Opinion

Gimlet-eyed and occasionally -addled views on what's wrong and right in the world of books for young people.

Becoming a Book Detective

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Although I grew up in a household of women who read, my reading education is a bit unusual in the academic world. In the in-law apartment my dad built for her, my grandmother lined the custom-made bookshelves with thick volumes of Reader’s Digest Condensed Books. In these pages, I first met Agatha Christie, Victoria Holt, […]

Harriet Off the Beaten Path

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

WHENEVER I GO TO THE MET I SEE THE SAME TWO KIDS THERE, SLINKING AROUND THE MUSEUM. DO THEY LIVE THERE? ALSO I’M PRETTY SURE I SAW THEM STEALING MONEY FROM THE FOUNTAIN. KEEP AN EYE ON THEM. THAT ELOISE, SHE IS SUCH A PILL. WHO WOULD WANT TO LIVE IN A HOTEL? ESPECIALLY A […]

Fifty Years of Novel Exploits

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Harriet M. Welsch is celebrating her sixty-first birthday with a bottle of pinot noir. She’s wearing an expensive new pair of glasses, a splurge from the last royalty check. Her spy novel Secrets has gone viral, and she just signed a contract for the series. Reviews have hailed her detective heroine’s fearless curiosity and unexpurgated […]

I Spy: Harriet and I

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

When I was a boy, I knew I was sneaky, but I didn’t think of myself as a “lowlife sneak” until my mother called me one with such disgust in her voice I actually did feel ashamed. I was babysitting at the next-door neighbor’s house when my mother looked out her own bedroom window and […]

From the Editor – April 2014

We’re in our new home on the grounds of Simmons College, and I must say what a pleasure it is to be surrounded by children’s book–friendly folk and good lunch places. I’m especially happy to strengthen our partnership with Simmons’s Center for the Study of Children’s Literature. On May 14th, on the Simmons campus, the […]

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 […]

On Spies and Applesauce and Such

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

The arrival of Harriet the Spy with fanfare and announcements of approval for its “realism” makes me wonder again why that word is invariably applied to stories about disagreeable people and situations. Are there really no amiable children? No loyal friends? No parents who are fundamentally loving and understanding? I challenge the implication that New […]

Editorial: As Pretty Does

Back in 1998, the Horn Book Magazine published a special issue devoted to picture books. With articles about picture book history, reviewing and writing picture books, and a baker’s dozen of first-person “Studio Views,” it became a children’s lit classroom staple and is easily the most requested special issue we’ve produced. We ran out of […]

From the Editor – February 2014

As we celebrate Black History Month, it’s wise to remember Dick Gregory’s quip: “Wouldn’t you know that when they got around to giving us a month, it would be the month of February, with all them days missing?” While a Month, or a Week, or a Day can serve to focus attention on something too […]

Letter to the Editor, January/February 2014

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November/December 2013 Horn Book It was terrific to see Uri Shulevitz’s new book, Dusk, featured on the November/December 2013 cover. What joyous lights gleam through the winter nights as dusk falls quickly! This magnificent book is a wonderful companion to Shulevitz’s Dawn, which, in a gentle manner, paints the coming of light into this world. […]