Jacqueline Woodson, why are you so poet?


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

aardema_bringing the rain to kapiti plain

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)


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

chair for my mother

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

dorothy butler

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 […]

What ELSE do you do?: five questions for Deborah Taylor

Deborah Taylor is third from the left in this 2014 photo of the "Cincy Gang." Photo by Alison Dougherty Berkowitz

This series of interviews debuted last spring with five questions for author T.A. Barron; now I’m following it up with five more for one of my favorite librarians, Deborah Taylor, coordinator of school and student services for the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. Deb and I have been friends for more than thirty years since […]

Marcia Brown, 1918-2015


We were saddened to hear about the death of author-illustrator Marcia Brown this week at the age of ninety-six. The winner of three Caldecott Medals — for Cinderella in 1955, Once a Mouse in 1962, and Shadow in 1983 — she was also recognized with a whopping six Caldecott Honors (including her indelible Stone Soup […]

Jack and Hazel


WHY I have to go to Chicago to see Jack Gantos when he lives only a mile away from my office is a question I’ll happily ignore to hear his Zena Sutherland Lecture at the Chicago Public Library tomorrow night. Join us if you can; otherwise you can read Jack’s speech in the Horn Book this […]