The Horn Book » Read Roger http://www.hbook.com Publications about books for children and young adults Wed, 29 Oct 2014 20:21:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.4 What’s Going On http://www.hbook.com/2014/10/blogs/read-roger/whats-going/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/10/blogs/read-roger/whats-going/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 16:46:39 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=42302 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 […]

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MarvinGaye Whats Going OnSome 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 one hand. (You know who you are. And now you know why I don’t review you.) Anita Silvey once said that her favorite writers to work with were dead ones, and, boy, do I see her point.

Selfie Sweepstakes update: I have received four submissions, each not as great as you might want but not as bad as you might think. Final deadline is 12/15/14.

And over at our little sis:

Betsy Bird gets a TV show.

Nina and Jonathan are wondering whether the graphic novel El Deafo could pick up a Newbery. (No. I mean it could, but it won’t.) Now that I’ve recused myself from ALA Medal deliberations, Heavy Medal and Calling Caldecott make me itch to publish a retrospective: “The year was 2000. What won: Bud, Not Buddy; Joseph Had a Little Overcoat. What should have won: King of Shadows; Hush, Little Baby.” Like that. Who knows, maybe I wouldn’t need ANY fingers to count my friends by the time I got through.

 

 

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I don’t THINK anyone is trying to hunt me down http://www.hbook.com/2014/10/blogs/read-roger/dont-think-anyone-trying-hunt/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/10/blogs/read-roger/dont-think-anyone-trying-hunt/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:27:42 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=42057 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 […]

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heathers01 I dont THINK anyone is trying to hunt me downLast 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 in the Bronx, “are the worst.”

That encounter stayed with me as I started exploring the saga of YA author Kathleen Hale and the Goodreads troll, which Hale described at great, great length in the Guardian. What did the editors think to let her go on for 5000 words? Perhaps they are part of the great catfishing* conspiracy erected to oppress Ms. Hale, because while you begin the essay thinking “poor her,” as Hale unravels you start to smile nervously and look for an exit. It’s far away.

Then I went to a blog that Hale cited as an ally in her fight against the Dark, Stop the GR [Goodreads] Bullies, which I thought would be, I don’t know, some kind of manifesto about maintaining decency in book discussion. Instead I soon felt like Jennifer Connelly discovering Russell Crowe’s crazypants chalkboard diagrams as pages of scans and proofs and links and trolls and catfish whirled about each other with manic glee. Here, as in Hale’s confessional, I saw no victims, just bullies on all sides.

I know it’s unlikely — or NOT, he adds, as the madness infects him — that any of the participants in this circus are twelve-year-old girls, but watching the accusations fly and the drama being whipped up reminded me of those kids at the school, a big helping of attention-seeking with a side of hostility. I’ve avoided Goodreads only because it was too much like work, but it always seemed like such a nice place. Now it looks to me like those spy novels I love, where the apparent placidity of daily life and ordinary citizens is completely at the mercy of the puppet masters. If you want me, I’m in hiding.

*as Liz Burns points out, that word does not mean what Hale thinks it does.

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It’s not on any chart / You must find it with your heart http://www.hbook.com/2014/10/blogs/read-roger/chart-must-find-heart/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/10/blogs/read-roger/chart-must-find-heart/#respond Mon, 20 Oct 2014 14:32:16 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=42027 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 […]

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345px PP MaryMartin Its not on any chart / You must find it with your heartPlease 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 the moderator–but FANTASY. 1:00-2:00 PM, Emmanuel Church sanctuary, 15 Newbury Street, Boston. FREE.

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Two possible explanations for all the zombie books http://www.hbook.com/2014/10/blogs/read-roger/two-possible-explanations-zombie-books/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/10/blogs/read-roger/two-possible-explanations-zombie-books/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 18:09:13 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=41904 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 […]

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17 HBAS14 publishingpanel21 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 manuscript. Other speakers picked it up to the general approval (and occasional wincing) of the audience.

It has a ring. But as  thrilling as it might be to imagine a publishing world made up of the results of such epiphanies, I don’t know if that is actually such a good idea. But when I wondered aloud how much it even actually happened, and that some books seem to be published by way of calculation rather than inspiration, Arthur Levine got all up in my grill and accused me of being cynical. He insisted that even the kind of books that I was dismissing as “copycats” were published because an editor had been excited by what he or she read.

I say, then we need smarter editors. What say you?

(Poor Arthur, though. Earlier in the day he–and I–had to listen to a librarian’s daffy explanation–based on something someone told her–that Jews get books published because other Jews, richer ones, subsidize the costs via donations made to the publisher. ‘Like an art patron!” brightly added another librarian.)

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Running the gamut from A to V http://www.hbook.com/2014/10/blogs/read-roger/running-gamut-v/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/10/blogs/read-roger/running-gamut-v/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 11:42:07 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=41810 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 […]

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Dont Make Me Running the gamut from A to VWhile 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 considering. Where we part company is his belief that a book that makes you “race through it” is a book worth reading. Speed freak. A book that makes you miss it when you’re away from it, that’s the ticket.

Richard always finishes a book he starts, and my mother was like this, too, but I have no trouble walking away with no regrets from a book that isn’t doing it for me. Unless I’m at work, of course–I’ve finished p l e n t y of books under the duress of professional responsibility. Two I’ve never managed, though, despite the enthusiastic cheerleading of fellow readers I respect and whose tastes I generally agree with, are The Westing Game and A Wizard of Earthsea. They will just have to do without me, and they famously do.

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Clearing the brush http://www.hbook.com/2014/10/blogs/read-roger/clearing-brush/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/10/blogs/read-roger/clearing-brush/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 16:25:34 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=41684 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 […]

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lumberjack Clearing the brushThe 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 avid young reader of adult biographies I would have delighted in abridgments that skipped all the stuff about the subjects’ forbears. Of course, I could just do it myself and did. Maybe if we all loosened up a bit about just what “reading a whole book” means, more kids might relax more at the prospect of “difficult” books.

But if Laura Hillenbrand was so hot to rethink Unbroken for a new audience–or even just for me–she could have used the second chance to lose what is possibly my least favorite metaphor of 2014: “Forests of men had gone down at the sight of her.”

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Starred reviews, November/December 2014 Horn Book Magazine http://www.hbook.com/2014/10/blogs/read-roger/starred-reviews-novemberdecember-2014-horn-book-magazine/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/10/blogs/read-roger/starred-reviews-novemberdecember-2014-horn-book-magazine/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 21:00:49 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=41614 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 […]

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Farmer Starred reviews, November/December 2014 Horn Book MagazineThe 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 the Clown; written and illus. by Marla Frazee (Beach Lane/Simon)

Shh! We Have a Plan; written and illus. by Chris Haughton (Candlewick)

The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza; by Jack Gantos (Farrar)

My Heart Is Laughing; by Rose Lagercrantz; illus. by Eva Eriksson; trans. from the Swedish by Julia Marshall (Gecko)

The Turtle of Oman: A Novel; by Naomi Shihab Nye; illus. by Betsy Peterschmidt (Greenwillow)

Nuts to You; written and illus. by Lynne Rae Perkins (Greenwillow)

El Deafo; written and illus. by Cece Bell; color by David Lasky (Amulet/Abrams)

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus; by Jen Bryant; illus. by Melissa Sweet (Eerdmans)

Sisters; written and illus. by Raina Telgemeier; color by Braden Lamb (Graphix/Scholastic)

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Please, God, let him telephone me now http://www.hbook.com/2014/10/blogs/read-roger/please-god-let-telephone-now/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/10/blogs/read-roger/please-god-let-telephone-now/#respond Sun, 05 Oct 2014 13:47:53 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=41565 “I must stop this. I mustn’t be this way. Look. Suppose a young man says he’ll call a girl up, and then something happens, and he doesn’t. That isn’t so terrible, is it? Why, it’s gong on all over the world, right this minute. Oh, what do I care what’s going on all over the […]

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waiting by the phone Please, God, let him telephone me now“I must stop this. I mustn’t be this way. Look. Suppose a young man says he’ll call a girl up, and then something happens, and he doesn’t. That isn’t so terrible, is it? Why, it’s gong on all over the world, right this minute. Oh, what do I care what’s going on all over the world? Why can’t that telephone ring? Why can’t it, why can’t it? Couldn’t you ring? Ah, please, couldn’t you? You damned, ugly, shiny thing. It would hurt you to ring, wouldn’t it? Oh, that would hurt you. Damn you, I’ll pull your filthy roots out of the wall, I’ll smash your smug black face in little bits. Damn you to hell.” (Dorothy Parker, “A Telephone Call.”)

Writer, is this you? Elizabeth Law has some tips on The Art of Following Up.

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The buck stops over there http://www.hbook.com/2014/10/blogs/read-roger/buck-stops/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/10/blogs/read-roger/buck-stops/#comments Fri, 03 Oct 2014 14:19:09 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=41539 After seeing some alarming comments on Read Roger and Facebook I feel the need to point out something I thought everybody knew: the Horn Book, like our sisters at SLJ, Booklist,  BCCB and PW, does not charge authors or publishers for book reviews. Publishers Weekly and Kirkus does offer fee-based reviewing services but these are […]

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grifters The buck stops over thereAfter seeing some alarming comments on Read Roger and Facebook I feel the need to point out something I thought everybody knew: the Horn Book, like our sisters at SLJ, Booklist,  BCCB and PW, does not charge authors or publishers for book reviews. Publishers Weekly and Kirkus does offer fee-based reviewing services but these are in addition to (and  labelled as such) their regular reviews, which are free. Personally, I think reviews you have to pay for are a waste of money and a source of the worst kind of mischief. [corrected per PW's Carl Pritzkat; see comment below]

People have also questioned the relationship of advertising pages and review coverage, and this is totally fair game for examination: do advertising dollars buy reviews in a quid pro quo arrangement? Absent the presence of damning emails or something, I think it would be hard to prove either way, because advertisers tend to spend their money in places that are saying nice things about their products. This is not absolute, though: I once heard our wonderful ad director Al tell a marketing director at a Big Five publisher that they should be buying more ad space because we were giving them so many good reviews. Her response? “Sure, but how many of those are starred reviews?” It’s never enough. But, no, at the Horn Book we don’t review (or star) books on the basis of who is buying advertising pages. (We do offer products such as Talks With Roger that are paid for by publishers but are clearly labelled as “sponsored content” and are separate from our review coverage.)

Something I have intuited (or outright heard) from some publishers, large and small, is that they think of reviews as part of their promotion efforts. This makes sense from their point of view, in that they use reviews for marketing purposes. But we don’t work for the publishers, we work for our readers. Smart publishers know that this is in their best interest.

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Free to a good home http://www.hbook.com/2014/10/blogs/read-roger/free-good-home/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/10/blogs/read-roger/free-good-home/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 20:54:08 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=41535 The Horn Book is looking to give away approximately 2000 new trade and library hardcover books, all published in 2014. Here is the catch: you have to come and  box them up yourself and take them all. ALL: no picking and choosing. They include picture books, novels and lots of nonfiction. We are on the […]

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GuideBooks Free to a good homeThe Horn Book is looking to give away approximately 2000 new trade and library hardcover books, all published in 2014. Here is the catch: you have to come and  box them up yourself and take them all. ALL: no picking and choosing. They include picture books, novels and lots of nonfiction. We are on the Simmons College campus in Boston. If this sounds like something you would like, contact Kitty Flynn, kflynn AT hbook DOT com. The person who can get to Kitty fastest with the quickest plan to move ‘em out wins.

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