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The morning after

[In a burst of apparently unwarranted Dewey-beats-Truman optimism, my original draft for this afternoon’s Notes from the Horn Book editorial suggested that Hillary Clinton could do worse than read some E.B. White (Melissa Sweet’s Some Writer! is reviewed in the issue) to guide her presidency. Probably still not a bad idea even as things turned out, but I obviously had to change gears. The new editorial is below.]

fred-with-daniel-model-castleAs our Out of the Box blog pointed out back in March, Hillary Clinton is far more popular as a subject for children’s books than has been our President-elect, Donald Trump. (The Horn Book Guide Online currently counts seventeen books about Clinton and one about Donald Trump.) This will change: while I’m hard-pressed to think that Trump could inspire as cozy a picture book as, say, Kathleen Krull and Amy June Bates’s Hillary Rodham Clinton: Dreams Taking Flight, at the very least he’ll find himself now included amongst the many school series devoted to the American presidents. But My Dad, John McCain notwithstanding, trade children’s book publishing in this country is otherwise as Blue as New England, and this election may serve — please, God, may it serve to do something — to remind us, the Blues, that an awful lot of children live in families and communities that see things very differently from us.

While I am tempted by my friend Elizabeth Law’s facetious suggestion over on Facebook to spend the next four years doing nothing but keeping my head in one middle-grade novel or another, that is obviously not a solution. Look for the helpers, Fred Rogers famously said. Be the helpers, I say to you. Keep bringing children and books together.

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. Claire Ciampa says:

    Wonderful reminder of great advice from a very wise man, Roger. And great spin on it too. BE the helpers. Yes! Thoughtful words on a very sad day.

  2. I’ve read it, but cannot remember if Melissa Sweet put this quote in Some Writer! but still, E.B. White, like Mr. Rogers, was optimistic. “Hang onto your hat. Hang onto your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day” I enjoyed reading what you wrote today. Thanks!

  3. Leslie Guhl says:

    Thank you for pointing out the sad dearth of children’s books on Mr. Trump. It’s a sad day when no publisher will even print a book for children that is favorable to a presidential contender.

  4. Roger Sutton Roger Sutton says:

    Don’t be too quick to assume bad intent–the decision to publish a biography for young people depends upon the subject’s intrinsic appeal to a young audience (thus the books about pop stars) or usefulness in a curriculum. Mr. Trump’s ascension to the Presidency guarantees that books about him will be published because schools need books about presidents. Previously, he wasn’t doing anything that was of much interest to children, thus just the one biography, in the “People to Know Today” series, his appearance in which was based, I’m guessing, on his TV show.

  5. Whenever someone quotes that famous and uplifting Helpers quote, I am tempted to suggest that the quote might actually be attributed to Nancy Rogers, neé Nancy McFeely, his mother.

    After all, he attributed it to her.

    “Look for the Helpers.” -Nancy Rogers

    Perhaps if we were more comfortable quoting women and giving credit to women and admiring the insights of women, we wouldn’t be in this mess we’re in now.

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