Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials movie review

scorch trials poster

Maze Runner sequel The Scorch Trials (Twentieth Century Fox, September 2015) reminded me of two very important Siân facts: I should never, ever drink anything before or during a movie. I am no hero. If you’re looking to take a road trip in which you do not stop every 45 minutes for pee breaks, you […]

Martha Speaks Story Maker app review

martha speaks title screen

Create customized stories and practice vocabulary with loquacious mutt Martha in PBS Kids’s Martha Speaks Story Maker app (2012). The main section of the app functions as a sort of Martha Speaks–themed MadLibs. Choose from four dog characters — Martha, Skits, Lily, and Pops — for your story’s star, then pick from two settings. These […]

Siân Has the Best Weekend Ever!


As many of you know, the Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium: “Transformations” was this past Saturday. It was interesting, engaging, educational, and fun (it was also exhausting for those of us working it, and even more so for the amazing Katrina Hedeen, who planned the whole durn thing). But what you don’t know is the […]

This monstrous book launch

mackenzi lee signing

Having never been to any book launch parties before, I can say with 100% certainty that last week’s launch party for This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee (my friend and Simmons ChLit grad program classmate) was unquestionably the best I’ve ever experienced. There was kinderpunsch, a coloring contest, Mackenzi’s NPR-approved cookies, a steampunk photo booth, […]

The Everything Machine app review

everything machine title screen

Much like in their Human Body app, Tinybop’s The Everything Machine (2015) provides an opportunity for experimental play and experiential learning. Here users set up virtual circuits between electrical components to accomplish tasks such as power a (digital) light bulb, play sound, or take a picture. The app makes the most of the device’s utilities […]

Kidlit cares some more


Recently, as Siân tore her eyes away from Patrick Ness’s Twitter feed to tell us, a whole bunch of people, many of them children’s and YA authors, got together and raised a skyrocketing sum for Save the Children to aid Syrian refugees. Astounding as this example was, it’s not the only case of the kidlit […]

Middle-Grade Greats panel recap

middle-grade greats panel

To Jeanne Birdsall, middle grade means a series that follows a large family through its ups and downs. To Bruce Coville, it means a funny fantasy series. To Alice Hoffman, it means magical realism. To R. J. Palacio, it means a novel about someone who has trouble fitting in. To Rebecca Stead, it means a […]

Banned Books Week 2015

banned books week 2015

It’s Banned Books Week! From The American Library Association’s website: “Each year, the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles a list of the top ten most frequently challenged books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools. The ALA condemns censorship and works to ensure free access to information.” This year, […]

2015 BGHB Week roundup

Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards

All week we’ve been celebrating our 2015 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award recipients in preparation for the upcoming awards ceremony and Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium. Here’s a cheat sheet to all of our web extras on this year’s winners and honorees, as well as BGHB trivia and other fun! 2015 BGHB Award press release reviews […]

2015 BGHB Picture Book Day

frazee_farmer and the clown

It’s BGHB Week! On Tuesday we recognized our Fiction Award winners and honorees. Yesterday we celebrated our Nonfiction Award recipients. It’s picture books’ turn! Read reviews of all of the 2015 picture book winners here; see below for more web extras about them. Join us on October 2–3, 2015, for the Horn Book at Simmons […]