Five questions for Varian Johnson

Varian Johnson _credit Kenneth B. Gall

Varian Johnson (who was co-valedictorian, with his twin brother, of his high school class, thank you very much) enjoys two careers: as an author and an engineer. It’s not surprising, then, that his new book The Great Greene Heist (Scholastic, 12–16 years) is so meticulously — almost mathematically — plotted. But it’s not all by-the-numbers, […]

Five questions for Don Mitchell

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Don Mitchell got his start as a legislative assistant for national security in the office of Senator John Glenn, about whom he then wrote a biography for young people, Liftoff: A Photobiography of John Glenn, which was followed by Driven: A Photobiography of Henry Ford (both National Geographic, 9–12 years). His new book The Freedom […]

Five questions for Sophie Blackall

photo: Barbara Sullivan

Sophie Blackall’s many children’s book illustration credits include Annie Barrows’s Ivy + Bean chapter books (Chronicle, 6–9 years), Matthew Olshan’s The Mighty LaLouche (Schwartz & Wade/Random, 5–7 years), and the 2011 Boston Globe–Horn Book Picture Book Honor–winning Pecan Pie Baby written by Jacqueline Woodson (Putnam, 3–6 years; watch their award acceptance here). A book for […]

Five questions for Cynthia Leitich Smith

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Cynthia Leitich Smith’s urban fantasy series the Tantalize quartet did indeed tantalize readers with its vampire-themed eatery Sanguini’s: A Very Rare Restaurant (and, of course, the vampires and other supernatural beings involved therein). Her latest novel, Feral Curse (Candlewick, 13–16 years), is the second book in the Tantalize spinoff series Feral, which brings various species […]

Five questions for Lois Ehlert

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Lois Ehlert started illustrating books in the 1960s and hit the big-time in 1989 with the now-classic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (Simon, 2–5 years), written by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault, and Color Zoo (Lippincott, 2–5 years), which was given a Caldecott Honor. In 2006 she received the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for Leaf […]

Five questions for Marilyn Nelson

Marilyn Nelson

Marilyn Nelson is an acclaimed author and poet whose numerous contributions to children’s and young adult literature include Carver: A Life in Poems (Front, 13–16 years); A Wreath for Emmett Till (illus. by Philippe Lardy; Houghton, 13–16 years); and Freedom Business: Including a Narrative of the Life & Adventures of Venture, a Native of Africa […]

One question for eight people: the Newbery/Caldecott edition of Five Questions

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We’ve asked people in-the-know for their 2014 Newbery and/or Caldecott awards predictions — what do you think will win? Or what do you hope will win? Martha Parravano, executive editor, The Horn Book, coauthor, Calling Caldecott blog: I’m predictably terrible at predicting award winners. My choice almost never wins, and when it does, it’s a […]

Five questions for Jon Agee

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Jon Agee has made a great career from picture books about anti-heroes (Nothing, Hyperion, 3–7 years; Terrific, di Capua/Hyperion, 3–7 years) and oddballs (The Other Side of Town, di Capua/Scholastic, 3–7 years), but here’s one about a true children’s champion: Santa Claus. And, despite the fact that its premise — where did Santa come from? […]

Five questions for Holly Black

Holly Black

Holly Black’s many books for intermediate-level readers (Doll Bones, McElderry, 8–12 years; The Spiderwick Chronicles series with Tony DiTerlizzi, Simon, 8–12 years) and for young adults (the Modern Faerie Tales series, McElderry, 13–16 years; The Good Neighbors graphic novel series, Graphix/Scholastic, 13–16 years; the Curse Workers series, McElderry, 13–16 years) demonstrate various facets of supernatural […]

Five questions for Rainbow Rowell

Photo: Augusten Burroughs

Everyone is swooning over Boston Globe–Horn Book Fiction Award winner Eleanor & Park (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013), which Horn Book reviewer Cindy Ritter called “an honest, heart-wrenching portrayal of imperfect but unforgettable love.” With the acclaimed adult novel Attachments already on her CV and the much-anticipated YA book Fangirl just released, author Rainbow Rowell is […]