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All Woman Spacewalk

If you were inspired by this morning's history-making all-woman spacewalk -- like we were! -- here are some booklists about: strong women making an impact,  picture-book biographies of pioneering women, collective biographies of "brazen" women, and groundbreaking women in STEAM. And don't miss the new picture book Astro Girl, by...

Field Notes: Readers and Refugees

Beginning in the spring of 2018, IBBY [International Board on Books for Young People] Canada initiated the Readers and Refugees program in Toronto. The program was inspired by IBBY Children in Crisis Fund programs, such as IBBY–REFORMA’s joint Children in Crisis Project at the U.S./Mexico border and IBBY Italia’s work with...

Week in Review, October 14th-18th

  This week on hbook.com... From the September/October 2019 Horn Book Magazine: Field Notes: Readers and Refugees by Theo Heras   Reviews of the Week: Starred Picture Book: Double Bass Blues by Andrea J. Loney; illus. by Rudy Gutierrez Fiction: Butterfly Yellow by Thanhhà Lai Starred Nonfiction: Crossing On Time:...

The Little Guys

In Leave Me Alone!, a 2017 Caldecott Honor book, Vera Brosgol gave us a grouchy grandma who just wants to be left TF alone. In The Little Guys, we meet a pack of admittedly adorable underdogs, working ably together to better themselves and all others within the group — but acting like a bunch...

Apply for a spring Horn Book internship + meet interns Natalie and KP!

Interested in learning more about the children’s book industry, book reviewing, or how magazines and review journals operate? A Horn Book internship is a great place to start. Our editorial interns are an invaluable help in managing the gazillion books that enter and leave our office (and if the phrase...

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...

CaldeComics 2020

Another year, another opportunity for graphic novels to make their way into Caldecott discussions. If, as Travis Jonker writes, wordless books are “Caldecott catnip,” then what does that make graphic novels? “Graphic elements” in picture books certainly seem to be an enticing treat (see: Mr. Wuffles!, A Different Pond, Creepy...

Indigenous Peoples' Day 2019

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It’s Indigenous Peoples' Day! We urge you — today and all year — to seek out and share books respectfully representing indigenous North American peoples and cultures. For an extensive resource by a cultural insider and a children’s literature scholar, please visit Dr. Debbie Reese’s website American Indians in Children’s Literature (and in particular...

Another

My sister, a high school English teacher, is one of the most well-read and story-loving persons on the planet. She reads voraciously, indiscriminately, and deeply. When she presses a book into my hands, I know it will demand focused and thoughtful reading. This was the case with Joseph Campbell’s The...

BGHB19 Slideshow

The 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards were presented on Friday, October 4, 2019, at Simmons University. We were joined by winners and honorees: Kekla Magoon, Yuyi Morales, Jo Ann Allen Boyce and Debbie Levy, Miranda Paul and Jason Chin, and Adib Khorram. Jarrett J. Krosoczka's wife and extremely poised ten-year-old...

Horn BOO! 2019

Welcome to our annual roundup of (not-always) scary seasonal stories, where you'll find, mostly, more pumpkins and puns than poltergeists. Happy Halloween! Mr. Pumpkin’s Tea Party by Erin Barker; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary    Blue Manatee   32 pp.    g 9/19    978-1-936669-77-6    $17.99  Handsome china dishes and raised pinkies accentuate a fancy...

Books mentioned in the October 2019 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Rainbow Rowell Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell, illus. by Faith Erin Hicks, Roaring Brook/First Second, 14 years and up. Meet-cute love stories Somewhere Only We Know by Maureen Goo, Farrar, 14 years and up. Love from A to Z by S. K. Ali, Simon/Salaam, 14 years and up....

From the Editor - October 2019

We are celebrating the 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards, which were presented in a ceremony at Simmons University on October 4th. It was great fun, with two unprompted standing ovations (plus a third I accidentally set off); a group sing-along video "Happy Birthday to You" for award chair Monica Edinger,...

Going Down Home with Daddy

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Going Down Home with Daddy's back cover boldly announces, “Nothing is more important than family.” It's a palpable sentiment throughout the story. A Black family of four wakes before dawn to pack the car for a trip “down home” to Daddy’s family reunion, an event they surely attend regularly. During the drive,...

Eerie and uncanny

Starring ghosts, ghost hunters, goblins, and changelings, these new adventures for intermediate and middle-school readers are atmospherically spooky (but not-too-scary) books to snuggle up with on a gloomy fall day. Find more Halloween recommendations in Friday's Horn Book Herald e-newsletter. Mollie sets out to return Guest, a changeling child, to...

Offbeat pet picture books

Four picture books feature stories of unusual pets, from a ghost cat to a balloon puppy to a dog who thinks he's a baked potato. Also check out Jon Agee's hilarious new picture book I Want a Dog, reviewed in the upcoming November/December Horn Book Magazine, in which a determined...

Meet-cute love stories

Read our Five Questions interview with Rainbow Rowell, about pumpkin patch employees strolling toward love in the delicious graphic novel Pumpkinheads (Roaring Brook/First Second, 14 years and up). Then enjoy the following YA love stories in which the protagonists similarly meet-cute — and realize their feelings for each other —...

Five questions for Rainbow Rowell

Photo: Augusten Burroughs. Rainbow Rowell's graphic-novel debut Pumpkinheads (Roaring Brook/First Second, 14 years and up) takes place in a theme park–like pumpkin patch (petting zoo, pumpkin slingshot, haunted graveyard, s'mores pit), where over the course of their last day at work, college-bound employees and BFFs Deja and Josiah search for...

Richard Jackson (1935-2019)

We were sad to hear of the death last week of "legendary children's book publisher" Richard Jackson. Jackson chronicled his long and distinguished career in publishing in a 1992 interview with Anita Silvey, "WE." In 2016, he revisited the topic in the Horn Book's pages with an amusing and informative...

Interview with Self

Richard Jackson: Thank you for doing this.   My pleasure. What’s the old adage? Say something, see something...  RJ: After some fifty years of working as an editor and publisher, you began writing picture books in...?  2013. In April of that year, I accompanied Brian Floca, as his editor, to an...

Yom Kippur 2019/5780

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins this evening, October 8, 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 Horn Book Guide....

Roger Sutton's 2019 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards Opening Remarks

The 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards ceremony took place on Friday, October 4, at Simmons University. The opening remarks, below, were delivered by Horn Book Editor in Chief Roger Sutton. For more about the history of the Boston Globe-Horn Book awards, and about this year's winners and honorees, visit the...

Deborah Heiligman 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 two biographies about two people each (Charles and Emma [Darwin], Vincent and Theo [van Gogh]), Deborah Heiligman now writes about a cast of one hundred — the precise number...

Hey, Water!

Forgive me, dear readers, but I’m sort of cheating. I’m writing about Antoinette Portis’s Hey, Water! here at Calling Caldecott when, earlier this year, I reviewed it for the Horn Book Magazine. I’m going to embrace this, though, by leaning into my review and reiterating here the many things I like...

What Never Wins?

Travis Jonker's Calling Caldecott post about wordless books being "catnip" for Caldecott committees, and he's making me wonder again about what picture-book subgenres have never figured in the medals. Like: board books, pop-up books, books illustrated with photographs. Anything else?...

Week in Review, September 30th - October 4th

This week on hbook.com... Tonight is the 2019 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards ceremony! Visit our Twitter, Facebook,  and Instagram accounts for highlights from the evening's festivities, and stay tuned for more BGHB content coming on the website next week. Starred reviews coming in the November/December 2019 Horn Book Magazine Kimberly Jones and...

Happy 100th Birthday, Lee Kingman!

On Sunday, October 6, longtime Horn Book colleague Lee Kingman will celebrate her one hundredth birthday! After a visit with Lee, I feel especially fortunate to work in children's books with people who are as funny, smart, and discerning as she is. Lee's first book reviews were published in the...

Starred reviews, November-December 2019 Horn Book Magazine

Spread from Firefighters' Handbook The following books will receive starred reviews in the November-December issue of The Horn Book Magazine: The Shortest Day; by Susan Cooper; illustrated by Carson Ellis (Candlewick) River; written and illustrated by Elisha Cooper (Orchard/Scholastic) Birdsong; written and illustrated by Julie Flett (Greystone) Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty...

Rainbow Rowell at Congregation Kehillath Israel

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Rainbow Rowell and Margaret Willison (and Baz and Simon!). Photo: Shoshana Flax.   Rainbow Rowell wrote Wayward Son in secret. A sequel to Carry On — a risky proposition itself, in that it’s set in the fictional universe for which the protagonist of her realistic novel Fangirl writes fanfiction (got...

Gittel's Journey

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Gittel’s Journey — and thus, Gittel’s journey — feels vast. The trim size is on the generous side, with a dust jacket that shows our young protagonist against a backdrop of ocean and the faraway Statue of Liberty and, on the back, shows her amidst a large crowd of people disembarking from...

Gabby Rivera and Roxane Gay at CRLS

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the world, but then you read.” -James Baldwin What do you do when the world is trying to erase you for not being white, male, and heterosexual? You write books. At least that what’s Gabby Rivera and Roxane Gay do....

Considering the Criteria: Addressing Book Discussion Guidelines in the Twenty-First Century

In our awards-focused children’s book industry, the calendar is full of rituals. January is when we learn which books won ALA awards and which did not; June is when we celebrate those winners. With the turning of the season to fall, this is the moment in the award year when...

BGHB this Friday night

Everyone here is busy with last-minute details for the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards ceremony this Friday night. My 24th, eep. While I expect it to be a happy event, we are all going to miss the presence of Monica Edinger, chair of this year's award commitee, who is in rehab...

Preview November/December 2019 Horn Book Magazine

Cover art from The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper, illustration by Carson Ellis.  The Zena Sutherland Lecture: Gene Luen Yang asks, "Why Do Comics Matter?" Laurel Snyder on keeping company with very sad books.  Lois Lowry remembers Lee Bennett Hopkins.  “Board Books Build Brains”: a round-up from Rachel Payne of...

Field Trip to the Moon

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Look, I could beat around the bush, but I’m just going to tell you straight: nothing gets the attention of the Caldecott committee like a wordless book. Wordless is Caldecott catnip. “Yeah, yeah, Travis, what do you know?” Well, I know that my 2014 committee gave Honors to not one but...

Rosh Hashanah 2019

Rosh Hashanah is here! Wishing you a year of good friends, good times with family, good humor, personal growth, beautiful art, comfort if there are difficult times, and new discoveries. Shana tovah!...

Week in Review, September 23rd - 27th

This week on hbook.com... Duncan Tonatiuh Talks with Roger Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book, September 2019 issue: health and human body, undocumented immigrant experiences, coding and computer science, and exploration Reviews of the Week: Picture Book: Sweep by Louise Greig; illus. by Júlia Sardà  Fiction: More to the Story by Hena Khan Nonfiction:...

Book People's Day Out

We at the Horn Book are book people. Professional readers. Reviewers, fact-checkers, editors, and designers. But sometimes, we just need to take a break from our literary pursuits and swing a mini-golf club.  Our office outing (we call it “the summer outing,” and Friday was still summer — like I...

New HB Guide Online reviews September 2019

As I hope you all know, the Horn Book Guide Online now publishes reviews of recommended books every month. Just this week we’ve added over a hundred more reviews to the database, as well as updated the (free!) content on the homepage: right now we’re featuring the 2019 Boston Globe–Horn...

What Is Given from the Heart

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In this posthumous offering from author Patricia C. McKissack, young James Otis and his mother are experiencing hard times: James Otis's father has died; they have lost their farm; their rundown new house floods; James Otis's dog disappears. The two things they have been able to hold onto are their faith and each other. In...

Mordicai Gerstein: A Tribute

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We here at Calling Caldecott are sad to have read the news about the death of Mordicai Gerstein, who wrote and illustrated children’s books for nearly five decades. I first heard about his death on Tuesday when Richard Michelson of R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton, Massachusetts, shared the news of his...

Sea Bear

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I typically shy away from books that carry any sort of “message.” The heavy hand of adulthood often lands a little too hard for my taste, replacing narrative and beauty with “You get it now, right?” Not so in Lindsay Moore’s nonfiction picture book Sea Bear: A Journey for Survival. In...

Jacqueline Woodson Red at the Bone

On Wednesday evening, I got the opportunity to hear Jacqueline Woodson read from her latest novel for adults, Red at the Bone, at the First Parish Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, hosted by Harvard Book Store. Within minutes, I was transported from the church pew in Cambridge to a stoop in...

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...

Books mentioned in the September 2019 issue of Nonficton Notes from the Horn Book

Health and human body Fishman, Seth  Power Up Illustrated by Isabel Greenberg Gr. K–3    40 pp.    Greenwillow    2019 Trade ISBN 978-0-06-245579-6 Ritchie, Scot  See How We Move!: A First Book of Health and Well-Being [Exploring Our Community] Gr. K–3    32 pp.    Kids Can    2018 Trade ISBN 978-1-77138-967-9 Settel, Joanne  Your...

Exploration

Bergreen, Laurence  Magellan: Over the Edge of the World Middle school, high school    211 pp.    Roaring Brook This adaptation of the author's adult book chronicles Ferdinand Magellan's historic, globe-circumnavigating search for the Spice Islands. The conflict between Portugal and Spain and suspicion of Magellan's loyalty to the Spanish crown are...

Coding and computer science

Alkire, Jessie  Code It!: Programming and Keyboards You Can Create Yourself Gr. 4–6    32 pp.    ABDO Checkerboard Library: Cool Makerspace Gadgets & Gizmos series. This short volume introduces makerspaces and coding, providing instructions for six projects that use either Scratch or Makey Makeys. Photographs accompany clear, reproducible instructions, and brightly...

Undocumented immigrant experiences

Arce, Julissa  Someone like Me: How One Undocumented Girl Fought for Her American Dream Gr. 4–6, middle school    240 pp.    Little, Brown At once heartbreaking and full of hope, this moving memoir is a survival story that recounts the Mexican American author's adolescence spent as an undocumented immigrant in Texas....

Health and human body

Fishman, Seth  Power Up Gr. K–3    40 pp.    Greenwillow Illustrated by Isabel Greenberg. This broad-strokes introduction to human physiology explains how energy powers all the body's processes. The text presents information with clarity, humor, and wonder. Greenberg's digital illustrations match the celebratory tone, with a brown-skinned girl with two puffball...

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...

Global Climate Strike 19

Today in Boston (and around the world) children are participating in the Global Climate Strike to raise awareness -- and demand action -- about climate change. Here are some additional articles and links from The Horn Book about environmental activism and young people Making a Difference. As Whitney said, children...

My Heart

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I’ve been diving into social-emotional books this year for a number of reasons, so I was interested in My Heart and saw it fairly soon after it was published. It struck me as a book that was going to challenge any ideas we might have about how a book about feelings should...

CaldeGeisel 2020

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Last year the Guessing Geisel co-host team was thrilled to make a visit to Calling Caldecott to discuss the crossover appeal of Emily Tetri’s Tiger vs. Nightmare. Although the title didn’t quite snag a crossover win, it did take home a Geisel Honor. Not too shabby! This year we’re once again...

Owl Moon takes flight again

Editor Patti Gauch has asked me to tell you all about an upcoming event. On October 16th, Patti, along with Heidi Stemple, Judy Schoenherr, and Nanette Stevenson will discuss with Jane Yolen her durable 1987 picture book Owl Moon. Patti was the editor, Heidi the inspiration, Judy the widow of the...

A Conversation with Sophie Blackall

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Sophie Blackall is the author-illustrator of Hello Lighthouse, winner of the 2019 Randolph Caldecott Medal. Julie Danielson interviewed her by email for Calling Caldecott.   Calling Caldecott: Last year, we asked the Caldecott Medalist where he keeps his medal (it is beside his daughter's Ren Faire fist, no less), but where...

Black Kids Camp, Too...Don't They?: Embracing "Wildness" in Picture Books

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My mother was a Girl Scout leader, my father was a Boy Scout leader, and my brother was a Tiger Cub in the Boy Scouts. Practically from the time I could walk, I tagged along with family to scout meetings and events. When I became a Girl Scout, and eventually...

Books mentioned in the September 2019 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Raina Telgemeier Guts by Raina Telgemeier, color by Braden Lamb, Scholastic/Graphix, 9–12 years. Smile by Raina Telgemeier, color by Stephanie Yue, Scholastic/Graphix, 9–12 years. Sisters by Raina Telgemeier, color by Braden Lamb, Scholastic/Graphix, 9–12 years. School-set graphic novels Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai, Holt, 8–11...

From the Editor - September 2019

The September/October issue of The Horn Book Magazine takes an unusually practical turn for us, with how-to articles about facilitating effective book discussions, sharing books with refugees and developmentally disabled children, and producing readers' theater in the classroom as well as a call for more black faces in books about nature and the outdoors. Plus, Cathie Mercier and I remember our great friend and colleague Susan Bloom. Please...

Five questions for Raina Telgemeier

Guts is the latest graphic memoir from Raina Telgemeier, whose previous titles — Smile and Sisters (all Scholastic/Graphix, 9–12 years) — blazed a path for middle-grade confessional nonfiction in comics form. This story, which takes place during her fifth-grade year, focuses on childhood anxiety and chronicles young Raina's difficulties with...

YA anthologies and you

Four recent anthologies that celebrate racial, cultural, and religious identities (among others) help address the need for teens to see both themselves — and a spectrum of their peers — represented on shelves.  In Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America, compiler Ibi Zoboi presents seventeen short stories by an impressive collection...

New year, new possibilities

Starting a new school year—and especially starting school, period—can be nerve-wracking, but it also presents opportunities for new friendships and experiences. These lighthearted picture books validate first-day worries while also celebrating this significant moment.    In The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes, vignettes follow a boy through his first day of big-kid school. Dubbed the "King of Kindergarten" by his mother, the...

School-set graphic novels

The following graphic- and illustrated novels for middle graders and middle schoolers, set in and around school, are great for those students eager to return — and those who may need a little coaxing to get back into the swing of things. See also in this issue our Five Questions...

Let's Dive In: The List Is Here

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We're here today with our list of 2020 Caldecott-eligible books. We’ve asked the books (and our guest bloggers) to don some scuba gear, because we’re going to take some deep dives here at the blog — humor me with my weak aquatic metaphor; I’m only on my first cup of...

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...

It's That Time of Year Again

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Well, hello there! We here at Calling Caldecott are waving in your direction (which is to say many directions), welcoming fall — here in the South, anyway, we finally have a subtle chill in the air — and welcoming back our readers for a new season of looking at outstanding...

Harry, AGAIN?

It's funny to see the Catholics going after Harry Potter as he presented no particular challenge to the Church (I've also been rereading His Dark Materials, and there's something for the R.C.s to sink their teeth into). And, most oddly, why now? Sounds like the good Father got himself buttonholed by...

Editorial: My Friend Susan Bloom (September/October 2019)

I have my own version of the Anthony Browne story Cathie Mercier tells on page 26 in commemorating her great colleague and friend Susan P. Bloom, who died on June 7th at the age of eighty. In my version, it is the summer of 1989 and I am at Boston's...

2018–2019 yearbook superlatives

Summer is winding down: the weather has turned cooler (sob!) and students are starting the new school year. Get into the back-to-school mood with our senior superlatives for characters in the "class" of 2018–2019. What superlative would you award your favorite character? Most musical: Bri Jackson, On the Come Up;...

Table of Contents: September/October 2019 Horn Book Magazine

Cover art from Click, Clack, Boo! Illustration © 2013 by Betsy Lewin. Features  "Considering the Criteria" by Vicky Smith   "Black Kids Camp, Too…Don't They?" by Michelle H. Martin   Columns    Editorial "My Friend Susan Bloom" by Roger Sutton   Happy Anniversary "It's Perfectly Normal" by Kitty Flynn  ...

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...

Happy Anniversary: Number the Stars

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Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars was published by Houghton Mifflin in 1989. It won the Newbery Medal in 1990 and celebrates its thirtieth anniversary in 2019.    Thirty years after its publication, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry remains one of the best literary introductions to the Holocaust for children....

Week in Review, August 19th - 23rd

This week on hbook.com...   Reviews of the Week: Picture Book: Cyril and Pat by Emily Gravett Fiction: Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers by Celia C. Pérez Nonfiction: Hummingbird by Nicola Davies; illus. by Jane Ray Audiobook: Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary Schmidt; read by Christopher...

"First Day of School"

"First Day of School" was the subject line of an email I got from my dad today. Given that my younger brother and I have been out of school for *cough cough* years, this could only mean...Puppy Preschool! My parents' four-month-old dachshund puppy, Lilly, started "school" yesterday. Here she is,...

New HB Guide Online reviews August 2019

Here we are again! We’ve just added close to 200 new reviews to the revamped Horn Book Guide Online. In fact, you can now expect updates to this super-spiffy review database every month going forward (as opposed to every other month on the old site). And, as we add reviews each...

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...

Let Struggling Readers Read What They Want

I worked as a tutor for over five years, helping students learn to decode words and comprehend what they read. Many of the students fell either on the dyslexic or autistic spectrums, and all had dealt with difficulty and discouragement with reading in the past. This meant I regularly faced...

Car Books -- Help!

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?...

Week in Review, August 12th - 16th

This week on hbook.com... August Notes from the Horn Book newsletter: 5Q for George Takei on They Called Us Enemy, more books about Japanese internment, picture books about things that go, nonfiction about amazing animals August Back-to-School edition of The Horn Book Herald: 5Q for Celia C. Pérez on Strange...

August 2019 Horn Book Herald: Back-to-School Edition

Welcome to our back-to-school issue of The Horn Book Herald, in which we chat with Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers author Celia C. Pérez, recommend new books for students of all ages as well as essential reading for parents and teachers, and take a break from the...

Five questions for Celia C. Pérez

In Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers (Kokila/Penguin, 9–12 years), author Celia C. Pérez's follow-up to her 2018 Boston Globe–Horn Book honoree The First Rule of Punk (Viking, 9–12 years), four oddball friends band together to fight injustice and solve a historical mystery. It's like Stand by Me...

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...

Books mentioned in the August 2019 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for George Takei They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, and Steven Scott, illus. by Harmony Becker, Top Shelf, 12 years and up. Japanese internment Enemy Child: The Story of Norman Mineta, a Boy Imprisoned in a Japanese American Internment Camp During World War II by...

From the Editor - August 2019

Back to SCHOOL? Already? Sheesh. You still have time to take some of our summer reading suggestions* and on Friday we will be bringing you — yup — the back-to-school issue of The Horn Book Herald with recommendations, survival tips, and an interview with Celia C. Pérez about her new...

Amazing animals

These approachable science books introduce primary and intermediate readers to two extraordinary animals, one species' survival story, and the everyday dynamics between predator and prey. Inky's Amazing Escape: How a Very Smart Octopus Found His Way Home tells how a real octopus was caught in a Pacific Ocean lobster trap...

Five questions for George Takei

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He's gone to the stars and back via the starship Enterprise as Hikaru Sulu on the classic television show Star Trek. With an influential social media presence, he's a passionate advocate and activist for social justice and LGBTQ rights. He's the author of several books for adults. Now George Takei...

Fueling imagination

These recent picture books for preschool- and primary-age children celebrate "things that go" as a vehicle (heh) for daydreaming and imaginative play. It's "a fine evening for a drive," and Annie, protagonist of Vroom! by Barbara McClintock, has a plan — and a big imagination. In her sleek racing car, Annie...

Japanese internment

In his comics-format memoir They Called Us Enemy (Top Shelf, 12 years and up), actor and activist George Takei describes his childhood years in two Japanese American internment camps during World War II (read our Five Questions interview with Takei here). The following books, both nonfiction and fiction (YA and...

Week in Review, July 29th–August 2nd

This week on hbook.com...   Starred reviews coming in the September/October 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine Obituary: Toni Morrison (1931-2019) From the May/June 2019 Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: The CSK Book Awards at 50: Lift Every Voice: "Side B" by Michele Wood   Reviews of the Week:...

R.I.P. Lee Bennett Hopkins

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I was sorry to hear about the death this morning of Lee Bennett Hopkins. With his own work, his anthologies, and his nurturing of new poets, is there anyone who has done more for American children's poetry than Lee? A fuller appreciation of Lee's achievements will follow, but today I...

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...

Letter to the Editor from Lee Bennett Hopkins, July/August 1990

July/August 1990 Horn Book To the Editor, It is a fact: Eloise Greenfield is the only Black writer of children’s poetry currently being published in the United States; her latest volume, Nathaniel Talking (Black Butterfly Children’s Books), appeared in 1989. It seems quite incredible that, with over four thousand books...

Toni Morrison (1931-2019)

Toni Morrison (1931-2019) passed away this week at the age of eighty-eight. A superlative writer for adults, Morrison also co-wrote several children's books with her son, the late Slade Morrison. Her time as an editor came up earlier this year while we were working on the CSK Book Awards special...

2019 Children's Literature Summer Institute follow-up

From July 25rd to the 28th, I had the honor of attending my first Children’s Literature Summer Institute at Simmons University. As a graduate student at Simmons, I enrolled in the two-week summer course tied to the institute, taught by this year's Carol S. Kline Visiting Professor, Eric Tribunella of...

Starred reviews, Horn Book Magazine, September-October 2019

Art from FIELD TRIP TO THE MOON   The following books will receive starred reviews in the September/October issue of The Horn Book Magazine. Field Trip to the Moon; written and illustrated by John Hare (Ferguson/Holiday). A Big Bed for Little Snow; written and illustrated by Grace Lin (Little, Brown). Double Bass Blues; by...

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...

Week in Review, July 29th–August 2nd

This week on hbook.com... Preview the September/October 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine   From the May/June 2019 Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: The CSK Book Awards at 50: "Lift Every Voice: Thank You Gusty" by Floyd Cooper   Reviews of the Week: Picture Book: Puppy Truck by Brian...

Preview September/October 2019 Horn Book Magazine

Cover art from Click, Clack, Boo!: A Tricky Treat by Doreen Cronin, illustration copyright 2013 by Betsy Lewin.  Kirkus children’s editor Vicky Smith considers book discussion guidelines for the twenty-first century.  “Black Kids Camp Too…Don’t They?”: Michelle H. Martin on why #WeNeedDiverseOutdoorBooks.  Kitty Flynn wishes a happy twenty-fifth anniversary to Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley’s It’s Perfectly Normal.  Cathryn M. Mercier, director...

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...

Happy birthday, Harry!

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Happy birthday to one of kidlit's most beloved and backlashed big-name characters, Harry Potter! (He'd be thirty-nine this year. Holy hippogriff.) The Horn Book has had a lot to say — good, bad, and damn, these books are long — about The Boy Who Lived over the years. Here's a...

Conference Report: 2019 Children's Literature Summer Institute at Simmons University: "Make Way"

This past weekend, Martha Parravano, Cynthia K. Ritter, and Shoshana Flax took turns attending “Make Way,” the 2019 Summer Children’s Literature Institute at Simmons University. Here are our (chronological) combined impressions from this weekend. Cindy: On Thursday night, Shoshana and I caught up over dinner with some of our Simmons...
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