God forbid?


He doesn’t really, but some incoming Duke University students are objecting to the pre-freshman year assignment of Fun Home, Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel memoir of growing up gay (and the basis for the wonderful musical of the same name). If I were God–or Duke chancellor–I would immediately revoke these kids’ admission, given the evidence that they […]



The new Banned Books Week poster has too many design elements to keep straight, uses a dumb and hard to parse neologism as its main message, and dog-whistles anti-Islamic sentiment with an image of what looks like a woman in a niqab. You had ONE JOB….  

The Babyfication of Our Youth


Just a little rant here–Martha Parravano and I are preparing a talk for next week’s Fostering Lifelong Learners conference in Ohio, and the other day we visited the Children’s Book Shop for some titles we wanted to share but couldn’t find in the office.  I was struck by the number of picture book titles for […]

He must have been pissed.


In hunting down a quote in the June 1972 issue of the Magazine, I happened upon a note that resonates with the recent debate over the ALA awards and confidentiality. Under “Staff Notes,” in the Hunt Breakfast (yesteryear’s Impromptu column) the first entry is: “Paul Heins [the then-Editor of HB], as one of the three […]

This is not just about opera

from the English National Opera production of The Death of Klinghoffer

The Metropolitan Opera’s cancellation of the announced HD broadcast of The Death of Klinghoffer is galling for a number of reasons. The Met’s decision to stage the opera (albeit with a note in the program by Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters, who have condemned the work as anti-Semitic)  but not broadcast it will please nobody. It is […]

What Would Mickey Do?


At a preconference in Anaheim this June, ALA is offering you tips on how to turn your library into a Magic Kingdom™. No, you first, I insist.  

In which I promise not to tell anyone about your terrific new book


I spent most of yesterday being irritated by the conundrum of review books that come (or don’t) with nondisclosure agreements. Here’s what one looks like: CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENT Date: xx/xx/xx Publisher XYZ Re: Title: Book ABC Author: Author LMNOP Publication Date: xx/xx/xx ______________________ ______________________ ______________________ Dear ___________: In order to induce [Publisher XYZ] to deliver a […]

>Website worries

>If you’re trying to get onto our website (hbook.com) you can’t because it isn’t working. We hope it will be back soon. [Update 8:45 AM Wednesday:  it’s fixed, and, on my computer anyway, faster than ever.]

>You Probably Think This Word Is About You

>Choire Sicha has an interesting point about the use of the word gay to mean lame.

>How Others See Us

>The New York Times obituary for Eden is a gracious tribute but does that thing I hate: “Eden Ross Lipson . . . was a force in bringing the enchanting but often overlooked world of children’s literature to wide public awareness.” The REASON children’s literature is overlooked is because we persist in regarding it as […]