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The CCBC’s Diversity Statistics: A Conversation with Kathleen T. Horning

The Cooperative Children’s Book Center (a research library of the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Education) began documenting the numbers of children’s books by African American authors and illustrators in 1985 — when then–CCBC director Ginny Moore Kruse, serving on the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Jury, learned that of the approximately 2500 trade books […]

The Enduring Footprints of Peter, Ezra Jack Keats, and The Snowy Day

In the spring of 1940, twenty-four-year-old Ezra Jack Keats cut a series of black-and-white photographs out of Life magazine. The four photos showed a small African American boy in Liberty County, Georgia, reacting to a blood test being administered by a public health nurse. Prior to the test, he looked happy and trusting. Afterwards, he […]

A Second Look: It’s Like This, Cat

In late January 1964, a committee of twenty-three librarians from around the country met in a small room in a Chicago hotel to select the Newbery and Caldecott winners from a group of eligible books that had been published in 1963. In those years, the executive board members of ALA’s Children’s Services Division (now ALSC) […]

Five questions for Sharon G. Flake

Is Mr. Davenport a vampire, as Octobia May insists? The answer is not so cut-and-dried in Sharon G. Flake’s Unstoppable Octobia May, a historical-fiction-cum-mystery-novel with more than a dash of social commentary (Scholastic, 9–12 years). From the 1950s boarding house setting to the vivid characters — some plucky, some humorous, some downright sinister — the […]

Five questions for K. T. Horning on The Jackson 5

In her profile of Rita Williams-Garcia, K. T. Horning discusses the mutual love she and Rita have for The Jackson 5 — a love Rita infuses into her 2014 CSK Author Award–winning novel P.S. Be Eleven. After all, as K. T. writes, “nothing defined the era during which we [and protagonist Delphine] were eleven better […]

A Profile of Rita Williams-Garcia: Being Eleven

I first met Rita Williams-Garcia three years ago, soon after One Crazy Summer was published. Prior to that, though, I had known her through her books for many years, starting with her first novel, Blue Tights. It stood out among all the YA novels published in 1988 for its honest and realistic depiction of a […]

Hey, Al and the Quirky Choice

This is the sixth (and final) of a series of articles celebrating the history of the Caldecott Medal, which marks its seventy-fifth anniversary this year. Librarian and children’s literature historian Kathleen T. Horning looks at one seminal but unheralded Caldecott book of each decade — identifying trends, noting the changing nature of the picture book, […]

Niño Wrestles the Caldecott Committee: a guest post by KT Horning

Ladies and gentlemen, señores  y señoras, now presenting Niño Wrestles the World. See how artist Yuyi Morales brilliantly combines two aspects of popular culture—comic-book style and  Lucha Libre (WWF with más drama y más flare). Watch her twist reality and fantasy as little Niño, in his red mask and tighty whities, takes on competitors in his […]

George Nicholson on Gerald McDermott’s Arrow to the Sun

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 […]

Arrow to the Sun and Critical Controversies

This is the fifth of a continuing series of articles celebrating the history of the Caldecott Medal, which marks its seventy-fifth anniversary this year. Librarian and children’s literature historian Kathleen T. Horning looks at one seminal but unheralded Caldecott book of each decade — identifying trends, noting the changing nature of the picture book, wrestling […]