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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 […]

Editorial: Potter’s Field

On this occasion of our 75th anniversary issue, I’m reminded what a constant presence the past is at the Horn Book offices. When, as we do here with some regularity, we invoke past editors of the Horn Book, we don’t bother with chronology. They aren’t Back Then but (with the exception of my immediate predecessor) […]

Profiles of Louis Sachar

louis sachar by carla sachar

by Sherre Sachar “Are you really Louis Sachar’s daughter?” A fifth-grader asked me that my first week of kindergarten. Word spread rather quickly on the playground and I was suddenly thrown into the world of people who really loved my dad’s books. Until then, I didn’t realize that his books had so much influence on […]

Editorial: Honoring Mike

“Why is there no YA equivalent to the Newbery Medal?” When I asked that question fifteen years ago (School Library Journal, December 1983), it was hardly its first hearing. As far back as 1962, the Young Adult Services Division (now the Young Adult Library Services Association) of ALA had proposed an award for the book […]

Field Notes: “Mom, Look! It’s George, and He’s a TV Indian!”

bruchac_fox song

by Debbie Reese The title for this article came from my daughter, Elizabeth. One day last year when I picked her up from kindergarten, she came rushing to me with a scrunched-up, angry face. Before she even said hello, she plopped down on the hallway floor and opened the George and Martha book she’d checked […]

Review of Holes


Holes by Louis Sachar Intermediate, Older     Foster/Farrar     235 pp. 9/98      ISBN 0-374-33265-7      $16.00     g Many years ago I heard a long — very long — shaggy dog story involving a couple of grumpy people, a plane, a train, a brick, a dog, and a cigar. It must have gone on for forty-five minutes or so, […]

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 […]