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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


Revisiting Childhood Friends

My son was about three months old when it happened. I was reading to him before bedtime, with my husband nodding off (or so I thought) on the couch next to us. Then, out of the blue: “That’s a little creepy, isn’t it? ‘Goodnight nobody‘?” Story time derailed, I proceeded to argue passionately against the […]

She Blinded Me with Science!

My family and I attended the March for Science Boston on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22. My boys started out grumbling about having to participate in another march (Geez! We’ve only been to three since January 21st—it’s not like we have to demonstrate every day…yet), so I was grateful that this march had a very […]

Don’t Read These Books to Your Children! (Without a Heck of a Lot of Context)

Talking to kids about race can be intimidating for parents—particularly for white parents in the U.S., who tend to delay the conversation almost ten years after black and Latino families broach the subject. But white parents need to talk to their kids about race: it’s one of those necessary evils involved in raising kids who […]

On Hazel Rochman’s “Beyond Oral History: What Makes a Good Holocaust Book?” (from 2006)

Dear White House Press Secretary: I don’t hold out much hope that you think this way, but if I were you on this day after your epic what-I-hope-was-a-gaffe regarding Hilter, Assad, and chemical weapons, I’d be frantically trying to educate myself about what we mean when we refer to the Holocaust. Here’s a great way […]

On Shoshana Flax’s “A Wrinkle in Troubled Times” (from 2016)

“Some of our very best fighters have come from your own planet.” —Mrs. Whatsit to Meg Murray About Madeleine L’Engle’s Newbery Award–winning novel, the writer Anne Lamott said the following in a 2012 interview with The New York Times Book Review: “A Wrinkle in Time saved me because it so captured the grief and sense […]

Magic Books

I am an author. But before I wrote books, I read them. My parents claim I made them read aloud the front matter — the publisher’s address, the Library of Congress data. In elementary school, I added ISBN numbers to the stories I wrote. Those numbers conveyed legitimacy, even if I didn’t know what ISBN […]

On “The CCBC’s Diversity Statistics” (from 2017)

The Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin–Madison has been tracking the number of children’s books created by people of color since 1985. In an interview that will be published in the July/August 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, book review editor Martha V. Parravano talks with CCBC director Kathleen T. Horning […]

On “Unlucky Arithmetic: Thirteen Ways to Raise a Nonreader” (from 2001)

Unlucky Arithmetic poster download

One of our most popular handouts at conferences and meetings has always been Dean Schneider and Robin Smith’s brilliant, biting “Unlucky Arithmetic: Thirteen Ways to Raise a Nonreader“(from the March/April 2001 issue of The Horn Book Magazine). Times may have changed somewhat — “#2. Put a TV or computer in every room. Don’t neglect the […]

On “These children need a champion” (from 2015)

“Dr. Jiménez deserves to have the school named after him, but even more than that, our students need it. I’ve been an aide in this school district for twenty-six years, and I’ve seen how much these children need a champion. They need someone to relate to, someone from the same background who has succeeded, to […]

Crossing Literacy Thresholds: When Kids Are “Stuck” Reading the Same Things

I take a democratic spirit with regard to my children’s reading. In my view, if I take them to the library every weekend and they’re reading something — anything! — then we’re good, right? Maybe not. Lately, my nine year-old has been apathetic about our library trips, preferring to wait in the car. When in […]