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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


On Summer Clark’s “What My First Grader Taught Me About Reading” (from 2017)

“Our library harbors a large supply of early readers. I helped him choose a stack that I found to be at an appropriate beginner level, with few words per page, basic beginning sight words, repetition of frequently used spelling patterns, and engaging topics that related to his interests — all of which I hoped would […]

The sounds of fall

The sounds of fall at our house are striking — literally. Our bedrooms are situated under two giant oak trees, and the squirrels have been busy scampering around in the canopy and up and down, shaking loads of acorns onto our roof. They are busy early each morning, often before the birds start their choruses. […]

Paging Miss Manners

We were prepared for Tuesday’s letter to FLOTUS post to maybe stir things up, but this is insane — the pot is boiling over! And a lot of people seem to be missing the point. To all who are concerned about manners, common courtesy, rudeness, gratitude, and how our contributor was or wasn’t raised: the […]

Dear Mrs. Trump

Dear Mrs. Trump, Thank you for the ten Dr. Seuss titles that you sent my school library in recognition of this year’s National Read a Book Day. (Sent second-day air, no less! That must have been expensive.) I’m proud that you recognized my school as something special. It truly is. Our beautiful and diverse student […]

“Dear Mrs. Trump” booklist

Mrs. Trump, you sent ten picture books, so I will recommend ten as well — but there are so many more! My wish is that these books will help you see:  the beautiful resilience of children who stand up to racism and oppression and for social justice and reform; children who are trying to connect […]

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 […]