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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


Go to sleep, my little darling

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When my kids were babies, I went through such an excruciating period of sleep deprivation that I remain, to this day, traumatized. At the slightest sign of a sleep issue, I still snap to attention and do everything I can possibly think of to nip it in the bud. When they were babies and toddlers, […]

On Rachael Stein’s “The Penderwicks on Hayward Street” (from May 2013)

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“We owe a permanent debt of gratitude to Jeanne Birdsall. Her words are the refiner’s fire that helped turn our leaden hearts to gold.” In her Books in the Home column, “The Penderwicks on Hayward Street,” from the May/June 2013 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, librarian and mom Rachael Stein writes eloquently about how […]

On Naomi Shihab Nye’s “Delicious rhythms” (from March 1997)

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Happy New Year! The first morning back to school after winter break was a hard one in our house. No one, including the grownups, wanted to get out of bed, accustomed as we’ve all been to staying up late and sleeping in. Day two (today) was worse. I don’t like making New Year’s resolutions, but […]

Take the A train

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My twenty-month-old grandson is currently so enamored with the New York subway system that every activity (including eating, waking from a nap, and interacting with family members) becomes an imaginary trip on the A train. But you don’t have to be a New Yorker or even, as Eloise puts it, “a city child” to enjoy […]

On “On the Rights of Reading and Girls and Boys” (from March 2012)

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“Laura and Mary may be the heroines, but if you want to stick to stereotypes, has anyone noticed how much of this book is about the technical construction of homes and barns and icehouses or how many pages are devoted to guns and hunting and defending oneself?” Hilary Rappaport writes passionately about not limiting kids’ […]

Auggie and Her, Jess’s Dad and Me

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Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia was one of the first books to make me cry. I was in fourth grade when I read it, and Leslie’s death wrecked me. I wept at its suddenness, at the shock of a child’s death, and at the plain wrongness of it all while my heart ached for Leslie’s […]

Holiday shopping

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So you’ve read Roger’s holiday classic, “What Makes a Good Gift Book? Step Aside!” (If you haven’t, hop to it!) But what if you live far away from the young gift recipient, and there’s not much opportunity to arrange an in-person bookstore outing? The Horn Book’s got you covered. Head to your own local independent […]

Move Over, Shmelf…There Are Other Books on the Shelf

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This past fall I posted a critical review of picture book Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, GoodReads, and Facebook. This caused quite a brouhaha. My review was quoted in the Tablet magazine article, “Stay in Your Lane, Elf,” by Marjorie Ingall, and I was interviewed (along with my colleague Kathy Bloomfield) […]

Squeaky Little Wheels

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In this time of fear and anxiety about the next four years (and hell, the last five hundred years), it is more important than ever that we teach our children to be critical about the media they consume. What are you watching on TV? What news sources do you follow, are they valid? Oh, and […]

On Megan Lambert’s “O Christmas Books!” (from November 2011)

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Last night my husband asked me, “Do you have an answer if we get the ‘Is Santa real?’ question?” I do, having addressed this last year with our eldest (come on, Dad, get with the program!). I’ve also fielded questions and comments from my kids about friends at school who celebrate different winter holidays and […]