The Horn Book » Read Roger http://www.hbook.com Publications about books for children and young adults Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:24:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.4 Does one size fit all? http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/read-roger/one-size-fit/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/read-roger/one-size-fit/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 20:17:39 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40923 Leonard Marcus gave a swell talk about Robert McCloskey last night, but what’s really sticking with me is a response he gave to a question at the end about ebooks. Size matters, he essentially said, when it comes to picture books and other books for young children. Of course, we all know this, but I […]

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Stephenson t CA0 popup1 Does one size fit all?

illus. by André da Loba from the New York Times

Leonard Marcus gave a swell talk about Robert McCloskey last night, but what’s really sticking with me is a response he gave to a question at the end about ebooks. Size matters, he essentially said, when it comes to picture books and other books for young children. Of course, we all know this, but I hadn’t thought about the point in the context where Leonard was placing it, that the size and shape of whatever ebook you’re reading is subsumed by the size and shape of whatever screen you’re reading it on. The difference between the board book, picture book and big book editions of Goodnight, Gorilla disappears in your e-reader edition (which–I just tried it–is a disappointing experience indeed). I’m thinking I may need to gin up a jeremiad for our Cleveland presentation on Friday.

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The Babyfication of Our Youth http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/read-roger/babyfication-youth/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/read-roger/babyfication-youth/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 18:07:22 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40716 Just a little rant here–Martha Parravano and I are preparing a talk for next week’s Fostering Lifelong Learners conference in Ohio, and the other day we visited the Children’s Book Shop for some titles we wanted to share but couldn’t find in the office.  I was struck by the number of picture book titles for […]

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babytalk The Babyfication of Our YouthJust a little rant here–Martha Parravano and I are preparing a talk for next week’s Fostering Lifelong Learners conference in Ohio, and the other day we visited the Children’s Book Shop for some titles we wanted to share but couldn’t find in the office.  I was struck by the number of picture book titles for four-to-six-year-olds reissued in board book format. Right now I’m looking at a new board book edition of Samantha Berger and Dan Santat’s Crankenstein. For Pete’s sake, WHY? It’s a terrific book, but it’s not for kids who are still drooling and dripping and clueless about sharp corners. Or Liz Garton Scanlon and Marla Frazee’s All the World–a beautiful book but so not for babies. Terri Schmitz pointed out to me a concurrent trend: baby-appropriate picture books that were smartly resized and formatted for baby hands that have subsequently been blown up–the “oversized board book edition” of Goodnight, Gorilla is bigger than the original picture book and weighs two pounds. It’s been positively weaponized.

This has been going on for twenty years, and I’m guessing it’s because books for babies are easier to sell than are picture books for older kids. But I worry that we’re just trying to delay the inevitable moment of teaching kids how to read without spitting up.

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Children’s Books Boston reminder http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/read-roger/childrens-books-boston-reminder/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/read-roger/childrens-books-boston-reminder/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 15:30:26 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40700 Don’t forget the Children’s Books Boston get-together tomorrow, 5:30 to 8, at the Simmons College Paresky Center, 300 The Fenway. We request a five-dollar donation to cover refreshments, and attendees are invited to bring a children’s book to swap. RSVP here.

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party Childrens Books Boston reminderDon’t forget the Children’s Books Boston get-together tomorrow, 5:30 to 8, at the Simmons College Paresky Center, 300 The Fenway. We request a five-dollar donation to cover refreshments, and attendees are invited to bring a children’s book to swap. RSVP here.

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HBAS shout-out http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/read-roger/hbas-shout/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/read-roger/hbas-shout/#respond Tue, 09 Sep 2014 14:41:28 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40614 Another reminder (before the price goes up): register now for the 2014 Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium, October 10-11 here in Boston. Come and hear our speakers Mind the Gaps as we bang on about what’s happening–and what’s missing– in children’s and YA books and reading today. (I just saw the aggregative term “CYA literature” […]

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CYA HBAS shout outAnother reminder (before the price goes up): register now for the 2014 Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium, October 10-11 here in Boston. Come and hear our speakers Mind the Gaps as we bang on about what’s happening–and what’s missing– in children’s and YA books and reading today. (I just saw the aggregative term “CYA literature” and hope to never see it again.)

It should be a great day. Our 2012 Boston Globe-Horn Book fiction winner, librarian and author Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, will be back to provide the keynote address, and she’ll be joined by this year’s BGHB winners Steve Sheinkin, Andrew Smith, Peter Brown, and many others. You can see the lineup at the link. I hope you will come!

 

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Marcus and McCloskey http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/read-roger/marcus-mccloskey/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/read-roger/marcus-mccloskey/#respond Thu, 04 Sep 2014 20:42:30 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40519 Leonard S. Marcus, whose look at Robert McCloskey’s emergence as an illustrator appears in our current issue, will be speaking on the occasion of the illustrator’s hundredth  anniversary at the Cambridge Public Library on Monday, September 15th at 7:00PM. The Horn Book is happy to co-sponsor this event, and Porter Square Books will be on […]

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ducks boston Marcus and McCloskey

Make Way for Ducklings, by Nancy Schön

Leonard S. Marcus, whose look at Robert McCloskey’s emergence as an illustrator appears in our current issue, will be speaking on the occasion of the illustrator’s hundredth  anniversary at the Cambridge Public Library on Monday, September 15th at 7:00PM. The Horn Book is happy to co-sponsor this event, and Porter Square Books will be on hand to sell, I presume, books by both distinguished gentlemen.

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Calling Caldecott is open for business http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/read-roger/calling-caldecott-open-business/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/read-roger/calling-caldecott-open-business/#respond Thu, 04 Sep 2014 15:42:15 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40512 Lolly, Martha, and Robin are back (and for the friend to whom I defended the Oxford comma this weekend, THERE’S WHY) with this year’s edition of Calling Caldecott, in which we look without fear or favor at contenders for this picture book prize. They are looking for likely suspects–go help them out.

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Blondie   Picture This Calling Caldecott is open for businessLolly, Martha, and Robin are back (and for the friend to whom I defended the Oxford comma this weekend, THERE’S WHY) with this year’s edition of Calling Caldecott, in which we look without fear or favor at contenders for this picture book prize. They are looking for likely suspects–go help them out.

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Party down http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/read-roger/party/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/09/blogs/read-roger/party/#respond Wed, 03 Sep 2014 13:53:00 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40416 Children’s Books Boston invites you to our second annual fall get-together on Thursday, September 11 from 5:30PM to 8PM in the Paresky Center at Simmons College. We perhaps wisely decided against trust falls as an ice-breaking activity; instead, all attendees are invited to bring a children’s book for exchange. A five dollar donation (cash only) […]

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party down Party downChildren’s Books Boston invites you to our second annual fall get-together on Thursday, September 11 from 5:30PM to 8PM in the Paresky Center at Simmons College. We perhaps wisely decided against trust falls as an ice-breaking activity; instead, all attendees are invited to bring a children’s book for exchange. A five dollar donation (cash only) is requested for snacks and a drink; if you’d like to attend RSVP at this link and I’ll see you there.

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The Empire Strikes Back http://www.hbook.com/2014/08/blogs/read-roger/empire-strikes-back/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/08/blogs/read-roger/empire-strikes-back/#respond Wed, 27 Aug 2014 17:04:23 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40304 ALSC Past-President Starr LaTronica responds to my July editorial. Incidentally, we’re publishing a terrific piece in the November issue by Thom Barthelmess (former ALSC prez and BGHB chair) about how to conduct oneself in a professional book discussion. Thom is far more temperate about these things than am I.

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No Fighting1 The Empire Strikes BackALSC Past-President Starr LaTronica responds to my July editorial. Incidentally, we’re publishing a terrific piece in the November issue by Thom Barthelmess (former ALSC prez and BGHB chair) about how to conduct oneself in a professional book discussion. Thom is far more temperate about these things than am I.

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Do you read your reviews? http://www.hbook.com/2014/08/blogs/read-roger/read-reviews/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/08/blogs/read-roger/read-reviews/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 16:02:16 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40239 I’ve been reading soprano Barbara Hendricks‘s memoir, Lifting My Voice, and it’s led me not only to a rewarding reacquaintance with her singing but to some thinking about the relationship between the artist and the critic. Hendricks spills a suspicious amount of ink over how she doesn’t pay any attention to critics (whose opinions of her […]

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statlerwaldorf Do you read your reviews?I’ve been reading soprano Barbara Hendricks‘s memoir, Lifting My Voice, and it’s led me not only to a rewarding reacquaintance with her singing but to some thinking about the relationship between the artist and the critic. Hendricks spills a suspicious amount of ink over how she doesn’t pay any attention to critics (whose opinions of her highly distinctive voice have long been divided), but even if the lady doth protest too much for me to exactly believe her, her essential argument–that critics aren’t helpful to artists–is a good one:

“A review of my performance is totally useless in teaching me about myself. Reviews reveal so much more about the reviewer than they do about the artists. Until her death Miss Tourel [Hendricks's teacher, Jennie Tourel] was my most demanding critic, and since then I have had to assume that task myself. I learned during my first year as a professional singer that a review was not the right criteria to determine how well I had done my work, whether I had done what I had set out to do. I know my repertoire and I know when I have done my best work.”

Hendricks goes on to recall contradictory reviews, mean reviews, and seeing a reviewer who had really gone after her: “He was slight, had thinning hair, wore very thick glasses, and did not look like a happy person.” But all this is to miss the point. It’s not a reviewer’s job to make a singer–or a writer–a better one. We aren’t here to help you; we’re here to help inform audiences and potential audiences. (Even Hendricks graciously if barely allows that she “imagines critics serve some purpose and I do not want to do away with them.” Big of you, thanks.)

If I were a novelist I hope I wouldn’t go near reviews of my own work. What have I to gain? Stars and pans, Kipling’s impostors alike. (I guess I would hope that my agent or editor were paying attention, though, so as to strain anything that might be useful to me through a filter of helpfulness.) Must be hard to resist, though, especially in an age when reviews go flying about through social media and a “we’re all in this together” ethos pervades the field.

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Magic School http://www.hbook.com/2014/08/blogs/read-roger/magic-school/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/08/blogs/read-roger/magic-school/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 14:27:25 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=40173 Continuing my adventures in books for boys grown big, I’m reading Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, which I somehow missed when it came out and only noticed on the recent publication of a second sequel. It’s a story about a nice boy who thinks he’s on the way to Princeton but winds up in magic school […]

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PrincetonMagic Magic SchoolContinuing my adventures in books for boys grown big, I’m reading Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, which I somehow missed when it came out and only noticed on the recent publication of a second sequel. It’s a story about a nice boy who thinks he’s on the way to Princeton but winds up in magic school instead, but I’m guessing everyone already knows that but me. I don’t know if it’s exactly Harry Potter for grownups but it’s certainly Harry Potter for me–Grossman gives his characters and magic AND readers a lot more breathing room than does Rowling, who seems to have an aversion to white space.

I haven’t finished it yet so can’t whine about the ending. Are the sequels worth it?

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