Editorial: House Party (July/August 2021)

While still all abuzz about our May/June special issue, which celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Pura Belpré Award and Latinx literature for young people, we started working on July/August, our annual ALA Awards special issue. In 2019, we’d marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards with our May/June special issue — and then got to attend a real-life gala at the Library of Congress during ALA! — and this year’s timeline had a similar feel. ­All-YMA-all-the-time — ¡celebremos!

Instead of celebrating the Belpré anniversary together in person at ­REFORMA’s annual Celebración, the biggest fun at ALA; instead of hobnobbing at the ­Newbery-Caldecott-Legacy Banquet (or lurking at the back; or gossiping at the bar); instead of waking up with the sun for the CSK Breakfast, we will, again, instead, be together at home for virtual ALA Annual. A “house party,” as Tae Keller calls it in her entertaining and heart-tugging Newbery speech. If anyone’s dressing up to watch, as you would for a banquet or a gala or a celebración, send photos and tag us @HornBook on Twitter and @thehornbook on Instagram. A little glitz and glam is always welcome. Anyone remember the last time they saw Roger Sutton in person in a bow tie? [I just got a new one. — RS]

What a group of Youth Media Awardees we’re celebrating. Revisit the history-makers in our “2020 in Pictures and Words” article. This year “­Pictures” comes first in recognition of Michaela Goade’s exceptional win as both the first Indigenous person and the first woman of color to receive the Caldecott Medal. Her art, created especially for The Horn Book, graces our cover, and while it beautifully captures a moment in time, its resonances are far-reaching.

Far-reaching, too, are the works of three Black women writers, each ­heralded by ALA this year and all esteemed for their canonical oeuvres: Children’s ­Literature Legacy Award winner Mildred D. Taylor, author of the Logan family saga; ­Jacqueline Woodson, CSK Author Award winner, 2018 Children’s ­Literature Legacy Award winner, and a MacArthur Genius, I mean Fellow; and Kekla Magoon, ­winner of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement in YA. Magoon’s article is part socio-history, part lit crit, part fan ­homage, and an entirely engrossing view of cross-generational influences.

We wouldn’t be us without our annual “Mind the Gap” column, a selection of books we think should have won at ALA, with smart-alecky ­commentary provided for free. Of course, not everything can win — that’s the ­heart-sinking part of award committees. But it’s nice to give some of our other favorites a little Monday-morning recognition. We’ve also got our very own award (a real one, unlike Mind the Gap), the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, just revealed as of this writing, and we couldn’t be happier with this year’s superlative winners and honorees. Congratulations, and we hope to see everyone in October.

Next year the Newbery celebrates its centennial; see the “Of professional interest” reviews for a fascinating look at “understudied” Newbery ­winners, along with a much-anticipated Sydney Taylor biography, a de ­Grummond “primer,” and the case for free speech. Our regular Book Reviews section is packed — and I mean packed — with goodies, with a possibly record-breaking number of new reviews. In this issue we also debut a “Sequels, Etc.” list to alert readers to new entries in series that we’ve previously reviewed in the Magazine. Because nowadays there are just too many new-and-notable titles about which to “blow the horn” — and that’s the best possible problem for us all to have.

From the July/August 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: ALA Awards. For speeches, profiles, and articles, click the tag ALA 2021.

Single copies of this special issue are available for $15.00 including postage and may be ordered from:

Kristy South
Administrative Coordinator, The Horn Book
Phone 888-282-5852 | Fax 614-733-7269


Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is acting editor in chief / executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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