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The sounds of fall

The sounds of fall at our house are striking — literally. Our bedrooms are situated under two giant oak trees, and the squirrels have been busy scampering around in the canopy and up and down, shaking loads of acorns onto our roof. They are busy early each morning, often before the birds start their choruses. […]

Our butterfly project

In July, the world is in bloom. Midsummer fields are speckled with wildflowers and abuzz with insects and birds enjoying the sweet nectar. Eager to celebrate this bounty of color and sound, my kids and I ordered a butterfly kit to hatch Painted Lady butterflies. (Our kit came from Insect Lore, which offers other creature […]

On Elizabeth Wein’s “BGHB at 50: Saffy’s Angel by Hilary McKay” (from 2017)

I love Elizabeth Wein’s appreciation of Hilary McKay’s Saffy’s Angel, a 2002 Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book for fiction. Wein, herself the recipient of two BGHB Honors (among many other accolades), treats us not only to her perceptive thoughts about McKay’s masterful family stories but also to a glimpse into her own relationship with her […]

The Family Who Reads Together, Cries Together

When I first began reading Patricia MacLachan’s Sarah, Plain, and Tall books aloud to my daughter years ago, I knew I was in trouble. During the first book, my voice cracked with emotion simply because of how beautiful the story is. Small arms indulgently encircled me to comfort me in my moment of vulnerability. By […]

On Lois Lowry’s “Look” (from 1997)

“I never walk past that place without thinking how private, powerful, and memorable a moment it is, in the life of a child, when the shape of letters takes on meaning and a door of the world opens.” It’s been twenty years, but I still remember the thrill I felt as I read Lois Lowry’s […]

Bonding with books

I’ve never considered myself the maternal type. I even surprised myself when one day I said to my husband, “Let’s have a munchkin.” “From Dunkin Donuts?” he asked. But no, I was thinking about babies. Several of my close friends were expecting, and all the tiny socks and onesies that assigned cheeky personalities to a […]

Reading Race and Power in Fantasy

When my daughter was three or four, we would play a computer game together where she would have to choose an avatar to represent herself. To the game’s credit, there were at least twelve options for girls, with all different skin colors and hair colors and styles. Inevitably, my very pale daughter would select a […]

On Ibi Zoboi’s “A Fine Bookshelf” (from March/April 2016)

“I’ve never been able to think about literacy for black children without thinking about the historical effects of slavery. Black children were not allowed to read for far longer than there have been books that feature them.” In “A Fine Bookshelf,” published in the March/April 2016 Horn Book Magazine, author, mother, and Haitian immigrant Ibi […]

On Rachael Stein’s “The Penderwicks on Hayward Street” (from May 2013)

“We owe a permanent debt of gratitude to Jeanne Birdsall. Her words are the refiner’s fire that helped turn our leaden hearts to gold.” In her Books in the Home column, “The Penderwicks on Hayward Street,” from the May/June 2013 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, librarian and mom Rachael Stein writes eloquently about how […]

On Andrea Fox’s “The Secret Garden’s Perennial Wisdom…for Parents” (from September 2012)

Writer, reader, and former English teacher Andrea Fox loved Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden when she was a child. She gained a new appreciation for the classic, however, when she reread it as a parent. In an article published in the September/October 2012 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, Andrea reflects on how her […]