A Note from Me (Mar 26, 2021)

Dear friends:

For those readers who have caviled at the “liberal agenda” supposedly being promulgated in this weekly letter, let’s get this out of the way right at the top: this country needs more effective gun control now. Whatever mental illness, whatever racism, whatever evil drives a person to kill, the fact remains that the ready access to firearms of ludicrously redundant force allows those people to kill with ease and volume. That needs to stop.

I know I normally begin this letter with something chipper, but who can feel chipper this week…or last (see above)? There have been moments of light — we got to visit via FaceTime with our kids and grandkids last night and to hear that soccer and Little League are back on in their town (masks required), and I’m delighted that I finally have an appointment scheduled for my Shot. May you have yours, too.

As always books provide both diversion and solace, and one in which I think you all might find both is Mitali Perkins’s Steeped in Stories: Timeless Children’s Novels to Refresh Our Tired Souls, coming this summer from Broadleaf Books and excerpted in the March/April Magazine. I love how Mitali, with whom I bonded years ago over the best ice cream in Massachusetts, forthrightly considers seven of the most chestnutty of children’s classics (Anne of Green Gables, Heidi, Emily of Deep Valley, The Hobbit, Little Women, A Little Princess, and The Silver Chair) in the context of her Bengali-American childhood and in her post-childhood conversion to Christianity. That’s a lot, but with the warmth and open-heartedness of Mitali’s writing, it never feels like it. It’s like talking about books with a friend. (Update from my book club: Bruce and I are getting more than a little annoyed with young Mr. Castorp, and just as he’s been forced to take to his bed, poor thing. Let’s hope Hofrat Behrens puts the fear of Agatha K. Plumber in him).

Richard is horrified with the number of books I have going at any given time, but I’ve been balancing Thomas Mann with Kate Quinn’s The Rose Code. I’m still in the middle so DON’T TELL ME, but I’m impressed that she’s given one of her three fictional code-busting heroines a real-life boyfriend, Prince Philip of Greece. I guess we all know how that’s going to work out for her; still, good to see him up and about.



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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