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Welcome to the Horn Book's Family Reading blog, a place devoted to offering children's book recommendations and advice about the whats and whens and whos and hows of sharing books in the home. Find us on Twitter @HornBook and on Facebook at

The opposite of “easy”

We’ve passed the early reading stage in my house, but I love the Magazine’s new column on books for beginning readers, which declares that we are in an “easy reader renaissance.” I can see why. Books for kids learning to read are being published in all shapes, sizes, and formats, from the traditional I Can Read titles to Holiday House’s I Like to Read hybrid series and TOON books’ comic-style entries. And just because my two guys are currently tackling chapter books and longer nonfiction, doesn’t mean that we don’t still revisit old friends like Elephant and Piggie and Frog and Toad.

New for New Readers: An Easy Reader Renaissance” from the Magazine’s March/April 2018 issue inaugurates an ongoing focus on the genre, here providing a quick historical overview and highlighting some of its best current series and creators.

Also in the March/April 2018 issue, the “From the Guide: New for New Readers” supplement boosts the signal of more recommended titles.

I have to add, however, that whenever I hear “easy reader,” I’m reminded of something author-illustrator Grace Lin (whose Ling & Ting series gets a shout-out in the new column) wrote on the subject. In a January 2011 guest blog post for, Grace wrote about her discomfort with the ubiquitous term easy reader, preferring the more new-reader-supportive early reader. As Grace astutely observed: “there is nothing easy about a successful book for beginning readers!”

About Kitty Flynn

Kitty Flynn is consulting editor for The Horn Book, Inc.

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