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I Talk like a River: Jordan Scott's 2021 BGHB Picture Book Award Speech

The first time I saw a portrayal of a stutterer was in the film A Fish Called Wanda. I was ten years old, and up until that point had never seen or heard anyone else who stuttered. Michael Palin plays the character, “stuttering Ken,” a bumbling, nervous, unintelligent, and angry...

I Talk like a River: Sydney Smith's 2021 BGHB Picture Book Award Speech

I Talk like a River is a book made of many things and made by many hands. But at its core its main ingredients are love and acceptance. Having illustrated this book, I can say with confidence that it was the purest and most positive collaborative experience in my book-making life....

Watercress: Andrea Wang's 2021 BGHB Picture Book Honor Speech

Sometimes personal stories take a long time before they’re shared. Such was the case with Watercress, which is based on my own memory of picking watercress by the side of the road. At first, it seemed too inconsequential an event to share with my own children. These were kids who...

Watercress: Jason Chin's 2021 BGHB Picture Book Honor Speech

Thank you to everyone on the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards committee for this recognition. Congratulations to all of the other authors and artists whose work has been recognized. It’s an honor to have our book listed alongside so many deserving and important books. Watercress was a team effort, and the...

I Am Every Good Thing: Derrick Barnes's 2021 BGHB Picture Book Honor Speech

In 2018, multinational clothing-retail company H&M released an ad that featured children of different ethnicities wearing shirts with messages in big block letters on the front. The shirts that really stood out were worn by two very handsome young gentlemen. One White. One Black. The White kid’s orange shirt read,...

I Am Every Good Thing: Gordon C. James's 2021 BGHB Picture Book Honor Speech

I’d like to thank my wife, Ingrid, and my children, Astrid and Gabriel, for giving me the time and space to do my best work; Derrick Barnes for writing such an important and timely story; and Nancy Paulsen and her team for giving us a place to create something that...

A Sitting in St. James: Rita Williams-Garcia's 2021 BGHB Fiction and Poetry Award Speech

My twelve-year-old self thought she would write fast and a lot. Back then, I raced through homework to get to the next pages of my autobiographical novel: Rita at Highland ­Elementary by Rita Highland Williams. The “­Highland”? As everyone knows, a serious writer should have three names! I chose the...

Fighting Words: Kimberly Brubaker Bradley's 2021 BGHB Fiction and Poetry Honor Speech

I am honestly so stunned and grateful for this award. I never expected to write Fighting Words. I was at work on a different manuscript when yet another #MeToo story hit the media. I sat at my desk shaking with helplessness and rage; the first words I typed — My...

Punching the Air: Ibi Zoboi's 2021 BGHB Fiction and Poetry Honor Speech

Firstly, I always have to thank my co-author, Exonerated Five member Yusef Salaam, for extending such warmth and grace throughout our process of drafting, revising, publishing, and promoting Punching the Air, a story inspired by Yusef’s experiences as a wrongfully incarcerated teen. We can never truly understand Yusef’s journey. However,...
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