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

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

Week in Review, July 6th-10th

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

A Note from Me (July 10, 2020)

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

Submissions...Tradition!

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

Five questions for Monica Brown

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

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

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

From the Editor - July 2020

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

Middle school and YA verse novels and poetry

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

Kids in summer

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

Exploration and curiosity

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

Editorial: Clearly Undefeated (July/August 2020)

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

Week in Review, June 29th-July 3rd

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

From the Chair: Small Moments of Joy (2020 Caldecott Committee, ALA)

Readers of The Horn Book Magazine will have heard this before: a book has the power to change a person, and a person has the power to change a book. Depending on who you are at a given time and the experiences you have collected, the understanding of a book...

A Note from Me (July 1, 2020)

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

Cadenza: The Rules That "Jack" Broke

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

From the Chair: Universality in Times of Uncertainty (2020 Newbery Committee, ALA)

In these times of uncertainty, we can all relate to what’s happening now because we are all experiencing it on some level. We have a shared experience. How we react to our situation and what we learn about ourselves may be what we look back on as our defining moments....

From the Chair: Continuing the Legacy (2020 CSK Book Awards Jury, ALA)

Since nervously accepting the appointment of jury chair from previous Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee chair Dr. Claudette McLinn, my goal has been to continue the legacy that the Coretta Scott King Book Awards have created of identifying quality children’s literature that features various narratives of the Black experience....

Profile of 2020 Children's Literature Legacy Award winner Kevin Henkes

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Dudley Carlson: The farmers’ market was a riot of color. Red and green lettuces, orange carrots, blue and purple berries, and breads in rich browns and tans stretched for two blocks. At one end, a single booth held only green. Beautiful green beans were neatly bundled and stacked like a...

Profile of 2020 Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement winner Mildred D. Taylor

From the time she was very young, Mildred Taylor knew she would be a writer, and she knew what her subject matter would be. She grew up listening to the family stories told by her father and uncles as they sat by the fire or on the porch of their...

Profile of 2020 Coretta Scott King Book Award Author and Newbery Medal winner Jerry Craft

For Jerry Craft, books are the building blocks of communities. Certainly, in the year since it was published, his graphic novel New Kid has created and strengthened countless communities all on its own. The letters from teachers who say they’ve made the book a school-wide read — and the letters...

Read Jerry Craft's 2020 Newbery Medal Acceptance Speech at ALA's Virtual Book Award Celebration

I’d like to begin by thanking the 2020 Newbery Award Selection Committee, chaired by the incomparable Krishna Grady. Thank you for the tremendous honor of making New Kid the first graphic novel in your ninety-eight-year history to receive your prestigious medal. I would also like to thank the ALA for...

Read Kevin Henkes's 2020 Children's Literature Legacy Award Acceptance Speech at ALA's Virtual Book Award Celebration

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When I found out on January 26th that I’d won the Legacy Award, I was ecstatic. However, it didn’t take me long — about an hour! — to start fretting about my speech. That’s just the way I am. I began working on my speech right away and had a...

Read Kadir Nelson's 2020 Coretta Scott King Book Award Illustrator Acceptance Speech at ALA's Virtual Book Award Celebration

Good morning, or good afternoon, or good evening, depending on when or where in the world you are reading this. As I compose this speech, I am sitting at home under a nationwide quarantine in the midst of the proliferation of a remarkable novel virus that has commandeered the attention...

Read Jerry Craft's 2020 Coretta Scott King Book Award Author Acceptance Speech at ALA's Virtual Book Award Celebration

I’d like to begin by thanking the 2020 Coretta Scott King Book Awards Jury, chaired by LaKeshia Darden, who gave me one of the two best near-dawn phone calls of my life! I would also like to thank the ALA for making this moment possible. This is truly an amazing...

Read Kadir Nelson's 2020 Caldecott Medal Acceptance Speech at ALA's Virtual Book Award Celebration

The year was 1999, and my very first picture book, Brothers of the Knight, was slated to be published by Dial Books for Young Readers. It was written by the actress and dancer Debbie Allen and based on a stage production of the same name that she had both written...

Week in Review, June 22nd-26th

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

June Is Audiobook Month

June is Audiobook Month. As it is also summer vacation -- and a strange one at that! -- we've been doing a fair amount of family listening. (Hi, Strange Birds audio, which we started very soon after reading it aloud together!) Check your virtual local library; yes, it's real reading. ...

A Note from Me (June 25, 2020)

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

Rule Breakers: The Styrofoam Tray Incident

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

Candace Fleming Talks with Roger

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

Rule Breakers: I Simply Cannot Draw

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

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

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

Happy Anniversary: Black and White and Read All Over Again

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

Week in Review, June 15th-19th

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

A Note from Me (June 19, 2020)

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

Celebrate Juneteenth

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

National Caribbean American Heritage Month

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

How Do You Solve a Problem like Nonfiction?

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

“Two, four, six, eight, don’t assume your kids are straight!”

“Two, four, six, eight, don’t assume your kids are straight!”* Happy Pride Month! And thank you, SCOTUS, for ruling to protect LGBTQIA+ workers’ civil rights! It’s about time we had some good news. Though the pandemic has forced this year’s Pride recognitions to go virtual, it’s still important to continue...

Rule Breakers: The World Is My Canvas

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

Our Modern Minstrelsy

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

July/August 2020 starred reviews

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

Week in Review, June 8th-12th

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

A Note from Me (June 12, 2020)

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

S-s-s-snake!

We've been trying to get out of the city and into nature most weekends (mask-clad and all). Earlier this month, we went for a hike at the Middlesex Fells. By Long Pond, we saw turtles, ducks, and this...amazing? terrifying? stop, you're both right! creature: The kids were fascinated; the parents...

Big life changes

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

Rule Breakers: Amy and the Bus

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

YA Pride fiction 2020

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

Five questions for Elizabeth Acevedo

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

From the Editor - June 2020

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

Father's Day picture books 2020

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

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

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

Rule Breakers: What Was I Doing with Those Books?

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

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

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

Week in Review, June 1st-5th

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

“It’s not People of Color's job to 'fix' racism...”

“It’s not People of Color's job to 'fix' racism. It's People of Color's job to heal from racism.’ And it's all of our job to: expose racism, name it, acknowledge it, and ‘explicitly encourage anti-racist values’" (from 2019 Wee the People ABCs of Racism Parent/Educator Workshop).     Watch this Kidlit...

Rule Breakers: The Things We Do for Love

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

A Note from Me (June 4, 2020)

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

Rule Breakers: Not "Not Your Business"

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

Week in Review, May 25th-29th

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

A Note from Me (May 29, 2020)

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

What Is Crisanto Wearing?

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

Rule Breakers: Never a Rule to Begin With

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2020 Summer Reading Recommendations

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If there’s one book on our 2020 Summer Reading list that speaks best to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s Remy Lai’s Pie in the Sky, about two brothers who find communion in baking, of all things, in order to “adjust to life in an ‘alien’ world.” Sound familiar? Otherwise, my eye...

Week in Review, May 18th-22nd

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

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...

RLH's Coronavirus Booklist

Friend of the Horn Book and Guide reviewer Rebecca Hachmyer (or RLH as she's known by the Guide Goddesses) has compiled a list of timely picture books that address COVID-19. Take a look and let us know what you think. How are you addressing the inevitable COVID-19 Qs with young...

Books beyond buildings: Support your local bookstore and library!

For book lovers everywhere — and particularly parents across the country trying to homeschool their children right now — the services of libraries and bookstores are essential. But this pandemic has left these institutions extremely vulnerable, and they need our support now more than ever. Back in February, when we...

Baseball Fans + Summer Reading (Go, Nats!)

I love our Summer Reading list best of all. But...this partnership between the 2019 World Series champs, the Washington Nationals, and Prince George’s County (MD) Memorial Library System (details in English and Spanish), is pretty cool.I know a baseball-loving ten-year-old who might just dig it, too. Thanks to Friend of...

Rule Breakers: Stepping Off the Hamster Wheel

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I was thirty-one years old. I had two fine arts degrees, both in printmaking. “Printmaking?” an acquaintance once commented. “That’s like having a degree in dressage.” In terms of usefulness or relevance, he meant. Or employability. I was onto something now, though, working at a graphic design and typesetting business...

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...

Rule Breakers: Rule Number One

We’ve been writing about art and artists since 1990 — fourteen books in thirty years — and, like any longtime collaborators, we have a long list of rules. Sometimes we even remind each other about them (politely, of course). One rule we’ve agreed on since we planned our first book...

"Give Me a Decent Bottle of Poison": Writing a Mystery

My most recent book is a middle-grade mystery, my first. I realized, after only a few days of struggling to construct a murder, that I didn’t know how to do it. I’d written plenty of novels, but I’d always begun with a person, not the plot. The person, in this...

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, "a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States." Here are some links, resources, and articles by and about Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans to help acknowledge, celebrate, and amplify the voices of children's book creators of Asian and Pacific...

Week in Review, May 11th-15th

  This week on hbook.com...   From the May/June Horn Book Magazine Special Issue: Breaking the Rules: Disturbing the Universe: Books That Broke the Rules by Roger Sutton and Betsy Hearne Rule Breakers: The Good Kid by Remy Lai Rule Breakers: Trusting My Instincts by Nina Crews   Read Roger:...

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. ...

Rule Breakers: Trusting My Instincts

I have never felt especially burdened by rules. In fact, I sometimes find it necessary to impose them on myself. For instance: you must spend the next hour writing your essay for The Horn Book! There! Rules are a part of creative work. With every project, an artist must grapple...

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...

2020 Summer Reading from The Horn Book: High School

  Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Here are our top ten books for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — all published 2019–2020 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion....

2020 Summer Reading from The Horn Book: Middle School

  Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Here are our top ten books for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — all published 2019–2020 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion....

2020 Summer Reading from The Horn Book: Intermediate

  Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Here are our top ten books for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — all published 2019–2020 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion....

2020 Summer Reading from The Horn Book: Easy Readers and Primary Grades

  Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Here are our top ten books for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — all published 2019–2020 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion....

2020 Summer Reading from The Horn Book: Picture Books

  Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Here are our top ten books for different age ranges — including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry — all published 2019–2020 and ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion....

2020 Summer Reading List

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  Picture Books Suggested grade level for all entries: PS–2   Summer Song by Kevin Henkes; illus. by Laura Dronzek (Greenwillow) The Camping Trip by Jennifer K. Mann (Candlewick) Johnny’s Pheasant by Cheryl Minnema; illus. by Julie Flett (Minnesota) Goodnight, Veggies by Diana Murray; illus. by Zachariah OHora (Houghton) Hike...

Five questions for Lucy Knisley

Adult comics creator Lucy Knisley’s middle-grade graphic novel debut Stepping Stones (RH Graphic/Random, 9–12 years) follows city kid Jen and her mom to a small farm in the country. There she contends with new chores (feeding chickens!), tricky family dynamics (Mom’s annoying boyfriend and his daughters who visit on weekends),...

Rule Breakers: The Good Kid

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

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...

Jewish American Heritage Month 2020

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May is Jewish American Heritage Month -- and Happy Lag Ba'Omer today! The Boston Public Library's list from last year is a good place to start exploring the (varied) Jewish experience in the U.S. Check out The Knish War on Rivington Street for a glimpse into the early-twentieth-century Lower East...

May/June 2020 Horn Book Magazine cover surprise

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Peek-a-boo! It's the complete May/June Horn Book Magazine Special Issue: Breaking the Rules cover. Art by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, gif by Scholastic. ...

Disturbing the Universe: Books That Broke the Rules

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Betsy Hearne and I have been colleagues for forty years, including working together for a decade at The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. Below, we discuss some landmark rule breakers from our collective memory. —R.S. ROGER SUTTON: So here we are: two longtime reviewers remembering books that broke...

Week in Review, May 4th-8th

  This week on hbook.com... Jessie Sima Talks with Roger about Jules vs. the Ocean   From the May/June Horn Book Magazine Special Issue: Breaking the Rules: Table of Contents Editorial: There Are (Almost) No Rules Rule Breakers: Walk Away by Naomi Shihab Nye Rule Breakers: The Workaround by Gene...

Mother's Day 2020

Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 10th! If you look forward to the annual Make Way for Ducklings Parade in the Boston Public Garden, there are virtual events this year (you can read more by and about the Ducklings' papa, Robert McCloskey, here.) We've reviewed several books about moms and...

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...

75th anniversary of WWII's VE Day

May 8, 2020 will be the seventy-fifth anniversary of VE (Victory in Europe) Day. Here are five recent novels about the war for middle school and high school readers; see also our starred review of The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein (Little, Brown) in the upcoming May/June Horn Book Magazine....
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