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Zena’s Night

After the Sutherland Lecture committee meeting on Friday afternoon, committee member and CPL Director of Children’s and YA services Liz McChesney gave us a tour of the soon-to-open new Thomas Hughes Children’s Library. I remember the old-old one in the Cultural Center as wonderfully shadowy, but this new one is bright and big and bold […]

“Both boys were absolutely silent, satiated with a great story.”

Yesterday Elissa posted Elizabeth Partridge’s reminiscence about reading Avi’s 1991 Boston Globe–Horn Book Fiction winner, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, to her boys. As this post’s title suggests, her anecdote shuts down anyone who might question whether or not boys can enjoy books starring girls (including Elizabeth’s own sons: “‘What?’ My ten-year-old shot straight […]

Patricia C. McKissack (1944–2017)

The death of Patricia McKissack earlier this week at age 72, four years after the death of her husband and frequent collaborator Fredrick, is a huge loss to the children’s literature community. Their son Fredrick Jr.’s description is heart-achingly poignant: “In a way, I think my mother died of a broken heart.” In Roger’s review […]

On Shoshana Flax’s “A Wrinkle in Troubled Times” (from 2016)

“Some of our very best fighters have come from your own planet.” —Mrs. Whatsit to Meg Murray About Madeleine L’Engle’s Newbery Award–winning novel, the writer Anne Lamott said the following in a 2012 interview with The New York Times Book Review: “A Wrinkle in Time saved me because it so captured the grief and sense […]

Ever just the same

“Roger, didn’t you know that everything goes back to ‘Beauty and the Beast?’” That was Deborah Stevenson talking to me sotto voce in 1989 or so after listening to our boss Betsy Hearne make yet another connection between some new book or other and the classic French tale to which she had given her scholarly […]

Some writer, artist, friend!

I hope you’ll join me for the 2017 Zena Sutherland Lecture, to be held on Friday, May 5 at 7:30PM at the Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago. Our lecturer is the wonderful Melissa Sweet; her chosen topic is “To Inform and Delight: The Elements of Story.” Tickets are free but you gotta reserve your […]

Diversity by the numbers

Please read Martha’s interview with K.T. Horning about the CCBC‘s fabled accounting of diversity in children’s books. I wonder what those numbers would look like from here, that is, if you counted the same variables for those books reviewed by the Horn Book Guide, would you get the same kind of numbers? I don’t think […]

On “These children need a champion” (from 2015)

“Dr. Jiménez deserves to have the school named after him, but even more than that, our students need it. I’ve been an aide in this school district for twenty-six years, and I’ve seen how much these children need a champion. They need someone to relate to, someone from the same background who has succeeded, to […]

Kate DiCamillo gives a lecture, answers a billion questions from kids, and signs until the cows come home

If you’ve never been to a Kate DiCamillo author event, you may have never experienced anything like it. Rock star, schmock star — the immediate past National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature is her own brand of celebrity, beloved by children everywhere, not least the approximately one billion who attended the inaugural annual Margret and […]

Paula Fox (1923–2017)

We were saddened to hear about the death of Paula Fox. The author, a novelist of uncommon insight into the human condition, died March 1, 2017, in Brooklyn, New York. She was ninety-three. In addition to her adult novels, she wrote more than twenty books for young people, including One-Eyed Cat, a 1985 Newbery Honor […]