Subscribe to The Horn Book

Creating Books

Writing a book for young people? Look here for information, advice, and inspiration.

The Writer’s Page: Fighting the Lost Cause

In 2004, when I took my first journey through the Deep South since growing up in Lexington, Virginia, I couldn’t stop noticing all the Confederate statues. My childhood schoolbooks had led me to believe I’d grown up in a uniquely historic community that had been justifiably filled with monuments. But, decades later, I discovered that […]

To Inform and Delight: The Elements of Story — The Zena Sutherland Lecture

Salutations! I am honored to be here with all of you. I never met Zena Sutherland, but she’s been described as “short and feisty,” and I like short and feisty women, especially, as in Zena’s case, ones with passion and panache. When Zena was offered the job to become editor and sole reviewer for the […]

A Quick Way to Die: Humor in Translation

by Julia Marshall For humor to work, someone has to find it funny. There are many ways to kill a book, and trying to be funny and failing would be one of the quicker yet most painful. And that includes translated books. At Gecko Press here in Wellington, we handpick children’s books by some of […]

Review of The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults

The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults by Cheryl B. Klein Norton    368 pp. 9/16    Paper ed.  978-0-393-29224-4    $18.95 Editor Klein has revised her earlier self-published book Second Sight: An Editor’s Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults, weaving the content of that […]

“How an Idea Becomes a Children’s Book” panel recap

Most people who love books are aware of at least some of the jobs that go into creating them. Authors, certainly. Editors, probably. But how much do people know about production editors, designers, or publicists? There are lots of things you can do in the publishing industry. Our goal this Saturday at the CBC Teen […]

Fashion-Forward Vampires and the Power of Humor in Genre Fiction

Mostly, my social interactions start out something like this: Them: Oh hello, what is it you do? Self: I’m a writer. Them: That’s cool, what do you write? Self: Commercial genre fiction. You know, science fiction, fantasy, romance, young adult. *Pause.* Self: It’s mostly funny. So. Hello. My name is Gail Carriger. I’m an author. […]

#NESCBWI17 recap

The New England Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (NESCBWI) Annual Conference is a place to get re-inspired, a place to gain new insights and apply familiar ones to new projects, to encourage friends’ work. And this year, as the conference theme put it, it was a place to “Expand & Diversify Your Portfolio.” […]

“Say Something Funny”

I went on a date in high school once where I barely knew the guy. In those dinosaur days you couldn’t Google someone, so instead I asked everyone what they knew about this person. Apparently, he did the same. Over dinner my date said, “Everyone says you’re funny. Say something funny.” “I don’t know any […]

When Google Translate Gives You Arroz con Mango: Erroneous Español and the Need for #ownvoices

I recently had a Twitter conversation with three writer and librarian colleagues, two of whom are native Spanish speakers, about the use of Spanish in primarily English-language children’s books. The conversation started after one of us wrote about finding incorrect Spanish in a book. Each of us chimed in, able to produce at least one […]

Foreign Correspondence: An Interview with Deborah Ahenkorah: Torchbearer for African Children’s Publishing

I first became aware of Deborah Ahenkorah a few years ago when I was prospecting the internet for groups working to address diversity issues in children’s publishing. Ahenkorah is the cofounder and executive director of Golden Baobab, the groundbreaking pan-African social enterprise behind the Golden Baobab Prizes for African children’s literature. Golden Baobab not only […]