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Week in Review, February 22nd-26th

  This week on hbook.com...   From the January/February 2021 Horn Book Magazine: Publishers' Previews: Middle-Grade - Five Questions for... B. B. Alston | Gary Paulsen | David Levithan | Hena Khan   Read Roger: A Note from Me (Feb 26, 2021)   Family Reading: Somewhere over the... by Elissa...

Somewhere over the...

Last week I attended my first virtual book launch, hosted by BookHampton bookstore, for my friend Theresa Trinder's picture book There Is a Rainbow, illustrated by Grant Snider. Theresa described her inspiration for the story, written in the midst of COVID-19 lockdown but looking ahead to brighter days: "It's the idea that...

A Note from Me (Feb 26, 2021)

Dear friends: While you are awaiting — I hope you are awaiting — the March/April issue of the Horn Book, we here are busily entrenched in preparing May/June, our annual Special Issue, this time devoted to the 25th anniversary of the Pura Belpré Award, established by ALA and REFORMA in...

Publishers' Preview: Middle-Grade: Five Questions for Hena Khan

This interview originally appeared in the January/February 2021 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Middle-Grade, 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 Amina’s Song, sequel...

Purim 2021

The pandemic persisted: But so did we: Happy Purim! For more on the Purim story and the "persistent" Queen Esther see the Guide/Reviews Database subject search Holidays--Purim. Also read Heidi Rabinowitz and Sadaf Siddique's Horn Book Magazine article "We Need Diverse Jewish and Muslim Books:  A Conversation" and visit the...

Publishers' Preview: Middle-Grade: Five Questions for David Levithan

This interview originally appeared in the January/February 2021 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Middle-Grade, 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 Six days after The...

Publishers' Preview: Middle-Grade: Five Questions for Gary Paulsen

This interview originally appeared in the January/February 2021 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Middle-Grade, 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 Gone to the Woods:...

Publishers' Preview: Middle-Grade: Five Questions for B. B. Alston

This interview originally appeared in the January/February 2021 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Middle-Grade, 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 Amari and the...

Week in Review, February 15th-19th

  This week on hbook.com...   Family Reading: Happens to the best of us by Elissa Gershowitz   Out of the Box: Black History Month 2021   Reviews of the Week: Starred Picture Book: Time for Kenny by Brian Pinkney Starred Fiction: Long Way Down: The Graphic Novel by Jason...

Happens to the best of us

If even Marmee can lose her cool...And what are you reading (or watching) during School Vacation Week? Read more about Little Women, including "Jo March Is Me" by Mitali Perkins, "Saving Sisters: Little Women, The Hunger Games, and Frozen" by Jeannine Atkins, "Was Jo March a Ravenclaw? Authors, Fans, and Who Makes the Rules"...

Week in Review, February 8th-12th

  This week on hbook.com... February Notes from the Horn Book Newsletter: 5Qs for Frank Morrison about Above the Rim; Black history, American history; middle grade sci-fi/fantasy for Black History Month, and queer romance   From the January/February 2021 Horn Book Magazine: In Memoriam: Jill Paton Walsh (1937-2020) by Gregory...

Happy Lunar New Year!

Happy Year of the Ox! We wish all who are celebrating a new year full of joy and prosperity. Here is our Lunar New Year reading list with fiction and nonfiction books featuring the holiday for preschool, primary, and intermediate readers. All of the titles below were recommended by The...

Preview March/April 2021 Horn Book Magazine

Cover art from Outside, Inside by LeUyen Pham. Editorial: Women's History Month “Nonfiction Windows So White”: Marc Aronson calls for diverse perspectives. Carole Boston Weatherford on challenges for BIPOC authors. “Why Read Books from the Past?” An excerpt from Steeped in Stories: Timeless Children’s Novels to Refresh Our Tired Souls...

Dancing at the Pity Party: Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour 2021

Welcome to our stop on the 2021 Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour! Author Tyler Feder was kind enough to answer my questions about Dancing at the Pity Party: A Dead Mom Graphic Memoir (Dial), this year’s Gold Medal winner in the Young Adult category. Feder’s look back at her...

Five questions for Frank Morrison

In Above the Rim: How Elgin Baylor Changed Basketball (Abrams, 6–10 years), written by Jen Bryant, artist Frank Morrison (the 2021 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner for R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, written by Carole Boston Weatherford) depicts the life of the NBA great and civil rights...

Books mentioned in the February 2021 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Frank Morrison Above the Rim: How Elgin Maylor Changed Basketball by Jen Bryant, illus. by Frank Morrison; Abrams. #OwnVoices biographies for Black History Month 2021 This Is Your Time by Ruby Bridges; Delacorte. One Step Further: My Story of Math, the Moon, and a Lifelong Mission by...

From the Editor - February 2021

Welcome to Black History Month 2021! As several of the books reviewed here remind us, you can’t have American history without it. Please go see all of our BHM coverage on the website, where the indefatigable Cindy and Elissa are posting related reviews, interviews, articles, and essays every day throughout...

Middle-grade sci-fi/fantasy for Black History Month

Read S. R. Toliver’s 2019 Horn Book article on why representation matters in sci-fi/fantasy, then dip into the following fantastical middle-grade novels by Black authors and starring Black protagonists. See also our Black History Month 2021 coverage. Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston Intermediate, Middle School    Balzer...

Black history, American history

Take it from Ruby Bridges — one person can make a difference in the fight for civil rights, a fight that continues today. The following illustrated biographies (all #OwnVoices) highlight important figures in Black — and American — history. See also our Black History Month 2021 coverage. This Is Your...

In Memoriam: Jill Paton Walsh (1937–2020)

It’s a trick of the human mind that we rarely remember experiences in sequence. Rather, our brain does something scattershot, collaged. When emotion inflects memory, as happens at the death of a friend, it can be a struggle to organize the onrush of the past into narrative coherence. The news...

Queer romance

This Valentine’s Day, find book love with the following recent YA titles centering queer romance. for more on romantic love, click the tag "love stories" and see also Katrina Hedeen and Rachel L. Smith’s 2013 Horn Book Magazine article: “What Makes a Good YA Love Story?” Love Is for Losers...

Week in Review, February 1st-5th

  This week on hbook.com...   From the January/February 2021 Horn Book Magazine: The CCBC's Diversity Statistics: New Categories, New Data by Madeline Tyner   Read Roger: March/April 2021 Horn Book Magazine starred reviews A Note from Me (Feb 5, 2021)   Family Reading: Reviewing outdoor reading by Margo Bartlett...

A Note from Me (Feb 5, 2021)

Dear friends: Well, the big snow we were promised for Monday was a big bust. And Punxsutawney Phil says there are six more weeks of this. In the bleak midwinter, slush on slush on slush…. By the way, even though I had not seen the movie Groundhog Day at the...

Reviewing outdoor reading

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This is what book reading with grandchildren currently looks like during the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic: We bundle up – to the teeth, to the ears, sometimes only to the neck, depending on the Ohio weather – tighten our face masks, and, if necessary, sit both on and under blankets. If...

Happy World Read Aloud Day

...one of our favorite days of the year! To help you celebrate, here are some recommended books, Horn Book Fanfare 2020 2020 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winners 2021 ALA Youth Media Award winners Board Book Roundup: Treasure Hunting in the Public Library by Julie Roach (September/October 2018 Magazine) The 2021...

The CCBC's Diversity Statistics: New Categories, New Data

This is the fourth column in a series examining statistics gathered by the recently expanded database of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC), a research library of the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Education. Previous columns can be found at hbook.com/tag/ccbc. Since 1985, the CCBC has kept track of children’s...

March/April 2021 Horn Book Magazine starred reviews

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Illustration by Matthew Cordell, from Bear Island.   The following books will receive starred reviews in the March/April 2021 Horn Book Magazine:   Bear Island; written and illustrated by Matthew Cordell (Feiwel). Milo Imagines the World; by Matt de la Peña; illus. by Christian Robinson (Putnam). The Rock from the...

Black History Month 2021

Following a historic year that included a global pandemic, the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests, and the election of the first Black/Asian/woman Vice President of the United States, it's time for our annual commemoration of Black History Month (see HBBlackHistoryMonth16, HBBlackHistoryMonth17, HBBlackHistoryMonth18, HBBlackHistoryMonth19, and HBBlackHistoryMonth20). We'll be featuring articles, speeches,...

Week in Review, January 25th-29th

  This week on hbook.com... ALA Awards 2021: Horn Book Reviews of the Winners   Calling Caldecott: 2021 Caldecott Announcement by Martha V. Parravano and Julie Danielson Momentous history made! by Martha V. Parravano and Julie Danielson The 2021 Robin Smith Picture Book Prize by Dean Schneider   Out of...

Our ALA Midwinter 2021

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The Horn Book staff reflects on the American Library Association's Virtual Midwinter 2021. For much more coverage of ALAMW21 — including reviews of the ALA Youth Media Award winners and Calling Caldecott's reaction to "Momentous history made!" — click on the tag ALA Midwinter 2021.   Shoshana Flax Well, attending ALA remotely...

The 2021 Robin Smith Picture Book Prize

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It’s hard to believe this is the fourth annual selection for the Robin Smith Picture Book Prize, four years since my wife, Robin Smith, died of cancer at age 57. Robin co-founded Calling Caldecott, reviewed for the Horn Book Magazine and Kirkus Reviews, served on the Caldecott committee and several others,...

Momentous history made!

Greeting, fellow members of the children's book community, on this day after a most momentous one in our history. Yesterday, Michaela Goade, who is of Tlingit descent and is tribally enrolled wih the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, won the Caldecott Medal for We Are...

2021 Caldecott Announcement

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The wait is over! The 2021 Caldecott Awards were announced this morning. The committee chose one winner and four honor books.  The winner is:  We Are Water Protectors, illustrated by Michaela Goade and written by Carole Lindstrom:                          The...

Week in Review, January 18th-22nd

  This week on hbook.com... Jennifer L. Holm Talks with Roger about The Lion of Mars (Random House)   From the January/February 2021 Horn Book Magazine: 2020 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards Acceptance Speeches Fiction and Poetry Clap When You Land: Elizabeth Acevedo's 2020 BGHB Fiction and Poetry Honor Speech When...

It's Almost Time!

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We here at Calling Caldecott want to take a moment to thank everyone who voted in this week’s 2021 Calling Caldecott Mock Vote. Here are the results if you missed them yesterday. And if mock-voting is not your thing but you have read along with us for the past five months...

A Note from Me (Jan 22, 2021)

Dear friends: Great day! (I write on Wednesday; those of you unhappy with my remarks about the former president last week can go ahead and hate me all over again, if you’re still reading.) We also announced a new Calling Caldecott mock vote winner on Thursday, but (it being Wednesday)...

Results of the 2021 Calling Caldecott Mock Vote

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The votes are in! The results of our 2021 Calling Caldecott Mock Vote yielded a mock winner and two honor books. Our readers chose We Are Water Protectors, illustrated by Michaela Goade, as the winner.                                    ...

Jennifer L. Holm 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   In her first science fiction novel, The Lion of Mars, esteemed author of historical fiction (Our Only May Amelia, Turtle in Paradise, Sunny Side Up and sequels, Full of...

2020 in review

Welcome, 2021! 2020 was a year no one will soon forget (though in-person Midwinter may be a distant memory). Revisit the past twelve months — is that all it has been?! — and lose yourself in the world of children's and YA literature with our annual Horn Book Year in Review.   2020 ALA Awards...

It's Time to Vote! — Calling Caldecott 2021 ballot is now open

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Can you all believe that we are one week away from the Caldecott Awards announcement? In case you missed it, here is where you can catch the exciting news next Monday morning. We have covered a big stack of 2020 picture books here at Calling Caldecott since September. We are...

Week in Review, January 11th-15th

  This week on hbook.com... January Notes from the Horn Book Newsletter: 5Qs for Megan Whalen Turner about Return of the Thief; YA world building; primary animal fantasy chapter books, and intermediate STEM Amra Sabic-El-Rayess Talks with Roger about The Cat I Never Named: A True Story of Love, War,...

The 2021 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

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from Deborah Stevenson: The 2021 Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction goes to All He Knew by Helen Frost, published by Farrar Straus and Giroux. It’s 1939, and six-year-old Henry, rendered deaf by illness, has failed a ridiculous single evaluative test, so authorities officially classify him as “unteachable” and direct his straitened...

The 2021 "Books We Wish We Had Time For" list

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One of my favorite things about the 2019 Caldecott Awards was that a book we hadn’t covered here at Calling Caldecott (Brian Lies’s The Rough Patch) up and won an Honor. And I love this, because it proves the point that we are not in the business of predicting winners,...

An evening with Tui T. Sutherland (An artifact from the Beforetimes)  

Last March, I started a post about an author event at the Cambridge Public Library. But I was distracted by ::gestures at 2020:: and eventually decided it wasn’t worth finishing. The idea of attending a non-Zoom author’s talk (i.e., in person) was already weird and dated after a few weeks....

A Note from Me (Jan 15, 2021)

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Dear friends: You know, with a panicking gangster/terrorist still occupying the White House, it’s not easy to write this letter on a Wednesday for publication two days later. Who knows what will happen between now and then? Please join me in looking forward to January 20th. Until then, join me...

Amra Sabic-El-Rayess 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   In The Cat I Never Named: A True Story of Love, War, and Survival, Amra Sabic-El-Rayess relives her young adult years in the small city of Bihać, besieged during...

Your Place in the Universe

When my siblings and I were young, my mother ordered Time Life’s A Child’s First Encyclopedia of Learning, a series of books that explored a variety of topics about the natural world. I imagine that she ordered the set to address our seemingly insatiable curiosity about the world in which...

Books mentioned in the January 2021 issue of Notes from the Horn Book

Five questions for Megan Whalen Turner Return of the Thief [Queen's Thief] by Megan Whalen Turner; Greenwillow. YA world building Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust; Flatiron. How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories [Folk of the Air] by Holly Black, illus. by Rovina Cai; Little, Brown. Daughters...

From the Editor - January 2021

Though we won’t miss 2020 (good riddance), we will miss the world that Megan Whalen Turner created in her Queen’s Thief series, complete with political maneuvering, backstabbing, power grabs...oh, wait. World-building was perfected by Turner, and is used to great effect in these recent YA titles. If kindhearted skunks and...

Intermediate STEM

Hand the following entertaining and informative STEM-focused nonfiction titles to science-minded middle graders. Grasping Mysteries: Girls Who Loved Math by Jeannine Atkins Intermediate, Middle School    Atheneum    320 pp.    g 8/20    978-1-5344-6068-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-6070-6    $10.99 Atkins’s (Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science, rev. 7/16) latest collective biography in...

Primary animal fantasy chapter books

These recent animal-fantasy chapter books will thrill, educate, and crack up new readers. Willa the Wisp [The Fabled Stables] by Jonathan Auxier; illus. by Olga Demidova Primary    Amulet/Abrams    96 pp.    g 10/20    978-1-4197-4269-9    $12.99 “At the top of the world sat an island. And at the heart of that island...

YA world building

The following YA titles feature strongly built worlds — some well-known to fans, some brand new — that will sweep readers up with their fantastical details and enthralling adventures. Don’t miss our “Five questions for Megan Whalen Turner,” author of the Queen’s Thief series, which concludes with Return of the...

Five questions for Megan Whalen Turner

Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief (with that never-to-be-bettered twist at the end!) was published in 1996. Now, after six books set in that unforgettably detailed world, full of political machinations, double crosses, dubious motivations, and familial obligations, the series comes to a close with Return of the Thief (Greenwillow, 12...

Over-don't

TFW that overdue library book on which you’d already given up in your heart shows up under a child’s bed! We love libraries and bookstores -- read "Books beyond buildings: Support your local bookstore and library!" by Cindy Ritter and Shoshana Flax....

In a Jar

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Aren’t all of us collectors? If we are conscious of the lives we lead, we know we collect things. We treasure our partners, children, friendships, books, the myriad fine moments that make a life. But look even closer — “see a world in a grain of sand,” as William Blake would...

Prairie Days

Every August, I replace my Caldecott poster with the updated version. Strategically placed near my circulation desk and next to the Caldecott award shelf, it hangs low to the ground to ensure comfortable viewing for even the youngest of students. At the top of the poster is the cover of...

Week in Review, January 4th-8th

  This week on hbook.com...   From the January/February 2021 Horn Book Magazine: Table of Contents Editorial: Happy New Year by Roger Sutton   Read Roger: A Note from Me (Jan 8, 2021)   Calling Caldecott: If You Come to Earth by Dean Schneider In the Half Room by Sabrina...

Julián at the Wedding

We first met Julián in 2018, when Jessica Love’s debut picture book, Julián the Mermaid, came into the world — with Love's use of mixed media on brown paper. The protagonist’s emotional trajectory was tangible, evoking for so many what it feels like to crave acceptance without condition. We get...

A Note from Me (Jan 8, 2021)

Dear friends: Welcome to the end of this week! Better days are coming. Happy New Year to all and I hope you got some restorative time during the holidays, although who knew one would need it quite so quickly? Lori and Richard and I took our annual sojourn in Provincetown,...

In the Half Room

Anyone who’s ever spoken to me about picture books knows how much I love Carson Ellis’s illustrations, and it’s obvious I’m not the only one: in 2017, Du Iz Tak? won a Caldecott Honor. Upon my first reading of In the Half Room, her latest solo picture book, I wished...

Editorial: Happy New Year (January/February 2021)

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I can’t tell you how happy I am to write a January/February editorial where I don’t have to make a snide remark about the new president’s disdain for reading. Joe Biden reads poetry. Out loud, even. ­Goodness knows that an ­appreciation of books is not a guarantee of good character,...

Table of Contents: January/February 2021 Horn Book Magazine

Cover © 2021 by Oge Mora.   Features Horn Book Fanfare by Horn Book editors Our choices for the best books of 2020. Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards BGHB Awards Gallery 2020 Celebrating the winners and honorees in this most unusual year. Fiction and Poetry Nonfiction Picture Book “Sometimes You Have...

If You Come to Earth

How do you fit the whole world between the covers of a picture book? How do you describe our whole world to an alien? Well, narrator Quinn gives it a good shot in If You Come to Earth. (Sophie Blackall avoids gendering Quinn for this book.) Quinn writes, “Dear Visitor...

Week in Review, December 28th-January 1st

  This week on hbook.com...   From the November/December 2020 Horn Book Magazine: Publishers' Previews: Picture Books and Graphic Novels - Five Questions for... Alexandra Bracken | John Hare | Raj Haldar | Kat Leyh   Calling Caldecott: The Night Before Christmas by Martha V. Parravano   Out of the...

Publishers' Preview: Picture Books and Graphic Novels: Five Questions for Kat Leyh

This interview originally appeared in the November/December 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Picture Books and Graphic Novels, 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...

Publishers' Preview: Picture Books and Graphic Novels: Five Questions for Raj Haldar

This interview originally appeared in the November/December 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Picture Books and Graphic Novels, 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...

Publishers' Preview: Picture Books and Graphic Novels: Five Questions for John Hare

This interview originally appeared in the November/December 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Picture Books and Graphic Novels, 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...

The Night Before Christmas

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"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!" Most of us know this line, the ending of Clement C. Moore's classic poem "The Night Before Christmas," first published in 1823. But I promise you, it will hit differently after you read Loren Long's visual interpretation. I get it — a...

Publishers' Preview: Picture Books and Graphic Novels: Five Questions for Alexandra Bracken

This interview originally appeared in the November/December 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Picture Books and Graphic Novels, 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...

Horn Book Top 10 (2020)

Here are our Top 10 stories from the year 2020: A Year with Words and Pictures — but No ALA Annual Disturbing the Universe: Books That Broke the Rules An Interview with MacArthur Fellow Jacqueline Woodson Middle-Grade Graphic Novels Make Good How Do You Solve a Problem like Nonfiction? Writing...

Week in Review, December 21st-25th

  This week on hbook.com...   From the November/December 2020 Horn Book Magazine: Publishers' Previews: Picture Books and Graphic Novels - Five Questions for... Lily LaMotte | Oge Mora | Elizabeth Zunon | Three Demigoddesses   From the January/February 2021 Horn Book Magazine: "Sometimes You Have to Lie": A Conversation...

Publishers' Preview: Picture Books and Graphic Novels: Five Questions for Three Demigoddesses

This interview originally appeared in the November/December 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Picture Books and Graphic Novels, 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...

Publishers' Preview: Picture Books and Graphic Novels: Five Questions for Elizabeth Zunon

This interview originally appeared in the November/December 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Picture Books and Graphic Novels, 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...

Publishers' Preview: Picture Books and Graphic Novels: Five Questions for Oge Mora

This interview originally appeared in the November/December 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Picture Books and Graphic Novels, 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...

Round Two: Mock Nominations

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It's time for the second round of our mock Caldecott nominations. In mid-November we had round one, asking readers to name their top four choices (so far). Now we are asking for THREE more titles. Why these numbers? Each member of the Real Committee must nominate a total of seven books; the...

Publishers' Preview: Picture Books and Graphic Novels: Five Questions for Lily LaMotte

This interview originally appeared in the November/December 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Picture Books and Graphic Novels, 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...

"Sometimes You Have to Lie": A Conversation with Leslie Brody

Nearly sixty years after the publication of Harriet the Spy (Harper, 1964) the book remains as fresh as ever, so it’s not surprising that Harriet’s author was just as captivating. In her new, thoroughly researched biography, Sometimes You Have to Lie: The Life and Times of Louise Fitzhugh, Renegade Author...

Week in Review, December 14th-18th

  This week on hbook.com... Sarwat Chadda Talks with Roger about City of the Plague God (Riordan/Disney-Hyperion) A Conversation with Literary Agents on Diversity and Inclusion by Jason Low   From the November/December 2020 Horn Book Magazine: New for New Readers: How to Publish (What I Think Are) Great Books...

I Am Every Good Thing

One of the criteria for the Caldecott Medal is excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept. One look at Derrick Barnes's and Gordon C. James's I Am Every Good Thing and it is clear that the theme of the book is love for Black boys. The cover of the...

A Note from Me (Dec 18, 2020)

Dear friends: The lights are up, the tree is up, the other lights are up, and the election is over. (Again.) It’s the holidays! This my last missive to you until after the New Year, but I wanted to make sure you had the opportunity to read the new articles...

A Conversation with Literary Agents on Diversity and Inclusion

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At the beginning of 2020, Lee & Low Books released the second iteration of its Diversity Baseline Survey (DBS 2.0), four years after the first survey was released in 2015. Before the DBS was conducted, people suspected that publishing had a diversity problem, but without hard numbers the extent of that problem was anyone’s guess. Although DBS 2.0 newly includes two more areas of the publishing industry...

Sarwat Chadda 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   In City of the Plague God, Sarwat Chadda sends a young Muslim New Yorker deep, deep into mythology. We’re talking Gilgamesh. I talked on Skype with Sarwat in his...

In the City

I’ll be frank: I’ve got some emotional baggage with Chris Raschka. His Caldecott Award-winning picture book A Ball for Daisy is largely the reason I fell in love with the study of picture books. I was so devoted to the emotional depth of that little pup, as she leapt across...

Family Reading Fanfare for 2020

Earlier this month, the Horn Book announced our Fanfare selections, our best books of the year list for 2020. This was surely a strange year for sharing books with my children, requiring library holds (and contactless pickups); increased e-reading and audiobook-listening; and reading and re-reading old friends from around the house...

New for New Readers: How to Publish (What I Think Are) Great Books for New Readers

Sometime in 2017, I got a call from Bernice Myers, a mid-twentieth-century illustrator of nonfiction picture books and author-illustrator of books for new readers such as Not THIS Bear! Bernice, who hadn’t published a new book for many years, had a story for me, and of course I was happy...

All Because You Matter

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There are many ways one could enter this (singular, spectacular, heartstopping) book, but I can’t imagine starting anywhere other than with the face on the cover. Has a book jacket ever boasted an image so strong, so tender, or so radiant? A portrait of a young boy’s face is encompassed...

Week in Review, December 7th-11th

  This week on hbook.com... December Notes from the Horn Book newsletter - Fanfare Edition: Annotations Extras Ava Weiss (1925-2020) by Kevin Henkes   From the November/December 2020 Horn Book Magazine: What Makes a Good Hanukkah Picture Book? by Marjorie Ingall   From the January/February 2021 Horn Book Magazine: Issue...

The Blue House

Caldecott terms and criteria stipulate that the Medal goes to a picture book published “during the preceding year.” Although the 2020 publication of Phoebe Wahl’s The Blue House satisfies this term, it feels like it’s been around for a long, long time — while also being utterly groundbreaking. Picture books...

A Note from Me (Dec 11, 2020)

Dear friends: Fanfare is here! (And I’m reminded, once again, of the Horn Book’s continued predilection for music metaphors. Sure, it started with “blowing the horn” and all, but now we have Cadenza, Impromptu…. I can see why the English teacher at our booth at an IRA conference took a...

What Makes a Good Hanukkah Picture Book?

Let’s say, for some reason, you wanted to read the worst Hanukkah picture book ever written. Why would you wish to do this? Well, such a book could serve as a fine blueprint for how not to write a lousy Hanukkah book and/or how not to choose a lousy Hanukkah...

Happy Hanukkah 2020!

Tonight will be special. Tonight will be splendid. Tonight is HANUKKAH! If all goes well, we’ll also be done with the January/February issue of the Magazine by tonight! To celebrate, I’m planning to light these candles, picked because their colors remind me of Oge Mora’s amazing cover art, inspired by...

Preview January/February 2021 Horn Book Magazine

Original cover art by Oge Mora. Horn Book Fanfare: Our choices for the best books of 2020. Coverage of the 2020 Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards virtual celebration: judges’ remarks, speeches, photos. Kathleen T. Horning interviews Leslie Brody, author of the Louise Fitzhugh biography Sometimes You Have to Lie. An update on the CCBC’s diversity statistics from Madeline Tyner. Gregory Maguire remembers Jill...

Fanfare 2020 Annotations

Welcome to Fanfare, our choices of the best books of 2020. When The Horn Book’s tiny office went from wall-to-wall books, ARCs, effin’ jeez, and piles and piles of still more books to fully remote, there was a lot of uncertainty. Overnight, our digital tag line — It’s virtually a...

Night Walk to the Sea

You need to have this book in your hands. Author Deborah Wiles imagines this story based on some of ecologist Rachel Carson’s writings and her relationship with her nephew Roger, whom she raised after his mother’s death. Roger is frightened when the lights go out on a stormy night, but Rachel...

Ava Weiss (1925-2020)

We were sorry to learn that longtime Greenwillow Books art director Ava Weiss has died, at the age of ninety-five. She was with Greenwillow from its beginnings in 1974 (having followed founder Susan Hirschman from Macmillan), retiring in 2002. Greenwillow’s Facebook page called her “brilliant” and said: “Ava designed the Greenwillow logo (inspired by Janina Domanska’s etchings in Under the Green...

Fanfare 2020 extras

Read more by and about some of our Fanfare 2020 authors and illustrators below. Find our at-a-glance Fanfare 2020 booklist here and our newly annotated list here.   Picture Books Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James What the Hell Is Didactic Intent Anyway? by Elisa Gall and Jonathan Hunt Family...

2020 has been a beary unexpected year...

...full of bears in children's books! Yesterday on Calling Caldecott, Dean Schneider discussed The Bear and the Moon, one of many new picture books starring bears that I've spotted in the Magazine this past year. They include:                                                        This made...

Fanfare 2020 Booklist

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Below is Fanfare, a list of the books that the Horn Book editors and reviewers have selected as the best of 2020. The annotated list will be published in the December issue of Notes from the Horn Book (sign up!) and in the January/February 2021 issue of the Horn Book Magazine...

The Bear and the Moon

Sometimes a book comes along that makes me proud to be a part of the world of children’s literature, and The Bear and the Moon, written by Matthew Burgess and illustrated by Cátia Chien, is one of those books. When I first read it, it felt like an old friend,...

Week in Review, November 30th-December 4th

  This week on hbook.com...   From the November/December 2020 Horn Book Magazine: The Writer's Page: Navigating the N-Word by Nikki Grimes   From the January/February 2021 Horn Book Magazine: Starred Reviews   Read Roger: A Note from Me (Dec 4, 2020)   Calling Caldecott: NYT/NYPL List, We Miss You!...
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