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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...

Transgender Awareness Week

Transgender Awareness Week is November 13-19, leading to Transgender Day of Remembrance / Trans Day of Resilience on November 20th, today. We join our trans, gender nonconforming, and nonbinary family members, friends, and neighbors near and far in celebrating the lives of trans people, remembering those lost to transphobic hate...

River

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Elisha Cooper’s River is the story of a woman who travels the length of the Hudson River by canoe. She starts one morning at a mountain lake (the book’s backmatter tells us it’s New York’s Henderson Lake), waves goodbye to her family, and heads downstream: “Three hundred miles stretch in front of her....

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...

Why the Hell Hasn’t a Book Won the Newbery AND the Caldecott?

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ELISA GALL: The Newbery and Caldecott committees used to be one and the same. Before they were divided into two separate committees (this happened in the late 1970s), a book was either considered for one of the awards or the other: never both. Now a book can win both the Newbery...

Week in Review, November 11th-15th

  This week on hbook.com...   November Notes from the Horn Book newsletter: 5Q for Susan Cooper on The Shortest Day, more contemplative seasonal picture books, YA audiobooks, and intermediate/middle school historical fiction   Calling Caldecott: When Aidan Became a Brother by Hillary Saxton Vroom! by Martha V. Parravano You...

You Are Home

I was always a library-dwelling indoor kid by nature, but some of my fondest childhood memories are from summer day trips in the Smoky Mountains — just a quick, early-morning drive to stake out a swimming hole before the tourists got there. It all comes back in sense memories of...

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...

Five Questions for Susan Cooper

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"The Shortest Day, " Susan Cooper's 1974 poem honoring the winter solstice, is performed annually at The Christmas Revels. Now, Carson Ellis's gouache illustrations grace a picture-book version, The Shortest Day (Candlewick, 5–8 years), which imagines people "down the centuries of the snow-white world" as they greet the season. See...

Vroom!

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Barbara McClintock's Vroom! is one of my favorite picture books of 2019 for very young children — and I'm a perennial cheerleader for great books for the youngest, though they rarely if ever garner Caldecott recognition. Still! They are worth speaking up for.  In recognition of its audience, Vroom! wastes no...

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

Five questions for Susan Cooper The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper, illus. by Carson Ellis, Candlewick, 5–8 years. Contemplative seasonal picture books Small in the City by Sydney Smith, Holiday/Porter, 3–6 years. A Big Bed for Little Snow by Grace Lin, Little, Brown, 3–6 years.    A Stone Sat Still...

From the Editor - November 2019

While as far as I’m concerned it’s never too early for peppermint-stick ice cream, I always feel discombobulated reading holiday books before Halloween, but that’s how we get you news of the good new ones in a timely fashion (although as I recall, Christmas books get heavy circulation throughout the...

Books in the Home: Reading with Sophie: Finding Books for a Teen with Special Needs

How do you choose a book for a child who doesn’t have the capacity to choose one for herself? As the mother of a nonverbal teenager with autism and developmental delays, it is a question I ask myself all the time. When Sophie was first diagnosed in preschool, we were...

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...

Veterans Day 2019

Today, Veterans Day, is a good day to share books about veterans, their experiences and sacrifices, and their supportive families and communities on the homefront. These titles, both fiction and nonfiction for a range of reader ages, were recommended by The Horn Book Magazine and The Horn Book Guide at...

When Aidan Became a Brother

Could it be? A book with a trans character whose queer identity is not the sole storyline? Well, almost. But still, here it is — and a possible contender for the Caldecott Medal to boot. When Aidan Became a Brother is the story of a soon-to-be older sibling and his anxieties...

Intermediate/middle school historical fiction

These works of historical fiction provide snapshots of time and place — and blood- and chosen families — for middle-graders and middle-schoolers. In Indian No More, it’s 1954 and eight-year-old Regina Petit and her family — members of the Umpqua tribe in northern Oregon — are forced by the U.S....

YA audiobooks

These audiobooks for young adults speak to important topics in engaging ways. This is a gripping audio version of A.S. King's Dig., a YA novel with so many characters that each chapter begins with a cast list. Three of the characters get their own readers — Mike Chamberlain, Kirby Heyborne,...

Contemplative seasonal picture books

The following picture books explore the warmth of relationships in seasonal settings. In Sydney Smith's Small in the City, an intrepid child on the move in the big, wintry city speaks directly to an unknown someone, dispensing advice and encouragement. With full-bleed spreads juxtaposed with ones featuring small vignettes, Smith...

Week in Review, November 4th-8th

  This week on hbook.com...   From the September/October 2019 Horn Book Magazine: Borderlands: Reading as Theater by Dean Schneider   Calling Caldecott: The 2019 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children's Books list by Julie Danielson The Undefeated by Monique Harris My Papi Has a Motorcycle by...

My Papi Has a Motorcycle

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Isabel Quintero and I have at least one thing in common. My Papi Has a Motorcycle, too, and although we used to ride on Sunday mornings instead of in the evenings, Quintero and I both know the bond-forming experience of a father sharing the road with his daughter. Quintero once again collaborates with...

Borderlands: Reading as Theater

In the introduction to Worlds of Childhood: The Art and Craft of Writing for Children (1990), William Zinsser wrote, “This gift — to get good language into the ear of children at a very early age — is what children’s literature has in its power to bestow…to write well it...

Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month, a celebration of the many varied Native American cultures. Check out the official website for more information and lots of resources. Here are some additional articles and links from The Horn Book's archives and beyond. Horn Book resources about Native writers and their work...

The Undefeated

“This is for the unforgettable / The swift and sweet ones / who hurdled history / and opened a world / of possible.” From the opening lines of Kwame Alexander’s poem, readers are invited on a journey. It is a journey through a people’s story — through the sorrows, triumphs, and resilience...

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...

Election Day 2019

Today is Election Day -- I voted before work. My town's ballot was for City Council (twenty-two people running for nine spots!) and School Committee (eleven people running for six spots, with some great-seeming newcomers). Local elections are so important -- and I was happy and encouraged to see a...

The 2019 New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children’s Books list

It's November, which means the annual announcement of the New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children's Books list. At the end of October/beginning of November every year, I wake up each morning, wondering if today will be the day they make the announcement. (I know, I know. But if...

Week in Review, October 28th-November 1st

  This week on hbook.com... From the September/October 2019 Horn Book Magazine: Horn Boo! Halloween Book Recommendations From the November/December 2019 Horn Book Magazine: Table of Contents Editorial: Little Jackie Paper by Roger Sutton Elisha Cooper Talks with Roger about River   Calling Caldecott: The Fisherman and the Whale by...

Bear Came Along

In her illustrator's note for the rollicking Bear Came Along, LeUyen Pham writes, "This book is truly special to me. It was one of those rare stories that, the moment I read it, I knew exactly how it would look." Her vibrant illustrations, done in watercolor, ink, and gouache, reflect...

A Spooky Surprise

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Happy Halloween! To help myself get into the festive holiday spirit on a recent trip to New York's picturesque Hudson Valley for a friend's wedding, I embraced the local literary love for a certain spooky tale: Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." The scene was set listening to the...

Editorial: RIP Little Jackie Paper (November/December 2019)

Over on a great Facebook group called Jewish Kidlit Mavens, the members have been discussing their childhood reading (or not) of C. S. Lewis’s Narnia series and how each maven variously dealt with its Christian themes and allegorical elements. The reactions in the group have run from childhood delight to adult reservations, but...

Table of Contents: November/December 2019 Horn Book Magazine

Cover art from The Shortest Day. Illustration © 2019 by Carson Ellis. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA. Features  "Why Do Comics Matter?" by Gene Luen Yang The 2019 Zena Sutherland Lecture.    "Uneasy Reading" by Laurel Snyder On keeping company with very sad books.    Columns  Editorial  "RIP Little Jackie...

Elisha Cooper Talks with Roger

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 I always think of Elisha Cooper as an artist who does a lot with a little (see Big Cat, Little Cat), but in River he does a lot with a...

The Fisherman and the Whale

It seems many book creators of late are fascinated — and justifiably concerned — by increasingly frequent news about injured, captive, and entangled whales. This has resulted in a wealth of gorgeously illustrated books featuring observant, empathetic child characters who, in various ways, perform acts of environmental stewardship. Think Troy Howell and Richard...

Reading for Diwali

Diwali began yesterday. In honor of the Festival of Lights, here are some books about the celebration of Diwali along with picture books and fiction by and about South Asian and South Asian American people. These books for young readers — all recommended at the time of their publication by...

Two Brothers, Four Hands

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Biographies by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan are among my favorite nonfiction books. Action Jackson; Ballet for Martha; Chuck Close, Up Close; and Christo and Jeanne-Claude: Through the Gates and Beyond, among others, are models of fine writing and creative presentations. And I loved Hadley Hooper’s illustrations for Patricia MacLachlan’s...

Week in Review, October 21st-25th

  This week on hbook.com... From the September/October 2019 Horn Book Magazine: Happy Anniversary: It's Perfectly Normal by Kitty Flynn Horn Boo! Halloween Book Recommendations From the November/December 2019 Horn Book Magazine: Letter to the Editor from Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley, November 2019 Calling Caldecott: The Caldecott Torch...

Happy Anniversary: It's Perfectly Normal

It’s Perfectly Normal: A Book About Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health by Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Michael Emberley, was published by Candlewick in 1994. It celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2019.    Intended for readers ages ten and up, Harris and Emberley’s It’s Perfectly Normal was groundbreaking when it appeared on the scene...

Letter to the Editor from Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley, November 2019

September/October 2019 Horn Book     Thank you so much for publishing the wonderful article by Kitty Flynn celebrating this year’s twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health. We agree with Flynn that “the language around gender and sexual orientation…has evolved quite a...

Nikki Grimes Talks with Roger

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 Boyds Mills & Kane As detailed below, Nikki Grimes started this verse memoir thirty-nine years ago. Why it took so long is just one of the questions Nikki and I...

Books mentioned in the October 2019 Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book

Creepy things Fly!: Hollywood Monsters series Abdo, Kenny  Chucky  Gr. K–3, 4–6    24 pp.    ABDO/Zoom    2019      Library binding ISBN 978-1-5321-2744-1  Ebook ISBN 978-1-5321-2842-4  Abdo, Kenny  Freddy Krueger  Gr. K–3, 4–6    24 pp.    ABDO/Zoom    2019      Library binding ISBN 978-1-5321-2745-8  Ebook ISBN 978-1-5321-2843-1  Abdo, Kenny  Jason Voorhees  Gr. K–3, 4–6    24 pp.    ABDO/Zoom    2019      Library binding ISBN 978-1-5321-2746-5  Ebook ISBN 978-1-5321-2844-8  Abdo, Kenny  Leatherface  Gr. K–3, 4–6    24 pp.    ABDO/Zoom    2019      Library binding ISBN 978-1-5321-2747-2  Ebook ISBN 978-1-5321-2845-5  Abdo, Kenny  Michael Myers   Gr. K–3,...

Cool inventions

Alkire, Jessie  Hot Wheels Developer: Elliot Handler  Gr. 4–6    32 pp.    ABDO  Borgert-Spaniol, Megan  Lincoln Logs Creator: John Lloyd Wright  Gr. 4–6    32 pp.    ABDO Borgert-Spaniol, Megan  My Little Pony Pioneer: Bonnie Zacherle  Gr. 4–6    32 pp.    ABDO Thomas, Rachael L.  Nerf Genius: Reyn Guyer  Gr. 4–6    32 pp.    ABDO Thomas, Rachael L.  Nintendo Innovator: Hiroshi Yamauchi  Gr. 4–6    32 pp.    ABDO Thomas, Rachael L.  The Slime Queen: Karina...

Unusual Crafts

Alkire, Jessie  Construct It!: Architecture You Can Build, Break, and Build Again Gr. 4–6    32 pp.    ABDO Checkerboard Library: Cool Makerspace Gadgets & Gizmos series. This short volume introduces makerspaces and architecture, providing instructions for six projects that use Legos, K'NEX, and cardboard. Photographs accompany clear instructions, and brightly colored...

Creepy things

Abdo, Kenny  Chucky  Gr. K–3, 4–6    24 pp.    ABDO/Zoom Abdo, Kenny  Freddy Krueger  Gr. K–3, 4–6    24 pp.    ABDO/Zoom Abdo, Kenny  Jason Voorhees  Gr. K–3, 4–6    24 pp.    ABDO/Zoom Abdo, Kenny  Leatherface  Gr. K–3, 4–6    24 pp.    ABDO/Zoom Abdo, Kenny  Michael Myers   Gr. K–3, 4–6    24 pp.    ABDO/Zoom Abdo, Kenny  Pennywise  Gr. K–3, 4–6    24 pp.    ABDO/Zoom Fly!: Hollywood Monsters series. These slight volumes provide brief information (including broad plot summaries) about...

Sports, Sports, and More Sports

Bailer, Darice  Kickball Gr. K–3    32 pp.    Child's Bailer, Darice  Street Football Gr. K–3    32 pp.    Child's Bailer, Darice  Ultimate Gr. K–3    32 pp.    Child's Ellenport, Craig  Pick-Up Basketball Gr. K–3    32 pp.    Child's Laughlin, Kara L.  Capture the Flag Gr. K–3    32 pp.    Child's Laughlin, Kara L.  Four Square...

The Bell Rang

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Any time I have heard an African American person speak of learning about slavery as a child, the memory entails some degree of shame. In his memoir Bad Boy, Walter Dean Myers wrote about feeling, as a child looking at his textbook’s shallow treatment of slavery, that somehow those people...

Boston Book Festival 2019

Cindy Ritter: I started off the morning setting up our booth. Two moments of pride: figuring out how to hang up our banner using some zip-tie chain-link magic; and discussing with passersby the 2019 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award–winning books we had on display, which I’d chosen this year with committee...

The Caldecott Torch

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Calling Caldecott readers may remember this September post in which Caldecott medalist Sophie Blackall mentioned how she and fellow medalist Matthew Cordell (the two most recent winners) recently brainstormed a new Caldecott tradition. Sophie's fab idea, which she suggested as she chatted with Matt at this year's ALA Annual conference, was...

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

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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...
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