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RIP Lois Duncan

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I was sorry to hear about Lois Duncan’s death yesterday. Lois had been writing for young people for a long time–her first novel, Debutante Hill, was published in 1958 (and republished in 2013 by Lizzie Skurnick Books). She is someone whose work I always point towards as a reminder that YA fiction did not begin […]

She’ll be swell, she’ll be great!

Carla Hayden

I am over the moon about President Obama’s nomination of Carla D. Hayden to the position of Librarian of Congress. Carla and I were buddies back in Chicago–we met when she was YA coordinator at CPL and I interviewed her for a paper I was writing for library school, and later I worked for her […]

HB NB February

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—Elissa and Katie are ransacking the archives to honor Black History Month with an article every day about African American books, authors, and illustrators. Up today, Yolanda Hare’s call for more books about “more black teens living mundane middle-class lives.” –On February 23rd, I’ll be moderating a panel discussion about the ALA awards and children’s […]

Jacqueline Woodson, why are you so poet?

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When the Cambridge Public Library announced that Brown Girl Dreaming would be this year’s Cambridge Reads book I was beyond thrilled. Now Jacqueline Woodson and I would be best friends! I’d say, Jacqueline, you are my hero, thank you for your perspective, your advocacy and for creating windows and mirrors for my students! Then she […]

and clunk clunk clunk went the folktale market

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Betsy Bird at Fuse #8 is rightfully mourning the relative dearth of African folktale publishing and simultaneously celebrating one of its legends from the glory days, Verna Aardema. All I can say is God bless Verna Aardema, who knew just how to write a picture-book text that would bring any library story hour to life. […]

Vera B. Williams (1927–2015)

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We were saddened to hear about the death last week of legendary children’s book author and illustrator Vera B. Williams. It’s a loss to our field; she was, truly, unique. Her groundbreaking picture books celebrated children and family and communities — all kinds of children, all kinds of families, and all kinds of communities. Both A Chair […]

Reviews of select books by Vera B. Williams

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Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart by Vera B. Williams; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate    Greenwillow    72 pp. 9/01    0-06-029460-4    15.95    g Library ed.    0-06-029461-2    15.89 For sisters Essie and Amber, a “Best Sandwich” means snuggling together with their teddy bear between them, breathing “each other’s breath / in and out and in […]

Editorial: Parents: A Vital Link

By Ethel L. Heins By now it is probably beating a dead horse to talk about the continuing downward trend of the verbal Scholastic Aptitude Test scores and to set forth the variety of factors on which to lay the blame. And it is also laboring the obvious to stress the fact that the reading […]

Letter from England: Dorothy Butler

By Aidan Chambers Every year our children’s book editors give the Eleanor Farjeon Award to someone they consider has performed outstanding services to children’s books. This year the recipient is Dorothy Butler. Two of her books will shortly reach you and will richly demonstrate why our editors felt they wanted to recognize this remarkable woman. […]

Dorothy Butler, 1925-2015

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We were very sad to hear about the death this week of Dorothy Butler — author, bookstore doyenne, kiwi, and great Friend of The Horn Book. Read — and be inspired by — her classic Horn Book Magazine article “A Children’s Bookshop in New Zealand: One Family’s Enterprise“: “The fact that the story of my […]