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Ask Family Reading: Non-wicked stepparents

Shannon writes: There's something that's been bothering me about children's books (and movies) and I was hoping that you would let me know what you know about this. In what children's books are stepparents portrayed in a non-negative way? I feel like I rarely see them depicted, and when they are there, they...

Read a book (with pictures!)

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Parental conversations often drift toward what our kids have (and haven’t) been reading. Friends recently told my wife and me that they were banning their kids from reading any “books with pictures,” specifically graphic novels and comic books. Their motivations were sensible: they wanted their kids to develop a love of text-only reading.   I...

2021 Summer Reading List

  Picture Books Suggested grade level for all entries: PS–2   I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes; illus. by Gordon C. James (Paulsen/Penguin) Cave Paintings by Jairo Buitrago; illus. by Rafael ­Yockteng; trans. from Spanish by Elisa Amado (Groundwood) You’re Invited to a Moth Ball: A Nighttime Insect...

2021 Summer Reading: High School

  Need suggestions for summer reading? This year we've super-sized our lists, with a baker's dozen recommendations for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, folklore, and poetry — all published 2020–2021 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.  ...

2021 Summer Reading: Middle School

  Need suggestions for summer reading? This year we've super-sized our lists, with a baker's dozen recommendations for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, folklore, and poetry — all published 2020–2021 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.  ...

2021 Summer Reading: Intermediate

  Need suggestions for summer reading? This year we've super-sized our lists, with a baker's dozen recommendations for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, folklore, and poetry — all published 2020–2021 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.  ...

2021 Summer Reading: Easy Readers and Primary Grades

  Need suggestions for summer reading? This year we've super-sized our lists, with a baker's dozen recommendations for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, folklore, and poetry — all published 2020–2021 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.  ...

2021 Summer Reading: Picture Books

  Need suggestions for summer reading? This year we've super-sized our lists, with a baker's dozen recommendations for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, folklore, and poetry — all published 2020–2021 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.  ...

Five questions for Angeline Boulley

In Angeline Boulley’s YA debut, Firekeeper’s Daughter (Holt, 14 years and up), eighteen-year-old Daunis is dragged into an investigation of the meth infiltrating her family members’ Sugar Island Ojibwe tribe — and the tragic murder of her best friend. It’s a gripping thriller, a nuanced contemporary Native story, a twisty...

2021 Summer Reading Recommendations

Horn Book Summer Reading fans may notice something special about 2021’s list: it’s super-sized! Instead of recommending our usual top ten books for different age ranges (including fiction, nonfiction, folklore, and poetry), all published 2020–2021 and ideal for the season, we’re providing thirteen of each. With COVID-19 having upended summer...

Giving up...or giving over?  

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I just revisited Audrey Hinsdale’s post from 2016, My own discretion advised. Audrey was thirteen when she wrote that post; she’s almost eighteen now and headed to Bryn Mawr in September, so her own discretion (and hard work and talent) seems to have served her well.  Reading her post in 2021, after a year plus of remote learning and near constant screen time for my kids, is giving me perspective. Rather...

Mother's Day 2021

Mother’s Day 2021 (this Sunday, May 9, people) is, of course, the second one to fall during the pandemic. Boston Public Garden’s Duckling Day is virtual yet again, which means you don’t need to be local to be a part of the celebration. (Read more by and about the Ducklings' papa, Robert McCloskey, here.)  Here are some recommended books, articles, and blog...

Teacher Appreciation 2021

This week marks Teacher Appreciation Week, with Tuesday, May 4, being National Teacher Day. If ever there was a year to celebrate educators, 2021 is that year. Please, #ThankaTeacher (including teacher librarians, if your district is lucky enough to have them).   Teachers, did you ever imagine the depths of resilience you would have...

Día 2021

Today is El día de los niños / El día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day), a "celebration of children, families, and reading...that emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds." This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of Día -- read about its history here and find resources for...

Enriching the "image libraries"

In his 2013 Horn Book article "Young Dreamers," Christopher Myers wrote:  "Images matter. They linger in our hearts, vast 'image libraries' that color our actions and ideas, even if we don’t recognize them on a conscious level. The plethora of threatening images of young black people has real-life effects. But if...

Patriots' Day and School Vacation Week

Today is Patriots' Day in Massachusetts, a state and regional holiday that commemorates the Battles of Lexington and Concord and the beginnings of the Revolutionary War. It's the day the Boston Marathon is traditionally run (this year postponed until October), and the start of Spring Break for the public schools.  To...

National Siblings Day

April 10 is National Siblings Day (here is mine; and the picture above is Roger's brother with his bloopah). Here are some booklists and articles that highlight "siblings doing what siblings do best." Find more at Horn Book Family Reading blog; at Siblings tag; and lots and lots more at the Guide/Reviews Database...

Transgender Day of Visibility

For Transgender Day of Visibility, here are some recently published books — for primary, intermediate, and older readers — from the Guide/Reviews Database that celebrate identities beyond the binary. See also: “Two, four, six, eight, don’t assume your kids are straight!" by Kitty Flynn "Rule Breakers: Never a Rule to Begin With" and BGHB...

Passover 2021

Passover begins Saturday night at sundown. Last year Shoshana wrote eloquently about how "this night" was extra different for many, and this year may be similarly different or otherwise in transition. Two recent picture books, both by Friends of the Horn Book, could nicely supplement the Haggadah. The Passover Guest by Susan Kusel...

Lady Danbury reads

Last week in virtual school, Adjoa Andoh, a.k.a. Lady Danbury, read Sleep Well Siba & Saba by Nansubuga Nagadya Isdhal, a local-born author, to my second grader and me, as part of Tàta Storytime. Remote school can be fun! What are some other Family Reading/remote schooling wins? ...

Yiddish Book Center: "Geographies of the Soul" with Marjorie Agosín and Ruth Behar

Last night the Yiddish Book Center hosted a (virtual) conversation with writers Marjorie Agosín and Ruth Behar titled "Geographies of the Soul." The talk focused on "Memory, Identity, and Storytelling" from the perspectives of these two Jewish Latina YA authors and poets.  Marjorie recalled her childhood in Chile, where "everyone...

Somewhere over the...

Last week I attended my first virtual book launch, hosted by BookHampton bookstore, for my friend Theresa Trinder's picture book There Is a Rainbow, illustrated by Grant Snider. Theresa described her inspiration for the story, written in the midst of COVID-19 lockdown but looking ahead to brighter days: "It's the idea...

Happens to the best of us

If even Marmee can lose her cool...And what are you reading (or watching) during School Vacation Week? Read more about Little Women, including "Jo March Is Me" by Mitali Perkins, "Saving Sisters: Little Women, The Hunger Games, and Frozen" by Jeannine Atkins, "Was Jo March a Ravenclaw? Authors, Fans, and Who Makes the Rules"...

Reviewing outdoor reading

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This is what book reading with grandchildren currently looks like during the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic: We bundle up – to the teeth, to the ears, sometimes only to the neck, depending on the Ohio weather – tighten our face masks, and, if necessary, sit both on and under blankets. If...

An evening with Tui T. Sutherland (An artifact from the Beforetimes)  

Last March, I started a post about an author event at the Cambridge Public Library. But I was distracted by ::gestures at 2020:: and eventually decided it wasn’t worth finishing. The idea of attending a non-Zoom author’s talk (i.e., in person) was already weird and dated after a few weeks....

Over-don't

TFW that overdue library book on which you’d already given up in your heart shows up under a child’s bed! We love libraries and bookstores -- read "Books beyond buildings: Support your local bookstore and library!" by Cindy Ritter and Shoshana Flax....

Family Reading Fanfare for 2020

Earlier this month, the Horn Book announced our Fanfare selections, our best books of the year list for 2020. This was surely a strange year for sharing books with my children, requiring library holds (and contactless pickups); increased e-reading and audiobook-listening; and reading and re-reading old friends from around the house...

Ask Family Reading: "Inappropriate" Books

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Justine writes: Help! I don’t police the books my kids are reading, but I just read a quick synopsis of the Arc of a Scythe series (Neal Shusterman), which my ten-year-old is two-thirds of the way through! YIKES! Suicide! Mass Murder! Overpopulation! Torture! Sooo many things we’ve never talked about (and...

World Adoption Day

Ed. note: Below is Kitty's lovely and moving FB post for World Adoption Day.  Before we adopted our kids, we learned about the adoption triad: birth family, baby, and adoptive family. Each part of the triad is forever bonded to the other two, no matter how open or closed the relationship...

Music for this moment

“If you see something that’s wrong, raise your hand and say that’s wrong Point it out and name that thing by its name Don’t stand by and stare — if it’s wrong, it’s your affair Don’t be quiet, make a riot, be a pain” --lyrics from Alastair Moock’s “Be a...

Chips and chips

Over the weekend, we were inspired by Strange Birds to bake Aster's Chips [chocolate] & Chips [potato] Cookies. We've also made the Little Red Hen's Passover matzo. What recipes from a children's books have you been inspired to try?...

Oh, Marilla!

My ten-year-old and I have been having a grand old time reading aloud Anne of Green Gables at bedtime. Himself a rather high-spirited, rambunctious, and imaginative child, my kid LOL’d at the liniment in the cake scene, the drunk Diana debacle, Gilbert Blythe’s near-fatal “carrots” error, and even the puffed sleeves...

Virtual Boston Book Festival 2020

The Boston Book Festival and the Horn Book go way back. Since the festival began in 2009, the Horn Book has looked forward to our very favorite panel-going, booth-sitting, fresh-autumn-air-breathing, grilled-cheese-eating, Dunkin-drinking day. This year the BBF is going virtual, and the kids' and YA lineups are exceptional. Zetta Elliott; Jerry...

Yom Kippur 2020/5781

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins Sunday evening, September 27, at sundown. Following Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, these are times for family, community, and self-reflection. The following books could be useful for sharing with children and/or for generating discussions. All reviews are from the Guide/Reviews Database. For...

COVID-19 is like dental implants...

Edging back from a full shutdown to -- not normal; it’s too soon for that -– something near the outskirts of the suburbs of greater metropolitan normal, is like getting a dental implant. Implants take time. You don’t break a tooth, go to the dentist, and come home with a shiny...

The Books My Parents Read to Me

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In 2014, Katie Bircher wrote this Out of the Box post about "a cause dear to my dance-lovin' heart: The Dance Happy Project..The project was initiated by eleven-year-old Georgia Bernbaum, who writes on the Dance Happy site that her goal is to "bring dance classes to more children, children who would not...

"Already a Butterfly": Powerful Women Characters -- Today

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I search almost desperately for powerful female characters in whom to find strength. I need them as I need mentors. I want them for my own daughter so she won’t undermine herself and her own power (as I look back and recognize I did for so many years). I thirst...

Carrots, carrots

Is anyone else starting to look like a children's book character? Photo credit to the seven-year-old. See also "Why is it always the redhead? —or— How to use stock photos sparingly." And to read about a real character see Roger Is Reading a Book....

Drawing Comfort from Shared Reading

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I last saw my eldest son Rory (aged twenty-three) in person at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. It was February, and he was performing in the opening event for the exhibit “Boston’s Apollo: Thomas McKeller and John Singer Sargent.” Rory’s role was to read McKeller’s letters as part of a...

Five-plus months in...

…and is anyone thriving? If so, what’s your secret?! Back in May, Miriam Steinberg-Egeth wrote this Family Reading post –- “About six weeks in” –- about reading about school: "I found myself rejecting book after book: too much about school, too many friends playing together, too much excitement outside the...

A Case for Nonfiction

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Growing up with dyslexia, reading was difficult for me. The condition is genetic, so when my daughter was born, I was afraid she was destined to share my reading problems. I worried. As soon as possible, her mother and I plunged into teaching her to read so that she could...

Reading Together, Apart

Before the pandemic shutdown, I’d never said the words “social” and “distance” together, let alone adapted my life to fit the words. I’d been volunteering in my older grandson’s first-grade class, collecting him and his brother after school once a week to read and play until their parents got home,...

Five Tips to Get Kids Writing

As families prepare for the start of a new school year, academic plans are all over the place, but one constant is the need to lift up kids’ voices through this unsettling time. One of the best ways to do that is by encouraging them to write. Just a few...

Margaret Bloy Graham's Harry the Dirty Dog: Still Spot On

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This is the centennial year of illustrator Margaret Bloy Graham’s birth. Graham (1920–2015), who gave children lasting images of a good-natured dog “who liked everything, except…getting a bath,” is almost always associated with her then-husband, Gene Zion, author of Harry the Dirty Dog (1956) and three sequels. After the couple...

National Parents' Day

This Sunday, July 26 (the fourth Sunday of July), is National Parents' Day. (Oh, shush up -- it is too a real thing!) Established in 1994, this is a day for “recognizing, uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in bringing up their children.” At Family Reading we extend that...

Educators, please don’t forget books

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School districts everywhere are scrambling, trying to figure out what school will look like in less than two short months. The considerations and variables are staggering; as always, thank you, educators, for the work that you do. (Isn’t this supposed to be summer vacation?!) Amidst the discussions and decisions, I...

June Is Audiobook Month

June is Audiobook Month. As it is also summer vacation -- and a strange one at that! -- we've been doing a fair amount of family listening. (Hi, Strange Birds audio, which we started very soon after reading it aloud together!) Check your virtual local library; yes, it's real reading. ...

“Two, four, six, eight, don’t assume your kids are straight!”

“Two, four, six, eight, don’t assume your kids are straight!”* Happy Pride Month! And thank you, SCOTUS, for ruling to protect LGBTQIA+ workers’ civil rights! It’s about time we had some good news. Though the pandemic has forced this year’s Pride recognitions to go virtual, it’s still important to continue...

S-s-s-snake!

We've been trying to get out of the city and into nature most weekends (mask-clad and all). Earlier this month, we went for a hike at the Middlesex Fells. By Long Pond, we saw turtles, ducks, and this...amazing? terrifying? stop, you're both right! creature: The kids were fascinated; the parents...

“It’s not People of Color's job to 'fix' racism...”

“It’s not People of Color's job to 'fix' racism. It's People of Color's job to heal from racism.’ And it's all of our job to: expose racism, name it, acknowledge it, and ‘explicitly encourage anti-racist values’" (from 2019 Wee the People ABCs of Racism Parent/Educator Workshop).     Watch this Kidlit...

2020 Summer Reading Recommendations

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If there’s one book on our 2020 Summer Reading list that speaks best to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s Remy Lai’s Pie in the Sky, about two brothers who find communion in baking, of all things, in order to “adjust to life in an ‘alien’ world.” Sound familiar? Otherwise, my eye...

RLH's Coronavirus Booklist

Friend of the Horn Book and Guide reviewer Rebecca Hachmyer (or RLH as she's known by the Guide Goddesses) has compiled a list of timely picture books that address COVID-19. Take a look and let us know what you think. How are you addressing the inevitable COVID-19 Qs with young...

Baseball Fans + Summer Reading (Go, Nats!)

I love our Summer Reading list best of all. But...this partnership between the 2019 World Series champs, the Washington Nationals, and Prince George’s County (MD) Memorial Library System (details in English and Spanish), is pretty cool.I know a baseball-loving ten-year-old who might just dig it, too. Thanks to Friend of...

2020 Summer Reading from The Horn Book: High School

  Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Here are our top ten books for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — all published 2019–2020 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion....

2020 Summer Reading from The Horn Book: Middle School

  Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Here are our top ten books for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — all published 2019–2020 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion....

2020 Summer Reading from The Horn Book: Intermediate

  Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Here are our top ten books for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — all published 2019–2020 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion....

2020 Summer Reading from The Horn Book: Easy Readers and Primary Grades

  Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Here are our top ten books for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — all published 2019–2020 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion....

2020 Summer Reading from The Horn Book: Picture Books

  Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Here are our top ten books for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — all published 2019–2020 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion....

2020 Summer Reading List

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  Picture Books Suggested grade level for all entries: PS–2   Summer Song by Kevin Henkes; illus. by Laura Dronzek (Greenwillow) The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann (Candlewick) Johnny’s Pheasant by Cheryl Minnema; illus. by Julie Flett (Minnesota) Goodnight, Veggies by Diana Murray; illus. by Zachariah OHora (Houghton) Hike...

Five questions for Lucy Knisley

Adult comics creator Lucy Knisley’s middle-grade graphic novel debut Stepping Stones (RH Graphic/Random, 9–12 years) follows city kid Jen and her mom to a small farm in the country. There she contends with new chores (feeding chickens!), tricky family dynamics (Mom’s annoying boyfriend and his daughters who visit on weekends),...

Mother's Day 2020

Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 10th! If you look forward to the annual Make Way for Ducklings Parade in the Boston Public Garden, there are virtual events this year (you can read more by and about the Ducklings' papa, Robert McCloskey, here.) We've reviewed several books about moms and...

About six weeks in...

About six weeks into our collective social distancing/parent schooling experiment, I went to the shelf to pick out a few picture books for my first grader to read independently. I found myself rejecting book after book: too much about school, too many friends playing together, too much excitement outside the...

Teacher Appreciation 2020

This week marks Teacher Appreciation Week, with Tuesday, May 5, being National Teacher Day. Don't forget to #ThankaTeacher (probably virtually). And especially to those teachers (including teacher librarians!) who are also parents and still trying, from home or in-person, to teach their own children and ours...there are no words. If...

Volunteer grandma

Ed. note: Obviously, this post was written before the pandemic forced schools to close and families to stay home and visit with friends and relatives virtually. Margo will reflect on the "new normal" in an upcoming post. There I was, on the floor of a first-grade classroom, my grandson on...

10-year-old boy interviews Derrick Barnes

Before -- my ten-year-old baseball fanatic and I had been excited to chat with Newbery and CSK Honor winner (for Crown) Derrick Barnes about his new book Who Got Game?: Baseball: Amazing But True Stories!, illustrated by John John Bajet, at Belmont Books. We had come up with some questions for...

National Library Week

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It's National Library Week, the American Library Association's celebration of all things library.  This week we are highlighting #LibrarianswithSuperpowers , including Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden, Book Bike Librarians Ednita Kelly (below) and Liz Phipps Soeiro, and many others.  And because we love you -- here are last year's...

Start of Poetry Month 2020

Did you know that April is #NationalPoetryMonth? Throughout the month we'll be posting links and resources — start here with articles + recommendations from our recent archive....

This Night Is Different

I’ve been hearing a lot about virtual story times these days, and I have some family experience with them. Reading over Skype or Zoom or anything else may not be exactly the same as reading on the same couch and passing the book around to give everyone a better look,...

Muslim Women's Day

In honor of Muslim Women's Day, re-read Julie Hakim Azzam's "Books in the Home" article: "'Mommy, Do I Have White Skin?': Skin Color, Family, and Picture Books,"from the November/December 2016 Horn Book Magazine. See also Five Questions for Jasmine Warga about Other Words for Home and "We Need Diverse Jewish...

Rita + Ralph at home

This week Carmen Agra Deedy Talks with Roger about Rita & Ralph's Rotten Day. We've had our share of those this month — who else?! Best advice: avoid playing Sticks and Stones (as Rita and Ralph do, with actual sticks and stones). And do say "I'm sorry" — as Rita...

Staying home

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With the kids learning from home for the foreseeable future, we thought some author/illustrator interviews could hold their attention. Watch this space -- and follow #HBInterviews on Twitter and Facebook. Edited to add: the interviews were conducted with an adult readership in mind, so maybe run an eye over any...

MASH

Per the highly scientific children's game MASH*, we were this close to having my kid be a next-gen Horn Booker. Oh well -- alicorn** trainer it is! *Predictor of future profession, living arrangement, marital status, number of children, etc. **Unicorn that can fly....

Ask Family Reading: Dueling Books

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We are thrilled to announce a brand-new addition to The Horn Book's Family Reading blog: a bouncing baby...advice column! If you have a question you'd like to Ask Family Reading; offer feedback; or just say hi, leave a note in the Comments section below. Also follow us on Twitter @HornBook...

Books in the Home: The Joys of Cooking: Good Books About Good Food

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How does a person learn to cook? My mother prepared family meals every evening. She didn’t involve us in the making of the meal, but she was my model of a home cook who knew the importance of ­families eating together. She relied on a 1940s edition of The Boston...

Ask Family Reading: Watching the film

We are thrilled to announce a brand-new addition to The Horn Book's Family Reading blog: a bouncing baby...advice column! If you have a question you'd like to Ask Family Reading; offer feedback; or just say hi, leave a note in the Comments section below. Also follow us on Twitter @HornBook...

Eoin Colfer at Porter Square Books

Last Sunday my almost-ten-year-old and I went to Porter Square Books to see Eoin Colfer. Though he was on tour for his adult book Highfire, the gregarious author did not disappoint his Artemis Fowl fans and other kids'-book devotees. After a musical performance by Colfer superfan band Captain Sunbeam, the...

Building on the Foundation

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For my birthday, my husband gave me a stack of photographs as thick as a Harry Potter book. In almost every picture, I’m reading to at least one grandchild while crouching on floors, snuggled in restaurant booths, sitting on park benches, and all over our house and our daughters’ houses:...

Finding a Safe Space (Or, One Family’s Search for Middle Grade LGBTQIA+ Books)

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Last fall, at age twelve, our seventh grader told my husband and me that she’s gay. Our first and only priority at the time was to tell her with words, and show her with actions, how much we love her — first, last, and always. So, we found a middle...

And her husband’s famous, too

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Over the break, my husband and I had an entertaining celebrity sighting – Josh Charles (this guy) from Sports Night, The Good Wife, and Dead Poets Society (among many others) who was out with his family. My hubs is a huge Sports Night fan and was able to express his...

Board Book Roundup: Board Books Build Brains

They rarely win awards. Few make it to the annual “best of” lists. They get stepped on, chewed, drooled on, and thrown. Their core audiences may not remember a word of them in a few scant years. Their pages are frequently viewed out of order. But board books are some...

The Yes/No Game

Before bedtime every night, my younger son asks me if we can play the Yes/No Game to determine what books I will be reading him. This “game” consists entirely of him yelling “yes” or “no” from his top bunk while I read out various titles from his bookshelf. He doesn’t...

Uneasy Reading: On Keeping Company with Very Sad Books

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Third grade was the worst year ever. No, really. My parents split up that year, and my dad moved out. I know that every divorce is different, and I’m told that not all of them are as painful as ours was. I’m glad for that. Ours was brutal. My dad...

Puppet Showplace Theater

On Saturday my family and I went to a preview performance of a work-in-progress show at the Puppet Showplace Theater in Brookline. The show was put on by Wee the People cofounder Tanya Nixon-Silberg and based on the book My Night in the Planetarium by Innosanto Nagara (author/illustrator of A...

A young fan

From Friend of the Horn Book Deborah Furchtgott: "This is a picture of my daughter Alice at the Brookline Booksmith. She and I were visiting there right after our copy of the Horn Book Magazine had arrived on our doorstep. Well, apparently Alice read it because she pointed out the...

Family Reading Fanfare for 2019

The Horn Book's Fanfare list was announced earlier this week -- hurray! Some of the faves at my house (so far) have included The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol; Saturday by Oge Mora; My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero, illus. by Zeke Peña; ¡Vamos!: Let’s Go to the...

Books in the Home: Reading with Sophie: Finding Books for a Teen with Special Needs

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How do you choose a book for a child who doesn’t have the capacity to choose one for herself? As the mother of a nonverbal teenager with autism and developmental delays, it is a question I ask myself all the time. When Sophie was first diagnosed in preschool, we were...

Election Day 2019

Today is Election Day -- I voted before work. My town's ballot was for City Council (twenty-two people running for nine spots!) and School Committee (eleven people running for six spots, with some great-seeming newcomers). Local elections are so important -- and I was happy and encouraged to see a...

Happy Anniversary: It's Perfectly Normal

It’s Perfectly Normal: A Book About Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health by Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Michael Emberley, was published by Candlewick in 1994. It celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2019.    Intended for readers ages ten and up, Harris and Emberley’s It’s Perfectly Normal was groundbreaking when it appeared on the scene...

ABCs of Racism Parent/Educator Workshop with Wee The People

Wee The People, a Boston-based arts and social justice project, recently brought their “ABCs of Racism” workshop to the Watertown (MA) Free Public Library. (Hi, children’s librarian Kazia Berkley-Cramer, former Horn book intern!) I’ve been to several Wee The People events, with my kids, but this was something different: a...

BFFs: Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham at CPL

Last week I helped chaperone my child's class trip to the library to see author Shannon Hale and illustrator LeUyen Pham talk about Best Friends, the follow-up to Hale's graphic memoir Real Friends (also illustrated by Pham). The two are frequent collaborators -- Princess in Black, anyone?! -- and their...

Just the right time

Let’s talk about the book neither of my six-year-old grandchildren would let me read. I almost didn’t read it myself. When I plucked Patricia MacLachlan’s What You Know First from the library shelf, I saw right away the book’s illustrations would not appeal to my young listeners. The pictures are...

Yes they SHOULD!

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Shout-out to @evelynmaryw who said on Instagram that "They should give this to new parents." We wholeheartedly agree! ICYMI: here's our classic, tongue-in-cheek poster "Unlucky Arithmetic: Thirteen Ways to Raise a Nonreader" by Dean Schneider and Robin Smith. Click here to download...

Danbury Library visit

It was fun visiting my hometown library, the Danbury (CT) Public Library, the other week, and getting to chat with longtime junior services librarian Christine Furlo, young adult services librarian Deirdre Johnson (a Simmons alum!), and assistant director Katharine Chung (who let my kid take two peppermints, one for his...

Pocketful of memories

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Yesterday, a friend posted a link to fabric artist Salley Mavor’s blog where Salley revisits a 2012 post on her process of creating the eye-popping three-dimensional cover art for The Horn Book Magazine’s January/February 2012 issue. Salley’s book Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes had won the 2011...

Car Books -- Help!

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Real question: with a longish car trip coming up before the end of summer, how do people "organize" their books and other kid-media? Or does everyone's car look like this?...

Five questions for The Blue Club

High schooler Kash Jain (oldest son of my former coworker Navin "nuvs" Jain) recently founded the political action website The Blue Club. "Voice. Action. Progress" reads the site's tagline, and Kash, alongside this team of likeminded teens, has very specific, concrete, and actionable ways for young people to stay informed...

Madeline at 80

Ludwig Bemelmans's Madeline turns eighty this year. Instantly identifiable, the character of Madeline is an iconic prototype for picture-book and chapter-book heroes who follows different drummers, always testing boundaries and returning home safely. After Madeline's 1939 publication, Bemelmans published several companion books; other works developed from manuscripts were published after...

Happy Camping! Summer Camp Books

It's just about mid-summer for my kiddos, and I'm thankful for the Guide Goddesses' *new* summer-camp-themed booklists of chapter books, middle grade, and YA. A huge family favorite last year was Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol, and the Horn Book Guide lists promise some solid readalikes. We're also still working...

"Raising a Lifelong Reader" tips from PBS Kids

Eagled-eyed Horn Book Creative Director Lolly Robinson alerted us to this 2016 article, "Raising a Lifelong Reader: Tips for Reading with Your Child," by longtime Horn Book Guide reviewer Cyrisse Jaffe. Cyrisse is editorial project manager in the education department of WGBH, our local PBS station. My own children's love...

Undercover Reading

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My daughter and her husband caught their six-year-old reading in bed after lights out and celebrated.Quietly, of course. They didn’t want her to know they’d seen her taking advantage of the fading daylight coming through her bedside window. Still, they managed to take a picture of her, surrounded by stuffed...
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