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 […]

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 […]

Teaching New Readers to Love Books

Stone Fox

Packing and unpacking. Those were the governing actions of my Army brat childhood. I learned how to size up the fashion, the accents, the special vocabulary, and the social climate of every place I lived. I learned the bike and walking routes around all the Army bases and was a quick study for the best […]

Hunting Down Harry Potter: An Exploration of Religious Concerns about Children’s Literature

rowling_harry potter and the sorcerer's stone

“Call him Voldemort, Harry. Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” (Dumbledore, Hogwarts headmaster, page 298, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) “For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto […]

Horn Book Reminiscence from Lee Kingman

Kingman book plate

By Lee Kingman My earliest memory of Bertha Mahony, before she added Miller to her name, begins with her feet. Small feet, proportioned to her small frame. As I was a lanky nine-year-old, I was almost as tall as she was. Her lack of size, however, had nothing to do with her authority, which was […]

The Bookshop for Boys and Girls

bookshop for boys and girls

In the beginning, there was retail. In 1916, when there were no superstores, no thought of Internet shopping, and few notable children’s books for sale anywhere, the founding editor of the Horn Book, Bertha Mahony, opened a new bookshop in Boston. The Bookshop for Boys and Girls “Realms of Gold and Granite” by Barbara Bader […]

Have Book Bag, Will Travel: A Practical Guide to Reading Aloud

Goodnight Moon

By Mary M. Burns and Ann A. Flowers Suddenly, literacy is a hot topic. While definitions may vary, there is general agreement that it’s a good thing, and the more of it, the better. The problem seems to be discovering how to nurture it. Because Americans incline toward Puritanism when faced with self-improvement, the process […]


by Lois Lowry My oldest child, a daughter, remembers that when she was three, and we lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, while her father was a law student, she often walked with me to a nearby grocery store. She tells me that there were letters painted in the street at the corner where we stopped and […]

“You can be president”

Sunday dinner in our family is a time for sharing food and ideas. One night, we discussed the upcoming presidential election. We ended by saying to each of our three sons, “You can be president.” Spontaneously, the oldest, Fred Jr., stood up, burst forth with a full chorus of “Hail to the Chief,” and declared […]

Snapshots: “Delicious rhythms”

Recently when our ten-year-old son was asked to name his favorite book, he said promptly, “I have thousands of favorites,” and proceeded to describe his room as if he were living in a small crack between bookshelves — the pleasant problem of the voracious reader. Madison’s bookshelves span a decade of evolving interests and travels […]