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Welcome to the Horn Book's Family Reading blog, a place devoted to offering children's book recommendations and advice about the whats and whens and whos and hows of sharing books in the home. Find us on Twitter @HornBook and on Facebook at Facebook.com/TheHornBook


Gendered reading and audiobooks

My daughter became a bookworm this year, reading middle grade novels by Carl Hiaasen, Kate Beasley, Robert Beatty, and Erin Entrada Kelly. She read before bed, and while eating breakfast and brushing her teeth. When she finished a book, she’d pass it along to me, and we’d discuss it. I felt excited about this new […]

Illustrators — finally!

“Illustrators — finally! Authors get all the credit for everything!” said my eight-year-old when I told him I was going to be spending time with a few. On Friday, July 27, I was invited to Shady Hill School in Cambridge, MA, by the incomparable Kim Parker [NB: every parent, teacher, librarian, administrator, person who cares […]

Jim Dale’s soporific magic

I’ve always been a big Harry Potter fan, but I never dreamed how much a part of my life Harry would become. When my first son was born, I was in labor for a week and struggling to stay calm. My mom is a psychologist and also does hypnosis (legitimate hypnosis — not making people […]

Mr. Slinger wows again

Recently I had a little talk with my two four-year-old grandchildren. All talks with four-year-olds are by definition little. Preschoolers aren’t ready for marathon discussions. For one thing, marathon discussions tend to happen late at night when they’re asleep, and for another, their favorite topics don’t support extended discourse. That is, they might be deeply […]

From Pencil to Page: Sketches and Illustrations by Grace Lin

The weekend before last, my family and I attended the family-friendly opening reception of Grace Lin’s exhibit “From Pencil to Page: Sketches and Illustrations” at the Pao Arts Center, part of the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center. Grace’s Ling & Ting early readers are favorites in my house, as is Starry River of the Sky, which […]

Crossing bridges, turning pages

Mothering my seven children often inspires my writing, but I’ve made it a policy to avoid writing publicly about specific struggles I have with them. Growing up is hard enough, and I worry that real openness could amount to betrayal or worse. All to say: I have a story to tell about one of my […]

Loving Day 2018

Tuesday, June 12, marked the fifty-first anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the landmark civil rights case that struck down anti-miscegenation laws and legalized interracial marriage. Last weekend the Central Flea outdoor open market in Cambridge, MA, shared its space with the Loving Day Cambridge Block Party. Lots and lots of people were involved in organizing the […]

BEE excited for summer!

Our focus at this time of year tends to be on the flowers blooming all around us, bringing divine scents and bright colors to a formerly gray landscape. This year, however, it’s the bees that are captivating me. On a quiet day, I can hear their buzzing around our flowering crabapple tree from inside our […]

Race in fairy tales

I grew up in the 1970s, when the lens on fairy tales turned academic and feminist. It was a time when fairy tales were being examined and critiqued for remaining wedded to their their antiquated gender roles–the recurring ideals of strength and adventure belonged to the realm of men and boys, and those of beauty […]

On Madelyn Travis’s “Thank Heavens for Hugo, or When Size Matters” (from 2011)

In “Thank Heavens for Hugo, or When Size Matters,” children’s literature scholar Madelyn Travis wrote about her efforts to encourage her then-seven-year-old son to “love reading” and her worry that “if he doesn’t, he will miss out on one of life’s great joys.” Lordy, do I get it. Though my kids were toddlers when I […]