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A Note from Me (Sep 11, 2020)

Dear friends: This has happened to all of you. You save up a book for a holiday weekend and it just isn’t working for you. That Denise Mina I told you about, The Less Dead, keeps (I mean, I’ll finish it) testing my willing suspension of disbelief. Maybe I could...

A Note from Me (Sep 4, 2020)

Dear friends: Oy, I have eighty-seven book reviews to edit, thirty-one Publishers’ Preview questions to write, and a Talks interview tomorrow, and here I am, writing to You People. I hope it’s worth it. Hopefully (hey, let’s see if I can get a singular they in here someplace, too) this...

A Note from Me (Aug 28, 2020)

Dear friends: You know, ever since I was babbling about prime numbers here and here, I’ve been insisting upon them, whether we crank the TV to volume twenty-three rather than twenty-two or I eat seventeen frozen Spice Drops for my snack rather than fifteen. Numbers are everywhere. I’m glad my...

A Note from Me (Aug 21, 2020)

Dear friends: Happy 100th anniversary, Women’s Suffrage! There is a really wonderful opera by Virgil Thomson and his pal Gertrude Stein about Susan B. Anthony, and while I won’t make you sit through the whole thing, go to 1:34:50 to watch Susan B.’s GORGEOUS closing aria. “Do you know because...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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,...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

What Is Michelle H. Martin wearing?

I wanted Michelle Martin for this series because she's so danged outdoorsy. Why, when I emailed her asking to participate she was on her way out the door and into the rain for a bike ride with a friend through the Richmond Beach hills, which Michelle described as "killer." She wrote...

A Note from Me (May 22, 2020)

I donned a bow tie for the first time since March yesterday to record the announcement of the 2020 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards. It was VERY NERVE-RACKING. Not the tie, although I was happy that I remembered how to tie one, but the PowerPoint/video dance, where I’m announcing the names...

A Note from Me (May 15, 2020)

I’m still here and I guess so are you. Massachusetts remains in a stay-at-home advisory and we are still all working from home.  What, in your mind, is the distinction between working at home and “working at home,” complete with saucy little air quotes? Come on, we’re all friends here. ...

What Is Gene Luen Yang Wearing?

Gene Luen Yang has one of the liveliest minds in children's books, and I was curious to know how he and his family were coping out there in California during the pandemic. He'd been on my mind because I've just read his new book Dragon Hoops, which I was surprised...

What Is Paul Faulstich Wearing?

In college, Paul Faulstich and I were in overlapping friends groups, with our joint slice of the diagram being the Food Co-op, which was sort of the Where the Wild Things Are end of one of the dorms. I have one story about retaliatory bacon bits and another about the...

A Note from Me (May 8, 2020)

Dear Horn Book Reader, And how is everybody this week? It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, so thank a teacher. I must add my own (rather insensitive) thanks to the Curley School, across the street from our house. Its sadly empty grounds have given the four little boys downstairs and next door a nice space in which to run around — yesterday the...

What Is Naomi Shihab Nye Wearing?

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Probably twenty years ago, Young People's Poet Laureate Naomi Shihab Nye, pictured here "wearing pants I normally only wear in Hawai'i because when will I ever be there again?" gave me an object lesson in storytelling. We were having lunch at an outdoor cafe in San Antonio, and because I...

A Note from Me (April 30, 2020)

Dear Horn Book Reader:  I am writing here to let you know what we are doing to keep the Horn Book and its publications going through this miserable era (eon???) of COVID-19 and the quarantine, in whatever form that takes for you. At the Horn Book, we are all working at home,...

What Is Lori Benton Wearing?

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Scholastic Publisher Lori Benton is of course dressed for work as she's at sales conference (I've never been to one of those but it certainly seems like a completely different world from your and my end of the business). Lori lives in Astoria, claims she's in the same apartment where...

What Is Lauren Adams Wearing?

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For many years Senior Editor at the Horn Book, Lauren Adams now teaches high school English at Natick High. Somebody is dressed for work! And her perky welcome sign reminds me of how we all looked forward to holidays because of Lauren's festive office decorations (you wouldn't think she was...

What Is Andy Davis Wearing?

Back in the 70's, Richard, then a film and TV producer in Chicago, helped give the young Andy Davis his start, as a cameraman. Aw, look at him now--you've all seen his The Fugitive and Holes (and I recommend A Perfect Murder, besides). Living in the mountains above Santa Barbara, Andy...

Good Times to Come

Three dates to heed: First Second is holding a conference about comics tomorrow, focusing on the creation of same. Speakers include Gene Yuen Lang and Lisa Brown, both of whose new books (Dragon Hoops and The Phantom Twin, respectively) are star-reviewed in the forthcoming May issue (Lisa also has therein...

What Are Chloe and Miles Wearing?

Our grandchildren, Chloe and Miles, live with their lovely parents in Marin County, CA, and like the rest of us they are stuck at home. Luckily, their parents are super-outdoorsy (didn't get that from me) plus they have a POOL (ditto). Living the California dream, kids. What do you miss...

What Is Kim Parker Wearing?

Dr. Kim Parker is the assistant director of the Teacher Training Center of the Shady Hill School, and a great friend to the Horn Book, serving as a judge for the 2019 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, and as the author of a really wonderful piece about John Steptoe's Stevie. For...

What is Kathy Ishizuka Wearing?

Kathy Ishizuka is my opposite number at SLJ, (and you should go look at all the great Covid-19 resources they are offering). I don't know if she's archived her selfie series of "Tall Guys Next to Kathy" but I'm in there. For working at home, she sports an insouciant gracenote...

What are you wearing, Bruce Brooks?

Bruce Brooks, who won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award in 1985 for his first novel, The Moves Make the Man, is a longtime friend with whom I've had many memorable cd-shopping sprees over the years, most recently in Berkeley, CA, where he lives with his wife Ginee Seo, children's publishing...

May/June 2020 Horn Book Magazine starred reviews

(image from Green on Green, by Dianne White; illus. by Felicita Sala) The following books will receive starred reviews in the May/June 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Whoo-Ku Haiku: A Great Horned Owl Story by Maria Gianferrari; illus. by Jonathan Voss (Putnam) The Camping Trip by Jennifer K....

What Is Sarah Rettger Wearing?

Sarah Rettger is the invaluable — Swift! Accurate! Discreet! — transcriber for all those Talks with Roger sponsored interviews I do, and also a children's bookseller at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA, which earlier this week was named Best Bookstore of 2020 by Publishers Weekly. What is she wearing? "I...

Going on a bear hunt?

The bear in my window Do you have a bear in your window? I don't know if this is just a local meme, but people in my neighborhood are putting stuffed bears in their windows for little kids to spot on their lonely socially-distant walks with their caregivers. It's a neat...

Show Me Your Shelves

Dear library and bookstore colleagues: For our forthcoming special issue, “Breaking the Rules,” the Horn Book Magazine is looking for examples of DIY book cataloging, classification, shelving, and display. That is, we want to see cases in which you broke your own rules of what-goes-where in order to give a...

March/April 2020 Horn Book Magazine starred reviews

(image from Hike, by Pete Oswald) The following books will receive starred reviews in the March-April 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: A Girl like Me; by Angela Johnson; illustrated by Nina Crews (Millbrook) Goodnight, Veggies; by Diana Murray; illustrated by Zachariah OHora (Houghton) Hike; written and illustrated by Pete Oswald (Candlewick) The Old...

The 2020 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

from O'Dell Award Committee Chair Deborah Stevenson: Champaign, IL (January 15, 2020)—The 2020 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction goes to Butterfly Yellow, by Thanhhà Lại, published by HarperCollins. It’s 1981, and eighteen-year-old Hằng has arrived in Texas determined to find her younger brother, who’d been babylifted out of Vietnam...

Field Trip to the Rhyming Dictionary

Any Brits here who could check something for me? I see that the U.K. edition of Field Trip to the Moon has added an author, Jeanne Willis, who herself has added what seems to be rhyming text to this natively wordless picture book, one much lauded by reviewers and on...

Starred reviews, January/February 2020 Horn Book Magazine

Art from Black Is a Rainbow Color   The following books will receive starred reviews in the January/February 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Black Is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy; illus. by Ekua Holmes (Roaring Brook) Johnny’s Pheasant by Cheryl Minnema; illus. by Julie Flett (Minnesota) Pluto...

Let's Laugh at Nazis

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We saw Jojo Rabbit this weekend and I think you all should see it too. It’s an anti-BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS, still a fable but blackly hilarious and not relying on a viewpoint only masquerading as childlike.   Along with transitive verbs used intransitively, my biggest bête noire in...

Fanfare 2019 Booklist

Below is Fanfare, a list of the books that the Horn Book editors and reviewers have selected as the best of 2019. The annotated list will be published in the December issue of Notes from the Horn Book (sign up!) and in the January/February 2020 issue of the Horn Book Magazine...

We never learn

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Dear Sarah Dessen: I must confess that when I first read about the student who joined her school's one-college-one-book committee expressly to prevent a Sarah Dessen novel from being chosen, I laughed. Not at you or your books (or your genre or gender) but because I know that kind of student. I...

Reviewing the book that's in front of your face

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One of the cardinal sins of book reviewing is evaluating a book for what it is not. Perhaps it is not the book the reviewer would like to be reading, or is not about a subject the reviewer finds of value or interest, or does not take an approach to...

Chucky the Child's Friend

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I recently fielded a letter of complaint from someone bothered by our recommendation, in Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book, of several books in Abdo’s Hollywood Monsters series, among them Chucky and Freddy Krueger. (I haven’t seen any of their movies; have I missed anything?) The letter-writer was bothered that we would recommend books...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Make Way for Simmons!

We welcome Simmons University's biannual Children's Literature Institute to campus today. This year's theme being "Make Way," the Institute begins tonight with Grace Lin and Alvina Ling in dialogue with and at Make Way for Dumplings: Twenty Years of the Art of Grace Lin exhibiting in the Trustman Gallery, fourth floor of the Main College...

What are YOU reading this summer?

What do you all do when you've finished one book and can't seem to settle on another? I finished Denise Mina's Conviction (started better than it got later, alas) and began Powers's The Overstory (it's too hot for that) and Philip Kerr's first Bernie Gunther book (inept metaphors) without either...

This is a test.

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Hello, all, this is my maiden post for our new website, and I hope I soon have something more interesting to say than "this is a test." But, this is a test. Isn't it fascinating?...

My ALA 2019

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

ALA in D.C.

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

Think lovely thoughts

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

Aristotle and Dante Discover an Alternate Universe

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I'm quite taken with Michelle Ann Abate's essay about Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secret of the Universe in the hot-off-the-pixels new issue of Research on Diversity in Youth Literature, whose theme this time around is "Queer Futurities." Much to my shame, Abate points out something about that novel that...

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...

A new Horn Book Guide

Welcome to the new Horn Book Guide! Current subscribers to the Guide, whether print, digital, or database, should this morning be receiving instructions for logging in; for those who are not (yet? Please, God) go over and poke around. The two new features I like best are the ability of...

Feeling mighty lonesome, haven't slept a wink

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On my desk this morning.Spurred by Globe columnist Devra First's thoughts, Boston is a-bubble with discussion about whether it is ethically okay to buy Peet's coffee, given the company's Nazi history. The column specifically references, as the columnist's favorite, Major Dickason's Blend, which to my ears has always sounded ineffably...

BGHB Awards 2019

Photo by darling RichardWe have our winners! Read all about them! I'd like to thank our sisters at SLJ and Media Source for graciously sharing the podium at their Day of Dialog in New York. Next year we should do it at the end of the day so we can...

Horn Book Magazine starred reviews, July/August 2019

illustration from Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai. The following books will receive starred reviews in the July/August 2019 Horn Book Magazine. Each year our July/August issue celebrates the ALA Youth Media Awards; this time around you can look forward to original cover art by (second-time!) Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall,...

Join me for BGHB @ DoD

Tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. sharp (Eastern Daylight Time), you can join me live at Little Sister's Day of Dialog in NYC or virtually live on The Horn Book's Facebook page to hear the winners of the 2019 Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards. Visit hbook.com/bghb19 after the announcement to see the...

Horn Book Summer Reading

We've pulled together our annual recommendations for summer reading. As ever, we present books we hope will spur purely recreational reading, which to my mind is the kind of reading most worth doing. I hope you find something your charges will like.     For myself, I'm deciding between a Graham Greene tear...

Two anniversaries

I hope our subscribers and other print readers are enjoying our special issue in honor of the Coretta Scott King Awards. We will be posting selections from the issue throughout this month and next, and while I am not going to harangue you again to buy an issue, it's really...

They're here!

photo by Katie BircherAdvance office copies of our May/June special issue, that is, which means that if you are a subscriber it is also on the way to you. If you are not a subscriber, first, shame on you, but, second, you can order single copies of this issue of...

Peeps and People

  Debbie ReeseDebbie Reese's Arbuthnot Lecture is up if you want to give a look and listen; I haven't listened yet but will; the lecture will also be published in a forthcoming issue of ALSC's Children and Libraries.         Peep Family MoomintrollThen, for fun, see Kitty Flynn's Peep-driven crisis of parenthood....

Order your copy NOW.

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We are just dotting the is of the May/June issue celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Awards. Phew! I don't think we've published an issue with quite so many moving parts. I speak literally, figuratively, and emotively.I hope our subscribers appreciate this landmark issue, and I wanted...

2019 Zena Sutherland Lecture

The 2019 Zena Sutherland Lecturer is writer and cartoonist Gene Luen Yang, and his topic is "Why Comic Books Matter." The Lecture will be given at 7:30PM on Friday, May 3rd at the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State St. in Chicago. Admission is free but tickets are required...

Horn Book Magazine Starred reviews, May/June 2019

Illustration from The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol.The following books will receive starred reviews in the May/June 2019 Horn Book Magazine. Do NOT miss this issue: it is our annual special issue, this time around devoted to the 50th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Awards. With history, interviews, and...

May the Lord protect and defend you

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Tonight I am attending Shabbat with Richard at his temple, and the service will be followed by Lesléa Newman talking about her new book Gittel's Journey: An Ellis Island Story. I love it when one's worlds collide, don't you?...

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...

But what IS reality, really?

View from the TopPlease join Children's Books Boston for "Fact and Fiction: How and Why Authors Draw Upon Reality to Build Fiction," a panel discussion at Simmons University on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. The panelists include novelists Liza Ketchum, Malinda Lo, and Tara Sullivan; the moderator is our own Elissa Gershowitz....

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...

BGHB, NBA, BELPRÉ, PRINTZ...

... and tonight Elizabeth Acevedo is speaking at Simmons University,  free at 5:30 in the Paresky Center.  Go! She is a prodigious talent and, as I learned last night, a formidable dinner companion, keeping me on my toes all evening. (Thank you to Cathie Mercier for including me.) You can...

I Never Do Anything Twice

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For an op-ed related to the drama surrounding Blood Heir, the New York Times asked two previous Twitter storm centers, Keira Drake (for The Continent) and Jonah Winter (The Secret Project) for Lessons Learned and their takes on the current debate. I have no take beyond warning people of the...

Horn Book Magazine Starred Reviews, March/April 2019

  illustration by Iris Deppe from Dogs in Space The following books will receive starred reviews in the March/April 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Olive & Pekoe: In Four Short Walks; by Jacky Davis; illustrated by Giselle Potter (Greenwillow).Home Is a Window; by Stephanie Parsley Ledyard; illus. by Chris...

In Seattle

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

2019 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

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From the BCCB's Deborah Stevenson, chair of the O'Dell Award committee:  Champaign, IL (January 18, 2019)—The 2019 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction goes to Finding Langston, by Lesa Cline-Ransome, published by Holiday House. Chicago brings culture shock for eleven-year-old Langston, who moves there from Alabama with his father in 1946 after his mother...

Boy, you turn me

Talking about his new book A Ray of Light for this week's Talks With Roger, author-photographer (and BGHB winner) Walter Wick reminded me of something that I knew but had gratefully managed to forget: we see everything upside-down, and our brains correct the difference. When I think about that I...

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, everybody. I hope you got some good reading done over the holidays. Me, I shuttled among Tim Mohr's Burning Down the Haus (a history of punk rock in East Germany), Ruth Ware's The Death of Mrs. Westaway, and Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, those latter choices, each about...

Counting on You

Jason Low has announced that the Diversity Baseline survey is back. Publishers, book reviewers, agents (now with agents!) please join in. If the numbers are better than they were five years ago (and I suspect they are), the first iteration of this survey should be credited with some of that...

Two great ladies

This Thursday at 3:00PM, I'll be interviewing Ilene Cooper about her latest book, Eleanor Roosevelt: Fighter for Justice. Sponsored by the Junior Library Guild (for which Eleanor served as a board member!), the webcast is free but you need to sign up here. Ilene and I go way way back,...

January/February starred reviews

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illustration from Good Boy by Sergio Ruzzier.The following books will receive starred reviews in the January/February 2019 issue of the Horn Book Magazine. Also in the January issue will be the annotated list of Fanfare 2018.Found; by Jeff Newman; illustrated by Larry Day (Simon).The Bell Rang; written and illustrated by James E....

CaldeNOTT

On Saturday, December 1, Horn Book reviewer and all around Great Guy Thom Barthelmess is going to be leading his annual CaldeNOTT Award discussion here at Simmons, sponsored by the Horn Book and the Center for the Study of Children's Literature. The CaldeNOTT, invented by Thom, applies the Caldecott terms and...

Hither and Yon

There's a world outside of Yonkers, Barnaby, and I've recently visited kidlitwomen* and Calling Caldecott, talking, coincidentally (I think), about gender. I hope I did so with more understanding than the White House seems to have, although, let's be real, that's quite a low bar.Also elsewhere was our Elissa, attending...

Friday Night Lights

BGHB18 judges Liz Phipps Soeiro, Katie Bircher, and Minh Le with Al Berman. Photo by Aram Boghosian, The Boston GlobeWe held our fiftieth-something Boston Globe Horn Book Awards at Simmons University last Friday night, and if the conversation among the guests was any indication, we had the advantage as a...

Starred reviews, November/December Horn Book Magazine

illustration by Taeeun Yoo from Kitten and the Night WatchmanThe following books will receive starred reviews in the November/December 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah; by Emily Jenkins; illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky (Schwartz & Wade/Random)The Patchwork Bike; by Maxine Beneba Clarke; illustrated by Van Thanh Rudd (Candlewick)Dreamers; written...

Bring the kids!

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I confess I can't count myself among the fans of Winnie the Pooh, but I urge you all to visit the new Pooh exhibit in the Horn Book's backyard. For the devout, there are dozens of Shepard's sketches and illustrations and manuscript pages (and I'm hoping Lolly, who I ran...

Hey, You

On Monday, September 10th at 2:00 PM EST, I'll be interviewing Jarrett J. Krosoczka about his new graphic memoir Hey, Kiddo. Sponsored by Scholastic Press, this edition of Talks with Roger will be webcast live and we'll even be taking questions from the audience, provided I understand the technology by...

If They Do Say So Themselves

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Here at the Horn Book we are scrupulous about giving reviewed books their full titles, even when it's Tigers & Tea with Toppy: A True Adventure in New York City with Wildlife Artist Charles R. Knight, Who Loved Saber-Toothed Cats, Parties at the Plaza, and People and Animals of All...

Do we need another hero?

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The plan to create a new Oscar for "outstanding achievement in popular film," meaning, it seems, superhero movies and action films, has me thinking about what that would look like in children's books. Although the Academy doesn't seem to have worked out just how the new award will work, it's...

September/October 2018 Horn Book Magazine starred reviews

from THE ASSASSINATION OF BRANGWAIN SPURGE; illustration by Eugene YelchinThe following books will receive starred reviews in the September/October 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine. Imagine!; written and illustrated by Raúl Colón (Wiseman/Simon)A Parade of Elephants; written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes (Greenwillow)We Don’t Eat Our Classmates; written and illustrated by Ryan T....

Devil in the details

The July 23rd issue of the New Yorker includes an article about the Holocaust in children's literature, and particularly the contributions of Jane Yolen in The Devil's Arithmetic (1988) and her new novel, Mapping the Bones. The article, by Ruth Franklin, makes reference to a contemporary critic of The Devil's...

What shall they read?

I wanted to call your attention to two articles we have recently published about African American children's literature. Kim Parker and Our Elissa interviewed Denene Millner about her publishing of instant-landmark Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, and her interest in black everyday life stories. Children's literature professor Jonda McNair...
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