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Archives for August 2011

Five Questions for Marc Aronson

An experienced editor of books for young people (as well as the editor of A Family of Readers by Martha Parravano and me), Marc Aronson is also one of the genre’s most distinguished historians. His Sir Walter Ralegh and the Quest for El Dorado won both the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award and the inaugural Sibert […]

Editorial: What Books Can Do

In the aftermath of the attacks of September 11th ten years ago, there were many books published for children and teens about the tragedy. Some were informative, and at least two transcended the moment: Maira Kalman’s Fireboat and Mordicai Gerstein’s The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. But there was a persistent strain of “helpful” […]

Newbery books will win new readers

The four titles in Houghton/Sandpiper’s welcome Newbery Collection boxed set (September) seem to belong together: Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars, Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins, Linda Sue Park’s A Single Shard, and Elizabeth Speare’s The Witch of Blackbird Pond. The publisher may have grouped these winners together simply because they’re all historical fiction. […]

>Family Values

> After twenty-odd years of living in sin, Richard and I are getting married this weekend (the pic above is from the lovely surprise shower thrown for me today by the Horn Book ladies) and tomorrow is the start of the preparatory madness. Music: check; lights: check; suits: check; vows, food, rings, cake, cleaning: not […]

What Makes a Good Book about Sharing?

It doesn’t take long when working in a bookstore or a public library to realize that many parents are after one thing in a picture book — they want it to make their child better. Parents want children who are polite, cooperative, and kind. They want them to be good listeners who easily relinquish the […]

Mildred Batchelder: The Power of Thinking Big

In brief, the children’s library movement was touched off by Caroline Hewins, at the Hartford Public Library, who passed the torch to Anne Carroll Moore, at the New York Public, and Alice Jordan, at the Boston Public. Bertha Mahony Miller, founding editor of The Horn Book, sought guidance from both of them. Principal allies were […]

>Cross out Beezus!

>I just saw two three four new YA novels indulging employing  annoying pervasive strike-throughs to indicate a narrator’s dithering second thoughts or transparently self-buffing lies strategic rearrangements of the truth. I think this might be 2012’s dead girl OCD selectively mute protagonist of choice. It’s kind of like when everyone gets the same toy for […]

Borrow this.

Lucy Hull, protagonist of Rebecca Makkai‘s adult novel The Borrower (Viking, June), is a sardonic twenty-something children’s librarian. Her favorite patron, ten-year-old Ian, runs away to escape his parents and the anti-gay youth group they’ve stuck him in. Like Claudia Kincaid before him, Ian realizes that he needs somewhere to run away to, and the […]

August Notes from the Horn Book

August’s Notes from the Horn Book is available now. Here’s what to expect this issue: – five questions for historian and scholar Marc Aronson – more new nonfiction – concept books with a twist – YA sequels – books of interest to adults – updates on the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards ceremony and Horn Book […]

>Question re The Help,

>which I have just finished and found interesting in ways intended and otherwise. But I am unsure about a major plot point and will to try to phrase my question so as not to spoil it for anyone planning to read it or see the movie: Did Minny actually do what she said she did […]