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Happy 20th anniversary, Roger!


RS_sitting_bertha_chair_500x541Sitting in Bertha Mahony Miller’s chair for the past two decades hasn’t always been comfortable, but I wasn’t hired to make people comfortable. For me, it’s a physical reminder of my mission in the field of children’s books.
—from Sitting in Bertha’s Chair by Roger Sutton, editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc. (coming in May 2016 from ImPress)

To celebrate twenty years at the helm of the The Horn Book, Roger Sutton turns his critical eye to his own life and what he hopes his legacy will be.

Here are twenty factoids (one for each year of his tenure) revealed in Roger’s insightful and hilarious upcoming memoir.

1. Young Roger played a game called “Librarian” where he checked books out of the family bookshelf. His brother John played at being a priest. They both pursued those professions when they grew up.

2. Roger’s love of poetry began in college, where he would recite verse on the library steps.

AF16_ethel_merman_disco_300x3003. No one has ever been able to count how many CDs he owns, but one of them is The Ethel Merman Disco Album.

4. In graduate school, Roger was the teacher’s pet. Thus the bow ties.

5. Inconceivable but true: Roger can quote all of Westley’s lines from The Princess Bride.

6. Roger’s uncle, Dr. Emmanuel Sutton, delivered baby Sutton Foster. She is named after him.

AF16_keep_sutton_area_clean_300x2547. Starting in 2016, he instituted a “no profanity” policy at The Horn Book: “Keep the Sutton area clean!”

8. In an early experiment with coed dorms, Roger’s suitemate at Pitzer College was Newbery Award–winning author Susan Patron.

9. Roger and QE2 once waved at each other.

AF16_RSchocolate2_300x38110. Roger’s artisanal Chex Mix has become such a local craze that it will be available in Boston-area Whole Foods stores beginning this holiday season. So will the limited-edition chocolates bearing his likeness.

11. Roger had never flown in an airplane until he went away to college, leaving Dedham, Massachusetts, for southern California.

12. Roger’s unpublished picture book manuscript, “This Book Will Win Awards,” is in a drawer in his home office.

13. Roger’s first dog, Buster, was a stray found in a park by Betsy Hearne. His current dog, Brownie, is a former prize-winning show dog.


AF16_socks_#AuthorAskYourself14. During his recent trip to LA, Roger took a meeting with Rob Kardashian about expanding his luxury sock brand.

15. At his suggestion, the Horn Book e-newsletter Talks with Roger was modeled on the popular nineteenth-century circular ‘Talks with Roget,’ in which lexicographer Peter Mark Roget interviewed prominent figures of the day.

16. As a boy, Roger and a friend performed “Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore” on a popular Sunday morning TV show in Boston. They sang and played guitar.

radio review17. When Roger returned to Boston in 1996 to take the reins of The Horn Book, he made a pilgrimage to the Make Way for Ducklings statues in the Public Garden. A picture of Roger riding Mrs. Mallard from the Horn Book archives is included in Sitting in Bertha’s Chair.

18. He’s irresistible: Roger’s doctor hit on him at his latest colonoscopy.

19. When he was in college, Roger used to sing at a bar. Two of his old standards were “Time Heals Everything” from Mack & Mabel and “The Perfect Nanny” from Mary Poppins.

Curious George and Kitty Flynn. Photo: Elissa Gershowitz20. Sometimes at ALA conferences, Roger helps out at the Houghton booth by wearing the Curious George costume.






  1. little bro says:

    It was “Go Tell It On the Mountain”, not “Michael”

  2. 21. Roger has a particular liking for an Australian lolly (candy) called Minties. I owe him a packet. (Note to self.)

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