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Reviewing race

lemonade

We have a new podcast out today (with Horn Book reviewer Hannah Gómez as guest), mostly talking about Kirkus’ children’s editor Vicky Smith’s new policy of labelling, where possible, the race of all mentioned characters in reviews of children’s/YA fiction. When we recorded the podcast I hadn’t yet seen Kirkus operating under its new rule, but […]

Freeing writers AND readers

Mrs. Trimmer

I agree with Allie Jane Bruce that “kids say this stuff” is a piss-poor reason for racist language in books for children. It’s a piss-poor reason generally, as the point of fiction has never been to mimic reality, which rarely makes nearly as much sense as even the most hackneyed novel. Fiction is always selecting: as Miss Binney explained to Ramona, […]

HB NB February

Carter_G_Woodson_portrait

—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 […]

Whips AND chains

story-of-o

I’d really like to ban the term “self-censorship” from discourse, given that we already have a spectrum of words–from “prudence” to “cowardice”–that say more precisely what we mean, and because it causes us to be confused about what censorship actually is. As Megan Schliesman at Reading While White posted last week, the discussion about A Birthday […]

A bumpy ride

bus

I had been content to let Calling Caldecott’s enlightening discussion about A Fine Dessert speak for itself, and the subsequent publication of A Birthday Cake for George Washington a year later was more than anything a spectacular example of bad timing–by the time A Fine Dessert was gathering outrage, A Birthday Cake was well on its […]

Picture book moments

mulders

In picture-book goings-on, bloggers Julie Danielson, Betsy Bird, Travis Jonker, and Minh Lê have a seasonally appropriate discussion about creepy picture books. (And here are the Horn Book’s recommendations for Halloween reading.) –and the New York Times Best Illustrated list is out and includes A Fine Dessert, so don’t look for that discussion to die down […]

Which book will hurt which reader how?

hiredgirl_210x300

There are some lively debates going on at Heavy Medal and Fuse #8 about Laura Amy Schlitz’s The Hired Girl, a presumed favorite for 2016 Newbery consideration. The Horn Book starred it; I like it too (and here’s a brief interview I did with Schlitz in the September Magazine). What’s interesting about this debate is […]

MORE #stuffwhitepeoplelike

And this is one more caption.

One of those stupid Facebook quizzes told me that I “tend to share thoughts that are not fully developed, using others as a sounding board for ideas and theories in a debate against themselves rather than as actual conversation partners.” RUDE. But also, true. So for now I am going to refrain from comment about […]

Inside and out

having-it-all

Nina Lindsay has a terrific article up at SLJ about this year’s ALA Award winners and What It All Might Mean.  And in my latest editorial, I write about the need to value art from outsiders as well as insiders. Can we have both? Can we HAVE IT ALL?

Building strong bodies 16 ways

Firebird

Irene Smalls, who is moderating the children’s book panel I told you about, has sent along this bibliography of books she put together  to encourage children–particularly African American children–to be more active. Or, as my mother always said,” Go out and play.” Thank goodness Daylight Saving Time is less than two weeks away–I got in […]