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Encouraging a natural critic

I’ve been writing reviews for The Horn Book Guide since 2005, long before my daughter was born in 2011. When I first started, the reviews were a hypothetical glimpse into what I thought would appeal to children. I was in and out of classrooms during those early years, sometimes sharing the books I reviewed with […]

I Never Do Anything Twice

For an op-ed related to the drama surrounding Blood Heir, the New York Times asked two previous Twitter storm centers, Keira Drake (for The Continent) and Jonah Winter (The Secret Project) for Lessons Learned and their takes on the current debate. I have no take beyond warning people of the folly (and unfairness) of criticizing […]

Hbook Podcast 2.10 – Series Wrap on Siân

It’s Siân‘s last week at Horn Book! ???? Roger and Siân mainly ramble in this episode. There was no plan. You can tell. 🙂 They talk about Siân’s new gig with Shelf Awareness, electronic books, the future of publishing, and they display an amazing lack of knowledge on how to protect the environment. While this […]

Quitcher bitchin

Last week, I had a complaint from a librarian about a Magazine review in which we called a character “fucking adorable.” Although I’m enjoying the thought of editing a magazine in which such sentiments might be expressed, we of course had called a character no such thing–it was a quote from the book under review, […]

Three rules for successful book reviewing

The other day, I was tasked with delivering a PowerPoint about the Horn Book to our Media Source colleagues in Ohio and New York. Unfortunately for them, I had just watched the Imelda Staunton Gypsy on PBS this past weekend, and thus I had my gimmick, provided by the leading ladies of Wichita burlesque. Rule #1: […]

Hbook Podcast 1.27 – Spoilery Spoils

Podcast the 27th in which Siân and Roger talk about (and engage in) “spoiling.” BGHB Awards Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium Books we talk about Laura Amy Schlitz, Hired Girl J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series Jennifer Mathieu, Afterward Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak E. Lockhart, We Were Liars Anne Nesbet, Cloud and Wallfish Louisa May […]

HBook Podcast 1.13 – Special Guest Vicky Smith

Podcast the thirteenth in which Siân and Roger chat with Vicky Smith, Children’s and Teen Editor at Kirkus Reviews, about Unmaking the White Default, ALA awards, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Books we talk about Kenneth Oppel and Jon Klassen, The Nest John Bellairs, The House with the Clock in Its Walls Steve […]

Hbook Podcast 1.7 – Special Guest Hannah Gómez

Podcast the seventh, in which Siân and Roger talk with Hannah Gómez–Horn Book reviewer, member of the WNDB staff, and all around awesome person–about racial coding in books and identifying race in book reviews. Also, cats. We also talk about cats. And dogs. Those too. Books we talk about Joshua Khan, Shadow Magic Virginia Euwer Wolff, Make Lemonade Toni Morrison, […]

News from the North

Please forgive my long absence here; between Christmas and some family stuff I’ve been mostly out of the office for almost a month. And how things DO pile up: I am heartened by the advice of the late Booklist editor Edna Vanek, passed down to me by Betsy Hearne: “one book at a time.” That […]

Reviewing from under a rock

I loved Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White (try the audiobook if you want something immersive and long) and am looking forward to his Book of Strange New Things. But there was a passage in Marcel Theroux’s extremely laudatory NYT review last week  that’s driving me crazy: “Since the critical and commercial triumph […]