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Raising readers is the goal of every reading parent and is at the heart of the Horn Book’s mission.

Books in the Home: The Penderwicks on Hayward Street

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Middle grade fiction saved Jeanne Birdsall’s life. Here’s how Birdsall’s Penderwicks books helped save two of her fans. The first time we listened to The Penderwicks on Gardam Street, we were fleeing Hurricane Irene. Traffic was backed up on the road out of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and I was running out of ways to entertain […]

Five Questions for Kitty Flynn

Chloe and Jakob

At our upcoming Fostering Lifelong Learners: Prescribing Books for Early Childhood Education conference, Horn Book Guide Executive Editor Kitty Flynn will be leading a presentation about how the Horn Book evaluates and reviews preschool books. This is one aspect of her work that also engages her off the clock: Kitty and her husband are parents […]

Books in the Home: Reading Up

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Like many writers, I had a reading childhood, but I’ve only recently understood how countercultural my mother was about my reading. My brother and sister and I are close in age, so when I was a child there were no big-kid books and little-kid books; no girl books and boy books. All the books belonged […]

The Secret Garden’s Perennial Wisdom…for Parents

The Secret Garden

Every September of my English teaching career, I’d type up the semester’s reading list and prepare myself for the inevitable question: I’ve already read this! Why do I have to read it again? I’d tell my 
students that rereading a novel at a new period in their lives could bring fresh insight. But I never […]

Summer and Children and Birds and Animals and Flowers and Trees and Bees and Books

by Jean C. George In the sunny frame of our kitchen door last summer stood our eight-year-old daughter, Twig. Her excitement was so great that there were no words — just wide misty eyes and a trembling chin, for cupped in her hands was a tiny bird. The bright-eyed nestling was still covered with puffs […]

No Joke! Humor and Culture in Middle-Grade Books

Right Ho, Jeeves

When I was a child, growing up in the various parts of India to which my father’s job took us, books were my friends, and I liked them funny. I discovered my grandfather’s P. G. Wodehouse collection at the age of eleven and was at once enchanted by the amiable lunacy of fictional worlds like […]

What Makes a Good YA Dystopian Novel?

HungergamesCover-web

Dystopias are characterized as a society that is a counter-utopia, a repressed, controlled, restricted system with multiple social controls put into place via government, military, or a powerful authority figure. Issues of surveillance and invasive technologies are often key, as is a consistent emphasis that this is not a place where you’d want to live. […]

On the Rights of Reading and Girls and Boys

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Discussions about gender issues in children’s literature are perennial (even in the pages of this magazine; see the special issue on gender in September/October 2007; articles on boy and girl reading in the September/October 2010 issue; and, most recently, Carey E. Hagan’s “One Tough Cookie” in the September/October 2011 issue). My personal experiences differ from […]

Down on the farm

farm anatomy

As an urban twenty-something with a CSA farm share, a crush on Michael Pollan, and the occasional yearning to dangle tomato plants from my third-story apartment windows, I think a bit too much about where my food comes from. I often wonder how much of my insanity I will impart upon my future offspring. Will […]

When the Name of the Game Is a Children’s Book

Children's lit board games

Yes, it’s the digital age; but enhancing the experience of reading a children’s book doesn’t have to happen only on a screen. A board game based on a children’s book is an alternative, low-tech option that allows players to experience the world of a book in a new form. In children’s book–based board games, players […]