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On “These children need a champion” (from 2015)

“Dr. Jiménez deserves to have the school named after him, but even more than that, our students need it. I’ve been an aide in this school district for twenty-six years, and I’ve seen how much these children need a champion. They need someone to relate to, someone from the same background who has succeeded, to […]

On Zetta Elliott’s “Decolonizing the Imagination” (from 2010)

Author and teacher Zetta Elliott contributed “Decolonizing the Imagination” to the Writer’s Page column in the Magazine‘s March/April 2010 issue. As a child and young adult, Zetta loved classic British novels; she notes, however, that she “learned early on that only white children had wonderful adventures in distant lands; only white children were magically transported […]

On Hazel Rochman’s “Against Borders” (from 1995)

“Apartheid has tried to make us bury our books. The Inquisition and the Nazis burned books. Slaves in the United States were forbidden to read books. From Latin America to Eastern Europe, they’ve trashed books. But the stories are still here. I believe that the best books can make a difference in building community.” In […]

Review of You DON’T Want a Unicorn

You DON’T Want a Unicorn by Ame Dyckman; illus. by Liz Climo Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp. 2/17    978-0-316-34347-3    $16.99    g Dyckman and Climo’s tongue-in-cheek exposé reveals the “reality” of life with a unicorn. And the truth is a lot less wonderful than pro-unicorn propaganda (magic! rainbows! glitter!) would have you believe. The story begins […]

On Vaunda Micheaux Nelson’s “Mind the Gaps: Books for ALL Young Readers” (from 2015)

In her article from the March/April 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, author Vaunda Micheaux Nelson looks back at her bookish childhood and how it informs her work as a youth services librarian in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. African Americans are just three percent of that city’s population — “so even fewer black teenagers […]

On Andrea Davis Pinkney’s 2013 Coretta Scott King Author Award Acceptance Speech

“I felt an overwhelming urgency to create a testament to the positivity of African American manhood, as told through the biographies of men who shaped racial progress in the United States.” Andrea Davis Pinkney won the 2013 Coretta Scott King Author Award for Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America (Disney-Jump at the […]

On Ibi Zoboi’s “A Fine Bookshelf” (from March/April 2016)

“I’ve never been able to think about literacy for black children without thinking about the historical effects of slavery. Black children were not allowed to read for far longer than there have been books that feature them.” In “A Fine Bookshelf,” published in the March/April 2016 Horn Book Magazine, author, mother, and Haitian immigrant Ibi […]

Revisiting Julie Hakim Azzam’s “Mommy, Do I Have White Skin?: Skin Color, Family, and Picture Books”

“My own mother was of Belgian descent and Christian, while my father was a Lebanese Muslim immigrant…Being light-skinned, I assimilated so well that friends were shocked when they came to my house and discovered my father spoke with an accent and my grandmother had dark skin. These experiences were reminders that Arabs could be close […]

On Rudine Sims Bishop’s “Following in Their Fathers’ Paths” (from March 1998)

If you don’t already know, the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards were announced this morning at the ALA Midwinter conference in Atlanta. Among the honorees is Javaka Steptoe, who will receive the Caldecott Medal for Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (read the starred review from the November/December 2016 issue of The […]

Review of The Storm Whale in Winter

The Storm Whale in Winter by Benji Davies; illus. by the author Primary     Holt     32 pp. 1/17     978-1-250-11186-9     $16.99 Noi, who lives with his fisherman father, is reunited with the whale he rescued in The Storm Whale (rev. 1/15). Months have passed since Noi helped the stranded […]