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A Letter to Readers: ¡Celebremos!: 25 Years of the Pura Belpré Award

¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to this special issue of The Horn Book Magazine commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Pura Belpré Award and, more generally, Latinx literature for young people. As the 2020–21 vice president/president-elect of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) and as past president of the National Association...

Cynthia Levinson and Evan Turk Talk 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   Author Cynthia Levinson (The Youngest Marcher; Fault Lines in the Constitution) and illustrator Evan Turk (Grandfather Gandhi; A Thousand Glass Flowers) bring to the picture book page a man...

Publishers' Preview: Spring 2021: Five Questions for Carole Boston Weatherford

This interview originally appeared in the March/April 2021 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Spring 2021, 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 Unspeakable indeed was...

Publishers' Preview: Spring 2021: Five Questions for Graci Kim

This interview originally appeared in the March/April 2021 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Spring 2021, 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 Last Fallen...

Publishers' Preview: Spring 2021: Five Questions for Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

This interview originally appeared in the March/April 2021 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Spring 2021, 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 Ace of...

Publishers' Preview: Spring 2021: Five Questions for Justina Ireland

This interview originally appeared in the March/April 2021 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Spring 2021, 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 first ghost...

Publishers' Preview: Spring 2021: Five Questions for Karen Cushman

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This interview originally appeared in the March/April 2021 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Spring 2021, 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 War and...

Five questions for Linda Sue Park

The One Thing You’d Save (Clarion, 9–13 years) written by Linda Sue Park begins with a teacher’s question: “Imagine that your home is on fire. You’re allowed to save one thing. Your family and pets are safe, so don’t worry about them. Your Most Important Thing. Any size. A grand...

The Writer's Page: Hello Again

Writing sequels or companion books to my novels has never been tempting to me, probably because I like to think each book accomplished all I’d intended to say. After completing When Zachary ­Beaver Came to Town (1999), I felt satisfied that I’d finished the story of Toby, Cal, and Zachary....

Beverly Cleary 1916-2021

Beloved children's author Beverly Cleary has passed away, at the age of 104. To celebrate the occasion of her centennial, on April 12, 2016, The Horn Book Magazine's March/April issue devoted a series of articles to "Beverly Cleary at 100." "The Real Ramona" by David Reuther, longtime Cleary editor and publisher Nonfiction author...

Why Read Books from the Past?

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Mitali Perkins's nonfiction book for adults Steeped in Stories: Timeless Children's Novels to Refresh Our Tired Souls (Broadleaf Books) will be published in August. In it Perkins examines seven classic children's novels — Anne of Green Gables, Heidi, Emily of Deep Valley, The Hobbit, Little Women, A Little Princess, and...

Nonfiction Windows So White

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Every reader of this magazine knows that Rudine Sims Bishop’s “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors” framework has become a central part of our vocabulary as we evaluate books for children and teenagers. Indeed it is a kind of organizing metaphor in the industry-wide push for a more representative literature...

More Than a Footnote: Challenges for BIPOC Nonfiction Authors

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For as long as I can remember, I have had three loves: jazz, poetry, and history. Those passions merged in my 2000 nonfiction title The Sound That Jazz Makes — a manuscript that was rejected more than a dozen times. The book’s first review was so negative that I cried....

Norton Passes Go

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A poem by Jane Yolen in remembrance of her friend Norton Juster (1929-2021): So, the unexpected, which he always expected, happened when he had lost the ability to expect anything at all. At the same time he became a phantom, he became a father to us all. If there is...

Five questions for Lesa Cline-Ransome and Andrea Davis Pinkney

The new chapter book series She Persisted (Philomel, 6-9 years) is spun off from the picture books of the same name written by Chelsea Clinton and illustrated by Alexandra Boiger. Each entry explores the life of a strong and courageous woman who has helped change the world, with the first...

R.I.P. Norton Juster

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I was lucky enough to hear Norton Juster (1929–2021) speak at the Boston Public Library a few years ago, and brought a copy of The Phantom Tollbooth that had been passed down from my mother to me. I half-apologized for its well-loved appearance. “It’s either well-loved or well-hated,” he said. “Well-loved,” I repeated....

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 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 Writer's Page: Navigating the N-Word

The mere mention of the n-word is usually cause for conversation and consternation, to put it mildly. Whenever used in a song lyric or a piece of literature, dialogue and debate are quick to follow. Even so, the n-word is a brick wall I occasionally crash into, on purpose, whenever...

Lincoln Peirce 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 a sequel to Max & the Midknights, Lincoln Peirce’s Max & the Midknights: Battle of the Bodkins provides Max and her trusty companions with a truly spooky threat...

Jairo Buitrago and Rafael Yockteng Talk 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   Interviewing this durable duo, one of them in Mexico, the other Colombia, required crossing borders both geographical and linguistic, so we corresponded via email about Cave Paintings, with Jairo...

Five questions for Jordan Scott and Sydney Smith

I Talk like a River (Porter/Holiday) — a collaboration between poet Jordan Scott and award-winning illustrator Sydney Smith — has received multiple starred reviews. The story takes us into the psyche of a boy who struggles with stuttering. After a “bad speech day,” the boy’s father takes him for a...

Cynthia Leitich Smith and Rosemary Brosnan Talk 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   Author (and, just announced, winner of the 2020 Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature!) Cynthia Leitich Smith and veteran editor Rosemary Brosnan have joined forces to launch Heartdrum, an imprint of...

Writing as an Act of Defiance

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As the Vietnam War escalated in the late 1960s I marched and protested, raged and wept for our country and Vietnam. Fifty years later, we are living through another extraordinary, terrifying time. We’re being stalked by a pandemic, living under political strong-arming, in a deeply divided country. Our economy teeters...

An Interview with MacArthur Fellow Jacqueline Woodson

On October 19, 2020, Horn Book executive editor Elissa Gershowitz and Horn Book reviewers and contributors Monique Harris, Nicholl Denice Montgomery, and Dr. Kim Parker had a phone conversation with newly named MacArthur Fellow Jacqueline Woodson. Huge thanks to Moné Dixon, assistant to Jacqueline Woodson, and Edelman representative Amaya Starkey, for the...

Cecily Kaiser 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   When Penguin Workshop sent me a clutch of books from their new RISE imprint in preparation for this interview with Cecily Kaiser, Director of Preschool Publishing and Publishing Director...

R.I.P. Jill Paton Walsh

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We're sad to have lost Jill Paton Walsh yesterday. I only met her once, at a 1990s CLNE gathering at Radcliffe, but Jill was a longtime friend of the Horn Book dating back to the 1970s, when Paul and Ethel Heins were running things here, and they and Jill and...

Five questions for Grace Lin

Caldecott (for A Big Mooncake for Little Star in 2019), Newbery (for Where the Mountain Meets the Moon in 2010), and Geisel (for Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! in 2011) honoree Grace Lin’s new Storytelling Math board book series (Charlesbridge, 3-5 years) fulfills both parts of its name:...

Katie Yamasaki 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 Norton Young Readers, an imprint of W. W. Norton & Company   In Katie Yamasaki’s latest picture book (co-written with Ian Lendler), Naomi’s home on 11th Street is changing, but...

Publishers' Preview: Fall 2020: Five Questions for Nic Stone

This interview originally appeared in the September/October 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Fall 2020, 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 Addressed to the...

Publishers' Preview: Fall 2020: Five Questions for James Patterson & Kwame Alexander

This interview originally appeared in the September/October 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Fall 2020, 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 Two popular writers...

Jonathan Auxier 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   Jonathan Auxier says he needed a break after Sweep, so here we are with Willa the Wisp, the first volume in a projected series about the Fabled Stables, themselves...

Publishers' Preview: Fall 2020: Five Questions for Saadia Faruqi

This interview originally appeared in the September/October 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Fall 2020, 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 Preteens Mimi and...

Publishers' Preview: Fall 2020: Five Questions for Jan Thomas

This interview originally appeared in the September/October 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Fall 2020, 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 He thinks of...

Publishers' Preview: Fall 2020: Five Questions for Amanda McCrina

This interview originally appeared in the September/October 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Fall 2020, 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 Traitor follows the...

John Rocco 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   Because I’d only seen a PDF of How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity’s Greatest Adventure (Crown), I didn’t know...

In Memoriam: Lee Kingman Natti (1919–2020)

Editor, author, artist, and designer Lee Kingman Natti’s association with The Horn Book, Inc., spanned eighty years — surely a record. Bertha Mahony, founder of The Horn Book Magazine and owner of The Bookshop for Boys and Girls, gave the nine-year-old Lee advice on choosing ten free books from the...

Daniel Kraus 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 They Threw Us Away, book one of Daniel Kraus’s new middle-grade trilogy the Teddies Saga, five little teddy bears find themselves in a big bad world (ours) and,...

Children's Books and Contradictions

In March 1888, New York City was in the midst of a legendary blizzard. The city had been caught off-guard, unprepared for a storm so late in the year. The trees were already blooming in Central Park, the birds were singing — and then the unexpected snow. For days, streetcars...

Traci Chee 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   Fantasy writer Traci Chee moves to historical fiction in We Are Not Free, a kaleidoscopic look — fourteen narrators! — at the lives of young Japanese Americans “relocated” (incarcerated)...

Five questions for Evette Dionne

Last month, in recognition of the Nineteenth Amendment’s centennial, we featured Lifting as We Climb (Viking, 12 years and up) by Evette Dionne among other books about women’s suffrage. The subtitle of Dionne’s book, however, focuses readers’ attention on a very specific, vital, and too-frequently overlooked — and/or whitewashed —...

Profile of 2020 Coretta Scott King Book Award Illustrator and Caldecott Medal winner Kadir Nelson

Kadir Nelson is the winner of the 2020 Caldecott Medal and the 2020 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for The Undefeated, written by Kwame Alexander, who also won a Newbery Honor for the book’s text. Here, Alexander pays tribute to his creative collaborator.   I gave my father, a children’s...

Trudy Ludwig 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   “Sometimes One can feel like a small and lonely number” according to The Power of One, but it’s also the place where everything starts. As Ludwig discusses the power...

The Writer's Page: "At the Mercy or Whim of Others": Policing Protest in Children's Publishing

“I will not write another lament.” That’s the first line of my poem “Room to Breathe,” which I wrote on May 29, 2020, the day a White Minneapolis police officer was charged with the murder of George Floyd. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, I turned to poetry, since I couldn’t...

Publishers' Preview: Debut Authors: Five Questions for Julie Lee

This interview originally appeared in the July/August 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Debut Authors, 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 Sora has always...

Publishers' Preview: Debut Authors: Five Questions for Lynnette Mawhinney

This interview originally appeared in the July/August 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Debut Authors, 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 Being a member...

Publishers' Preview: Debut Authors: Five Questions for Kim Johnson

This interview originally appeared in the July/August 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Debut Authors, 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 This Is...

Publishers' Preview: Debut Authors: Five Questions for Tessa Allen

This interview originally appeared in the July/August 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Debut Authors, 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 People March,...

Publishers' Preview: Debut Authors: Five Questions for Aiden Thomas

This interview originally appeared in the July/August 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Debut Authors, 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 Cemetery Boys,...

Publishers' Preview: Debut Authors: Five Questions for Seamus Kirst

This interview originally appeared in the July/August 2020 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Debut Authors, 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 Papa, Daddy, &...

Five questions for Ryan T. Higgins

In young dino Penelope Rex’s picture-book debut, she learned that We Don’t Eat Our Classmates. Now the pony-loving T. rex is back in Ryan T. Higgins’s We Will Rock Our Classmates (Disney-Hyperion, 4–7 years). Readers discover her equally passionate love of rock ’n’ roll when she signs up for the...

In Memoriam: Tomie dePaola (1934–2020)

The first thing I think of when I think of Tomie dePaola (who died in March at the age of eighty-five, from complications following a fall) isn’t a book at all. It’s Christmas. I think of a Tomie dePaola nativity set my family had growing up. I’m not even talking...

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...

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

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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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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!...

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...

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...

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...

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...
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