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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


On Megan Dowd Lambert’s “Dave the Potter and Stevie the Reader” (from 2011)

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Megan Dowd Lambert served on the 2011 Caldecott committee, which recognized Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave as a Caldecott Honor Book (that year’s winner was A Sick Day for Amos McGee). Megan had been hesitant to share the book with her younger children: “I think perhaps I shied away from it as read-aloud fare […]

Booklists and Awards for Family Reading

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Looking for some great books for your own kids or children you know? Check out a selection of award-winners and themed booklists from The Horn Book for children of various ages. The Horn Book’s Fanfare lists: Our choices for the best books of the year. Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winners. One of the most prestigious […]

“Leave the books on the bed”: Shaping a child’s social conscience

Voice of Freedom

“Maybe you can help me,” a teacher called from our school library’s biography section. “I need books about…protest, I guess.” Her son’s middle school class was debating NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem, as a protest against the oppression of people of color. At first her son defended Kaepernick, but […]

On Vaunda Micheaux Nelson’s “Mind the Gaps: Books for ALL Young Readers” (from 2015)

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In her article from the March/April 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, author Vaunda Micheaux Nelson looks back at her bookish childhood and how it informs her work as a youth services librarian in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. African Americans are just three percent of that city’s population — “so even fewer black teenagers […]

Reading Race and Power in Fantasy

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When my daughter was three or four, we would play a computer game together where she would have to choose an avatar to represent herself. To the game’s credit, there were at least twelve options for girls, with all different skin colors and hair colors and styles. Inevitably, my very pale daughter would select a […]

On Andrea Davis Pinkney’s 2013 Coretta Scott King Author Award Acceptance Speech

Hand in Hand by Andrea Davis Pinkney

“I felt an overwhelming urgency to create a testament to the positivity of African American manhood, as told through the biographies of men who shaped racial progress in the United States.” Andrea Davis Pinkney won the 2013 Coretta Scott King Author Award for Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America (Disney-Jump at the […]

On Ibi Zoboi’s “A Fine Bookshelf” (from March/April 2016)

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“I’ve never been able to think about literacy for black children without thinking about the historical effects of slavery. Black children were not allowed to read for far longer than there have been books that feature them.” In “A Fine Bookshelf,” published in the March/April 2016 Horn Book Magazine, author, mother, and Haitian immigrant Ibi […]

Revisiting Julie Hakim Azzam’s “Mommy, Do I Have White Skin?: Skin Color, Family, and Picture Books”

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“My own mother was of Belgian descent and Christian, while my father was a Lebanese Muslim immigrant…Being light-skinned, I assimilated so well that friends were shocked when they came to my house and discovered my father spoke with an accent and my grandmother had dark skin. These experiences were reminders that Arabs could be close […]

“Her Kid Held Up a Book. You’ll Never Guess What This Mother Did Next.”*

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(*Note on this post’s title: I’ve had so-called “clickbait” on my mind since I’ve been listening to podcasts about the effects of social media on journalism and politics. I thought I’d try it out. Wow. It’s annoying, but it is a little bit of a thrill to get sensationalistic for a moment. Anyway…back to the […]

On Rudine Sims Bishop’s “Following in Their Fathers’ Paths” (from March 1998)

If you don’t already know, the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards were announced this morning at the ALA Midwinter conference in Atlanta. Among the honorees is Javaka Steptoe, who will receive the Caldecott Medal for Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (read the starred review from the November/December 2016 issue of The […]