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The sounds of fall

The sounds of fall at our house are striking — literally. Our bedrooms are situated under two giant oak trees, and the squirrels have been busy scampering around in the canopy and up and down, shaking loads of acorns onto our roof. They are busy early each morning, often before the birds start their choruses. […]

Five questions for Deborah Noyes

In The Magician and the Spirits: Harry Houdini and the Curious Pastime of Communicating with the Dead (Viking, 11–14 years), Deborah Noyes homes in on the Spiritualist movement during the turn of the twentieth century (think séances, spirit photography, ectoplasm, etc.) — and on Harry Houdini’s efforts to debunk its claims. 1. What drew you […]

The Book of Mistakes

Less a story than a book about an idea, the central message of Corinna Luyken’s debut, The Book of Mistakes, appears as paratextual coda on the back of the jacket: “Set your imagination free.” According to Caldecott criteria, the Caldecott is “not for didactic intent,” but Luyken delivers her message as a masterful celebration of […]

Updated booklist for Indigenous Peoples Day

It’s Indigenous Peoples Day! We urge you — today and all year — to seek out and share books respectfully representing and honoring the multitude of indigenous North American peoples and cultures. For an extensive resource by both a cultural insider and a children’s literature scholar, please visit Debbie Reese’s website American Indians in Children’s […]

Class #4 | Information books, Oct. 18, 2017

I’m posting a little late this time, after a busy week preparing for the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards Friday night and Horn Book at Simmons colloquium Saturday, focused on the theme of Resistance. Both events were well attended and the speakers were amazing. I love it when the judges award older book creators (like Ashley […]

Intended by whom?

In the comments to a recent Heavy Medal post, there is a discussion about the eligibility and/or chances of The Hate U Give for Newbery discussion. (In case you’re new here, The Hate U Give is receiving the 2017 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction tomorrow night.) It was a Mr. H. who brought up […]

The Three Billy Goats Gruff

On Tuesday, Patrick Gall reminded us that here at Calling Caldecott this year we’ve looked at several minimalist picture books. That changes today with Jerry Pinkney’s The Three Billy Goats Gruff. This is the story you knew as a child — up to a certain point. In the book’s closing Artist’s Note, Pinkney writes about having […]

Tony

Did you notice that the first couple of Calling Caldecott reviews of the fall (see Egg and Big Cat, Little Cat) seem to suggest that this year’s Caldecott Medal winner could be a model of simplicity, nuance, and restraint? A quick look at recent award history, however, paints a different picture. Winning illustrators of the […]

Starred reviews, November/December 2017 Horn Book Magazine

  The following books will receive starred reviews in the November/December issue 2017 of The Horn Book Magazine. Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut; by Derrick Barnes; illustrated by Gordon C. James (Millner/Bolden Books/Agate) The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse; by Mac Barnett; illustrated by Jon Klassen (Candlewick) Windows; by Julia Denos; illustrated by E. B. Goodale […]

Not so simple gifts

Jeez, we didn’t get into any trouble at all the last time we criticized a First Lady, but clearly times have changed. I wanted to state that I am very proud that the Horn Book published Liz Phipps Soeiro’s  open letter to Melania Trump. It was polite, constructive, informative, and well-reasoned. Not so for all […]