Five Gay Picture-Book Prodigies and the Difference They’ve Made

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Andy Manley, a Scottish theater artist, travels the world putting on shows for children. In 2014, he was in New York doing My House, a “mostly wordless solo piece co-starring a cardboard box and a wayward melon,” according to the New York Times. That one was designed for youngsters eighteen months to three years old. […]

Five questions for Kwame Alexander

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Middle-school hoops star Josh “Filthy McNasty” Bell wants to play for Duke. His twin brother JB bleeds Carolina Blue. Is there a more apt metaphor for sibling rivalry?! Here we talk to 2015 Newbery Medal winner Kwame Alexander, for The Crossover (Houghton), about sports, music, sleep (who needs it?), and…Gangsta Cookies. 1. The book has […]

“These children need a champion”: an interview with Gretchen Bircher

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Gretchen Bircher is an instructional aide at Adam Elementary School in Santa Maria, California. (She’s also my amazing mom!) Today she is submitting a proposal to the Santa Maria–Bonita School District, advocating that a new elementary school be named in honor of Dr. Francisco Jiménez — author, recipient of a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, and […]

Five questions for Lucy Cousins

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If you know any little girls named Maisy (or Tallulah; or, for that matter, any little boys named Cyril), chances are good that it’s because of Lucy Cousins. Her indomitable little-girl-mouse is beloved by toddlers and their grownups the world over, making Cousins one proud mama. 1. Your latest Maisy book — Count with Maisy, […]

Reviews of selected books by Patrick Jennings

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Putnam and Pennyroyal by Patrick Jennings; illus. by Jon J Muth Intermediate     Scholastic     165 pp. 11/99     0-439-07965-9     $15.95 From the beginning of his narrative, it’s evident that Cora Lee’s Uncle Frank is possessed by a contrary streak. Cora always spends New Year’s with Frank, fishing in one of Arizona’s rare ponds, because he won’t visit […]

Sharon Draper on Stella by Starlight

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In the January/February 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, editor Martha Parravano talked to Sharon M. Draper about her new intermediate novel Stella by Starlight. Read the full review here. Martha V. Parravano: Have you ever tried to write by starlight? Sharon M. Draper: I’ve marveled at the moon — the phases intrigue me […]

Five questions for A. S. King

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A. S. King’s books are one of a kind: strange, sometimes surrealistic, but always grounded in truth. Her latest YA novel — Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future (Little, Brown, 14 years and up) — is most likely the only children’s book you’ll ever read in which a protagonist ingests desiccated bat remains — and […]

A Second Look: The Planet of Junior Brown

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Does one of the salient works of the black children’s lit breakthrough still hold its own? Is it still the knockout that I pronounced it, at Kirkus, in 1971? The Planet of Junior Brown was Virginia Hamilton’s fourth book — each of them different from the others, and from anything else around. Hamilton, an emerging […]

Boxers & Saints: Author Gene Luen Yang’s 2014 BGHB Fiction Honor Speech

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Thank you to the Horn Book and the Boston Globe. This is an incredible, incredible honor. Boxers & Saints is a two-volume graphic novel about the Boxer Rebellion, a war that was fought in China in the year 1900. On one side of the conflict were the Europeans, the Japanese, and the Chinese Christians. On […]

The Port Chicago 50: Author Steve Sheinkin’s 2014 BGHB NF Award Speech

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A few years ago I was researching a book on the making of the atomic bomb, and my brother-in-law Eric, who loves wacky conspiracy theories, as I do, hit me with a great one. “You know when the first atomic bomb was tested, right?” he asked. “Sure,” I said, falling into his trap. “New Mexico […]