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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 […]

On Rachael Stein’s “The Penderwicks on Hayward Street” (from May 2013)

“We owe a permanent debt of gratitude to Jeanne Birdsall. Her words are the refiner’s fire that helped turn our leaden hearts to gold.” In her Books in the Home column, “The Penderwicks on Hayward Street,” from the May/June 2013 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, librarian and mom Rachael Stein writes eloquently about how […]

On Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Delicious rhythms” (from March 1997)

Happy New Year! The first morning back to school after winter break was a hard one in our house. No one, including the grownups, wanted to get out of bed, accustomed as we’ve all been to staying up late and sleeping in. Day two (today) was worse. I don’t like making New Year’s resolutions, but […]

On “On the Rights of Reading and Girls and Boys” (from March 2012)

“Laura and Mary may be the heroines, but if you want to stick to stereotypes, has anyone noticed how much of this book is about the technical construction of homes and barns and icehouses or how many pages are devoted to guns and hunting and defending oneself?” Hilary Rappaport writes passionately about not limiting kids’ […]

Holiday shopping

So you’ve read Roger’s holiday classic, “What Makes a Good Gift Book? Step Aside!” (If you haven’t, hop to it!) But what if you live far away from the young gift recipient, and there’s not much opportunity to arrange an in-person bookstore outing? The Horn Book’s got you covered. Head to your own local independent […]

On Megan Lambert’s “O Christmas Books!” (from November 2011)

Last night my husband asked me, “Do you have an answer if we get the ‘Is Santa real?’ question?” I do, having addressed this last year with our eldest (come on, Dad, get with the program!). I’ve also fielded questions and comments from my kids about friends at school who celebrate different winter holidays and […]