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2021 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.   Stalled The Old Truck by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey     Didn't fly How to Find a Bird by Jennifer Ward; illus. by Diana Sudyka     Missed its... Chance by Uri Shulevitz    ...

Reviews of 2021 Mind the Gap Award winners

Not all deserving books bring home ALA awards. Our annual Mind the Gap Awards pay tribute to our favorite books that didn’t win. Here’s how we reviewed our 2021 winners.   The Old Truck by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey; illus. by the authors Preschool, Primary    Norton    40 pp. 1/20   ...

2020 in Pictures and Words

The last time we sat down to put virtual pen to communal paper for our annual “year in review” article (“A Year with Words and Pictures — but No ALA Annual,” July/August 2020 Horn Book), it was spring of 2020. We had been working from home for a few weeks,...

Our Foundation, Our Springboard: The Trailblazing Work of Mildred D. Taylor and Jacqueline Woodson

Because Coretta Scott King Author Award winner Jacqueline Woodson and Children's Literature Legacy Award winner Mildred D. Taylor have been so recently profiled in these pages (see the May/June 2019 and July/August 2020 issues), we decided instead to offer this year's Margaret A. Edwards Award winner Kekla Magoon space to...

Profile of 2021 CSK Illustrator Award winner Frank Morrison

When I met Frank in person, the first thing I noticed was his warm smile. But long before we exchanged smiles and hugs for the first time at the Society of Illustrators’ Original Art show several years ago, I had met Frank through his incredible artwork. Many years before, I...

Profile of 2021 Caldecott Medal winner Michaela Goade

In a tiny cabin, surrounded on three sides by ocean, Michaela Goade dipped her brush into a jar of water. She uncapped and squeezed paint — cerulean, cobalt, ultramarine — onto her mixing palette. At last, color combination perfected, Michaela brought brush to paper. Watercolor is a daunting medium for...

Profile of 2021 Newbery Medal winner Tae Keller

Tae Keller holding her "heart story." [Photo courtesy of Tae Keller.] Tae Keller believes in the power of stories. In When You Trap a Tiger, she explores the stories that we tell ourselves — the ones that shape our identities. What are the stories we cling to and what are...

2021 CSK–Virginia Hamilton Award Acceptance by Dorothy L. Guthrie

I am so honored to have my work recognized with this award. I want to thank chair Ida Thompson and the CSK–Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award Jury for this honor. Virginia Hamilton has always been one of my favorite authors. I can still remember how I felt when I read...

Editorial: House Party (July/August 2021)

While still all abuzz about our May/June special issue, which celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Pura Belpré Award and Latinx literature for young people, we started working on July/August, our annual ALA Awards special issue. In 2019, we’d marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards...

Table of Contents: July/August 2021 Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: ALA Awards

Cover © 2021 by Michaela Goade. Cover illustration art direction by Aram Kim.   Features 2020 in Pictures and Words by Horn Book editors Caldecott Medal Acceptance by Michaela Goade A profile of Michaela Goade by Kirsten Hall Newbery Medal Acceptance by Tae Keller A profile of Tae Keller by...

2021 Children's Literature Legacy Award Acceptance by Mildred D. Taylor

Thank you, American Library Association, for honoring my work with the Children’s Literature Legacy Award. This most prestigious award is bestowed as my career is ending. In 1975, the year my first book was published, my career was just beginning. I had been preparing for my writing career for many...

2021 CSK Illustrator Award Acceptance by Frank Morrison

Man, it was hot that day. One of those summer days when you don’t go outside unless you can find a good spot of shade. The days when the ice-cream man doesn’t come out until the sun sets. The days when if you’re fortunate enough to be in the house,...

2021 Caldecott Medal Acceptance by Michaela Goade

Lingít x’éináx yéi xat duwasáakw Sheit.een, Dleit káa x'éináx ku.aa Michaela Goade. Kiks.ádix xat sitee. Shdéen Hít yóo duwasáakw haa naakahídi. Ax éesh hás Kaagwaantaan. Sheet’káa yéi xat yatee. In Tlingit my name is Sheit.een, and in English my name is Michaela Goade. I am of the Kiks.ádi clan. Our clan house is called...

2021 Newbery Medal Acceptance by Tae Keller

Oh my goodness. The Newbery speech. This is a little intimidating. I’ve spent the past months wondering what, exactly, a Newbery speech should contain. I wondered if I should mention that this all feels a little impossible. I wondered if I should talk about how I called my family as...

On the Futurity of the Pura Belpré Award

A reflection on the future of the Pura Belpré Award must begin with a meditation on the past. As Black, Caribbean, Afro-Atlantic, and Afro-Latinx scholars teach us, the future is in the past, and the present is in the future. My contemplation, then, begins with two iconic photographs of Pura...

Lighting the Candle: Thank You, Mr. Baumgartner

Irene (seated, second from left) and Pam (seated, fifth from left) in third grade. (Photo courtesy of Pam Muñoz Ryan.) If I hadn’t been a failed violinist, I might never have become a writer. When I was in fourth grade, the public school I attended had a coveted orchestra program....

HBTV: Pura Belpré Award Videos

Welcome to HBTV, our exciting new (occasional) children's book-related TV show! In the inaugural episode of HBTV, I talk about the Pura Belpré Awards, on the occasion of its 25th anniversary, with Belpré Award winner Meg Medina and award co-founder Sandra Ríos Balderrama.     My Belpré conversation continues in...

Lighting the Candle: Untitled

From the May/June 2021 special issue of The Horn Book Magazine: The Pura Belpré Award at 25. Find more in the "Lighting the Candle" series here. Illustration (c) 2021 by Sara Palacios....

Lighting the Candle: What Words and Art Can Do

This is a joyful memory, lo prometo, though it’s one connected to suffering as well. I am a writer and walk in this world with gratitude and purpose because of my mother, Isabel María Valdivieso Vexler Brown. In teaching me how to be an artist, she taught me how to...

Lighting the Candle: Dance with Me

Lilliam Rivera (left) with Titi Luz. (Photo courtesy of Lilliam Rivera.) She wore a long, colorful falda and matching blouse, or blusa, with ribboned ruffles, perfectly made for twirling. On a small stage stood my aunt Luz E. Ortiz Vázquez, ready to dance with her partner, who took her by...

Lighting the Candle: Mrs. Miller's Magic

From the May/June 2021 special issue of The Horn Book Magazine: The Pura Belpré Award at 25. Find more in the "Lighting the Candle" series here....

Lighting the Candle: The Kindness of Time

A page from one of the author's notebooks. (Photo: John Wiggins.) The kindness of time allows us to elucidate and inhabit memories from our childhoods that have shaped us into becoming who we are. I have always loved words, their sounds and textures. When I was a young girl, my...

Simple and Unassuming: Seeing Myself in the Story of a Bossy Rooster

You never know what it is about a book that an individual reader will connect with. It could be a character’s personality or interests. It could be the setting, a shared home. And sometimes it is something as simple and unassuming as an object. Let’s say, a box. When my...

Lighting the Candle: Blank Page Spark

From the May/June 2021 special issue of The Horn Book Magazine: The Pura Belpré Award at 25. Find more in the "Lighting the Candle" series here....

Lighting the Candle: The Sun Always Came Out Tomorrow

Miss Hannigan’s purple dress peeked out from behind the mulberry tree, the breeze pushing it against her calf and slightly above her black heels. She was good at hiding, but we were aware of her presence and that she’d been on our trail for the last twenty minutes and was...

Lighting the Candle: The Moments That Inspired the Journey

Alma Flor Ada at age five, in front of the Quinta Simoni in 1943. Photo courtesy of Alma Flora Ada. Growing up in Cuba at my grandmother’s home, the Quinta Simoni, surrounded by family and nature, was a most magical time. My parents, aunts, and uncles were all still young,...

Preview July/August 2021 Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: ALA Awards

Special Issue: ALA Awards. Original cover art by 2021 Caldecott Medal winner Michaela Goade. “2020 in Pictures and Words”: The Horn Book editors discuss the children’s book landscape in an unusual and groundbreaking year. Michaela Goade’s Caldecott Medal acceptance speech. A profile of Michaela Goade by her agent, Kirsten Hall....

Lighting the Candle: Tato's Tales

From the May/June 2021 special issue of The Horn Book Magazine: The Pura Belpré Award at 25. Find more in the "Lighting the Candle" series here....

Lighting the Candle: Thinking About the Verb

When I speak to groups of young people, I say, “I’m going to ask you a question. I’ll give you three seconds to think of an answer, and right now, I’m going to tell you that you will be wrong.” The question I ask is: “What do you want to...

Notes from Our Backyard

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The Cinco Puntos Press office in El Paso.   Let us begin by congratulating REFORMA and all the wonderful activist librarians who have made the Pura Belpré Award such a great success. Twenty-five years! They have fought for Latinx culture in its many forms and in doing so have brought...

Lighting the Candle: A Wild Ride

From left: Carmen's father, Carlos Agra; sister, Tersi Agra Bendiburg; Carmen Agra Deedy; and mother, Esther Ponz Agra, several years after arriving in the United States. Photo courtesy of Carmen Agra Deedy. When I was in middle school, my social studies teacher encouraged me to enter a writing contest, sponsored...

Lighting the Candle: Labyrinth

I came to the U.S. when I was a teenager. As I spent more time away from Mexico, where I grew up, I began to feel a little lost. I missed the food, the music, and the traditions. One of my high school teachers noticed this and loaned me a...

Lighting the Candle: The Year I Turned Ten

"Una vez que un objeto ha sido incorporado a una pintura, acepta un nuevo destino." —Georges Braque   The year I turned ten, my father moved us from my island of Puerto Rico to Buenos Aires, Argentina. For him, it was a long-awaited ­sabbatical. One he dreamt of spending in...

Lighting the Candle: Bagazo and El Josco

From the May/June 2021 special issue of The Horn Book Magazine: The Pura Belpré Award at 25. Find more in the "Lighting the Candle" series here....

Lighting the Candle: One Story, One Day

Mr. Riley’s room was just past the bathrooms on the left side of the hall across from the lockers (which, for some reason, we were not allowed to use). He stood in the doorway, hands in pockets, and welcomed us into class every day. He was a nice enough guy,...

Un Poquito Complicated: Spanish and the Pura Belpré Award

When the Pura Belpré Award was established in 1996, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking (REFORMA) made clear that it was intended to recognize Latinx creators “whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work...

Lighting the Candle: Thinking in Pictures

For me, a trip to the grocery store is an adventure. Choosing between red and green peppers involves staving off ravenous zombies who want to snack on my earlobes. Hefting ten pounds of black beans into my cart requires hiding from reptilian-skinned aliens intent on harvesting my toenails. Picking up...

Pura Belpré Award by the Numbers

The Award The Pura Belpré Award (PBA) has been awarded on 20 occasions: every other year from 1996 to 2008, and annually since then. Each year, there is a Medal winner in the categories of Children’s Narrative, Youth Illustration, and (as of 2021) Young Adult Narrative. Honor Books may also...

Lighting the Candle: Boom Box

I used to drive my mother dizzy with my never-ending stories. There was always something to share. A short TV cartoon I’d seen could turn into three hours of retelling. On my mother’s heels, from room to room, I would spin the smallest of daily events into an epic narrative...

Lighting the Candle: ¡Bórralo!

From the May/June 2021 special issue of The Horn Book Magazine: The Pura Belpré Award at 25. Find more in the "Lighting the Candle" series here....

Lighting the Candle: Pages of Pleasure

El Paso, Texas, a city on the U.S.–Mexico border, the city where Mom, my three siblings, my three children, and I were born. I grew up in a loving, bilingual home, English and Spanish — the second-most spoken language in the United States. Neither of Mom’s parents spoke English, though...

Titi Pura: A Conversation with Cristina Maduro and Lisa Fenstermacher

Anika Aldamuy Denise received a 2020 Pura Belpré narrative honor award for the picture-book biography Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré (art from which, by Paola Escobar, graces this issue’s cover). Anika spoke with Belpré’s great-nieces, sisters Cristina and Lisa, who share their personal recollections of...

Lighting the Candle: Unearthing a Writer

Mrs. Arnoldus (top row, third from left) and Donna Barba Higuera (second row from top, far left). Photo courtesy of Donna Barba Higuera. When word spread that homeroom assignments had gone out, every sixth grader at Roosevelt School waited by their mailbox, promising God they’d be good the rest of...

Lighting the Candle: El Paso to Pura Belpré

From the May/June 2021 special issue of The Horn Book Magazine: The Pura Belpré Award at 25. Find more in the "Lighting the Candle" series here....

Lighting the Candle: Inherited Exile

When I was little, my mother read poetry to me in Spanish. José Martí’s Versos sencillos were the essence of my memories from those early years. Even though he died in battle, his rosa blanca of forgiveness for enemies had an enormous impact on my lifelong commitment to peacemaking. After...

What the Pura Belpré Award Means to Me

I was digging into a plate of masitas de puerco at a Cuban restaurant on 46th Street in Manhattan a couple of years ago when the doors opened and in walked Minnie and Mickey Mouse. Nothing is ever really surprising in New York, so I assumed they were on a...

A Letter to Readers: ¡Celebremos!: 25 Years of the Pura Belpré Award

¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to this special issue of The Horn Book Magazine commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Pura Belpré Award and, more generally, Latinx literature for young people. As the 2020–21 vice president/president-elect of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and as past president of the National Association...

Editorial: (Re)Claiming Our Literature (May/June 2021)

Welcome to our celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Pura Belpré Award, founded in 1996 by REFORMA and the American Library Association to honor Latino and Latina creators of children’s and young adult literature whose work “best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience.” But before I pass...

Table of Contents: May/June 2021 Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: The Pura Belpré Award at 25

Cover from Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré. Illustration © 2019 Paola Escobar. Used by permission from HarperCollins Publishers.   Features What the Pura Belpré Award Means to Me by Meg Medina Thoughts from a Belpré winner and Newbery medalist. Titi Pura by Anika Aldamuy Denise...

Preview May/June 2021 Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: The Pura Belpré Award at 25

Special issue: The Pura Belpré Award at 25 Cover art by Paola Escobar from Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré, written by Anika Aldamuy Denise. Editorial page by special guest Sujei Lugo. A welcome letter from 2020–21 vice president/president-elect of ALSC; REFORMA past president; and Belpré...

ALA Awards 2021: Horn Book Reviews of the Winners

The most prestigious honors in children’s literature, the Newbery and Caldecott medals, were awarded to Tae Keller for When You Trap a Tiger and Michaela Goade for We Are Water Protectors on January 25, 2021, at the American Library Association’s virtual midwinter meeting. Also announced at the gathering were the...

Additional ALA Awards 2021

  Alex Award [for the ten best adult books that appeal to teen audiences] Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga Press/Gallery Books/Simon) The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune (Tor Books/Tom Doherty Associates/Macmillan) The Impossible First: From Fire to Ice - Crossing Antarctica Alone by Colin O'Brady (Scribner/Simon)...

Reviews of the 2021 Sibert Award Winners

Winner Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera by Candace Fleming; illus. by Eric Rohmann Primary    Porter/Holiday    40 pp. 2/20    978-0-8234-4285-0    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4304-8    $11.99 A worker bee breaks out of her honeycomb cell and begins a task-filled life in her colony. The “teeming, trembling flurry” of bees within...

Reviews of the 2021 Pura Belpré YA Award Winners

Winner Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez High School    Algonquin    368 pp.    g 9/20    9781616209919    $17.95 REVIEW TO COME             Honor Books Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera High School    Bloomsbury    320 pp.    g 9/20    978-1-5476-0373-2    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5476-0374-9    $13.29 Pheus is an...

Reviews of the 2021 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award Winners

Winner ¡Vamos!: Let’s Go Eat by Raúl the Third; illus. by the author; color by Elaine Bay Primary    Versify/Houghton    40 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-328-55704-9    $14.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-33070-7    $9.99 Little Lobo and his canine sidekick Bernabé, whom we met in ¡Vamos!: Let’s Go to the Market (rev. 3/19),...

Reviews of the 2021 Pura Belpré Author Award Winners

Winner Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros Intermediate, Middle School    Quill Tree/HarperCollins    272 pp.    g 3/20    978-0-06-288168-7    $16.99 REVIEW TO COME           Honor Books Lupe Wong Won’t Dance by Donna Barba Higuera Intermediate, Middle School    Levine Querido    272 pp.    g...

Reviews of the 2021 Printz Award Winners

Winner Everything Sad Is Untrue: (A True Story) by Daniel Nayeri Middle School    Levine Querido    368 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-64614-000-8    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-64614-002-2    $9.99 Framed loosely as his twelve-year-old self’s responses to a series of school assignments, Nayeri’s fictionalized memoir swirls through his own memories as well as stories from his family...

Reviews of the 2021 CSK Illustrator Award Winners

Winner R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul  by Carole Boston Weatherford; illus. by Frank Morrison  Primary, Intermediate    Atheneum    48 pp.    g  8/20    978-1-5344-5228-2    $18.99  e-book ed.  978-1-5344-5229-9    $10.99  This impressionistic picture-book biography of Aretha Franklin (1942–2018) consists of a series of rhyming couplets following the iconic singer through her life. Weatherford employs...

Reviews of the 2021 CSK Author Award Winners

Winner Before the Ever After  by Jacqueline Woodson Intermediate    Paulsen/Penguin    176 pp.    g 9/20    978-0-399-54543-6    $17.99 In her latest novel in verse, Woodson (Locomotion, rev. 3/03; Brown Girl Dreaming, rev. 9/14) explores the impact of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) on football players and their families from the...

Reviews of the 2021 Caldecott Medal Winners

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Winner We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom; illus. by Michaela Goade Primary    Roaring Brook    40 pp.    g 3/20    978-1-250-20355-7    $17.99 The book opens with a young Indigenous girl collecting water with her grandmother, who tells her that “water is the first medicine.” Vibrant blues, greens, and purples...

Reviews of the 2021 Newbery Medal Winners

Winner When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller Intermediate, Middle School    Random House    298 pp.    g 1/20    978-1-5247-1570-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5247-1572-4    $9.99 Korean American middle schooler Lily thinks she has to take on a magical tiger in order to save her beloved Halmoni (grandmother), but...

Field Notes: Teaching Infinite Hope

Ashley Bryan’s Infinite Hope: A Black Artist’s Journey from World War II to Peace won the 2020 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for Nonfiction and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Award — but as a teacher, children’s literature aficionado, and friend of Ashley’s, I’ve known the book was special for...

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...

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...

Reviews of 2020 Mind the Gap Award winners

Not all deserving books bring home ALA awards. Our annual Mind the Gap Awards pay tribute to our favorite books that didn’t win. Here’s how we reviewed our 2020 winners.   A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation by Barry Wittenstein; illus....

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...

From the Chair: Universality in Times of Uncertainty (2020 Newbery Committee, ALA)

In these times of uncertainty, we can all relate to what’s happening now because we are all experiencing it on some level. We have a shared experience. How we react to our situation and what we learn about ourselves may be what we look back on as our defining moments....

From the Chair: Continuing the Legacy (2020 CSK Book Awards Jury, ALA)

Since nervously accepting the appointment of jury chair from previous Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee chair Dr. Claudette McLinn, my goal has been to continue the legacy that the Coretta Scott King Book Awards have created of identifying quality children’s literature that features various narratives of the Black experience....

Profile of 2020 Children's Literature Legacy Award winner Kevin Henkes

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Dudley Carlson: The farmers’ market was a riot of color. Red and green lettuces, orange carrots, blue and purple berries, and breads in rich browns and tans stretched for two blocks. At one end, a single booth held only green. Beautiful green beans were neatly bundled and stacked like a...

Profile of 2020 Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement winner Mildred D. Taylor

From the time she was very young, Mildred Taylor knew she would be a writer, and she knew what her subject matter would be. She grew up listening to the family stories told by her father and uncles as they sat by the fire or on the porch of their...

Profile of 2020 Coretta Scott King Book Award Author and Newbery Medal winner Jerry Craft

For Jerry Craft, books are the building blocks of communities. Certainly, in the year since it was published, his graphic novel New Kid has created and strengthened countless communities all on its own. The letters from teachers who say they’ve made the book a school-wide read — and the letters...

Read Jerry Craft's 2020 Newbery Medal Acceptance Speech at ALA's Virtual Book Award Celebration

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I’d like to begin by thanking the 2020 Newbery Award Selection Committee, chaired by the incomparable Krishna Grady. Thank you for the tremendous honor of making New Kid the first graphic novel in your ninety-eight-year history to receive your prestigious medal. I would also like to thank the ALA for...

Read Kevin Henkes's 2020 Children's Literature Legacy Award Acceptance Speech at ALA's Virtual Book Award Celebration

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When I found out on January 26th that I’d won the Legacy Award, I was ecstatic. However, it didn’t take me long — about an hour! — to start fretting about my speech. That’s just the way I am. I began working on my speech right away and had a...

Read Kadir Nelson's 2020 Coretta Scott King Book Award Illustrator Acceptance Speech at ALA's Virtual Book Award Celebration

Good morning, or good afternoon, or good evening, depending on when or where in the world you are reading this. As I compose this speech, I am sitting at home under a nationwide quarantine in the midst of the proliferation of a remarkable novel virus that has commandeered the attention...

Read Jerry Craft's 2020 Coretta Scott King Book Award Author Acceptance Speech at ALA's Virtual Book Award Celebration

I’d like to begin by thanking the 2020 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Jury, chaired by LaKeshia Darden, who gave me one of the two best near-dawn phone calls of my life! I would also like to thank the ALA for making this moment possible. This is truly an amazing...

Read Kadir Nelson's 2020 Caldecott Medal Acceptance Speech at ALA's Virtual Book Award Celebration

The year was 1999, and my very first picture book, Brothers of the Knight, was slated to be published by Dial Books for Young Readers. It was written by the actress and dancer Debbie Allen and based on a stage production of the same name that she had both written...

1971 Newbery Medal Acceptance by Betsy Byars

During the past few years I have on occasion found myself in front of a classroom or in a library trying to talk to children about writing books. I have never been a success at this. For one thing, I have learned that questions come in twos. If one child...

ALA Midwinter 2020 slideshow

Scroll through the slideshow below for some of our favorites moments (and meals!) from ALA Midwinter 2020. Read The Horn Book's reviews of this year's Youth Media Award winners, and catch up on Calling Caldecott. As always, the July/August issue of The Horn Book Magazine will include the Newbery, Caldecott,...

ALA Awards 2020: Horn Book reviews of the winners

The most prestigious honors in children’s literature, the Newbery and Caldecott medals, were awarded to Jerry Craft for New Kid and Kadir Nelson for The Undefeated on January 27, 2020, at the American Library Association’s midwinter meeting in Philadelphia. Also announced at the gathering were the winners of the Coretta...

Additional ALA Awards 2020

  Alex Award [for the ten best adult books that appeal to teen audiences] A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher (Orbit/Hachette) Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh (Saga Press/Gallery Books/Simon) Dominicana by Angie Cruz (Flatiron/Macmillan) Gender Queer: A Memoir by...

Reviews of the 2020 Geisel Award winners

Winner Stop! Bot! by James Yang; illus. by the author Preschool    Viking    40 pp.    g 7/19    978-0-42528-881-8    $17.99 After a child's remote-control robot flies away in front of an apartment building, the building's residents try to help retrieve it ("My broom may reach that bot!"). The book's tall trim size...

Reviews of the 2020 Pura Belpré Author Award winners

Winner Sal & Gabi Break the Universe [Rick Riordan Presents] by Carlos Hernandez Intermediate, Middle School Disney-Hyperion    389 pp. 3/19    978-1-368-02282-8    $16.00 REVIEW TO COME       Honor Books The Other Half of Happy by Rebecca Balcárcel Middle School    Chronicle    332 pp. 8/19    978-1-4521-6998-9    $16.99 REVIEW TO COME...

Reviews of the 2020 Sibert Award winners

Winner Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard; illus. by Juana Martinez-Neal Preschool, Primary    Roaring Brook    48 pp. 10/19    978-1-62672-746-5    $18.99 This affectionate picture book depicts an intergenerational group of Native American family members and friends as they make fry bread together. The text begins: “Fry...

Reviews of the 2020 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award winners

Winner Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln by Margarita Engle; illus. by Rafael López Primary    Atheneum    40 pp. 8/19    978-1-4814-8740-5    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-8741-2    $10.99  Engle and López (Drum Dream Girl, rev. 5/15) bring us another engaging story about a young, successful, female musician of...

Reviews of the 2020 Printz Award winners

Winner Dig. by A.S. King High School    Dutton    394 pp.    g 3/19    978-1-101-99491-7    $17.99 David has never met his father and is tired of constantly moving around with his mom. Malcolm has already lost his mother and is about to lose his beloved father to cancer. Katie deals drugs out...

Reviews of the 2020 CSK Illustrator Award winners

Winner The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander; illus. by Kadir Nelson Primary, Intermediate, Middle School     Versify/Houghton     40 pp.    g 4/19     978-1-328-78096-6     $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-05761-1     $12.99 Alexander and Nelson honor the achievements, courage, and perseverance of ordinary black people as well as prominent black artists, athletes, and activists. The free-verse poem...

Reviews of the 2020 CSK Author Award winners

Winner New Kid by Jerry Craft; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Harper/HarperCollins    249 pp.    g 2/19    978-0-06-269120-0    $21.99     Paper ed.  978-0-06-269119-4    $12.99     e-book ed.  978-0-06-269121-7    $10.99  Craft’s engaging graphic novel follows Jordan Banks (an African American seventh grader from Washington Heights) through his first year at the prestigious...

Reviews of the 2020 Caldecott Medal winners

Winner The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander; illus. by Kadir Nelson Primary, Intermediate, Middle School     Versify/Houghton     40 pp.    g 4/19     978-1-328-78096-6     $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-05761-1     $12.99 Alexander and Nelson honor the achievements, courage, and perseverance of ordinary black people as well as prominent black artists, athletes, and activists. The free-verse poem...

Reviews of the 2020 Newbery Medal Winners

Winner New Kid by Jerry Craft; illus. by the author Intermediate, Middle School    Harper/HarperCollins    249 pp.    g 2/19    978-0-06-269120-0    $21.99     Paper ed.  978-0-06-269119-4    $12.99     e-book ed.  978-0-06-269121-7    $10.99  Craft’s engaging graphic novel follows Jordan Banks (an African American seventh grader from Washington Heights) through his first year at the prestigious...

Lift Every Voice: Side B

When I was eight years old — you might say octave age — in 1971, I was a DJ playing a record, a single 45, in my bedroom. The song on vinyl I would play was side B of Michael Jackson’s “Got to Be There” — “Maria (You Were the...

Lift Every Voice: Thank You, Gusty

Funny thing is, I have never before shared this experience with anyone. It is most likely the event that had the most impact on the direction of my life. When I was young, my imagination was voracious. In the corner of one of the three rooms of our house (the...

2019 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.     Rained out     A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes The Field by Baptiste Paul; illus. by Jacqueline Alcántara Water Land by Christy Hale       Singing the blues   They Say Blue...

Reviews of 2019 Mind the Gap Award winners

Not all deserving books bring home ALA awards. Our annual Mind the Gap Awards pay tribute to our favorite books that didn’t win. Here’s how we reviewed our 2019 winners.   A Parade of Elephants by Kevin Henkes; illus. by the author Preschool    Greenwillow    40 pp.    g 9/18    978-0-06-266827-1    $18.99...

What the CSK Means to Me

I’m not a children’s librarian. I don’t even work in the children’s book field. But as an African American, an academic librarian, and a library and information science (LIS) administrator/educator, I have always known the importance of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards. I began my professional career just about...

2018: The Year in Words and Pictures

Who are we? What kind of community are we going to be, do we want to be? These are the ever-more-urgent questions that were being asked — and answered — in 2018, not just by book award committees but also by professional organizations devoted to children’s books and reading, in discussions...

Lift Every Voice: My Grandparents' House

As a child, I loved to visit my grandparents. Their home was very different from ours. My grandmother had purchased it late in life with her own money, she would proudly say. In the house were cherry-wood end tables with scalloped edges and leather insets, beautiful ornate ceramic peacocks that...

Lift Every Voice: History and Stories

In addition to this year being the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards, it is also fifty years since I graduated from high school. My foundational education provided very few opportunities to read books by African American writers, either for school or pleasure. Interestingly,...

Lift Every Voice: In the Presence of Royalty

My heart was racing like Secretariat, even though I had practiced my acceptance speech, as I nervously approached the podium. They had called my name to receive the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for my work on The Origin of Life on Earth: An African Creation Myth. The CSK Breakfast...
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