If you only had a brain


Farah Mendlesohn called my attention to this bit of fuckwittery from The Guardian, in which their art critic Jonathan Jones opines that the late Terry Pratchett wrote “trash” while the equally late Günter Grass was a “true titan of the novel,” so why is everyone more sad about the passing of Sir Terry? The dumbness of this point–let’s […]

What ELSE do you do?: five questions for Deborah Taylor

Deborah Taylor is third from the left in this 2014 photo of the "Cincy Gang." Photo by Alison Dougherty Berkowitz

This series of interviews debuted last spring with five questions for author T.A. Barron; now I’m following it up with five more for one of my favorite librarians, Deborah Taylor, coordinator of school and student services for the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. Deb and I have been friends for more than thirty years since […]

Editorial: Read Before You Write


A member of the child_lit listserv recently posted a query which anyone who works with children’s books will find familiar: “A former student contacted me to ask if I could give her information about how to get started in writing and publishing children’s books.” Even given this little information, the good members of the listserv […]

My weekend reviews


Friday night–When Robert C. O’Brien’s 1975 YA Z for Zachariah made it onto the silver screen forty years later, you’d think its post-apocalyptic setting and sturdy heroine would have been enough to give it currency but NO: the famous two-hander is now a lurve triangle, and–spoiler alert–the attempted rape, so controversial in its time, is glossed over […]

Friday roundup


In a week when everybody is supposed to be away at the beach, the Horn Book has been cranking out stuff for you to read. Beach reading, it’s maybe not, but nevertheless useful and even entertaining, we hope. —Lolly’s Classroom is talking about STEM books and inexpensive sources for classroom libraries. –over on Out of the […]

Review of Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon

Bomb by Steve Sheinkin

Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin (Flash Point/Roaring Brook) While comprehensive in his synthesis of the political, historical, and scientific aspects of the creation of the first nuclear weapon, Sheinkin focuses his account with an extremely alluring angle: the spies. The book opens in […]

Review of The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the 
Fight for Civil Rights

Port Chicago

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the 
Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin Middle School    Roaring Brook    190 pp. 1/14    978-1-59643-796-8    $19.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-59643-983-2    $9.99 Sheinkin follows Bomb (rev. 11/12) with an account of another aspect of the Second World War, stemming from an incident that seems small in scope but […]

From the Editor—August 2015

What Makes a Good...?

When I was walking around the ALA exhibits in San Francisco earlier this summer, I kept running into publishers eager to show me their “narrative nonfiction.” I knew this was a concept (see Elizabeth Partridge’s article “Narrative Nonfiction: Kicking Ass at Last” and more on narrative nonfiction from The Horn Book) but apparently it had […]

God forbid?


He doesn’t really, but some incoming Duke University students are objecting to the pre-freshman year assignment of Fun Home, Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel memoir of growing up gay (and the basis for the wonderful musical of the same name). If I were God–or Duke chancellor–I would immediately revoke these kids’ admission, given the evidence that they […]

Oh look, another newsletter


Look for The Horn Book’s new quarterly newsletter, WHAT MAKES A GOOD…? debuting on August 26th with “What Makes Good Narrative Nonfiction?” The issue features Five Questions for Steve Sheinkin, an essay about how to select NNF by the Junior Library Guild’s Deborah Brittain Ford, and brief reviews of our choices for the best narrative nonfiction published for kids […]