Editorial: What She Said (November/December 2022)

“History is freaking cool, you guys.” Lizzo being invited to the Library of ­Congress and playing President James Madison’s crystal flute and the original piccolo from John Philip Sousa’s patriotic march — now that’s cool. The Library of Congress, under the baton of Dr. Carla Hayden, proved yet again it’s “not a ­mausoleum” but rather a place for people to get up close and personal with history. See Nicholas A. Brown’s interview with LOC staffers about the festivities on hbook.com; and re-read Roger Sutton’s interview with Dr. Hayden — his library school classmate! — in the May/June 2018 issue of the Horn Book and online.

Professor emerita Dr. Violet J. Harris pays homage to two of the late history-makers in children’s books, Ashley Bryan and Jerry Pinkney, on page 22. While tracing their influences, she provides readers with a fascinating mini-lecture on Black and American history, arts, and culture, making vital connections across places and times and touching on such wide-ranging topics as colonialism, James Baldwin, and the American Girls Collection. While everyone who encountered the work of Bryan or Pinkney mourns their passing, their legacies are ensured in the pantheon of children’s literature creators; special thanks to family members and friends who sent along especially meaningful photos to include with this article.

These recent, difficult years have seen the passing of many children’s book luminaries, and the cover art from this issue of the Horn Book, by Micha Archer, is from the late Patricia MacLachlan’s book Snow Horses. MacLachlan’s “After the Call” piece appeared earlier this year in our May/June Newbery Centennial special issue; and her dear friend, author Lesléa Newman, shared a lovely tribute (which ­incorporates near-fifty book titles written by “Patio”) that now appears on our website.

Snow Horses is in good company with twenty-nine other selections in our annual Holiday High Notes recommendations beginning on page 10. It’s about a small-town First Night celebration, and we’re happy to widen our HHN coverage. Especially noteworthy is Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun’s Thanksgiving Story by a team of Native creators who provide depth and context to the observance; and while we’ve included a relatively large number of Hanukkah books (and are continually grateful for Shoshana Flax’s knowledge of proper menorah lighting), the number of Kwanzaa books is still too low (re-read 2021’s spectacular The People Remember).

In just over a year from now, The Horn Book, Inc., founded in 1924, will be celebrating our centennial, with lots more details to come. Horn Book history is fascinating, if we do say so ourselves (and thank you, Lolly Robinson, for the Virtual History Exhibit!), and I am over-the-moon thrilled to be the eighth editor in chief, as we continue our steadfast mission “to blow the horn” for fine books for young people.

It is my great pleasure to share the news that Elissa Gershowitz has been named editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc. Elissa has been serving as interim EIC since ­January 2022, upon the semi-retirement of longtime Editor in Chief Roger Sutton (now ­editor emeritus). She has worked for The Horn Book in progressive roles, beginning as ­managing editor of the Horn Book Guide (now Guide/Reviews Database) since 2006, and holds an MA in children’s literature from the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons University. REBECCA T. MILLER, PUBLISHER

From the November/December 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is editor in chief 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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