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The Writer's Page: Hello Again

Writing sequels or companion books to my novels has never been tempting to me, probably because I like to think each book accomplished all I’d intended to say. After completing When Zachary ­Beaver Came to Town (1999), I felt satisfied that I’d finished the story of Toby, Cal, and Zachary....

Field Notes: "But Are They Level O?": Leveled Reading and Antiracism

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Knoth reading to a kindergarten class in her school library. My search began with the most ordinary of questions. All school librarians will recognize the request: a teacher sent a weekend email needing book suggestions for her fourth graders — books that were well written, accessible, and of course, engaging....

Why Read Books from the Past?

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Mitali Perkins's nonfiction book for adults Steeped in Stories: Timeless Children's Novels to Refresh Our Tired Souls (Broadleaf Books) will be published in August. In it Perkins examines seven classic children's novels — Anne of Green Gables, Heidi, Emily of Deep Valley, The Hobbit, Little Women, A Little Princess, and...

Nonfiction Windows So White

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Every reader of this magazine knows that Rudine Sims Bishop’s “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors” framework has become a central part of our vocabulary as we evaluate books for children and teenagers. Indeed it is a kind of organizing metaphor in the industry-wide push for a more representative literature...

More Than a Footnote: Challenges for BIPOC Nonfiction Authors

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For as long as I can remember, I have had three loves: jazz, poetry, and history. Those passions merged in my 2000 nonfiction title The Sound That Jazz Makes — a manuscript that was rejected more than a dozen times. The book’s first review was so negative that I cried....

In Memoriam: Jill Paton Walsh (1937–2020)

It’s a trick of the human mind that we rarely remember experiences in sequence. Rather, our brain does something scattershot, collaged. When emotion inflects memory, as happens at the death of a friend, it can be a struggle to organize the onrush of the past into narrative coherence. The news...

The CCBC's Diversity Statistics: New Categories, New Data

This is the fourth column in a series examining statistics gathered by the recently expanded database of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC), a research library of the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Education. Previous columns can be found at hbook.com/tag/ccbc. Since 1985, the CCBC has kept track of children’s...

"Sometimes You Have to Lie": A Conversation with Leslie Brody

Nearly sixty years after the publication of Harriet the Spy (Harper, 1964) the book remains as fresh as ever, so it’s not surprising that Harriet’s author was just as captivating. In her new, thoroughly researched biography, Sometimes You Have to Lie: The Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author...

A Conversation with Literary Agents on Diversity and Inclusion

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At the beginning of 2020, Lee & Low Books released the second iteration of its Diversity Baseline Survey (DBS 2.0), four years after the first survey was released in 2015. Before the DBS was conducted, people suspected that publishing had a diversity problem, but without hard numbers the extent of that problem was anyone’s guess. Although DBS 2.0 newly includes two more areas of the publishing industry...
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