I’m at home today reading and re-reading books the Magazine loved this year, in preparation for our final Fanfare meeting next week where we will determine that these, yes these, are the very best books of 2015. And without giving anything away I want to comment (again!) on just how different the young adult literature of today […]

Fairytale of New York


If I ruled the world, Brooklyn would be the teen movie of the season. It has the vicissitudes of young romance, a love triangle, a heroine who blossoms from being pleasant-looking to full-on Titanic-era Kate Winslet, right down to the hair blowing and glowing in the ocean sunrise. It’s probably too quiet for wide appeal, though, […]

and clunk clunk clunk went the folktale market

aardema_bringing the rain to kapiti plain

Betsy Bird at Fuse #8 is rightfully mourning the relative dearth of African folktale publishing and simultaneously celebrating one of its legends from the glory days, Verna Aardema. All I can say is God bless Verna Aardema, who knew just how to write a picture-book text that would bring any library story hour to life. […]

Doctor, doctor, give me the news

Portrait of Vivien Thomas by Bob Gee

After reading Jim Murphy’s Breakthrough! How Three People Saved “Blue Babies” and Changed Medicine Forever, our current nonfiction review of the week, I mentioned it to my cousin Dr. Anne Murphy, a pediatric cardiologist at Johns Hopkins. It turns out she knew two of those three, which is both pretty neat and means that, yes, […]

Picture book moments


In picture-book goings-on, bloggers Julie Danielson, Betsy Bird, Travis Jonker, and Minh Lê have a seasonally appropriate discussion about creepy picture books. (And here are the Horn Book’s recommendations for Halloween reading.) –and the New York Times Best Illustrated list is out and includes A Fine Dessert, so don’t look for that discussion to die down […]

Which book will hurt which reader how?


There are some lively debates going on at Heavy Medal and Fuse #8 about Laura Amy Schlitz’s The Hired Girl, a presumed favorite for 2016 Newbery consideration. The Horn Book starred it; I like it too (and here’s a brief interview I did with Schlitz in the September Magazine). What’s interesting about this debate is […]

Down, girl, down!


Even in my day having been one of Betsy Bird‘s Hot Men of Children’s Literature (BB: are those archived anywhere?) I was more than a little skeeved out by Meaghan O’Connell’s “The Children’s-Book Guy: An Ideal Crush Object,” published yesterday in New York Magazine but reading like something written by Carrie Bradshaw in 1999: “If you think […]

Come fly with me


This coming Saturday evening, I’ll be interviewing Gary Schmidt about his new novel, Orbiting Jupiter, at the Peabody School in Cambridge, sponsored by Porter Square Books. It’s a very different kind of book from this author, and I am eager to talk with him. I hope you can join us!



The Horn Book gang–Sharks AND Jets–has been busy posting photos and Tweets and quotes and stuff from our very successful Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards/Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium events of last weekend. We will be publishing coverage in the January/February issue of the Magazine, and look for a fabulous cover by Marla Frazee, who gives us a little […]

Starred reviews, November/December Horn Book Magazine


The following books will receive starred reviews in the November/December issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Tiptoe Tapirs; written and illustrated by Hanmin Kim; trans. from the Korean by Sera Lee (Holiday) I Used to Be Afraid; written and illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (Porter/Roaring Brook) Flop to the Top!; written and illustrated by Eleanor Davis and Drew Weing (TOON) […]