More Than Just the Facts: A Hundred Years of Children’s Nonfiction

by James Cross Giblin There are now in Europe about ten thousand public and private vehicles that are self-moving. They are usually called “automobiles.”. . . It is thought that there are now about three hundred such vehicles in this country. The automobile is the coming vehicle. We shall see it in all our cities […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Lunch with Lee Kingman

Lee Kingman Natti

It had been nearly five years since my last lunch with Lee Kingman Natti, but it felt like just last month. Her home in Gloucester is an oasis reflecting Lee’s lifelong involvement with artists and writers, as well as her own art. We sat looking out at the granite quarry that holds their water supply […]

The e-Future

Treasure Island in multiple forms

The topic is daunting. Imagine someone coming up to Gutenberg while he was working out the kinks on his first press and asking, “So, John, where’s this printing thing going?” I’ve spent the last few years prowling in the digital space and am more or less up to speed on what’s happening now, but the […]

What Hath Harry Wrought?

Sutton bookstack

Just to get a sense of historical perspective, when I last spoke at this festival, there was no euro, no iPods, no Wikipedia, no Facebook; Pluto was still a planet; and I was still drinking. More to the point—today’s point—is that Harry Potter had yet to appear on our side of the pond. That would […]