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Of Fantasy and Daughters

Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

I read my daughter’s first fantasy book to her when she was one week old. Every evening I swaddled her up and rocked her to sleep while reading aloud another chapter of Diana Wynne Jones’s Howl’s Moving Castle. What else was I supposed to do with a tiny speechless creature with big eyes who only wanted […]

Because I am not. One of your. FANS.


In this week’s Horn Book Podcast, Siân talks with Mackenzi Lee (This Monstrous Thing) about how they found kindred spirithood via The Raven Boys; and about fandom, fan fiction, and ‘shipping (there totally should be an apostrophe so shut up). I admire the impulse and envy the enthusiasm but so not my thing. I’m reminded of a […]

HBook Podcast 1.8 – Guest Author Mackenzi Lee


Podcast the eighth in which Siân and guest author Mackenzi Lee talk about her book, This Monstrous Thing, being a fan girl, and whether the author is dead. Siân also gets yet another Harry Potter fact wrong (first book came out in 1998). Books we talk about Mackenzi Lee, This Monstrous Thing (and her upcoming The Gentleman’s Guide […]

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 […]

Down, girl, down!


Even in my day having been one of Betsy Bird‘s Hot Men of Children’s Literature (BB: are those archived anywhere?) I was more than a little skeeved out by Meaghan O’Connell’s “The Children’s-Book Guy: An Ideal Crush Object,” published yesterday in New York Magazine but reading like something written by Carrie Bradshaw in 1999: “If you think […]

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 […]

YA by the numbers


Pursuant to our discussion of who YA is for, I asked Horn Book intern Jill to take a look at the most recent issue of the Horn Book Guide and see what she saw. The spring 2014 issue of the Guide contains reviews of virtually every trade hardcover book published for young people during the […]

Bummer summer

lockhart_we were liars

Who says summer reads have to be all beaches and rainbows? Four emotionally resonant YA novels explore love and grief, families and friendships. Cadence Sinclair Eastman, eldest grandchild of a wealthy but dysfunctional clan, tells readers about an accident that happened during her fifteenth summer on her family’s private island, leaving her with debilitating migraines […]

Choose your own teenage dream

clark_maybe tonight

The model made popular by the Choose Your Own Adventure middle-grade books comes to a teen audience in two new paperback series with massive appeal for reluctant-reader girls. Bridie Clark’s Snap Decision series, which debuted last summer with Maybe Tonight? (Roaring Brook, August 2013), places the reader in the driver’s seat to navigate life at […]

Flora and friends

viorst_lulu's mysterious mission

Kate DiCamillo’s Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures (illustrated by K. G. Campbell; Candlewick, 6–9 years) — that warmly told and illustrated story of a comics-loving girl, a superheroic squirrel, and their friendship — took home the 2014 Newbery Medal. The following primary and early intermediate novels also star smart, spirited girls on adventures big […]