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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


Rosh Hashanah 2018/5779

Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (year 5779!); Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins next Tuesday, September 18, at sundown. These are times in the year for family, community, and self-reflection (and our thoughts are with Shoshana’s family!). My family started a new, anachronistic “tradition” by making purple-potato latkes — with applesauce, […]

Grandparents Day 2018

Grandparents Day is Sunday, September 9. Here are some recent books for young readers and listeners about grandparents, grandchildren, and intergenerational friendships that celebrate the special bond between children and their elders. Reviews are from current or forthcoming issues of The Horn Book Guide. Brantley-Newton, Vanessa  Grandma’s Purse 32 pp. Knopf 2018 ISBN 978-1-5247-1431-4 LE […]

On Jessica Angotti’s “Committing the Crime Without Doing the Time” (from 2010)

“Based on my observations, it seems children find a loophole. Straddling reality and fantasy allows them to keep one foot in the story, dancing all night and getting into trouble, and the other one out, avoiding time-outs or bed without dinner. This hokey-pokey stance gives young readers the best of both worlds; in for the […]

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 […]