About Martha V. Parravano

Martha V. Parravano is executive editor of The Horn Book Magazine and coauthor, with Roger Sutton, of A Family of Readers (Candlewick). She is coauthor of the Horn Book’s Calling Caldecott blog and has served on the 2008 Newbery committee and chaired the 2013 Laura Ingalls Wilder committee.

Mock Caldecott Catch-up, part 1

moon is going to addy

In a recent post we asked for your local school and library Mock Caldecott lists, and several titles came up that we wanted to add to the Calling Caldecott conversation. Two of these are the subjects for today: Big Bear little chair by Lizi Boyd and The Moon Is Going to Addy’s House by Ida Pearle. Boyd’s Big […]

Two Mice

two mice

This little book packs a whole lotta wow per square inch. It took me some time to see everything it has to offer, but now that I have, I’m totally sold. (Philip Nel raved, too; Two Mice “exemplifies the elegant efficiency of the picture book” and “unfolds with perfect economy.”) Before we even open the book, there’s much to remark on. […]

A Call for Mocks!


The fall is whooshing by, and here at Calling Caldecott we’ve just about covered the spring 2015 titles (those published from January thru June) —whew! — and are ready to move on to discussing the fall season’s books. But time feels short. With ALA Midwinter being so early this year, perhaps you’ve already begun to […]

Boys to remember

reynolds_all american boys

Four novels featuring teenage boys — in both contemporary and historical settings — take on big issues, with memorable results. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely is a ripped-from-the-headlines story written with nuance, sharp humor, and devastating honesty. When a quick stop at the corner store suddenly escalates into a terrifying scene […]

The Skunk


I admit to being a leeetle unsure of what to make of this one. In an SLJ interview, author Mac Barnett was less than definitive: “What is The Skunk about? Is it a comedy? A romance? A ghost story? A tale of paranoia? An allegory of trauma?” And the Kirkus review called it “peculiar, perplexing, and […]

Vera B. Williams (1927–2015)


We were saddened to hear about the death last week of legendary children’s book author and illustrator Vera B. Williams. It’s a loss to our field; she was, truly, unique. Her groundbreaking picture books celebrated children and family and communities — all kinds of children, all kinds of families, and all kinds of communities. Both A Chair […]

Wolfie the Bunny

wolfie the bunny

With Wolfie the Bunny we welcome another new-sibling picture book into the world — this one with tons of humor and age-appropriate drama, and with plenty of child appeal in both text and art. (And carrots. Lots of carrots.) What will the Real Committee be looking at? I imagine they will ooh and aah over the actual cover (under the jacket) […]

My Bike

my bike

Ah, one of my favorite subjects: picture books for the very young. This year some of my most-loved books fall into that category, including several we’re talking about on Calling Caldecott this fall. We all know that these books face an uphill battle when it comes to Caldecott recognition. But that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve […]

Review of When Sophie’s Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt

bang_when sophie's feelings are really hurt

When Sophie’s Feelings Are Really, Really Hurt by Molly Bang; illus. by the author Primary   Blue Sky/Scholastic   40 pp. 10/15   978-0-545-78831-1   $17.99   g In Bang’s now-classic When Sophie Gets Angry…Really, Really Angry, Sophie coped with a volcanic episode of rage by communing with a favorite beech tree; both Sophie and the tree are back in […]

Rumpeta-ing through Reading: Picture Books for the Very Young

My daughter Emily has always been a reading omnivore: we have photos of her poring over books from the time she could first sit up. Everything was of interest: catalogs featuring photographs of children; books verging on toys, with flaps or holes or even wheels; concept books; story books. Gradually, certain authors and books became […]