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

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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! […]

It’s My Party: An Interview with Maurice Sendak

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Loosely based on a two-minute animation Sendak created with Jim Henson for Sesame Street in 1971, Bumble-Ardy revisits his long-standing preoccupations with childhood outsider-hood and saving-grace resilience, but with a new twist of extravagance taken straight from the operatic playbook of Giuseppe Verdi. We talked about all this at the artist’s kitchen table in a conversation recorded on May 12, 2011.

Five Questions for Tomie dePaola

  At last! I have loved Tomie‘s books since being a children’s librarian (even thirty years ago, he seemed to have picture books about everything), and we’ve worked together on some articles and two Horn Book covers, but we had never met. He looks like he drew himself. And a man of firm opinions: his […]

>Can we still say Big Kahuna?

>Sounds like Chief Illiniwek in a different headdress to me, but in any case, Richard Peck is as worthy as anyone of the title and he has spoken. Is there a teensy jab in his discussion of the virtues of Keeper or am I reading that in? Gotta watch those smooth talkers.

Ladies and a Gentleman

>I’ll be reporting on my trip to SF once I wrest the photos from Richard’s camera; short version: it was swell. Meanwhile Katie celebrates Women’s History Month with a new booklist of some excellent recent biographies and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art announces its 2011 Carle Honors Honorees: artist Lois Ehlert, artist […]

February Notes

The February issue of Notes from the Horn Book is out, headlined by Martha Parravano’s Five Questions for Wilder Award winner Tomie dePaola. Otherwise, we give you a handy annotated list of the Newbery, Caldecott, Printz, Sibert, King, and Belpre-winning books.