There’s Something About Islands

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As a children’s author, I’ve been visiting schools for over ten years now, and it’s one of the most surprising things to learn, when you first start doing the rounds, that each school is different. No two are alike, but after ten years, it’s rare that you come across a school that really makes you […]

Harriet at 50

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

She doesn’t look a day over eleven, but this year Harriet the Spy, first published in 1964, is turning 50. To celebrate, The Horn Book Magazine‘s May/June issue features thoughts, musings, riffs, and remembrances about the girl spy. Click on the tag Harriet at 50 to see what Jack Gantos, K. T. Horning, Megan McDonald, […]

I Spy: Harriet and I

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

When I was a boy, I knew I was sneaky, but I didn’t think of myself as a “lowlife sneak” until my mother called me one with such disgust in her voice I actually did feel ashamed. I was babysitting at the next-door neighbor’s house when my mother looked out her own bedroom window and […]

Writer, Wrestler, Stutterer, Spy

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

This is the story of how I came to read and know and love Harriet the Spy. It is also a harrowing account of my brush with danger, in which my ten-year-old self stared fear in the face. When I was nine or so, I started having trouble with words. I grew up with four […]

Spying on Louise Fitzhugh

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

I can clearly remember the first time I encountered Harriet the Spy. It was still a relatively new book in my school library when I pulled it off the shelf at age nine. Back then I read pretty much everything in the school library. A Wrinkle in Time. Meet the Austins. Depend on Katie John. […]

Five questions for Cynthia Leitich Smith

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Cynthia Leitich Smith’s urban fantasy series the Tantalize quartet did indeed tantalize readers with its vampire-themed eatery Sanguini’s: A Very Rare Restaurant (and, of course, the vampires and other supernatural beings involved therein). Her latest novel, Feral Curse (Candlewick, 13–16 years), is the second book in the Tantalize spinoff series Feral, which brings various species […]

“If the Foo Shits, Wear It”: Norton Juster at the BPL

Norton Juster's book signing. Photo: Cynthia K. Ritter.

Last night I attended the Boston Public Library’s Lowell Lecture Series in the Rabb Lecture Hall of the Central Library in Copley Square to hear Norton Juster talk with Simmons professor Megan Lambert. I enjoyed listening to this renowned author tell stories for an hour about how his life, his family, and spoonerisms have inspired […]

Melissa Sweet on Firefly July

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In the March/April 2014 Horn Book Magazine, Mag assistant editor Cynthia Ritter asked Melissa Sweet about her creative process when illustrating Firefly July. Read the starred review here. Cynthia K. Ritter: Your visual interpretations of the seasonal poems in this collection are a mix of literal and symbolic. What was your artistic process like when […]

John Rowe Townsend

photo courtesy of Gregory Maguire

We are sad to hear from Gregory Maguire that English novelist, critic, and great, great friend to the Horn Book John Rowe Townsend passed away Monday night at the age of 91. Winner of the 1970 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for The Intruder, John published books and many articles with us and, with his wife […]

Reviews of Ilsa J. Bick’s Ashes Trilogy

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Ashes [Ashes Trilogy] by Ilsa J. Bick High School    Egmont    468 pp. 9/11    978-1-60684-175-4    $17.99 An electromagnetic pulse kills most of the country’s population instantly; many of those left become zombielike, “brain-zapped” cannibals. Survivor Alex teams up with eight-year-old Ellie and soldier Tom to search for other people. The trio’s deepening bond adds to […]