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The Writer's Page: A Chorus of Storytellers: Mythology and Comics

I’m fond of reminding people that Greek mythology isn’t a compendium of dead narratives about long-dead people and distant places, pulled from a dusty old book or scroll. What we now call Greek mythology is what remains of a past culture’s most sacred beliefs — a collection of living stories,...

Board Book Roundup: Mirrors and Holes and Flaps, Oh My!

Board books often include features that entice little fingers to pull, twist, and lift, sometimes blurring the line between book and toy. This is fine by me; little ones should play with their books! Although such board books are often called “novelty books” and derided as gimmicky, they don’t have...

Board Book Roundup: Baby Horn BOO! 2022 Edition

This column is part of a series of recommended board book roundups, published seasonally. You can find the previous installments here. Don’t miss Viki Ash’s primer “What Makes a Good Board Book?” from the March/April 2010 Horn Book Magazine. Familiar songs, finger puppets and holes, counting, and flaps galore make...

Field Notes: The Day the Book Banners Came for Us

When our head of youth services came up to me one Thursday afternoon this spring and said, “I want to show you something,” I thought it was going to be something normal for the mid-sized suburban public library I run in Henrietta, New York — like a clogged toilet or...

After the Call: Something Magical

What did winning the Newbery Medal mean to me? It has taken some time to wrap my head around this question. The Last Cuentista won the Newbery Medal! I’ve texted my editor, Nick Thomas, a few times with, “We won the Newbery” and “Did that really happen?” just to help...

After the Call: Nothing Short of Life-Changing

In 2021, "the call" was a Zoom call. Photo: Tae Keller. As soon as the 2021 Youth Media Awards were announced, I started hearing from other writers, from friends, from family: The Newbery will change your life. This felt fairly accurate, considering I hadn’t slept for thirty-six hours, I had...

After the Call: I Get It Now

More than two years later, I still find myself trying to comprehend the magnitude of how my life changed on January 27, 2020. The most baffling question being, “How did this kid who hated to read grow up to win ‘the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children’?” I...

After the Call: A Literary Life

When I won the Newbery Medal for Merci Suárez Changes Gears in 2019, I stepped — starstruck and trembling — into a hundred-year history that included many of the books that had helped me grow up. The seal is our community’s highest honor, one that feels unreal, that boosts your...

After the Call: On the Bookmark

In late 2018, I visited my local library to satisfy a very specific book mood. I wanted a rich, immersive, pitch-perfect middle-grade novel. I strolled to the children’s section and scanned the shelves. But there were so many choices! I needed a vetting process. Recommendations, maybe. I went to the...
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