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Family Memories of Frederic G. Melcher

The Melchers at a Carnival of Books broadcast for the 1954 Newbery with winner Joseph Krumgold. Photo coutesy of the Melcher family. While my daughters and I are all avid readers who grew up enjoying award-winning children’s literature, we never had the opportunity to meet our relative, Frederic G. Melcher...

Board Books Get an Award of Their Own

Board books don’t tend to win major awards. True, a handful have been named ALA Notable Children’s Books, including one of my all-time favorites, Global Babies by the Global Fund for Children. Many a Caldecott winner has later been republished in board book format, and some work well, notably Kevin...

Graphic Memoirs: Why We Read Them. Why We Need Them.

When a new graphic memoir comes out, I need to read it. I can’t get enough of people’s stories about their own lives — and I love comics. What an easy hunger to satisfy nowadays as the number of books in this genre — for all age groups — continues...

The Shut Doors of Libraries

At the 2016 National Book Awards, the late Congressman John Lewis, being honored for the graphic memoir March: Book Three, spoke of being turned away, along with his sisters, brothers, and cousins, from an Alabama library in 1956. “And to come here and receive this award, this honor, it’s too...

How to Read a Wordless Picture Book — The Mary Nagel Sweetser Lecture

How do you read a wordless picture book? You read the pictures — and there are no air quotes around the word read. The pictures are the language and they must be read as carefully as any book with text. It’s a radical decision that an artist makes to not...

So Long, Farewell: A Salute to Roger Sutton

“Do what you think best.” Roger Sutton says that more often than you’d think when his coworkers ask for his opinion. Not to say he doesn’t occasionally put his foot down (“Over my dead body”), but he’s always up for discussion and debate, and he always listens. In his editorials,...

Bad Books (and How I've Learned to Love Them)

Here’s a story: George the pig is polite, conscientious, and helpful. He’s almost perfect, really, except for one flaw that seems very piglike and not unusual at all: he eats too much. So when tempted by boxes of doughnuts his mother has baked for the “Pigtown Ladies’ Popcorn Festival and...

Holiday High Notes 2021

Season’s greetings from the Horn Book staff! Here’s our annual list of recommended holiday books. (See also the reviews of Hanukkah/Christmas story Red and Green and Blue and White and The People Remember for Kwanzaa in the November/December 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.) Leah’s Star by Margaret Bateson-Hill;...

When Failure Is Not an Option: Connecting the Dots with STEM

A few years ago, I was asked to give the keynote address as part of a daylong STEM workshop for middle-grade science teachers. I suggested inviting a NASA specialist for a separate virtual session. It wasn’t the first time I’d done that. While conducting a session on planets for fourth...
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