The Horn Book » Read Roger http://www.hbook.com Publications about books for children and young adults Fri, 22 May 2015 18:17:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Judges on their way! http://www.hbook.com/2015/05/blogs/read-roger/judges-on-their-way/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/05/blogs/read-roger/judges-on-their-way/#respond Thu, 21 May 2015 14:59:32 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=49530 Our  judges (Maeve Visser Knoth, Jessica Tackett MacDonald, and Barbara Scotto as chair) will be meeting this weekend to select this year’s Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winners. What will they pick??? (I have no idea.) Katrina Hedeen and I head to New York early next week for the announcement, for which I will be partnered by the […]

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d idol prime 22.jpgOur  judges (Maeve Visser Knoth, Jessica Tackett MacDonald, and Barbara Scotto as chair) will be meeting this weekend to select this year’s Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winners. What will they pick??? (I have no idea.) Katrina Hedeen and I head to New York early next week for the announcement, for which I will be partnered by the lovely and talented Rebecca Stead, 2010 BGHB Fiction winner for When You Reach Me. If you are attending School Library Journal‘s sold-out Day of Dialog on Wednesday, you will see Rebecca and me do our stuff live at 4:30. We will also be announcing the winners in a blow-by-blow on Twitter (@hornbook #BGHB15) and on hbook.com shortly thereafter. Please join me in wishing Barbara, Jessica, and Maeve the best of luck in their deliberations, and that they may arrive at their decisions with at least some of the holiday weekend left to enjoy.

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What was the address of Greenaway House? http://www.hbook.com/2015/05/blogs/read-roger/what-was-the-address-of-greenaway-house/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/05/blogs/read-roger/what-was-the-address-of-greenaway-house/#respond Wed, 20 May 2015 16:28:30 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=49457 Please join Children’s Books Boston for our second Wicked Boston Children’s Books Trivia Challenge, to be held at M.J. O’Connor’s Back Bay (yes, a BAR) on Monday June 15th at 6:30PM. Jack Gantos will be your host; admission is one sawbuck, cash money, at the door. Sign up here.

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Alice-Heidi dollhousePlease join Children’s Books Boston for our second Wicked Boston Children’s Books Trivia Challenge, to be held at M.J. O’Connor’s Back Bay (yes, a BAR) on Monday June 15th at 6:30PM. Jack Gantos will be your host; admission is one sawbuck, cash money, at the door. Sign up here.

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What book will you take to the beach? http://www.hbook.com/2015/05/blogs/read-roger/what-book-will-you-take-to-the-beach/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/05/blogs/read-roger/what-book-will-you-take-to-the-beach/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 17:08:08 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=49447 In my fantasy world, as I say in my introduction to the Horn Book’s annual summer reading recommendations. kids (and grownups) could read whatever they like while on their break. Wouldn’t that be GREAT? While I remember exhortations from teachers to read over the summer (not like I or probably you needed any encouragement) there were no lists […]

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OnTheBeachIn my fantasy world, as I say in my introduction to the Horn Book’s annual summer reading recommendations. kids (and grownups) could read whatever they like while on their break. Wouldn’t that be GREAT? While I remember exhortations from teachers to read over the summer (not like I or probably you needed any encouragement) there were no lists and certainly no required reading. Those were the days.

I don’t yet have anything planned for my beach reading this year. I am not at all sure I will even see a beach, but in case I do, can anyone offer a recommendation?

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Connecting the dots http://www.hbook.com/2015/05/blogs/read-roger/connecting-the-dots/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/05/blogs/read-roger/connecting-the-dots/#respond Sun, 10 May 2015 15:52:58 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=49206 Probably inspired by our seeing yesterday the wonderfully mysterious The Clouds of Sils Maria, I dreamed last night that we received for review a new YA novel that took the form of a high school yearbook. Apparently something very terrible had happened at that school, but the reader had to piece together clues in the text and […]

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imageProbably inspired by our seeing yesterday the wonderfully mysterious The Clouds of Sils Maria, I dreamed last night that we received for review a new YA novel that took the form of a high school yearbook. Apparently something very terrible had happened at that school, but the reader had to piece together clues in the text and pictures to find out just what had transpired and how the event had affected the teens whose portraits and profiles were in the book. (Wait, is this already a Jay Asher book?) I didn’t get far enough in the book to know if the tragedy was a shooting or zombies or the Apocalypse but it was bad.

Do go see that movie, especially if you wrote Kristen Stewart off for Twilight. She plays the personal assistant to an actress (Juliet Binoche, gorgeous and smart) contemplating a part as the antagonist in a play in which she debuted as the protagonist twenty years before. Lots of lightly served but chewable discussion about art and life and age and desire, plus gorgeous Alpine scenery. And while it’s essentially a serious movie, there are some hilarious moments, such as when Stewart tries earnestly to convince Binoche about the deeper meaning of a science fiction movie they see together and Binoche keeps cracking up in disbelief.

There’s a moment about two thirds of the way through where Something Big happens, in keeping with the story but out of nowhere and not referred to again. Chilling! I’m reviewing a YA novel this weekend that has something similar–the nature of a traumatizing incident that drives the whole story is never spelled out, and all we see are its ramifications. The Unspoken is not exactly a hallmark of fiction for young people, and it’s good to see some.

 

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Jack and Hazel http://www.hbook.com/2015/04/blogs/read-roger/jack-and-hazel/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/04/blogs/read-roger/jack-and-hazel/#respond Thu, 30 Apr 2015 16:09:32 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=48995 WHY I have to go to Chicago to see Jack Gantos when he lives only a mile away from my office is a question I’ll happily ignore to hear his Zena Sutherland Lecture at the Chicago Public Library tomorrow night. Join us if you can; otherwise you can read Jack’s speech in the Horn Book this […]

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Jack-the-lad

Jack-the-lad

WHY I have to go to Chicago to see Jack Gantos when he lives only a mile away from my office is a question I’ll happily ignore to hear his Zena Sutherland Lecture at the Chicago Public Library tomorrow night. Join us if you can; otherwise you can read Jack’s speech in the Horn Book this fall. I’m also looking forward to brunch with Hazel Rochman, or, as Milton Meltzer once referred to her, “that damned Hazel Rochman,” the lady having incurred his ire for insisting, in a far-reaching and lastingly influential Booklist editorial, that nonfiction writers for the young cite their sources. Now it’s hard to imagine that they didn’t!

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Selfie Sweepstakes Reviews: Between the Osprey & the Gar http://www.hbook.com/2015/04/blogs/read-roger/selfie-sweepstakes-review-between-the-osprey-the-gar/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/04/blogs/read-roger/selfie-sweepstakes-review-between-the-osprey-the-gar/#respond Tue, 21 Apr 2015 19:30:51 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=48759 [As an experiment last fall, I invited self-publishers to submit their best new titles for review. About a dozen heeded the call, and I am reviewing their books in this space.] Between the Osprey & the Gar; written and illustrated by Trahern Cook. Studio Campfire Books, 2014. 32pp. Paper ed. ISBN 978-1500876265. $11.99 As Grandfather tells it, there’s […]

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[As an experiment last fall, I invited self-publishers to submit their best new titles for review. About a dozen heeded the call, and I am reviewing their books in this space.]

ospreyBetween the Osprey & the Gar; written and illustrated by Trahern Cook. Studio Campfire Books, 2014. 32pp. Paper ed. ISBN 978-1500876265. $11.99

As Grandfather tells it, there’s a legend: deep at the bottom of the lake lies the “innocence purse,” said to bring youth to its finder.  So when Grandfather becomes too frail to escort the eleven cousins on their nightly cruise to watch the osprey feed, they decide to retrieve the purse and make the old man young again. This précis is rather easier to follow than the actual text of the picture book itself, which is overstuffed with tangents, flourishes, exclamation points, and cousins. (A few more commas, however, would not have gone amiss.) The acrylic illustrations employ a good range of rich tones in black outline to provide the spooky and magical aura aimed at by the overworked text. R.S.

 

[This review may be distributed freely and excerpted fairly; credit to “Read Roger, The Horn Book Inc., www.hbook.com.”]

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WTF, ALA? http://www.hbook.com/2015/04/blogs/read-roger/wtf-ala/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/04/blogs/read-roger/wtf-ala/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 18:46:57 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=48442 The new Banned Books Week poster has too many design elements to keep straight, uses a dumb and hard to parse neologism as its main message, and dog-whistles anti-Islamic sentiment with an image of what looks like a woman in a niqab. You had ONE JOB….  

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readstrictedThe new Banned Books Week poster has too many design elements to keep straight, uses a dumb and hard to parse neologism as its main message, and dog-whistles anti-Islamic sentiment with an image of what looks like a woman in a niqab. You had ONE JOB….

 

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Selfie Sweepstakes Reviews: Kell and the Detectives http://www.hbook.com/2015/04/blogs/read-roger/selfie-sweepstakes-reviews-kell-and-the-detectives/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/04/blogs/read-roger/selfie-sweepstakes-reviews-kell-and-the-detectives/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 17:07:02 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=48434 [As an experiment last fall, I invited self-publishers to submit their best new titles for review. About a dozen heeded the call, and I am reviewing their books in this space.] Kell and the Detectives; written by Darcy Pattison; illustrated by Rich Davis. Mims House, 2015. 118pp. Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-62944-028-6. $ 21.99; Paper ed. ISBN […]

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[As an experiment last fall, I invited self-publishers to submit their best new titles for review. About a dozen heeded the call, and I am reviewing their books in this space.]

KelldetectivesKell and the Detectives; written by Darcy Pattison; illustrated by Rich Davis. Mims House, 2015. 118pp. Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-62944-028-6. $ 21.99; Paper ed. ISBN 978-1-62944-029-3 $10.99.

Introduced in Kell, the Alien, Kell and his parents are aliens living sub rosa on Earth and making their living as party planners. In this fourth book in the Aliens, Inc. series, Kell is faced with a number of mysteries–too many in fact, for any one of them to generate much suspense, and in their totality creating a rather hectic atmosphere. There’s the school principal sniffing out the possibility of Aliens Among Us; the teachers have set the kids on an art-identification project; the piñata at Kell’s friend Aja’s birthday party contains clues to the candy rather than candy itself. Oh, and Kell’s mother is having a baby, if not in the usual way. All is (too-) easily resolved, but the writing is suitably light, and occasional black-and-white decorations keep the page design invitingly open without making the book look too young for the early-chapter-book audience.  R.S.

 

[This review may be distributed freely and excerpted fairly; credit to “Read Roger, The Horn Book Inc., www.hbook.com.”]

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Starred reviews, May/June 2015 Horn Book Magazine http://www.hbook.com/2015/04/blogs/read-roger/starred-reviews-mayjune-2015-horn-book-magazine/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/04/blogs/read-roger/starred-reviews-mayjune-2015-horn-book-magazine/#respond Thu, 09 Apr 2015 20:03:29 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=48385 The following books will receive starred reviews in the forthcoming May/June issue of The Horn Book Magazine: It’s Only Stanley; written and illustrated by Jon Agee (Dial). My Bike; written and illustrated by Byron Barton (Greenwillow) . I Yam a Donkey!; written and illustrated by Cece Bell (Clarion). Where is Pim?; by Lena Landström; illus. by Olof Landström; trans. from the […]

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from Float, by Daniel Miyares

from Float, by Daniel Miyares

The following books will receive starred reviews in the forthcoming May/June issue of The Horn Book Magazine:

It’s Only Stanley; written and illustrated by Jon Agee (Dial).

My Bike; written and illustrated by Byron Barton (Greenwillow) .

I Yam a Donkey!; written and illustrated by Cece Bell (Clarion).

Where is Pim?; by Lena Landström; illus. by Olof Landström; trans. from the Swedish by Julia Marshall (Gecko).

Float; written and illustrated by Daniel Miyares (Simon).

The Last Leaves Falling; by Sarah Benwell (Simon).

Detective Gordon: The First Case; by Ulf Nilsson; illus. by Gitte Spee; trans. from the Swedish by Julia Marshall (Gecko).

X: A Novel; by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon (Candlewick).

The Alex Crow; by Andrew Smith (Dutton/Penguin).

March: Book Two; by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin; illus. by Nate Powell (Top Shelf Productions).

My Family Tree and Me; written and illustrated by Dušan Petričić (Kids Can).

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What ELSE do you do?: five questions for T. A. Barron http://www.hbook.com/2015/04/blogs/read-roger/what-else-do-you-do-five-questions-for-t-a-barron/ http://www.hbook.com/2015/04/blogs/read-roger/what-else-do-you-do-five-questions-for-t-a-barron/#respond Thu, 09 Apr 2015 15:46:27 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=48337 Author T. A. Barron instituted the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes in 2000. Named for the author’s mother, the Prize is given annually to fifteen young people “who have made a significant positive difference to people and/or our environment.” Each winner receives $5,000 toward his or her work or higher education. Barron’s latest fantasy […]

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Author T. A. Barron instituted the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes in 2000. Named for the author’s mother, the Prize is given annually to fifteen young people “who have made a significant positive difference to people and/or our environment.” Each winner receives $5,000 toward his or her work or higher education.

Barron’s latest fantasy novel, Atlantis in Peril, will be published in May by Philomel Books, and look for his thoughts about his main man Merlin in the forthcoming May Horn Book Magazine, a special issue on the theme of Transformation. Nominations for the 2015 Barron Prize can be made through the website linked above, but the deadline is April 15th so burn rubber, jk.

This is the first in a series of interviews with children’s book people about what else they do with their time.

Author photo 2014 for Horn Book 1.  RS: Over the fifteen years the prize has been awarded, have you seen any shift in the kind or focus of activism from the nominees? 

TAB: The quality and diversity of these kids has always been extraordinary – they blow my mind every single year. But there have been dramatic shifts in what kinds of activism motivate them. For example, there’s been a big increase in young people helping other people and the environment at the same time – such as one recent winner who invented solar lanterns to replace dangerous and polluting kerosene or dung ones in developing countries. Another change is that nearly all our nominees these days have created their own activism websites and have a real social media presence, which definitely wasn’t the case when we started!

2.  RS: Where do you see the intersection between your work as a novelist and as a conservationist?

TAB: Both are about young people – their struggles, ideals, and surprising power to change the world. Every day, I’m worried about the terrible planetary mess we are handing to our children. Yet every day, I’m amazed by the honesty, freshness, energy, dreams, humor, and courage of young people. So in my writing, I try to authentically earn the idea that every kid, of any description, has a special magic down inside – magic that could change the world. Add to that “hero’s journey” core how much I like to weave ecological ideas into my books…and you have the two themes that flow through all my stories.

Similarly, in my conservation work, I try to share stories of real people who have made a difference to creating a more healthy environment – people like Jane Goodall (visionary), John Muir (activist), Rachel Carson (writer), and Johnny Appleseed (tree planter). We actually do have the power to give Mother Nature the space and flexibility she needs to survive – but we have to believe that before we can do it. The stories we tell young people – the seeds we plant metaphorically as well as physically – can help us get there.

3. RS: Could you describe one of the most surprising or inventive projects you’ve seen submitted for this prize?

TAB: I’m still waiting and hoping for the bright young kid out there who will invent a way for me to write books faster (as a community service, of course)! Alas, that isn’t going to happen. Some of my most favorite recent projects are: (1) Waste No Food, linking food donors with charities that feed the hungry, thus helping people and keeping food waste out of landfills. (2) Literacy for Little Ones, providing new books and early literacy information to nearly 10,000 families with newborn babies. (3) Project TGIF (Turn Grease Into Fuel), collecting waste cooking oil from residents and restaurants and refining it into biodiesel to help New England families with emergency heating needs.

4. RS: What do you think is the key to growing a lifelong idealist?

TAB: Here’s what I hope to convey to any kid from any background: See your life as a story – a story of which YOU are the author. So make it the very best story you can! Tell it with courage; tell it with passion. And also find a way to have a chapter or two where your dreams for how to make the world a better place are made real by the small, everyday things you do in your life – as well as the broader causes you support.

5. RS: If I told you I wanted to save the world, what would you give me to read first?

TAB: I’d give you three books: (1) Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman (on the power of every person to make a difference). (2) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (on the power of love). And (3) The Hero’s Trail (the new 2015 edition) by T. A. Barron. (I know it’s shameless of me to include that last title…but this new edition is so packed with inspiring stories of real young people who have shown amazing courage and compassion that I just can’t resist.)

 

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