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I’m rubber and you’re glue

Over on the Horn Book’s Facebook page, there’s an opinion that Javaka Steptoe only won the Caldecott Medal because his father was John Steptoe. When pressed for evidence, the (former, as she’ll tell you) subscriber replied that “the pattern of ALA award committees in the past several years in its selections of winners/honors. Promote diversity […]

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 […]

The horror! The horror!

So I’m reading World War Z for my part in Gene Luen Yang’s Reading Without Walls challenge. I admit I’m only biting off a little piece at a time, but I would have devoured the thing whole in high school, where most of my reading was either fantasy or horror or Ayn Rand, but I see […]

Revisiting Julie Hakim Azzam’s “Mommy, Do I Have White Skin?: Skin Color, Family, and Picture Books”

“My own mother was of Belgian descent and Christian, while my father was a Lebanese Muslim immigrant…Being light-skinned, I assimilated so well that friends were shocked when they came to my house and discovered my father spoke with an accent and my grandmother had dark skin. These experiences were reminders that Arabs could be close […]

On Julie Hakim Azzam’s “Mommy, Do I Have White Skin?: Skin Color, Family, and Picture Books” (from November 2016)

“Using picture books, I set out to cultivate an image library that would give my children pictures of families that, like ours, were of mixed ancestry and had skin tones that ranged from light to dark.” Julie Hakim Azzam’s Books in the Home column from the November/December 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine discusses […]

On Meg Medina’s “The Writer’s Page: On Writing the American Familia” (from January 2016)

Children’s author Meg Medina finds inspiration in the family stories she heard as a child, which “opened inside of me a sense of cultural history that wasn’t reflected in any book I was reading in school or seeing on any of my favorite television shows.” In an article from the January/February 2016 issue of the […]

Tribal trials

The latest book to cause noisy debate among our crowd is Lane Smith’s Tribe of Kids; it began with a post by Sam Bloom at Reading While White but was picked up by Roxanne Feldman, Debbie Reese, and Rosanne Parry. I feel like all concerned have had some good points to make, and I have […]

Reviewing race

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

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

—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 […]