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2013 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards for Excellence in Children’s Literature

Click here for the 2013 Award winner speeches and video.


Today, at BookExpo America, The Horn Book’s editor in chief Roger Sutton and 2010 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award-winning author Rebecca Stead (When You Reach Me, Random House) announced the 2013 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winners.

“The Boston Globe-Horn Book awards have always had an independent spirit and this year is no different,” said Sutton. “Each of the judges brings a unique perspective on children’s literature, which combined always makes for a wonderful variety and high quality of winners and honor books and almost always provides us with a few surprises as well.”

Celebrating its 47th year, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards are among the most prestigious honors in the field of children’s and young adult literature. Winners and two Honor Books are selected in each of three categories: Picture Book, Fiction and Poetry, and Nonfiction.

2013 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winners

Building Our House
written and illustrated by Jonathan Bean (Farrar Straus and Giroux, an imprint of Macmillan)
Drawing on childhood memories from his own family’s house construction, Bean creates an engaging story as well as a glimpse into a warm family setting. A little girl narrates, and her childlike voice provides an immediacy that removes any hint of nostalgia. She relates her contributions not as they are but as she perceives them in all their exaggerated glory; illustrations tell a different tale.

Read The Horn Book‘s review

Eleanor & Park
by Rainbow Rowell (St. Martin’s Griffin, an imprint of Macmillan)
It’s the start of a new school year in 1986 Omaha when sophomores Eleanor and Park meet for the first time on the bus. They are an unusual pair: she’s the new girl in town, an ostracized, bullied “big girl” with bright red curly hair, freckles, and an odd wardrobe; he’s a skinny half-Korean townie who mostly wears black and tries to stay out of the spotlight. But as they sit together on the school bus every day, an intimacy gradually develops between them.

Read The Horn Book‘s review

Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin
written and illustrated by Robert Byrd (Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Group)
With a jacket showing Benjamin Franklin as a cross between a mad scientist and a superhero standing amid wild lightning bolts and surrounded by all manner of electrical devices, this book shimmers with excitement, begging to be read. Byrd divides Franklin’s life into seventeen often whimsically labeled double-page spreads, highlighting his scientific, literary, and political endeavors in a fresh new way.

Read The Horn Book‘s review


2013 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award honor books

• Open This Little Book
by Jesse Klausmeier, illustrated by Suzy Lee (Chronicle Books)
• Black Dog
written and illustrated by Levi Pinfold (Templar Books, an imprint of Candlewick Press)

Read The Horn Book‘s reviews

• Seraphina
by Rachel Hartman (Random House Books for Young Readers)
• A Corner of White
by Jaclyn Moriarty (Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.)

Read The Horn Book‘s reviews

• Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building
written and illustrated by Christy Hale (Lee & Low Books)
• Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America
by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney (Disney/Jump at the Sun Books, an imprint of Disney Book Group)

Read The Horn Book‘s reviews


Previous winners include luminaries Ezra Jack Keats (1970, Picture Book Award Winner), David Macaulay (1989, Nonfiction Award Winner), Lois Lowry (1987 Fiction Award Winner, 1993 Fiction Honor Winner) and Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, 2012 Picture Book Award Winners for Extra Yarn. More information can be found by visiting the awards website:

The awards are chosen by an independent panel of three judges appointed by Mr. Sutton. The 2013 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards judges are: Chair, Sarah Ellis, Horn Book reviewer, author and teacher at The Vermont College of Fine Arts (Vancouver, B.C.); Pamela Yosca, children’s librarian and library consultant at MATCH Charter Public High School (Jamaica Plain, MA); Karen Kosko, retired school librarian (Cambridge, MA).

The winning titles must be published in the United States, but they may be written or illustrated by citizens of any country.

The Horn Book at SimmonsThe awards will be given at the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards Ceremony, a part of The Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium (October 4 and 5, 2013) at Simmons College in Boston, MA. The event kicks off with the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards ceremony with speeches from the awardees, followed by an autographing session and a celebratory evening reception. The following day, The Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium features the award winners and honorees in talks, panel discussions and small group sessions offering librarians, educators and children’s literature professionals a chance to examine critical issues relevant to children’s and young adult literature. For more information, please click here.

First published in 1924, The Horn Book Magazine provides its readership with in-depth reviews of the best new books for children and young adults as well as features, articles, and editorials. The Horn Book Guide, published twice annually, provides comprehensive reviews and a numerical rating for every hardcover children’s book published in the United States during the previous publishing season. The Horn Book Magazine, Guide, and Guide Online are publications of Media Source Inc., which is also the parent company of Library Journal, School Library Journal, and Junior Library Guild.



  1. Oh, yay. What a great collection of well-deserved books. Congratulations to all!

  2. Congratulations to all the winners and honor books. I know from reading to RIF kids the Picture Book and Non-Fiction winners are great favorites!

  3. I am a huge fan of both Seraphina by Hartman and Eleanor and Park by Rowell but I am confused about the dates for eligibility for this award. Seraphina was published in 2012, Eleanor and Park in 2013. What is the publishing date range for this award?

  4. Katie Bircher Katie Bircher says:

    Hi Anne,
    Good question! Because the BGHB Award schedule is based on the publishing year, books must have been published between June 1, 2012, and May 31, 2013 to be eligible for the 2013 awards. The publishing period for next year’s awards is June 1, 2013 to May 31, 2014. Hope that helps! 🙂

  5. AllisonGK says:

    Very interesting choices. I’m thrilled to see Hand in Hand included.

  6. I wish I had my old boom box so I could make Rainbow Rowell a mixtape. Oh, I really hope she will make the trip to accept in person!

  7. I am very interesting at horn book awards.
    I wached the video that the awards celemony,I feel very heartful.
    thank you ,I want to be a children’s librarian.

  8. Mollie Katie says:

    I clicked the link to get more details about the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards Ceremony at Simmons College in Boston on October 4th and 5th, 2013….but it links back to photos from the 2012 ceremony. Google search hasn’t provided me with any more information either, so I’m posting a comment here to ask (a) when Rainbow Rowell’s events are (i.e. the awards ceremony and any other times for possible readings/signings) during the two days of the conference, and (b) if any of those events would be open to the public. I worked as a student assistant in the archives and special collections of the library at Mount Holyoke College (sister campus for Simmons GSLIS-West!) while I was an undergrad and I loved it so much that I was hoping to become a librarian as my future career when I was injured, resulting in a disability that has put my academic dreams on hold permanently. So while I feel like a librarian in spirit, technically it’s highly unlikely that I would be qualified to be an official conference attendee, as much as I would really like to go. Thanks for any help you can provide.

  9. Katie Bircher Katie Bircher says:

    Hi Mollie,
    More information and online registration for Horn Book at Simmons is available here: You don’t have to be a librarian to attend! It’s open to everyone interested in children’s books. It will be held all day on Saturday, October 5th. The program is not confirmed yet but Ms. Rowell will be speaking and signing during the day.

    The award ceremony is held on Friday evening, October 4th, followed by a reception with signing. It is invitation-only, but we do keep a waiting list of those interested in attending.

    Thanks for your questions!

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