Reviewing race

Strickland

Over on Facebook, illustrator Shadra Strickland asks a good question: “Why is it necessary for a reviewer to identify the ethnicity of a character in their review when the plot has zero to do with race…especially in picture books? A friend just told me that in her latest pb, her family was identified as Caucasian. […]

Default in our stars

50 Books Every Child Should Read

This week’s Entertainment Weekly has a list of “50 Books Every Kid Should Read” (view PDF here). Given that it strives to contain both classics (Where the Wild Things Are) as well as modern favorites (The Fault in Our Stars); and pop hits (The Hunger Games) along with critics’ darlings (Roll of Thunder, Hear My […]

Reviewing from under a rock

RodneyDangerfield

I loved Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White (try the audiobook if you want something immersive and long) and am looking forward to his Book of Strange New Things. But there was a passage in Marcel Theroux’s extremely laudatory NYT review last week  that’s driving me crazy: “Since the critical and commercial triumph […]

What’s Going On

MarvinGaye

Some things going on at hbook.com: John Green loved The Babysitters Club. Who knew? New books for Halloween. And my favorite. On Calling Caldecott, Lolly is discussing how/whether to review your friends/more-than-friends/enemies. This is why I like to be able to count the number of writers I am actually personal friends with on the fingers of […]

I don’t THINK anyone is trying to hunt me down

heathers01

Last weekend my friend Lori was in town and we took the dogs for a walk in the schoolyard across the street. Three tween girls were hanging out on the jungle gym and as we passed they started whispering ostentatiously in our direction and laughing meanly. ‘Girls that age” said Lori, a middle-school math teacher […]

It’s not on any chart / You must find it with your heart

345px-PP-MaryMartin

Please join me on Saturday the 25th at the Boston Book Festival for “Masters of Fantasy,” a panel discussion with Soman Chainani (A World Without Princes), Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (The Iron Trial), and Gregory Maguire (Egg & Spoon). We’ll be talking about–well, I guess I should get on that right quick, as I’m […]

Two possible explanations for all the zombie books

Ginee Seo hoping someone passes her the popcorn

Holy shit became the slogan of the day at HBAS after Julie Strauss-Gabel used it to describe her initial reaction to reading the ms. of Andrew Smith’s Grasshopper Jungle (winner of the BGHB award for fiction). Her point was that this was the reaction an editor should have in making a decision to acquire a […]

Running the gamut from A to V

Don't Make Me

While I think Nick Hornby is overstating his case, the idea that “every time we pick up a book for a sense of duty and we find that we’re struggling to get through it, we’re reinforcing the notion that reading is something you should do but telly is something you want to do” is worth […]

Clearing the brush

lumberjack

The New York Times’ sensationalizing of the practice of abridging adult nonfiction titles for a younger audience rather misses the point, which is about commerce, not censorship. The main difference between the adult and juvenile editions of these titles is that the latter are shorter, provide less background material, and are less detailed. As an […]

Starred reviews, November/December 2014 Horn Book Magazine

Farmer

The following books will receive starred reviews in the November/December 2014 Horn Book Magazine. I am also told that we have broken our own record for number of books reviewed in a single issue, north of 130.   Sam & Dave Dig a Hole; by Mac Barnett; illus. by Jon Klassen (Candlewick) (page 57) The Farmer and […]