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Some people smarter than I

baby-foot-in-mouth-200pxWhile putting my thoughts back in to fully bake–just kidding, I’ve ditched that recipe–I wanted to share some of the valuable links people provided in the comments to my last post and on Facebook. And let me say again how grateful I am for your bearing with me. I think a lot about what it means to be a man in children’s books (why, for example, do so many of us talk about book awards like they are sports?) but my post of last Friday was not only half-baked, it was clueless as to what was happening in the kitchen and the nation.

So here’s some reality. Jackie Woodson has issued a statement in which she is definitely taking the high road:

“I’d rather continue to move the dialogue forward in a positive light rather than a negative one. This is a moment when our country can grow and learn and better understand each other. It would be nice to put the energy back where it should be — on the books and what the books are saying and doing — Redeployment is an astounding novel, Glück is nothing short of an amazing poet. I don’t know Osnos’ book yet but I plan to read it. Brown Girl Dreaming is about writing and about the history of this country. But more than that, it’s about what this conversation should be — a coming to understanding across lines of race.”

Here is a link to Nikky Finney’s “Choking on a Watermelon.” And David Perry’s post, which was one of the first critiques I saw. Laura Ruby shared this beautiful post from Ashley Ford; and Sarah Hamburg provided some historical context with Ta-Nehisi Coates’ thoughts on Forest Whittaker’s encounter with racism in an UWS deli.

Please also see relevant Horn Book resources, which Elissa and Katie began curating after we published Christopher Myers’s “Young Dreamers,” one of the most important essays I’ve seen come through this office and for which I will be forever grateful to Christopher for sending it our way.

That’s it for today–I am now off to engage in the annual bloody battle also known as the Fanfare discussion.



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. ChristineTB says:

    On the piece about privilege, Princeton and no apologies

    The phrase “privilege” speaks not to the ability to overcome hardships to become successful, but a lack of awareness that an equally positioned person of color might not have had the same opportunities. Not all “white” people are privileged in terms of economics. But most don’t have to fear walking home when a George Zimmerman is near.

    MIT and the University of Chicago sent out multiple resumes that were identical except that the names sounded black. This is the result of that:

    Just wanted to add that to the tendency to assume there is no “privilege” in being the predominant culture.

    I have also noted that in high tech there is an abundance of POC grads with strong technical degrees. But they don’t get hired. At my former employer, a manager once admitted that he’d hired a white male in his fifties for a job that required fluency in Spanish, rather than the young Hispanic woman who was equally qualified and bi-lingual. Because he was more comfortable with the former.

    Roger – not much has changed in the decades since then.

  2. ChristineTB says:

    Btw – very good mix of links on this subject. Very balanced. Thank you!

  3. Allie Jane Bruce says:

    Yes, thanks for posting this, and for re-posting the conversation following “A Very Good Question”. I find all these resources extremely helpful, and it’s great to have them readily available.

  4. What I had really hoped you would see (and share) was the thoughtful response to the Princeton kid’s essay on Jezebel, which is here:

    I’d love it if you’d edit to include my link this companion piece in the main post, as the way the link is offered up now suggests that I share that original poster’s feelings (and misunderstandings, I think) about the concept of privilege. I don’t, and presenting the link as you have leaves me feeling a bit misrepresented.

  5. Heather Gensler says:

    I just wanted to say thanks for adding the different links. That gave me more information on what you where talking about here. By putting more links in you get everyone’s side of the story which is a good idea.

  6. Roger Sutton Roger Sutton says:

    Sorry Kate, I never meant to imply you shared the poster’s p.o.v. but have deleted the reference.

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