Subscribe to The Horn Book

Books in the Home: What My First Grader Taught Me About Reading

What does it mean to learn to read? As a former first-grade teacher and a professor of literacy education, I have constructed plenty of answers over the years. But witnessing the process as a parent has led me to challenge any overly simplistic explanations and assumptions I had held. The most important things I’ll probably ever […]

On “Radio Penderwick,” bedtime (audio)books, and more

Just like their print counterparts, audiobooks play many roles in the home. This week we looked at some different ways audiobooks accompany families — at bedtime during road trips, and really any time (or, Rachael Stein’s case, all the time). Here’s a roundup of our mini-celebration. At Family Reading on Monday, Kitty Flynn shared her […]

Books in the Home: “Mommy, Do I Have White Skin?”: Skin Color, Family, and Picture Books

When my son was five, he was watching TV when a commercial came on that showed a woman slathering her peach-colored arms with lotion. He glanced down at his own brown arm. After poking it with a finger, he asked: “Mommy, do I have white skin?” It was a moment that seemed straight out of […]

#WeGotDiverseAwardBooks: Reflections on Awards and Allies

I missed out on ALA Midwinter this year. At nine months pregnant, there was just no way I could hop on a plane (or hop anywhere, really) to be a part of the conference and its festivities. But shortly after the 2015 ALA Youth Media Awards were announced, a colleague emailed me, “How about all […]

Words for Flora’s Mother (and Other Imperfect Parents)

Often, when I mention that I have five children, people ask, “How do you do it all?” I sometimes quote a response I’ve heard from Donna Jo Napoli, fellow writer, professor, and mother of five: “How do I do it all? Badly. You could eat off my kitchen floor…for weeks.” How I do it all […]

Reading about Families in My Family

In my family there are two moms and five kids. I’ve yet to find a children’s book that depicts a cast of characters that looks anything like our particular multiracial, foster-adoptive family constellation, and I know there are lots of artistic, social, political, and market-driven reasons for this; for one thing, such a book would […]

The Secret Garden’s Perennial Wisdom…for Parents

Every September of my English teaching career, I’d type up the semester’s reading list and prepare myself for the inevitable question: I’ve already read this! Why do I have to read it again? I’d tell my 
students that rereading a novel at a new period in their lives could bring fresh insight. But I never […]

On the Rights of Reading and Girls and Boys

Discussions about gender issues in children’s literature are perennial (even in the pages of this magazine; see the special issue on gender in September/October 2007; articles on boy and girl reading in the September/October 2010 issue; and, most recently, Carey E. Hagan’s “One Tough Cookie” in the September/October 2011 issue). My personal experiences differ from […]

O Christmas Books!

I was the type of kid who lingered in stairwells trying to overhear adult conversation and who sneaked downstairs to catch my babysitter making out with her boyfriend. As a six-year-old, I blew Santa’s cover after noticing that “his” handwriting on gift labels was just like my dad’s. My mother was aghast to learn I’d told […]

Books in the Home: Thank Heavens for Hugo, or When Size Matters

Not long ago I was having a conversation with a friend while our children were in the school playground. She was worried because her daughter hates reading. The girl is aware that she does not read as well as her classmates, and this upsets her because she enjoys school and does well in other subjects. […]