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Editorial: Aiming High

The other day I was visiting Liz Phipps Soeiro’s elementary school library in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when a young, preternaturally polite girl came in looking for a book recommendation: “I would like something that moves my emotions.” Liz asked her to ask me; I asked the girl to name the book she had last enjoyed; she offered Kimberly Brubaker Bradley’s The War That Saved My Life, a 2016 Newbery Honor Book. Now, let’s contrast that interaction with this observation made by another librarian friend, Bank Street School’s Allie Jane Bruce, on Twitter: “The best measure of how much any library REALLY loves its kids is how much crap it has.”

I so love working in a profession where both awards and crap are part of every workday. (Cue the public librarians on restroom patrol.) We recognized a long time ago that it isn’t just “worthy” literature that belongs in libraries and children’s reading imaginations. It nevertheless remains at the heart of what we do, and in this issue we celebrate those books that aim high. (And not just the ALA winners; please also note our “Mind the Gap” choices and the announcement of the 2017 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winners.)

* * *

Alerting you to some changes here at the Horn Book, I wanted to tell you that I have restructured the org chart (shut up, and wait until I start slinging my deep dives and low-hanging fruit at you) to make Elissa Gershowitz and Martha V. Parravano Executive Editor and Book Review Editor, respectively, of The Horn Book, Inc. These supremely capable editors will each lead our thinking in their spheres — editorial content and book reviews — across all of our channels. No longer do we attach specific publication names to job titles; going forward, our staff of nine is platform neutral as we Blow the Horn in print and digital media. Your paper copy of The Horn Book Magazine isn’t going anywhere, although it will soon be joined by a digital edition; The Horn Book Guide is now a digital-only publication and website:

If you read — does anyone? — the masthead that lists our editors as well as our Media Source minders, you’ll see three new vice presidents plus a chief information officer. They’re all great, but I point you to them here as further evidence of the Horn Book’s commitment (and that of sister companies LJ/SLJ and the Junior Library Guild) to keeping and building audiences in a world that is reading in all kinds of ways. Thank you for coming along.

From the July/August 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.



  1. Susan Marston says:

    Yay for great books, “crap,” and the decidedly not crappy Elissa, Martha, and the Horn Book publications in all forms!

  2. I am sad to hear that The Horn Book Guide will now be a digital-only publication.

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