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Five questions for 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Picture Book Award winners Maxine Beneba Clarke and Van Thanh Rudd

A talented pair from Down Under, author Maxine Beneba Clarke and illustrator Van Thanh Rudd are the co-creators of this year’s Boston Globe–Horn Book Picture Book Award winner The Patchwork Bike (Candlewick, 5–8 years). Rudd’s playful, tactile illustrations (done on scrap cardboard) perfectly complement the childlike sensibility of Clarke’s spare,...

Five questions for Laurie Halse Anderson

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Photo: Randy Fontanilla.This year marks the twentieth anniversary of Laurie Halse Anderson’s landmark novel Speak (Farrar, 12–16 years), about Melinda, a teenage rape victim who reclaims her voice. Now in SHOUT (Viking, 14 years and up), the author presents a “poetry memoir” that explores frequently painful events in her own...

Five questions for Claire Hartfield

Photo: Brian McConkey.With painstaking historical detail, Claire Hartfield’s nonfiction book  A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 (Clarion, 12–16 years) recounts the week of violence in 1919 Chicago that left thirty-eight people dead and 537 wounded (two-thirds of the casualties were black; one-third, white) and the underlying...

Five questions for Newbery Medalist Meg Medina

Photo: Petite Shards Productions.Meg Medina is the winner of the 2019 Newbery Medal for Merci Suárez Changes Gears (read The Horn Book Magazine's starred review here). For our February issue of The Horn Book Herald: ALA Youth Media Awards Edition e-newsletter, Medina answered Five Questions posed by Horn Book reviewer,...

Five questions for Caroline Cala

If you were a young reader in the nineties (or even if you weren’t), there’s a good chance you remember Ann M. Martin’s Baby-Sitters Club books. Author Caroline Cala definitely does, and her hilarious series-starter Best Babysitters Ever (Houghton, 10–12 years) brings Kristy’s great idea of yore to modern readers...

Five questions for Traci Sorell and Frané Lessac

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We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga by Traci Sorell, illustrated by Frané Lessac (Charlesbridge, 5–8 years), is a lushly illustrated, through-the-seasons look at a contemporary Cherokee community's daily life, pausing for celebrations of traditional observances (e.g., Cherokee New Year) and making special note of gratitude.1. "Cherokee people say otsaliheliga to express gratitude....

Five questions for Kate DiCamillo

Fans of Kate DiCamillo’s Raymie Nightingale will remember Louisiana Elefante as the perceptive friend (and orphaned daughter of trapeze artists) who reassures the others: “We’ll rescue each other.” In companion book Louisiana’s Way Home (both Candlewick, 8–11 years), it seems that Louisiana may need rescuing — from the “care” of...

Five questions for Zetta Elliott

Zetta Elliott's Dragons in a Bag (Random, 8–11 years) kicks off a new middle-grade fantasy series starring Jaxon, a young African American Brooklynite who gets a glimpse of the magical possibilities of our world (and others) when he spends a day with new acquaintance Ma.1. In the acknowledgements of Dragons...

Five questions for Sergio Ruzzier

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Photo: Matt Carr.The Party and Other Stories [Fox + Chick] (Chronicle; 5–8 years) stars two friends whose relationship isn’t always so smooth. It looks like a picture book from the outside, but simply structured panels and spare, repetitive text make it work just as effectively as an easy reader and...
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