The Search for Distinguished

“Robust” boy books of the 1920s.

In a much talked about opinion piece published in School Library Journal in 2008, former Horn Book editor Anita Silvey asked, “Has the Newbery lost its way?” She made it clear that she thought it had, after interviewing “more than 100 people—including media specialists, children’s librarians, teachers, and booksellers—in 15 states across the country.” A […]

Can I believe the magic of your sighs?

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Did you know it was Gerry Goffin, not Carole King, who wrote the lyrics to “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”? That’s just one of the fun facts I’ve picked up in listening to King’s new autobiography called, what else, A Natural Woman. Her stories about working for hit factory Aldon Music (not in the Brill […]

On the Rights of Reading and Girls and Boys

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Discussions about gender issues in children’s literature are perennial (even in the pages of this magazine; see the special issue on gender in September/October 2007; articles on boy and girl reading in the September/October 2010 issue; and, most recently, Carey E. Hagan’s “One Tough Cookie” in the September/October 2011 issue). My personal experiences differ from […]

Boys boys boys, we love them, we love them

SLJ has a report up on a library’s attempt to lure more boy readers. Lots of good comments over there; I’ll only add two observations and one plug. Observation #1: it’s funny how in this field you can’t say anything about the needs of male readers without getting people het up about the needs of […]

Mash-up, indeed.

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In a sort of coloring book meets Diary of a Wimpy Kid meets Choose Your Own Adventure, Nosy Crow’s new Mega Mash-Up series by Nikalas Catlaw and Tim Wesson (December) combines marginally true information about, say, Roman gladiators, with dinosaurs (or, in another volume, aliens vs. mad scientists and—well, you get the idea) into an […]

Fighting in the Shade

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I still recall fondly the female protagonists of teen “chick lit” and coming-of-age stories I read in high school. On a given day I might feel as tormented by love and teenage awkwardness as Mia Thermopolis (Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries) or lonely and isolated like Melinda Sordino (Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak). These were gals […]

Ready Player One

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Has anyone else read this yet? By Ernest Cline, Ready Player One  is set in the near  future (2044) when the world has gone mostly to shit and people spend as much time as they can in The Oasis, an enormous  virtual reality universe. The enormously wealthy creator of Oasis–the most valuable property on the […]

>Counting YA

>Harold Underdown has done some interesting digging into the statistics about YA publishing that were used by journalist D.B. Grady for an article in the Atlantic. But whether there were 30,000 YA novels published in 2009 (unlikely, as Harold demonstrates) or 8,000 (as Harold estimates), can we all agree that there are too many? My […]

Five Questions for Rick Riordan

Rick Riordan, pointing out where he gets his ideas. Rick Riordan, first up in our Live Five series at ALA, has to be one of the nicest people in the world. When I asked him if he had problems with people worried over “false gods,” he couldn’t even offer me a stern lecture for the […]

>Real Boy Movie

>We saw Thor last night, and it made me think about the chapter I wrote about boy books for A Family of Readers. I called that “Go Big or Go Home” after Will Hobbs’s novel of the same name, and boys and other people who loved that book will love this movie. Explosions, challenges, slapstick, […]