NF Notes: From the editor, June 2013

Roger Sutton

In this and every issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book, our aim is to give brief notice to good informational books that we think teachers and librarians will find useful in developing and enriching lesson plans across the curriculum. Are these books “Common Core Ready,” the latest buzz-phrase resounding from publishers’ promotional materials? […]

From the editor — June 2013

Roger Sutton

Dan Brown’s Inferno is not going to last me much longer, so I’m glad Katie Bircher and Elissa Gershowitz have put together the Horn Book’s annual Summer Reading Recommendations. There are choices for all tastes and ages here (and adults shouldn’t miss Eleanor & Park, a swoony and literate YA romance that just won the […]

From the editor — May 2013

Roger Sutton

Many of the books in this issue of Notes implicitly enjoin us to look up from the page and head out into nature (or, as my mother would say, “put down that book and go out and play!”). As I write this, we’re just coming off of Screen-Free Week, an annual effort in which young […]

Middle Grade Saved My Life

The Borrowers by Mary Norton

Bad things were done to me when I was small. Lacking adequate physical defenses, I escaped into my imagination, where I could be all-powerful and the scariest monster was the witch in my closet. Imagination expands when exercised; mine grew strong and wily, 
and a pleasure to me, too, when the bad things were in […]

Editorial: Everybody Wants 
to Be a Teenager


I had to chuckle when I first read Jeanne Birdsall’s article (“Middle Grade Saved My Life”) about the attempted land grab by YA of middle-grade books. Not just in recognition, but at how I see this work in sort-of reverse, too: I’ll get calls from writers and publishers of books for adults, asking if their […]

NF Notes: From the editor, April 2013

Roger Sutton

Welcome to our third issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book, and I’m pleased to be able to tell you that Nonfiction Notes will now be published six times a year, thanks to your interest and advertisers’ enthusiasm. We hope that you find this newsletter useful in finding good nonfiction books for your library […]

Different Drums: How Can a Fire Be Naughty?

martin and judy

The Horn Book Magazine asked Elizabeth Law, “What’s the strangest children’s book you’ve ever enjoyed?” When I was in nursery school, my favorite bedtime books were two my mother stole from the Unitarian Sunday School library, Martin and Judy, volumes II and III, by Verna Hills Bayley. I loved these books, about two friends who […]

Different Drums: Something Wicked


The Horn Book Magazine asked Christine Taylor-Butler, “What’s the strangest children’s book you’ve ever enjoyed?” A freak tent, a dust witch, a quote from Macbeth, and a villain named Mr. Dark. Such was the stuff of Something Wicked This Way Comes. I’d always been fascinated by carnivals. They seemed to spring out of vacant parking […]

Different Drums: New and Strange, Once


The Horn Book Magazine asked Susan Marston, “What’s the strangest children’s book you’ve ever enjoyed?” In a field that celebrates the works of Maurice Sendak, William Steig, and Jon Scieszka, and in which anthropomorphic animals are regularly clothed only from the waist up, “weird” is difficult to define. In 1994, I had worked at Junior […]

Different Drums: Horrible and Beautiful

sleeping dogs

The Horn Book Magazine asked Deborah Stevenson, “What’s the strangest children’s book you’ve ever enjoyed?” This ended up being a challenging assignment, because much literature for youth is pretty weird when coldly explained (kids travel through space and time to duel a giant brain!), and we don’t think twice about it. Saying that I adore […]