Review of How Jelly Roll Morton 
Invented Jazz

winter_how jelly roll morton invented jazz

How Jelly Roll Morton 
Invented Jazz by Jonah Winter; 
illus. by Keith Mallett Primary   Porter/Roaring Brook   32 pp. 6/15   978-1-59643-963-4   $17.99 Much like jazz itself, Winter has created a book filled with ebbs and flows, rhythm and rhyme, darkness and light, shadow and sunshine. Opening with a dreamy spread set in a dimly lit New […]

Five questions for Nikki Grimes

nikki grimes

April is National Poetry Month, and what better way to celebrate than by talking with acclaimed poet Nikki Grimes? Her many books include narratives in verse, prose fiction, poetry collections, and nonfiction, frequently featuring African American characters and culture. In Grimes’s latest picture book, Poems in the Attic (illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon; Lee & Low, […]

Shutting down the shop (for now)

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It’s been quite a season of books, hasn’t it? As I clear off my picture book shelf, preparing for the 2015 titles, I feel a twinge of nostalgia. There are so many books I have loved this year, but now they have to find new homes. I have piles of 2014 books, all bound for […]

Wednesday Morning Quarterbacking: the process edition


I am back at school and still processing the weekend in Chicago. The blizzard, the meetings, the books, the buses, the proud moments when two good friends (the two who gave me the courage to join ALA in the first place) won service and achievement awards…it’s all a bit of a blur right now. I […]

Live from Chicago, cont.


MONDAY 7:29 AM: There’s really no more anxiety than being on a bus full of librarians who are worried about missing the award ceremony. It’s still snowing (it’s Lake effect this time), and people are a little anxious but super excited about getting down to the convention center and calling their people or hearing other […]

Live from Chicago! It’s Robin


FRIDAY, 10:45 AM: At the risk of seeming like a stalker, I have a few things to report from the Caldecott meetings in Chicago. Not really! I have nothing to report from the (closed) Caldecott meetings. But I am in Chicago, and I am at ALA. I was able to check with a friend to […]

Calling Caldecott 2015 second ballot is open


Here it is: Monday. In exactly a week, all of our Mock Caldecott awards will be a memory, and children’s book chatter will turn to the Real Committee’s books. So, while each real committee member is organizing notes, putting together last-minute arguments, and imagining that the books she or he nominated will wear medals for […]

Pre-voting instructions…it’s almost time!


I find it hard to believe that we’re less than two weeks from The Announcement at ALA. It was harder than you might think to put our ballot together — and it will be just as challenging for the folks on the Real Committee to narrow the field and choose the titles they want to consider. […]

Bad Bye, Good Bye


You know that feeling that you’ve missed something? Well, I had that feeling last week when I pulled out the titles for my class’s mock Caldecott. I blithely grabbed Bad Bye, Good Bye and thought, “Uh-oh. I never wrote about this one, did I?” In true Robin Smith fashion (ask any of my editors what […]

The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse

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Waaay back in January 2014, I saw this book. Hadley Hooper’s art blew me away. It still does. (And here Joanna Rudge Long reviews it for The Horn Book.) Henri Matisse is presented as a youngster, growing up in a dreary gray town. His mother introduces color to his life as she paints plates, arranges […]