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Reviewing race

lemonade

We have a new podcast out today (with Horn Book reviewer Hannah Gómez as guest), mostly talking about Kirkus’ children’s editor Vicky Smith’s new policy of labelling, where possible, the race of all mentioned characters in reviews of children’s/YA fiction. When we recorded the podcast I hadn’t yet seen Kirkus operating under its new rule, but […]

May/June 2016 Horn Book Magazine starred reviews

illustration by R. Gregory Christie, from Freedom in Congo Square

The following books will receive starred reviews in the May/June issue of The Horn Book Magazine. Note, too, that this is our annual special issue, this year on the theme of Collaboration. Join us!   The Airport Book; written and illustrated by Lisa Brown (Porter/Roaring Brook) Excellent Ed; written by Stacy McAnulty; illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach (Knopf) […]

Marilyn’s great speech

nelson_carver a life in poems

Here’s a link to the speech Marilyn Nelson gave when she won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Carver in 2001. The awards were given in Burlington, Vermont that October, a very fraught time, as you will recall. I remember that Marilyn’s son, then a student at McGill in Montreal, missed the ceremony as he […]

The 2016 Zena Sutherland Lecture with Marilyn Nelson

You should totally come to this. Marilyn Nelson gave one of the best speeches I ever heard on the occasion of her winning the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award in 2001 for Carver. I hope I see you in Chicago on May 6th.

14 lies and 9 truths

bloopah.jpg

I’m glad that the powers that be have cleared up the lies they were spewing about me last Friday. But three further corrections–I did recite poetry on the steps of Honnold Library–Gertrude Stein, for my sins–and I did not sing in bars until alcoholism had a firmer grip on me, and I do not own a […]

I’m going to see the folks I dig

Be still my heart

I am off next week for California; visiting children and grandchildren; seeing friends including Mina, Eugene, and Andy; and attending the tennis tournament at Indian Wells, tickets for which Richard kindly surprised me with on Valentine’s Day. But I will be in virtual attendance at JLG’s free webcast on Thursday, March 17th from 3:00 to […]

She’ll be swell, she’ll be great!

Carla Hayden

I am over the moon about President Obama’s nomination of Carla D. Hayden to the position of Librarian of Congress. Carla and I were buddies back in Chicago–we met when she was YA coordinator at CPL and I interviewed her for a paper I was writing for library school, and later I worked for her […]

Freeing writers AND readers

Mrs. Trimmer

I agree with Allie Jane Bruce that “kids say this stuff” is a piss-poor reason for racist language in books for children. It’s a piss-poor reason generally, as the point of fiction has never been to mimic reality, which rarely makes nearly as much sense as even the most hackneyed novel. Fiction is always selecting: as Miss Binney explained to Ramona, […]

Starred reviews, March/April 2016 Horn Book Magazine

alexie_thunder boy jr.

The following books will receive starred reviews in the March/April 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie; illus. by Yuyi Morales (Little, Brown) When Spring Comes by Kevin Henkes; illus. by Laura Dronzek (Greenwillow) School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex; illus. by Christian Robinson (Porter/Roaring Brook) Twenty […]

HB NB February

Carter_G_Woodson_portrait

—Elissa and Katie are ransacking the archives to honor Black History Month with an article every day about African American books, authors, and illustrators. Up today, Yolanda Hare’s call for more books about “more black teens living mundane middle-class lives.” –On February 23rd, I’ll be moderating a panel discussion about the ALA awards and children’s […]