R.I.P. dear Henrietta

Everyone at the Horn Book was sad to learn this morning that Dr. Henrietta M. Smith, Professor Emerita at the University of South Florida's School of Information, died on Wednesday at the age of ninety-eight. I first met Henrietta back in the 1980s at the summer program in children's literature sponsored by the School of Library Service at Columbia University in New York. I was teaching a course in YA literature and Henrietta--herself a professor--was one of my students. That was intimidating, but Henrietta soothed my nerves by telling me she didn't feel up enough on the young adult end of things and was there to learn. That's a true professor for you.

We renewed our friendship when in 1996 I came to the Horn Book, where Henrietta had already established herself as one of the first reviewers for the Horn Book Guide, which began in 1990. Her contributions to the field of youth librarianship and literature blessed us for many years, and we thank her. In her memory, here is Henrietta's interview with Augusta Baker from the March/April 1995 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Roger Sutton
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.
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Chrystal Carr Jeter

Thank you, Roger for honoring my dear friend and mentor-colleague, Dr. Henrietta M. Smith. And, serious hugs to you for reprinting her timeless interview with Augusta Baker!! This was a remarkable and historic interview. And, thanks also, for your words of remembrance - they only confirm that Henrietta's light was a beacon for us all in the field of Children's Literature. Just knowing her was a privilege and an honor. Specifically, as a former Coretta Scott King Book Award Chair, I was able to directly bask in some of that "focused" and infectious light when she shared (to anyone who would take the time to listen) her opinion about a particular up-coming artist or author or an upcoming trend in the genre. Her passion for classical storytelling, African-American children’s books, and her joy in sharing the impact of these deserving writers and illustrators on our history was captivating. Looking back, I can recall from treasured memories, how she helped to shape and direct my own career path. I will be forever grateful for those moments that I was able to benefit from the steady and unrelenting light from my beloved "Delta" Soror. She will be missed. R.I.P. Dear Henrietta M. Smith

Posted : Apr 26, 2021 06:50


Kathleen McCook

Thank you for this wonderful tribute. I am so lucky we were friends & colleagues at the University of South Florida for nearly 30 years.

Posted : Apr 24, 2021 05:43


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