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Children's Books and Contradictions

In March 1888, New York City was in the midst of a legendary blizzard. The city had been caught off-guard, unprepared for a storm so late in the year. The trees were already blooming in Central Park, the birds were singing — and then the unexpected snow. For days, streetcars...

Profile of 2020 Coretta Scott King Book Award Illustrator and Caldecott Medal winner Kadir Nelson

Kadir Nelson is the winner of the 2020 Caldecott Medal and the 2020 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for The Undefeated, written by Kwame Alexander, who also won a Newbery Honor for the book’s text. Here, Alexander pays tribute to his creative collaborator.   I gave my father, a children’s...

The Writer's Page: "At the Mercy or Whim of Others": Policing Protest in Children's Publishing

“I will not write another lament.” That’s the first line of my poem “Room to Breathe,” which I wrote on May 29, 2020, the day a White Minneapolis police officer was charged with the murder of George Floyd. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, I turned to poetry, since I couldn’t...

In Memoriam: Tomie dePaola (1934–2020)

The first thing I think of when I think of Tomie dePaola (who died in March at the age of eighty-five, from complications following a fall) isn’t a book at all. It’s Christmas. I think of a Tomie dePaola nativity set my family had growing up. I’m not even talking...

Happy Anniversary: The People Could Fly

The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales told by Virginia Hamilton, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, was published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1985. We look back on this iconic Coretta Scott King Author Award winner (also a CSK Illustrator honor) as it celebrates its thirty-fifth anniversary.   Since...

2020 Mind the Gap Awards: The books that didn't win at ALA

Not all deserving books bring home ALA awards. The books that didn’t win.   Misplaced A Place to Land by Barry Wittenstein; illus. by Jerry Pinkney A Place to Belong by Cynthia Kadohata; illus. by Julia Kuo     Adrift River by Elisha Cooper Lalani of the Distant Sea by...

A Year with Words and Pictures — but No ALA Annual

Who are we this time of year, without the organizing principle of the various celebrations of books and authors at ALA Annual? Usually, we’d be looking forward to the Coretta Scott King (CSK) Book Awards Breakfast, the Newbery-Caldecott-Legacy Banquet, the Pura Belpré Celebración; running into old friends on the exhibit...

From the Chair: Small Moments of Joy (2020 Caldecott Committee, ALA)

Readers of The Horn Book Magazine will have heard this before: a book has the power to change a person, and a person has the power to change a book. Depending on who you are at a given time and the experiences you have collected, the understanding of a book...

Cadenza: The Rules That "Jack" Broke

This is the house that Jack built… / This is the cat, / That killed the rat, / That ate the malt / that lay in the house that Jack built. This is the noun that noun verbed… / This is the noun, / That verbed the noun, / That...
138 articles

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