Not-So-Trivial Pursuits: The Wrong Plot

By James Cross Giblin Sometimes you think you’ve finished the research for a key section in a nonfiction book, and then something occurs that makes you realize you’ve got it all wrong. This happened to me recently in connection with a book I’m working on about silent screen star Lillian Gish and her discoverer and […]

Five Questions for Anna Dewdney

Dewdney

Llama Llama… author-illustrator and rock star to preschoolers Anna Dewdney will be our special guest at the Fostering Lifelong Learners conference on April 25th, joining in the conversation about making and sharing great books for preschoolers. Here are five questions for her. 1.What did your own children teach you about creating books for preschoolers? My […]

Jack (and Jill) Be Nimble: An Interview with Mary Cash and Jason Low

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In between the few huge publishing houses and the many tiny ones lie the small independents. Mary Cash is vice president and editor in chief of Holiday House, founded by Vernon Ives in 1935 and currently publishing sixty-plus new books a year; Jason Low is the publisher of Lee & Low Books, co-founded by his […]

How to publish for the CCSS

Ha ha, not really. I hope everybody is getting some use out of our latest newsletter, Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book. I’ve been thinking about NF a lot since ALA, where I spent two solid days talking to publishers about what they were planning for the coming year(s). Along with inflicting upon the world […]

The Picture Book as an Act of Mischief

Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola

Poet Theodore Roethke said that poetry was an act of mischief. I’ve always liked that. But to my mind, even more than poetry it is the picture book that is truly an act of mischief. Mischief: “Playful misbehavior or troublemaking, especially in children.” “Playfulness that is intended to tease, or mock or to create trouble.” […]

Face Out: Picture Book Covers

Puss in Boots

A recent conversation about the current state of the picture book soon came around to the subject of book jackets. A senior art director in the group noted mournfully that as jacket designs have increasingly become the province of sales and marketing teams, covers have grown less representative of the books they trumpet. The disconnect […]

Making Picture Books: The Words

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The beginning of a picture book comes before the pictures. In Margaret Wise Brown’s beautiful Goodnight Moon, it was the magic of her words, their simplicity and the music in them, that made Clement Hurd’s now-famous visual interpretation possible. Unless the writer is also an illustrator, the writing always comes first. Many fine writers can […]

Making Picture Books: The Pictures

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I don’t know exactly how I came to be an illustrator of books. Certainly much art throughout the ages has been in the form of illustration, although not necessarily in books. Since I was very little, I intended to be an artist of some sort. As I grew older, I wanted also a liberal-arts education […]

Design Matters

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by Jon Scieszka Designed by Molly Leach [original print version] Design is an essential part of any picture book. It is the first aspect of a book that a reader judges. It is the framework for the text and illustration. It is the subtle weave of words and pictures that allows both to tell one […]

Over and Over

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“Once there was a little girl who didn’t understand about time.” So, with deceptive simplicity — for who, of any age, does understand time? — did my mother, Charlotte Zolotow, begin her book Over and Over, first published in 1957. As I write these words today, Charlotte is ninety-seven and I am fifty-nine. I see […]