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Artist memoirs

I Will Come Back For You

Three notable children’s-book illustrators bring their own histories to life. Marisabina Russo tells a story based on her mother’s experience in wartime Italy in I Will Come Back for You: A Family in Hiding During World War II. A young Jewish girl lives in Rome with her family until Italy joins forces with Nazi Germany […]

Potty time

Once upon a Potty app

Oceanhouse Media’s Once upon a Potty app is true to the original. The focus is on the text and illustrations; digital enhancements are used sparingly and effectively. There are some polite potty sound effects and humor, and though I’m sure the urge was strong (get it?!) to make more of a splash (it’s too easy!), the producers wisely kept the intended audience in mind. The narrative’s reassuring tone, nonthreatening pictures, and unobtrusive music help distractible toddlers focus on the important information.

Notes From the Horn Book – August 2011

V O L U M E  4 ,   N U M B E R  8   •   A U G U S T   2 0 1 1 In this issue Five questions for Marc Aronson • More new nonfiction • Dot-dot-dash — concept books with a twist • YA novels you’ve been waiting for • Of interest to adults • From the Editor For a list of books mentioned in this issue, see link below. Masthead art © by William Steig, used […]

Dave the Potter and Stevie the Reader

Dave the Potter

One of the things I love best about my work in children’s literature is how seamlessly it melds with my life as a mother. When I was elected to serve on the 2011 Caldecott committee, I wrote to family and friends, saying, “Thousands of picture books will come my way and I have just the […]

Notes from the Horn Book – December 2011

Reading on the Spectrum

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Life with my two young sons is a study in contrasts. Alden (almost five) is high-strung; Griffin (my two-year-old) is mellow. Alden couldn’t care less about food; Griffin lives to eat. Alden keeps to himself; Griffin never stops talking. Alden has autism; Griffin does not. That last contrast is a biggie, and undoubtedly a contributing […]

Books in the Home: The Boy Ramona

After a particularly hard day at school, my then nine-year-old son, Rory, forlornly and aptly announced, “I think I’m the boy Ramona.” Rory is thirteen now, and he continues to turn to books and their characters for escape and solace as he sets out to slay the particular dragon that he and Beverly Cleary’s protagonist […]

What Makes a Good Board Book?

color zoo

Before launching into any venture, whether it be conducting a meeting, planning a toddler story time, or simply making a trip to the grocery store, I take a cue from my inner two-year-old and ask why. Why am I doing this? What do I hope will happen? Thus, when faced with the task of assessing […]

Summer Reading 2008

Recommended by Roger Sutton and Martha Parravano in the Horn Book podcast. Fiction Basketball Bats and Goof-Off Goalie written by Betty Hicks, illustrated by Adam McCauley (Roaring Brook) Grade level: 1–3 Airman by Eoin Colfer (Hyperion) Grade level: 4–8 The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd (Fickling) Grade level: 4–8 Go Big or Go Home […]

What Ails Bibliotherapy?

The Broken Cat

Mention the word bibliotherapy, and children’s librarians and booksellers have similar tales to tell. The stories go something like this: a well-intentioned parent comes in and asks for a book about death. When questioned further, she explains that her child’s grandmother is dying and the child needs some books to help her understand what is […]