A Note from Me (May 14, 2021)

Dear friends:

Jason Reynolds’s Zena Sutherland Lecture was a smashing success last Friday. As far as I could see, he spoke without a text or even notes, moving brilliantly and seamlessly from stories about his recently deceased father to just what those stories meant in terms of bringing him and reading — and young people and reading generally — together. I am in awe. And you could tell the audience was paying close attention from the great questions Zena committee member Ann Carlson fielded after the talk. Next year: Yuyi Morales, L I V E in Chicago and I can’t wait. You can watch Jason’s Sutherland Lecture, and my intro to Zena and the series, on the Chicago Public Library’s Facebook page through the end of the month and we will be publishing the lecture this fall in the Horn Book Magazine.

We’ve begun publishing on the website some of the “Lighting the Candle” essays from the May/June Special Issue: The Pura Belpré Award at 25. These are always the most fun to work on and, I’m told, the most fun to read. Assigning them makes me feel like a fifth-grade teacher on the first day of school giving out a writing prompt to my class, but this class being the best and brightest among our creators of books for young people today. A-plusses and gold stars to them all. (Incidentally, Christina Soontornvat over on Twitter has started a great thread on what starred reviews mean and don’t mean that should give all children’s book writers heart: “Definitely celebrate the stars when they come, but don’t worry about them otherwise.” AMEN.)

Christina’s picture book The Ramble Shamble Children, illustrated by Lauren Castillo, provides the cover image for our annual Summer Reading list, which is featured in this week’s edition of Notes from the Horn Book and will be available as a PDF on our website next week and at SLJ’s Day of Dialog. What I love most about our list is its pure hedonism — these are books chosen for the reading pleasure they give, and that’s all. My favorite way of reading, I thought, as I cheated this week on Virgil with Danny Dunn and the Anti-Gravity Paint, the first volume in a series I devoured in third grade. Better science than I might have thought, and I’d forgotten the illustrations were by the great Ezra Jack Keats. On to volume two….



P.S. For your listening pleasure, one of my favorite renditions of one of my favorite songs about STARS.

Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton

Editor Emeritus Roger Sutton was editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc., from 1996-2021. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his MA in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a BA from Pitzer College in 1978.

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Martha Parravano

The man is a genius. Absolutely no doubt about it.

Posted : May 16, 2021 11:37

Susan Golden

Jason Reynolds’ talk (can’t call it a lecture) was a remarkable event that I would need a multitude of superlatives to describe. So I will just say that I will never forget it.

Posted : May 15, 2021 04:02



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