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Oh boy

I call bullshit on Daniel Handler’s Sunday New York Times essay about the need of teenaged boys for dirty books. Of course, yes, kids read for the dirty parts, girls as well as boys. And you could make an argument, and I don’t understand why Handler didn’t, that the prurient interests of girls are better […]

And the world will be better for this

I hope I see some of you this weekend at Simmons’ Summer Children’s Literature Institute, (im)possible dreams. I had the coffee the other day with BPL children’s services manager Farouqua Abuzeit, and she reminded me she had been a student in a Simmons Institute I led almost thirty years ago, Masquerade. That was my introduction […]

Everybody needs a Boss

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll know that I sometimes chastise others for their shortcomings, as demonstrated in whatever piece of text lies before me at a given moment, in taste or intellect or grammar. My victims, shamed but unnamed, include authors, publishers, journalists, or politicians; those with whom I work at the Horn […]

Tiny but tough

Happy birthday, Barbara Bader. NINETY, wow. In your honor we have rounded up some of your greatest hits. Like other old people, I frequently find myself wanting to tell the young to know your history, and the Horn Book is proud to have for so long published one of children’s librarianship and children’s literature’s ablest and […]

Thank you, David

Former director of Simmons’s Center for the Study of Children’s Literature and Horn Book Magazine reviewer Susan Bloom’s husband David died this week at the age of 91, and I wanted to take a minute to pay tribute to him and all the (what we call locally) Horn Book Husbands, those otherwise sensible men married to […]

I’m rubber and you’re glue

Over on the Horn Book’s Facebook page, there’s an opinion that Javaka Steptoe only won the Caldecott Medal because his father was John Steptoe. When pressed for evidence, the (former, as she’ll tell you) subscriber replied that “the pattern of ALA award committees in the past several years in its selections of winners/honors. Promote diversity […]

Roger’s ALA 2017

My ALA began on a sad note when, while Richard and I were on the way to the airport, Martha texted to tell me that Robin Smith had died. This is such a loss – I knew no one as good as Robin at connecting children and books. I saw it in her many years […]

“It’s bigger than it looks.”

Forgive me but one more brief rant about television. What is UP with shows that hobble perfectly watchable characters and situations with annoying and incomprehensible long-game backstories? Sense8 and Orphan Black, and Fringe and Alias before them, are in most ways just the kind of TV I like: human characters in the contemporary world who […]

ALA Attire

The worst thing about the days leading up to ALA is the wardrobe issue. You’re saving all the good (well, better) stuff for Conference and you wear rags to work. Those V-neck t-shirts you bought by mistake. The socks that used to be purple but are now decidedly pink. Don’t look at me. But I […]

No, the places YOU’LL go.

When I say, as I do with some regularity, “I hate Dr. Seuss,” I don’t mean it as criticism of his work for any kind of aesthetic or political shortcoming, and obviously I don’t have anything against the man himself. What I mean is that The Cat and the Hat, etc. made five-year-old me very, very […]