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Five questions for Skila Brown


Skila Brown’s verse novel To Stay Alive: Mary Ann Graves and the Tragic Journey of the Donner Party (Candlewick, 14 years and up) tells the gripping story of the Donner Party’s doomed 1846 expedition west to California. Brown’s narrator is based on an actual member of the group: nineteen-year-old Mary Ann Graves, who was traveling […]

Five questions for Vera Brosgol


Vera Brosgol’s 2011 YA debut was Anya’s Ghost (Roaring Brook/First Second, 12–16 years), a graphic novel about a quirky friendship — between a girl and a ghost. Her first picture book, Leave Me Alone! (Roaring Brook, 5–8 years), has a similarly wry and witty tone and highlights a point of view not always seen in […]

Five questions for John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

550_Comic-Con 2016 Children's-March by Justin Eisinger

“To the past and future children of the movement,” reads the dedication of March: Book Three (Top Shelf, 14 years and up), the concluding volume in the graphic-novel memoir trilogy about the life of Congressman John Lewis, a sitting congressman since 1987 and hero of the Civil Rights Movement. Congressman Lewis, his coauthor Andrew Aydin, […]

Five questions for Lauren Wolk

lauren wolk

When twelve-year-old Annabelle’s small town is terrorized by a series of vicious attacks, many townsfolk blame World War I veteran and vagabond Toby. Only Annabelle knows that new girl Betty is actually responsible for the cruelty. Adult author and poet Lauren Wolk makes her (stunning!) middle-grade debut with the powerful historical novel Wolf Hollow (Dutton, […]

Five questions for Tim Federle

Photo: Beowulf Sheehan

Tim Federle, well known for his middle-grade novels Better Nate Than Ever and its sequel Five, Six, Seven, Nate! (both Simon, 8–12 years), recently published his YA debut The Great American Whatever (Simon, 14 years and up). We asked the versatile writer and Broadway veteran about his reading past and his characters’ futures, and we […]

Five questions for Mordicai Gerstein


Ancient Greece wasn’t always so ancient, and sometimes gods just wanna have fun. Using cartoon panels, child-friendly dialogue, and copious humor, Mordicai Gerstein’s I Am Pan! (Roaring Brook, 4–8 years) gives us a first-person, picture-book Pan whose big personality can’t be contained: “Arcadia, here I come!” 1. Your appended bibliography is pretty dense stuff! How […]

Five questions for Roxane Orgill

roxane orgill

Art Kane’s spectacular 1958 photograph of fifty-seven jazz greats, Harlem 1958, was the inspiration for Roxane Orgill’s poetry collection Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph (Candlewick, 6–9 years), illustrated by Francis Vallejo. With equal measure warmth and humor, confidence and awe, Orgill’s poems capture a thrilling moment in music history. 1. You mention […]

Five questions for Laura Dronzek

DronzekLaura credit Kevin Henkes

Laura Dronzek’s color-drenched illustrations for When Spring Comes (Greenwillow, 2–4 years) bring husband Kevin Henkes’s poetic text into full bloom. Looking at her lively renderings of rain-soaked earth, flowering trees, baby animals, and other springtime delights, it’s easy to see Dronzek’s fine-arts background; her saturated acrylic paintings feature many similar subjects. In fact, her paintings […]

Five questions for Tanita S. Davis

Tanita Davis_credit David T. Macknet

Coretta Scott King Author Award honoree (for Mare’s War in 2010; Knopf, 13–16 years) Tanita S. Davis’s fourth novel, Peas and Carrots (Knopf, 13–16 years), is told through the alternating perspectives of prickly Dess, whose mother is in jail, and privileged Hope, whose family has fostered Dess’s half-brother since he was a baby and is […]

Five questions for Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock

Each of author/illustrator Barbara McClintock’s picture books provides a glimpse into a jewel-box of a world, from bustling early-twentieth-century Paris (Adèle & Simon; Farrar, 4–7 years) to a cozy 1970s mouse-house (Where’s Mommy?, written by Beverly Donofrio; Schwartz & Wade, 4–7 years). Her latest, Emma and Julia Love Ballet (Scholastic, 4–7 years), does the same […]