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Week in Review, August 10th-14th

  This week on hbook.com... August Notes from the Horn Book Newsletter - Back-to-School Edition: 5Qs for Ryan T. Higgins about We Will Rock Our Classmates, picture books to entertain and enlighten readers learning at school or virtually this fall, school-set stories of middle-graders/middle-schoolers dealing with challenges, and YA stories...

A Note from Me (August 14, 2020)

Dear friends: Do you wonder at the plethora of tactile adult toys (shut up, pervs) being advertised on Facebook and Instagram? The art kits (I enjoy thinking what Himself is saying right now in response to The Sendak Artist Roll), jigsaw puzzles, telescopes…. I’m so old that I remember when...

Preview September/October 2020 Horn Book Magazine

Cover art from The Little Ghost Who Lost Her Boo! by Elaine Bickell, illustration copyright 2019 by Raymond McGrath. Author Emma Otheguy on COVID-19, New York City, children's books, and contradictions. Kwame Alexander, author of The Undefeated, fetes Kadir Nelson, the book's artist and winner of the Caldecott Medal and...

Veep 2020

It's possible there have been other vice presidential candidates with picture books by and about them that have preceded their candidacy -- but none springs to mind! Here are three recent and upcoming titles by and about Senator Kamala Harris. (And as far as we know, this is still true.)...

Five questions for Ryan T. Higgins

In young dino Penelope Rex’s picture-book debut, she learned that We Don’t Eat Our Classmates. Now the pony-loving T. rex is back in Ryan T. Higgins’s We Will Rock Our Classmates (Disney-Hyperion, 4–7 years). Readers discover her equally passionate love of rock ’n’ roll when she signs up for the...

Books mentioned in the August 2020 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Ryan T. Higgins We Will Rock Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins, Disney-Hyperion. September learning One Golden Rule at School: A Counting Book by Selina Alko, Ottaviano/Holt. Swing by Michael Hall, Greenwillow. Field Trip to the Ocean Deep by John Hare, Ferguson/Holiday. Nana Akua Goes to School...

From the Editor - August 2020

I can only laugh, mordantly, as we send you this, our annual Back-to-School issue of Notes from the Horn Book. There are some funny (We Will Rock Our Classmates), adventurous (Field Trip to the Ocean Deep), courageous (Something to Say), and sporting (Dragon Hoops) choices among them, but much as...

YA realism (for a weird year)

These YA books — three novels and a graphic memoir — document what can be a tumultuous and transitional time in people’s lives; this school year, especially, stories of tumult — and triumph — may be appreciated by readers. See also Go with the Flow by Lily Williams and Karen...

Middle-grade/middle-school stories and struggles

Middle-graders and middle-schoolers, who are on the cusp of adolescence during an especially challenging time, may take comfort or inspiration from the following school-set stories about young people dealing with personal challenges. See also We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly (Greenwillow); and for pure escapist ridiculousness, Louis Sachar’s...

September learning

No matter what form learning takes starting in the fall, the following picture books may entertain, and perhaps even enlighten, young readers. See also The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard; illus. by Oge Mora (Schwartz & Wade/Random); and for silliness The Cool Bean...

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...

Week in Review, August 3rd-7th

  This week on hbook.com...   From the July/August Horn Book Magazine Special Issue: ALA Awards: In Memoriam: Tomie dePaola (1934–2020) by Andrew Medlar   Read Roger: A Note from Me (August 7, 2020)   Family Reading: 2020 Summer Reading Recommendations by Roger Sutton (Now available in a handy PDF!)...

A Note from Me (August 7, 2020)

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Dear friends:  It’s the first week of August, and thus we remember eternal Friend of the Horn Book Natalie Babbitt, not because it is her birthday but for Tuck Everlasting’s enduring opening line, “The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long...

In Memoriam: Tomie dePaola (1934–2020)

The first thing I think of when I think of Tomie dePaola (who died in March at the age of eighty-five, from complications following a fall) isn’t a book at all. It’s Christmas. I think of a Tomie dePaola nativity set my family had growing up. I’m not even talking...

Week in Review, July 27th-31st

  This week on hbook.com...   From the July/August Horn Book Magazine Special Issue: ALA Awards: Happy Anniversary: The People Could Fly by Nicholl Denice Montgomery   Read Roger: September/October Magazine starred reviews   A Note from Me (July 31, 2020)   Family Reading: Margaret Bloy Graham's Harry the Dirty...

A Note from Me (July 31, 2020)

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Dear friends:  Lori-from-New-York was visiting this week and we got to talk about prime numbers! (She’s a math teacher.) When I asked her if all the primes were odd numbers she replied, “We don’t know.” Chills! Prime numbers are my next-favorite thing to talk about after diegetic music. We can...

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...

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...

Starred reviews, September/October 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine

From You Matter by Christian Robinson. The following books will receive starred reviews in the September/October 2020 Horn Book Magazine:   I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes; illus. by Gordon C. James (Paulsen/Penguin) If You Come to Earth by Sophie Blackall (Chronicle) Sun Flower Lion by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow) Julián at...

Week in Review, July 20th-24th

  This week on hbook.com... Reviews of 2020 Mind the Gap Award winners   From the July/August Horn Book Magazine Special Issue: ALA Awards: 2020 Mind the Gap Awards: The books that didn't win at ALA   Read Roger: A Note from Me (July 23, 2020)   Family Reading: National...

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...

Baseball's Opening Day 2020

Today is Opening Day for baseball’s shortened season this year – Yankees @ Nationals (2019 World Series champs), with Dr. Anthony Fauci throwing out the first pitch!; Giants @ Dodgers.  You can read with the Nats through their Summer Reading partnership with the Prince George’s County (MD) Memorial Library System. Baseball...

A Note from Me (July 23, 2020)

Dear friends, As I write this I am eating my other lunch, Kashi GO Toasted Berry Crisp with fresh blueberries, dried cranberries, and crystallized ginger in whole milk. It’s a complete sugar bomb. “Mind the Gap” — I do love this slightly obnoxious list the Horn Book allows itself once...

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...

Week in Review, July 13th-17th

  This week on hbook.com...   From the July/August Horn Book Magazine Special Issue: ALA Awards: A Year with Words and Pictures — but No ALA Annual by the Horn Book editors   Read Roger: A Note from Me (July 17, 2020)   Family Reading: Educators, please don't forget books...

July Is National Ice Cream Month

July is National Ice Cream Month, with National Ice Cream Day being this Sunday the 19th (customarily the third Sunday in July). It makes me think longingly of last year's Horn Book Summer Outing to Kimball Farm, complete with ice cream, mini golf, and fried food. And the time when Rashin...

A Note from Me (July 17, 2020)

Dear friends, Back when I was terrified that no ALA might mean no Speeches, and no Speeches meant an enormous hole in our July/August issue, and an enormous hole in the July/August issue — one that we would not know about until we teetered at its precipice (my psychiatrist calls...

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...

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...

Say Hello to Your Friends, Again: The Baby-Sitters Club on Netflix

I have, you might say, some attachment to Ann M. Martin’s Baby-Sitters Club books. Enough that when a friend suggested a group viewing party of the new Netflix series over Zoom, the answer was, of course. And enough that if the new series had messed up our beloved series, we...

Table of Contents: July/August 2020 Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: ALA Awards

Cover © 2020 by Kadir Nelson.   Features A Year with Words and Pictures -- but No ALA Annual by the Horn Book editors Children's Literature Legacy Award Acceptance by Kevin Henkes A profile of Kevin Henkes by Dudley Carlson, Laura Dronzek, Virginia Duncan, and Susan Hirschman A profile of...

Week in Review, July 6th-10th

  This week on hbook.com... July Notes from the Horn Book Newsletter: 5Qs for Monica Brown about Sharuko, nonfiction picture books encouraging outdoor exploration and curiosity, middle-grade novels about kids in summer, and middle school and YA verse novels and poetry   From the July/August Horn Book Magazine Special Issue:...

A Note from Me (July 10, 2020)

Hi friends: That issue of The Horn Book I’ve been telling you about for weeks is just out and available for free, for now, to anyone with access to the internet. I do hope you like it; I think it’s the best ALA awards issue we’ve done in my time,...

Submissions...Tradition!

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Who wants to write, has something to contribute, something they can give you, some insightful take? And who’ll send it in, address it to the house— the story they will let you break? The author! The author! Submissions. The author! The author! Submissions.  Who must know the proper use of...

Five questions for Monica Brown

In the picture-book biography Sharuko: El arqueólogo Peruano Julio C. Tello / Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello, illustrated by Elisa Chavarri; translated into Spanish by Adriana Domínguez (Children’s/Lee & Low, 6–9 years), author Monica Brown tells the story of Julio C. Tello, “one of the most important archaeologists in all...

Books mentioned in the July 2020 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Monica Brown Sharuko: El arqueólogo Peruano Julio C. Tello / Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello by Monica Brown, illus. by Elisa Chavarri, trans. into Spanish by Adriana Domínguez, Children's/Lee. Exploration and curiosity Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner by Janice N. Harrington, illus....

From the Editor - July 2020

Did you miss the Speeches? We have them — the Coretta Scott King, Newbery, Caldecott, and Legacy acceptance speeches — in the latest issue of The Horn Book Magazine. Print subscribers should be receiving the issue per usual; it is also available in digital format for all comers for free....

Middle school and YA verse novels and poetry

Encourage middle- and high schoolers to read poetry beyond National Poetry Month by sharing with them these four historically set books in verse. And also check out 2020 Boston Globe–Horn Book Fiction and Poetry honor book verse novel Clap When You Land and our Five Questions interview with author Elizabeth...

Kids in summer

This may not be a typical summer for most kids, but that doesn’t mean middle-grade readers can’t embark on summertime adventures with the characters in these four new novels. And don’t miss Lucy Knisley’s recent summer-set graphic novel Stepping Stones or our Five Questions interview with the author/illustrator from the...

Exploration and curiosity

Channel the inquisitive Sharuko with the following nonfiction picture books, which encourage readers’ curiosity about the outdoors (city or country; in-person or virtually). Buzzing with Questions: The Inquisitive Mind of Charles Henry Turner by Janice N. Harrington; illus. by Theodore Taylor III Primary    Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills    48 pp. 11/19    978-1-62979-558-4   ...

Editorial: Clearly Undefeated (July/August 2020)

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Welcome to our annual ALA Awards issue. When it became clear that we would not be reopening the country anytime soon and that there would be no ­celebration of the ALSC and CSK awards at the American Library Association Annual ­Conference in Chicago in June, I worried that there would...

Week in Review, June 29th-July 3rd

  This week on hbook.com...   From the May/June Horn Book Magazine Special Issue: Breaking the Rules: Cadenza: The Rules That "Jack" Broke by Shoshana Flax   From the July/August Horn Book Magazine Special Issue: ALA Awards: Children's Literature Legacy Award Acceptance by Kevin Henkes A profile of Kevin Henkes...

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...

A Note from Me (July 1, 2020)

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Dear friends:  Have you seen allll the juicy ALA Awards coverage we’ve got for you? Okay, maybe not as juicy as that time when I sat next to a hilarious James Marshall at the Newbery-Caldecott banquet while the waiters flipped the lights off and on in a vain attempt to...

Cadenza: The Rules That "Jack" Broke

This is the house that Jack built… / This is the cat, / That killed the rat, / That ate the malt / that lay in the house that Jack built. This is the noun that noun verbed… / This is the noun, / That verbed the noun, / That...

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...

Week in Review, June 22nd-26th

  This week on hbook.com... Candace Fleming Talks with Roger about The Rise and Fall of Charles Lindbergh   From the May/June Horn Book Magazine Special Issue: Breaking the Rules: Happy Anniversary: Black and White and Read All Over Again by Cathryn M. Mercier Rule Breakers: I Simply Cannot Draw...

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. ...

A Note from Me (June 25, 2020)

Dear friends: Oh, NO, did I just engage on Twitter? I thought I had learned my lesson. Nonfiction, though. The Horn Book editors had a rousing discussion of its protean nature in the May/June “Breaking the Rules” Special Issue of The Horn Book Magazine, but enough about them: I’m discovering...

Rule Breakers: The Styrofoam Tray Incident

From the May/June 2020 Horn Book Magazine Special Issue: Breaking the Rules. Find more in the "Rule Breakers" series here....

Candace Fleming Talks with Roger

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Talks with Roger is a sponsored supplement to our free monthly e-newsletter, Notes from the Horn Book. To receive Notes, sign up here. Sponsored by   After writing about such American icons as Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, Buffalo Bill, and Amelia Earhart, Candace Fleming takes a good close look at The Rise and Fall...

Rule Breakers: I Simply Cannot Draw

I’ve never thought of myself as that type of visual artist. You know, the kind of person whose absentminded margin doodles actually look like something? Someone with those fine motor skills that translate into magnificent sketches of stuff you can recognize without having to get liberal artsy about it? And...

Preview July/August 2020 Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: ALA Awards

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Special Issue: ALA Awards.   Original cover art by 2020 Caldecott Medal winner Kadir Nelson.  “A Year with Words and Pictures — but No ALA Annual”: The Horn Book editors discuss the children’s book landscape of 2019 and the unusual circumstances of 2020.  Kevin Henkes’s Children's Literature Legacy Award acceptance speech.  A profile of Kevin Henkes by Dudley Carlson, Laura Dronzek, Virginia Duncan, and Susan Hirschman.  A profile of Coretta Scott...

Happy Anniversary: Black and White and Read All Over Again

Black and White by David Macaulay was published by Houghton Mifflin in 1990. We look back on this rule-breaking Caldecott Medalist as it celebrates its thirtieth anniversary.   By 1990, children’s literature professionals had come to expect the unexpected from David Macaulay. An innovative artist and illustration teacher, Macaulay knew...

Week in Review, June 15th-19th

  This week on hbook.com...   From the May/June Horn Book Magazine Special Issue: Breaking the Rules: How Do You Solve a Problem like Nonfiction? by the Horn Book editors Rule Breakers: The World Is My Canvas by Lisa Brown   From the July/August Horn Book Magazine Special Issue: ALA...

A Note from Me (June 19, 2020)

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Dear friends, Beverly Sills famously opined that she wasn’t happy, she was cheerful, a sentiment that could perhaps serve us all well now. (Although if you want to hear Bev being beautifully sad and despairing, try her “Addio del passato” from La Traviata.) We do have some stuff to be...

Celebrate Juneteenth

Today is Juneteenth, a day of celebration for many, who commemorate June 19th, 1865, the date enslaved people in Texas finally learned of their emancipation. To view three recommended books on the subject, click here. For even more discussion of this day, read this Floyd Cooper Talks with Roger and also Robin...

National Caribbean American Heritage Month

June is National Caribbean American Heritage Month, which celebrates “the significance of Caribbean people and their descendants in the history and culture of the United States.” There are many ways to participate -- see the calendar of (virtual) events. Don’t miss the November/December 2017 Horn Book Magazine article “Beyond the “Four...

How Do You Solve a Problem like Nonfiction?

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As we near the close of every issue of the Magazine, the editors look at all the books being reviewed, together as a group, to make sure they’re in the “right” part of the book review section. Where will the librarians, the booksellers, the teachers, the parents for whom each...

“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...

Rule Breakers: The World Is My Canvas

From the May/June 2020 Horn Book Magazine Special Issue: Breaking the Rules. Find more in the "Rule Breakers" series here. ...

Our Modern Minstrelsy

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The phrase literary blackface came up in popular conversation recently, when Barnes & Noble announced they were putting out a line of classic literature titles that had been reissued with “diverse” covers in celebration of Black History Month. Novels like Peter Pan, The Wizard of Oz, and The Secret Garden...

July/August 2020 starred reviews

art by Elisa Chavarri The following books will receive starred reviews in the July/August issue of the Horn Book Magazine. 13 Stories About Harris; written and illustrated by Amy Schwartz (Holiday). The Blue House; written and illustrated by Phoebe Wahl (Knopf). Clap When You Land; by Elizabeth Acevedo (HarperTeen). I Am Here Now; by Barbara...

Week in Review, June 8th-12th

  This week on hbook.com... June Notes from the Horn Book Newsletter: 5Qs for Elizabeth Acevedo, YA Pride fiction, Father's Day picture books, and books for middle-graders about big life changes   From the May/June Horn Book Magazine Special Issue: Breaking the Rules: Revolution Kid Style Now!*: Writing Books (About...

A Note from Me (June 12, 2020)

Dear friends: Yes, everything is still terrible out there, and I am glad that this morning’s psalm (37) had these words: A little longer — and the wicked shall have gone. Look at his place, he is not there. I wonder if those Horn Book readers who cancelled their Magazine...

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...

Big life changes

Change is never easy to deal with (and it’s particularly hard for everyone right now), but these recent books for middle-graders may help readers feel less alone in their experiences. Leaving Lymon by Lesa Cline-Ransome Intermediate, Middle School    Holiday    199 pp. 1/20    978-0-8234-4442-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4633-9    $10.99 Lymon Caldwell,...

Rule Breakers: Amy and the Bus

It was a Wednesday, and Wednesday meant what in 1979 was called gifted class, and gifted class meant getting out of regular class (yay!) and getting on a bus (yay!) and driving along a really curvy road with a bump on it that made us all fly up from our...

YA Pride fiction 2020

June is Pride month. Here are some recent books for middle schoolers and high schoolers about LGBTQIA+ young people coming into their own identities. See also Elizabeth Acevedo’s Clap When You Land (a 2020 Boston Globe–Horn Book Fiction and Poetry honoree; read our review in the upcoming July/August Horn Book...

Five questions for Elizabeth Acevedo

In Clap When You Land (Quill Tree/HarperCollins, 14 years and up), two teens — Camino, who lives in the Dominican Republic, and Yahaira, who lives in New York City — discover they are half-sisters after their father perishes in a plane crash. Told in alternating verse, the story — winner...

From the Editor - June 2020

It is a tough time for celebration, that’s for sure. But in this issue of Notes we recommend books for "Pride" and books for "Father’s Day," and I hope those who observe these holidays find a way to do so amidst the at-once turbulent and static conditions we are facing....

Father's Day picture books 2020

For Father’s Day — June 21 — here are some recent picture books that celebrate loving fathers and father figures. See also The Blue House by Phoebe Wahl in the upcoming July/August issue of the Horn Book Magazine (“It’s notable to see a single-father, working-class household represented…”) and our recently...

Books mentioned in the June 2020 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Elizabeth Acevedo Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo, Quill Tree/HarperCollins. YA Pride fiction 2020 The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta, Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins. Redwood and Ponytail by K. A. Holt, Chronicle. In the Role of Brie Hutchens... by Nicole Melleby, Algonquin. The Midnight Lie by Marie...

Rule Breakers: What Was I Doing with Those Books?

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My first job after I graduated from college was as a sixth-grade science teacher. I was woefully ill-prepared for this position — I had limited passion for the subject of science, and even less aptitude. I struggled with everything from classroom management to balancing the seemingly never-ending piles of paper...

Revolution Kid Style Now!*: Writing Books (About Kids) That Break the Rules

As someone who writes books about kids who break rules, I keep waiting for it to happen. I’m waiting for the moment when an adult points out that the protagonists in my books are disagreeable troublemakers. These kids lie and sneak. Sometimes they do illegal things. Yes, illegal things. Twelve-year-olds!...

Week in Review, June 1st-5th

  This week on hbook.com... 2020 BGHB Picture Book Award winners extras 2020 BGHB Fiction and Poetry Award winners extras 2020 BGHB Nonfiction Award winners extras   From the May/June Horn Book Magazine Special Issue: Breaking the Rules: Our Modern Minstrelsy by Kekla Magoon Rule Breakers: Not "Not Your Business"...

“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...

Rule Breakers: The Things We Do for Love

The story starts like this. “One time, at orchestra camp…” Maybe this isn’t the kind of rule-breaking you meant, but it’s true. One time at orchestra camp, I met a boy who played the bass like an absolute wizard. I did everything I could to make myself attractive to this...

A Note from Me (June 4, 2020)

Dear friends: I know I’ve been sending you some rather lighthearted thoughts in this COVID-era newsletter but I just can’t do it this week. Instead I’ll simply direct you to Kekla Magoon’s contribution to our May/June 2020 Breaking the Rules special issue of the Magazine, “Our Modern Minstrelsy,” in which...

Rule Breakers: Not "Not Your Business"

When I was in my late twenties, I studied karate at a women’s dojo. This surprised my friends, who immediately started teasing me — a newly out lipstick lesbian — about going for a “pink belt” (there’s no such thing). I surprised myself by progressing from white belt to yellow...

Week in Review, May 25th-29th

  This week on hbook.com... Presenting the 2020 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award winners   From the May/June Horn Book Magazine Special Issue: Breaking the Rules: Publishers' Previews: Diversity Five Ways - Five Questions for... Tae Keller | Kiku Hughes | Gayle E. Pitman | Erin Entrada Kelly | Christian Robinson...

A Note from Me (May 29, 2020)

Hello friends: One big thing this week has been the announcement of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards, which took place on Wednesday before the start of SLJ’s virtual Day of Dialog, which was a big success. And our job now is to figure out what October’s BGHB award ceremony is...

What Is Crisanto Wearing?

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Crisanto Guadiz is my brother-in-law of twenty-six years, married to baby brother Rand (whose image you may recall from his stint as a Horn Book poster child). The thing about a visit to Cris and Rand is that everything looks perfectly conventional on the surface, a suburban couple of DINKs (he's a...

Rule Breakers: Never a Rule to Begin With

When I was young, I heard a family member say something that has stuck with me for all of these years: “Black people can’t be gay.” As ridiculous as this sounds, there are plenty of people who have had and still have this mindset. Beyond the unfortunately common homophobia, the...

Publishers' Preview: Diversity Five Ways: Five Questions for Christian Robinson

This interview originally appeared in the May/June 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Diversity Five Ways, an advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a book from its current list. They choose the books; we ask the questions. Sponsored by You Matter,...

Publishers' Preview: Diversity Five Ways: Five Questions for Erin Entrada Kelly

This interview originally appeared in the May/June 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Diversity Five Ways, an advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a book from its current list. They choose the books; we ask the questions. Sponsored by Three siblings,...

Publishers' Preview: Diversity Five Ways: Five Questions for Gayle E. Pitman

This interview originally appeared in the May/June 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Diversity Five Ways, an advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a book from its current list. They choose the books; we ask the questions. Sponsored by This book’s...

Publishers' Preview: Diversity Five Ways: Five Questions for Kiku Hughes

This interview originally appeared in the May/June 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Diversity Five Ways, an advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a book from its current list. They choose the books; we ask the questions. Sponsored by Time travel...

Publishers' Preview: Diversity Five Ways: Five Questions for Tae Keller

This interview originally appeared in the May/June 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Diversity Five Ways, an advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a book from its current list. They choose the books; we ask the questions. Sponsored by In When...

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...

Week in Review, May 18th-22nd

  This week on hbook.com... Obituary for Karen Blumenthal (1959-2020)   From the May/June Horn Book Magazine Special Issue: Breaking the Rules: "Give Me a Decent Bottle of Poison": Writing a Mystery by Marthe Jocelyn Rule Breakers: Rule Number One by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan Rule Breakers: Stepping Off...
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