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A deluge of Dahl

matilda the musical poster

Matilda the Musical, based on Roald Dahl’s 1988 novel, is at the Boston Opera House through June 26th. The BFG, a movie based on Dahl’s 1982 novel, opens in theaters July 1st (and I was lucky enough to attend an advance screening with Horn Book alum and Dahl fan Cindy Ritter). I had a very […]

High reader, low motivation

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

In retrospect, I realize now that I have been extremely lucky. My students have always been highly motivated to read. Obviously, I’ve encountered the spectrum when it comes to low to excellent readers, but nonetheless, my students needed only minimal encouragement to read. When students lost interest, a graphic novel always did the trick (I’m […]

Happy Pride Month!

rainbow books

June is LGBT Pride Month! We’re celebrating with new and archival Horn Book articles, reviews, interviews, and booklists featuring LGBTQIA+ characters and book creators, one per day for the rest of the month with a roundup on Fridays. Look for the social media tag #HBLGBTPride16 on Facebook.com/TheHornBook and @HornBook. We kick things off with Barbara […]

Potter’s Field Redux

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Thanks to Siân (recently) and Martha (several years ago), I am compulsively reading Harry Potter. Sian brought the guy up in a Horn Book podcast and awakened my curiosity; Martha had told me back in the day that Jim Dale’s audio edition is the perfect entrée to the books for those who are not among the […]

Ain’t no party like a Sendak party…

wild thing cookie

…’cause a Sendak party’s full of Wild Things.* Last weekend Roger attended a celebration of the life of Maurice Sendak, on the occasion of what would have been the incomparable author/illustrator’s 88th birthday. He brought back a few Sendak-themed party favors to share with the office: If you, too, miss the “King of All the […]

LumiKids Beach app review

lumikids beach title

Wanna go to the beach? Great — grab your iPad! Using the same approachable format as LumiKids Backyard and LumiKids Snow, LumiKids Beach (Lumos Labs, June 2015) provides a side-scrolling scene of a beach with six activity “stations.” These include three instant-gratification, tap-to-play activities (matching a child or a friendly monster-child to a coordinating toy/accessory, […]

RIP Lois Duncan

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I was sorry to hear about Lois Duncan’s death yesterday. Lois had been writing for young people for a long time–her first novel, Debutante Hill, was published in 1958 (and republished in 2013 by Lizzie Skurnick Books). She is someone whose work I always point towards as a reminder that YA fiction did not begin […]

The pros and cons of leveled readers

Leveled readers #1

These days, if you enter any elementary school classroom, the chances are good that you’ll encounter leveled readers organized into colorful bins with letters or numbers indicating the challenge level of the books contained inside. With the rise of literacy approaches such as guided reading, many hail leveled readers as a critical component of effective […]

CBB Trivia Night — or — You should always listen to Elissa

frog and toad are friends with benefits

We needed a lighthearted evening this Monday. A distraction. Some silliness. A challenge. We needed to meet our match in a trivia team called Frog and Toad Are Friends with Benefits. Lucky for us, Children’s Books Boston’s Wicked Boston Trivia Challenge at M. J. O’Connor’s Back Bay, hosted by the one and only Jack Gantos, […]

The power of the image: photographs in biographies

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Striking photographs in biographies can draw in, engage, and inform young readers on a deep level. In addition, they can serve as outstanding primary sources. Whether the photographs are current, colorful, high quality prints, or old, sepia, grainy shots, they reveal much about the subject, the setting, and the social/historical context. The two books below […]