My friend Maurice

Photo by Richard Asch

Maurice Sendak died last night at the age of 83. There will be many forthcoming tributes to this great artist, including quite a lot of material by and about him from The Horn Book Magazine, which we will be posting on our website for you as we can. But I wanted to take a minute […]

The man behind the masque

Please join me in thanking Peter Sieruta, blogging at Collecting Children’s Books, for yesterday’s lunacy (which is about as far as my vampire puns can go, so I’m grateful to Peter for sinking his teeth into this for us). Look for Peter’s forthcoming book from Candlewick Press–written with fellow bloggers Betsy Bird and Julie Danielson, […]

Boston’s favorite son

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Reigning (wait, is it incoming until he actually gets his mitts on the goods?) O’Dell and Newbery Medalist Jack Gantos stopped by the office last Friday for a bit of cake and champagne to celebrate the success of Dead End in Norvelt. (And to fortify himself for his daughter’s pajama party, which he was supervising that […]

2012 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Norvelt

The 2012 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction goes to Jack Gantos for Dead End in Norvelt, published by Farrar Straus Giroux. The award, created by Scott O’Dell and Zena Sutherland in 1982 and now administered by Elizabeth Hall, carries with it a prize of $5000, and goes to the author of a distinguished work […]

Happy new year, and welcome to a perfect new-year baby

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Here we are in Provincetown with friend Pam (other friend Lori was taking the picture), replete from days of Chex Mix and chocolate and Yahtzee, a game I thought I had mastered after years of battling AI opponents only to lose every time in this my first experience with the non-virtual dice variety. Also did […]

Books to Unite the Digitally Divided Family

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Ladies and gentlemen, winners of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards, people of the book…

We gather to ask our annual question: “Can there still be books for the young?” Even now, in these darkening days, while Barnes & Noble eats independent booksellers, and Amazon eats Barnes & Noble. New problems to mask the old ones we never solved, since you can still sit out twelve years of school in the “remedial” program not because you’re “learning disabled” but because you aren’t home at night. Can our books still tell their stories in the age of the “digitally reduced attention span”? Can we still reach a generation whose own parents lost eye contact with them long ago? In the full knowledge that there is no app for eye contact…

Oh, yes. The answer is yes because never have the young needed us more. Never has a young generation on their way to adulthood lived this far from adults. Never has a generation needed an adult voice more, if only on the page and well disguised.

An exquisite event

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This past Saturday I had the pleasure of attending “The Exquisite Conversation: An Adventure in Creating Books,” a program at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium co-sponsored by MIT, the Cambridge Public Library, and the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance. The panel, consisting of several of the contributors to The Exquisite Corpse Adventure (published in print by […]

Teacher books

Tonight we are going to see a middle-school performance of my friend Ronn Smith’s stage adaption of Avi’s Nothing But the Truth. I love that book and have always been a sucker for books about teachers–Christy, To Sir, With Love, Dibs: In Search of Self and Up the Down Staircase were the favorites of my […]

Rooms of their own

photo by Richard Asch

I was of course kidding when I characterized the Sendak Fellowship as a reality show, but there are some aspects of it that are similar. Four people whose only things necessarily  in common are  talent and an interest in creating picture books share a large house for a month. They also share access to an […]

Gathering nutmegs while we may

Mickey

R and I are off to the state of my birth tomorrow, visiting Maurice Sendak and his “Sendak fellows” in Ridgefield, Connecticut. The four fellows, picture-book artists all, spend a month working in a house next to Sendak’s as they are filmed for the reality series Bunny Eat Bunny. Watch the contestants feud over gouache! […]