author-single subject nonfiction series. Given the hundreds of linear feet of nonfiction shelving in the library, what do you think the chances are of publishing series on topics of interest at appropriate reading levels for the range of students we both serve?

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