From the Editor – September 2014

roger_right2

I hope you will join us for the fifth annual Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium, “Mind the Gaps,” on October 11th at Simmons College in Boston. This year’s program will examine the various diversity gaps in children’s book publishing, whether they be underrepresentation of nonwhite perspectives or the decreasing proportion of nonfiction titles. The colloquium […]

Five questions for Judith Viorst

judith viorst by milton viorst

Judith Viorst, creator of Alexander (he of the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day), writes about another little boy who might just wish he could curl back up in bed. The young protagonist of And Two Boys Booed (Farrar/Ferguson, 4–7 years) is excited to perform in the school talent show… until it’s almost his […]

For not-rotten new readers

gantos_rotten ralph's rotten family

Following your dreams and dealing with family: these topics get hilarious treatment for primary readers in the following early chapter books. An added bonus? Some familiar faces from popular series. In Jack Gantos and Nicole Rubel’s Rotten Ralph’s Rotten Family, the titular kitty finds a family photo album and, nostalgic for his childhood, decides to […]

Books mentioned in the August 2014 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Judith Viorst Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day written by Judith Viorst, illus. by Ray Cruz, Atheneum, 4–7 years. And Two Boys Booed written by Judith Viorst, illus. by Sophie Blackall, Farrarr/Ferguson, 4–7 years. Back-to-school basics Dinosaur vs. Bedtime by Bob Shea, Disney-Hyperion, 3–5 years. Dinosaur vs. School by […]

Beyond biography

woodson_brown girl dreaming

With storytelling ease and pitch-perfect pacing, the following works of narrative nonfiction for older readers bring their subjects to brilliant life, elevating the sometimes-staid genre of biography to literary art form. Jacqueline Woodson’s memoir-in-verse Brown Girl Dreaming is so immediate that readers will feel they are experiencing the author’s childhood right along with her. Born […]

Go your own way

smith_100 sideways miles

Teen boys go on journeys both physical (road trip!) and psychological in these affecting YA novels. Finn Easton, protagonist of Andrew Smith’s 100 Sideways Miles, has unusual scars on his back, products of the freak accident that also killed his mother when he was a kid. He has a pretty good life otherwise: his sci-fi […]

From the Editor – August 2014

I hope you can join Horn Book executive editor Martha V. Parravano and me at Fostering Lifelong Learners, a one-day conference the Horn Book, along with School Library Journal and the Cuyahoga County Public Library, is sponsoring on September 19th at the Parma-Snow branch of the CCPL in Parma, Ohio. Martha and I will be […]

Back-to-school basics

shea_dinosaur vs school

Kids going back to school — or just starting out there? Here are a variety of picture books, from imaginative and funny to historical and serious, to help ease the transition from the lazy days of summer. “Roar! Roar! Roar!” The diminutive red dinosaur from Bob Shea’s Dinosaur vs. Bedtime faces its newest foe in […]

July Notes

july 2014 notes

In this month’s Notes from the Horn Book, we chat with author Varian Johnson about his tightly plotted novel The Great Greene Heist — and his favorite heist movies! You’ll also find • more middle-school capers • pet picture books • primary nature nonfiction • dragons and witches in YA fantasy Read the issue online […]

Five questions for Varian Johnson

Varian Johnson _credit Kenneth B. Gall

Varian Johnson (who was co-valedictorian, with his twin brother, of his high school class, thank you very much) enjoys two careers: as an author and an engineer. It’s not surprising, then, that his new book The Great Greene Heist (Scholastic, 12–16 years) is so meticulously — almost mathematically — plotted. But it’s not all by-the-numbers, […]