Dear Clueless: The Rejection Letters of Edna Albertson

By Peter D. Sieruta The successful publication of Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom, collected and edited by Leonard S. Marcus and published by HarperCollins, has sent researchers on a veritable panty raid of publishers’ archives in hopes of illuminating another era of literary history through the correspondence of a noted figure in the […]

Russell Freedman Wilder profile

By James Cross Giblin Russell Freedman might well have had a successful career in broadcast journalism, following in the footsteps of reporters like Edward R. Murrow. His deep, rather solemn voice, lightened by frequent touches of humor, makes him a compelling speaker. One attendee at a recent Clarion sales conference, hearing Russell present his latest […]

Writing Backward: Modern Models in Historical Fiction

My Brother Sam is Dead

I expect we can all agree that historical fiction should be good fiction and good history. If we leap over the first briar patch by calling good fiction an “interesting narrative with well-developed characters,” we are still left with the question of what is good history. Alas, there are nearly as many thorns here as […]

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 […]

“Look”

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 […]

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 […]

“Accumulated Power”

By Margaret Mahy When I was a child, books published in the U.S. were difficult to come by in New Zealand, dominated as it was by its trading relationship with Britain. But by the time I came to read to my daughters, the publishing world had changed. I was able to read them Blueberries for […]

“Have a Carrot”

by Cynthia Voigt I don’t know that my children would agree — and I am not consulting them to find out — but high on the list of favorite read-aloud books in the house where I was the Mommy is The Runaway Bunny. As a mother, as a pillow to the warm small nestling body, […]

Reader’s Request, or, YOU ASKED FOR IT

(A new, and possibly never-to-be-seen-again, feature in the Horn Book where writers respond instantly to requests from readers)   Dear Horn Book, As a teacher-librarian I read to children and talk with them about books, authors, and illustrators. Sometimes I am not sure I am pronouncing writers’ names correctly. Tomie dePaola is an example. I […]

Why I Voted for Lincoln and Roosevelt

Recently, I was discussing presidential politics with a naturalized citizen who came to this country from Malaysia as a scholarship student in 1969. When she left home, her parents took her to the airport in Kuala Lumpur, where she would set out on her long journey to a different culture and a new life. Before […]