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Welcome to the Horn Book's Family Reading blog, a place devoted to offering children's book recommendations and advice about the whats and whens and whos and hows of sharing books in the home. Find us on Twitter @HornBook and on Facebook at Facebook.com/TheHornBook


Celebrating one year of Family Reading

Happy 1st Birthday to this blog! We debuted this blog on September 14, 2016 — which Katie noted last Thursday during the Horn Book staff’s annual editorial planning meeting at Roger’s house. For some reason, everyone was too focused on work flow and the editorial calendar to properly mark the occasion (in my opinion). But […]

“Be a Robin Reader”

It was hard for the family and friends of Horn Book contributor Robin Smith to say goodbye to her after her death from bone cancer in late June, but we gathered to do so in Nashville in mid-July of this year. There were lots of tears as friends, family, colleagues, and many of her current […]

On Maira Kalman’s 2003 acceptance speech for the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Nonfiction

“The people on the John J. Harvey who fought the fires of 9/11 are the kind of people you want to know.” When my older son was three or four, he visited the Horn Book offices and discovered my copy of Maira Kalman’s Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey, the 2003 winner […]

“Change happens when enough people demand it.”

Debbie in 1998: “Native American folktales are beautiful.” Debbie in 2017: “WTF was I thinking in 1998?!” When the Horn Book asked if I’d be interested in writing something for their Family Reading blog, I looked back at a Field Notes column I had written for the Magazine, way back in 1998. I began “Mom, […]

What are we laughing at? Children’s literature and ADHD

It’s been a hard day. You know—the kind of day when you go to pick your kid up from day camp only to be besieged by teachers and staff who each deliver reports of your kid’s terrible, no-good behavior. It’s the usual complaints. Not listening. Not following directions. Not paying attention. Not obeying a teacher’s […]

“Choose Love…and Lemonade”

While thousands of people marched on Boston Common last Saturday, outside the main branch of the Cambridge Public Library, two third graders set up a lemonade stand with a twist. “Lemonade for Peace” was the brainchild of Declan Haley (right) with the help of his friend James Selvitella, assisted by their awesome moms Elizabeth and […]

“Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk!”

Every year, my family eagerly awaits a classic sign of summer in Maine. We look along roadsides, on rocky slopes, and in sunny patches of open fields, hoping to see a bright spot of blue. It has to be a tiny bright spot, though, as those are true wild blueberries. The berries are nestled low […]

Five Questions for Mayim Bialik

You may know Mayim Bialik as one of the stars of The Big Bang Theory. Or as Blossom. Or as young Bette Midler in Beaches (*sob!*). Or as a real-life neuroscientist. Or a blogger. Or a mother. Or a *Jewish* mother! Or, now, as a YA nonfiction author of Girling Up!: How to Be Strong, […]

Dos and Don’ts of Writing Complex Teens…by an actual complex teen

As seen on Facebook: Friend of The Horn Book Christine M. Heppermann — author, poet, and mother of one most excellent teen Audrey Hinsdale (read her Family Reading post “My Own Discretion Advised”) — posted this advice from her daughter on the “Dos and Don’ts of Writing Complex Teens.”

On Jean C. George’s “Summer and Children and Birds and Animals and Flowers and Trees and Bees and Books” (from 1959)

That’s Jean Craighead George, folks. This article, originally published in the June 1959 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, is very much like its leisurely, evocative title: “Summer and Children and Birds and Animals and Flowers and Trees and Bees and Books.” Beginning with a tender story about her daughter and an abandoned rose-breasted grosbeak […]