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Beverly Cleary and the Art of Growing Up

cleary_ramona the brave

Like my own home street, I took Klickitat Street for granted until I had been gone for a long time and returned. I recently re-read the Ramona series and realized how many scenes had wormed their way into my memory and become indistinguishable from my own experiences. The paper-bag owl, Grandma Quimby’s proverbs, the dawnzer, […]

Telling the Truth While Making Things Up

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I met Beverly Cleary in 1980, when I was a barely published author and she was already an icon of children’s literature. As a new initiate into the writers’ group that was sponsoring a weekend writers’ conference, I was assigned the task of meeting Beverly’s plane. I remember being amazed at my good fortune, but […]

Zetta Elliott at Harvard

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Last night I had the pleasure of finally meeting Zetta Elliott (whose “Decolonizing the Imagination,” from the March/April 2010 Horn Book Magazine, is a thought-provoking Writer’s Page article and one of the pieces featured in The Horn Book’s Black History Month 2016 series). She was speaking at the Harvard College Women’s Center right in Hahvahd […]

Deb Caletti Talks with Roger

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Talks with Roger is a sponsored supplement to our free monthly e-newsletter, Notes from the Horn Book. To receive Notes, sign up here. In Deb Caletti’s new YA novel Essential Maps for the Lost, Madison and Billy hardly meet cute: Mads is swimming in Seattle’s Lake Union when she bumps into the body of a […]

The Writer’s Page: What Is Narrative Nonfiction?

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It’s been a topsy-turvy time in the education world recently: Common Core and high-stakes tests; then pushback; and now states are revising, revisiting, and renaming their standards. The recently passed ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) encourages this trend toward local choice. But if you look closely at the new standards across the board, one big […]

HBook Podcast 1.4 – Special Guest David Hyde Costello

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Podcast the fourth in which Siân makes guest author/illustrator David Hyde Costello take the Sorting Hat test, meets a hobgoblin, and manages to forget how many books are in the Harry Potter series (SEVEN books, Siân. Not eight!) Links David’s website Ezra Jack Keats New Writer honor Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature (under five […]

A Celebration of Beverly Cleary at Symphony Space

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If you live in New York City and are a Beverly Cleary super-fan, here’s a great-sounding event: Thalia Kids’ Book Club: A Celebration of Beverly Cleary An all-star cast of actors, including Condola Rashad (Billions), plus authors Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Lunch Lady series), Tony DiTerlizzi (The Spiderwick Chronicles), Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), and RJ Palacio (Wonder) […]

The Real Ramona

cleary_ramona quimby age 8

I worked with Beverly Cleary for nearly twenty years, so it’s beyond difficult to pick from so many wonderful memories. Here are two that I hope capture both her remarkable sense of humor and her unwavering integrity. Soon after becoming editor in chief at Morrow, I accompanied Beverly to the ALA Annual convention in Philadelphia, […]

E. B. Lewis at Lesley University

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Last night I was able to see “artistrator” E. B. Lewis deliver the Evelyn M. Finnegan Children’s Literature Lecture at Lesley University. If you have a chance to see E. B. Lewis speak, you should. Teachers should hear him speak about the broken education system and how to fix it — namely, first figure out […]

Everyone Needs a Ramona

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I was a voracious reader growing up. I gorged on heaps of nonfiction from the public library, signing out all the shark books one day, clearing out every last volcano title the following week. I read Archie comics from the drugstore and dusty poetry books borrowed from the barn of the antique-books dealer who lived […]