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On Zetta Elliott’s “Decolonizing the Imagination” (from 2010)

Author and teacher Zetta Elliott contributed “Decolonizing the Imagination” to the Writer’s Page column in the Magazine‘s March/April 2010 issue. As a child and young adult, Zetta loved classic British novels; she notes, however, that she “learned early on that only white children had wonderful adventures in distant lands; only white children were magically transported […]

The Writer’s Page: What Is Narrative Nonfiction?

It’s been a topsy-turvy time in the education world recently: Common Core and high-stakes tests; then pushback; and now states are revising, revisiting, and renaming their standards. The recently passed ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) encourages this trend toward local choice. But if you look closely at the new standards across the board, one big […]

The Writer’s Page: On Writing the American Familia

I’ve always been fascinated by how people become part of the American tapestry. Some had ancestors who were enslaved. Others fled persecution, poverty, or violence. Their stories are often a potent mix of hope and tragedy. My parents came to the United States during the mass political exodus of the Cuban upper and middle class […]

The Writer’s Page: In the Time of Daily Magic

I have come to believe that the books that influence us most are the ones we read at the impressionable ages of eight to twelve, the time when readers are most open to imagination and possibilities. It’s 
the time, too, when our worldview is being formed, not only by experience but also by our readings. […]

The Writer’s Page: Ex Libris

While I know there must be many books that feature great scenes 
set in libraries, one book that I’ve often thought about over the years is The Abortion (1971) by Richard Brautigan, whose narrator works in — and makes his home in — a public library whose shelves are filled with unpublished manuscripts that writers […]

Beyond the Magically (Dis)abled

This past May, Twitter broke out in a glorious maelstrom of activity around the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks that was thrilling to follow and — once I realized the plea wasn’t only for more books with central characters of color — even more thrilling to join. As the mother of a teenager with autism, the founder of […]

Two Writers Look at Weird

Are they weird? What is weird, anyway? And will Jack ever reply to Polly? From the March/April 2013 special “Different Drummers” issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

The Writer’s Page: Decolonizing the Imagination

The door is a place, real, imaginary and imagined. As islands and dark continents are. It is a place which exists or existed. The door out of which Africans were captured, loaded onto ships heading for the New World. It was the door of a million exits multiplied. It is a door many of us […]