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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

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...

Lift Every Voice: History Comes Alive

It was an adult book — The Chaneysville Incident by David Bradley — that inspired me to try my hand at writing historical fiction for children. I’ll never forget the author’s harrowing description of one of the characters fleeing a pack of slave hunters. I have always been a history...

2019 CSK–Virginia Hamilton Award Acceptance by Pauletta Brown Bracy

Good Coretta-Scott-King-Book-Awards-Breakfast-Sunday morning! I stand before you as the fifth recipient of the Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement in the category of practitioner and in the company of the distinguished colleagues who have come before me: Dr. Henrietta Mays Smith, Demetria Tucker, Deborah D. Taylor, and Dr....

My ALA 2019

My ALA began on Friday afternoon with a lunch hosted by Holiday House for their O'Dell Award winner Lesa Cline-Ransome, for Finding Langston. She's a Malden girl! So we two townies had a blast with back-in-the-day. Lesa's husband James and I discussed sartorial choices for that evening's Event, the CSK...

"WE ARE HERE": queer books beyond subtext

Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City, an event that laid the groundwork for the first Gay Pride parade and celebrations that have evolved into a month-long recognition of LGBTQ+ identities and communities.During my 1990s childhood in a pervasively conservative, Christian, Southern environment, I...

2019 CSK Illustrator Award Acceptance by Ekua Holmes

Ekua Holmes. Photo courtesy of Ekua Holmes.Congratulations to all of the 2019 awardees on the podium today. Along with you, I am deeply honored to receive this award, on its fiftieth anniversary, given in the name of Coretta Scott King — a woman whom I deeply admire for her work...

Profile of 2019 CSK Illustrator Award winner Ekua Holmes

Ekua Holmes is love. I am but one grateful member of an immense and inspired community that cherishes, and is beloved by, Ekua. At its heart, this community is local, centered on the place of Ekua’s birth — Roxbury, Massachusetts — via Arkansas and the U.S. American South, via Africa....

2019 CSK Author Award Acceptance by Claire Hartfield

When I was a young girl, growing up on the South Side of Chicago, I was lucky enough to have weekly visits with my grandmother, Thelma Shepherd Rone, whom the adults called Dearest or Day but whom I always knew as Grammie. I was a quiet little girl, but I...

Profile of 2019 CSK Author Award winner Claire Hartfield

Claire Hartfield is a storyteller. It might be fair to say that she is a born storyteller, just-right words flowing through her pen with ease, creating images that allow her readers to see, to hear, even to breathe just as Claire did while writing. This gift might have come to...

ALA in D.C.

I'll be reporting tomorrow about My ALA but in the meantime wanted to make sure you knew we have posted the acceptance speeches and profiles of the Caldecott, Newbery, and Legacy winners, which together appear in print in the Horn Book Magazine issue being held by Carol Merrill seated to...

2019 Caldecott Medal Acceptance by Sophie Blackall

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Hello, hello, hello!Members of the 2019 Caldecott committee, my agents, my family, fellow authors and illustrators, publishers, librarians, beacons of the community—As the 2019 Caldecott committee gathered around a phone, early on a cold January morning in Seattle, I was having dinner in sweltering Myanmar, trying not to picture them....

Hello Studio: A Profile of 2019 Caldecott Medal winner Sophie Blackall

On the highest floor of an old factory at the edge of Brooklyn, overlooking the water, is a skylit artists’ studio. This profile is drawn from interviews with the seven children’s book creators who, over the years, have shared that studio with Sophie Blackall.“Drawn in Brooklyn,” 2010 Photo: Matt Carr.Sergio...

2019 Newbery Medal Acceptance by Meg Medina

Photo: Petite Shards Productions.Good evening. Muy buenas noches.I’m so happy to be with all of you here tonight, and to share this incredible moment on stage with Sophie [Blackall] and to help honor the enormous legacy of Walter Dean Myers. My deepest congratulations to all the winners and honorees of...

Profile of 2019 Newbery Medal winner Meg Medina

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Meg Medina and R. J. Palacio at Niagara Falls, circa 1979. Photo: Marco Jaramillo.Imagine a girl, wavy brown hair, big smile, bright eyes, on the tall side, long legs and arms, in constant motion. (If she were a baby animal, she’d be a colt.) Imagine this girl is your best...

2019 Children’s Literature Legacy Award Acceptance by Christopher Myers on behalf of Walter Dean Myers

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Hey Pop,It’s been a minute since I’ve written you a proper letter, mostly because I don’t know your address or even if they have email wherever you are.When you were around, we’d write each other lots of letters, even if we knew we’d be meeting up for breakfast the next...

Lift Every Voice: Seeing Stars

I’ve been marinating in childhood memories this past year as I worked to complete my upcoming memoir, Ordinary Hazards. Among the memories there were, as you might imagine, many moments that marked my path as a writer: my first poetry reading at Countee Cullen Library in Harlem, receiving my first...

#ALAAC19 Booth 725

Roger, Martha, and Elissa will be at ALA Annual #ALAAC19 in Washington, DC, this weekend. The Horn Book's booth is 725 -- please stop by. The swag is good. We'll have posters of 2019 Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall's July/August Horn Book Magazine cover (at right; hello, lighthouse!). On Monday morning...

Lift Every Voice: On My Fire Escape

The path leading to Ray Charles began on the fire escape of a rent-controlled apartment in Bedford-Stuyvesant. It was here that I discovered Paul Laurence Dunbar’s Little Brown Baby, Shakespeare’s “Et tu, Brute?” and Willard Motley’s Knock on Any Door; scurried down a rabbit hole; and walked on Gwendolyn Brooks’s...

Think lovely thoughts

I'm off tomorrow for ALA in D.C. and am wondering if 20,000 librarians could accomplish what 1200 hippies could not. Otherwise you will find me mainly in the exhibit hall with Al while Martha and Elissa stalk the sessions. Our booth number is 725, and we will be giving away...

Lift Every Voice: "You Are the Author!"

Photo: Bill McGuinnessI can’t remember a time when I have not been drawing and painting!As a child I loved picture books and memorized Mother Goose poems. I attended public elementary school in the Bronx, New York. In kindergarten, the teacher taught us the alphabet. She asked the students to draw a picture...

Fresh Ginger and Garlic: A Conversation with Nikki Giovanni

Kwame and Nikki. Photo: Beatrice Saba.Over the past twenty years, I’ve been a vegan, a vegetarian, and a pescatarian. There have been only three periods in my adult life when I’ve indulged in the pleasures of meat. One was right after winning the Newbery, when I found myself craving cheeseburgers....

Upcoming CSK gala -- ridiculous shoes

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I am so excited to attend the CSK Gala at the Library of Congress on Friday night during ALA, honoring the fiftieth anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards. See the EMIERT website for more on "Coretta Scott King Book Awards: 50 Years Strong," and of course check out...

Imaginative Spaces and Connecting Lines: SFF and the CSK

According to Nichelle Nichols, the first Black woman cast as a main character on a major television show, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Trekkie. In fact, she stated that it was his support that prompted her to continue her role as Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek even though...

A Vision for the CSK: Past, Present, and Future

My first novel came out ten years ago, and one year later, in 2010, it was honored with the John Steptoe Award for New Talent by the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Jury. I was surprised and delighted on a number of levels when I got the call that January...

Lift Every Voice: My Own Origin Story

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Growing up, I always loved magic. It was exciting, because I was a curious kid who devoted a good deal of brainpower to figuring out the whys of the world. This love of magic eventually manifested in a love of science — and with it science fiction — which permeated...

Lift Every Voice: Words and Music

Because I was running away from anything that required being in the public eye, I am sure that any early motivation to be a writer was deeply buried in my subconscious and lay there, unrecognized, for many years. Writing this article has sent me back to pull those memories together...

Lift Every Voice: Walking My Own Path

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Courtesy NCAAP.I was used to getting red-ink marks in the margins of my school essays until I met my high school English teacher, Linda Christensen. For our final projects, Ms. Christensen would write two-page letters with praise and feedback about revisions. I had never had a teacher be so thoughtful...

Lift Every Voice: The Greatest Review I'll Ever Get

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Memory is a very inexact and unreliable process, and it’s tricky to try to point to one event in our past and say it was somehow life-changing. That said, if the question is: what set me on the road to becoming an author? I have a memory that is as...

"Why is everything so Spanish in here?"

Anika Aldamuy Denise...to celebrate Día, children! El día de los niños / El día de los libros is a nationwide celebration that “emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.” For the second year in a row, I visited the Connolly Branch of the Boston Public...

Horn Book Magazine — May/June 2019: Special Issue: The CSK Book Awards at 50

Cover art by Kadir Nelson Table of Contents   Features "Let Our Rejoicing Rise" by Rudine Sims Bishop Celebrating fifty years of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards. "An Interview with George and Bernette Ford" by Roger Sutton Two icons of Black children’s literature reflect on its history and future....

Lift Every Voice: A Matter of Choice

Though many things in life are set to autopilot, we thrive when we are choosing. I made the choice to be an artist when I was around seven and realized I could copy Fred Flintstone pretty accurately. It was a spark of magic that I wanted more of.As an only...

Lift Every Voice: From One Book to Many

When I was in sixth grade, my elementary school hired a new librarian. I don’t remember her name. I only know that she was young, white, and had been a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa. This new librarian taught us African songs and dances, and would then put on music...

Let Our Rejoicing Rise: Celebrating Fifty Years of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards originated as a response to the failure of the children’s literature establishment to acknowledge the talents and contributions of African American writers and illustrators. As late as 1969, forty-seven years after the first Newbery Medal had been awarded, and thirty-one years after the awarding...

CSK: 50 Years Strong

Claudette S. McLinnOn behalf of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee, welcome to The Horn Book’s special issue commemorating the Coretta Scott King (CSK) Book Awards’ fiftieth anniversary. I was delighted to learn that The Horn Book would feature a special commemorative issue devoted to this historic golden anniversary,...

Editorial: Behold the Gold!

Welcome to The Horn Book’s celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards. As you may know, we publish a special themed issue annually, and when Andrea Davis Pinkney called to ask what The Horn Book might be able to do to commemorate the CSK’s fiftieth...

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...

February 2019 Horn Book Herald - ALA Youth Media Awards Edition

Congratulations to all of the 2019 ALA Youth Media Award–winning authors and illustrators and their publishers. In this issue, we chat with Meg Medina, newly minted Newbery Medalist for Merci Suárez Changes Gears. You'll also find Horn Book reviews of the 2019 winners, history (and critique) of the awards, and...

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,...

Extras on the 2019 Youth Media Award winners

To accompany our 2019 ALA-themed Horn Book Herald e-newsletter (sign up!), here are some extra goodies about this year's Youth Media Award winners.Horn Book reviews of the Newbery, Caldecott, Belpré, CSK, Geisel, Printz, and Sibert Award winnersNewbery Medal winner and honor books 5Q for Newbery Medalist Meg Medina Review of...

In Seattle

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I'm back from ALA and, if the exhibits were any indication, can tell you one thing that is On Trend: rainbow-themed board books. Not science-rainbow or leprechaun-rainbow but FLAG-rainbow. I counted four. When I questioned the Pride flag's relevance to a board-book-aged audience, Macmillan's Angus Killick gave me What For,...

ALA Awards 2019: Horn Book reviews of the winners

The most prestigious honors in children’s literature, the Newbery and Caldecott medals, were awarded to Meg Medina for Merci Suárez Changes Gears and Sophie Blackall for Hello Lighthouse on January 28, 2019, at the American Library Association’s midwinter meeting in Seattle. Also announced at the gathering were the winners of...

Reviews of the 2019 Geisel Award winners

WinnerFox the Tiger [I Can Read Book]by Corey R. Tabor; illus. by the authorPrimary     Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins     32 pp.8/18     978-0-06-239869-7    $16.99Paper ed. 978-0-06-239867-3      $4.99Fox thinks tigers are very cool, so he paints stripes on himself and "goes for a prowl." Soon Tiger meets Turtle, who wants to be a race...

Reviews of the 2019 Newbery Award winners

Winner Merci Suárez Changes Gearsby Meg MedinaIntermediate, Middle School    Candlewick    361 pp.    g9/18    978-0-7636-9049-6    $16.99Working-class Cuban American girl Mercedes “Merci” Suárez’s life in South Florida consists of spending time with her extended family and attending elite Seaward Pines Academy, where the sixth grader does community service to pay for her...

Reviews of the 2019 Caldecott Award winners

WinnerHello Lighthouseby Sophie Blackall; illus. by the authorPrimary    Little, Brown    48 pp.    g4/18    978-0-316-36238-2    $18.99e-book ed.  978-0-316-36237-5    $9.99Blackall’s (Finding Winnie, rev. 9/15) picture book opens as a new keeper arrives to take up his solitary duties at a lighthouse “on the highest rock of a tiny island at the edge...

Reviews of the 2019 CSK Illustrator Award winners

WinnerThe Stuff of Starsby Marion Dane Bauer; illus. by Ekua HolmesPrimary    Candlewick    40 pp.9/18    978-0-7636-7883-8    $17.99From darkness, we experience the Big Bang, the birth of the universe, and the emergence of life on Earth. Holmes, known for her striking collage art (Voice of Freedom, rev. 9/15; Out of Wonder, rev....

Reviews of the 2019 CSK Author Award winners

WinnerA Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919by Claire HartfieldMiddle School, High School    Clarion    196 pp.    g1/18    978-0-544-78513-7    $18.99e-book ed.  978-1-328-69904-6    $9.99This readable, compelling history explores the longstanding and deeply rooted causes of the 1919 Chicago Race Riot, which left thirty-eight people dead and 537 wounded (two-thirds of...

Additional ALA Awards 2019

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Alex Awardfor the ten best adult books that appeal to teen audiences The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com) The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir (Knopf) Circe by Madeline Miller (Little, Brown) Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover (Random House) The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A...

Reviews of the 2019 Belpré Illustrator Award winners

Winner Dreamersby Yuyi Morales; illus. by the authorPrimary Porter/Holiday 40 pp.9/18 978-0-8234-4055-9 $18.99e-book ed. 978-0-8234-4125-9 $18.99Spanish ed. 978-0-8234-4258-4 $18.99Two pairs of eyes shine from the cover of Morales’s book — the infant’s eyes brilliant with curiosity, his mother’s gaze pensive. These two “migrantes” arrive on “the other side, / thirsty,...

Reviews of the 2019 Belpré Author Award winners

Winner The Poet Xby Elizabeth AcevedoHigh School     HarperTeen     361 pp.     g3/18     978-0-06-266280-4     $17.99e-book ed. 978-0-06-266282-8     $9.99Fifteen-year-old Xiomara, whose name means “one who is ready for war,” has been fighting her whole life. The self-described “brown and big and angry” Dominican girl from Harlem furiously confronts catcalling...

Reviews of the 2019 Printz Award winners

Winner The Poet Xby Elizabeth AcevedoHigh School    HarperTeen    361 pp.    g3/18    978-0-06-266280-4    $17.99e-book ed.  978-0-06-266282-8    $9.99Fifteen-year-old Xiomara, whose name means “one who is ready for war,” has been fighting her whole life. The self-described “brown and big and angry” Dominican girl from Harlem furiously confronts catcalling boys, chafes under her...

Reviews of the 2019 Sibert Award winners

WinnerThe Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Scienceby Joyce Sidman; 
photos by the authorIntermediate    Houghton    140 pp.    g2/18    978-0-544-71713-8    $17.99e-book ed.  978-1-328-83028-9    $9.99Sidman introduces readers to Maria Merian, a seventeenth-century German naturalist whose illustrations of the life cycles of butterflies and moths included groundbreaking scientific details, such...

ALA President Loida Garcia-Febo at Cambridge Public Library

Yesterday the Cambridge (MA) Public Library hosted a VIP visitor -- Loida Garcia-Febo, President of the American Library Association. Garcia-Febo is on a tour throughout the year visiting six libraries across the country to discuss her message "Libraries = Strong Communities."In the Curious George room of the Children's Library, Garcia-Febo...

Jacqueline Woodson's 2018 Children’s Literature Legacy Award Acceptance

And you wait, are awaiting the one thingthat will infinitely increase your life;the powerful, the uncommon,the awakening of stones,depths turned toward you.Dimly there gleam in the bookcasethe volumes in gold and brown;and you think of lands journeyed through,of pictures, of the apparelof women lost again.And you know at once: That...

A Profile of Children's Literature Legacy Award Winner Jacqueline Woodson

I’ve known Jacqueline Woodson for years, but even before we met, when I read Last Summer with Maizon (1990), Jackie’s first book, I knew a special writer had arrived on the children’s literature scene. Although the full extent of the depth and breadth of her talent may not have been...

Editorial: The Right to Read by Yourself

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In choosing to rename the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award the Children’s Literature Legacy Award, the Association for Library Service to Children did the right thing. The new name is bland but accurate, describing exactly what the award is for: to honor an author or illustrator whose books over the years...

One of these things is not like the others

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ALA's latest elucidating Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights' Article VI ("Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use") has it in...

ALA 2018: So many choices, so little time, wear comfy shoes

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ALA is like a Choose Your Own Adventure, with myriad paths to follow. I missed out on a lot (Michelle Obama and Carla Hayden, Trombone Shorty, the sold-out CSK Breakfast — see Martha's post), but everything I did see left me invigorated and in awe. Alia Jones, Cynthia Leitich Smith,...

ALA 2018: The CSK Breakfast

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards Breakfast is always a memorable, moving, and transformative experience, the best event at ALA Annual — and this year more than ever (or do I say that every year?). The sold-out event (more on that later) began with a slight glitch — there were no...

2018 CSK–Virginia Hamilton Award Acceptance by Eloise Greenfield

Eloise Greenfield, winner of the 2018 Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement AwardThank you, Deborah Taylor and members of the Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award Jury, for this honor. Virginia Hamilton was a writer of great power, dedicated to creating outstanding literature for children, and this award, in...

2018 CSK Illustrator Award Acceptance by Ekua Holmes

Ekua Holmes. Photo: Clennon King.Good morning, and thank you, everyone, for being here to celebrate these awards and honors with us. To all the honorees, I feel like we are at a family gathering. Isn’t it fitting that this event takes place on a Sunday? In my family, Sunday was...

2018 CSK Author Award Acceptance by Renée Watson

Courtesy NCAAP.I know what it’s like to feel invisible.This is strange because in a place like Oregon you’d think a plus-size girl like me, with dark brown skin and natural hair, would stand out. But, growing up in Portland, so many times my white friends would tell me they didn’t...

Profile of 2018 CSK Author Award winner Renée Watson

Renée Watson. Photo courtesy of the NAACP.I was going to a gathering at Renée Watson’s apartment in Harlem, but I hadn’t met her before. I don’t like meeting new people, and I was a little worried that Renée might be all Mariah, coolly giving me “I don’t know her” vibes...

2018 Caldecott Medal Acceptance by Matthew Cordell

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When I was five years old, I wanted to be a stuntman when I grew up. When I was ten years old, I wanted to be a ninja. When I was fifteen years old, I wanted to be a professional skateboarder. When I was twenty years old, I wanted to...

Profile of 2018 Caldecott Medal winner Matthew Cordell

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I always knew Matt would win a Caldecott. Does that sound obnoxious? Let me explain.Matt and I have been married fifteen years this summer. Our relationship began as what I like to refer to as “Hipsters: A Love Story.” Matt had moved to Chicago from South Carolina to work as...
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