The Horn Book » Read Roger http://www.hbook.com Publications about books for children and young adults Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:01:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 A winter’s tale http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/read-roger/winters-tale/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/read-roger/winters-tale/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 14:46:58 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39483 If you aren’t completely burned out on dystopian fiction, do go see* Snowpiercer, a big, violent, gorgeous, baroque movie about the end of civilization, its last remnant perpetually traveling the ice-covered globe in a nonstop great big train. There is NO love triangle, with eros limited to a couple of crypto-gay warrior-bonding types, and plenty to […]

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exit A winters taleIf you aren’t completely burned out on dystopian fiction, do go see* Snowpiercer, a big, violent, gorgeous, baroque movie about the end of civilization, its last remnant perpetually traveling the ice-covered globe in a nonstop great big train. There is NO love triangle, with eros limited to a couple of crypto-gay warrior-bonding types, and plenty to thrill your (mine, anyway) inner ten-year-old, like an exciting shootout between cars as the train curves around an enormous bend. There’s high camp, too, supplied by Tilda Swinton and Alison Pill as the banality of evil and a gun-toting schoolteacher, respectively. (Wait, did I just repeat myself?) And Ed Harris is on hand, playing–spoiler alert–the very same part he played in The Truman Show.

But best of all is the look of the thing, from the icy landscapes and ruined, empty cities the train charges through to the train itself, from the squalid cars at the back where the slave labor lives to the sleek sushi bar, spa, and disco for the more privileged passengers at the front. One of the more subversive elements of the film is the way it gets you to think “why, yes, I could totally enjoy watching from the dome car as the world freezes to death. Waiter!”

The ending–spoiler alert again–is beautifully and starkly ambiguous. Life or death. I understand that the French graphic novel on which the movie is based has a sequel, but truly: none needed.

*In a movie theater, if you can. While the film is available on TV as an on-demand feature, you really want the big screen and sound for this one.

 

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Helpful tips http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/read-roger/helpful-tips/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/read-roger/helpful-tips/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 17:39:03 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39431 Elizabeth has put together an entertaining and most instructive list of ten don’ts for writers submitting manuscripts to agents or editors. (Also entertaining is this take on our listicle culture I read about in the NYT yesterday.) Could I make a list of Ten Things That Make a Children’s Book Reviewer Roll His Eyes? Oh, […]

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SexTips Helpful tipsElizabeth has put together an entertaining and most instructive list of ten don’ts for writers submitting manuscripts to agents or editors. (Also entertaining is this take on our listicle culture I read about in the NYT yesterday.)

Could I make a list of Ten Things That Make a Children’s Book Reviewer Roll His Eyes? Oh, yes. This week (and it changes every week) my first would be Whimsical Names Used Indiscriminately and Overmuch. What are some of yours?

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Get Appy http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/read-roger/get-appy/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/read-roger/get-appy/#respond Thu, 10 Jul 2014 17:54:14 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39296 Horn Book reviews have hit the mobile market as Book Verdict, available for free at the iTunes Store. I have just started playing with it but it seems pretty neat: including reviews taken from the Horn Book Magazine and Guide, the app recommends about 10,000 children’s and YA titles published in the last ten years. […]

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gethappy Get AppyHorn Book reviews have hit the mobile market as Book Verdict, available for free at the iTunes Store. I have just started playing with it but it seems pretty neat: including reviews taken from the Horn Book Magazine and Guide, the app recommends about 10,000 children’s and YA titles published in the last ten years. Each record includes the Guide review (or excerpt from the Magazine), bibliographic information, recommended age level,  a link to the World Cat record and local library availability, and to Amazon.com for purchase. Try it out and tell me what you think.

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My gun, my foot http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/read-roger/gun-foot/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/07/blogs/read-roger/gun-foot/#comments Mon, 07 Jul 2014 16:46:06 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=39187 Instant karma whacked me upside the head at the end of last month when the July-August issue of the Horn Book Magazine, wherein I take ALSC to task for demanding too much secrecy around its Newbery and Caldecott deliberations, was mailed a full week early, thus spoiling the entirely justifiable secret of just what Kate […]

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KateD My gun, my foot

And she was good enough to help me back up, too.

Instant karma whacked me upside the head at the end of last month when the July-August issue of the Horn Book Magazine, wherein I take ALSC to task for demanding too much secrecy around its Newbery and Caldecott deliberations, was mailed a full week early, thus spoiling the entirely justifiable secret of just what Kate DiCamillo and Brian Floca were going to say in their Newbery and Caldecott speeches. I was–AM–mortified: while we told the mailing house to hold this issue a week later than usual, apparently we did not stress strongly enough to them just why we wanted it embargoed, and I guess they thought they were doing us a favor. Kate and Brian were very good sports–see above for our Ambassador’s gracious acceptance of my apology. So to them particularly but to all in general: SORRY!

KirkpatrickHill My gun, my foot

with Kirkpatrick Hill

Otherwise I had some lively conversations about the editorial, and some less lively ones about the Common Core State Standards. (Do the CCSS have any fans left? Marc?)  Macmillan gave a very nice lunch for the Scott O’Dell committee and this year’s winner Kirkpatrick Hill, who’s something of a character who knows she’s something of a character, which makes her a little dangerous but a lot of fun. Kind of like my ALA in general.

But tell me we don’t have to go to Las Vegas again. Please?

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for Annie, Nancy. http://www.hbook.com/2014/06/blogs/read-roger/thanks-annie-nancy/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/06/blogs/read-roger/thanks-annie-nancy/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 13:43:47 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=38860 I was very sorry to read that Nancy Garden died on Monday. While she wrote in just about every children’s-book genre there is, it’s Annie on My Mind that made her immortal, and led to her parallel, equally admirable, career as a defender of intellectual freedom in libraries and communities across the nation. The first […]

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AnnieOnMyMind 198x300 Thanks for <i>Annie</i>, Nancy.I was very sorry to read that Nancy Garden died on Monday. While she wrote in just about every children’s-book genre there is, it’s Annie on My Mind that made her immortal, and led to her parallel, equally admirable, career as a defender of intellectual freedom in libraries and communities across the nation.

The first starred review I ever wrote was for Annie, for SLJ back in 1982. I revisited the book twenty-five years later for the Horn Book.

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ALAs Vegas http://www.hbook.com/2014/06/blogs/read-roger/alas-vegas/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/06/blogs/read-roger/alas-vegas/#respond Tue, 24 Jun 2014 16:42:19 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=38853 See some of you in Las Vegas, I hope. My friend Ruth is taking me to see Nature and the Hoover Dam on Friday but I’ll be bouncing around the exhibit hall on Saturday and Sunday, with periodic stops at the Horn Book booth, #829. Martha P. will be there too, so do say hello […]

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clooney ALAs VegasSee some of you in Las Vegas, I hope. My friend Ruth is taking me to see Nature and the Hoover Dam on Friday but I’ll be bouncing around the exhibit hall on Saturday and Sunday, with periodic stops at the Horn Book booth, #829. Martha P. will be there too, so do say hello if you see one of us.

(I see that Danny Ocean over there needs a little help with his Newbery-Caldecott Banquet bow tie, so if you’ll excuse me . . . .)

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Small world, isn’t it? http://www.hbook.com/2014/06/blogs/read-roger/small-world-isnt/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/06/blogs/read-roger/small-world-isnt/#respond Thu, 19 Jun 2014 15:11:29 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=38776 My old Chicago pal Ilene Cooper and I are interviewed by my other old Chicago pal Elizabeth Law at Elizabeth’s new blog, Into the Words.

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GypsyandJune 258x300 Small world, isnt it?My old Chicago pal Ilene Cooper and I are interviewed by my other old Chicago pal Elizabeth Law at Elizabeth’s new blog, Into the Words.

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This is not just about opera http://www.hbook.com/2014/06/blogs/read-roger/just-opera/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/06/blogs/read-roger/just-opera/#comments Wed, 18 Jun 2014 15:21:48 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=38747 The Metropolitan Opera’s cancellation of the announced HD broadcast of The Death of Klinghoffer is galling for a number of reasons. The Met’s decision to stage the opera (albeit with a note in the program by Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters, who have condemned the work as anti-Semitic)  but not broadcast it will please nobody. It is […]

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klinghoffer 300x199 This is not just about opera

from the English National Opera production of The Death of Klinghoffer

The Metropolitan Opera’s cancellation of the announced HD broadcast of The Death of Klinghoffer is galling for a number of reasons. The Met’s decision to stage the opera (albeit with a note in the program by Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters, who have condemned the work as anti-Semitic)  but not broadcast it will please nobody. It is also alarming to see Met General Manager Peter Gelb cave so easily, especially in light of his reaction to those who, because of Russia’s anti-gay antics, protested the Met’s opening night performance last year of Eugene Onegin, featuring Putin supporters Anna Netrebko and Valery Gergiev:

We stand against the significant human rights abuses that take place every day in many countries. But as an arts institution, the Met is not the appropriate vehicle for waging nightly battles against the social injustices of the world.

He was right then and therefore he’s wrong now. But if you are still with me and not wondering when this blog turned into Parterre Box, the cynical and specious reasoning Gelb gives for the cancellation of the broadcast is exactly what libraries hear every damn time somebody challenges a book:

I’m convinced that the opera is not anti-Semitic,” said the Met’s General Manager, Peter Gelb. “But I’ve also become convinced that there is genuine concern in the international Jewish community that the live transmission of The Death of Klinghoffer would be inappropriate at this time of rising anti-Semitism, particularly in Europe.

Censors are almost never worried about the dangers poised by a book to themselves, or to their own invariably brilliant children. They worry about other children. Even leaving aside Gelb’s attempt to grease himself out of the argument and blame it on the Jews, the idea that somehow unthinking anti-Semitic hordes were going to attend an HD broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera across Europe and then–well, and then what, exactly? Censors are also never very clear about just what they expect to happen to people upon reading or viewing an objectionable work. But apparently Americans with enough cash to attend a live Met performance of this opera will be fine; it’s those Other People we have to worry about. It’s ALWAYS the Other People they’re worried about.

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That gal down the hall http://www.hbook.com/2014/06/blogs/read-roger/gal-hall/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/06/blogs/read-roger/gal-hall/#respond Tue, 17 Jun 2014 16:27:41 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=38652 Cathie Mercier and the  Center for the Study of Children’s Literature are profiled this week in the Simmons GSLIS newsletter. I’d be bragging about how the Horn Book team (“Goldilocks and the Free Beers”) whupped their ivory-tower asses at last night’s Children’s Books Boston Trivia Challenge, but given that two-thirds of HB staff hold degrees […]

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cathie 300x199 That gal down the hallCathie Mercier and the  Center for the Study of Children’s Literature are profiled this week in the Simmons GSLIS newsletter. I’d be bragging about how the Horn Book team (“Goldilocks and the Free Beers”) whupped their ivory-tower asses at last night’s Children’s Books Boston Trivia Challenge, but given that two-thirds of HB staff hold degrees from Cathie’s program, I had better not. Still: WE WON.

Edited to add a report from the TEAM!

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YA by the numbers http://www.hbook.com/2014/06/blogs/read-roger/ya-numbers/ http://www.hbook.com/2014/06/blogs/read-roger/ya-numbers/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 14:46:18 +0000 http://www.hbook.com/?p=38451 Pursuant to our discussion of who YA is for, I asked Horn Book intern Jill to take a look at the most recent issue of the Horn Book Guide and see what she saw. The spring 2014 issue of the Guide contains reviews of virtually every trade hardcover book published for young people during the […]

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BoysGirls 183x300 YA by the numbersPursuant to our discussion of who YA is for, I asked Horn Book intern Jill to take a look at the most recent issue of the Horn Book Guide and see what she saw. The spring 2014 issue of the Guide contains reviews of virtually every trade hardcover book published for young people during the last half of 2013. By reading the reviews of all 346 novels for grades seven and up, Jill found that:

201 had a female protagonist

85 had a male protagonist

25 had both and/or alternating narrators

35 had an ensemble cast or no protagonist

These numbers don’t tell us who is reading what, of course, but it’s useful to know just how much the girls outnumber the boys–more than two to one.

 

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