Subscribe to The Horn Book

>Step away from the bar, ladies

>So SLJ is in trouble with some of its readers over their cover photo of some boozin’ bloggers. Honestly, you never know what’s going to bring in complaints–and Letters to the Editor are far more frequently objections than compliments. As Monica Edinger (first reprobate to the left) points out, you might expect objections to the Sex and the City cast of the cast (all good-lookin’ white girls) but who expected this? And too often, when you want to start a discussion–as I did with the Nikki Grimes article about black people and the Caldecott Medal–you get zip.

But here is one of the treasures from our archive, ripped from a subscriber’s magazine, label carefully removed (coward), and mailed to me in an anonymous envelope:

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. Martha Brockenbrough says:

    >I'd take some of that in my house, though. Rrowr. That person is two exclamation points away from Terry Pratchett's definition of insanity.

  2. Anonymous says:

    >A long time ago my husband was in grad school in ed psych and I was in grad school in library science. I went to one of his parties and it was awful. From then on we always went to the librarians' parties which were uninhibited, boozy, talky, witty, and just really fun. I guess things have really changed in the last 30 years with librarians.

  3. A Bookshelf Monstrosity says:

    >Funny~ When I saw the cover of SLJ I just knew some people would focus on the alcohol issue and nothing else. It's inevitable, I suppose. I'm a library media specialist in training, and I for one enjoy the occasional White Russian. I don't think that makes me unprofessional in the least. I love books and I love an occasional cocktail.

  4. >Geez, some people have no respect for the post horn.

  5. david elzey says:

    >what, exactly, do you suppose they were objecting to with that issue of HB? the cover? the magazine itself? the horn, since that is what's closest to the comment?

  6. >Perhaps the writer was offended by the font selection.

  7. >Roger, to link this to the other kidlit discussion of the moment, your model would have fit perfectly into NEW MOON. Quelle abs!

  8. Anatidaeling says:

    >That "model" is, I believe, Bill T. Jones, author and dancer of _Dance_ (Hyperion 1998.)

    Years ago, as a librarian in a public library, I did a workshop for college-level education students. I presented a lot of great, new (at the time) picture books. Jones' _Dance_ was among them.

    One of the students, the only male in the bunch, wenk berserk. He HATED that book. When asked why, he sputtered, Well…just…look at it!…I mean…it's just…I don't know. I don't like it. I mean…

  9. >I trust he was a straight male student.

  10. >I love the Bill T. Jones image. Gosh, that person must not get the NYTimes, because every Arts section has equally lovely pictures of dancers in various stages of dress. You bet I read my paper every morning.

    I can't wait until SLJ starts looking more like Vanity Fair. If I ever get to be a cover girl, I just want to make sure they make me look like Scarlett Johansson.

  11. AnnetteCK says:

    >1. I am going through the old boxes an find that HB cover to hang on my office wall. *dabs forehead with hanky*

    2. The SLJ cover reminds me of every ALA conference I've ever been to. I didn't even blink. I was once told by a hotel worker in Atlanta (at least I think it was Atlanta–blame it on all those bars) that they love it when ALA comes to town because librarians drink more than anyone.

  12. Christine TB says:


    We're happy to make a home for that cover in our house. A positive image of a good looking black male is always welcome.

    To her "Yuck" I say "Yum!"

  13. Anonymous says:

    >As demonstrated by the responses here it's an incredibly sexy picture of a half naked man. I know, I know, we aren't supposed to be ashamed of our bodies etc, etc. And yes, there are lots of pictures of naked bodies in the Arts section. But there's art, and then there's smexy. This man is hot. I can't tell you exactly what the difference between a nude and naked, but I can judge by people's reactions–and most of them here have been: smexy with a side of yum. I'm not gonna send nastygrams to you because it's on the cover, but I won't lie and say I am entirely comfortable with it either.

    The Horn Book, in spite of it's name, is not where I look for hot guys. So many things are marketed by using sex, please not children's books, too.

    On the one hand, Mr. Jones is beautiful and I am happy to admire him, and on the other . . . all this reminds me of "hot men of children's literature," which I found troubling. On the personal level, I love admiring cute guys. On the professional level, it disturbs me.

    Sorry about the long comment.


  14. Roger Sutton says:

    >Bear in mind, Prato, that the cover was not simply some gratuitous display of hubba-hubba male beauty a la After Dark. The January issue cover is always drawn from our Boston Globe-Horn Book Award coverage, and Bill T. Jones's and Susan Kukin's Dance was an honor book. The cover photo, taken by Kuklin, mimics the pictures in that book, and there is a brief essay by her in the issue about working with Jones. (The upcoming January cover is by Leslie Patricelli, BGHB honor recipient for Higher, Higher.)

  15. Anonymous says:

    >No, I do understand that you weren't just dragging in hot guys off the street for a photo shoot. I trust the Horn Book not to be putting beefcake on the cover just to up the sales which is why I wouldn't be getting out my scissors and sending the nastygram. I am more interested in why this picture gets the –'scuse me while I wipe the drool off my chin–response when another picture of a half-naked dancer doesn't. I'll be thinking about it. And thank you for the provocation.


Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind