#we need diverse (picture) books

little melba

Of course we do. Last year’s amazing crop of picture books included those illustrated by artists of color such as Yuyi Morales, Brian Pinkney, Jerry Pinkney, Angela Dominguez, Bryan Collier, Don Tate, and Kadir Nelson. This year we will see picture books illustrated by Christian Robinson (two of ’em), Yuyi Morales, Raul Colon, Duncan Tonatiuh, Jason Chin, Susan […]



I was having a passing conversation recently with a high school senior in a humanities classroom, and he said he hated “school books.” I asked why, and he said the only time black people are in books at school, they are slaves. It made me want to cry. Or maybe scream. Then I thought of […]

Plenty of tables

Charlesbridge's Yolanda Scott and author Francisco X. Stork

Lest you think I think the Children’s Book Council is just a big bunch of dittoheads, I want to tell you about another CBC event that was going on at the very same time Rush and the Disney Princess were having their moment. Last Wednesday night, the Horn Book, along with Simmons and Children’s Books […]

What are YOU looking at?


As I prepare for tomorrow’s Sutherland Lecture by John Green (and don’t think about showing up without a ticket. And don’t even think about getting a ticket) I’m catching up on the two controversies that John has found himself caught up in. The fault for either might be in his stars but definitely not in […]

Moving moment No. 6


Ooh, who remembers this one? In 1982, the library systems of Chicago, Milwaukee, and San Francisco banned Margot Zemach’s Jake and Honeybunch Go to Heaven from their collections (Chicago, from where I followed the whole story avidly, did include it in its two regional research libraries). Unlike the headlines, still popular today, that too-loosely use […]

Moving moments No. 1


As we (WE?, the staff snarks) pack up the offices for our move at the end of this month, it’s just one madeleine after another as old toys and treasure unveil themselves from the shadowed recesses, bringing with them the little joies and horreurs of années passées. Martha uncovered this copy of Magid Fasts for Ramadan, […]

Now you’re telling us?

fragile flower

While Gary Soto seems a bit of a fragile flower in this essay about why he’s been scared off writing for children, I have sympathy for him. If your book is sexy or foul-mouthed or anti-authority, you have no better friends than the American Library Association and its adjacent professions. They will–and they should–stick up […]

Talking about race


We’ve added a page with links to our recent posts and articles about race and children’s literature and we’ll be adding more material as we go. Please suggest anything you’d like to see.

Christopher Myers on Trayvon Martin and children’s books

Go read it.

No Joke! Humor and Culture in Middle-Grade Books

Right Ho, Jeeves

When I was a child, growing up in the various parts of India to which my father’s job took us, books were my friends, and I liked them funny. I discovered my grandfather’s P. G. Wodehouse collection at the age of eleven and was at once enchanted by the amiable lunacy of fictional worlds like […]