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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


—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 […]

Whips AND chains


I’d really like to ban the term “self-censorship” from discourse, given that we already have a spectrum of words–from “prudence” to “cowardice”–that say more precisely what we mean, and because it causes us to be confused about what censorship actually is. As Megan Schliesman at Reading While White posted last week, the discussion about A Birthday […]

A bumpy ride


I had been content to let Calling Caldecott’s enlightening discussion about A Fine Dessert speak for itself, and the subsequent publication of A Birthday Cake for George Washington a year later was more than anything a spectacular example of bad timing–by the time A Fine Dessert was gathering outrage, A Birthday Cake was well on its […]

That clinking clanking sound


With the (incoming, anyway) scandal at this weekend’s ALA conference being a question about the not-always-bright line between editorial independence and advertisers’ interests, I thought I would remind you of the Horn Book’s position on the relationship between those two things. Otherwise, I hope I see some of you this weekend: the Horn Book can […]

The 2016 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction


The 2016 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction goes to The Hired Girl, by Laura Amy Schlitz, published by Candlewick Press. When Joan’s father burns her beloved books as an undeserved punishment for shirking her housework, the put-upon fourteen-year-old makes a reckless gambit for freedom, running away to Baltimore in search of paid work. There […]

Merry Christmas darlings


Winding things down here for the year, I’d like to wish readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, hoping there is plenty of candy in your immediate future. And if candy is not your thing, Katie also has a host of recommendations of food favorites from children’s books. And do not forget Laura’s gingerbread! […]