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 […]

Five questions for Lois Ehlert

lois ehlert

Lois Ehlert started illustrating books in the 1960s and hit the big-time in 1989 with the now-classic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (Simon, 2–5 years), written by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault, and Color Zoo (Lippincott, 2–5 years), which was given a Caldecott Honor. In 2006 she received the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for Leaf […]

Talking about chapter books

julian_joey_omakayas

This week we are reading three chapter books — The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos, and The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich. Each is the first book in a series and each has a strong central character, an element that I think is essential in early […]

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, […]

Do Great Work and the Rest Will Follow

morrison_please, louise

Growing up in the heart of the South, I saw firsthand how people were excluded based on skin color. I was taught that the rules weren’t the same for blacks and whites, but I also witnessed game-changers such as John Lewis and Coretta Scott King, who rose in spite of that fact. I never thought […]

The Horn Book Magazine — March/April 2014

March/April 2014 Horn Book Magazine

Table of Contents   Features Leonard S. Marcus 14 An Interview with Neal Porter A renowned publisher shares his insight into the current state of picture books. Jon Scieszka and Molly Leach 28 Design Matters The classic Horn Book article — now in color. Julie Danielson 44 Just Enjoy the Pictures: Hand-Crafted Versus Digital Art […]

More books to discuss

mar6_2014_readings

Last week was our first week with book discussion on this blog rather than our usual posts from teachers. I didn’t exactly blow the horn to announce them, so this week I’m trying something different, hoping more of you see — and join — the discussions. So… *horn fanfare* …we hope you will join us […]

Just Enjoy the Pictures: Hand-Crafted Versus Digital Art

Baby Bear Sees Blue

Raise your hand if you find it challenging to determine the media used for picture book illustrations today. Even before computers, art labeled “mixed media” left readers scratching their heads over how the pictures were rendered. Increasingly challenging in today’s digital world is ascertaining whether picture book art is hand-crafted or computer-assisted. For Caldecott committee […]

Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are

Here’s our very first post for the books my students will be reading this semester. Our first class is Thursday night, Feb. 27, and they’re all supposed to discuss one of the readings for the week in the comments  I am hoping the rest of you will comment and discuss, too, since that would make […]

The scoreboard is against them

Amazon River

Bernardo is a second grader. Today his teacher is reading about the origins of the Amazon River to the class. Bernardo knows the river because it is right by his grandma’s house. The reading today says that the Amazon is the widest, vastest, and most plentiful river in the world. He would like to learn […]