Editorial: What Else Is New? (September/October 2023)

A few things have changed for the Horn Book since our last issue when Martha V. Parravano, “Keeper of the Horn Book Flame” and the one-and-only recipient of our MVP Award, announced her (semi)retirement; read, re-read, and have a good cry over her July/August editorial, “What a Gift That Is.” Then flip back to page 2 of this issue and peek at our masthead: Martha’s still here (thank the goddesses!) as contributing editor, and currently polishing up the Calling Caldecott blog in preparation for its annual return in September

On the masthead you’ll see some new names, and I’m thrilled to welcome Marva Anne Hinton into the newly created role of articles development editor, and Denise Maldonado to the Horn Book’s design team. Incidentally, both were recommended by our SLJ sister Shelley Diaz, and I owe her a drink. Not on the masthead (yet!) is the newest and cutest Horn Booker, Isabelle Anne Lussier, born August 4 to Managing Editor Cindy Ritter and her husband, Scott. Tuck Everlasting fan Cindy had been hoping for the first week of August, which “hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning”; and what a way to enter the world. 

On the subject of parents and children (and having a good cry), see page 54 for Dr. Pauletta Brown Bracy’s review of A Walk in the Woods by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney and Brian Pinkney. “This book began as a collaboration between Grimes and Jerry Pinkney; following Jerry’s death in 2021, Brian joined Grimes to complete his father’s illustrations, adding color to Jerry’s tight sketches.” The result is absolutely remarkable, with art that is recognizably each of theirs and unmistakably both of theirs. While preparing for the Horn Book’s yearlong centennial celebration in 2024 we’ve been poring over our archive, and 1996’s article “The Pinkney Family: In the Tradition” by none other than Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop is not to be missed. Another notable parent-child creative pairing appears on page 88 in Kin: Rooted in Hope by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Jeffery Boston Weatherford, reviewed by Eboni Njoku: “From a single photograph and sparse information to a fully realized lineage of excellence, an African American author, with dramatic illustrations by her son, traces their family’s roots.” 

“I had never explored the weird duality of my childhood—being raised as a Catholic in a family of Jewish survivors. What did it have to do with surviving cancer? Not much. Or maybe a little?” says Marisabina Russo in her “Writer’s Page” article starting on page 10, about the circuitous path toward creating her graphic memoir Why Is Everybody Yelling? Before the emotional catharsis, she had to learn how to “do” a book in sequential-art format—and to learn Photoshop. Youth librarian Amanda Lawrence, too, had to learn the ins and outs of graphic novels to develop a thriving middle-grade graphic novel book club (and you can too! See page 16). 

Editor Emeritus Roger Sutton does not have corgi puppies on offer (despite the claim from his hacked Facebook account), but he did acquire permission from author Lynne Rae Perkins to publish the poem on page 30, which she had first recited to him. Titled still learning, it’s an echo of my own children’s get-out-of-trouble attempts (“Mom, I’m still learning”) and a wonderful reminder of our capacity for embracing the new and whatever else comes next.


From the September/October 2023 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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