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Emerson’s Diversity in Children’s and YA Publishing panel


Last week, Martha and I attended an excellent panel on Diversity in Children’s and Young Adult Publishing, hosted by Emerson College’s Writing, Literature, and Publishing program. Panelists were Lesléa Newman (author of Heather Has Two Mommies, October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard, and many, many others); Vicky Smith, Kirkus‘s children’s and teen editor; and […]

Teamwork: Pictures in My Head

sidman_before morning

In the deep woolen dark, as we slumber unknowing, let the sky fill with flurry and flight. Let the air turn to feathers, the earth turn to sugar, and all that is heavy turn light… As an editor, when authors give me such powerful, precise words, I almost immediately begin to imagine them with pictures. […]

What Can Data Tell Us?: An Agent’s Thoughts on the 2015 Nielsen Children’s Book Summit


A few years ago, while on a trip to Paris, I met the great sports writer Simon Kuper for coffee. The author of the revolutionary book Soccernomics, a kind of Moneyball for soccer, Kuper and his co-author Stefan Szymanski had been using data analysis to skewer the decision-making of big soccer clubs in novel ways, […]

Five questions for Lizzie Skurnick


Since 2013, Lizzie Skurnick Books (LSB; an imprint of Ig Publishing) has been handpicking and reissuing “the very best in young adult literature, from the classics of the 1930s and 1940s to the social novels of the 1970s and 1980s.” The list gained a passel of built-in followers with the release of Sydney Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind-Family series, […]

Elisabeth Hamilton & Margaret McElderry: Two Approaches, One Passion


In 1919, when Louise Seaman Bechtel became the nation’s first children’s book editor, at Macmillan, her customers-in-waiting were chiefly children’s librarians. One specialty had bred another; now, one editor would follow another. Many of those new children’s book editors came from the ranks of children’s librarians. The story of two of them, the first two […]

An Interview with Frances Foster

In the September/October 2003 Horn Book Magazine, Leonard S. Marcus interviewed longtime editor Frances Foster, head of Frances Foster Books, an imprint of Farrar, Straus & Giroux.  Leonard S. Marcus: How did you come to be a children’s book editor? Frances Foster: I came to New York on the rebound, following a wonderful but unreal […]

Harriet and Me

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Where to begin with how important Harriet the Spy has been in my life? I guess I’ll have to start with my childhood. I was in fourth grade, at a school book fair. I’d forgotten to bring money that day, which was a problem because there was one book I was desperate to have. It […]

What Makes a Good Book Cover?

Splendor's Gloom

We have all seen book covers we don’t like. Some suffer from unfortunate aesthetics, being too busy, poorly rendered, or just plain dull, deterring readers with their intimations of boredom within. Others misrepresent the text they introduce, unintentionally or deliberately promising a book they can’t deliver. The offense of a bad book cover feels especially […]

An Interview with Neal Porter

neal porter

Neal Porter launched his thirty-five-year-long publishing career in 1979 when he assumed the post of director of library services and academic sales at Farrar, Straus and Giroux, where William Steig, Maurice Sendak, and Madeleine L’Engle were among the brightest stars on an extraordinary list. Porter went on to hold editorial and executive positions at Macmillan, […]

What’s New 
About New Adult?

moon and me

Coming of age. Sexuality. Relationships. All are part of the teen experience, and all are part of literature for and about teens. Recently, though, there’s been an uptick in books published for the eighteen-and-up readership — labeled “New Adult” (NA) — that traverse these issues with more drama and explicit sexuality than even the most […]