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On Robin Smith’s “A Letter to Parents” (from Sept/Oct 2006)

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When it comes to second-grade reading, veteran teacher Robin Smith has seen it all. As the parent of a second grader, I have seen many things that we won’t go into, but seeing my eight-year-old reading voraciously isn’t one of them. I know he can read; if given the choice, however, he prefers not to. […]

On Crescent Dragonwagon’s “Over and Over”

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Published on our website in 2012 as part of The Horn Book’s celebration of Picture Book Month, Over and Over is Crescent Dragonwagon’s achingly beautiful tribute to her mother, legendary children’s book editor and author, Charlotte Zolotow. When Crescent wrote this piece, Charlotte was ninety-seven and in failing health; her mother’s picture book Over and […]

On Angela Johnson’s “Family Is What You Have” (from March/April 1997)

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Award-winning author Angela Johnson (three Coretta Scott King awards, the Michael L. Printz Award in 2004, the 1991 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award—not to mention being a 2003 MacArthur Fellow), contributed “Family Is What You Have” to the Magazine‘s Family Reading issue in 1997. Her message of embracing difference is as powerful today as […]

On Ashley Waring’s “Reading on the Spectrum” (from Sept/Oct 2010)

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“Many people see Ferdinand as a pacifist. I see him as a bull on the autism spectrum: confined to a private world, comforted by his rituals.” Children’s librarian and mom of a son with autism, Ashley Waring writes about her struggles with and strategies for engaging her child in books in her article, “Reading on […]

Review of Rescue Squad No. 9

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Rescue Squad No. 9 by Mike Austin; illus. by the author Preschool    Random    40 pp. 9/16    978-1-101-93662-7    $16.99    g As in Fire Engine No. 9 (rev. 9/15), Austin live-streams an intense rescue mission, immediately pulling readers into the action. His dynamic illustrations and forceful text are skillfully incorporated in a propulsive, left-to-right design that telegraphs […]

On Cynthia Voigt’s “Have a Carrot” (from March/April 1997)

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“High on the list of favorite read-aloud books in the house where I was the Mommy is The Runaway Bunny.” Newbery Medalist (for Dicey’s Song) Cynthia Voigt reflects on the classic picture book by Margaret Wise Brown in her article, “Have a Carrot,” published in 1997 in the Horn Book Magazine Special Issue: “Family Reading.” […]

Review of Leave Me Alone!

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Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brosgol; illus. by the author Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp. 9/16    978-1-62672-441-9    $17.99 Graphic novelist Brosgol (Anya’s Ghost, rev. 7/11) makes an impressive picture-book debut with this inventive story about an old woman’s quest to knit in peace. The tale begins with traditional narrative trappings: “Once there was an old […]

Transgender lives

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Last November Ellen Wittlinger — author of Parrotfish, the first young adult novel starring a transgender protagonist — took a second look at her groundbreaking book and concluded: “Parrotfish Needed an Update: The Rapidly Changing Language of Transgender Awareness.” Along with her article, we posted a roundup of available books for children and teens featuring […]

Review of The Saddest Toilet in the World

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The Saddest Toilet in the World by Sam Apple; illus. by Sam Ricks Preschool     Aladdin/Simon     32 pp. 6/16     978-1-4814-5122-2     $17.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4814-5123-9     $10.99 Potty training is serious business for all involved, but what of the unsung toilet? Does anyone consider its feelings? Apple and Ricks do just that in this laugh-out-loud respite from charts, […]

Review of Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks

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Slickety Quick: Poems About Sharks by Skila Brown; illus. by Bob Kolar Primary    Candlewick    32 pp. 3/16    978-0-7636-6543-2    $16.99 Brown begins this playful and illuminating collection by taking a bite out of the most infamous of these ocean predators, the great white shark: “you’re no bully, / just a big attention hog. So / move […]