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Confessions of a (Failed) Battle of the Books Coach

Dear Reader, I have a confession to make: I am a failed Battle of the Books coach. And I am in need of your help. It started out with good intentions, as many things do. In the empty days that follow the end of the school year, when our minds and sleeping schedules were still […]

On “On the Rights of Reading and Girls and Boys” (from March 2012)

“Laura and Mary may be the heroines, but if you want to stick to stereotypes, has anyone noticed how much of this book is about the technical construction of homes and barns and icehouses or how many pages are devoted to guns and hunting and defending oneself?” Hilary Rappaport writes passionately about not limiting kids’ […]

Raising Boy Readers

My college boy is home for a long weekend. This makes for a glorious mixture of happiness, nostalgia, and awkwardness that many parents of first years have lived through before me. As I marvel at the adult he has already become, managing just fine without us for six weeks (well, not always fine, but mostly), […]

HBook Podcast 1.5 – “Boy Books”

Podcast the fifth, in which Siân and Roger talk about “boy books,” physical therapy, and Tibetan Eye Charts (and Siân misremembers The Case of the Sad Puppies) Books we talk about Jesse Andrews, The Haters Lindsay Ribar, Rocks Fall Everyone Dies J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter series R. L. Stine, Goosebumps series Sonali Dev, The […]

Come fly with me

This coming Saturday evening, I’ll be interviewing Gary Schmidt about his new novel, Orbiting Jupiter, at the Peabody School in Cambridge, sponsored by Porter Square Books. It’s a very different kind of book from this author, and I am eager to talk with him. I hope you can join us!

Gender by the numbers

A poster in our office lobby for the upcoming Simmons International Women’s Film Forum alerted me to the interestingly low–29%–number of female protagonists in films for children.* I guess it ain’t all Disney Princesses after all. How does this compare with the numbers in books for children? I asked myself. The gender disparity had been on my […]

Selfie Sweepstakes Reviews: Bandits Peak

[As an experiment last fall, I invited self-publishers to submit their best new titles for review. About a dozen heeded the call, and I am reviewing their books in this space.] Bandits Peak; by Chris Eboch. Pig River Press, 2015. 173pp. ISBN 0-978-0692346006. Paper ed. $9.99 Jesse is out for a wander in the wilderness he loves […]

Being a White Guy in Children’s Books

Don’t get me wrong. White guys working in children’s books have it good. In fact, it would be fair to say we have it pretty much made. But in the wake of host Daniel Handler’s remarks at Wednesday’s National Book Awards, I find myself thinking about the privileged but peculiar position white guys have in […]

Magic School

Continuing my adventures in books for boys grown big, I’m reading Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, which I somehow missed when it came out and only noticed on the recent publication of a second sequel. It’s a story about a nice boy who thinks he’s on the way to Princeton but winds up in magic school […]

Go your own way

Teen boys go on journeys both physical (road trip!) and psychological in these affecting YA novels. Finn Easton, protagonist of Andrew Smith’s 100 Sideways Miles, has unusual scars on his back, products of the freak accident that also killed his mother when he was a kid. He has a pretty good life otherwise: his sci-fi […]