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Opinion

Gimlet-eyed and occasionally -addled views on what's wrong and right in the world of books for young people.

The Book That Changed My Life: A Sense of Possibility

I am sitting at my desk, age seventy-five, and I am searching my mind, going way back for “a book that changed my life.” I’ve managed to get as far back as the late 1940s in Sydney, Australia. There I am on my stomach on the living-room floor and…no, that won’t do, those are comics! […]

The Book That Changed My Life: Not-So-Simple Semple

I began my writing career in the fifth grade, penning rap lyrics, love letters, and short stories. But in the sixth grade, my teacher, Mrs. Davis, introduced me to the writers and poets of the Harlem Renaissance. I remember being as fascinated by those writers as I was by the modern-day “poets” at the time, […]

The Book That Changed My Life: Jo March Is Me

Thank goodness we live in a literary era when cultural and racial identities are seen as important mirrors in stories. That wasn’t true when I came of age. Maybe that’s why it feels odd to confess that Jo March in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women was such a profound influence during my adolescence. But here’s […]

The Book That Changed My Life: My Heart’s Music

There are the moments when a single book scoops you up, holds you, rocks you, and begs you to feel your own soul’s depth. For me that book was — and still is — Maya Angelou’s autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I was a teenager when I encountered Maya’s signature tale. I […]

The Book That Changed My Life: A Dangerous Book

My high-school classmate Lena B. told me that one of the female characters in Doctor Zhivago was based on her grandmother. I had never heard of Doctor Zhivago. “What’s the big deal?” I said. “It’s just a book.” She was appalled. Lena moved in the dissident circles closely watched by the KGB (place: USSR; time: […]

Editorial: “Get Up from the Chair!”

Welcome to our seriously special issue on the theme of “making a difference.” With a deep sense of history and purpose and interconnection (how many times is Virginia Hamilton cited?), and with some thirty contributors, from Susan Cooper (on Ursula K. Le Guin) to Dhonielle Clayton (on Hamilton’s Willie Bea) to Kevin Henkes (on the […]

From the Editor – April 2018

April in Boston means Opening Day for the Red Sox, April Fools’ Day jokes (Shoshana is responsible for this year’s #TBTV), signs of springtime, and our upcoming Horn Book Herald: Spring News e-newsletter. Topics include: the environment (Earth Day is April 22) and poetry (April is also National Poetry Month), and we are thrilled that […]

From the Editor – March 2018

March is Women’s History Month, and this issue of Notes includes almost all new books by female authors and illustrators. The Horn Book is also pleased to be participating in the #KidLitWomen initiative on social media and amplifying the group’s mission: “calling attention to the gender inequities of the children’s literature community, uplifting those who […]

Editorial: Make Room in the Reading Tent

Despite everything I’ve ever loved about reading and hated about camping, I find myself wanting to sign up for Michelle H. Martin and Rachelle D. Washington’s Camp Read-a-Rama, a summer camp “for children ages four to eleven [that] uses children’s books as the springboard for all other camp activities, including songs, chants, games, field trips, […]

From the Editor – February 2018

Congratulations to all the authors and illustrators honored this week by the American Library Association! For a complete list of winning titles, with links to the Horn Book’s reviews, please click here. The July/August issue of The Horn Book Magazine will include the acceptance speeches and profiles of the Caldecott, Newbery, and Coretta Scott King […]