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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...

Karen Blumenthal (1959–2020)

We were sad to hear about the death earlier this week of Karen Blumenthal. A respected journalist (for the Wall Street Journal and Dallas Morning News) and author of nonfiction books for young adults, Blumenthal also co-created the #KidLitWomen* initiative. Read our review of her latest book, Jane Against the...

Tomie dePaola (1934-2020)

Beloved author and illustrator Tomie DePaola has passed away this week, on March 30, 2020, from a fall. "What a rich legacy he has left us with," says Roger Sutton. Some articles, interviews, and artwork by and about this "great guy" are here; look for a full remembrance in an...

Betsy Byars (1928-2020)

We were sad to hear from her daughter about the death last week of author Betsy Byars. Byars's many awards and recognitions includes the 1971 Newbery Medal for The Summer of the Swans; the 1981 National Book Award for The Night Swimmers; and an Edgar Award in 1992 for Wanted...Mud...

Katherine Johnson (1918-2020)

We were sad to hear of the death today of Katherine Johnson at age 101. In recent years there have been several books for young people about this remarkable "hidden figure," including her 2019 autobiography Reaching for the Moon and the titles below. As we near the end of Black...

Andrew Clements (1949-2019)

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Photo: George Clements. We were sad to learn that Andrew Clements passed away late last month. Perhaps best known as the author of Frindle, Clements wrote over eighty books, many of them school stories. Recent titles include The Friendship War and The Losers Club; read Roger Sutton's Five Questions interview...

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...

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...

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...

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...

My friend Susan

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Flowers by Susan BloomWe said goodbye yesterday to a friend of mine and of the Horn Book, Susan P. Bloom. I met Susan thirty years ago, when she and Cathie Mercier invited me to teach Simmons's Summer Children's Literature Institute. That year's theme, "Masquerade" was aptly borne out when Susan...

Susan P. Bloom (1938-2019)

The Horn Book office will be closed this afternoon as we attend the funeral of Susan P. Bloom, Director Emerita of the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University. Susan was a great Friend of the Horn Book and a beloved mentor to many of us. She...

Judith Kerr (1923-2019)

Author/illustrator Judith Kerr has passed away at the age of ninety-five. Kerr's first book was the picture-book classic The Tiger Who Came to Tea. She is also the creator of a long-running series about Mog, the Forgetful Cat; and more recently Mister Cleghorn's Seal, The Crocodile Under the Bed, One...

For Paul Janeczko

Naomi Shihab Nye, helped out by Lynne Rae Perkins, remembers the recently departed Paul B. Janeczko. He will be missed.  For Paul Janeczko, who Changed the WorldWe were set up to do a reading together in Portland, Maine once — HIS TOWN —and the only attendee was a dog.As we waited...

In Memoriam: Jane Langton

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I first met Jane in the spring of 1975. Invited for lunch, I showed up at her beautiful home in Lincoln determined to make a lasting impression. At Harvard Square I had bought the cheapest flowers I could find — daffodils — and I arrived in her kitchen with twelve...

R.I.P. Tomi Ungerer and a Letter from Leda

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We were sorry to hear about the death of Tomi Ungerer, whose is the name I hear mentioned most frequently when illustrators talk about their heroes. The New York Times has a sympathetic and informative obit of the artist but takes one cheap shot up with which Leda Schubert, dear friend...

RIP William Goldman

There’s a history in this office of Feelings about The Princess Bride. Some Horn Bookers find it irritating how often people quote it. (I can’t imagine why.) And others believe that this story within a story is a dweam wiffin a dweam. That “Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Fate....

In Memoriam: Remembering Julius Lester

Julius Lester and Richard Michelson. Photo: Seth KayeWhen I contacted Julius Lester (1939–2018) in 2014 to ask if he would join us at my gallery to accept the seventh annual Reader to Reader Norton Juster Award for Devotion to Literacy, he said he was pleased to be celebrated and would...

Ann Durell (1931-2018)

Renowned editor and publisher Ann Durell died May 6, 2018, in New York City. She was eighty-seven. She entered the children’s book field in the 1950s, first as an apprentice and secretary at Doubleday, then taking over as head of the Junior Literary Guild, then moving to Holt, Rinehart and...

Richard Peck (1934-2018)

We were very saddened to hear from Roger about the death of Richard Peck late last night. Winner of the Newbery Medal (in 2001 for A Year Down Yonder), the Margaret A. Edwards Award "for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature," the Scott O'Dell Award, a Boston Globe-Horn Book...

Alice Provensen (1918-2018)

Author and illustrator Alice Provensen died April 23, 2018, in San Clemente, California. She was ninety-nine. With her late husband and collaborator Martin Provensen, she illustrated more than forty children’s books, including The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Blériot, winner of the 1984 Caldecott Medal, and A Visit...

Russell Freedman (1929-2018)

Photo by Evans ChanWe were sad to learn that Russell Freedman passed away earlier this week. The prolific nonfiction author -- winner of the 1988  Newbery Medal for Lincoln: A Photobiography -- wrote over sixty books, beginning with Teenagers Who Made History and including Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the...

Ursula K. Le Guin (1929–2018)

Ursula K. Le GuinAuthor Ursula K. Le Guin, who challenged the male-dominated fantasy and science fiction fields starting in the 1960s, died January 22, 2018, in Portland, Oregon. She was eighty-eight. Her YA novel A Wizard of Earthsea (which explored the struggle of good versus evil as an internal struggle,...

Julius Lester (1939-2018)

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Frequent collaborators Jerry Pinkney and Julius Lester.We were terribly saddened to hear of the death yesterday of Julius Lester at age seventy-eight, author of such touchstone books as To Be a Slave (illustrated by Tom Feelings), a Newbery Honor winner; Long Journey Home: Stories from Black History; When the Beginning Began:...

Reviews of Selected Books Edited by Iona Opie

I Saw Esau: The Schoolchild's Pocket Book edited by Iona and Peter Opie; illus. by Maurice Sendak Of Interest to Adults     Candlewick     160 pp. 6/92     1-56402-046-0     $19.99 Generously embellished with illustrations ranging from full-page compositions to vignettes illuminating individual verses, this newly reissued edition of the...

Iona Opie (1923-2017)

British folklorist Iona Opie died October 23, 2017, in Hampshire, England, at the age of ninety-four. With her late husband Peter Opie she was “one of the world’s greatest experts on the folklore, games and beliefs of childhood,” as the London Telegraph obituary put it. The Opies’ first publication was...

Robin Smith (1959-2017)

Robin SmithTeacher, picture book expert, and reading advocate Robin Smith died June 22, 2017, at the age of fifty-seven. A second-grade teacher at Ensworth School in Nashville for the last twenty-four years, she was a longtime Horn Book contributor and reviewer and a founding co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog....

Patricia C. McKissack (1944–2017)

Patricia and Fredrick McKissackThe death of Patricia McKissack earlier this week at age 72, four years after the death of her husband and frequent collaborator Fredrick, is a huge loss to the children's literature community. Their son Fredrick Jr.'s description is heart-achingly poignant: "In a way, I think my mother...

Paula Fox (1923–2017)

Photo: Mimi Forsyth.We were saddened to hear about the death of Paula Fox. The author, a novelist of uncommon insight into the human condition, died March 1, 2017, in Brooklyn, New York. She was ninety-three. In addition to her adult novels, she wrote more than twenty books for young people,...

Nancy Willard (1936–2017)

January/February 2002 Horn Book Magazine cover by Nancy Willard.We were sad to hear about the death of Nancy Willard. Willard, whose 1981 book of poetry A Visit to William Blake’s Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers broke ground by winning both the Newbery Medal and a Caldecott Honor (for...

Judith Ortiz Cofer and Marilyn Sachs

We were sad to hear about the deaths, just before the New Year, of Judith Ortiz Cofer (1952-2016) and Marilyn Sachs (1927-2016), two of children's literature's Great Ladies.Cofer's 1995 linked short story collection An Island Like You: Stories of the Barrio was a touchstone work in children's books: "A milestone...

Natalie Babbitt, 1932–2016

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Beloved author and illustrator Natalie Babbitt died this past Monday; she had been recently diagnosed with lung cancer. She gave the children's book world immeasurable gifts — her books. In the New York Times obituary, her husband, Samuel Fisher Babbitt, described her as a remarkable woman "who left her mark in...

Anna Dewdney, 1965-2016

We were very sad to hear about the untimely passing of Anna Dewdney, creator of the Llama Llama books. Here is her wonderful Fostering Lifelong Learners conference speech delivered in 2013 at the Cambridge Public Library in Massachusetts. "By reading with a child, you are teaching that child to be...

RIP Lois Duncan

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I was sorry to hear about Lois Duncan's death yesterday. Lois had been writing for young people for a long time--her first novel, Debutante Hill, was published in 1958 (and republished in 2013 by Lizzie Skurnick Books). She is someone whose work I always point towards as a reminder that...

Peter Dickinson, 1927-2015

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One-of-a-kind British writer Peter Dickinson died in December at age eighty-eight. His work cannot be easily categorized: a prolific author, he wrote everything from adult detective novels to speculative YA science fiction to heart-stopping adventures to intriguing almost-fantasies. The protagonists in his work for children range from an American-missionary boy...

Always: remembering Alan Rickman

Just a few days ago, the Goblin King passed.While Bowie the Artist never really had much of an impact on my life, Bowie the Goblin King certainly did. As a child, Labyrinth in equal parts delighted and terrified me. I watched it over and over, always hiding my face when...

Vera B. Williams (1927–2015)

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We were saddened to hear about the death last week of legendary children's book author and illustrator Vera B. Williams. It's a loss to our field; she was, truly, unique. Her groundbreaking picture books celebrated children and family and communities — all kinds of children, all kinds of families, and all kinds...

Dorothy Butler, 1925-2015

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We were very sad to hear about the death this week of Dorothy Butler — author, bookstore doyenne, kiwi, and great Friend of The Horn Book.Read — and be inspired by — her classic Horn Book Magazine article "A Children’s Bookshop in New Zealand: One Family’s Enterprise":"The fact that the...

Marcia Brown, 1918-2015

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We were saddened to hear about the death of author-illustrator Marcia Brown this week at the age of ninety-six. The winner of three Caldecott Medals — for Cinderella in 1955, Once a Mouse in 1962, and Shadow in 1983 — she was also recognized with a whopping six Caldecott Honors...

Remembering Terry Pratchett

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Just two weeks ago, the nerd world lost the beloved Leonard Nimoy. Today, we’ve been served another crushing blow: Sir Terry Pratchett has died at 66 after a struggle with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The fact that my Twitter feed is full of Pratchett love and lore is enough to choke...

Mal Peet: Whimsical Alchemist

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Elspeth Graham, Amanda Lewis, Mal Peet, and Tim Wynne-Jones at Snapes Point, near Salcombe, Devon, March 2012. Photo credit: Janet Irwin.Mal Peet’s first novel was published when he was fifty-six; his last this past fall, just over a decade later. A late bloomer, you might say, and what a vivid,...

Goodbye, George

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Roger Sutton, Paul Zelinsky, and George Nicholson at Elizabeth Law's apartment; photo by Elizabeth LawBack from ALA to the sad news that George Nicholson, whom I had first met at an ALA, more than thirty years ago, has died. I first knew George when he was publisher at Dell; he later moved...

Frances Foster

We're sad to hear of the death yesterday of Frances Foster, publisher of Frances Foster Books at FSG. At the link, please read Leonard S. Marcus's interview with her from the September/October 2003 issue....

Books in Remembrance of Maya Angelou (1928-2014)

We were saddened to hear of the passing of Maya Angelou. Here are some books by which to help remember the great author and poet.Adoff, Arnold and Andrews, Benny, Editors I Am the Darker Brother: An Anthology of Modern Poems by African Americans208 pp. Simon 1997. ISBN 0-689-81241-8 PE ISBN...

R.I.P. Charlotte Zolotow

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illustration by Maurice Sendak, from Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present.Former publisher of children's books at HarperCollins and immortal author of picture books Charlotte Zolotow has died at the age of 98. As an editor and publisher she was quite a force, bringing us such revelations as The Pigman and...

Remembering Marc Simont

Anne Hoppe, editor of Marc Simont’s 2002 Caldecott Honor Book The Stray Dog, spoke at the memorial held for the acclaimed illustrator in Old Cornwall, Connecticut, on August 24, 2013. We are honored to share her remarks with our readers. For more from The Horn Book about Monsieur Simont, click...

Marc Simont (1915-2013)

Simont's spare, lovely cover for the March/April 2004 Horn Book Magazine.Illustrator extraordinaire Marc Simont died July 13, 2013, in Cornwall, Connecticut, at ninety-seven. Three of his picture books received Caldecott recognition — the 1957 Medal for A Tree Is Nice (text by Janice May Udry); 1950 and 2002 Honors for The...

Bernard Waber (1921-2013)

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We are saddened to learn of the death of author-illustrator Bernard Waber last week. Waber, the author of more than thirty children's books, is best known for his books featuring urban crocodile Lyle (The House on East 88th Street; Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile; Lovable Lyle; and more) and those about every-child...

Remembering Elaine Konigsburg

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We mourn the death (last Friday) of E.L. Konigsburg, who never wrote a book I didn't want to read. (Not that I love them all, but even where she went wrong, she did so magnetically.) I remember a slightly uneasy conversation with Konigsburg's editor Jean Karl right after Elaine had...

E. L. Konigsburg (1930-2013)

We were very sad to hear about the recent passing of E. L. Konigsburg. Konigsburg was the author of Newbery Award–winners From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and The View from Saturday, along with Jennifer, Hecate, MacBeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth, which won a Newbery Honor the same...

Fredrick L. McKissack (1939-2013)

Author Fredrick L. McKissack died April 28, 2013, at the age of seventy-three. With his wife, Patricia McKissack, he wrote more than one hundred books about the African American experience, many award-winning, including A Long Hard Journey: The Story of the Pullman Porter; Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in...

Gerald McDermott in Paris

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Friends Gerald McDermott and Doug Cushman. Photo credit: Angela SchellenbergDuring one of the last times Gerald was here in Paris, we went off hunting for an oyster restaurant. We finally found one in the Quartier Montorgueil on Rue des Petits Carreaux. The owner shipped oysters from his own farm on...

Remembering Margaret Mahy: March 21, 1936-July 23, 2012

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Margaret Mahy. Photo by Ken Silber.There was never anyone quite like her. Other amazing children’s writers have won the Hans Christian Andersen Award, but none had her extra‑ordinary range: verse; picture-book texts; books for every conceivable age group; scripts for radio, television, film; serials for newspapers and magazines. “I have...

Sally Ride (1951-2012)

Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, died on July 23, 2012, at the age of 61. Best known for her space missions on the shuttle Challenger in 1983 and 1984, Dr. Ride was later a professor of physics at UC San Diego and director of the University of...

Margaret Mahy (1936-2012)

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We are saddened to learn about the passing of Margaret Mahy, New Zealand's Grande Dame of children's literature. Ms. Mahy's many awards and accolades include the Hans Christian Andersen Medal (2006); Carnegie Medals for The Haunting (1982) and The Changeover (1984); and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Bubble Trouble...

Else Holmelund Minarik (1920-2012)

Else Holmelund Minarik, author of the Little Bear series of easy readers, died on July 12, 2012, at the age of 91. Little Bear, illustrated by Maurice Sendak, was one of the first I Can Read! titles published by Harper & Row, in 1957; in 1962, Sendak received a Caldecott...

Donald J. Sobol (1924-2012)

Author Donald J. Sobol died on July 11, 2012, in Miami, Florida, at the age of eighty-seven.He is best known for his long-running and beloved boy detective series Encyclopedia Brown. The series was honored with a special Edgar Award in 1976 and inspired both a comic strip (1978-1980) and a...

Leo Dillon (1933-2012)

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Leo Dillon has passed away. Over a career that spanned five decades, the formidable illustrator, along with his collaborator and wife Diane, won numerous awards, including two Caldecott Medals (Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears, 1976 and Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions, 1977), a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, and several...

Ellen Levine (1939-2012)

Ellen Levine, award-winning children's author and tireless advocate for social justice, has passed away. Here are some Horn Book reviews of her most influential works....

Jean Craighead George

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Author and naturalist Jean Craighead George, a pioneer in nature writing for children, died on May 15, 2012, in Mount Kisco, New York, at the age of ninety-two. She authored over one hundred fiction and nonfiction children’s books, including the classic wilderness adventure novels My Side of the Mountain (a...

Maurice Sendak, 1928-2012

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November/December 2003 Horn Book Magazine cover by Maurice SendakWe remember the incomparable Maurice Sendak, longtime Friend of The Horn Book, with these articles about, interviews with, and writings and illustrations by the great man, along with select reviews of his books.It's My Party: An Interview with Maurice Sendak by Leonard...

Diana Wynne Jones, R.I.P.

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In honor of Diana Wynne Jones, a long and true friend of the Horn Book who will be much missed, we're posting an article she wrote for the July/August 2004 Horn Book. Also, a rather funny letter....

R.I.P. Margaret K. McElderry

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In memory of the great and good Margaret K. McElderry, who died on Monday, we offer the two-part interview Leonard Marcus conducted with her for the November-December 1993 and January-February 1994 issues of the Horn Book Magazine.The list of books Margaret published that I love is very, very long, but...

Barbara Cooney

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Barbara Cooney came late to center stage, after decades as an illustrator admired for her graphic arts skills. But that particular accolade carried an implication, justified or not, of limitation. To succeed in a changing market, to satisfy her own ambitions, Cooney had to transform herself into a different kind...
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