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Creating Books

Writing a book for young people? Look here for information, advice, and inspiration.

My Characters Don’t Wear Shoes in the House

This article is not meant as a judgment upon people who wear shoes in the house. Some of my closest friends wear shoes in the house. I fully support the rights of people to have different shoe-wearing practices in their own houses. That said, I don’t wear shoes in my house. My spouse doesn’t, my […]

“A Conversation with Ellen Oh” event at Simmons University

Earlier this week, Cindy and I attended a talk at Simmons University by author and anthologist Ellen Oh, cofounder, president, and CEO of We Need Diverse Books. She started her presentation with some of the reasons why We Need Diverse Books, both broad (statistics about POC representation and lack thereof; how exposing all children to […]

Why Stop at Windows and Mirrors?: Children’s Book Prisms

It has been twenty-nine years since Rudine Sims Bishop’s seminal essay “Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors” was published. Speaking to the lack of children’s books with African American characters and themes, the essay called for books to act as windows and mirrors that would allow all children to see themselves and the experiences of […]

The Writer’s Page: “Speak with Us, Not for Us”

KidLitWomen* was co-founded by Grace Lin and Karen Blumenthal in March 2018, with the mission of “calling attention to the gender inequities of our industry, uplifting the women who have not received their due, and finding solutions to reach equality.” The following article expands on a KidLitWomen* social media post by Lin. Many of my […]

“Waiting in the Deep”: A Character Development Workshop with Rita Williams-Garcia

When I first heard about the Kweli Journal’s annual Color of Children’s Literature Conference for writers (the 2018 conference marked its seventh year), I couldn’t wait to attend. A conference dedicated to books about children of color and the people who create those books? What an amazing opportunity! And a chance to meet and learn […]

Why Sensitivity Readers Matter: (And Why We Should Call Them Something Else)

Last year, one of the controversies that hit the headlines was the use of sensitivity readers in publishing. The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune covered the topic but chose to feature clickbait headlines that included words like outrage and censorship. This led to the usual cacophony of opposing views. Lee & Low Books […]

The Great American Read – revealed!

Earlier this week, PBS and WGBH (our local PBS station!) announced the results of its 2018 Great American Read: “To Kill a Mockingbird was voted by viewers as America’s #1 best-loved novel in The Great American Read.” Here’s more from The Horn Book about this American classic: A Second Look: The Long Life of a Mockingbird […]

Devoted to Diversity: Publishers with a Purpose

It’s no secret that mainstream publishing has gaps to fill. The Cooperative Children’s Book Center’s annual statistics show that the numbers of books published about people of color and First/Native Nations people are disproportionately low, and books by members of these groups are even lower in number. (See the July/August 2017 and March/April 2018 Horn […]

An Interview with Denene Millner

In 2016 Chicago-based Agate Publishing announced the launch of a new line under its Bolden Books imprint dedicated to the work of African American authors. Writer, editor, journalist, and founder of the parenting website MyBrownBaby.com, Denene Millner began her eponymous imprint at Agate as “a love letter to children of color who deserve to see […]

“Garth Williams: Illustrator of the Century” exhibit

Through July 31st, 2018, the Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick, Maine, is hosting the children’s book exhibit “Garth Williams: Illustrator of the Century.” Curated by none other than children’s literature scholar (and Friend of The Horn Book) Leonard S. Marcus, the exhibit is “by far the largest Garth Williams retrospective ever assembled,” with over one […]