Subscribe to The Horn Book

Not so easy to be hard

I’m enjoying PW’s discussion of “The Top Ten Most Difficult Books.” (I’ve read some of most of them but haven’t finished any.) Could we make such a list of children’s books? We’d have to wrestle with the problem that difficulty in a children’s book is grounds for many to not consider it a children’s book, […]

We don’t care if you try harder

This New York Times article about whiny college students reminds me of the time a publisher called to complain about a negative review on the grounds that the book in question took three years to write. And that memory reminds me of the equally annoying line in a picture book autobiography by the admittedly wonderful […]

>Hubris alert

>I am looking forward to the ART production of Porgy and Bess, the first opera I ever saw from good seats (I was taken by the late great Oz librarian Margaret Trask twenty-five years ago in Sydney)  and thus responsible for my financial ruin. And I understand that this production is not going to be […]

>Where are the SERIOUS books?

>When Twitter alerted me to this–well, naive might be understating things–report on last month’s Book Expo, all I could think of was Fran Leibowitz’s observation (I paraphrase) that “the girl in high school who insists that the drama club put on The Bald Soprano will be a thorn in the side of everyone she meets […]

Enough already

Okay, I laughed when I saw the cover of Go the Fuck to Sleep and I laughed again at least through the first half of the pdf of the whole book that has been making the rounds. But when it became A Thing and a big prepub bestseller and people all over the net lining […]

>Let’s hope this doesn’t catch on

>An author is suing the publisher of a book review for criminal libel. The Times article is entertainingly snarky (it doesn’t hurt that the author, reviewer, and publisher are all lawyers) but don’t miss the exchange of letters between the author and the publisher (it’s a pdf), who seem to be friends. Or at least […]

>She likes us! She really likes us! (She, on the other hand . . .)

>(I guess we will see if that reference is as lost as Joan Rivers’ joke about Elizabeth Taylor and the microwave.) Jules has a nice review of A Family of Readers over at 7-Imp. In other blog news there was a Twitter-tempest last night over a blogger’s review of Laurel Snyder’s completely amiable middle-grade novel […]

>A dilemma

>Can I be appalled at the Humble, TX decision to disinvite (upon the advice of a perfidious school librarian) an author from their YA bookfest but still feel that said author needs to take a pin to her head? Then Mr. Sconzo went on to say that there are so many authors they could never […]

>More Guide reviews

>We have just uploaded some five hundred new reviews to the Horn Book Guide Online, check it out. And I’ve just finished proofreading the preschool section of the forthcoming (print) edition of the Guide. Lots of go-to-sleep books, along with the apparently unstoppable flood of Mommy/Daddy-Love-You-More-than-Anyone-Has-Been-Loved, Ever (and you had better love him/her right back) […]


>We’re working on a feature for the May issue, “What Makes a Good Graduation Gift Book?” and it’s causing me to think about how complicated gift-giving can be. As Betty Carter says in the article, any gift of a book comes with an agenda: here’s what I like or think is important and/or here’s what […]