Pokko and the Drum: Matthew Forsythe's 2020 BGHB Picture Book Honor Speech

A great author — whose name I can’t recall — once said, “All happy frog families are alike. But each unhappy frog family is unhappy in its own way.”

When I made Pokko and the Drum, I wanted to make a book about a flawed family. For this reason, the book is dedicated to my own wonderfully flawed family — to my parents, who are the only parents I would ever choose.

[Read Horn Book reviews of the 2020 BGHB Picture Book winners.]

I want to especially thank all the readers, booksellers, and librarians who have utterly shocked me with their enthusiasm for this book. They have given the book a life of its own and made the story so much more meaningful to me.

Congratulations to Oge Mora, whose work is always jubilant. And Julie Flett, whose work is always inspiring.

Thanks to Paula Wiseman, the only publisher with whom I could have made this. Thanks to Jonathan Yamakami and Tom Daly for their indispensable design work. And my agent Judy Hansen, who inspires me every time we talk.

Finally thanks to all the Horn Book People, for this wonderful reflective plate and this surprising honor.

From the January/February 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine. For more on the 2020 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards, click on the tag BGHB20. Read more from The Horn Book by and about Matthew Forsythe.

Matthew Forsythe

Matthew Forsythe is the author-illustrator of the 2020 Boston Globe–Horn Book Picture Book Honor book Pokko and the Drum.

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