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Let's Laugh at Nazis

We saw Jojo Rabbit this weekend and I think you all should see it too. It’s an anti-BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS, still a fable but blackly hilarious and not relying on a viewpoint only masquerading as childlike.   Along with transitive verbs used intransitively, my biggest bête noire in...


Elisha Cooper’s River is the story of a woman who travels the length of the Hudson River by canoe. She starts one morning at a mountain lake (the book’s backmatter tells us it’s New York’s Henderson Lake), waves goodbye to her family, and heads downstream: “Three hundred miles stretch in front of her....

Fanfare 2019 Booklist

Below is Fanfare, a list of the books that the Horn Book editors and reviewers have selected as the best of 2019. The annotated list will be published in the December issue of Notes from the Horn Book (sign up!) and in the January/February 2020 issue of the Horn Book Magazine...

Why the Hell Hasn’t a Book Won the Newbery AND the Caldecott?

ELISA GALL: The Newbery and Caldecott committees used to be one and the same. Before they were divided into two separate committees (this happened in the late 1970s), a book was either considered for one of the awards or the other: never both. Now a book can win both the Newbery...

You Are Home

I was always a library-dwelling indoor kid by nature, but some of my fondest childhood memories are from summer day trips in the Smoky Mountains — just a quick, early-morning drive to stake out a swimming hole before the tourists got there. It all comes back in sense memories of...

Five Questions for Susan Cooper

"The Shortest Day, " Susan Cooper's 1974 poem honoring the winter solstice, is performed annually at The Christmas Revels. Now, Carson Ellis's gouache illustrations grace a picture-book version, The Shortest Day (Candlewick, 5–8 years), which imagines people "down the centuries of the snow-white world" as they greet the season. See...


Barbara McClintock's Vroom! is one of my favorite picture books of 2019 for very young children — and I'm a perennial cheerleader for great books for the youngest, though they rarely if ever garner Caldecott recognition. Still! They are worth speaking up for.  In recognition of its audience, Vroom! wastes no...

Reviewing the book that's in front of your face

One of the cardinal sins of book reviewing is evaluating a book for what it is not. Perhaps it is not the book the reviewer would like to be reading, or is not about a subject the reviewer finds of value or interest, or does not take an approach to...

When Aidan Became a Brother

Could it be? A book with a trans character whose queer identity is not the sole storyline? Well, almost. But still, here it is — and a possible contender for the Caldecott Medal to boot. When Aidan Became a Brother is the story of a soon-to-be older sibling and his anxieties...
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