and clunk clunk clunk went the folktale market

aardema_bringing the rain to kapiti plain

Betsy Bird at Fuse #8 is rightfully mourning the relative dearth of African folktale publishing and simultaneously celebrating one of its legends from the glory days, Verna Aardema. All I can say is God bless Verna Aardema, who knew just how to write a picture-book text that would bring any library story hour to life. […]

Down, girl, down!


Even in my day having been one of Betsy Bird‘s Hot Men of Children’s Literature (BB: are those archived anywhere?) I was more than a little skeeved out by Meaghan O’Connell’s “The Children’s-Book Guy: An Ideal Crush Object,” published yesterday in New York Magazine but reading like something written by Carrie Bradshaw in 1999: “If you think […]



“You just follow your heart when it comes to fingering scenes” was MY takeaway quote from the latest newspaper report on the steamy goings-on in YA fiction, which predictably, has people a-Twitter. But while the article is sensationalized, it isn’t incorrect. Young adult fiction is sexier than it used to be, even if the “threesomes” […]

Can’t buy me love


The Gawker debacle has been very entertaining. I read and respect the site too much to enjoy the clusterfuck in a schadenfreudey kind of way, but I am enjoying the intellectual stimulation provided by the whole host of journalism questions set bristling. What’s a public figure? Was the subject in question a public figure, or a behind-the-scenes media […]


All the Light We Cannot See

Introducing a new Horn Book partner:   For every kids’ or YA book sticking out of a briefcase, there’s someone insisting that adults should only read adult books. But how can the grownups of the world access the often innovative stories aimed at the younger set without lowering themselves? Enter ImPress, a new small publisher […]

Goodbye, George

Paul Zelinsky, Roger Sutton, George Nicholson at Elizabeth Law's apartment; photo by Elizabeth Law

Back from ALA to the sad news that George Nicholson, whom I had first met at an ALA, more than thirty years ago, has died. I first knew George when he was publisher at Dell; he later moved over to Harper and then to a successful second career as an agent, at Sterling Lord Literistic. He was […]

Two possible explanations for all the zombie books

Ginee Seo hoping someone passes her the popcorn

Holy shit became the slogan of the day at HBAS after Julie Strauss-Gabel used it to describe her initial reaction to reading the ms. of Andrew Smith’s Grasshopper Jungle (winner of the BGHB award for fiction). Her point was that this was the reaction an editor should have in making a decision to acquire a […]

Clearing the brush


The New York Times’ sensationalizing of the practice of abridging adult nonfiction titles for a younger audience rather misses the point, which is about commerce, not censorship. The main difference between the adult and juvenile editions of these titles is that the latter are shorter, provide less background material, and are less detailed. As an […]

Please, God, let him telephone me now


“I must stop this. I mustn’t be this way. Look. Suppose a young man says he’ll call a girl up, and then something happens, and he doesn’t. That isn’t so terrible, is it? Why, it’s gong on all over the world, right this minute. Oh, what do I care what’s going on all over the […]

The buck stops over there


After seeing some alarming comments on Read Roger and Facebook I feel the need to point out something I thought everybody knew: the Horn Book, like our sisters at SLJ, Booklist,  BCCB and PW, does not charge authors or publishers for book reviews. Publishers Weekly and Kirkus does offer fee-based reviewing services but these are […]