Persons of Interest: The Untold Rewards of Picture Book Biographies

Abraham Lincoln

It didn’t exactly have to happen. In 1936, Ingri and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire, treasured for their radiant portrayals of child life in Ingri’s native Norway, took up George Washington, and with the wide eyes of new Americans and the same sensitivity to their child audience, struck a chord.  Other d’Aulaire picture book biographies of American […]

George Nicholson on Gerald McDermott’s Arrow to the Sun

Gerald McDermott and a young fan. Photo courtesy of ALSC.

While doing the research for my article Arrow to the Sun and Critical Controversies (Sept./Oct. 2013 Horn Book Magazine), I came across several references to author Gerald McDermott’s first children’s book editor at Holt, Rinehart & Winston, George Nicholson, and the role he played in McDermott’s move from films to picture books. A longtime children’s […]

Review of Locomotive

locomotive

Locomotive by Brian Floca; illus. by the author Primary, Intermediate   Jackson/Atheneum   64 pp. 9/13     978-1-4169-9415-2   $17.99 e-book ed. 978-1-4424-8522-8   $12.99 Talk about a youth librarian’s dream come true: a big new book about those ever-popular trains from a bona fide picture-book-nonfiction all-star. Striking cinematic endpapers lay the groundwork, describing the creation of the Transcontinental […]

What Makes a Good Picture Book About Loss?

nana upstairs

The three-hankie middle grade novel is a literary tradition as old as time (or at least as old as Charlotte’s Web). Some of these novels consider the sorts of grief, such as the death of a grandparent or the family dog, that children are likely to experience. Others explore very particular situations: the complicated aftermath […]

Editorial: Books Built from the Ground Up

Roger Sutton

I thought I was just doing a solid for a colleague when, over on Read Roger, I  posted a link to a provocative post on Lee & Low’s blog that asked, “Why Hasn’t the Number of Multicultural Books Increased in Eighteen Years?” Lee & Low, whose publisher Jason Low was interviewed in these pages in […]

Show and Tell: Curating “The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter”

why childrens books matter

Not quite two years ago, The New York Public Library asked me to curate an exhibition about children’s books for its central  gallery, the grand 4,500-square-foot space that lies just beyond the Library Lions (the main Fifth Avenue entrance-way) and Astor Hall. I would have a research assistant, a work area, my choice of designers, […]

Sign in Print

deaf child crossing

It’s 1995, and we’re standing on the sidewalk having a conversation. One of us is a six-year-old, and the other is her mother. We’re speaking in a language that’s not English, but this is Princeton, New Jersey, after all: French, Italian, Serbian, Arabic, Hebrew,  Mandarin, Hindustani…The Institute for Advanced Study and Princeton University draw all […]

Disturbing (or Not?) Young Adult Fiction

hunger games

I experienced Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games on the cusp of it becoming a must-read, a trilogy-starter, and then a film franchise. I had hurried into the bookstore, reading list in hand, and interrupted the young woman shelving books. When I asked  where to find the titles on my list, I mentioned that I taught […]

Review of Open Mic

perkins_open mic

Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices edited by Mitali Perkins Middle School, High School     Candlewick     127 pp. 9/13     978-0-7636-5866-3     $15.99     g e-book ed. 978-0-7636-6719-1     $15.99 In her preface to this nicely compact collection, Perkins suggests that humor can help smooth the way in discussions about  race — […]

Preview September/October 2013 Horn Book Magazine

september2013cover_FAKE_200x300

Barbara Bader on the uniqueness of picture book biographies. Sight Reading: Leonard S. Marcus on curating the exhibit “The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter” at the New York Public Library. Mother-daughter duo Deirdre F. Baker and Ariel Baker-Gibbs look at the representation of American Sign Language in children’s and young adult literature. Caldecott […]